We have such desire to know ourselves. We have become restless in the need to fulfill some unnamed yet insistent drive to seek more than who we have been taught to believe ourselves to be. With a relentless spirit, we pursue our evolution, trusting that we’ll come to where we need to be and find… what?… we’re not quite sure. Yet we sense that we must surrender to the pressure to engage and persist.
Over the years, having worked with thousands of people, I’ve discovered that human beings are neither complex nor complicated. We are however, intricately woven, with body, mind and spirit offering the fine and gross matter from which the threads of the tapestry of our being reveal us to ourselves, to each other and to the world.
Having now designed, facilitated and moved through innumerable experiences of engaging with others for those much deeper discoveries that bring us face-to-face with the essence of our being, I am mindful that this journey demands layers of expression, with the accompanying capacity to engage each layer as it presents. Through the women’s writing retreats, I’ve witnessed at least seven of these layers reveal themselves and unfold.
First layer: the impulse in the body. This is a sensory cue that ripples through the tissue, devoid of any content (pictures, sounds, etc) or language to describe it. This is pure sensation….’energy’ in motion through matter…and is the first indication of an awakening to something other than what we already have/know/are. (For those of you familiar with WEL-Systems:NLP, this would be the Psychic-Intuitive (PsI) representational system, allowing us to recognize the flow of information that is so fast, we cannot calibrate for content.)
Second layer: the emergence of content in the form of pictures, sounds, smells, etc. This layer would allow for us to ‘represent’ the impulse through pictures, sounds, smells, etc., expressions through the human nervous system that allow us to bridge the internal to the external, the inside to the outside. (In NLP terms, these would be the Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory and Kinesthetic representational systems.)
Third layer: language appears. We notice that words have appeared to describe/make sense of these internal cues. We do not plan the arrival, sequence, density or intensity of this language, it just shows up! (In NLP terms, this would be the Auditory Digital representational system.) These words are inside us….rolling around…sometimes a challenge for us to track and capture quickly enough to allow ourselves to discover what we already know! We keep this language inside of ourselves and engage in long conversations with ourselves – sometimes even debates! – using this language to explore our discovery. This is the layer where we talk to ourselves, about ourselves and others.
Fourth layer: words make their way outside of us and onto a page/computer screen. We journal, we blog, we write…and still, there is no sound attached other than the sound inside ourselves of our own voice. We sometimes engage in this process to sort through our own internal cues as they surface, using language – the tool of the intellect – to make our world make sense.
Fifth layer: we sit back and we read our written words, with that voice inside ourselves, to ourselves. The impulse from within, and the images/sounds/etc that it carried, have formed into words on the page/screen, and we now bring internal voice to its expression. We find a quiet place, uninterrupted, and we revisit what we have revealed to ourselves. No longer attached to its formation, we now read what we have formed.
Sixth layer: we bring the voice to the outside and read out loud, to ourselves, what we have created. The inside of us has moved to the outside of us, allowing the body to become the bridge between the two experiences.
Seventh layer: we bring voice to the outside and read out loud, in the presence of others, what we have created. In that moment, that which began its journey deep in the tissue of our bodies has made its way to the tissue in the body of another. Collectively, our bodies have become the conduits for shared experience. In that moment, we bear witness to the awakening presence of another.
In my work with others, what I have discovered is that each of these layers has its own vibration. (Don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself.) As the sensory cue moves to images/sounds/etc.; to language inside and out; with self and with other, the vibration of the body changes. With each layer of expression, a different layer of discovery is awakened by this vibration in the body, resulting in a processing and integration that is not possible with any one of these without the others.
Perhaps the most powerful of them all is the Seventh Layer… the layer that invites that which is sacred in us to awaken and be witnessed by that which is awake and sacred in another. In that moment, we connect to our Self, to each other and to the world through which the vibrations flow, connecting us to the Sacred Space, itself. In the breath of that single moment, we are forever changed.
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