How to dissolve feelings of not belonging?

How to dissolve feelings of not belonging?

Today I was preparing a private Chakradance retreat ‘Reconnect with your Essence‘ in Jardin de Luz.

While dancing through the base chakra, I came upon the themes of belonging and birthright. I know that there are many people who struggle with a deep feeling and belief of not being welcome, not being wanted, or feeling that they have no right to be there, to exist. And with the fear of feeling the intense emotions that these deep experiences and beliefs bring into the body.

I used to struggle with it myself. And back then, it caused me to feel deeply insecure and anxious about who I was. I used to work hard to feel accepted by others and to avoid pain. I had an inner voice that constantly pointed out to me possible clues that no one was waiting for me, and that I was not wanted. It made me hyper-vigilant and over-sensitive. I was constantly alert-aware of my surroundings, the emotions of other people, the tiniest (inner) movement of another, and the energy around me. At the slightest thing, I shot out of my body like you can jump up from a chair in a startled movement when you are stung.

Thankfully, this lonely, fearful time has long passed. I have found a warm home within myself, within my body. Six months after I moved to Spain and a few months after I completed the Chakradance facilitator training, I wrote a few lines about it. See the image above…

For me, connecting and working with the archetypal energies that flow through my body and circulate in my energy field helped me find peace within myself and ground in my body. From this base, I can feel myself, be myself in all new encounters and challenging moments, and feel the inner support and safety of my body

Why can it be so powerful to dance and create with archetypes as done in Chakradance?

Archetypes are the basis of all the underlying, unlearned, instinctual patterns in our behavior. They exist in our collective human consciousness and are embedded in your psyche from which they influence how you move through life and perceive, feel, think, and act.

Dance is like a mirror in which you see the archetypal energies at work in your energy system. You can clearly feel where they bring imbalance and distortion in your body and to your energetic make-up. It offers you a conscious way to connect with these archetypal energies and change how and where they affect you.

In this way, deep instinctual patterns of behavior get a chance to transform. This changes for the better how you perceive, feel, think, and move in relation to others and your environment.

For this reason, dancing with your base chakra ‘Muladhara’, can dissolve deep beliefs of not belonging, of being alienated from your body, and feelings of fear, overwhelm, and uncertainty. In fact, even longstanding patterns of physical tension and, for example, back pain can be released when the energy of the base chakra is better balanced. It also changes the vibration in your energy field and therefore the way other people perceive you. You can be sure that you will start to experience more joy, inner sparkle, and a deeper, genuine connection with others when you can welcome yourself completely, and feel at home in your body.

Re-membering yourself home in your body

Re-membering yourself home in your body

“Our bodies know they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless.” John O’Donohue

I love this quote and I believe there is so much truth in it! 

Our stories start in the body with the way our autonomous nervous system ‘feels’ the world from moment to moment. It is called ‘neuroception’; a term originating from Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal theory. We only have little awareness of these subtle shifts in our states and the influence that they have on how we feel, perceive our environment, and behave from moment to moment. These wordless neuroceptive messages are somatic signals, like a gut feeling, sensations of temperature change, sensations from our organs, muscles or our heart intuition … The autonomic nervous system sends these neuroceptive signals to the brain.

 Our mind then starts to give meaning to this somatic story that our body tells by creating the beliefs that guide our daily life. A story is being born.

Since this process usually takes place in the unconscious background of our daily lives, ‘our moment-to-moment being’, such a story has a chance to take deep root. It is often the seed from which unconscious habits in perception, behavior, movement, and attitude grow. And these habits influence our decision-making, self-image, reactions, and how we see the world and give meaning to what we perceive, and ultimately how we relate to others and our environment.

Awareness is the key to our unconscious stories

We can become aware of this unconscious flow of information by pausing, listening in our body, and attending to our body sensations before we interpret them with our mind. Much like being a witness

 When we can observe from the curious, playful “infant mind space” rather than our more judgmental “ego mind space,” we create a new space for trying out options in response, behavior, and perception. An option to enact a new story by using the ability of our nervous system and body to adapt, change and grow.

Unlock your capacity for self-healing

We meet ourselves through our infant mind space when we attend to conscious movement, expressive dance, and arts. When we invite ourselves to reconnect with our bodies, to play, explore and discover the wisdom that our body holds for us. I believe this unlocks our capacity for self-healing

It’s how I healed myself many years ago when I realized that I had lost my zest and sparkle and felt alienated from myself. I made the choice to change how I listened to and looked at myself, to re-story, to meet myself again in movement, in the moment, to re-member myself home in my body.

