Russell Delman’s dedication to the study of awareness and human potential began in 1969, when he was a college undergraduate. The main influences on his teaching are over 40 years of Zen meditation, his close relationship and training with Moshe Feldenkrais (he has helped to train over 2500 Feldenkrais teachers worldwide), a deep study of somatic psychology including Focusing, and his rich family life. Over the last seven years, his friendship with Gene Gendlin has illuminated his understanding of life and had a strong influence on his teaching. In this conversation, we explore the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” in a down-to-earth way.
Turow begins her book by introducing mindfulness. Turow thoroughly goes over each aspect of mindfulness, explaining everything from its core concepts to the proper time and setting for practices. Included is ‘Resolving misconceptions and overcoming stumbling blocks’ to encourage further practice and ability, but perhaps the most significant portions of this chapter are the parts of “Special Considerations for Practicing Mindfulness After Trauma” and “Choosing a Specific Practice.” The parts begin a trend that moves throughout the book, encouraging careful and safe practice for survivors especially and consideration that not all practices work for everyone; indeed, she has her reader explore specially for themselves, rather than a prescribed program.
Our kinesthetic sense is the sense that tells you all you need to know about space: the space inside your body, the space around you and spatial relationships. It’s key to a body-oriented intelligence and, aptly, considered by many synonymous with extra sensory perception and intuition. Introducing a pregnant woman to feeling space, body breathing, and positive messaging is an effective way to wake up and empower her kinesthetic sense. And, trusting this inner-outer sense of space is essential for the pre and perinatal journey.
From an expanded sense of creativity, I suggest that all psychotherapists, whether engaged in somatic work or in traditional talk therapy, are simultaneously artists, and that all effective psychotherapy is co-creative by its very nature. The art of psychotherapy is in the precise timing and subtle choices of what gets said or how touch is delivered. From the perceptual side, psychotherapists pick up on tiny cues that allow synchronous rhythms of body, mind, heart and soul. Likewise, it is a creative act to encourage, inspire, and welcome in emergent products from the relational unconscious, such as images, symbols, metaphors, or dreams that guide, light, or unblock the path forward.
I struggle to sit still (unless I’m sitting outside in nature, but I’m talking about everyday life here). Ask me to sit and be silent? Well my mental chatter loves to make me nuts. I focus on the breath. I focus on sensation. I focus on the fact that I am not focusing, with a touch of loving kindness and compassion. I am kind to myself no doubt there; I accept that my mind loves to whirl and twirl, to take facts and create stories, to take a fleeting image or sensation and create a long-winded tale. Even here, on the page, the words keep flowing when the point has most likely already been made. I’ve read countless books (reviewed many, done the practices). I’ve attended webinars and workshops and meditation groups, all with the same frustration. Silence while sitting escapes me. I thought I was hopeless until now.
I’ve worked with spiritual teachers for many years to “wake up”. The awakening that comes from listening to the division between parts of me—the voices and energies split during early wounding experiences to create the illusion of safety, to survive that which was emotionally experienced as insurmountable. I have learned to watch, to observe, to be the witness to my experience and not get caught up in it as if it were truly real. I’ve learned that what is, is and that so much of this lived life is merely an illusion. When reading Singer’s book I felt a kindred resonance, a sense of coming home to what I know but had stepped away from in the hustle and bustle of being Nancy in some chaotic times. I knew this book appeared in my life at that exact moment for a reason, a reminder to practice once again the meditative moments that bring me closer to the energy that is me and allow me to step away from the noise and confusion of patterned responses in a mind, a brain and a body that try to claim they’re me.
Kamamalani hopes to create a ‘pregnant pause’ for conscious decision-making with a glimpse of the local and global implications.
Embodied Being is an interweave of contemplation, Zen practice, and philosophy to inform the art of manual therapy (Rolfing in particular), with each thread representing a solid thread of Jeffrey Maitland’s internalized fabric.
I sat down to read Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials with an agenda in mind. I felt rushed to get through the chapter yet found myself slowing, breathing. I settled into the chair. The have-to-do’s vanished. I was simply and completely present with the text. Wegela offers quotes from other Buddhist teachers, case examples from clients and students. Terms are defined and demonstrated. The material is accessible, user-friendly. A true invitation to not only read about but to also personally experience it, try it out, let it flow within and through.
“I never started out to write any of my three books,” Karen Kissel Wegela says with a hint of laughter, a sense of humility. She is present, personal. She shares her own journey in person and in her books. And no, you don’t need to be Buddhist to experience contemplative psychotherapy.