How to “name it” – when it’s all so cloudy?

One of the skills I’m practicing is „naming it“.

To notice what it is that is bothering me (or the person I’m talking to), to name it and expose what lies behind the discomfort. And then often things change in some way – sometimes, just talking about it already changes the situation. Sometimes it creates new perspectives, new ideas or just an un-dramatization of something that previously was too hidden to talk about, too taboo to look at or dare to feel.
This article is the outcome of trying to practice on an organizational level, after having some time to think during my summer break.
For the past two years, I have been a member of the board of the International Association of Grinberg Method Practitioners. A task, that I was looking forward to and where I was hoping to support the work I find so important and inspiring on a very different level than in the individual sessions I have with my clients.
I saw an opportunity to combine the work that I had previously done in international youth organizations. I saw an opportunity to offer my experience with organizational development as well as group dynamics to a group of people, who too are working to teach people to notice their body and learn to be well in their lives.
I also wanted to support the development and popularity of the Grinberg Method®, being so happy for my personal experiences and my training. Realizing that this approach – as many other of the new ‘somatic approaches’ – could benefit from having an organization supporting it, by developing standards for the quality as well as ethics of the practitioners working with people all over the world.
I consider myself working embedded in society in some way, and as I believe the world could benefit from it – my aim is to make this kind of work available to more people. At least it’s worth a try.
Over the time of these two years, many things have changed on an organizational level and also in general in the community of people working with or trained in the Grinberg Method. And the more stories I hear, the more I notice that things have been changing a lot also in the time before I joined and had my own experiences.
And change as such is not necessarily something that would disturb me or make me feel queasy. It could also just be interesting or exciting. It could be scary for a while. It could be annoying. It could be painful. It could be amazing.
But what I found most of all, is that it is really confusing. Confusing because there are so many levels and personal connections, so many conversations that have taken place in so many different rooms… and appear to never have been picked up in an open discussion. Confusing because people who I otherwise perceive as confident, capable grown-ups worry to ask a direct question. Or act defensively when presented with one. Confusing because I see and hear people insinuating manipulation or greed.
I don’t understand who is angry at whom and why.
Confusing, because I see people hurt and fighting each other, who I at the same time perceive as working towards a similar goal. Confusing because there, again and again, appears an atmosphere of existential urgency, as if all of this even matters in the big picture.
And here is the thing – I find it matters, too.
I want to have an association to support the work I’m doing towards a greater public.
I want to know that my clients can find a place I trust to ask questions, in case there is something they don’t want to ask me. I want to have a structure for further education and for supervisions, I want to commit to a declaration of my ethical code and definition of the work I do.
But I also know that it’s not existential… I won’t die if this isn’t going to happen.
Getting back to the subject I started with… „naming it“…
I’ve been trying and trying and trying to think or put into words what is going on. And I have no idea. I cannot name it. So here I am, searching to gain some clarity of what is really going on.
I don’t understand the emotionality of the emails I have received in the time being on the board. Not all of them, of course. And of course, I too reacted emotionally in many situations, I could notice the pull of going into the drama and making this a really important thing.
But, I also practice stopping this. To notice my fear or confusion and not go into an immediate reaction, but to think a bit longer. To find another solution for the situation.
I don’t understand, why I have so many times met a sensation of historic pain and habits in this organization . Why in this association of people teaching to be free, have I met the fear of having to follow someone’s rules, and the assumption that there actually are rules – instead of more boldness to create the circumstances we want and need (and as a board member even been put in the role of the „ruler“)?
Why is it so challenging in this collective of people to adopt a culture of collaborative creation for what we want? And so challenging to constructively criticize what we don’t want to have, without necessarily assuming that the other doesn’t want to hear the criticism or only mentioning criticism in the moment of leaving?
Why does it feel so essential whether someone does or doesn’t want to be a member of the association and who they like to learn from?
Really, what I want with this association is not emotional.
It’s not a declaration of loyalty to any specific person nor is it a declaration of distancing myself from someone.
I am here because I think on my own.
Because I have my own concerns and experiences.
For me, the association mostly makes sense to inform an audience and as a network for practitioners, nothing more.
And why does it feel so dangerous to write all of these things down publicly like this? I want to maintain a good name for this work. I want that we can reach more people. But seriously – I don’t think this will happen by us pretending to the ‘outside’, that things are running smoothly between us. Or by creating sides that we have to pick – openly or secretly or whatever. Or by trying not to let others, who don’t yet find things weird, hear about someone finding something weird (what an awesome sentence).
Things are pretty weird and crooked and people are confused and trying to find their best ways. AS THEY DO ANYWHERE IN LIFE.
The chaos is not original to us Grinberg Practitioners. Not in any way. Why the sensation of pretense, that with us this doesn’t happen? And the disappointment when it does. (And maybe all of this is again, not about any kind of „us“ but just me.)
The question is, what to do with this from here? And I have no idea.
I still want to participate in creating a strong foundation for this work in the public eye, to inform about the powerful tools that we have to offer. I will in some way or another commit to an ethical code and find ways for supervision and continuous training. I want to give credit to the people I learned from, without being put into a weird box with them.
I am my own box.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t collaborate with others. And that I can’t at the same time be thankful to many.
I can’t put my finger on what it is, that really is weird. But it is.
My vision is, to create courageous spaces for people to explore and grow with what they love. I wish the communicative space between colleagues can become one of these spaces.
I want a space, where we can both ask and say things, without holding back and without attacking. Using the fear that different opinions and many people in one space can provoke to be even more awake and curious, to find new solutions instead of expecting old things to happen again. And again. And again.
I don’t want to pretend that we all want the same things. I just think there are some areas, we could benefit from working together.
Not knowing what will come, I want to acknowledge where I am now, give credit to where it’s due and thank my practitioners, inspirers and teachers on the path until here – Julian Huntgeburth, Merav Gur Arie, Claudia Glowik, Dorothee Dukek, Xavi Tur, Katrin Sadlowski, Avi Grinberg, Ruth Elkana, Vered Manasse,… ooh, and there could be so many more… Thank you, I’m glad to have met and learned from you.
I’m curious, where I will be in a year. Where we will be in relation to each other. I wish you all a powerful year 2016/2017.
Thanks for reading until here. And if you happen to have any input, thoughts, questions – please share them with me.

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  • “Aninia has a very special ability to understand the body and its reactions to pain. She is thorough, trusting and not least, a good teacher.”

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