2 December 2011

Feedback - Workshop/Session Nov 2011

I liked the dancing I did with my mother.
~ sharing by a child in Sharing Dance with your Child.

We had fun and Charlotte enjoyed the freedom of movement. ~ sharing by a mother in Sharing Dance with your Child


We had a great time. Thanks a lot ~ from a mother in Sharing Dance with your Child.

'Liz, you open me up to allow Qif to be messy, dirty.. Explore & express himself which always a NO NO for me to get him down dirty.. Hope he no longer tip toe when he walks at grandma's kitchen cos he feels it's dirty... I will definitely look forward to your upcoming programe. – a mother in Move in Art Jam for Children


I enjoyed the Move in Art Jam session, especially as it allowed me to be completely relaxed, without thinking of any of the usual staff I’m involved in my work.
I also find it’s a good way to connect to our body and just enjoy. – Move in Art Jam for Adults

I'm so grateful for yesterday's experience with you. Everything was meaningful. We enjoy it and went back with "embroidery of beautiful moment" in our heart. ~ Sharing by mother, Move in Art jam Parent & Child special session

We had an enjoyable time, and I learnt quite some things too. ~ Intro to DMT

Thank you so much too. It's been very educational even for me personally. ~ Intro to DMT

Thanks Elizabeth for the workshop, I had fun! ~ Moving The Rhythm 

It was an educational experience and good to explore and understand more of myself. Now I have an additional tool to look at people with, fascinating.~ Moving the Rhythm

19 October 2011

On Children

No two children are ever the same.
What works for one may not work for another.
Children came from different homes.
Children may come from different cultures.
Children have been raised differently.
Some children are more sensitive than others.
Some children are braver than others.
Some children have things going on in their lives that you will never know about.
 ~ This is shared by a teacher in my school from her many years of experiences in teaching in many countries.

4 October 2011

What Children Know (Understand)

Children know laughter
They know tears
Children know peace
They know chaos
Children know acceptance
They know rejection
Children know joy
They know pain
Children know abundance
They know lack
Children know health
They know illness
Children know fulfilment
They know emptiness
Children know hope
They know dismay
Children know love
They know hatred
What they don’t know is WHY!

~ Namie Elisha

29 September 2011

Our Body

Our body 
  • has five senses
  • has history & holds memoires
  • contains conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious materials
  • contains experiences through our five senses since the day we are being received into the world 
Therefore,

Our body speaks volume.
      Our body remembers and does not lie.

25 September 2011

The Invisible Child

A story told by one of my DMT teacher, translated from Swedish. The pictures of the story book is very sweet and touching. A simple story but it has a lot of truth and meaning behind it.

The name of the little girl is this story is Ninni. 


Ninni has become invisible because she has been badly brought up in a family where the grown ups were ironic and treated her without respect so Ninni felt that they didn't like her. Therefore, the child became more and more silent until she couldn't speak at all, couldn't play, lost her sense of humour and finally she faded in her contours and step by step she became invisible. The only thing that you could see of Ninni when she came to the Mumin valley was a little bell that she wore around her invisible neck so that it was possible to know where she turned out to be when she came to the Mumin family. 

The Mumin family all wanted to help little Ninni to be visible again. They tried to treat Ninni with all the methods that are still the most important and most effective within psychiatry for children and adolescents.

The family accepted Ninni the way she was, but they also tried in different ways to get her out of her isolation and dumbness. All of them showed Ninni their love and affection, for example, the Mumin mother made Ninni a fine red dress and a beautiful hair ribbon. Ninni got sweets from the little Mumin troll and a glass of orange juice at her bedside when she was going to sleep. They all treated her very well, but they also demanded things of Ninni. Ninni was supposed to take part in the daily life of the family, for example, to pick mushrooms and to help the Mumin mother with the dishes. Little My and the Mumin troll tried to teach Ninni how to play and have fun. The Mumin mother also gave Ninni medicine. The Mumin mother had a practical book with very effective household remedies and there was a special medicine to use if one's friends faded away and become difficult to recognize.

Little by little the invisible Ninni got more visible. 


At first they could see Ninni's feet when she came down the stairs. Thereafter Ninni's leg and her dress. Little My thought that Ninni's dress was very ugly so the Mumin mother made Ninni a new dress that was very beautiful. 

Then Ninni said her first words, "Thank you very much" in a very silent voice. She was not dumb any more but she was still very shy. She got more visible but her face was still invisible. Ninni was not fully visible until she released her genuine feelings.It happened once when Ninni and the whole Mumin family went on a picnic near a lake. They all sat on the bridge when the Mumin father wanted to embrace the Mumin mother and came up behind her. Then Ninni suddenly thought that the Mumin father tried to throw her beloved Mumin mother into the cold water. She then jumped on the Mumin father and bit him furiously in his tail. Then for the first time her face got visible and it became even more clear when she began to laugh loud and heartedly because the Mumin father got so astonished when Ninni bit his tail that he fell into the water. 

