As somatic practitioners there's certain things we think but never say. Right? There's certain things we see and feel that we immediately just know is better kept inside.
But my question is, how do we know?
Well, maybe we feel it. Maybe it's too outrageous to actually say out loud. Maybe it's downright hurtful or judgemental. Maybe we are so impeccably attuned to our client's needs that we just know what we can and can't say to facilitate their highest good.
And so we learn. We learn patterns and frameworks internally without realising we are learning what is in some ways, a sophisticated practice of self censorship. We learn how to calibrate our internal voice in order to present ourselves to our clients in a way that we feel is in their best interest. But how do we actually know that it is?
We learn patterns and frameworks internally without realising we are learning what is in some ways, a sophisticated practice of self censorship.
We don't. We don't know anything. We are just employing our inner compass. And people use a compasses when they don't want to get lost. When they want to navigate. So we use our inner compass to navigate ourselves and the unfolding client relationship. That's fair right? Of course, I hear you say. Otherwise there would be CHAOS! And that would be DANGEROUS.
So here we are holding danger and chaos in one hand and sensitive navigation in the other. And within those two extremes we are making a choice. More often than not, we choose not to be lost with our clients, we choose to navigate and to know. What opens then is a field of knowing yet we are at the same time, expecting our client to explore their unknown with us. We have a well calibrated and sophisticated inner compass whilst the client sits in front of us feeling like their equipment consists of a broken torch, a frozen google map and soggy walking boots.
We have a well calibrated and sophisticated inner compass whilst the client sits in front of us feeling like their equipment consists of a broken torch, a frozen google map and soggy walking boots.
Doesn't feel like such an even playing field. So what do we do? Answer all together now: We help them find their inner compass! That's an easy answer though. That's what you'll find written on most counselor and therapist website before you've even met them. 'Perhaps you're struggling with [insert crisis event] right now, if so, therapy could be helpful'
Everyone wants a compass when they're lost. It's logical and it's responsible to help them find one. What are we doing differently though? Not everybody (perhaps nobody really) wants to sit in a shit storm of internal chaos. Because it feels, well, like a shit storm. But I wonder (outloud, perhaps irresponsibly, but who really cares or reads these posts anyway hopefully not the CSTA oopsie) if actually there is something that happens when we join our client in the storm. When we stand in the tornado with them as hail batters down on our faces and we can't for the life of us, see a single thing. I wonder if rather than helping clients to search their backpacks and pockets and black-hole-tote bags for their internal compass, we could just turn around and say 'Well, it's very windy here and this shit stinks!'
I wonder if rather than helping clients to search their backpacks and pockets and black-hole-tote bags for their internal compass, we could just turn around and say 'Well, it's very windy here and this shit stinks!'
Would that make us unethical? Would it trigger our inner criminal? Or could it be something that makes something possible. What's that something? I have absolutely no idea. Nor do I advocate this approach with clients. Nor would I necessarily repeat anything i've said below ever again. But something happened. Inside the something there was...something. A feeling. A realness. An unspeakable shifting of ground.
So here's my blog series of 10 things that I've said to a client that I probably shouldn't have, and what happened after. Each client example gets its own blog post.
'Falling asleep in every single session is a wonderful way to avoid yourself isn't it?'
What happened: Client, let's call him James (name changed obviously) falls asleep just 10 minutes into the session. This happens every week for several weeks.
What I probably should have said: I'm wondering if there's aspects of this that you might be finding it difficult or uncomfortable to stay awake?
What I actually said: '
'Where are you?'
'Are you there?'
'....yes....I was just asleep'
'It's very interesting how this happens isn't it'
'How what happens?'
'How you fall asleep in our sessions'
'It's just sooo relaxing...'
'I'm glad you feel relaxed. What else are you feeling?'
'I just feel relaxed'
'What does feeling relaxed allow you to avoid having to feel?'
'Errr....I guess it means I don't have to feel the stuff I don't want to feel'
'Falling asleep every session is a wonderful way to avoid yourself isn't it?'
'Well, yes, it works...'
'It does work. It works so well that you don't have to. So if you're not here working on yourself why are you here?'
'I just let you do your thing I'm happy to be asleep'
'And I'm asking for your participation. Do you want to participate?'
'I guess so, I don't really know what to do'
'That's because you're asleep.'
'So what do I do?'
'First start by trying to stay awake and let's see how things go'
'Ok i'll try to stay awake'
What happened: The client would fall asleep after just 10 minutes into every session and would have no recollection of anything that had happened during the session. There was also a distinct lack of curiosity or reflective capacity on waking up. In the meantime the emotional turbines were actively moving through him but were not being allowed to be processed by his body. By staying asleep he was keeping himself in the same realm of awareness. Avoidance was the elephant in the room in our sessions and the elephant in his life, which was finally addressed by just putting it out there in the field. This meant we were able to incorporate the avoidance into the session, and other events that had led to an avoidant tendency or behaviour. This is a key element of shadow integration.
What the outcome was:
Could stay awake for longer periods of time during our sessions
Could now describe with impressive detail what was happening in his body
Started to understand how his body and mind were connected
Recognised that various conflicts within were not going to just disappear if he fell asleep and ignored them.
Started to develop more authentic self awareness and personal disclosures increased session to session
Was able to joke about falling asleep to avoid his stuff!! :D
Experienced deeper somatic releases
Was able to stay present while his body released trauma and emotional pain
System began to deepen healing and enter deeper states of consciousness
He became more of an active participant in his own healing
Started to recognise his own power to heal himself
Let's now talk about how falling asleep relates to various states of consciousness that we find ourselves in throughout our lives.
According to Robert Edward Grant, who developed the model of the three stages of consciousness Involution-Evolution the first stage is, believe it or not, called 'Asleep State'. To read more, see below:
ASLEEP STATE: Limited Perception (ONE Truth; Either/Or):
Duality, Judgement, and 'my' choices are RIGHTEOUS, a world of survival instinct, self-preservation, victimhood, suffering and endless karmic loops, scarcity-based, fear-based, and time-limited decisions and experiences, seeking the outside world for "educated" answers to provide meaning in a Telestial, meaningless, competitive and lonely world. The Dualistic separation of Consciousness into the Persona (mask) and the Shadow (subconscious mind).
AWAKENING and AWAKENED STATE: Expanded/Expanding Perception (NON-Dual Sentience):
Edging toward Non-Duality; less judgement, Personal responsibility for experiences, limited perspectives and even the 'News' are more 'opinions' than factual realities. Objective truth becomes subjective to the Observer's 'partial' truth. Seek the inward journey while living in a Terrestial world. Synchronicities and patterns emerge into consciousness, Forgiveness of Self and Others (and judgements of self and others) transition to conscious acceptance and love. 'Suffering' lessens and the path toward abundance in all things ensues, the Eternal Now, Empathy and Compassion rises. Competition to confluence. The emergence of Heart-Brain consciousness through the balancing of Feminine and Masculine energies--the recognition of the complementary and necessary role of both the Conscious Persona and the Subconscious Shadow.
ENLIGHTENED STATE: Divine Omniscience (Omni-Sentient);
The sum of all perspectives is the WHOLE Truth. There is no entropy, only limited and/or expanded perceptions. Synchronicities turn to magical and miraculous moments. Realization that you are the Creator of all your experiences. Pure Acceptance of the Whole Truth. Love and Compassion reign. Non-judgement. 'Celestial' experiences. One with the flow of the Universe. Love for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE around us, even TIME itself. Feels feelings deeply but not overrun by emotional reactions. Expanded multidimensional experiences through TIME dimensions. 'Super' or 'Unity' Consciousness.
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