"It Takes A Village" Resourcing Visualization
by Kathleen Dunbar, MFT #39880, Certified Hakomi Therapist
How to Create Your Mobile Village Circle!
This is a nourishing experience for clients, therapists, and all of us humans!
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit and let the activities of the day drop away bit by bit.
- Have a good stretch and yawn.
- Take a few deep breaths with an audible sigh on the outbreath. Audible sighs—"aaahhhh"—actually have an immediate effect of calming the nervous system.
- Feel into your heart. If you want to you can place a hand on your heart.
- Now, let someone who you know is on your side come to mind. Let it be someone really, really easy (ie, not someone whose relationship is tricky at the moment, even if you love them a lot). Let your heart show you someone who just brings an "Ah!" or a "Yum!" or a "Yes! Of course!" The person could be living, or passed, a teacher or a spirit: A friend, a partner, an (easy) family member, granny, a mentor. It could be the Dalai Lama or Quan Yin.
- Now, "place" the person next to you exactly where it feels the best for you to have them. Is this person on your right side, left side, standing behind you, sitting in front of you? Let them be at the just-right distance. Let your intuition and heart-sense guide you. This is a really important step—really place the person where it feels best.
- Let's say your friend Alice comes to mind. Let the history of you and Alice come up—in your mind's eye see or remember all the times Alice has supported you, the times you've laughed together, how she believes in you, her kindness.
- Now, take a few deep breaths, and really feel what is happening on the side of your body nearest your friend Alice. For example, you think of your friend Alice, and it feels natural to have her seated to the left of you. So feel what happens in your left side as she is "there" with you. Do you relax, feel more spacious, feel more confident, more joyous, more seen? What do you notice?
- Really let the good feelings spill over into other parts of your body. Take your time with this.
- Notice any shifts in sensations, flow, relaxation, life force, beliefs, confidence, etc. that this relationship helps remind you of and ground you in.
- Is there anyone else you'd like to bring in? For example, your friend Mike comes to mind, and it feels just right to have him stand behind you. Do you remember that metaphor, "He has my back," or "She backs me up!" This phrase is an expression of an important felt sense we actually have of someone in our inner circle physically, literally, energetically and emotionally being there to support us. When someone "has our back" then our nervous system, spine and back muscles relax, and it's easier for us to feel into our Wise Selves.
In my metaphor of the "three" nervous systems, I tell clients that we have the hyper/activated system, the hypo/offline system, and "The Happy Village Nervous System." We are wired biologically to be able to be present when our loved ones show us with their faces and eyes that we are welcome and safe. When we feel their presence—be it their actual physical presence, or in "heart time," ie. bringing them to memory—our face and eyes relax, our heart relaxes (and we are calmer), and our gut relaxes (and we can digest) and we become more present and grounded. Bringing to mind who is in our inner circle, our special village, helps us to ground, return and deepen into our Wise Selves. When we live with a felt sense of those who love and believe in us, it is easier for us to feel into our intuition and life force, calm when we are upset, and celebrate our joy.
A special note about trees, pets and Big Bird: Sometimes we can be in a time in our lives where it's not so easy to have actual people near us. If that is the case, that's brilliant to know it and name it! Be easy on yourself! And, we still have a human need to have our special circle. I have found that in this case redwood trees are very popular with folks! Any kind of tree or plant that has a special significance will do. Sometimes it's a pet that is our ally. I've known someone to call on Big Bird. Anybody or anything that helps us feel safe is perfect!
As a preface or addendum to this exercise, I ask clients if they know how crowded my office is! They look at me in surprise! I say yes, I have my partner, friends, mentors, colleagues all here with me. At first I had to learn to do this because I grew up quite alone in the woods, but I learned that I do have dear people in my life and of course I keep them around me. Now, I wouldn't do this job without them, and I wouldn't go to the grocery store without them! They go everywhere with me! We're wired to thrive with love, and we deserve to have our unique life force be recognized and welcomed in our village!