Archive for the ‘being present’ Category

Witnessing and radical amasement

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Some time ago I posted a question on my Facebook wall: “Sitting with this question: what makes witnessing so powerful? Is it because it links with our deepest soul?” A whole lot of answers came; and really nice ones.

The question had been fueled by recent experiences in some gatherings and learning events. In one we did a witnessing circle. It was a listening circle – instead of speaking when you had the talking piece, now you were the one to listen to the others who would share what they saw was your precious gift. To me, it was a very special moment and someone said: This is even beyond Appreciative Inquiry! It was special because we could all touch a layer that we normally don’t give words to. It was basically naming each other’s essence. I would say it was about and from the soul level. Also in the Axladitsa Immersion, a learning gathering around Living Wholeness this witnessing was very present throughout the gathering.

Here are some of the answers that came on my FB page:
“I have been sitting with this question as well 🙂 Some words from Alan Watts made me wonder if that’s a possible answer!
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ~ Alan Watts”

“Often I’m reminded that our anatomy doesn’t let us see our own beauty except in a mirror. We can do that for each other!”

“There is definitely something about being seen and heard – and maybe that is about the universe being seen and heard through each of us.”

“Mirror neurons?”

“Perhaps the gracefulness of not attempting to change but accepting something…”

“There’s also something about seeing and hearing ourselves within that process which makes it so potent for me too.”

“The Vedas talk about unmanifest Being splitting itself into Rishi, Devata and Chandas – the Knower, the Process of Knowing and the Known – in order that it might know itself. Witnessing is a practice of being consciously aware of all three to complete the trinity, rather than just focusing on the ‘Known’…”

Isn’t there a lot of wisdom in my friends? I really was surprised by the abundance of the answers, as this was more or less the first time I engaged myself in this way on Facebook!

The witnessing evoked in the Immersion the notion of Radical Amasement. To me, to be in a state of real witnessing, be it something in nature, an old tool or someone else, I become radical amased about the ingenuity of what is in front of me. The wonder of life, that explodes in these myriad of different forms, so many different ‘solutions’ to so many different ‘problems’… it is just awesome!

Then you realize it is not about solutions and problems, but it is about how life tries out each and every way to express the richness of itself. It seems always trying out what kind of life forms are life-bearing or life-affirming. It just goes on doing that; and it never stops. Still the big bang is happening all the time….


Thursday, August 20th, 2009

(This is the text of my recent Newsletter – with an addition by Ashley Cooper).
Last week I took a day off to go to the Belgian coast with a friend. Actually, we were lovers once upon a time. Probably you know the feeling of getting into ‘the old track of conflict’…

We had good conversations over lunch in Bruges, one of the most famous and picturesque cities in Belgium. We had walked on the boardwalk in the port of Ostend; I had taken a long walk on the beach while he took a nap. Now we found ourselves in a restaurant at the beach, eating fish.

He said something,
and I replied. No – I reacted.
Then he reacted.
And then I stopped.

I could feel it immediately! There was an emotional charge in my tone; I was out of my center and in a position of making sure my point came across. I stopped and asked if I had been harsh/hard on him. But I didn’t need to ask, I knew it already. My body had told me.

This to me is an example of embodiment of consciousness; a sensing so fine that it can distinguish the subtle differences between actions coming from ego or from our center. I see a rise in the importance of embodiment. Both in new, innovative ways like The 16 Ways of Dylan Newcomb, the fascinating world of Take Tina, and in my own co-hosted program of Women Moving the Edge. Also in the mastery of lineages that are applied to our current times, like the Conscious Embodiment of Wendy Palmer and the Warrior of the Heart; both sprouted from the old roots of Aikido.

You may wonder why this is important…
It is about being present,
Fully aware of what you radiate out to others,
Open to subtle sensing of yourself, the other and what is in between.
It is about knowing your inner ground,
And being able to return to it easily when you lose it.
It is about the capacity to act form your center,
When the world gets complex and chaotic.

It’s about being ready for the times ahead. Please don’t suspend till later.
These times are approaching rapidly.

