Letting in

Lately, I have been studying a practice called Tonglen, literally meaning, “giving and taking”.  Through exploring this practice I have begun to cultivate a new approach to my emotional, physical and spiritual body.  I am the first to admit that up until now I have spent years, months or days suffering through difficult experiences until I was ready to let them go.  That worked for a while, but over time I have come to recognize that the letting go process can be experienced in a different way and at this point in my life, a more helpful way. 

We live in a society that applauds happiness and avoids sadness, encourages lying about how you really feel and labels most emotions as right or wrong.  As a result we tend to want to get over difficult experiences sooner, feel happy so others around us will like us or be comfortable around us in order to be more comfortable with ourselves.  Or, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we attach ourselves so adamantly to our emotions that we become them.   We have learned to categorize an emotion as right or wrong, good or bad, appropriate or not appropriate, which enhances our own shame and exhaustion.  Most of us are in bondage to our emotions because we resist them or bury them or even tether ourselves to them so regularly that they run the show.  Imagine the possibility that we have a unique opportunity as humans to experience the depth of our emotions without being a slave to them. 

So, my experiment began.  With practice, I have become more present, enjoyed slowing down, and ultimately decreased my suffering.  Here’s how it goes:

  • In a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed allow yourself to remember something that is causing you suffering.  As you remember become curious about the emotions or emotion you feel in regards to this event or experience. 
  • As you clarify the emotion, become curious about what your body does in response to this emotion.  Where do you feel it most?  Is there a response or position that your body takes when you feel this emotion: a tightening, an ache, any physical experience of the emotion? 
  • And then become aware of your breath, equalizing the in breath and out breath. 
  • On the in breath, begin to allow the emotion to spread from the original place of tightening, ache or discomfort. 
  • On the out breath become curious about what it would feel like to be free of this tightening, ache and discomfort. 
  • On the in breath, notice the sensations that arise as you continue to let the experience of the emotion soften or move through your body, even through the boundary of your skin. 
  • On the out breath, let in the relief that comes as you imagine the sensation of being free of this suffering. 
  • On the in breath, continue to expand the emotion you are exploring, letting in the experience with curiosity.  Notice the sensations that arise in your body as the emotions move through you. 
  • On the out breath, let in the experience of spaciousness that relief provides. 

For as much time as you are able continue to let in the emotion on the in breath and on the out breath, let in the liberation from suffering.  Experience fully as your breathing continues, the sensation of letting both in equally, letting neither weigh more than the other.

As I have begun to practice this I’ve noticed that I have dropped some of my resistance to difficult emotions.  In fact in one experience I found myself enjoying the body sensations of sadness as it softened its way into my body just by letting it in, accepting it fully.  Tears flowed, and rather than tapping back into the event that provoked them, I relaxed into the sensation of sadness, the ache spread, the tightness in my head receded, I wept, the softening occurred and the heartbreak that had provoked the sadness began to integrate into my experience in a gentler way.

Relationships end, loss happens, betrayal continues, wars build and we have the opportunity to accept all that comes with those experiences one breath at a time, so that our next choice comes from a place of freedom.  Generous compassion towards ourselves as we heal, is a great place to start. 

The practice is about opening to whatever arises, but it’s important not to be overly ambitious. We aspire to keep our hearts open in the present moment, but we know it won’t always be possible. We can trust that if we just do tonglen as best we presently can, our ability to feel compassion will gradually expand.
— Pema Chodrin

 

*If you are interested in exploring Tonglen, Pema Chodrin articulates the practice in great detail in her book The Places That Scare You.  It’s a great book.  I highly recommend it.    

Curiosity

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I have had an active healing arts practice for eighteen years and I currently notice the vibrant and enlivening sense of a new beginning.   Becoming a Sex and Relationship Coach has palpably enhanced my vision for the rest of my work as a healer.  As a certified Somatica Method practitioner I have solidified my understanding that my vocation is an extension of what I love about life.  I love alignment on all levels, alignment within myself, to those around me, to the source of life, to the natural world. 

Curiosity seems to be the key for me in regards to staying aligned.  The places in my life in which I experience a lack of alignment and suffering are the times in which I feel positioned or afraid.  Becoming curious tends to undermine suffering and alleviate a sense of being separate from connection to our loved ones, a greater purpose and ourselves.  A good place to begin being curiousity is in regards to our bodies.  When it comes to our bodies and ailments, diagnosing specific problems that we experience in order to treat the problem is extremely helpful and necessary, but stopping there can be a missed opportunity.  Staying curious; slowing down in such a way that we become familiar even with what it feels like to breath, can give us one of the keys to curiosity and lead towards connection and healing.  Breathing slowly in and out and sensing the way that breath fills the lungs, expands against muscles and tendons and bone, adjusting the body so that the skin feels the last push of breath expanding to capacity, can awaken curiosity.  This can bring us into a state of listening, of knowing the first step of what it may take to experience healing in the body.  At the very least it will help us remember that we have a body which sometimes is easily forgotten as we race through life. 