Are you curious how you can feel more whole and connected to your body?

Maybe a dance movement creativity retreat at Jardin de Luz is something for you.  Feel welcome to contact me for A free orienting conversation

My sexy tango dress

My sexy tango dress

Years ago, when I started dancing the tango, I wanted a sexy dress. I found a very nice dress that swirled around me when I danced and which had a very nice low back. For years I have worn that dress with great pleasure and I looked super sexy and elegant in that dress. It draped beautifully and the fabric felt like a second skin. 

Over the years I added other tango dresses to my wardrobe and the dashing tango dress ended up somewhere in the back of the closet.

A while ago I was looking for my things to pack for the big move to Spain. We would be living in a holiday home there for the time being until the dream spot was found. It seemed smart to travel light and give a big part of my closet to charity.

And in the back of the closet lay that beautiful tango dress folded up. The deep colors smiled at me, still as seductive as then. I felt it tingling in my stomach again. I let the soft fabric slide through my hands… ‘Mmmhh I can still try it on, you never know.’ 

Over the years an ounce here and an ounce there had come in and out. Anyway, my shape now did not seem to dance with the dress, at least not in size. I was no longer the 30-year-old I was then, although with some willpower and effort, I might well be able to regain that shape. Still, the dress would not be the same. I am a different person than the woman who once bought the dress. I have traveled a long way, and gathered new experiences, and other experiences that have shaped me, and made me think and feel differently in my life.

That brings me to today’s theme:

What do we do with the beliefs we have?

One could compare the beliefs to the tango dress.  We create the most beliefs when we are very small; our core beliefs. And at that point, they fit us perfectly in how they help us make meaning of the world and protect it. Many people carry their beliefs throughout their lives, despite having all kinds of wonderful experiences over the years that also teach and tell them other things. And that’s a shame because these early beliefs are a kind of thought warp created out of emotional experiences and learned patterns and frames of thought. They are like limiting filters on reality and they leave out a lot or distort and generalize unique new experiences, encounters, and views that help us grow as human beings.

What would it be like if we occasionally ‘put on’ such an old belief very consciously, as I tried on my tango dress years later because it looked so beautiful? Would that belief still fit?  Or do we now have to try very hard to fit into it? 

I noticed that I had old limiting beliefs that I could only continue to “fit” if I made myself smaller or less. And for quite a few years I kept faithfully adjusting myself to those limiting beliefs of ‘Not being good enough” and ‘What is wrong with me?’ 
I could have done that with my tango dress: I could have gone on a diet, and I could have worked out to get a different body. However, I chose to distance myself from the dress. It was good, this tango dress belonged to a certain time and to this time a different dress fits.

A few years ago, together with my tango dress, I put a number of limiting beliefs in charity’s ‘bag’. Beliefs also have an expiration date, for beliefs, just like the tango dress, don’t change. And we are always in motion, in an evolving state. There will irrevocably come a time when we want to live differently when we want to be full of life and be who we are deep inside. No more crash diets for the body, mind, and soul. And then it’s time to do what I did with the tango dress.

I lovingly gave it to charity. Who knows, maybe someone else will be very happy with it now and the dress will be swaying across the dance floor with a different body.  You can do the same with your limiting beliefs. You CAN let them go lovingly.

Which “tango dress” are you giving up?


Are you trapped in an old story?

Are you trapped in an old story?

Yesterday I participated in an online training course to become an NIA Blackbelt teacher with about twenty other women. The assignment we got was to take turns in front of the camera, engaging the other women in your dance. I felt the shrinking motion, so familiar to me, of wanting to vanish into thin air. I am back on that bright spring day more than 40 years ago.

‘Birds are twittering and a gentle summer breeze rustles through the trees. Other children’s laughter and voices echo through the hallways. It is my first day at a new school and shyness and curiosity fight together as I hesitantly step into the new classroom.

I am watched closely by a group of girls and crack a shy smile. A sharp voice cuts through the room. The piercing cold eyes of an old gruff woman bore into me. I feel awfully uncomfortable. She calls me to come to the front of the class. With clammy hands I stand in front of the blackboard, sweat gushes down my back, and I feel the heat rising to my cheeks… She is the teacher and I feel that she does not like me at all.