With the help of this good combination - medication, a friendly millieu and psychotherapy, little Ninni became a normal healthy child and she could now show her spontaneous various feelings joy, anger and sorrow and everyone could see all of Ninni.

This story shows that a child need to grown up in a healthy way. It also shows the importance of an affective family to develop a child's psychic health.

15 September 2011

'A letter to Agnes de Mille from Martha Graham'

There is a vitality, a life force, 
a quickening that is translated through you into action, 
and because there is only one of you in all time, 
this expression is unique. 
If you block it, it will never exist
through any other medium and be lost. 

It is not your business to determine 
how good it is, 
nor how valuable it is, 
nor how it compares with other expressions. 
It is your business to keep it yours clearly
and directly, to keep the channel open. . . .
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate
you.
Keep the channel open . . .
No artist is pleased . . .
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.


Reference:

Marian Chace Foundation Lectures (1997)
Judit R. Bunney, Beth I. Kalish-Weiss, Pamela Fairweather and Irma Dosmantes Beaudry, 19, 1, 5 -23

2 August 2011

Small Dance


Be still.
Listen... what do you hear?
Breathe, 
Sense the weight and depth of your own body ... its position...
Ease

Notice the length of your spine, width of your shoulders,
depth of your torso
Breathe... sense the impulse of the breath throughout the body.

Be still... Listen... to the silence... to the pulse of your heart...
Listen as the sounds touch your body
Take time to yawn...stir...stretch...
Notice what is numb, stiff, uncomfortable.

What lies at the borders of your attention?
Soften the edges of your body... as the window...opening
What lies beyond your gaze...what is close...touches the body...?
What is illuminated...what lies in the shadows...
What glows...moves...is still...is hidden...?
Sense the movement...textures...vibrations of what is within...
What is around you?

Breathe...see how deep the breath reaches into the body
Watch how your body changes

As you breathe in...as you breathe out?
Listen as impulses call on the body...sense the movement of response
Let the body listen...dream...move and answer.

~ Miranda Tunell



27 July 2011

Letting Go


Letting go in order to let in 
Releasing in order to receive
Nature's coded message becomes clearer the less we try to see.
Trying hard
Trying harder and harder
Trying so hard is not the way.
We need commitment, yes and concentration
And hope and faith and trust
But most of all we need ease
A discipline of ease
Not trying too hard at all.

You see 'trying hard' has a cell-mate called giving up, admitting defeat
Like black and white
Like pushing and pulling
No peace there.

Not yet you say, I'm not ready yet
To take the step beyond
I know, I've stepped so slow myself, still do
But love, sweet sister, like death comes in a moment's heartbeat
Then goes
There are no ways to hold
Except letting go
And letting it be a part of you
And you of it. 

~ Stewart W. Mercer, 1991
 













15 July 2011

Embodied Awareness - Ballroom Dancing




The incredible power of dance in any form & genre can inform us of ourselves & also unconsciously transform us. 
~ Elizabeth Rutten-Ng

I have been dancing my whole life though not as a professional but because I love to. The therapeutic power of dance and movement is incredibly amazing. I have experienced healing and at that time, I have always wondered what it was. 


In the past, I just danced and learned the techniques but never completely understand what impact each form of dance and movement displayed. Perhaps at that point of time, I couldn't see it as my eyes have not been opened.

Ever since I become a dance movement therapist, understanding, exploring, develop ing an awareness of my body, making connection of my body, mind, emotion and spirit, observing and studying movements, dance and movement hold a different meaning in a new angle.

Beside giving sessions and running workshops, doing therapy, we continue to take dance and movement classes. Now I have more time to enrol to be a participant and it is always a nice change to be taught by professional dancers. It will be interesting to feel how it is like to do a ballroom dancing class with my husband.

Bonding


Exploring the ballroom dancing created a special bonding between my husband and me in a non-verbal communication. The synchrony of flow existed between us, the flow of the rhythm moved as one, the gracefulness and gaiety transcended us into a world of joy. I come to understand the magical touch of ballroom dancing. It is not just a dance but it further enhances the relationships and communication with one another in the form of dance where words cannot replace or explain. The shared moments of moving as one in a dance are indeed a beautiful experience.

Clash


It's natural too to have some clashes, in the process of the clash gave raise to a new change. The sense and perception of oneself as an individual; how we can learn to dance as our unique individuality and with that, glide through the dance floor as one. I come to see the beauty of the different genres of ballroom dancing. It has a meaning if we are open to the discovery of what dance and movement may show and speak to us as a person, as a couple. It does and edifies our marriage to another new level.

Role of Man & Woman in Ballroom Dancing

In the ballroom dancing, the man is the leader who leads his partner on the dance floor. The woman will allow the man to direct and be led in the dance floor. Themes can emerge such as Assertiveness, Letting Go, Trust, Body Awareness, Reading Cues, Senses, Proximity, Creativity, Playfulness.