Ashley responded: “on your embodiment poem, I played with it a little bit to reflect my own experience.” Here is her version:

Fully aware of what you radiate through your inner ground
and out to others
Open to subtle sensing of yourself, the other and what is in between.

And being able to return to your inner ground easily when you lose it.
It is about the capacity to act form your center,
When the world gets complex and chaotic.

Thanks Ashley!

Shadow and Aliveness

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Our third day in Women Moving the Edge was so inspiring and so full of aliveness! Already at the breakfast table were we talking about the question: What is the question that would inspire a new economic order? As it turned out later this would be one of the threads that would later lead to a systemic constellation.

The other thread was more about us, women, being earthy and sensual beings. Speaking about it, it would also trigger deeply held pain that was hidden in our bodies, all these long years! So again, there were tears and also shaking of the body, taking care of each other and then – relief! – and how much laughter was available next!

A few sentences I wrote down during this process…


Earthy and sensual topics make us alive!

Allow and breath!

It is so damn easy as to follow your passion!

Deep sadness in the belly to live from that place. Moving sadness into aliveness through the expression.

Living the Sacred, instead of the pure pleasure.

We ALL need to be alive!

Life is happening anyway, if we participate or not.


As we moved through these conversations it got more tangible what sourcing really is; how it is to speak from a place where no thoughts or concepts are formed yet; straight from the experience – as when we hurt ourselves and scream, but now having deep wisdom to share. Once again it showed me how our minimal structure of circle practice, holding space for the potential to manifest and having a guiding question is a profound container for letting life happen through us. Sooner or later it will bring the wisdom as answer to the question and the clarity of a next, minimal, elegant step. This one next step is the only thing that is possible after all in a complex and chaotic environment – very much where we live in these days.

The sourcing got us into a deeper insight of what ‘the shadow’ really means. We speak of holding the shadow and loving the dragons, but it became clear that to understand what this really is about we have to sink deeper into ‘the koan of the shadow’. The shadow is not what we think it is, the koan will help us see what it really is; because it is not dark and it is not a thing. It is like clouds casting a shadow, but the cloud isn’t something to touch or to hold, you can just walk through it! Instead of the shadow there is an Intense Beauty! Can we live in the Direct Light, not putting anything between our selves and the Light???

The souring, the sharing of the pain, playing the music without asking for permission, reading a poem for the first time, it all lead us to realize:



Saturday, November 29th, 2008

What you find here below was written by Maria Scordialou, Sarah Whiteley and myself when we had five days of intense learning and living together in May ’08 (Axladitsa Guardians Gathering). It gives a beautiful, and rich description of what is asked from us now.
Unless we engage our authentic selves, we cannot live the future now.
Unless we engage our fullness, we cannot take the leap individually and call in collectively.
Unless we tremble collectively, we cannot presence the new.
Unless we take a leap together, we cannot access and live the next level of our humanity.
Unless we are willing to hold the space open long enough for our collective clarity to emerge, we cannot shift our systems and behaviour for the better.
Unless we fuse the streams of practice and inquiry, we cannot see what else is possible and be prepared to meet our chaos.
Unless we acknowledge our collective identity, we cannot co-create our real work.
Unless we unlearn our complicatedness, we cannot find the simplicity of the next elegant step.
Unless we share our new insights immediately, we cannot not serve evolution.
Unless we live through our collective identity, we cannot become whole.
Unless we engage our authentic selves, we cannot live the future now.
Unless we engage our fullness, we cannot take the leap individually and call in collectively.
Unless we tremble collectively, we cannot presence the new.

When time is collapsing

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Some weeks ago I told a good friend that I want to live in the energy or space or field where I can always ‘act in an instant’. This ‘acting in an instant’ is used by Otto Scharmer in his Theory U. It describes how you can be totally aligned in your self with your thinking, your emotions, and your actions and at the same time also be in harmony with your environment and third in resonance with the future that is emerging through you.


So, it is not following some instincts, or giving in to your longings. To me it is an alignment of your personality and your soul. In my experience it is a way of being totally alive. I guess it is like a bud of a flower, opening itself up more and more, step-by-step – a better word here is unfolding.
The difference between myself and the flower bud is that I get excited, and the flower is ‘just growing’? Or maybe the flower is always excited?

