Self improve through self-connect

Self improve through self-connect

Many people are so busy becoming a better version of themselves. Often before even feeling themselves, feeling familiar with the deeper parts of themselves, or their living body (the soma). Before knowing who they truly are or knowing how to get to know their most authentic selves. Let alone having a relationship with themselves that includes all of them.

Improving yourself as a way of escaping from who you are, and of escaping from building a loving, attentive relationship with your inner self.

Being busy improving yourself before creating a relationship with yourself that is self-respecting, nurturing, and compassionate. Or setting up for improving yourself before being able to be wholeheartedly and consciously present in this relationship with your inner self, and your living body.

It is in the quality of this relationship with yourself that the improvement lies. Not in how you become better or change.

This beautiful quote says it so clearly and precisely:

“Drop the self-improvement project, for now at least, and first spend some time learning how to connect to your innermost Self, and how to nourish that ability to connect.” Christopher “Hareesh” Wallis

Do you want to connect with yourself in a more loving way and get to know yourself more intimately? Do you want to experience less effort in being?

I offer various live retreats that help you deepen your relationship with yourself and find joy and vitality through self-love.

The sound of you

The sound of you

Sound is our channel for expression. It is the energy of vibration and has the potential to heal and open the spaces in ourselves energetically and physically. It eases our breathing, and softens tight places in the chest and back. Therefore sound is an important element of the sixth chakra; the throat chakra.

When we are at ease with our voice and sound and we speak with clarity and confidence, the energy of this chakra can flow optimally. This keeps our throat, mouth, thyroid, neck, ears, cavities of belly, face, and chest in good health.

We heal and balance our throat chakra when we speak our truth, communicate kindly and non violently yet with clarity. When we are able to listen attentively and receive through our listening. And last but not least when we speak kindly and compassionate to and about ourselves. A balanced throat chakra is a must for our spontaneous expressive energy to flow freely and nourish us with joyous vibrancy and meaningful connections with others.

For as long as I remember, I have been shy and anxious to speak out loud, speak my truth, show myself through my voice.   I would hide in myself as soon as the fire reached my cheeks in a turbulent red. Ever so now and then I still feel panic and blockage when it comes to finding words and sharing my thoughts and feelings through them.

Old wounds as so to speak. It took me some time to realize that blocking my voice caused the tightness I sensed in my chest and upper belly and my shallow breathing and states of anxiety and emotional tension. It even touched upon my digestive system. My journey to get to know my voice and free her started during the Feldenkrais training I took and led me to dance, sing and lament, to NLP, and voice and breathwork.

Fast forward, I now go live on Facebook in a language that is not even my mother tongue. I voice my thoughts and ideas. Daily I get to listen to my voice and the words I choose when I offer Feldenkrais somatic movement play, and Somatic movement creativity online. I celebrate this new step with joy, more confidence, more breath, and resonant spaces in my chest, belly, and bones. And certainly more courage to authentically dance play myself into the light and help other people to step into theirs.

In 2021 I offered a miniseries to free the body’s sound system in my former FB group. People told me how much they had enjoyed exploring their body’s sound system, expanding their potential for more ease, range, and freedom in expressing and breathing, and to give a voice to their trapped emotions and the beliefs they were holding about their voice and self-image. And how they felt more of themselves.

Do you want to embrace more of you? I now offer the free mini-series ‘The Sound of You’ on my YouTube channel

From being hard to a heart for yourself

From being hard to a heart for yourself

Today I was working on a new online program ‘From Being Hard with Yourself to Having a Heart for Yourself’. And that brought back old memories from when I was still auditioning for dance. And the journey I made then, stepping out of patterns of insecurity, self-criticism, and sensory anxiety. I had to learn to have a heart for myself to build a caring, respectful relationship with my body and feel the life force, love, and lightness, to sparkle again.

Learning to feel and look at my body differently then, changed my dancing and also the way I dance through life. I experienced a renewed relationship with my physical self, my felt self, my dreams, and my environment. And to my amazement, this happened over time by changing the way I move: The Power of Movement and Dance. And most of all, the power of moving in a relationship.

It is all about relationship!