A friend (not a dance therapist but a dancer) ever shared that the ballroom dancing became too much for her as the man was too close to her in space. She could not breathe and felt the uneasiness in her stomach. She was surprised when that happened. She reflected and discovered the reasons why she prefers to be a solo dancer and the issue also traces back into her childhood and the parenting she had. That became very valuable information for her. It was just a normal ballroom dancing class not even a therapy.


Learning Point


One learning point for us was that my husband learnt how to lead and be more assertive and I learnt how to trust, let go and let him lead in the dance.


In the past, I was never good with routines and steps as I prefer improvisation. I used my head rather than trusting my body. There was a disconnection between the mind and the body. After having not done a typical routine dance class for a while, it was refreshing to feel that I have transformed in trusting my body to lead me rather than my mind. I was aware of this blockage before I studied dance therapy. During and after training, I develop the bodily awareness by listening and letting my body lead instead of getting too caught up in my mind. I learn the art of how to translate the steps into my body and let my body lead the way. In return, there is this continuous of body-mind connection moving to and fro.


Power of Dance


Perhaps some may not have realised the influence and impact a dance form or genre can have upon us. I believe unconsciously, internally, there is something going on and taking place. However, with the conscious awareness, the dance will inform us of ourselves. It is not getting busy with analysing it but to be open to what may come in our body, our emotions and our mind. It can just be simply, I feel the joy deep within while dancing, for instance.

 

Meaning of Dance

Doing a dance is not just about techniques, steps or methods alone but how to translate them into our body and let our body be the voice of that piece. To present that piece is actually flowing out from our emotion of representing not just a story of a dance but very much of whom we are to ourselves and to our audience. It is no longer a show piece but a dance which flows from heart to heart.

Why not? Join a dance class today! 

Creating a dancing dialogue with self and/or with your partner!

17 June 2011

Back to the Base


The law of attraction, a friend shared. 

The more and more I do in my work, being in the constant process myself, I come to discover this profound truth.


No matter where, how, what, when, we will be drawn back to the place where it all begins.


In our mother’s Womb.

Our Developmental phases.

Our Childhood.

Our Encounters.

Our Experiences.

Our Memories.

Our Desires.

Our Dreams.

Our Passion.

Our Body.

Our body carries the conscious, subconscious and unconscious materials.


Therefore, the law of attraction will pull us to where our energy lies – the base - where it first begins.

23 May 2011

Embodied Self-Awareness - Positive vs. Negative



I wonder how the world derives on these two words in the first place – positive and negative. Why good feelings and thoughts are placed under positive and bad ones, categorised under negative? Are only good feelings and thoughts good and only bad ones, bad?

Probably I have been in search for a deeper understanding and meaning in life, I often ponder and reflect, observe and question. One word that I value and learn is ‘BeFriend’ from my supervision. When our body has been fighting so hard and defend ourselves all the time, we will find ourselves sometimes stuck, exhausted and resistance may surface. Numerous books, articles, blogs have been trying to promote positive feelings and thoughts and to strive for a positive lifestyle. Why is it happening? Have we been living in a world of negativity? Is being constantly positive always help? Do we have to push away all the negativity that may arise? How come there is a division between them, a world of contrast and opposing one another? Don’t we all have both in feelings and thoughts? Then why are we dividing them in the first place?

Balance and integration is my belief and philosophy. It is what I am promoting and creating awareness in my life and help my clients to find it. I come to recognise if we sit in the extreme ends and living in denial, we can fall into the danger mode of perhaps pushing ourselves too hard, either to strive only for the positive feelings and thoughts or take away the negativity and completely avoid them. Or just choose and stay in either of each mode.

Is positive all the time good and negative all the time bad?

As a dance/movement therapist, I believe our body is a great indication of our being. Our body often will signal to us how we are, how we are doing at the present moment, that is, what we are feeling, what we are thinking. Perhaps today I don’t feel so good, feeling a little lousy over a matter. The question is are we going to ignore it or are we going to listen to what it is trying to tell us about ourselves. Feeling lousy, feeling sad, feeling angry, to name a few, is not necessary a bad thing, isn’t it? Instead of trying to push it away and pep ourselves up with reasons, positive quotes what I MUST do… but listen to our feeling and thought, for example, “Ah I am feeling angry right now, why is it so? What is ticking me to be so?” Maybe talk to someone about it. Anger may seem to us bad and perhaps even ‘taboo’ to mention it. However, anger can be an important message in trying to tell us something about ourselves. Maybe we are still holding onto a past, a matter, childhood issues, something we associate with, bias, prejudice… that we may have suppressed into our unconscious mind or not aware of. It does not surface for no reason. If the anger becomes a constant problem and greatly affect our lives and others, it is advisable then to seek help with a professional. To acknowledge it is never easy but to avoid it and let it erupt out of nowhere (it is nothing wrong to express anger but if it turns into something uncontrollable, then help is needed.) is also dangerous not only to ourselves but to others as well. 