Why do I feel excited? Most likely because I wasn’t fully alive before. I was holding back a lot, I was silent, I didn’t take myself serious and many more ways of being ‘normal’ and ‘obedient’ instead of being fully alive.

Acting in an instant, it feels so good! The days and moments that it happens follow each other quicker and quicker. As if time collapses! There isn’t much scheduled in my calendar, which makes it possible to act in the now: to finish tasks right away; to take steps ‘one conference call at a time’, no big projects are figured out into detail, which then need to be accomplished, but a sensing of ‘right time, right space, right people’.

If time collapses, then space should collapse too. I can see glimpses of it in the ease of conference and Skype calls connecting people easily across the globe, in sending text messages from Belgium to Israel, but I am wondering,
if the time-space continuum really collapses can I disappear from here and appear right next to you???

This is an idea worth spreading

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Someone send me the link to this incredible video! It is one of the famous TED-talks, where you can find a lot of inspiration, and good presentations!
“Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”

The Earth road

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Poem From Women Moving the Edge, a string of sharings by all of us, noted down by Maria.

We are physically walking along
With our bodies
We can sense and feel the way ahead
The masculine that protects
Looking for that within ourselves
And in others
What does it protect?
The Feminine Being informed by the ancestors
And the young ones
Give over to what we are birthing
Our youngins have so much
To teach us
Lets make space for them
To teach us the future
Listening and sensing and feeling
What is around us
Is it sufficient for us now?
And listening to the trees
The birds and the leaves
Helping us to listen

I realise that I touch people
I don’t have to be part
Of an ‘edgy’ organisation
I make a difference

Surrender, Surrender
To who we are
I have to get that, I am
Already doing it

I walked the woods backwards
Feeling the strength at my back
I walked it backwards twice!
And I did not fall

The simple and the explicit
The touching and being held
The simple gestures of touching

The question is:
Is staying disconnected an option?
Because it is uncomfortable
For a few moments to connect?

I am not really ready to find anything
I am still in the inquiry
Still in a place of seeking

Why am I afraid?
Because women in my time
Were burning bras, hating men
I did not want to be part of this

Yes, it is about us being powerful
About us being out there
And touching men, touching women
Out there, in the space we want
To act upon

Have we lost something?
I know there is a deeper level
We do not have to drop it
We touched it and left, touched it and left

For me the real feminine is to
Stay in that connection all the time:
To stay present to your body and senses
To contain your attachments
To ego, or to whatever

We are just beginning to see
How much we are living in the masculine
– Not to say that we are doing a bad job –
Our track in consciousness of the masculine
Is so deep
The new track is hardly visible
And it needs all our consciousness
What is the subtle that calls my awareness?
Allowing the silence
So much noise
So many words

They will not heal us
Only when they are connected
We hardly touched what is
Connection to Source

So much to discover deep inside us
Inner wisdom, inner knowing
As Priestesses we need to bring it out
It is still there

The Feminine is about collectiveness
Holding the Whole
The only way we can nurture
Ourselves back to this
– Not just as feminists – is to come together
As women
It is needed, it is necessary
As far as I know
All Priestesses, all Witches
Have come together
In Circles to hold the Source

To get a physical experience
Of how it is to be in
Feminine Energy
We are overwhelmed with the masculine
How we work, our cities, our buildings

It is only fair to get a physical
Experience of the Feminine

We are more knowledgeable
About Zen
We need to be in experience
Be in the body
Be in the layers of the body
Then use our consciousness

Let the words come out
From the deep layers, not the minds
And the grandmothers sit around us
Three, four, five circles
Just lean back!
They hold us
Lean back!
Life is happening anyway
Just sense how it wants to be born
Which muscle you have to stretch or release
Evolution is happening anyway
Get out of the way
Rest in silence

I know that when I sit in circles like this
And this is not the first
Then when we are ready
Source vibrates out of the centre
It’s a resonance
I can move from it, speak from it, act from it
But unless I am open
And those that gather
Can contain resonance
It is lost
Until the presence is ready again

