"Go with, not against nature"
- Bill Mollison
One of the highlights of the Bali Extreme Wellness retreat was a treatment called Healing Dance, with the beautiful Michael Hallock. A group of us were shown how to support each other firmly and gently, floating in imperceptibly warm water. Remember before you were born, when your mother was the universe, and every desire was fulfilled? When you are in Michael's care, it might all come back to you. 'I became protoplasm' was my reaction after my first experience. My edges dissolved. It was just me and the cosmos, with nothing special to do other than marvel at what a blissful, star-filled thing it is, to simply exist. It's now one week later, and I find myself at Michael's Healing Dance practicioner course, in Udara Wellness Resort Bali where I've just been taught a humble technique for getting in synch with the person we are treating. I suspect this technique has super-powers and may hold the key for ending argument and discord, getting into other people's worlds. It might even be how you make love happen, and nothing could be more important than that. Let me tell you what he did.
'Follow their natural breath, as easy as the tail follows the cat'.
Michael told us to take our partner's hand and let it raise and fall with their breath. We did two versions, the good way, and the no-so-good way. The first way, we closely observe the subtle signs of their inhale and exhale. 'Raise their hand in yours, following behind their natural breath, like a kite's tail goes behind, not ahead of the kite. Like the tail follows the cat.
This quiet video shows how:
Once I discerned my partner's breath, it was effortless. I didn't have to think or put in effort, just notice and go along. The passing of time became imperceptible, life was pleasant.
The next version was purposely doing it 'wrong'; being oblivious to their actual breath and raising and lowering our hand when we thought they were breathing. This became factory-like and mechanical for me, it was tedious and took forever. I guess this is what relationships become when we presume rather than deeply observe what's acutally happening for someone else.
How did it feel to be the receiver?
The dramatic unevenness of my natural breath, with all its holding and flowing was the first surprise. I've spend a lifetime with this breath and not noticed its idiosyncrasies till my partner made it visible. The next surprise was the feelings of trust, gratitude and affection I had towards my hand-holding, breath-reflecting partner. They didn't have to be gorgeous, clever and accomplished, they just had to make the generous effort of getting into my world and observing my ebbs and flows.
Times I've felt love and trust
I looked back on the moments I've felt love and trust, to check what its made of.
These moments were with people who deeply saw who I actually was, not who I should be, or was trying to be. Feeling love was the same, having my attention drawn to the full reality of another being.
They knew my weak points, and worked around them. They pre-empted my failures, so in their presence, I was me, but successful. Or not successful, but still they stuck around, for some reason. Possibly it was mere curiosity. They felt I was worth giving their full attention to. What a relief; like floating in a watery womb. As long as the moment lasts, nothing is missing and soft bliss is present.
Love can be created by something as simple and free as close attention, and this can be fueled by an attitude of curiosity.
You can experiance this. Find someone in your life and say 'I'd like to be a more trustworthy friend to you. Let me show you something'. Take their hand, do the two exercises, and see what happens.
Dr Marc's Extreme Wellness Reteats run thorought the year, in Bali and New Zealand.