Is anger (or any other feelings) always negative? Can it be positive? What about sadness? (for instance)

Perhaps when one has dwelled in the mode for a long time and not knowing what to do, it makes us feel that it is bad since it is never a nice feeling. When it is there for a long time and for years, it is advisable to seek help in this case. However, if an uncomfortable feeling comes for the moment and sometimes it can take a few days, a few weeks in that uncomfortable state where we cannot put a finger in the feeling, and it is then not a bad thing after all. Our body has something to tell us.  We often find ourselves we want an immediate answer as how our society is often geared towards but sometimes it doesn’t happen just like that - in a snap of the finger that we have the answer. 

Often, eventually, we will find an answer to what our body wants to tell us if we allow ourselves to sit on it, to let it evolve. If you ask me, is it easy to go through it. No, it is not. But from my experience, when we practise it, we develop the awareness of being and I am often surprised by the answer and it can even sparkle off new inspirations, ideas and new transformation takes place as a result.

Now what about positive? 

If we strive to be positive constantly and push the negative away, probably it can lead to an extreme of craving for the positive, nothing but that. The more we crave as in push towards that and reach the high point, we feel good at the moment, but we still have to come back to reality. The high ecstasy feeling, the rush, is never permanent. If we constantly seek for that, only that, but push everything away, then it can be dangerous.

Being positive can also be to acknowledge and embrace the negative feelings and thoughts and turn them into our growth and nurturing ourselves and others in return. Not sweeping under the carpet and pretend that it does not exist. The fact is we encompass all feelings and thoughts and each has its energy and value we can learn from if we learn to listen to it.

No doubt here I am relating to feelings and thoughts, it is also applicable to success, riches, fame, materials… I am not against in pursuing them. Just bear in mind that if we find ourselves craving non-stop for them and pushing ourselves to the extreme, then we have to question ourselves why? Is it to fill our emptiness or needs that are not fulfilled or met which may have resulted from our childhood? Or is it a form of escapism not to face the inner truth our body is trying to inform us. Sometimes we chase against time and keep ourselves busy (even in social work or helping others but neglect ourselves), however, does it help in the end or why are we doing so?

It takes time to develop embodied self-awareness and it is a process and journey, the more we develop it, the more we develop a deeper insight and understanding to ourselves. Just by listening to our body, feelings and thoughts as one.
~ Reflection by Elizabeth Rutten-Ng

Pointers – this sharing is referring to a general feeling and thought. Cases like depression is advisable to seek professional help for example. It is more complex than it seems than just being a positive or negative feeling and thought.

Note:
Embodied self-awareness is a programme run by Embodied Movement in facilitating participants to develop a deeper awareness of self. Contact Elizabeth for more information or check out her workshops. Special arrangements can also be requested for individual or a group. Welcome to read the feedback from the various participants who have attended the workshops.


15 May 2011

Understanding Toddler at 2

"NO!"


(With given permission from parent to share about the parent and child sessions and photo of child. It is not a therapy but a private session where observation and facilitation took place with the parent and child.)


Each year I returned to Singapore, I facilitated mother and toddler private sessions. The toddler has turned 2 and she is in the developmental phase of saying, ‘No’.


Before I shared some aspects of what took place in the sessions, I would like to address about toddlers at 2.


Often than not, I would always hear the two words, ‘Terrible Two’. And many times it carries the negative connotation of the toddler as being ‘naughty’, ‘disobedient’, ‘not listening', 'stubborn'… I clearly understand that parents having to go through this period of time, is not an easy time at all, but by 'labelling' the child as 'Terrible Two', would it actually help in establishing the parent-child relationship? Won’t the labelling bring about more tension between parent and child rather than improving the situation? Or is it going to be the beginning of this tug-of-war going on between parent and child?


Toddler coming to the age of 2 or even earlier would start to exert the word, ‘No’. In the Kestenberg movement profile, snapping and biting phase, the infant is beginning to learn to separate from his/her main caregiver, usually the parents. It is also the stage where he/she is going through the teething phase. This takes place much earlier and it is not a nice time for the infant as well as for the parents. Next come the phase where the toddler is seeking one’s self-identity, setting boundary and learning to exercise assertiveness by saying or practising the word, ‘No’. It is an important phase for the toddler to go through by finding their own ability to exert assertiveness, setting boundary, finding their own identity and develop their core centre and self.


If there is an extreme interference by not allowing the toddler to do so, in adulthood, they may not be able to exercise them, needless to say, to understand boundary, assertiveness, and to be able to set limits and boundary in life and not to be ‘lured’ by peer pressure into doing something they do not like. It is understood that parents may feel a sense of rejection from their child when they say, ‘No’. The real fact is the toddler is not attacking a parent personally but trying to seek meaning and understand the world through their senses and at the same time making senses of themselves and the world around them.


