Thich Nhat Hahn has written “Each of us needs to ‘belong to’ a place such as a retreat centre or a monastery, where each feature of the landscape, the sounds of the bell, and even the buildings are designed to remind us to return to awareness….each of us must find a spiritual homeland where we can retreat from time to time, much as we ran to our mothers for refuge, when we were young.”
I feel a deep resonance with this idea. And it’s met with a truth: we don’t have the capability (particularly in Vancouver) to build this! But I’m also inspired by another truth: I am in a community that creates refuge each time we gather together. And I love that idea.
I have just returned home from our January Vancouver training weekend where the group co-created a safe, caring environment in which we could explore deeply. Some people found insight and inspiration to make changes in their way of being in the world. And one of the gifts we get from this kind of co-creation is a deep sense of belonging, a place we can be truly held in all of our beautiful, messy, light and dark ways of being.
My Hakomi community is my “spiritual homeland” and I am so blessed to be able to help create this homeland each and every time we gather, wherever we gather.
As I accept that autumn is indeed on its way I begin to prepare for the waning light by nesting, organizing and stocking up on healthy foods from the harvest. I also turn inward. I notice this is the time of year that I want to make commitments to my health and my creative projects.
Something that I notice in this shift toward myself is that I am impatient with the transition and with my progress. I want it all to happen now and that can create frustration.
I can watch this happening and that is one of the gifts I’ve learned on my Hakomi path. Instead of reacting without realizing what is happening, and ending up in a cycle of frustration and impatience, I am able to watch my actions. That witnessing usually allows a space big enough so that I can choose a kinder, more gentle way of being toward myself in response. I am deeply grateful for this compassion that I continue to cultivate for myself and in turn for others. It is the greatest gift I have received.
The Hakomi Method slows things down so that we can study ourselves in relation to the world around us. Being hijacked by our habits or beliefs can leave us in a cycle of actions and reactions that are unhealthy and cause needless suffering. The self discovery that Hakomi offers is a gentle, playful and insightful way of finding out who we are so that we may celebrate ourselves and also make space to change what isn’t working for us. Moshe Feldenkrais, the founder of the Feldenkrais Method, says “you can’t do what you want until you know what you are doing”. I love the simplicity of this and also the implied responsibility: lets look at our habits so that we may learn something new.
Embodying a new way of being can have a deep, long-lasting impact on our lives. As the new habit is practiced in daily life, the new neural pathway gets more travelled, easier to find, and the old neural pathway (old habit) “grows over” and is no longer the immediate choice. This idea alone is very powerful. We can embody a new pattern, change our brains, live life more freely. Consciousness is choice and choice is freedom. Hakomi is a method of assisted, mindful self discovery so that we may have less suffering, more freedom, more happiness.