|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on January 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM|
When I suggested to Nigel he might like to inhabit his body more, he gave me a look that suggested I was quite mad. ‘Inhabit my body? If I’m not in my body, then where in the hell am I?’ There is a real truth in him mentioning hell, as it can feel like a very real kind of hell if we are living largely from the mind. My experience is that we live in only parts of our body, often the front. There are several reasons for this; we copy the somatic patterning of one of our caregivers to fit in to our families. Traumatic events can lead us out of our bodies, into our heads and the space around us.
Until we decide to come Home.
Nigel accepted my invitation and the journey into his body began…
In our British culture there is considerable guilt, shame and fear in truly inhabiting the pelvis. Nigel had been packed off to an all boys boarding school as a very wee boy and sexuality did not feature in his young life, other than in between the covers of Penthouse and experiences with other boys from school, which left him feeling ashamed and confused.
…Nigel’s body started to shake and rock back and forth when he was in his pelvis and I invited him to feel the qualities of his gender and sexuality. At the same time, his throat closed up and he almost stopped breathing. We were meeting the somatic patterning I mentioned earlier.
At the end of the session, he looked at me in total bewilderment. ‘I had no idea I could actually have an experience of myself, both as a man, a sexual man, and for it to feel welcome and safe in my body.’
Then Nigel wept.
It was the first time he had cried in 15 years.
Part III to follow.
|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on November 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM|
I use the word feminine, but I wonder if you heard the word female? Feminine in the context of my work is the feminine principle – a bouquet of qualities that collectively contain the essence of this archetypal part of us. In this sense, it is unimportant what form our genitals take; any individual has the potential to embody feminine essence.
The feminine is not valued, welcomed or cultivated in society generally, what is portrayed as feminine is actually a distorted version of the masculine principle, and it is with this distortion that many people show up in my consulting room, wanting to ‘shift’, ‘fix’ or ‘deal with’ a troublesome aspect of themselves, like they are a robot and it’s simply a matter of getting a re-spray or software upgrade.
What interests me is noticing how connected an individual is within themselves. Another way to understand what I mean when I say connected is ‘how is this individual relating to the part of themselves they want to ‘fix’ or ‘deal with’?
In my view, there is nothing about us that needs fixing or dealing with. I am looking to see what is ‘alive’ in an individual’s system, where the juice is, where I might catch a glimpse behind the veil of their conditioning. Then I follow that aliveness. Let me give you an example…
Nigel* arrived one afternoon, a man in his 50s, an investment banker in the City, with regulation navy pinstripe suit, his briefcase between us like a protective shield. He sat opposite me with his arms folded, peeking out at me. He wanted to feel more alive, both in and out of the bedroom ‘I have a great life and I should be feeling like it’s great’ he said. I wasn’t convinced.
Straight away I noticed how void of life his dense body seemed; it had about as much life as the chair he was sitting in. Nigel started to talk about his life, and my eyelids started to droop. I was searching for signs of life. I patiently waited. And waited. Where was this man’s life force? Then something caught my attention, I noticed the corner of a book peeping out the top of his briefcase ‘Portug…’. Here was my chance… ‘Have you ever thought about a visit to Portugal?’ I asked him. For the first time in 40 minutes his body moved. He was utterly stunned into life at my intervention. We had both had an encounter with his life force. Turns out he had had a fascination with Portugal since he was a wee boy, and a deep longing to draw and paint its landscapes. In his family growing up however, creativity was not valued or seen as something that could turn into a ‘proper’ career. This man’s blossoming lay in the discovery and nurturing of a more authentic part of his being.
To go back to what I mentioned earlier about how we relate with different aspects of ourselves, this man was always creative but it was not welcome in his family, they kept pushing this part of him down, by criticising and judging it as worthless, until eventually this is what he did to himself. Can he begin to value the part of him that is moved to paint Portugese landscapes?
