Overview – Wholeness 101: Beyond Gender and Identity
May 11 thru June 15, 6-8PM EST
Co-Hosted by Zoë Galle.
Wholeness 101 is a practical guide to returning to your birthright of aliveness. Based on my own process, as well as the results of walking many clients back to their bodies and their sensations, this course will plunk you firmly back in the driver’s seat of your life, regaining agency, and subsequently returning you to deep, abiding wellness and vibrant, full-spectrum aliveness. You will deep dive into your value system, distinguishing between aspirational and lived values, using the body to validate, to reconsider, to move into precision. Through an ongoing noticing practice, you will learn to relate to your bodily expressions from a place of value neutrality, interrupting the habit of relating symptoms to self-worth. You will expand your capacity to be with uncomfortable symptoms long enough that you can understand what they are communicating, and develop a deep reverence for your very own body barometer and its wisdom. Wholeness 101 covers the foundations of The Art of Living Body First.
Session 1 – Introduction and Value Neutrality
Introduction and Overview of The Art of Living Body First – you will learn the broad concepts of The Art of Living Body First and what the Wholeness 101 course covers.
Value Neutrality represents the potential to be fully present with the sensations of an experience without needing to filter it through the lens of good or bad, useful or useless – any arbitrary, external, non-self value system. It creates the possibility that ALL sensations are useful because they are all information, or binary data, allowing us greater insight into what is going on for us at any given moment. It asks the cognitive mind to refrain from assigning value to what the body is communicating, and instead to step into the role of data catcher – receiving the signals from the body as they are presented. It allows us to FEEL bad without BEING bad. Value neutrality dignifies our very human experiences, breaking through walls of shame that keep us pinned in place.
Deb Dana’s concept that story follows state is something we will explore as a foundation for session 5, in which we will explore the concept of identity.
Session 2 – Noticing
The principal practice of the Art of Living Body First involves noticing what is present, as it is. Specifically, we are noticing sensation. Only when we stop and actively notice the signals from our body in the form of sensation can we come back into this moment, where life is lived. In this moment – in the sensations that speak to the quality of our relationship with this moment – there is no value judgment. Objective noticing requires value neutrality.
Simply by bringing attention to what is going on within us, we create the space for our mind and our bodies to relink and begin to function as intended. We begin to notice a baseline of okay in our bodies that we have not been able to locate prior. Through the practice of noticing what is already present, we are encouraging the development of new neural networks – increasing the capacity of the bodymind to appropriately allocate its resources to keeping us well in the world as it is. We develop a resilience we hadn’t previously understood we were capable of as we have a novel experience of ourselves. There is very little we have to do to make this happen. We just have to notice, which means paying attention to what is happening inside of us.
This session involves a guided meditation practice and reflections.
Session 3 – Boundaries
Where do you end and where does the world begin? Without a working knowledge of the edges of ourselves, it’s very hard to distinguish between what is ours and what is not. When approached intellectually, the concept of boundaries is nebulous and abstract. But the body is made of edges, and being able to connect with the sensations that define the edges of you makes being able to establish and uphold our personal boundaries much easier than we ever could have imagined.
We also introduce the concept of Discernment – the ability to distinguish between the perception of danger vs. actual danger. We will learn to use our Body Barometer to help us gather additional information about how we are.
Session 4 – Attending, and Core Values Vs. Core Organizing Principles
In this session we will continue with our Noticing practice, and advance to the second of three actions – Attending. Attending relates to the previous step of noticing in the following way – you begin to hold your attention on the inner sensations you now know how to notice, becoming present with them without needing to act on them. You begin to expand your capacity to tolerate them in the face of discomfort, until you can get to the true value of them, outside of judgment. In psychology terms, you are working with your window of tolerance, and distinguishing between actual danger to perception of danger. This is calibration work as far as the nervous system is concerned. If you can sit with uncomfortable sensations long enough for you to understand what they are telling you, you can then make decisions that will intentionally inform the quality of your life.
Identifying core values is a pretty standard practice in traditional coaching formats. Core values will identify what you believe to be most important to you. However, unless we’ve had exceptional upbringings that have encouraged us to be distinct entities with our own thoughts and beliefs, we can’t say with any certainty if the core values we’ve identified are actually ours, or if they are hand-me-down.
In this session we will begin to understand, through practice, how the mind and the body are often not on the same page about values. Beginning with intellectually identifying our core values, we move into using the sensations we connected with through our noticing and attending practices to corroborate the evidence. Are your mind and your body on the same page about what is important to you on all levels of your being? What are our core organizing principles?
In this session, we begin to solidly connect with our own personal sensations of integrity – benchmarking them so that we have a new point of reference for wellness within our beings.
When we connect with concepts that invite us into spaciousness within, we understand the essence of how to be well in the world as it is.
Session 5 – Embodiment and Identity
In this session, we begin to actively integrate the work of the previous sessions, using tools to help us to understand broader concepts of coherence, resonance, embodiment, and identity. We will create our taxonomy of identity charts – deepening our connection to how our story follows our state – organizing our experiences of ourselves from most internal to most external. In this session we will explore what it means for each of us, personally, to identify as X, developing the capacity to fluidly move between identities as appropriate. The capacity to update and adjust how we identify in a world that insists on labeling us brings ease to our experience of ourselves and allows us to be with what is true for us with much less conflict.
Session 6 – Choosing, Accountability, and How to be Well in the World
In our final session, we will explore the third and final action pillar, choosing, discuss the nature of accountability and personal responsibility, and leave you with your own personal wellness practice that you can take with you back into your life to keep you in touch with the sensations of integrity and put you back in the seat of agency. You will develop the ability to determine whether or not you are in or out of integrity and be able to identify choice points that allow you the opportunity to step towards or away from wholeness.