Hello Dear Ones,
I have begun teaching my Contemplative Somatics course. It is a great group and I love dropping into deeper embodiment (even though this takes times) in good company!
I love communicating (and not just verbally), that trauma happens and it can be repaired. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and in fact, most of us are stronger / wiser / more resilient for the experience.
One awesome aspect of teaching is consciously and explicitly creating a safe container. What do we need to feel safe?
In this particular class, my guidelines for safety are a powerful and compassionate introduction to the participants. Some of them received potent wisdom just from creating a structure of safety:
First, welcome. Welcome to who and how you are, welcome to your strengths and weaknesses. We welcome you thoughts and emotions.
Second, we agree to hold mutual support and cooperation toward each other. We are not in a competition in this class. There is not a “finish line” or a one-size-fits-all form of embodiment. We respect where we and each other are and wish for us all to move toward a win-win situation. We want to support each other and I as teacher will hold this intention – advocating for our best selves to show up (even as we might be with challenging emotions that arise).
Third, the guideline of choice. This helps to re-pattern any previous situations in which we were forced to do something. Without having an authentic “No”, we will never be able to get to an authentic “Yes!” Therefore, if you or your body object to doing an exercise, at least express that objection! Or you may want to do it a different way, or go slower, or do less. Or just lie down and take a nap instead. What would that have been like in high school? To object and say, “Nope, I need to lie down after a busy morning.”?!
Fourth, the guideline of self-regulation. Here I am referring to checking in with yourself. What sensations are arising? What pace do I want to move at right now? Can I slow down? Is that okay? Checking in with your body. And if something feels off, or confusing, please call a “Pause.”! Say, “Timeout, I am feeling kind of fuzzy.” Or light-headed, or head-achy, etc. That pause will be honored – if you need space, we will take space with you (and give you time to integrate).
Fifth, self-care. Can we all agree, at least while we are here in the class together, to practice good self care? Go to the bathroom if you need to. Drink water, have a snack if you need to. This is not a sit-rigidly-upright-as-I-lecture type of class! I want you to notice what feels good, what feels comfortable, what feels pleasant. Do more of that! Stop forcing yourself to override the desire to rest, stop pushing through regardless of bodily sensations. We are leaving the rat-race culture of Western life behind, even if only for 90 minutes!
Sixty, we discussed confidentiality. Anything that gets shared, any stories which arise, they will stay in the group. We have to get someone’s explicit permission before sharing about any else’s experience in the group.
These are what I brought to the group. They mentioned a couple other things that would help them feel safe, which is great!
Just creating this container of safety and acceptance is HUGE! It is often profound someone in the class. It feels good to me as facilitator. What is it like to sit in a group that is oriented toward true well-being? (Not merely paying lip-service to it.)
It is my intention to teach more classes this spring and summer. Let me know if you would like to be included on my email list!
kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com
Thank you for reading!