I hope in sharing the encounter that I have with the toddler will help parents-to-be and parents who are having young toddlers to have a better insight to the world of the toddlers and in aid of parenthood.


Here is the scenario.
I use T. for toddler, M. for mother



First session


T. has grown up a lot since the last time I saw her. She could not recognise me. Immediately, she showed me her displeasure as a sign of I was someone whom she did not know personally. I gave some space in between as I entered the room and had a conversation with M. At the same time, I observed T, making eye-contact with her. M. introduced me and she would strongly say, ‘No’ (a few times) as saying, “I don’t know you and I’m not ready to accept you, stay away from me.’ I didn’t attempt to go near her but let her be where she was and accepted her ‘No’ to me that she was not ready to let me into her ‘circle’ as yet. T. began her play in her room while M and I would observe. At one point, M. went to pick up a toy for her in another room. I chose at this point of time to move a little nearer to her but at a distance. She immediately would say a loud ‘No’ again with her feet hitting the floor, sitting down, to assert her ‘No’ a few times. I then imitated her actions and mirrored her repeating her ‘No’ at a distance. I repeated them a couple of times as she continued. She looked at me, making eye contacts and her body immediately relaxed as we ‘played’ this game of stamping feet and ‘No’. She softened her body and broke into a smile. It is a sign that she was accepting me and acknowledged my presence to be in the room with her. I let her take the lead to approach me in her own time. In split second, she came towards me (very near) and smiled. Since then, I was given the permission to join M. and T. in the exploration of play.


Note: I won’t go into the details of the whole session as my main focus is to show the intervention of interacting with a toddler at 2.

Second session



T. was still sleeping and awoke after a while I was there. I was having a conversation with M. She came out of her room, woken up and needed some time to orientate herself to awake state. T. was still in a state of what was going on. The evident of her mood was not a happy one and again she would exert her ‘No’ even with more assertiveness. The question is, ‘Do we force the child to immediately have the session?’ Or ‘Do we wait till she is ready on her own to begin?’ Being a therapist, my way of working is to follow the child’s cue and not to force them to do what they do not want to do. What if we do? Naturally, the child will put up a fight and the tension would be amounted and escalated. In fact, M. asked me and I gently asked her in the form of question what would she do about it? (as a form of intervention with M. and T.)


We let T. to settle down and let her be until she was ready. Interestingly, she had her milk and soon enough, she regained her disposition and ready to cooperate without any fuss and with a smile. It didn’t take very long in fact. All we did was let her be, let her decide and all we did was be with her, observing her and picking up her cues. 

Note:  Boundary and structure is important and when to attune and clash depends on the situation and the nature of the moment. What is shared is pertaining to the nature of the process itself.  Normally it is worked on case to case basis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One thing I would very much like to share what struck me in moving with T. and observing her movement. I can feel and sense T.’s core-self and confidence. So far that I have observed children, I have not felt such a core-centre in a toddler of 2. She is grounded and has a core-centre in her body. To be able to feel a toddler with a core-centre in her body and movement is such a wonder to be felt in my body. It is such a beautiful moment and experience I would never forget. I would like to applaud M. for trusting herself, moving in the flow with T. in her developmental phases and reading her cues.

29 April 2011

Embodied Self-Awarenes - Feet Session

Sharing of their processes in art on Feet, 
one of the Embodied Self-Awareness session from the participants.





19 April 2011

Testimony from a client

Releasing Emotions & Physical Ailments Disappear

Since the time my baby was born, I was plagued by consistent blocked milk ducts (in the breasts) and on several occasions they lead to complications eg infection and inflammation. When my baby was 6 wks old, I had to go for I&D (incision and drainage) surgery because one of the blockages developed into a very deep abscess. The blockages would recurr almost weekly and I barely had any relief from the pain and discomfort even when my baby was over a year old. Ginny Phang, a doula from Four Trimesters, will recall how frequently I called upon her for help. I had therapy with Elizabeth during which we worked through a series of emotional traumas that occurred from the time I was 9 years old. Since the therapy, the blocked ducts stopped and never recurred. In the past year, I probably had it once or twice (instead of the weekly occurances) and this is sometimes due to stress, fatigue or reduced immunity. I certainly do not think that this is a coincidence. The emotions have a connection with the physical ailments. ~ C.

12 April 2011

Another Testimony by Rini

My friend said, we cannot change the world unless we change ourselves. This is very true. I am in the business of helping people, and I can't be a true, sincere and integral counselor if I'm not aware of my own shadow as well as my beauty. Meanwhile, I was at the edge of a journey, can't see the road in front of me.

On this such an edgy situation, I want to find something to hold on. My intuition told me to find it inside myself, but I didn't get it. I feel such a stranger for myself. Then, I found Ms.Elizabeth and her plan of giving Dance and Movement Course in Singapore. Nothing is coincidence, I believe.