…and what has this got to do with the feminine principle and awakening this essence within Nigel both in and out of the bedroom? Plenty actually. Look out for Part ii soon. Blessings, Kimaya
*names and a few details have been changed.
|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on October 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM|
A Reflection on Desire
My own relationship with Desire has been somewhat ambivalent. And it seems I’m not the only one. I notice how friends and clients often struggle to voice their desires. There are many petals (and thorns) on the rose that is desire but for now, I want to focus on the following question “what do you desire and how do you know if this desire is from your deepest longing?”
The media often appeals to such a narrow band of emotions to trigger our desire, give us a quick fix, and perpetuate consumerism. But the desire that’s been touched in this way can be rooted in inadequacy, greed and lust. Today’s therapist/coaching culture can encourage us to give our power away to others and if the therapist is mindful, she will gently hand it back to you… And then what?
Sometimes we need others to be mirrors for our desires. I was presented with such an opportunity whilst on a workshop where we were in family groups. We were invited to take space and each ask a question that was up for us. The only question I had at that time was “do I want a child?” I asked the question to my ‘family’ and found myself getting irritated at their initial responses. I clarified further by saying it wasn’t a practical enquiry, but more whether my belly and heart held such a desire. Suddenly a woman said “I think you want one!” and these words reached into an inner landscape of longing, I so far hadn’t been able to access myself.
Some of our desires originate from unmet needs in our early childhood- what are yours? It’s useful to know, particularly when in the playground of intimate relationships; desire can be projected on the ‘other’. We are by nature receptive beings and our projected desires influence us. If one partner is feeling vulnerable in a particular area and the other says “this is what you desire,” they may fall prey to the strongers intention, and abandon their deepest desires in the process.
Desire rooted in our Cultural and Tribal Contracts
How do unconscious contracts that we inherited from our ancestors shape our current relationship with desire? A tribe is a social collective that is held together by strong social contracts. These contracts can be woven around shared social identities such as bloodlines or genetic lines, religious adherences, race, social and economic position etc.. While we all were born into some tribal identities, the formation of these can vary significantly. Let’s take bloodlines as an example. I am part Italian and this culture has a strong belief that family can only mean blood relatives. There is also conditioning to marry a fellow Italian (from a good family) and have children. A young woman in her late 20s, during a workshop I ran some years ago, realised that she had lived her life pleasing her father and his desires; taking a job, even marrying a man that wasn’t in alignment with her deepest desires. With this realisation, her challenge was to live her life from a truer place and face her fear of displeasing her father.
An Inner Knowing
From time to time over the period of my psychotherapy training, an inner voice told me that touch would be a part of my work; whilst I trusted this voice, knowing it was from the deepest part of my being, I was also confused as much seemed to inform me that this wouldn’t be possible: colleagues, teachers and other places of authority. But the voice wouldn’t go away. That was more than 7 years ago and my journey to bring this truer part of myself to my work has, and continues to be, an interesting one.
A question to ask around desiring is “am I using this to fulfil my need for love/self-esteem?” and if the answer is yes, then start to pay more attention to yourself and to being inside your body. Be responsible for your own desire, keep nourishing the pool of your own desire. Can you stand alone in your desire, to experience yourself as the source of desire?
Looking at the polarity of desire/fear within ourselves and seeking to bring it into balance can loosen any tendency to cling to one side. A way to resolve unconscious desires is to look for the ‘yes’ which resonates from deep within: if there’s something inside and it opens up your heart, a feeling of rightness, then you would be wise to follow it. Take some time to breath inside yourself. I would suggest the deepest place to connect down to is to place one hand on your womb/lower belly and the other on your heart and just start to feel your own energy, feel your breath, notice what is inside you. Sometimes we just stumble upon something and it says YES. What’s important is to listen to your inner voice that knows everything, and is often quiet. It knows whether it’s a ‘yes’, or a ‘no’. Are you willing to be surprised by what is revealed?
A Transpersonal Practice
One day, according to an Eastern story, the gods decided to create the universe. They created the stars, the sun, the moon. They created the seas, the mountains, the flowers and the clouds. Then they created human beings. At the end, they created Truth.
At this point, however, a problem arose: where should they hide Truth so that human beings would not find it right away? They wanted to prolong the adventure of the search.
“Let’s put Truth on top of the highest mountain,” said one of the gods. “Certainly it will be hard to find it there.”