I have no doubt
That Source appears
When there are men and women
But there is a quality that emerges with women
Because Source is deeply feminine
There have been times throughout history
Delphi, Witches, 8 million women burned
Because they held power of self
They were connected to this
This was perceived as dangerous

There is a reverence to embodying
And the noise is so, it is everywhere
The static, the confusion
For me, I guess, in this moment
I am understanding the reason I came here
It is to reconnect to the brilliance that is
This energy called Source
To plug myself in again
And to witness others into that to

The other name of Source
Is Home
Not good enough to just know it exists
And feel it from time to time
We have to act from it
And invite it into places without question

I am feeling so much pain
In my body
Can we dance?

And we did!

Inclusive perspective

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Below is the prologue of a book called: Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. It is written by Umeek, and the story is from his great-grantfather Keesta. ‘Heshook-ish tsawalk’ means: everything is one, a perspective that is inclusive of all reality, both physical and metaphysical. I referred to this story in a previous blog entry – as I recalled it – but here is the right version:

Every protocol had been observed between the whaling chief and the spirit of the whale. Keesta had thrown the harpoon, and the whale had accepted it, had grabbed and held onto the harpoon according to the agreement they had made through prayers and petitions. Harmony prevailed, whaler and whale were one, heshook-ish tsawalk.

All of a sudden something went wrong, some disharmony arose, some disunity intruded, and the whale turned and began to tow Keesta and his paddlers straight off shore. Keesta took inventory. Everyone in the whaling canoe remained true to the protocols: cleansed, purified, and in harmony. Prayer songs intensified. Still, the great whale refused to turn toward the beach, heading straight off shore. Keesta and the paddlers had kept true to their agreements, and now there seemed nothing left to do except to cut the atlu, the rope attached to the whale.

Keesta took his knife, and as he moved to cut the rope, Ah-up-wha-eek (Wren in English; Winterkoninkje in Nederlands) landed on the whale and spoke to Keesta: “Tell the whale to go back to where it was harpooned.” Keesta spoke to the whale, and immediately the great whale turned accourding to the word of Wren, the little brown bird, and returned to where it was first harpooned, and there it died.

After the whale had been towed ashore, Keesta discovered, as he had suspected, that the disharmony and disunity had intruded at home. When his wife had heard that the whale had taken the harpoon, she had roused herself and prematurely broken away from her ritual in order to make welcome preparations. At the point when she began to go about her life in disharmony from the rest was exactly when the great whale had begun to tow Keesta and his paddlers off shore.


Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

I was just reading an article from Anthony Judge, which gives the perfect words to what happened in our experience of Women Moving the Edge (read previous blog posts).

“For participants who have attended many meetings in different contexts, the ultimate expression of appreciation for a meeting is that “it was magical”. This tends to imply that somehow the right people said the right things at the right time, without any apparent form of orchestration. Together these contributions are then perceived to create what have been named “transformative moments” — when there was a genuine shift in the configuration of forces and insights.”

“Magic, like advertising and poetry, does not “work” because its propositions are essentially real or true; it works because practitioners become imaginatively involved in these propositions. Those affected can grow through the patterns, emerging beyond them into a clarity of awareness that was not possible before the experience of transition and transformation.”

These quotes are taken from an article “Cultivating the Songlines of the Noosphere. From presentations by representatives to embodying presence in transformation” on his website that gives like 10 or more perspectives to write or look at a gathering. Many times I find his articles way too abstract to be able to follow, but this is ‘just beautiful’. I got the link from another blog where was said: “a must read”.


Rich tapestry

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

We came to our last morning on Monday. Everybody was still full of the many learnings the constellation had brought. The dialogue started from there. It is so rich (and long), but I wouldn’t know what to leave out…

* Perceval had to re-trace his steps. In retracing your experience you consciously understand. The healing of the wounded king is when we ask the question “Whom does the Grail serve?” This is about alignment. Our task is to stay connected in the epiphany to that alignment and then right action comes out of that.

* If we look back on these two days – what did we do, what made it happen? Reflecting back and making it available to the collective is important. It is not about us only, it’s about laying these cosmic grooves to make it accessible to all.


