I was speaking with Joe, one of the facilitators of the Life Threatened group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing the day before yesterday to find out what went on in the group. There was one person who wasn’t given much of a chance of returning, and yet she did. I had been thinking about her the whole time I’ve been recovering from the treatment, and couldn’t wait to talk to Joe about the person. As we were speaking, Joe told me the story of his illness and work with the Center, which I can’t repeat here, except to say that he had had an experience of moving out of himself to the other.
Helen Palmer speaks about a similar experience. Our first line of work in the enneagram is to know ourselves. This we do through self-observation practice which corresponds quite closely with mindfulness meditation that I often write about. In fact, the self-observation practice that Helen teaches is to pay full attention to the breath in the belly, following the inhalation, the pause, the exhalation, and the return. This is the full cycle of the breath in the belly. As bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, plans, memories, and fantasies enter into the mind, the are swiftly moved away, like a fallen leaf drifts slowly down by the effect of the wind. She teaches that when one becomes still in this way, one begins to get feelings that come before you know what you will feel, and that these feelings can be of the other. This process leads to the second line of work, which is to know the other as they know themselves.
When I spoke about similar matters with Leslie Davenport at our last session on May 29, I asked her what she thought was going on with me. She said, that in Sufi terms, she felt the I was changing “macoms,” which she described as “place.” I had heard about macoms at the First International Enneagram Conference three years ago, but I still don’t know much about them. She had said that one man’s macom is another man’s ecstasy. Apparently, as one moves from macom to macom, one becomes closer to the divine. My interpretation is that I am experiencing a great opening ofÃ‚Â my heart, which probably began in the spring and was furthered by my experience at Anna Halprin’s studio on May 28.
The quote in the title is from a Sufi song that cries out for the presence of the divine. From this sparse information, I gathered that Leslie thought that I was moving into a new state. In this state, I personally feel a transformation from thinking mostly about myself to thinking about others. I’ve always thought a lot about my children and my spouse, but now I am thinking about other people a lot, especially the ones in my support groups.
So, today, when I had a massage, followed by a Feldenkrais session with Gail Teehan, I could only think of this song. Her loving hands seemed to strip the chemotherapy of its grip on my healthy cells and, as she massaged my feet, I felt the unwanted cells leaving my body through my shoulders. Her work on my lower back, shoulders and abdomen was the best massage I’ve ever had in those particular areas. I felt so cleansed by the whole massage that I began to cry when I sat up to change over to the Feldenkrais lesson. My heart was singing, “Let my heart fly open, let me come to you!” I had never cried before after a massage, and I had never felt so touched by the divine. I’ll never forget those feelings. It was like yearning for the divine and receiving grace. Throughout out my whole emotional experience, Gail was there with me with her loving presence and guided me to a safe space for us to continue with the Feldenkrais work.
The Feldenkrais lesson was shortened, due to the length of the massage, but it was excellent. She worked on my shoulders and my spine, and I really felt great! Then I gave Gail a shortened version of a Zero Balancing treatment, which I think she enjoyed. Nonetheless, it’s up to her to write about it!