Archive for the ‘inner knowing’ Category

Chocolate and subtle sensing

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

People who know me in real time know that I love desserts. I used to say that it is my only addiction, as I don’t like coffee, don’t smoke and I am not fond of alcohol. Really, I have decided more than hundred times that I would stop eating (too much) chocolate or cookies and I never really managed.

Now something has shifted.

Since I am a very physically based person, and I am trained in emotional bodywork, I have an easy connection with subtle feelings in my body. Normally, when I go to bed, I fully stretch myself out and connect with a deep relaxation, both in my body and in my breath. This is a practice that has installed itself over the years. At some point I turn myself, lie on my side and fall asleep immediately.

During one of these evening sessions I noticed that my stomach was not relaxed; actually I realized it never is! Mmmm… something needed to be done here…

I focused on relaxing it and little shocks – more like tremblings – were releasing through my body. Somehow I could sense a fear when I tried to release even more. Not a big fear, but something on a very, very subtle level. It would be accurate to say that the fear wasn’t quite emotional, but was more on the level of my cells; almost instinctual. Doing this every evening I became aware that I had grounded myself in my stomach! Strange to say, but that was how it felt. Unconsciously – from early childhood – I had clinked to my stomach for security. Now I understood why I would always eat and snack more while being in any kind of stressful environment.

This brought a next awareness or insight about what I think grounding really means. I have always been a stable person – both physically and emotionally – and my ‘not so fine’ legs are a signal of this. For me it is easy to keep my balance and my legs have a lot of strength. It means I always have felt safe – and grounded – on/in my own legs. But I realized that feeling this is still not a real sense of grounding. Grounding has to do with ease and relax in your body, but it should also include a connection to the context you are in at the moment.

Back to chocolate, cookies, cake and eating. My eating pattern has really changed since I started relaxing my stomach. I notice it is now easy to eat just what I consciously decide to, and there are no moments – no! really! – when an invisible hand takes over and opens the cupboard or reaches for a next portion. I don’t even have to think about it, or ‘work’ on it.

It is relief – and the scale shows less weight – but most importantly it is a confirmation that I/we can reach subtle information in our bodies, and best of all: it helps or heals issues that always looked incurable.

Two energies integrating

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Recently I wrote some thoughts and experiences about the question I was holding for a long time: What am I doing when I am holding space?
Quickly it become a much deeper quest, involving the concepts of Spirit and Source. I’m trying here to uncover the core qualities and core functions of each in our daily life. More precise: to unearth what this could mean for the world that we all wish to come into manifestation.

This is not an easy task, as so many concepts and ideas in our language are made to separate. Using them to convey meaning about wholeness make me look for other – for myself more familiar – tools, like making drawings or reside in contemplation, but the level of share-ability is quite low here. So back to language and writing and making the best out of it.

I tend to see Spirit somewhere high out there and I experience Source as something deep within. Watch my words here: I see’ Spirit and I ‘experience’ Source. Maybe this is only valid for me, but other people tend to go with it. So, let’s stick to it for a while.

If we draw them on a blank sheet of paper, Spirit sits on top of it, and Source takes the bottom position. Then what is in the middle? I name it ‘the real world’; the world in space and time that we see as the manifested world with its three dimensions. Then draw a circle connecting Spirit and Source, because somewhere they are One. That is ever harder to express in words and I leave that to others. Remember: my inquiry is about understanding ‘holding space’.

For me Spirit and Source is like the first couple that came out of the One. The first paradox was created with them. Related are: light and darkness, yin and yang, inward and outward, masculine and feminine, …
But back to holding space, and more specific within the context of facilitating or hosting a group conversation. I wrote recently: “When I am holding space, I connect in my body with the unmanifest potential of this person, this group or this place. It asks for an emptiness and a deep stillness inside to be able to carry this potential. Maybe it is better to say to be a container for it, and I mean it in a very physical way. I open my body to be this container in service of something that wants or can become manifest.” In short: I hold the energy container in my body, in which the potential can unfold. But much like many failed experiments with non-authoritarian education, something is missing if we want to see the unfolding of the potential in ‘real’ time. Holding Space asks for its counterpart of keeping the intention or the focus. But this focus or intention can’t be closed or fixed, otherwise there is no room for unfolding. So I suggest to use ‘Stay in Inquiry’.

In my drawing I write now: Stay in Inquiry below Spirit, and Holding Space above Source, and I connect them also with a circle.

Looks good, but I am not satisfied. The distance between the two circles is too big for me. How does Source becomes Holding Space? How does Spirit becomes Stay in Inquiry? What is Source providing when going in the direction of the real world? What is it’s first level of manifestation (that I can distinguish)?

