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I Am... You Are... They Are... We Are.

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

In my last post here… I was feeling into the impact it has when I add words after… I am… and this was mixed together… entangled with… a podcast I have listened to many times over the last few months… which is an eastern philosophical / spiritual musing… on what it is to be… to say… I am… to know that I am.


One of the lines in that podcast that draws me in… and stays with me… is this one;


“I am that by which I know I am.”


Like so many quotes laid down and offered by mystics… gurus… shaman… this leaves me with questions… lots of them… the one I am accommodating here somehow is… what is it that informs me of what I am?


This came through for me this morning… and I am not sure I can wrangle it into words… and am going to do that anyway… because… maybe… that is one of the approaches to my life… that helps know not what I am… rather… that… I am.


Diving into what I do not know. 

Having thought since I was a child… I am… is relative… when I worked in Bangladesh back in the 90’s with rice paddy farmers… I was average height and build.


I didn’t notice this until I was standing in a queue for a bread stall in a market early one morning… and realised I could see all the way to the front of this long line of people… not something that I often experienced at home in the UK… as in most long lines of people here… there are always people taller and bigger than me. 




So to say… I am short… I am little… I am of slight build… becomes meaningless… unless it has a context. 




As a youngster… I knew I was loud and talked a lot… and thought about living in a community where the local people spoke louder than me… and talked more than me… does this make me a quiet person… and then when I was older… and chose to spend time in Spain… I noticed that I was not as loud… or as talkative… as many of the Spanish people around me.


So maybe I am… a small, loud, talkative person… or was… because in my training as a facilitator and a coach… one of my biggest learnings… was… is… the value of remaining quiet… the power of using fewer words… the quality of stillness.


Now I am a small quiet person… but not when I am standing in a queue for bread in a small village market place in North Western Bangladesh.


What I was then… may not be what I am now… what I was there… I may not be here.


This… that… podcast… is not about I am this… or I am that… it is about digging beneath… around… below… the presenting self… the conditioned self… and spending time in that state of being… I am.


The I am in the sense of… I am not an identity that is measured… judged… valued… priced… by the feelings I have in any moment… by the background and community I grew from… by my taste in music… by how I choose to dress. 

 I am as... Thisness... Haecceity?

Phew… this got more complex… convoluted… and beyond my understanding than I had anticipated when I started writing… and I feel the need to ground this. 




Yesterday I hosted one of my Somatic Wisdom groups at Shanti Bee in Newcastle.


It was small group and we started as always… with an orientation to the space we are in… the shape we are in… and senses that show up when we stop looking for… and stop seeking.

We followed this with a little Qigong that helps ground us in the here and now… and in the quiet openness that we can bring to our somatic practice.


The activity we took part in... was based around watching someone move around the room… then imitate them… then follow them… then switch roles… moving while the other imitates and follows… until eventually… we are all following each other. 




I joined in with this as I don’t feel right with asking others to do something in our sessions that I would not do… and it helps me notice what shows up in my body when I take part.


We then sat and took a few quiet moments to allow whatever sensations… feelings… emotions… appear… arrive… in response to what we have just done. 



There were feelings shared and some of these were around dealing with being able to communicate openly and honestly… other feeling showed up around managing the overwhelm of emotions that rise and subside again. 




So we sat with these feelings… with this sensation… and acknowledged and thanked the feelings for showing up… for offering information around how we are just now… noticing these sometimes awkward… painful… emotions… without trying to push them away… side step them… or deny them... offering them space... to be.





The reflections that we shared following this… raised a question I ask often;



Am I feeling sad… or is there a part of me that is feeling sad? 




And this brings me back to the I am... just being with what is.


Not sure where I am… with this now… there is something about the relative… around relativity… around be in relationship… about relatives… family… community… sharing… trusting… connecting… regulating… co-regulating… self regulating. 




And now I recall we started the session yesterday chatting… going over poly vagal theory… which casts so much light on the ways we are never static… that there is a flow… moving from the sensational… sensual… physical information that streams towards us all day every day… and is then absorbed and classed as either useful and safe… or harmful and dangerous. 




This is where I land… feeling my way through the information that is always here for me… all my lived experience… stored in this small… quiet… body… that speaks up every so often… reminds me that there are parts of me that have been ignored… dismissed… and may feel isolated… and this somatic practice partly involves making room for them… those parts… welcoming them… acknowledging them… recognising that they were built from their experiences… and for maybe a long time… have been trying to remind me to look after myself… to take care with myself… as I am.


All those parts of me are sometimes tricky to be easy with... and yet... they are worthy and valuable… deserving of my attention... my compassion... they need to be acknowledged... seen and heard... they are looking to help me manage and protect my well being... they may be wrong and worry without need... but they still deserve to be included... they grew from my lived somatic experience... and may well have useful information for me.

Like my well meaning friends... they may show concern for me... worry about me... but whether their concern is well placed... or not... I understand they care about me... even the most critical ones... and it feels good to have friends... and parts of me... that reach out with the intention of supporting... caring.. loving... me.


Allowing these protective parts space... giving them attention... making them welcome... opens up spaces where I can move beyond and find... ease... peace... joy… pleasure… confidence… comfort… wonder… using all of these... to be held within this body… within this lived experience.


When I do this... in the here and now… I am not doing... I am being... I am.


There is a deeper and more esoteric aspect to the I am as described by Nisargadatta Maharaj… the podcast of his writings I found on Spotify… Wisdom of the Masters podcasts… not suggesting you are in need of this… you choose.


Thanks for reading this… bit off track for me.


I guess that it is my experience that leads me towards practicing and working with the principles and practices of a somatic approach… and part of this approach… is to notice what shows up for me… what draws my attention and curiosity… and then sharing this with others who are prepared to hold that space for me to open up and explore any path as it becomes an option… and how far… I don’t know… following where I don’t know… with no assumptions or expectations… the only intention being to learn… unlearn… and learn again… that was the trail of this blog post here… I admire your fortitude… patience… and attention… thank you.





This pic is of Nisargadatta Maharaj... he spent the last 20 years of his life selling hand rolled cigarettes from his humble home where he also gave talks each day around his ideas. His smile... and his ideas... remind me of an old, close friend... the late Stephen Russell... aka... The Barefoot Doctor. He too... was very I am... and offered these words as an intro to a book... The Thisness of This... that I wrote 10 years ago... he reckoned thisness... is how I am... thanks Doc... nice of you; "I am delighted to see this book available. I've been friends with Mark for almost twenty years and he is one of the most genuine, authentically kind and caring people you could ever wish to meet. He is also clear, consice and incisive, knows his subject inside out and puts it across eloquently and succinctly."


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