Straight from the heart

by Mona Kino – March 2 2017

I´ve received this letter last week.

Dear Mona,
it´s been a while since we´ve met and I hope this email finds you well.
Me and my family are still working out new ways to solve our conflicts. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we run into the „mines“ as you suggested. It helped me a lot to accept that they are part of our lives and that you’ve mentioned, not to try to avoid them. Even though it´s not easy to handle somedays- the atmosphere at home is better than ever before.

The reason I write to you is something else I want to share with you. It made me laugh the other day and I thought it might be an interesting feedback from a fourteen year old.

Me, Ruby and Emma recently went to Prague to visit Ben at work for a week. The morning before we returned home, Ruby told me, that she couldn`t fall asleep last night and that she became very desperate because of that. Rolling her eyes she added: ‘And you know, all that Jesper-Juul-and-Helle-Jensen-meditation-and-empathy-stuff  you always bring home really worked out.’
I was curious to understand more of what she was mentioning. And she continued: She woke up in the middle of the night hearing a noise  she couldn´t locate. First she thought it was in her head, then she thought it was the refrigerator in the kitchen, or maybe the heating system? She didn´t want to wake us up and got up to locate it herself but couldn´t find it. The idea that it was in her head grew and made her feel more and more uncomfortable. When she thought it could be a tinnitus the uneasiness swell and ended in fear. But then, she said, she remembered an exercise we once practiced in our mutual sessions at your practice.
She set herself up in a quiet place in the apartment and did a „heart-journey“. After a while, she said, the noise was still there, but the fear was gone. I  asked her what she thought made  it go away. And she replied, as she became aware that it was just a noise wherever in or out of her body and no-one trying to catch her, she felt relief. She no longer felt as a victim of the noise. She gave me a smile and said, I then added a short moment to focus on something nice that had happened to me the other day. And in my mind I saw this new pair of shoes I got from you, and I could easily feel relaxation in my body and I fell asleep shortly after.

With warm regards,

This is the exercise we did in the counseling session:

Someone You Like
Place yourself comfortably in a chair.
Notice how the chair supports your body, the backside of your legs, your buttocks and perhaps your back.
Notice how the chair welcomes your weight.
Notice the contact between your feet and the floor.
Notice how the floor meets your feet and how your feet are pressing against the floor.
Move your feet a little bit.
Bend und stretch your toes.
How do your feet feel from the outside?
How do they feel from the inside?
Notice then the contact between your hand and the place they are resting on. Feel the weight of your hands and notice how your hands feel from the outside and from the inside.
Now shift your awareness to your head.
Make some funny faces to relax the muscles of your face.
Now see if you can feel your body, feet, hands and head at the same time.
Shift your awareness to your breath.
Stay with it for a while. Breath in- breath out.
Just watch it, don´t judge it.
Notice if you can feel the outer points of  your body, your feet, your hands, your head and your breathing at the same time.
Now shift your awareness to the area around your heart.
Maybe you can feel how your heart is beating, maybe not?
Stay here with your awareness for a while. Feel how the area is like.
Think of somebody you like or love. Now feel somebody you like or love in your heart.
It can be a member of your family, a good friend, a pet and even your teddybear.
Let the comfortable feeling now run through your whole body. Into your feet, your hands, hair-roots.
Stay with this feeling for a few minutes. Feel how it is.
Notice your general mood as it is right now and prepare yourself to end this exercise.

Illustration by Gesine Grotrian

Editing by Kerstin Schöps