Tag Archives: One Point

Power

28 Oct

There is a seminar here this weekend.  The first without my loyal porch companion and American, english speaker, Dan.  Dan has been here assisting at the Seminar Haus for about 5 years.  He is the one I could count on to handle things.  To pull the load.  To empty that last load of the dishwasher at the end of the day when I was… tired and just wanted to…go to bed.  And… he would get up at 7:00 in the morning and make breakfast for the guests while I comfortably slept in… did my morning meditation and yoga.  Alas, it seems those days are gone for now in Wettenbostel.  Perhaps it is time for me to grow and explore more of… my power.

Power is a word that I have shied away from, although I can feel it churning through me wanting to move me from the inside out to a new place in life.  Something in me is hesitant around power or wants to explore and have power in a way that is gentle and will not hurt anyone.  I got a little taste of my power last night while preparing the pumpkin soup for the seminar meal.  We use small whole pumpkins in the soup, known here as kürbis.  I grab a knife and sheepishly approach the subject… like a hesitant biology student approaching my first cadaver.  My host eagerly grabs a larger knife and says with enthusiasm, “no you don’t do it like that… you do it like this… Hi-Ay!”  And proceeds to chop it in half… and almost the table… but not really.  So it was my turn.  A little chop… trying not to hurt anyone… trying to be nice… uh… the knife gets stuck in the corbis about mid way through.  “Come on!,”  he says.  “Get centered… focus on one point” (an aikido term for your center… your power)… and I did and then Hi Ya!  Wow!  All the way through with quite a bit extra to spare!

I went to a healing workshop over the weekend in Hamburg.  It was hosted a by a friend, Olaf along with his colleague Laura.  It was their first workshop together.  The emphasis was on getting into your body. That is getting out of your head… being physically present within your body.  I have found over recent years that being in my head is a way that I avoid pain or uncomfortable emotions…. but it also keeps me disconnecting from life and being present.  The theme for the day was “arriving.” During the day long workshop we practiced simple things… like connecting with a partner and standing and sitting on each others feet… helping us to feel and be grounded.  We walked and danced and moved to music.  And we got in groups and took turns caring for one another with message, touch and energy work.

Later in the workshop we came to a point where we were doing a simple trust exercise.  One person is in the middle, like a pendulum, and they let go as all of us encircled around them gently catch them and nudge them in a new direction where they are caught again.  I was the last one to go.  I stood in the middle a little surprised by my hesitancy.  I was told by Laura, Olaf’s colleague, all you have to do is trust.  I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to do that.  I let go a little and they bobbed me gently from side to side.  And then I landed heavily in the space of Laura, one of the facilitators.  She let me land in her and then… she did not move me to a new direction… but held me in her… and she stayed there… and stayed there… and I stayed there.  I felt my own resistance and my arms and hands felt like led, almost unable to move.  I finally pulled away, and she engaged me straight in the eyes as I felt the pain pull and tug within me… wanting to hide yet also wanting to let go.  With compassion she said I would like to offer you a treatment.  I agreed and she gently led me aside for a private energy treatment.  I laid on the floor and she placed her hands in different positions on my body and with some gentle coaching on her part, something in me started to release.  Surrender. Deeps sobs came of my body from someplace deep within me… someplace that I had been hiding and holding on to for so long.  It really took something for me to allow those sobs to come through and after, I was bare… laying there like an exposed wounded child.

What do I do now? I asked her.  She acknowledged, as I felt, that this was just a crack off of a larger iceberg of pain.  Her advice was breathe… in an out and stay connected to my heart.  And when I needed help, find someone who can help me release what I am holding on to.  And then she invited me to come to their next workshop in a few weeks. Wow.  So many feelings coming up.  So intense. I slowly rejoined the group for the end of the workshop as I was met with kind and loving faces… gentle spirits.

The following day I returned to Wettenbostel a little timid from my experience, but grateful for the company of my host as he picked me up in the cold from the bus station.  It is quite something for me to be with those feelings and experiences inside… and yet another thing to allow others to be with me as I am present to them.  But as I see, this road is essential… almost as if there is no other way but, ya know… through.  As my German bicycling friend Jörn says, it is…the next step.

The following day I felt some of the benefits of the workshops.  As we had done work to reconnect us with our body, I felt like I had new legs.  Literally, as if there were a new pair I was trying on for the day.  And although they were a little stiff, I felt strong and useful in them.

And somewhere in all of that experience there is something  new…a new power.  And power that unfolds through allowing and release.  I had a dream the other night.  There was a chinese woman, with a bit of an attitude but who seemed to have a greater wisdom.  In the dream she told me the experience that I am now having is something new… something new is coming into me, something new is unfolding.  It is not the past, it is not the same.  I told her that I am afraid.  She said  “well…then its going to be hard.”

So with that I return to this day, the now in Wettenbostel.  My gratitude.  My safety within.  The freshness of the sunny autumn day surrounded by friendly seminar guests.  The first hints of a bustle in the kitchen before I help prepare tonight’s meal…tomato soup and salad.  No kürbis to chop tonight.  But perhaps somewhere in the chopping and serving and cleaning, in small and gentle ways I will continue to allow, connect and experience… my power.

