Below is a letter sent to me in which, a friend reflects on the experiences she encountered while out on a Natural Awareness session with me.
This was a very powerful experience for both of us and helped me in making the decision to take Natural Awareness to the coast.
Down at the Rock pool with Geoffrey
Feeling blessed to be walking down to my favourite beach on the Cape of Cornwall at St Just; Geoff casually told me how he would thank the four directions at the beginning of a Natural Awareness Therapy session.
In my heart I affirmed that I was indeed calling in and thanking the directions and my spirit guides, as although Geoff put no pressure on me to do any work around my addiction recovery, I knew the opportunity was there and that I would probably grab it with both hands!
Down on the rugged beach, I chatted to Geoff about my Step 1 questions, about how my using had led to a loss of self-respect and I accounted one of those times. I just love the water, and had to roll up my trousers and get into the rock pool that was beside me. Geoff said that if I could connect with the emotions of that loss of self-respect and shame that my drinking had brought about for me then create a concentric ring in the water for those emotions, how would that be?
I picked up a stone and threw it into the other side of the pool. It was a hard throw, but not so much with anger as 'what's the point?' a kind of hopeless, numb, destructive out lash. Oh no! I had disturbed the pool, upset the balance, possibly frightened or hurt the little creatures which lived there, I felt sad, guilty. This was a very accurate representation of what was going on inside me when I was drinking. I was hurting myself, and then feeling guilty.
Geoff asked me to stay with the emotions, go right into it, then make another concentric ring for those emotions. I felt guilty; I wanted to make it all better now, so I crouched down and gently, softly, stroked the surface of the water, as one would comfort an injured child.
Then Geoff said he was going to leave me alone for a bit so that I could now tap in to how I want life to be, what do I want to create for my future? Then create a concentric ring in the pool for how I would like it to be. I sat at the edge of the pool and thought for a moment. I wasn't sure if I wanted to create any concentric rings at all as calm, stillness felt like something I would like to experience and create in my future. But then I thought that there was probably a good reason that Geoff had said to make a concentric ring so I ought to do what had been suggested.
I went into the water and started to move my hand in a slow but definite and smooth flowing motion towards a large heart shaped stone covered in soft fluffy green seaweed which represented for me the heart centre, and here I filled up on self-love and energy from here I swam hand out to various aspects of the pool, representing projects I would like to achieve, creativity, loving relationships and I also swam through some dark areas, knowing that I could trust to go into these dark unknown areas and come out the other side.
I took a stone to represent my sexuality and put it in a 'good place' to honour that part of myself. Always returning to the heart centre in between these journeys, a shrimp came towards my hand and I put my finger out to him, he came right up and touched the end of my finger with his little shrimp whiskers! I ended the journey at the heart centre. Geoff then asked me about the journey and asked some questions. He said its funny, I thought you were going to sit on the edge of the pool and not create any concentric rings! 'I was' I said, and in this moment I realised something very profound. I had always been looking to others to tell me what to do, or asking others if my judgement was right. I had never trusted myself and had been living through what I thought I 'should do' or what I thought, that other people thought I should do!
I realised that I had created this whole 'story' in the rock pool, that was quite complicated and not very 'in the moment', this was all based on a decision that I ought to do something because someone else said I should. I shared this with Geoff and his reflections and questions helped me to crystallise what I was learning. I really felt like I was getting somewhere. At this point I needed to have a pee! So I went behind a rock out of sight. Whilst I was doing this I heard an unfamiliar bird call and Geoff, who was out of sight said "... look it’s a Chough!"
The Chough is Cornwall's National Bird; it was the first English cough that Geoff had seen and my first ever! This was really nice because it was a real treat for Geoff and I felt really happy that nature had brought him a ;little gift of thanks giving for the work he was doing with me, which added to my rust in the process Geoff was guiding me through - we were both chuffed! When the excitement of this moment had passed Geoff invited me to take tree stepping stones back into the rock pool, affirming them as Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the Twelve Steps! I was a little hesitant here as I was only just beginning Step 1 with mu sponsor.
Geoff re-assured me that it was ok, it was just an exercise not necessarily me actually doing the 12 steps. It is my feeling, firmly, that my place I the fellowship + my relationship with other alcoholics and my sponsor is the primary foundation of all other work I do around my addiction. So, I took Steps one, two and the into the pool, the Geoff asked me to connect in again with the original emotions from the start of the exercise, at the Stone I had originally thrown, and then thanked them for all that they ha d brought me in my life and affirm that I no longer need concentric rings. I stood and watched the still surface of the pool, and as I did another really profound thing happened.
I saw that the pol had its own concentric rings, created by the wind and other beings that lived in the pool. In moment L felt spirit move through me, a voice inside said - life makes concentric rings anyway - people, places and things that you have no control over. You can trust! You can accept life on life's terms, you don't have to try and control everything any more, you can surrender! This felt amazing and a great sense of calm and deep understanding swept through me. I went to the place where I had originally picked up the stone that I threw to connect in with those initial emotions and thank and release these also, without making concentric rings in this place. As I was doing this, I became aware of the sound of the great ocean next to the pool, I looked up into the vast wild sea outstretched before me, crashing against the rocks, felt the wind in my hair, the sunlight on my skin, the smell of the ocean, the birds soaring out across the coast.
Suddenly, the rock pool seemed so small - it seemed like just the complicated, self-obsessed, try making part of my mind - and I felt like I had stepped out, out into the world!!! Leaving the waters of the pool calm and clear, It's not that the things I had wanted to create in my future, in the pool, were bad things, it's just that, knowing myself, I saw that it is all a lot of mind stuff - thinking all the time about what I 'should' be doing, and getting caught in the stagnation of my mind, forgetting to use my body, my senses, my relationship to the world, and action.
What a relief then, to realise that no longer need to suffer the pain of separation of the mind and self-obsession, worrying what others think and trying please everyone. What a relief to feel like part of the world, part of something far greater than myself, trusting that it can do for me, what I cannot do all by myself.
I would like to thank Geoff from the bottom of my belly for guiding me to achieve this process and for holding the space and reflecting so beautifully.