When I put myself in the shoes of Source I experience unlimited Potential. That makes a lot of sense to me. What is then it’s counterpart on the side of Spirit? How shows Spirit itself to the real world? I am inclined to name that Inspiration. Now we can draw the third circle within the two previous ones.

For me it was highly revealing how this map – so far – fits together. Because later on I want to dive deeper into the lower part of these circles, which hasn’t been receiving much focus, as most of us pay attention to the real world and the real phenomena. But there is more!

The ancient and contemporary spirituality practices give you a quiet detailed map how to go on these different steps towards Spirit and up to Oneness. But my whole focus of exploring this is to get a sense of the lower part and its different steps, to finally see a more full picture. And we will see that it tells us more about the collective than the individual.

In trying to write this article I had to blend the two different energies also in myself. This is not a theoretical writing. I am somehow used to write ‘from inside’, to access my inner wisdom, through writing, regarding important questions and issues. This means that my mind doesn’t have ideas before the words come on the paper. But now, here, I want to convey some of its wisdom to you, to others. So there is now knowing in my memory, and still I want the freshness of accessing new inner wisdom too. Can I stay in touch with the inner wisdom and still write a coherent piece, understandable for people who want to?

It seems like mixing oil and water. Being an inward person, the integration needs to happen – first – in my body, in my energy. Writing from inner knowing has no time delay, I only know it when it is written down, not before. Writing from memory goes the other way round: first knowing, then writing. Difficult mix. But women are known for being good at multi-tasking, so there must be a way!

Growings legs for emergence?

Sunday, November 11th, 2007
...creating magic

We are in this cosy time after dinner, dishes are done, everybody gathers around the fire place (stove). One more guest – participant arrived just before dinner (Ravi) and two more are on their way, driving through the night (Judith and Lieven).

I had a wonderful day, for me like summer. Most of the people here went to Volos today, the nearby city – one and a half hour drive – to buy a lot of food and stuff, and to receive and send emails. Three of us stayed here; and I worked in the little garden – weeding – and clearing some more space from the brambles to have more place to sew and plant the vegetables. In the afternoon we went with Maria and Sarah’s Greek friend to a place to press the olives. Amasing when you never saw it. We had this time more than 1000 kg of olives; and we came home with 220 liters of olive oil; very nice, clear, green olive oil. Of course it is a totally organic oil, and the guy from the press – who analysed it – was really impressed by the high quality it had.

the local gold

So we had something to toast on! Grilled bread dipped – better say soaked – in the fresh oil, together with some locally brewed … (like Ouzo) as the starter for dinner. The Greek way of living, eating at the big table outside, lots of talking, toasting, some wine; funny if I realize it is November,..

Last part of the evening we looked into the design of our first half day tomorrow. Simple and elegant, diving deeper into the stories which led to this gathering. Asking ourselves what does it mean ‘to grow legs’ for our network of Art of Hosting practitioners? And then there is this funny, amasing, wonderful thing called emergence… How come four people of the original hosting team, and two of the participants couldn’t make it? And why did others showed up, even when it looked different than what was the original plan?

Are we growing legs for emergence?

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.

What are we birthing?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

After these powerful images of the feminine force I was wondering: If we’re giving birth here to ‘something’, what/where was the conception? Or what is the driving force that made us come here?
This led to the question by one of the participants about our intention for this gathering.

It wasn’t easy for me to give words to what I saw as the answer.

“I hold in my body the space of the unmanifest potential… I recognized the first evening that I needed to go to deeper levels in myself in order to hold more, to create a deeper container, in order to let others in this container manifest themselves or something.

I know deep inside me that some people have to give birth to the new ‘we’ space while being a totally autonomous individual, centered in themselves but in service of the circle or the collective space.

The questions of our time can only be held by circles – it’s the only way to navigate the complexity because no mental thinking will be enough; and innovative answers will come out of it. It seems to me that women are better wired to do this. If we know something that can change the world, then it’s us that need to bring it out; from the unmanifest to the manifest – without rushing, but there is an urgency.

I can see we are making new grooves in the collective consciousness. If we go there, to this collective We-space, it will be easier for others to go there too.”

Judy added: “It was born out of some kind of deep collaborative inner knowing, and I feel both urgency and responsibility to bring the collective form into being as it’s emerging now. It’s needed now – the feminine way of leadership, and it’s so important – we can only discover it together. Every time we come together in this way, we are creating new grooves in consciousness – and then it’s easier for others.”

Les agreed that it is ‘authentic embodiment’ that is at the root of why this circle is working.


A walk on the edge

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

It is difficult to remember what were all the things that happened on our third day together. It was again so rich, inspiring and beautiful.


Some of us decided to greet and honor the sunrise, and they ended up doing it in the hot tub. This was a luxury I enjoyed the evening before, with a splendid view lit by the almost full moon; when all the others were already gone to bed or to their rooms.

