An encounter with the unknown - embodied relationship psychotherapy
Transformation arises from the unknown spaces in which we have to let go of trying to fix something and come into deeper acceptance of what is here right now. Often when someone comes to see me they are searching to be free of some form of suffering, often a quality and longing for something to be fixed or healed. We may have our interpretations of why we are in pain or what we feel we might need, or what we know and believe about our life.
There is a time for our stories to be really heard, to be listen to in deep ways, this is an important ground of psychotherapy and my work. The stories need to drop down into the body as the feelings that are stored in the tensions, sensations, contradictions which begin to unravel through the sharing of our inner world. This is compassionate work for the heart, listening with the whole body to the parts that have never been heard, felt or seen.
Then there is embodied relating to the stories of our lives, which is an encounter with the unknown, there are the words that are spoken and then there is how these words drop into the embodied space between us. What is underneath the words, the energy of them, what is not spoken yet felt, what is unseen and yet experienced somehow though the field of our connection. How do we feel with each other, are we distant or close, is there a meeting in the heart or is there something missing in our connection. what happens if we can taste the atmosphere of the space between us, is it numb, heavy, open, closed, distant, mistrusting, tender and how this relates to the unspoken story within us that can not quite be reached or touched. These moments are the aliveness in the here and now between us in which the story lives in our lives day to day in relationship. It is where the past and the present meet, this bridge is a place of transformation within the relationship field. The energetic felt sense of the unseen and unspoken within the story can come into relationship with another. The one in us who was never reached, pushes through the concrete of suppression. These are subtle alive moments in which deeper body listening and relating become the alive story that needs to be heard. This for me is where transformation can wake up, it is life that might have been trapped in the past coming into the present, in relationship. The one who could never be reached in us, begins to feel it is possible to be seen and come into the now in relationship with another.
As we speak our stories the throat may tighten, the stomach clenched, breath trapped in the upper chest, a wall of detachment, an adrenal speed in the way we speak, a sense of distance between us, all these subtle experiences become the portal for .the unseen and unspoken story to become alive in the moment between us, in which deep connection and healing can happen. We are learning through the unknown and embodied relating how the unspoken suppressed parts live in us bringing them home slowly within the relationship between us. There is no right way of how it should look we are following what arises moment to moment through the space of the unknown, the body, the soul a wise guide. The resistance and pushing away and wanting to hide or run, there are many ways we can get away from the life inside ourselves. We might find a spot in the room that becomes of intense interest to ourselves, or endlessly try to analyze our stories, we might become detached and retreat inside our shell, this is the story showing itself in it's most profound ways, the journey of embodied relating is to amplify these places to make them bigger more seen, we are not trying to get rid of anything we are coming into deeper intimacy with what is here.
We can also use our stories, to fill the space up within ourselves, to defend and stay in control against being in the here and now in intimacy with the life inside ourselves and another. This too is part of the story of our longing and fear of being in the unknown and vulnerability with each other and in life. It is in the sweet tender truth and awareness of what is here, fully allowing that something within once fully received begins to give way into a new form a new way of being. Just like a small child who is finally really felt and heard in her outburst can move on into her joy of life. The simplicity and depth of allowing what is already here, not fighting or struggling for it to be different and yet we will fight and we will struggle, it just seems like this is what we do, a deep conditioning response to be free from pain, slowly we see the futility of fighting the reality of what is here and begin to allow pain to be allowed and when we do, everything in us softens, lifesomehow comes to greet us in this moment of surrendering to what is, like a silent lover saying hey I am here always loving you, no matter what just let me in!
Then there is a time when perhaps we let go of bringing our story into psychotherapy and want to explore a direct experience of the unknown in which all stories of the past can come into the present in relationship between us in the here and now. This is a deep encounter with intimacy with all things within ourselves in relationship with another. How terrified we can be of this vulnerability and transparency. How tender it is to sit with all the ways we feel closed off and separated from love, the ways we long for deeper connection and ways in which we push away life. We might need to encounter our aloneness here, the ways we distract with always filling ourselves up with things, so we can avoid the empty places within. When we explore this together, the filling up becomes a exploration of emptying out, so we can really encounter ourselves fully, we are beginning to enter the dimensions of where body soul and spirit meet. We can begin to enquire who would i be without my story or who am i really? What happens in a direct experience of being in life in the unknown. When we have a story about our lives we know something, we are safe in this knowing in some way. We are familiar with this sense of self and who we think we are, our habits our behaviors, our thoughts become our identity, in the unknown we challenge this in a direct experience, we are entering a field of is this true, is this really who I am? The boundaries defuse, we can turn more directly inwards and see for ourselves something that is awake and alive beneath the spaces of our thoughts and stories of who we think we are. We enter more undefined states of being, a natural state of the truth of who we are beneath the stories we tell ourselves. This truth might be strong wild sensations in the body, this truth might be trembling or a sense of nothingness, or abiding peace or love, it might be uncomfortable, terrifying, exciting, vast, contracted. if we begin to question are identities with our stories we might meet fear, because we are no longer in control of how we think it is or what we think we are.. yet we are also opening to new dimensions of ourselves which is life living through us, a vulnerability and openness which in turn can begin to see the wholeness, vastness and love that we already are. It reveals what was hidden and yet what we long and have been searching for all our lives outside of ourselves. Then there is the undefended intimate heart in relationship with another, the power and profound beauty of our human fragility face to face with each other. Recognizing the unique essence of each others soul, remembering the precious of this life given, a bowing to humility of open vulnerability that can be felt between another in relationship through the ground of the unknown. This is a true encounter with embodied relating a willingness to let go of knowing and enter into the field of life itself calling from the inside to become truly intimate with all things, another way of putting it is an encounter with love.
As therapist to be with another in the unknown we must first encounter this chaos within ourselves, to be willing to be stripped back to our naked selves, to become intimate with the life inside ourselves within the spaces of the unknown.