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a post arising from a recent retreat, about authentic kindness
Recently, I came out of a short six day retreat, but I felt like I had been accelerated very rapidly (shot out of a whirling sling to be exact) down my psycho-spiritual path. Prior to retreat, I had been lallygagging along, not really doing much practice or much in the way of deepening subtle awareness…
However, in retreat, we did silent meditation, Zapchen Somatics – taking meditation and awareness into the body through playful skillful exercises, and we also did dream acting / playing / sharing. I found this last piece to be the most potent. And I actually got to work / play with one of my dreams twice – we were a small group. It was so fascinating how one little section of one dream could reveal so much, and I’m sure I could keep working with that little tiny scene for days and days! Wow!
One result from doing this internal work with my shadow material was that I grabbed hold of my power. Technically, this potency that I found was not somewhere else, it was within me, but I accepted it, I became it, I embraced it. My voice also deepened a bit and definitely became more resonant. Once I stood in the place of my terrifying shadow, and got to say words as SHADOW and be its mysterious potency, I felt much clearer about how my fear of shadowy places is just a misunderstanding. It was a fear of the unknown, but it was not an appropriate fear. Prior to retreat, I had been reading many little quotes about stepping off the edge of a precipice into the unknown abyss. Well… That is what I needed to do! And luckily I had the resources around me to assist me with the process! And I did it.
So the reason for the title of this post is that I received bodywork a few days ago, which was a few days after retreat, and at the end of the session, I felt entirely embodied and empowered – at least as much as I had felt up to that point in my life. I was asked what I wanted to take away from the session, to take with me as I left the healing space. Taking a few seconds to become clear, I did not hesitate in saying, “I am practicing a new flavor of potent kindness.” This was pretty revolutionary for me, here’s why:
In Zapchen Somatics, Julie Henderson, the creator, says that there are three main centers in the body. The head, the heart and the pelvis each represent one aspect of enlightened mind – the head is clarity, the heart is kindness and the pelvis contains potency. She says that without authentically being in all three centers, we cannot practice the full version of any one quality (clarity, kindness or potency). What this means is that, to practice “kindness” without being clear, is foolish. To practice “kindness” without being in touch with our inner potency, is foolish. So I am referring to a wise kindness that is informed by both true clarity and authentic, embodied potency.
Side Note *** Please keep in the mind that to come into all three bodily centers can take years, seriously – for most people who live busy hectic lives, sustaining their families and social connections, doing this work can take decades. Therefore, if you are one of the billions of people who are cut off from one or two of these centers, don’t fret. Know that it is possible to come down into your body eventually, and when you do, it will be an incredible sense of liberation and ease. But until that time, do be kind and gentle with yourself and your process. End side note.
Therefore, when I say that I am practicing a new flavor of potent kindness, it is coming from the realization that previously, I did not practice authentic kindness. Because in the past I was definitely cut off from my pelvis. This is ultimately due to my karma, so it is no one’s fault but my own, however the way I could tell I was cut off from my pelvis was because of difficultly breathing really deep belly breaths, and because I had had some surgeries around my pelvis, and because I had birth trauma to work through, and… huff huff puff puff! 🙂 due to my conditioning – I don’t think either of my parents are ever in all three of their centers, so how could I have known that it was okay to fully embody them myself? Nope – not safe around them! And if my mirror neurons learned to cut off my pelvis from a young young age, how could I have known anything different?
So why do I say that I was not practicing authentic kindness previously? Because by being cut off from my pelvis and my potency, I was cut off from my creative, appropriately-self-oriented juices. By being in my head, as most Westerners are, and by occasionally drifting down into my heart, I was always “kind” and “sweet” and “well-loved.” Seriously?! No thank you! I am a man damn it! If 99% of the people I meet love me, that is actually a PROBLEM. It means that I was a big time pleaser, placator, push over, shape shifter and that I sacrificed my needs to take care of others’ needs. Again, I want to say a big, “No Thank You!!” to those energies and wish them well as I have separated from them. They served me well for 28 years and now it is time to wear my authentic power and potency all the time.
Therefore, I would recommend that you analyze your life, analyze your relationships, reflect on the way you react to certain people. Does everyone you meet love you? Do you bend over backwards for one type of personality or gender? Are you aggressive and hyper-competitive, meaning most everyone you meet does not love you? Do you feel cut off from your pelvis? Do you have sexual inhibitions or difficulty letting go and fully experiencing personal pleasure? If you can answer yes to any of these questions on a regular basis, then it means you are not entirely embodied yet, but don’t worry, you have lots of company 🙂
And yes, the rare individual can be in their heart only and neglect their head and pelvis, and there might be the rare individual who is in their pelvis, but neglect their hearts and heads (meaning they would be seriously driven, selfish, sexually motivated and have very little capacity for empathy, rationality and altruism). So it is good to determine where you are on this spectrum. But simply notice it – do not judge it. We are where we are for a reason. And we should start where we are. Don’t worry, don’t fret, just take a deep breath and try to relax, knowing that if you got this far through this blog post, then it means you most likely can embody fully with some work, with some effort and under the guidance of a qualified teacher. And most importantly, be gentle.
Our body tends to respond easier and more swiftly to kind actions and thoughts versus those contraction-creating methods in which we beat ourselves up. For me, I came to this little tiny, insignificant clarity/kindness/potency realization within seven years of cultivating deeper embodiment and intensely striving to gently pulse through the frozen tissue within. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have tons of work to do! I have just glimpsed what is possible and I still have years to go to stabilize this level of empowered embodiment! And I am human, meaning I make mistakes, I stick my feet in my mouth and I am very rough around the edges at times! So I have lots to do, lots to refine and luckily I have quality heart teachers to continue leading me down appropriate and authentic paths.
May sentient beings be blessed with auspicious circumstances and insights.