* In the meditation this morning I realized how being in this circle calls me to be no more and no less than fully present. “It is not up to me” meaning: I don’t have to do this by myself, I’m part of the collective’, and “it is totally up to me” meaning: when I’m not present (and coming from story), the full resonance potential of the group doesn’t manifest. The image of the crystal singing bowl is helpful here – where every point on the circumference of the circle is in harmony, (i.e. it isn’t a loose, floppy circle). The emptiness of the bowl reminds me of Source, of unmanifest potential, and when invited by the striker, sound comes forth.

* There is something about this circle that doesn’t trigger the ego in the usual way. I can be here in a way I don’t usually experience myself… still reeling from the implications of being Source. No ‘me-ness’, only ‘Is-ness’, there’s nothing foreign, not lost everything by not being me. It is a complete paradox that I would relinquish me and receive so much more. Like dropping my clothes, and everything is off me. Yet my place in the world is not less, and my place is vast. There’s no gravity to bring you off the top of the cliff. The thing I’ve looked for I already am, and so are you.

The alignment is a natural evolution, it is a natural expression into action. The ground of Being is raw impetus, highly energized impetus – into form. How do I experience/express myself if I can’t be you and everything?

Dropping of the boundaries of self because there’s a tangible resting point that’s everywhere, the anchor is in the in-between.

To leave here and have something sustainable is the meat of it – it doesn’t give itself to us if we don’t open up to it. We are unlimited possibility.

What we ask for is what’s given – no more and no less. Until we come to accept the vastness that we are, the more we limit the possibility of anything being possible.

There’s a relationship between the question and my willingness to hold a selfless self, without a ‘me’ to gain. Me being willing to be me in the presence of Source is to let it flow through – a new balance is needed.

* How to bring the Empress (from the Tarot) forth – the feminine, creative, loving? Being the Empress is accessing Source. Is the bowl, is the CircleBeing, accessing, opening to Source?

* There’s a formless quality to this gathering, which has no words to describe it – fullness of the silence, the experience of the spaciousness. Not so much asking the question, but I will leave here being (in) the question: Who is it in us that wants to take form, meaning – is it the ‘She’ coming from the formless place?


* “How can I continue to live the question of working with community and diversity?” How can we transcend the I to the WE, the SHE? How to deepen the understanding of the WE? I had a real experience of transcending the me/I this weekend. I transcended it to ‘We’, that might be Source.

The ‘We’ is the pathway into Source.

* The huge awakening (for her representing Collective Knowing) is that the world wanted me – is inviting me – at some level there’s a readiness, an invitation, a birthing.

So those of us who can sit in circle like this can move into this rarefied space. We’re creating grooves, for something to move forward in a new way, and we can consciously align.

I see the collective ‘We’ as the pathway – the next stage of development in human consciousness – to move out of the ‘I’ into the ‘We’.

This connection to the world is so important. We come to this kind of space and struggle to know how to re-enter. A piece of it is togetherness, collaboration – I’ve always tried to do everything alone – why? True collective leadership is about finding your collective – no attachment to my piece, but also owning my gifts in giving them freely. We’re still learning how to be in alignment with Self/Source and other, so we won’t always do it perfectly. There’s something about the feminine that can work with the subtle, creative impulse, that force coming through, and begin to create those pathways in the manifest world.


* Source wants to move, so have no anxiety to manifest the new, it will come through. Source is robust – it’s our human understanding that is fragile! What is unique about you – you will form Source into uniqueness. It’s not a weak supply! The more our ‘Yes’ is there, the more it’s available. There’s deep and profound meaning in the movement itself – inherent in the very movement is the meaning.

* There seems to be a book with the title: “Things are going great in your absence” (absence of our ego – it’s all about getting out of our way)

* ‘The tone of being magnified’ – it penetrates through everything – the vibration is the healing and the action.

* How can we hold the space as we leave, without going into our distraction?

* I acknowledge the multiple modalities of access we’ve had here this weekend – art, movement, poetry, constellation, sharing etc. – very non-linear, whatever is the next thing that emerges – a feminine way of being. The underlying order is always present and we pop up like mushrooms.