If there is a harmonious relationship between the muscles, bones, organs, and breathing, we experience softness, strength, and mobility at the same time. All members of the body can regain their place in our greater living system and our nervous system operates in sync with what is needed for the good life. That way our system operates efficiently and flexibly, allowing the energy to flow optimally again. There is interweaving, teamwork, support, and non-stop interaction between the members of our system: the body, mind, brain, and heart. This is where the path to lightness, energy, creativity, connection, and growth begins. The way that we as a system function is similar to the way other living systems work. Systems are about networks of relationships and the better the quality of a relationship the better the system works.

We sentient beings benefit from a well-functioning system physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. When there is constant conflict between body members we experience that as tension, stress, pain, or fatigue in our inner lives, leading to us being more quickly overwhelmed by our environment. Most people react to this by hardening, armoring themselves, and disconnecting from their bodies and their environment.

Our ‘movement mirror’

The dynamics in relationships within our bodies teach us about our external relationships with others and our environment. It is not for nothing that people say, ‘So inside, so outside’!I have noticed that when the various physical parts of myself are better attuned to each other and the energy flows optimally again, the judgments and convictions about others and myself dissolve and my capacity for (self) compassion grows.

So I came to believe that the way we move is a mirror for our thinking and feeling. When we move, stand, and sit more freely physically and experience more options in doing so, this will also be reflected in our thinking and feeling. Many people then experience more playfulness, and flexibility in their mind and emotional life and feel more resilient in their lives. They are more able to face the world with an open, uninhibited heart.

Conversely, restrictive thoughts and emotions that constrict us have a compressive effect on our cells. We feel our muscles tighten. The organs experience less space because of this muscle movement and can no longer do their work properly. The bones are pulled and the joints experience more strain. There is no longer a relaxed balance in standing and sitting. Our nervous system starts worrying about survival.

How then can we heal ourselves in wise ways?

Often people don’t think of changing what they do, think, or feel. They give the same input and expect the body to act differently. Their choices are often based on the separateness of body, mind, and soul, and the belief that the body is makeable.

Changing one thing in such a complex living system changes everything for the better or worse. When we look at the dynamics of living systems, just like us, there are a few systemic laws that I want to bring forward in this context:

  1. Living systems are interdependent – change in one part of the system influences other parts of the system in expected and unexpected ways
  2. Living systems cannot be steered or controlled, only attracted or nudged.
  3. Living systems are never static; they are always in movement
  4. Living systems only accept solutions that the system helps to create
  5. Living systems only pay attention to what is meaningful to them here and now.

Often our mind’s way of isolated thinking, and acting does not respect the laws of our system. This leads to changes that do not serve our well-being and limit our potential. Our nervous system slowly becomes overloaded with these unbalanced relationships and the resulting dysregulation. Eventually, it loses its flexibility, creativity, resilience, and zest for learning.

Systems are all about networks of relationships and the better the quality of these relationships, the better the system operates.

For that reason, when working with chronic pain, tension, stress, and distorted body image, I look at the relationship between body, mind, emotions, and spirit: the relationship between perceiving, feeling, imagining, thinking, meaning, and moving.

Check my YouTube channel for tons of free, short healing practices that approach our whole being and follow the life laws of our system to move toward joy, transformation, and growth.

What moves you?

What moves you?

When it gets freezy underneath.

In 2021 I gave a presentation for the online Movement and Wellbeing Festival organised by Angela McMillan.

I gave a talk about ways to move “From freeze to flow” And as I was writing on my presentation, memories came to mind of childhood times when I struggled with fear, shame, and insecurity, unable to control my turbulent inner world that was constantly put on edge by being bullied and ridiculed. It resulted in a lot of uncomfortable physical sensations that I couldn’t control at the time. Eventually, I tried to get rid of them by dissociating myself from my body or somehow controlling it. Slowly, I slipped into a continuous, slumbering state of freezing. Not much later I developed an eating disorder, followed by other destructive numbing habits.