“It was a beautiful morning, the sun coming up over the distant ridge of mountains, and the moon behind, up the hill through the trees.” (Judy)

Later in the day Wendy would recall that it was not possible to see them both at once, but if you turn inwards then it is possible to have a sense or an experience of both. Did you ever think of that?

I can’t remember what exactly is the chronology of that day, but I do know that we decided to do an Appreciative Inquiry Walk after lunch, around a situation of ‘moving the edge’. The question was: What did you do that made it happen? The harvest of these conversations in pairs was again something that brought us deeper into our joint inquiry. Moving the edge happens when:

– there is a compulsion; when your integrity doesn’t allow to act in another way. In this way it holds the paradox of being conscious of ‘some’ consequences of your choice and the feeling of not having any choice.
– there is no point of reference that you can rely on

Sunday afternoon

– it ‘had’ to be expressed
– we leave our separateness and join others, without questions or judgments
– there is an energy of “Let’s do it!” (in alignment with Source) instead of “Do it!”
– the outcome could not be anticipated beforehand
– there is a letting go, a giving up of control
– a not holding back: it asks for courage and honesty
– you have a sense of something ‘from somewhere else’ coming through you
– you live the energy of the Fool (tarot cards): it looks like stepping forward will lead to death, but not doing it will lead to another form of death

It wasn’t the first time we talked about it but the experience of giving birth was exactly this! Women’s way of being alive, every month ‘forced’ by nature to go along with Life, with no control over it, seems to make us more connected with Life, earth and matter; and the inherent ‘push’ of Life energy. Being on the edge in this way seems quite familiar… I think this experience makes women – on average – more open to a kind of subtle energies which are different than the mental knowing, but are needed to a get full ‘understanding’.

Judy’s reflections: “In recalling my own story, I remembered the ‘letting go’ that had to happen in my moving the edge experience. I remembered how hard that was, but when I did, then there was an openeing, and the ‘letting come’ flowed so naturally, so effortlessly. I also recalled on one occassion the buildup of tension that preceded the ‘lettting go’. Like something going to explode inside me, about to erupt, not going to wait any longer. Really like Life coming through me, there was no holding back. I also recall related and less explosive times where discernement, and the subtle knowing that is required, came into play. The knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, discerning when to lead or step forward, and when to just be with another.”

Deeper listening

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Being present, as the core of being conscious in the here and now, is ultimately an alignment of body, mind and spirit. Being aware of our body, expanding our movements – very literally – refine our capacities for being present and to go beyond our normal limits. All spiritual practices have a connection with some physical practices, let alone to become aware of your breathing. Becoming more conscious of your body brings you – no matter what – into the here and now.

Being present connects us with silence, the quiet spot inside of us. Do we dare to engage ourselves in color, in movement from this still point, with no attachment to outcome, without controlling it? To let inspiration being present ‘in the moment’ with no translation by the mind?
Dancing, singing, drawing, … are all, besides talking, expressions of our wholeness. In our Western culture so many of these expressions have been cut of. Our ‘new culture’ will need to find ways to integrate these ways of expressing and gathering information. We can integrate the masculine and feminine ways of knowing, because if we need to handle ever more complexity, more of the whole, this is the way to go.

Expand mental knowing
Finn Voldtofte wrote for the gathering Moving the Edge, that the individual and the group itself can be an entry point of consciousness. My dance, my walk at the beach, my drawing can also be entry points of consciousness, not only my talking. So much inner knowing in our bodies and in the subtle layers of reality is not directly accessible with our minds, even if we ‘lean into the unknown’ in our conversation. Words needs a certain kind of being aware that we don’t need for expressing ourselves in sound, colour or movement. Exploring this direct knowing more often and intentional can show us a way to access it with words more easily.
Most of the time we don’t go into an inquiry and reflection of our inner knowing, if we notice it at all! But the world is in need of this inner knowing. It can reveal deep, hidden wisdom. This kind of knowing has to come into the world, to balance the importance of the mental, analytical knowing. When we release the mental knowing that we are so used to, we create an opening, a space where we can be open for other kinds of knowing, sensible in the body. If we take time to inquire and reflect the hidden wisdom becomes accessible and then we can share it – also with words – with others.
We all know that an image, a poem, a performance can carry much more meaning than words in a conversation. Let’s use these intelligences more intentional, individually and collectively.

What if we could/would always listen and think with our bodies and our minds?

Creating more community
In the experience of my women’s circle, over the years we have come to value all these different expressions as honoring and living authenticity. Not only the authenticity of the individual but also on the level of community. Isn’t dancing, singing and eating together a core part of every community worldwide? I am longing for creating this kind of shared culture, as much as Check-in rounds and the bells ringing for silence have become a part of the culture that we all create together as we go.