Being in Stillness, Working with Health and Wholeness
This is a two-day exploration in a small group (usually 6 or 8 people) of what it means to be able to sit in stillness with ourselves and with others, and particularly how we can notice, allow and engage with the health and wholeness that is always available to us, while equally honouring the stories that we carry. It is open to craniosacral therapists (for whom it counts as 2 days primary CPD for the CSTA), and also by arrangement with me, to body workers, therapists and others interested in an embodied experience of wholeness. In our everyday life most of us don't have much time to really sit with ourselves. So these two days also offer a small retreat from our worldly commitments, to give ourselves permission to discover less obvious aspects of ourselves.
We use table work in pairs, guided and non-guided meditations to help access stillness within ourselves, co-enquiry between us and usually a demo or group session. Most importantly the time is experiential - we are not getting into concepts around stillness or health but seeing what we actually experience when we let go into this. There isn't a totally fixed agenda as the nature of the work is that it is interactive and organic, and I encourage people to ask for what they need within the time, as this is a joint process that we engage in together.
However some of the themes we will inevitably look at are
- Where is stillness and where and what are wholeness and health
- How can we really access this, and what is the practical relevance
- What this might bring up for us
- Agendas, attachment and aversion, acceptance
- Trust, control and letting go - who is doing the work?
- Different 'levels' of being, and levels of work
- Joint practice and what this really means - coming into relationship, with ourselves, each other, life
- Emptiness, receptivity and deepening presence
- Working from non-separation, silence - who is the witness?
What is our wholeness, felt within the body and yet beyond any stories or ideas we carry around about who we think we are? How can this wholeness bring comfort and integration to the story, to our traumas? How can we allow different 'levels' or aspects of ourselves to co-exist without contradiction? What does it mean to sit in non-judgment, of ourselves and of each other? In a way these are historically the topics of spirituality, but I prefer to think of wholeness – spirituality albeit unwittingly can sometimes imply something 'other' than the body, other than our daily life, a better place somewhere else, while wholeness is relevant to all aspects of our lives and work. When we relax into stillness we discover that wholeness is always already here, just we rarely recognise it, and rarely allow ourselves to drop into the trust and quietness that can notice it. So during these two days this is what we work with, in a way that is relevant to ourselves as well as to our practice.
This involves a letting go, of our ideas about who and what we are and who we or others 'should' be, what should happen etc, and just dropping into what is. Letting go of the idea we ever could know everything about ourselves or another with the mind, which has a tendency to limit, and allowing space for the unknown. Letting go of intervention, or at least exploring where this may be coming from, and dropping into trust. We will be looking to receive a level of ourselves that is not ultimately definable, and in pair work to also receive that level of another person, to let go into this, and to trust and experience that within that letting go the story will be heard, perhaps less by us than by the wholeness itself. We may find that as we let go we discover a layer of being that is less defined by our experiences so far, in fact less defined altogether, less separate.
To touch this level in ourselves needs a kind of gentle surrender, listening and openness. As we access this wholeness in ourselves this also creates a space in which some of our reactive habits come into question and even begin to change, as we are reminded that we are not just our collection of stories but also something more than this. Presence is inherently unconditional. My experience is that for both us and our clients, accessing this level of being helps the stories, the traumas and conditioning of life to find a different reference point or perspective, which starts to create a gap before our habitual reactions and a deeper ease in our lives, as we are more 'resourced' and less caught up.
I've been running these small groups for several years now, and have done a lot of work with Mike Boxhall, including assisting on his courses. My groups have partly grown out of this, and also from other work I have done over the last 15 years, and are a reflection of the process I have discovered in myself and others including in a therapeutic setting, as well as my meditation practice.