I met her in a very brief session (and for sure its not enough) as my time in Singapore was short. But from that "blink moment", the door toward my soul was opened gradually, through realization of my body, integrate them - to be a whole than parts, to be one body than a stranger. This Dance and movement session, helps to embrace my body and my identity as well, that I used to hate and hide. I started to see the beauty of my self and realized why God created such a thing in me.

I wish I had more session with Ms Elizabeth, as through her, I started to accept and befriend with myself, appreciate and grateful for who I am. I finally can encounter my self..and do you know what? It feels comforting!

I should see Ms Elizabeth in another journey and stage, as my journey has just begun. I really thank God for who I am, and I thank Ms Elizabeth for her being. Her being is very comforting and encouraging me to unfold the mystery of myself. What a great encounter!

see you again! God bless...

Rini

From Indonesia (flew all the way to attend my workshops)
Attended Embodied Self-Awareness on Feet & Body

29 March 2011

Testimony by James

I subscribe to the belief that every physical disease is inter-linked to a person's emotions, mental make-up and spiritual well-being. Our emotion affects our physical health and conversely, our physical health or lack of physical health affects our emotion. On a basic level, our physical movements affect how we feel and how we feel also affects our movements.

 When my wife was recommended to attend Elizabeth's Dance Movement Therapy, I was intrigued and hesitant. Intrigued, because I am surprised to find a course in Singapore that teaches movement as part of the healing modalities. That is certainly an enlightened alternative healing modality! Hesitant, because like any other normal, average Singaporean, my wife and I have never danced before and we wondered whether the course is "right" for us.

 But I am glad we have attended the Dance Therapy course! The trainer, Elizabeth, is confident yet sensitive in guiding us through the 4 basic sessions. Most importantly, I find the trainer credible as she herself has gone through the journey of healing via this alternative modality. In my opinion, It is always valuable to learn from those who have actually walked through the path themselves.


From the 4 sessions, I have learned some useful and "do-able" basic movements that can be done anywhere. I have also learnt to be more conscious and be more aware of my body and its possible movement (Of course, it takes deliberate effort to be more aware). The sessions have also affirmed my belief about movement being closely related to the mind.

The most important takeaway from the 4 sessions (and including the Connected-As-One couple session) is that I have gained some new realizations about my wife. These insights occur suddenly as we move (or "dance") during the sessions. I treasure such insights.

I would highly recommend "Dance Therapy" for health seekers to broaden their repertoire of healing tools. And for couples, I would also recommend the Connected-As-One session. Finally, I would like to add that I planned, initially, to attend only one session. But after attending the first session, I have signed up for the remaining 3 sessions. This speaks well of Elizabeth's skills as a trainer!

James Lew
Singapore
(Attended Embodied Self-Awareness & Connected As One)


25 March 2011

Workshops/Sessions Sharing/Testimony 2011

Embodied Self-Awareness Part 1 to 4
'Thank you so much for your guidance and introducing DMT to me and local scene, I really appreciate it. It was an eye-opener and exciting to attend the sessions with you!'
~ Cheryl Lee

'When we let go of ourselves in movement, we feel the freedom in us.' ~ James Lew as he shared in his closure in the last session. He also wrote a testimony of his experiences.

'I'm really enjoy your session as it open up another truth in unconditional acceptance.' ~ Rini, Indonesia, read her full testimony

'I really enjoyed the opportunity to relax and reconnect with my body, and feel more grounded, give my mind a break. Elizabeth facilitated the sessions very lightly and gently, encouraging us with questions instead of answers. I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the wisdom of their body.'
~ Francesca Mitchell, 5 Rhythms teacher in Singapore, http://www.danceyourselffree.com.sg/

Move in Art Jam Session for Children
'Fun, Happy & Exciting!' 3 words shared by the children.

Feedback from parents ~
'Sofi really enjoyed herself. She even asked if she can stay for the 2nd class.' ~ Nisa

19 March 2011

Awareness in our Body - Slowing Down & Being Passive

Exploring authentic movement during my training and other times outside of training for the last 5 years, listening to my body with a non-judgement attitude increases my awareness of my innate feelings, thoughts and body. With the practises of silent retreats in the past have allowed me to be still and learn to listen to my body in the authentic movement. I become fully aware not only of myself but also towards the environment around me.

Being aware I was often uptight and bound in my body 5 years ago, most of the time, I was often quick and sharp in my movement, in my walk, in my speech... Gradually I noticed I began to slow down after I discovered deep breath, letting go and trusting my body instead of the need to control especially when I explored groundedness in one of the sessions in my training (as a professional) and therapy. I just love the sense of the feeling of core centre of my being and being presence with my body. Interestingly, the conscious awareness of myself has allowed me to consciously make a choice to slow down in the midst of a rat-race city wherever I happened to be there.

I was able to enjoy and appreciate and being presence at the moment. More and more I developed the conscious awareness and the conscious choice to slow down.

I begin to ponder over what is slowing down and being passive?