“Let’s put it on the farthest star,” said another.
“Let’s hide it in the darkest and deepest of abysses.”
“Let’s conceal it on the secret side of the moon.”
At the end, the wisest and most ancient god said, “No, we will hide Truth inside the very heart of human beings. In this way they will look for it all over the Universe, without being aware of having it inside themselves all the time.”
The psychosynthetic technique of inner dialogue that I want to share with you, is that of writing a letter to the Self. Strange as it may seem, this is often an effective way of tuning in. You describe a situation or problem in detail, discussing the alternatives, your – and other people’s feelings about it, the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, and so on.
The answers in inner dialogue – whether it is carried on in written or visualised form, can come in various ways and through different channels. These are the principle ones:
- The message comes while we are doing the exercise or immediately after.
- The answer comes in a delayed fashion. Usually our expectations of a particular solution, or our anxiety to have one, obstruct the flow of insight. But the insight may arrive later, by surprise. It may also come in a most subtle, nearly invisible way, so that after a few days we realise that our outlook has become clear, or the issue is not a problem anymore, or we now know what to do about it, even though we may not remember any particular moment when a definite shift has taken place.
- The message reaches us through a dream.
- The response appears as an impulse to action, as when we suddenly feel prompted to do something which we previously were not particularly inclined to do or to consider worthy of doing.
- The answer comes through some element in the environment, such as the words of a friend, the title of a movie, a phrase read at random in a book, something on the side of a bus going past. I remember asking if I should make a trip to Australia. That same day, I was travelling on a bus, and noticed a man get on, chat with the driver and immediately get off again. As he slowly turned to alight, I noticed he was wearing a T-shirt with the word ‘Australia’ on. About half an hour later I was having tea with a friend in her flat, discussing my dilemma with her. I asked her “should I go to Australia?” Suddenly, a voice from somewhere outside, shouted “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”
If reading is your thing, here’s some great books I would recommend…
What We May Be, Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth Through Psychosynthesis, Piero Ferrucci
A Desire of One’s Own, a paper by Jessica Benjamin (1985)
The Web of Life, Fritjof Kapra
Open to Desire, Mark Epstein
|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on October 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM|
I worked for many years as a corporate trainer in the City. I love architecture and was nourished by the beauty of the buildings I worked in. I also enjoyed being surrounded by, in the main, mature adults and meeting my colleagues at the level of the mind. In a way, it was an antidote to my young life, which was unpredictable, surrounded by adults who were not present in any useful way.
What I did notice however, was a seriousness devoid of joy in most of my City colleagues. People would walk into the door of my training rooms, all heavy and burdened and, gradually over the period of whatever training programme they were on, I would see them relax, let down their guards.
What did I do to facilitate this change? Engage their ‘inner child’, that part in each of us that is curious, playful, full of wonder. Some couldn’t trust enough to allow their child-like self to emerge in a group, so they would seek me out privately.
I then changed the stage and people sought me out as a psychotherapist. City types would sit opposite me, both men and women, wearing their sharp suits like body armouring, placing their briefcases like a shield between them and I. They would tell stories of their jobs, their relationships, trying to convince both me and themselves that they were somehow happy, or that they really ‘should’ be happy, but they weren’t. I would sit with them, doing my best not to fall asleep at the sheer lack of vitality present, patiently waiting for signs of the Child.
In the British culture particularly, we are encouraged to hide this part of ourselves to such a degree that it can be quite an undertaking to find ‘little her’ or ‘little him’. This part of us is the source of our juice, spirit and purpose. Inner masculine and feminine integration is part of the path of Tantra…be curious about the age of both parts during dialogue.
Much has been said about the inner child in therapeutic realms however, I believe that exploration of this magically Divine part of ourselves will lead us to our deepest longings.
As children, the world is shiny and new, our desire is beginning to awaken. I invite you to meditate on cherished objects or experiences from childhood…meditate long enough to feel the original innocence of your desire in your body. Perhaps there was something you weren’t allowed? And perhaps now you can give yourself this missing experience from your young life. Let me know what you discover, won’t you?