‘If my mother could see me now. She would say, how silly are you, doing anything like that.’ My female client is lying on her back, naked, while I’m sitting fully dressed between her legs and mapping her vulva and vagina. I point out to her that her mother may not be the right person to ask to this scenario, and invite her to tell her mother to eff off, preferably in her native language, Italian. I’m enjoying the sound of her voice. Louder. Ok great, just a bit louder now. And even a bit louder! After a couple of sessions it seems we ve really succeeded in letting mum go. Also, mum does not interfere any more when my client is self-pleasuring at home.
However, the ‘silly’ word comes up in another client’s e-mail, who is working on accepting himself as he is, beautiful and loveable and sexual.
Personally, I think his voice is really sexy, and I tell him. He looks surprised. I tell him to start listening to himself whenever he speaks to a lady, in any casual situation, and being aware that he is generously giving her the gift of his voice, also to do sounding exercises at home, which he likes doing anyway, and to listen to himself in a new way.
He reports back that the female staff at his local Costa Coffee now compete with taking his order, and that he has somehow gotten to a place where he can listen to himself in a new way. Albeit feeling silly, as he tells me.
The ’S’ word again.
I ask another female client if she has done her juicy homework, of bringing herself up to a certain medium level of arousal, and back again, up again, and back again. she grimaces. Well… a couple of times. I inquire into the nature of her resistance against the homework. And here it is again, the ’S’ word. ‘It just makes me feel so silly.’
The ’S’ word seems to be coming up in most clients I’m dealing with, and I want to start congratulating every single one of them. Feeling silly yet? Great! you are on the right way.
So why does this word come up so predictably, and consistently? Silly is of course a judgement. A mild negative judgement. I mean, nobody says ‘stupid’. It’s just the more harmless sounding silly. I look up the definition. ‘Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgement. Unintelligent, brainless, mindless.’ ‘Don’t be so silly!’ Who says that? I suppose it’s mostly a parental role, or an overbearing friend. It sounds patronizing. ‘You have not thought this through. You have not thought at all. You are not taking an informed decision here.’
‘Most people make life’s important decisions by using their intellect. They think and become logical. Thus, their path in life becomes path-o-logical.’ Bernie Siegel M.D.
Of course, we have our intellect for a reason, and need to use it, yet, things seem to be going awry when it’s the only faculty we rely upon.
Feeling silly, and expressing it, it seems to me, is a sign that the clients allowed themselves to do and experience something on the physical level which their intellect is not condoning of. Their conscious and rational minds respond with a judgement, in order to regain control. Their intellect cannot grasp what they are doing, which is a potentially dangerous out-of-control situation for their minds.
In ‘The Power of Focussing’, Ann Weiser Cornell describes a study into the success of psychotherapy. Clients who in the first two sessions ran out of words or struggled to describe a feeling they had, tended to have successful therapies, while clients who kept being entirely coherent and verbally able to convey had unsuccessful therapies, because they stayed in their heads, rather than allowing their bodies to teach them their wisdom.
I usually draw my clients a diagram, a tiny circle within a much larger circle, to show them what their intellect is in relation to everything they are.
It is certainly a completely absurd situation to lie naked in a stranger’s room and be touched intimately by a fully dressed lady who is neither a doctor nor a lover, and to describe the degree of pleasure you feel in different areas.
The intellect fights hard for control. One lady assures me that she does not need all this, that her life is happy as it is. Yet, here she is, for some mysterious reason.
A young child’s intellect is only developing. They are still deeply plunged into this mysterious life, and what they are, and are to be. There is no intellectual defence yet against feeling their feelings, nothing of putting anything into perspective. Their sadness is real profound sadness. Their joy is all encompassing. Their world is magical and full of mystery. They are involved in an experience they cannot understand, just feel, and BE. There are mother and father and teachers, telling them not to be silly. We internalize those voices from our childhood, and at some point in our lives, start telling ourselves off. And what if we need to be different from what society tells us we should be? There are real battles going on within us. Our parents’ voices, society, vs. what we really are and experience.
A great way to calm the battles and activity of our mind is belly breathing. Basically, it s just a matter of putting one hand on the belly and the other one on your heart, and watch the breath move those hands, as a starting point. We need to give our bodies the chance to speak, and when our minds are so busy all the time we just cannot listen.
Let your Self breathe – feel your hands, let go of what brought you here, and any expectation or anticipation. So simple, and yet so powerful, on the way of letting ourselves be what we really are, on all levels. Embodied, and whole.