Kermis

24 Aug

What is Kermis you ask?  Well it looks like a Carnival or fair… except it is in the Netherlands and they call it … you guessed it, Kermis!  City blocks filled with carnival rides, games, kids young and old.  I celebrated Kermis with Marijke and her family in a town about an hour and half south of Alkmaar. Kermis is an annual celebration and most towns and cities throughout the Netherlands celebrate it.  It’s a reason for families to get together.  Spend a little time, eat some food…and wander the streets of the Kermis. It reminded me of the carnivals we used to have as kids… our Catholic schools parking lots transformed to a place of spinning metal contraptions, cotton candy and funnel cake.  No funnel cake in Holland, but a very similar sweet fried dough with powdered sugar on it.  I suppose somethings are universal…

Meeting and spending time with Marijke’s family was really great.  Her family was a relaxed and easy group of people who felt like “down to earth dutch”.  Although at times I felt like an alien in the midst of dutch conversations, I was often comforted by a friendly comment, a smile or question in English.  They joked with me and laughed and said I wasn’t missing much in not understanding the conversation!

The Netherlands, as you know, is a really small country.  I was told it takes a maximum of 5 hours to cross by car… and that is from one far most tip to the other.  But Marijke and her family are clear to point out there are still differences amongst the dutch and the different regions of Holland. After driving just an hour and a half south, it was about 5 degrees warmer as there wasn’t the cool breeze creeping in from the North Sea.  And I learned from Marijke’s brother-in-law that the southern most part of Holland has its own dialect.  It is so distinct and different from typical dutch, that those in the North cannot understand it… written or spoken.  Amazing!

So the mission continues, this adventure in Europe.  I have to admit that sometimes it is a bit strange being here.  Sometimes I want to cling to some idea of what  my life was like, should have been like or will be like in the States.  And in the midst of my traveling, I am exploring… am seeking… and wanting ways to be… centered.  In me.  Not thrown off like being on some twisted Kermis ride… Balanced – no matter where I live.  Sometimes I feel like I have this… and… often… I don’t.

Marijke has been taking horse back riding lessons from a woman who lives near Alkmaar who is an expert with horses and a Reiki student of Marijke’s.  They know something about being centered!  The stable is called belckmeerhoeve… don’t know what that means…. and the owner and primary teacher is Marion. Her work with horses is very unique.  Marion is sensitive to and pays attention to the energies of the horses… and works with people in the same way.  Marion says that when riding a horse it is not person sitting on top of horse… but rather the rider and horse connected as one.  It is the practice of the rider to stay connected and centered while working with and connecting with the horse’s energy. This place of centered is called  “one point” or “ki” in the practice of Aikido.  From my years of reading tarot cards it also reminds me of the chariot card… as I learned to interpret it..the powerful woman or man who drives the chariot… being able to stay centered and grounded within their own being while chaos and powerful energies surround them… but staying calm and centered in the midst of it… staying focused and and still being able to direct things…not getting lost in it.

So I am noticing, paying attention to ways and tools that can help keep me stay… centered… and grounded in the here and now…. in Holland which is where I am now… but wherever in the world I am!  One of the challenges I have is “staying in my body”… when I get nervous and sometimes  simply being social and around people… something in me just leaves…hits the road… and physically I am still there but really…I am…not.    Frequently my mind is off running… Ideally, when a person is in “one point” or in their center they are not thrown off  so easily. Jolting outside events or even the perceived threat of one do not have the same impact when you are centered.  So the practice, the exploration for me is… staying centered and grounded… and being engaged in life and traveling in Europe!  Ah, the exploration!

In a talk with Marijke, who in addition to being a Reiki Master is a therapist, she suggested that perhaps it is a thought in my head that is throwing me off my center.  She said likely it happens so quickly that I don’t even notice it, almost unconscious.  She encouraged me to “pay attention” to what I might be saying to myself that is perhaps a precursor to losing that center… that connectedness within me and connection to the people and world around me.

I am really impressed and interested in the work Marion and her team are doing with people and horses.  In addition to teaching riding lessons, she also offers what she calls equine therapy.  As she explained, the energy of the horses is such that it easily connects people with their feelings…  Often as a defense mechanism we (me…) may get lost in our thoughts as a way to avoid simply being with a challenging feeling or emotion.  But working with the horses give direct access to that which must be experienced and expressed to begin to… heal.   Marion says it’s not so easy to keep avoiding things when working with horses in therapy.

And last night… Marijke invited her neighbors over for dinner.  And guess what?  I am doing the cooking.  The is part of the trade that we worked out.  I cook in exchange for staying at her house.  It’s kind of funny for me to be doing the cooking considering the notion and experience I have of myself in the kitchen…(see previous entry on domesticity!).  But often, many times cooking is really…nice.  It feels… well, centering… and grounding…to take my time and chop vegetables and cook food.  Simple food.  And it’s appreciated, which is nice.  And it tastes pretty good!  The little time I spent in Wettensbostel in the kitchen did open up the space for a some fun and creativity…  I can feel a bit of excitement in throwing a few seasonings or ingredients together… sampling how they taste and adjusting as needed.  It actually feels sort of like … freedom.  Who knew I could find …. freedom… in the kitchen…