Freezing symptoms can linger just under the skin for long times keeping you from engaging in intimate connection with yourself and others. On the outside you may look like a happy puppy, people may praise you for being such a good listener, for being flexible, helpful or so loyal. But between the lines, suffering happens. It can manifest itself by withdrawing from situations and people, feeling very tired, lonely, and depressed, feeling chronically anxious in your skin, not knowing what you like, want, or don’t want, or what has meaning for you, having trouble concentrating and focusing, having trouble putting your money where your mouth is, or to get moving. Physically you can feel like you can’t hold yourself up, feeling tight, tense, and limp at the same time,  a lack of fluid movement and stability, or experiences of spatial unclarity, bumping into things, tripping, and hurting yourself.

Actually, we all experience freezy states on a daily basis.
Now more than ever! Many of us are living more in the head than in the body. Our smartphones keep us attached to the screen even when biking or crossing a road. Mental information forms the biggest part of our nowadays intake of information about our environment.

We live in an expectation- and performance-oriented society in which there is little room for spontaneity, authentic self-expression, or listening to the heart and senses. Many of our physical activities are about looking good rather than feeling good. Feeling present and alive in the body is not so obvious anymore. The pandemic certainly contributed to this disembodied life.

magic happens when you choose to follow flow

For a long time, I tried to work with the turbulent emotions themselves. It was yo-yo-ing between feeling okay and feeling down again. It took a toll on my health and made me feel less and less secure with myself. It was exhausting falling and crawling back up again and again.

Then by chance, I discovered the somatic movement approach of the Feldenkrais method. During the first session, I felt calm instead of cathartic. Just feeling good without having to go back into that dark hole first. Wow! As I continued to deepen my understanding of the Feldenkrais Method and other somatic-, and systems-oriented movement and dance approaches, I gained three very important insights:

  1. Where attention goes, energy flows
  2. Each of us is a living system, a complex fabric, of biology, energy, consciousness, and soul which are interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent.
  3. All living systems have an innate capacity for self-healing, thus so do we, if only we follow our system’s way of ‘thinking in relationships, integration, and interconnectedness’ instead of being a hierarchy divided into a mind, a body with parts, a soul and spirit.

I discovered how I had gotten stuck in a one-sided negative attention spiral of What’s Wrong. And I learned that thinking and emotions are only two channels of a huger somatic constellation through which we know ourselves, and by which a living system informs itself of inner and outer relationships. Most importantly I learned how to help my system prime for healing, nurturing all somatic information channels with the input of “What is. Through Perception, reconnecting with my senses, and learning systemically from the inside out through movement, and now-attention.

In many forms of therapy and coaching, the focus is on the somatic channels of emotion and thought only. The attention is on What is wrong; the former experiences, the trauma… Reliving the triggering emotions, and analyzing them. And I experienced that this starting point keeps reinforcing the pattern of suffering instead of helping our system to self-regulate and heal.

Leaving the old experiences and analyses alone for a while and spending time with my senses in the now, renewed my ability to feel pleasurable, comfortable, and easy sensations in my body. Sensations that invited me to stay in my body, feel safer in my body, gain trust in my being able to surf the emotional waves, and slowly create a greater capacity to deal with all of life, including former traumatic experiences.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, no quick fix here. And that is exactly why the healing happened! Instead of forcing my system to suddenly change, I danced with the system through awareness, movement, stillness, and time, crafting my attention to what felt good. Gently offering options to my system, in addition to the one my system was used to. I learned to trust my system that it would choose what felt best to thrive in life in its own natural time and wisdom.

You can find my talk below:

In the Movement and Wellbeing Festival 2021 of Online Movement Academy, I shared a Feldenkrais somatic movement experience that has helped me and my clients to follow and flow with our systems and move from freeze to flow. You can listen and move with it below.

Better your foundation for more ease and support

by Pingel Braat

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NecbplsqrwCUdYHeQ0X6q3zWegW64_I-/view?usp=drive_link
From FRAP-ing to body-listening

From FRAP-ing to body-listening

Today I like to champion the fine art of listening before you demand your body to change.

Do you recognize these situations in which you share something with someone, or you are facing a challenge or struggle, or feel sad or upset by something… and without first asking you what you need or want, people immediately start telling you what you should do, have to do, or what they have experienced and worked for them? How does it make you feel when that happens?

