I am the sea. The sea is me.

I am the sea. The sea is me. Mixed media on canvas paper. 11 x 14″ ©2019 Louise Gallagher

I am the sea. The sea is me. I am the seaweed. The seaweed is me.

The exercise is called Wakame,  the Japenese word for Seaweed.  Its focus is to move into felt relationship with our awareness settled deep within our bodies, feeling into presence and receptivity.

At first alone and then with a partner.

Let go of the desire to assist or resist. Be present.

it was one of the first exercises we did on the second day of the Radical Wholeness workshop I attended in Banff this week. The invitation was to allow our bodies to ground into the earth and breathe into being the sea and the seaweed. A wave would hit us and we would bend, effortlessly, fluid like water, bending first at the knees and then allowing our bodies to simply flow with the waves.

We did it alone. And then with a partner. Each person taking turns being the sea, touching the other like a wave and then, being the seaweed, being touched and moving, not in response to, but with the movement of the waves.

It was peaceful. Exceptionally so.

To simply be part of the waves. To yield and to stand in strength, one with the motion, moving in harmony while maintaining our groundedness through our feet touching the earth, our consciousness deeply resting in the stillness of our core.

“We struggle with bringing our minds to rest by trying to out-think our thoughts,” Philip Shepherd, the founder of Radical Wholeness and workshop facilitator said as we debriefed our experiences of the Wakame exercise. “Let your body be like the water in a bottle. Settled fluidity.”

I breathed into my core. Moved with my awareness as it journeyed down from where it held court in the centre of my head brain, deep into my pelvic bowl. I felt its invitation to enter into felt relationship. I breathed deeply and felt awareness melt away inside me as I settled deeply into the stillness.

There is no hunger so profound it cannot be nourished by the stillness within.

There is no yearning so deep it cannot be met through intimate relationship with all of life.

The words rose up from my belly. Filling my body with peace, harmony, Love.


The Radical Wholeness of Felt Relationship

Being in Banff,  surrounded by mountains, I felt myself in relationship with their majesty; inspired, lifted, illuminated within their presence. The mountains fill the sky. They soar above and all-round, piercing the cerulean ceiling with their sharp peaks and edges. There is no sense of separation from the mountains. You are in them, of them, part of their presence just as you are part of the rarefied air all around.

Here in the city, the mountains can be seen in the distance, their jagged ridges resembling a sleeping dragon lying along the horizon. There is a clear sense of the separation between ‘this side’, the depths of the valleys and peaks in the distance and the ‘other side’ we cannot see from here.

On my desk as I write, a candle burns. Viewed from the separateness of me sitting at my desk, I see the candle as lighting the darkness. Its light is separate from me, separated by the darkness between us.

In the Radical Wholeness workshop I just experienced with Philip Shepherd in Banff, there is no separation. When I stop seeing what I know of the mountains or candlelight and move instead into experiencing them from the core of my being, I enter into felt relationship with the world around me. In that space, there is no distance separating us, no darkness. We are one in felt relationship.

Diving into what it means to be in ‘felt relationship’ was what the workshop offered. There was no doing. It was all about being part of and with the experience of embodying the path from head brain thinking and doing, to belly brain being of and in the world where I experience a felt relationship with everything in my world.

A felt relationship with all things can only be experienced when I release myself from the knowing of who I tell myself I am in the concreteness of a separated world. Moving from head brain to belly brain I move deeper and deeper into a responsive presence where I become illuminated by the world.

It sounds weird, scary even. In fact, there were moments over the two days where my head brain wanted me to believe this was all just gobbly-gook. That there is no ‘belly brain’.

The science proves otherwise. It’s just we’ve spent millennia separating our head brains from our bodies to the point where we believe our intelligence lives only within our heads and the body is just the behicle that carries this wealth of knowledge and doing around.

The body knows better. It’s just, we’ve been taught that ‘listening to our bodies’ means putting our ear up against the wall dividing our head from the rest of our being and simply tuning into some ethereal voice telling us how our body is feeling.

In my experience of Radical Wholeness, there is no separation, no putting my ear up against a divisive line that makes my head brain the keeper of all wisdom and the knower of all and my body its subordinate.

In Radical Wholeness, the body is all of it. Head to toe, toe to head, fingertips, skin, skeleton, muscle, cells — and all the world around me. And within all of me, there lives an expansive capacity and essential sensitivity at my core to be in felt relationship with all of the world.

Relationship with all of life that defies my thinking minds need to reason its way into living through order and judgement, process and meaning-making. Radical Wholeness opens me up to experiencing deep, intimate relationship with all of life as I become fully alive with all of life.

As I sit at my desk and watch the mist rise from the river flowing by, I breathe deeply into my core and move into felt relationship with the river, the mist, the stillness of the trees, the golden leaves hanging in suspended motion from the branches, the sky soaring into infinity.

In the spaciousness of our felt relationship, there is no separation. There is only life.



Held In The Stillness

©2019 Louise Gallagher


I had a plan. An idea of what I’d do when I got to my hotel after the workshop yesterday.

“Ideas are frozen energy,” Philip Shepherd, our workshop leader had said earlier in the day.

What would happen, I wondered, if I breathed into the font of my being, instead of relying on my ‘knowing’?

I breathed deeply into my pelvic bowl, grounded myself in my belly brain and let myself simply feel the presence of all the world in and around me. I breathed deeper and let myself feel my presence as part of the whole of all the world.

My plan changed.

I struck a match and lit the wood that was ready and waiting for me in the fireplace in my room. I sat and watched the flames flicker. Listened to the crackle of the wood as it burned.

I sat and rested. In silence. In the quiet of the evening falling. In the softness of the snow drifting down.

I rested and breathed. Deeply. And felt the world turning into me and me turning into the world. I felt my being tune into the silence within and all around me and felt my entire being held by the stillness of the present.

So this is peace.

This is rest.

Grateful, I pulled out the watercolour paints I’d brought with me and started to play.

Pure, simple, blissful play.

So this is play, my mind whispered.

Shhh, my belly braind responded. Breathe. Be present. Be held in the stillness. Just play.

I am heading off in a little while for day 2 of the Radical Wholeness workshop I’m attending in Banff.

This morning, I stood on the patio outside my room and felt the silence of the forest. The slow dawning light of morning shimmered on the snow-laden branches of the fir trees, the air was cool and crisp. In the distance, a train whistle echoed eerily.

My mind drifted to the unseen train travelling tracks leading east to west, west to east. Goods on the move. Life moving.

I breathed in. And out. In. And out.

I let my breath draw me down, out of my mind, deep into my body.

I breathe in. And out. In. And out.

I stood in the silence and felt the presence of all that is, my body  becoming the air around me, the air around me becoming my body.

I closed my eyes and a tear gently trickled down my face.

I breathed in. And out. In. And out.

Present within this moment right now, I feel the tear’s path slipping down my skin. North to south. South to north.

Tears fall, drawing me down into the crucible of my being present.

Wisdom rises from my belly. I feel myself moving deeper into my being, my core. I feel the welcoming stillness of its deep, abiding presence.

My mind becomes quiet as I slip effortlessly into the beauty, wonder and awe of this moment right now resting peacefully in my belly.