All the talk of blood and hearts this week reminded me of an excercise I participated in at Gawler. It was called Reflections.
We had learnt how to feel our ‘centre line’ during meditation, what they call Mindfulness of Emotion. (A step that I conveniently skipped when I taught myself at home). The reflections exercise used this process but we were to use it to answer four questions.
So we partnered up and one person would ask the other the 4 questions. The person responding needed to feel their throat, heart, solar plexus and lower stomach and describe what they felt in response to the questions. The words didn’t need to make sense, you just needed to say what came to mind when focused in on the sensation.
The questions were hidden behind a board. When they were revealed I got nervous.
Tell me what is love
Tell me how you’ve missed love
Tell me how you’ve withheld love
Tell me how you can be more loving
I could hear people around me giving long winded answers. Lots of explanations. Mine were short and sharp. Often just one word. I’d done a lot of these types of exercises with Zoe in the energy course, but never with specific questions.
The words I spoke came from within, from a deeper place. It was lovely. Comforting. Eye-opening. I realised how simple love is. How abundant it is. How easily accessible it is within me. It is warm, light and everywhere. I realised how I shut it off (well I felt what it was like) and how I can allow it to flow into my life more freely.
If I was nervous about the first step of the exercise, the second step took me WAY out of my comfort zone.
We had to stare into our partners eyes. Not avert our gaze or pull a face. Just sit with it. For an extended period of time. Umm AWKWARD much!!!
So I sat and stared into the eyes of man….that wasn’t my husband.
My extremities twitched in protest. My arms tried to turn inwards and I felt pins and needles in my legs and feet. I imagined a black swirling mist moving all around them. I fought it off. I focus on my centre-line. Focused on my partner’s eyes. I felt a tingle in my chest and this warmth broke out across the top of my body. It was vulnerable but beautiful. At that moment everything went a little blurry. I could only see his pupils. It was not about him, it was what was inside of me. How to give love to myself. I didn’t want the feeling to stop. I decided then and there to go back into the ‘real’ world with an open heart. (Something that I forgot about for most of last week, but writing this has been a nice reminder). I am ok with not ‘bracing’ myself when I go outside. I can take off the armour. I am safe. This is how I want to live.
I did forget to mention one thing…. My partner, who I spoke of above, had a colostomy bag and as a result of its location he had no control over the noises that his bowels made. For those who have read my Vipassana posts will know about my love of farting in meditation halls (not me personally 😉 ). Well, my partner was wonderful at it throughout the entire retreat. He always managed to time his musical notes for just the right moment, when things were too serious or too sad. It would always lighten the mood, always bring a smile and a laugh. At the beginning of the first exercise he let a ripper go. He actually shook his body to get more out. We had a giggle and then for whatever reason I felt like my focus fortify. It allowed me to go deeper, feel more. It’s like he broke the ice in order to prepare us for the second exercise. To him I am grateful!