More than an old wives' tale, women's intuition is real, according to author Paula Reeves, a pioneer in the study of the biochemical relationship between mind and body. Because most women separate mind from body, many are not aware of what their intuition may be trying to tell them. In her first book, Reeves helps readers, through stories and practices, uncover the blocks preventing this singular channel of wisdom from informing their daily lives. Through years of study and practice, Reeves has developed her ground-breaking program of Spontaneous Contemplative Movement, an original, simple, and emancipating way of evoking body-based intuition. Readers can use Reeves' easy-to-learn approach to tap their own intuitive power.
In her newest book, Heart Sense, Reeves introduces the reader to the seventh sense, the heart's intelligence. Through a number of well crafted and evocative exercises called Heart Notes Reeves teaches us how to use a mirror while we look into our own eyes and learn to love and have compassion for ourself. Each chapter opens a door into a specific area of self discovery, such as, What Your Heart Knows; What Your Heart Loves; Where Your Heart Lives and What Your Heart Wants. Reeves is unapologetic when she tells us we have a soul and it is teaching us through the language of our body. She reminds us anew that when "you neglect what matters most to you then that will become the matter with you."
Paula's unique use of the mirror to evoke a deep and intimate sense of the embodied Self first introduced in her book, Heart Sense, is leading participants in her retreats and readers of her book to share their experiences with others. Mindful MirroringTM is a practical and immediate teaching tool that allows one to become immediately aware of the lack of connection she has to her own body. Since the invention of the full length mirror (called a Psyche) in the nineteenth century women have been taught to view their body from the outside inward. This is a highly evaluative perspective that does not allow a woman to value herself--her matter--just as she is. Her view of herself is always colored by her immediate comparisons to or with someone or something outside herself. Hence, what matters to her in her very cells is less significant than what she feels, or worse, fears that others think of her.
One of the first mirrors of the soul is found by the infant when she looks into the eyes of her adoring parent. If she finds unconditional love and acceptance there she will grow fully into her own skin feeling good enough just as she is. If the eyes that greet her are unable to give her this reassurance she is left feeling empty and not welcomed--destined to search for an elusive blessing from others instead of an affirmation from within. When we learn to look deeply into our own eyes what we discover is that infant looking back--that young soul waiting to be acknowledged and found good enough just as she is. Mindful MirroringTM awakens compassion for ones self--a deep sense of tender caring and forgiveness. Paula's skill at taking each client or participant to the level at which he or she is best suited to work is remarkable. She has a long and carefully developed relationship with the issues of attachment, self esteem and the relationship between mind, body and soul. The participants in her retreats come with a broad range of concerns; illness, sexuality, lack of joy, lack of faith, or a search for meaning. From the very first five minutes together Paula tells the participants that they alone know what will heal them and she asks them to take out their mirrors and answer in two sentences or less the question, "What brings me here this week?"
Paula teaches that "When you do not know in your heart what matters most to you, then that will become the matter with you." Each participant uses a body map--an outline of her own body on a canvas cloth--along with a mirror-- to seek the answer to "What is ailing me--body and soul?" Amid laughter and tears each woman finds herself involved in the deepest relationship she has ever had with her true self. Each morning as the group gathers in silence Paula "gathers" the night's dreams as each one reads her dream aloud and then looking into her mirror names the essence of that dream's meaning. The sense of sisterhood and our profoundly connected humanity emerges and surrounds and fills the room as we work together.
Paula herself says, "I am moved to tears when I witness after only two days together the women sitting and looking with intent inquiry into their own eyes as they work on very painful questions about their lives or with the grief that they have been unable to address fully until now. These same women were unable to look into that mirror before they arrived without criticism and scorn and shame for the woman they saw reflected back. Now the tenderness and the tears and the compassion causes me to lower my eyes in humility. I give thanks every day for the privilege of having uncovered this way of working and for the gift of being able to lead these retreats."
Mindful MirroringTM is not an easy practice--it takes a woman right to the soul of her being. It requires discipline and intentionality and a willingness to change. The result is nothing less than finding that you are capable of meeting yourSelf as if for the first time and loving the woman you are.
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