Slowing down & Being Passive

In Laban, we explored strong and light weight. Weight means intention (what?). Passive weight is not strong weight.

The more I slow down, the more I come to link that slowing down has elements of strong weight. The sense of strong weight gives the body a sense of groundedness and has this innate strength within. I can still remember in a dance class, we explored combinations of two efforts in movement individually. I’m not going into the technical terms now as not to confuse the general reader. To feel the difference between strong and passive weight, we explored them in movement to feel and understand them. Just thinking at the head level does not understand the real feeling of what exactly strong weight is.

When I work with participants and clients, strong weight are often seem to be missing. Developing and exploring strong weight in our body can actually help us to slow down as I discovered for myself and with my clients.

Passive is often can be seen in the body with people who are suffering from depression. The sunken and curved body and the listlessness in the spirit. I began to ponder does it only happen when one suffers from depression? Perhaps when one feels life is meaningless and a heavy burden, does the body show signs of passiveness? Does it not want to take an active role to initiate change? Maybe when the body gradually stays in this manner, it can lead to depression. It is just my hypothesis.

There is a difference between slowing down and being passive.

Being passive has the feeling of dragging your feet and body along with you. The energy level is normally low. Whereas slowing down has an energy circulating your entire being, and your body feels alive and there is an innate strength and power within you.

Even in infant, they explore the core self with strong weight at the developmental phase.

4 March 2011

Awareness in our Body - Part one

Sharing of the awareness of our bodies from real life situations with permissions.

Taste Buds

In the food, sometimes it may contain a great amount of salt or sugar. My husband, Jeroen has been used to food that is either too salty or too sweet. Whereas, I’m raised the other way round, where no salt or sugar is added to home-cooked food but natural ingredients. We are like two opposite ends.

As we know that the taste buds recognise the four basic tastes such as sweet, salt, bitter and sour. Taste buds can be readjusted and cells for each basic taste can be restimulated. Why do I say that?

Jeroen was not able to tell whether the food is too salty or too sweet. His taste buds were immuned, ‘numbed’ and 'desensitised'. Ever since we got married, he found my cooking very blend. However, I explained that too much of salt and sugar in the diet will eventually do more harm to the body in the long run.

Slowly, throughout the years, I help him by reducing the salt amount in the food. He eventually got used to less salt and sugar and gradually over the 5 years, he cut down and sometimes not even add any salt. Recently, he shared that his taste buds have changed. He can immediately tell whether the food is salty. He can even slowly sense the different ingredients in the food which he could not do so in the past. He always told me the food tasted the same whereas now, he is able to differentiate them. When I heard it, I was amazed, how the cells in the sensory organs of the taste buds can be reactivated and become sensitive again. Now he will not even take food that contains too much salt and sugar. His taste buds will inform him that it is too much.

It just reminds me of a baby when they have the first taste of food, they can tell immediately what they need, what they taste and what their body wants. I read it in Aware Parenting, Aware Baby, by Aletha Solter, how our body has and are born with our own natural self-regulation.

Even though we may have lost it as an adult, there is still hope and possibility to develop the awareness and have the self-regulation again. Isn't that good news?

Part 2 will be shared in the next round on Body awareness of another person.



24 February 2011

Freeing Up Ourselves

Each one of us cares about our personal well-being. We want to attain a healthy mind, body and emotion. We seek for a meaning, we search for the truth, we want to feel at place with ourselves. Sometimes, being trapped in our own ‘world’ of tortures, we find ourselves stuck in some areas of our being.

Ways to undo it. Ways to find peace. Ways to attain true happiness.

The way how our mind is wired, the way how our body has experienced, the way how our emotions will be, that is, who we are, how we have perceived the world since the day we are born.

Along the journey, the road we have walked and taken, the path we tread upon, we are still on the on-going search of understanding ourselves and making meaning of our lives and what is going on.

Times where we may feel we are lost, times where we wonder, are we ever going to get out of the rut hole if we find ourselves in it. Our mind becomes so busy with the troubles at hand, we forget to unlock it but locked in the world of ourselves - our thoughts and feelings.

Our body reacts and responses. It can no longer bear the weight of the torments. It manifests and again we find ourselves constantly struggle and battling in seeking meaning to our lives.

Step by step, we search, we look, we hide, we cover, we mask, we pretend, we deny… we finally have the courage to uncover, to open ourselves up.

The first step is hard.

Something new, something profound, something interesting, something fearful, something unbearable, something hurts…

The day we unlocked the key to the mystery of ourselves, the day we free ourselves, the day we are open to the challenges in facing what is the truth that lies underneath us, a new growth, spirit, energy emerges. We find our mind no longer placed in a box but springs with wonder, excitement and discovery with inevitable elements of anxiety and nervousness.

It is new. It is unknown.

Like an infant understands the world and self by making and using his/her senses through the interaction with his/her mother, the people s/he encountered and the environment around him/her, we as adults like an infant, begins the new venture of finding a new us, a new life, a new information that we have never encountered before.

