Seven women, familiar to each other and coming closer in
together in a small circle. They eat fine finger
foods and chit-chat for a
while. Then they shift awareness to a deeper level
by being still. When moved
to speak, they speak from their hearts. They listen
for and seek to express
the depths of their experiences, insights and
confusions. They are together
in long moments of soundless presence as well. New
meaning or support
They endeavour to relate tenderly. To create the
kind of safety that can
invite the heart to come forward and be present.
And so they endeavour not to
demand or debate. Not to judge, criticize, attack,
diagnose or try to fix one
another. Nor do they argue about opinions or try to
seek agreement. They know
that quite mechanically these ways of relating call
forth the defenses, cause
the heart to close, and soul and deeper wisdom to
As best they can, they remain present. They let
themselves and one another
be. They give space for differing views, and for
their own view to evolve.
When their processes get messy they try to hold one
another with compassion.
Sitting in that circle the women had all felt safe
enough to tenderly open
their hearts for exploration in a way so as to
invite soul to come forward.
They had in a sense been delving, mining for
Delving, often a delicate art that can deepen the
practice of tender
relating, offers a way to speak of, or listen for,
clues to the heart's
experience. It is a way of inviting deeper truth.
It invites exploration of
the inner realms, by extending an invitation and
then holding the space for
something to come forth in its own time. In the act
of speaking, when there
is safety, one can hear one's own voice stating
things previously unknown.
Sometimes all that is needed for inner worlds to
shift is to have someone
really listen. And sometimes inspiration comes from
listening to the
experiences of another.
Delving comes with a desire to receive feelings and
experience that may be
obscured in the rush of daily life. When done with
compassion and acceptance,
it can invite a profound level of re-membering and
re-connection. Though the
art of delving can be practiced alone, it can be
enriched by the presence of
another or by being in a group such as the seven
women in their circle.
The gentle art of delving can involve a passionate
inquiry that threads ones
days together and imbues them with meaning. It
deepens whatever story is
being told. It invites an inner stream of
consciousness that can be a
constant source of re-creation. It is a way of
opening to awareness, yes, of
being awake and awakened. Delving also offers a way
of holding emotional
wounds in the embrace of compassion so that they
may come to feel eased. Of
holding a deeper often more vulnerable yet creative
place inside so that it
comes to feel present and safe.
But the process runs deeper yet. When a feeling
experience is accurately
described, is rendered with the right words, when
it finds its right name,
movement frequently begins. Sometimes one may
actively pursue this. Other
times one may extend a gentle invitation for
awareness, which may arrive by
surprise or come in delicately through a side
How does one know when one is on the right track?
The body may give some
sort of sign, an easing of tension, a sense of
opening, or an inner quiet. A
sigh may come, a smile or a cry. Tears, sadness,
upset may flow. Then again,
the sign of something within being touched may be
more discreet, perhaps
barely discernable, a tug of relief or lightness of
Sometimes it seems that some feelings persist, once
they have come knocking,
beckoning for awareness, simply until they have
been properly recognized.
Perhaps they persist in part because the wrong
story is being told about them?
One may from time to time be left with a sense of
not quite feeling
comfortable or at ease, even though some movement
may have come. This can be
part of the process as well. Part of the mysterious
unfolding of life.
Certain things just have their own rhythms and
times. And some issues seem to
run so deep one may work them a life time, peeling
away the layers.
And so seven women spoke and were heard, were
silent and were understood.
They cried, they laughed, they felt their
differences, they sensed their
connections, they felt more themselves. And with a
renewed light to their
eyes, when they felt ready they hugged one another
and went home.
Copyright © Nanna Aida Svendsen 2002