As a kid I loved watching the TV show Bewitched. The protagonist, Samantha, would wrinkle her nose to make life magically happen the way she wanted. I used to wish I could have access to magic just by doing something as simple as wrinkling my nose. Years later when I discovered Wholebody Focusing I realised that there is – by wiggling my toes, not by wrinkling my nose!
I wiggle my toes and find the contact between my feet and the ground to bring myself into the state of Grounded Presence. I notice gravity supporting the physical structure of my body. I notice sounds and other sensations coming from my environment. I am aware of my connection to the person who is accompanying me (My Listener).
I am aware of the inner life happening in my body. I am aware of my adult observer self which notices everything. I arrive into this state of Grounded Presence. This special quality of awareness anchors a Relational Wholebody Focusing Session. From here it often feels like magic happens!
A few examples from my everyday life
One day I was feeling upset with someone, they had crossed my boundaries, so I was feeling ungrounded. I had been planning to cycle to work that day, but I was feeling a bit anxious. At times like this in the past, I would have a cycle accident, and some of them have been nasty! I wanted to be sure that didn’t happen today.
Before I left home I grounded myself, using the 5 Body Spaces of grounded presence, and then I cycled to work. Whilst I was cycling I felt connected to the ground through my feet and the pedals. It seemed that roots were growing out of my feet through the pedals as I cycled along. I felt connected to myself and to my whole day. It felt great to be on my bike and to arrive at work, without accident.
This Grounding practice also helps me to deal with people in my life that I find challenging. There is one person who never seems to give me the space or time I need to speak before they try and interrupt me. Using Grounded Presence, staying in contact with my feet and my toes, I am able to stay connected to myself and that difficult person.
I find myself saying things like ‘Can we slow things down a bit so I can follow my thoughts through to the end?’. The conversations are still not easy. However, I know that I am standing up for myself, I am learning to make space for the other person to also speak and be different from me. As a result we are getting better at really hearing each other. The conversations feel much more productive because I am sitting there, wiggling my toes and staying in Grounded Presence as we talk.
Impact on clients
I am struck too by the impact this process has on my clients. One person spent the entire session simply tracking movements in her body, moment to moment. She told me later that she never feels this calm or centred, as she is always busy worrying about someone else. She wrote me later that ‘On my drive home, I seemed to be calm, relaxed, more aware of people’s faces on the street, and their body language. I felt a bit recharged, as if I could do a few things I had been postponing.
Another person came for only one session. I bumped into her some while later in town. She told me that she had been using doing this practice at home, and said it was helping her feel very calm in daily life, no longer submerged by her worries.
In my experience of Wholebody Focusing and Grounded Presence, wiggling my toes is the starting point for magic – and meaningful change and growth – to happen!
– the creator of Wholebody Focusing who continues to gift us with his genius and empathy –
This is an instance of how his work continues to be carried forward.