She makes a snide comment about my father and pulls hard on my ear. I feel myself shrinking and my cheeks flush red, tears prick my eyes, clouding my vision. In front of me, I hear booing and laughing and commenting about my fire-red head, my weird name, stick-out ears and hazel teeth. I feel something is terribly wrong with me, but what and why?

Later in the schoolyard, they stand before me, the group of boys from my class. They pull at me, push me to the ground, and hiss that they are not done with me yet. I hide, I tremble, in my own little world, “I do not belong, I am not safe”.

 I quickly turned off my camera in a flight response. I feel caught again in this old story of being pilloried, being punished, the shame, the feeling that something is wrong with me but what and why? A story that keeps repeating itself over and over again.

But there it was the voice from deep inside: “IT IS ENOUGH”. “I’m done hiding, being invisible.” Back on again I put the camera, raising my middle finger to this story. Shy, nervous, and at the same time curious and determined to enjoy the dance, I stepped into my light and showed my sparkle.

Do you have old stories that keep you trapped in pain and tension?

Old childhood pain takes on big forms. In our subconscious, the hurt children go their own way. In the therapy world, it is also called the shadow. That’s where all the emotions live that are too painful and unsafe to deal with. I had my ways of pushing the shadow away from me, dissociating was one of them. It was in no way pleasant to live in a very tense and exhausted body either. I was very easily overwhelmed and always on high alert with others.

Living with so much tension and anxiety comes with a price. Sooner or later, the body says “No”. My body decided enough was enough on one rainy, grey, and cold winter day. She was done with the toxic environments that I managed to get myself into, time and time again. As if this past painful story had to be told over and over again.

That one day, ‘that tough day like all the other days’, I chose a new movement in a different direction, while my body took the lead.

This is where my journey into joy, spontaneity, and feeling free began.

Feeling safe doesn’t come overnight.

Only when the immediate threat is gone, do the survival patterns come to the surface. The coping attitudes- and behaviors, the deep beliefs and emotional habits that are on auto-repeat.

My journey progressed in stages. First I got to know my body, feel at home with her… Feeling safe doesn’t come overnight. It requires tuning in, again and again, attuning to the flow of feelings within, the movement of the body, the contraction and expansion, the pain and pleasure. I kept asking questions, curious about the relationships within, and eager to learn. Slowly descending, playing both with my fear and my desire for pleasure. Letting my roots sense into the earth while I gently fell through emotional layers.

Quaking, shaking, screaming, laughing through a sea of tears, I came home to myself, embracing my precious inner sparkle. The dance that once knocked me out, now lets me find my way back home.

Are you done with old stories that rule your life?

Do you want to re-find your inner sparkle and let it shine?

I am happy to shine my light on you here in Jardin de Luz. Let me be your sparkle guide and support you on your journey.

You can book a solo retreat here in the beautiful nature of southern Spain. You will stay in a sweet little house among olives and almonds, overlooking the beauty and power of mother earth. Besides the ‘inner journey sessions’, I will make sure you eat deliciously healthy and have all the space you need to unwind, digest and make a new movement. Want to know more? Book a skype/zoom session with me

The pitfall of making assumptions

The pitfall of making assumptions

The pitfall of making assumptions.

The body tells…

After a Feldenkrais lesson people often share that a movement is more difficult on one side than the other. And often they immediately explain to me why this is so. I then hear about an injury or experience from the past. And I see their now-body trapped in an old story. I call that traveling with your backpack loaded.

This reminds me of my parent’s friends who loaded the caravan with potatoes and peanut butter on their holiday to France. We are all creatures of habit and it is the habits of thinking, focusing, and feeling that direct our movement. Bringing your assumptions into your movement is like packing your backpack with kilos of potatoes and jars of peanut butter on the way to France.

Our mind listens less openly when it is occupied with thoughts and beliefs. It also gets in the way of our nervous system’s ability to create efficient movement patterns and process emotions. The movement journey then reinforces the limiting patterns formed by the experience of the past. We have, as it were, traveled back in time instead of in the present.

The path of least resistance is about playing in the present.

How will and can your body move now? By moving small and slowly, you can hear its suggestions clearly and provide the nervous system with new information. In this way, the less efficient patterns in our feeling, thinking, and doing can cease to exist. We invite our mind to listen with childlike curiosity and attention so that it can become silent for a moment and learn from the body. And where that will take us is a surprise and a yet unknown point on the map.

Are you ready to meet your body where it is now and create something beautiful with it?

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