Curiosity is helpful on many planes.  Those of us in partnerships or marriages for many years tend to loose curiosity about our partners.  We become comfortable which is natural but it also causes us to fall asleep and can ultimately swallow the expansiveness of love.  Staying curious in relationship is recognizing the benefit of “not knowing”.  Curiosity can be harnessed in many ways, some simple and some more difficult.  Asking questions is a good beginning.  In conflict we tend to revert to assuming the problem has to do with recognized habits in our partners.  Sometimes conflict arises partially out of asserting what we assume is the problem rather than asking questions that might uncover something deeper.  Our projections and assumptions are results of being positioned and afraid.  Curiosity allows for the possibility of true intimacy, connection and at the very least, roots us in love. 

What I have come to find over time is that one of the ways to establish patterns of curiosity is to recognize the benefit of connection.  One of the passions I’m nurturing in my healing arts practice as a Sex and Relationship Coach is looking for ways to nurture connection in community.  If you are in a romantic partnership whether it is just beginning or has been growing for years, consider enhancing your relationship through a four part series with other couples on a similar path.  Here are the details

I am so grateful for the ways in which I get to grow next to each of you.  

Living powerfully with your partner in the world

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•a four part adventure for your relationship•

•heighten your passion and bring your relationship to the next level•

We spend enlivening hours dreaming up mission statements for the organizations and communities that excite us, imagine the possibility of creating the kind of romantic relationship that not only was filled with play and passion, but also was profoundly impactful in the world.  Build community over four months with four other couples who want to clarify, nourish, revive and renew their relationships with the intention to build love, passion, understanding and support around having inspiring partnerships.   

You can either bring together couples with whom you have already created sustaining relationships, or you can be placed with other couples that you will grow to know over the two-and-a-half-month journey.  


at the completion of the series each couple will:

  • cultivate a deeper connection with your partner through four ninety-minute counseling sessions for the duration of the series; 
  • uncover what aspects of the relationship are serving the partnership and which behaviors, attitudes and patterns are no longer feeding the vitality of your partnership;
  • awaken the passion in your lives as a couple and as individuals;
  • discover more intimately what the purpose of your relationship is;
  • create agreements that will support you individually and as a couple; 
  • meet four times as a group to support one another as couples, become allies for one another and become curious and excited once again about those aspects of your partnership that may have fallen into the background of busy lives.
  • manifest a powerful and profound commitment to what you are creating as individuals and as a couple in the world.

what you can expect as you work with me

I am playful, direct, compassionate and extremely excited to help you find ways to create a passionate and vital relationship.  My approach as a Counselor and Sex and Relationship Coach is a commitment to following the path of deepest curiosity as your ally in the realm of profound connection and intimacy.  While sessions may be focused around talk, they also encompass practices that enhance connection with the body (fully clothed); relaxation through breath, identifying sensations in the body by exploring the emotions we may be resisting and many other experiential practices that allow the collaboration to move towards re-aligning with our enlivened selves.      

Though I have studied a substantial amount of research developed over years by well renowned Counselors, Therapists and Psychologists, I am most excited by the way in which healing occurs in surprising ways; acceptance, forgiveness, love, grieving, laughter, desire and so many other aspects of the human experience, that when given authentic presence, can move mountains in us.

registration details for each couple

Time Commitment:  Four  ninety minute private sessions as a couple, four two hour group sessions, and weekly guided prompts and a partnered support created to help you with your intention over a period of three months. 

Group Meetings on Calendared Mondays from seven o'clock to nine o'clock: Follow the link to the Couples Series to find out the next offering for this series.

• four 90 minutes private couples counseling session with Jaime

• four 2 hour group gathering for couples gathering, facilitated by Jaime                                         

• weekly prompts through email

Each week during the four month journey, you will be given guided prompts to heighten your connection both to yourself in the world and your partner.  You will be paired with one other person in the group to support you as you move more deeply through the process.

Cost: $660 per couple for the 2 month series

Location for Couples Session:  
970 East Main Street, Grass Valley Suite 104

Location for Couples Group Gathering:  
To be announced; facilitated by Jaime

You can register by pushing the RSVP button.  For more information call Jaime at (530) 559-2944 or email her at jmedoubleu@gmail.com


Contact Jaime Williams through email at jmedoubleu@gmail.com or by phone at (530) 559-2944 to collaborate on how to make this series the best possible fit for you and your partner.