Did you know that there is a verb for this behavior of assuming someone needs your help and you know what they need: FRAP-ing. It is an abbreviation for:

  • Fixing
  • Rescuing
  • Advising
  • Projecting

It actually means that people are not truly seeing you, nor hearing you, and not acknowledging you for who you are and how you feel. I believe this is one of the most disempowering things we can do to each other. Because we all need to be seen, heard, and acknowledged for who we are, our own wise & wisdom, our feelings, and emotions, our own experiences, our unique stories, our boundaries … no matter what.

Frapping often happens because the frapping person feels uncomfortable by what they hear, see or feel, and by how the frapped person responds to a situation. The frapping person often feels triggered by the pain, struggles, or challenges that she witnesses. The frapped person often meets this frapping with reactions of resistance, withdrawal, or helplessness. And I believe that, even if a thank you is politely said, assumption-based fixes, rescues, advice, and projections are seldom helpful.

Do you so every now and then frap somebody consciously or unaware?

Frapping is perfectly human. It is a survival habit. It helps us to not have to feel ourselves in ways that challenge our feel-good states, our feeling of being in control of what is happening, or our own perspective on things. Honestly, it makes most of us feel better to think that we truly helped somebody, even if that means telling them how to act, to move, to feel, to think, and to see like us.

So outside, so inside

Why do I bring this topic up? Because almost every one of us FRAPs her body and nervous system at some point. With the often, still far too simplistic and mechanical view we hold of our physical selves, we fix, rescue, advise, and project our expectations, our stories, and what we think we need onto our body and nervous system, from how we want our body to move, look, and feel to how we think it should be better.

So often we ignore, or force, our intelligent, sensitive nervous systems to behave and act in a certain way, without enough understanding of their role in the complex living system that we are and its relationship to the sentient, living environment around us. Many times this results in physical, emotional, and mental pain, overwhelm, or anxiety. Reinforcing these patterns that keep us stuck in pain, uncertainty, low confidence, or tension.

FRAPing our body and nervous system is a form of not listening, not seeing, not acknowledging. It stops us from getting to know the underlying dynamic of relationships: the relationship patterns that make us move, emote, think, and behave in certain ways. When we FRAP ourselves, we try to change that single symptom that gets our ‘What-is-wrong-attention. The so-called elusive obvious.

And by our effort to get rid of this symptom, we keep reinforcing the uncomfortable neuro-biological pattern underneath. Our neurobiology will do what it can to prevent any rapid, forced change that disrupts its equilibrium. Because a change in one place means everything changes in expected and most unexpected ways.

How to then help ourselves without FRAP-ing?

There are a few universal principles underneath all interaction that happens in living systems/ living beings us included.

  • Living systems can only be interested, invited, or gently encouraged to change
  • Living systems only accept solutions that they help to create
  • Living systems only pay attention to what is meaningful to them in the here and now.
  • Living beings don’t communicate linearly and unambiguously! They communicate through complex layered messages that weave together biology, emotion, reason, physicality, soul, environment, now, and past.

By respecting these universal principles of change and growth, 3 steps will help you tap into the magic of self-healing:

  1. Listen actively with all your heart
  2. Follow the pattern with a curious inquiring attitude rather than focusing on a symptom.
  3. Stay in the question: What does this pattern want to tell you through sensation, feeling, thought, image, and movement?
  4. Dance and co-create with your nervous system; go slow, move small, attend to ease and pleasure, and don’t assume.

When there is no need for the nervous system to protect a pattern it lets go of its defenses and orients itself on what it perceives as meaningful now and here.

Exactly this is what the short free mini-course ‘ Co-creating and flowing with your nervous system’ will be about. You can find it on my YouTube channel soon.

In this course, I will give you a taste of how to rewire patterns with the help of your wise sensuous body and intelligent, sensitive, nervous system. A combination of cutting-edge neuroplasticity and powerful Feldenkrais functional integration. So you can feel more confident, relaxed, and joyful in your body. Let’s be MAMA to ourselves.

To play is to heal, to move the foundation, to sense the way in, your body the source