A new form has taken place. A new ‘Me’ is born. 

Let us enter into the new space of freeing ourselves up... the journey thus begins.

31 January 2011

Inspiration

1 February 2011

Move with the Flow, Move with the Rhythm 

As we live our lives, 
have we rediscovered the natural flow and rhythm of our body?

Let us begin to listen to the innate of our body, emotion, mind & soul as one.
Let us find our own rhythm & flow of our being.

Horizon expands when the mind opens, the body enlarges, the repertoire enwidens, the feelings grow... the awareness & senses make their connections and integration to a wholeness of self.

 

Looking at the waterfall, what comes to you?

Photo by Jeroen Rutten Copyright 2011

20 January 2011

Dance Therapy - What is it?


Dance Therapy - an opportunity to heal, celebrate & release.

Dance/movement therapy as defined by the American dance Therapy Association is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. 

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT)

a) Uses the most fundamental of the arts – direct expression through the body – thus becoming a powerful medium for both therapy and self-discovery.

b) Involves a direct experience of oneself through the body

c) Explore images, memories, feelings, the meaning of one’s life experiences, improve communication skills, and to facilitate emotional, physical, social, cognitive and spiritual growth

d) Outward way of expressing deep inner feelings, unlocking tensions, and relieving the effects on the body

e) Promotes health of body, emotions and mind

f) Provides a way of knowing more about yourself, your interactions with others, needing only a willingness and desire to encourage our own and each other’s movement

Basic Assumption/Principles
  • The basis of DMT is the recognition of the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit.
  • Therapists believe that mental and emotional difficulties are often held in the body in the form of muscle tension, and this will constrain movement.
  • On the other hand, therapists’ experience with clients leads then to the firm belief that the states of the body can affect attitudes and feelings, both positively and negatively.
  • Therapists link writing, drawing, music and movement to express thoughts, release emotions, celebrate emotions and facilitate healing in a safe and creative way.

*This is only a brief summary of what dance therapy is to give reader a general view of DMT. To further deepen understanding in DMT, there are many books and journals written by many professional dance therapists (In my fan page, books, articles, journals are shared).  Or visit ADTA (internationally), CODARTS (Netherlands), NVDAT (Netherlands) for more information.  Dr. Suzi Tortora has written a comprehensive write-out on DMT in her website, Dancing Dialogue.*

6 January 2011

Developing Embodied Self-Awareness - Breath



*Breath is life and it flows and resonates through our body harmoniously.  
Breath restores the sense of self.*

  • Are you conscious of your breath? 
  • Can you feel whether your breath is shallow or deep?  
  • Are you conscious when you are holding your breath?  
  • Can you hear yourself breathing?  
  • Are you breathing correctly?

People who practise yoga, taichi, martial art, voice, singing and drama training, for instance, are usually conscious of their breath and deep breathing. Exercises and dancing also involve deep breathing. However, when we are back to the normal routine, are we consciously aware of our breathing and the way we breathe as I have listed the questions above? When we develop a conscious awareness of our breath, we can feel when we are holding our breath, as an example.

Breath relaxes, calms and energises the whole being - the body, mind, emotion and spirit. It also helps us to be more grounded in our body and develop a core centre of self. It is not just a breath of life and used only when we are doing yoga, training, exercises, dancing and so forth. It can be re-developed where we are consciously aware of our breath flowing throughout our body without any effort. In fact, we have it, properly along the way, most of us lost this awareness of breath.

One of the ways to understand the correct way of breathing is to lie on the floor as you are sleeping and just breathe naturally. You feel your breath expanding to your diaphragm and your rib cages on both sides in the front and at the back.

Try this exercise:

Before you raise from the bed in the morning, do some deep breathing and fill your entire body with your breath. Focus on your breath. Feel the rhythm of your breath through your whole body. You can also repeat this exercise before you sleep. 

If you have developed an awareness of your breath, you can even do this at any part of the day within your hectic schedule and routine, anywhere, sitting or standing up, even a walk to the metro, a walk in the nature... 

*We would love to hear your sharing and experiences after you have done this exercises.*

Look out for the next series!

Note: Sometimes, breath can be frightening for some people as it is a deep connection with the core self. When we suffer from psychological, somatic and emotional problems, often we may find ourselves with shallow breathing, holding our breath or even stop breathing. This is a general sharing and each psychological disorder is complex and detailed information pertaining to disorder is not shared here.

4 January 2011

Embodied Self-Awareness

embody, embrace, listen, being aware, body sensations, emotion, thoughts, integration, at presence, at the moment, self-care, internal organisation, rewiring, repatterning, perception, senses, process, non-judgemental, openness, connection, re-connection, self-regulation, protection, slow down, grounded, express, material, breath, movement, rhythm, touch, environment, needs
* Tomorrow will be monthly sharing on Embodied Self-Awareness*  Stay Tune!
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