I have learnt about slow time, and how it infinitely multiplies perception, listening and attention.
From my position as a birth assistant, I see essential parallels between the spaces enabled by Cherif and the spaces that assist births. Most importantly, presence: the quality of the presence of the people who assist labour and birth influences the setting, the scene that involves mother, father and baby It is not about what we do, but in being open, perceptive in the shadows, available and taking the back seat, more than in doing something specific to assist labour.
When you join Cherif, you do more than work on your body to understand it and get to know yourself. . Thanks to him, I have embarked on an honest journey with my own spirituality with no set course or rules, simply by opening myself to experience. I have learnt and realized that there are places we cannot access through reason or intellect, but through the body as a channel of Experience. I surrendered to the body, I surrendered to fear… and received pleasure and gratitude.
I have faced old fears and wounds, which I have embraced from kindness. That is one of the words that define Cherif’s work, and has proved hugely helpful to me. By engaging in kindness, I have learnt to care for myself and give myself what I need, creating an opportunity for self-mothering.
I have learnt how to apply the lessons to the body, embody them, experience them, and enjoy them. Favour intuition over judgement; gaze inwards instead of outwards. To loose myself in myself and not in others. Fears dissolve. Hearing you say that you were fearful moved me, connected me and made me love you even more. Fear and I respect each other.
After completing the process I have learnt to take my attention to another level, where I can slowly release my fixation on my personality and, perhaps, bare myself to embrace the experience at face value, with no expectations and from a neutral disposition, allowing myself to be open and holding space for awe.
Contemplating the horizon, I felt that the veil of mystery opened up towards a glimpse of true reality, an ordered, unified sense of wholeness, contemplated and with the right to be and to exist, an all encompassing order. I awaken naked, intoxicated, crossing death and life feeling loved, being born into the sacred.
This experience has delivered a sense of openness, and helped me realize the importance of being in contact with others. An effortless contact that is less about doing and more about being.
It felt like coming home, re-inhabiting the body, and fine-tuning attention as the path towards an authentic relationship with the self and with others. Time and silence. Being able to enjoy life after a dark period. Thank you for this opportunity to share.
In these workshops, time loses relevance and is replaced by whatever emerges from us. Gestalt refers to figure and substance. I think Cherif is a master in that respect. He facilitates contact with the body, with emotions, from movement, from being present and by focusing attention to achieve a vast consciousness where the figure becomes obvious. Cherif is able to steer us to that state of consciousness.
I embraced the dance of the waves,
the game between time and space,
between vertical and horizontal, up and down.
My rebirth taught me that the will to live and to give life
is bigger than our small ego
that we do not have to exhaust ourselves fighting to live,
we have to breathe, and let time be time.
Now I focus on not leaving my soul behind.
Thank you for your care and strength.
JUANA MARIA GONZÁLEZ
This experience has taught me that it is never too late for a rebirth that embraces life, letting go of the pain of our ego, the torture of our memories.
Every one of my senses felt raw: smell, touch, hearing… Pure receptivity, extreme pleasure. As I walked out, I carried this sensation with me for a long time, and I can still reconnect to something that remains inside of me, something that I describe as pleasure, an inner smile, a sense of reconnecting with myself.
I feel like the comprehensions that I feel through my body go beyond mere comprehension. By not processing them intellectually and by expressing them through matter, through the body, and by releasing the information, they are reabsorbed and integrated. It is a strange sensation. It is the certainty that everything that has happened in me and through my body these days remains in a better place, in a better way, creating a landscape that is less arid, less harsh (if it was before), and kinder.
After experiencing rebirth I felt grounded in a different place, in a place of security and pleasure.
Find space for pain, pleasure, anguish, happiness, desire… Anything goes, do not fight it, do not censor it, do not focus only on the positive. I enjoyed experiencing the pain and coming out the other side.
Today Life has a different colour, a different flavour… I have inhabited It!
The birth process happened very naturally in all three roles –mother, father and child. Each time I was able to exist, with myself and with the other, without blurred boundaries. I was able to love myself and others, without being in symbiosis, retreat or sacrifice.
I really appreciate the care and kindness that you put into your work. You use compassion and not harshness, and I need that warmth to open up. It was like a gift, that helped me open up to other people and to myself from a place of ‘wanting to do so,’ because my whole being felt supported, protected and secure.
This workshop has facilitated a death that produced a rebirth, it has created space and allowed me to celebrate with all the guests that came to my party, welcoming them into my home, which is their home: my fears, my passions, my kindness, my jealousy, my happiness, my sensuality, my rage, my madness, etc.
A journey of integration, of connecting with the self, with the world and with others.
I treasure the beauty of having been able to “embody” the trinity that we ritualize in each of these encounters with so much love.
Any attempt at describing this event is like a walk along the shore, of an experience that is “an immersion in the depths of sensory memory,” which language, either verbal or written, cannot communicate.