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KD Farris, Ph.D. Being Present
by KD Farris, Ph.D.


Sometimes To Move Forward
We Have To Go Back

Sometimes to move forward, we have to go back. Like trying to head off onto a long journey and realizing you've forgotten your suitcase. You've got to go back, pick up the things you've left behind, then get back in the car, start it up and head out all over again. Finding the things we've left behind that keep us from moving forward--that are blocking us from the freedom of growth and change--is not always accomplished through a thinking task. Sometimes we have to imagine, let go, and be taken.


When I first began to work with clients through dialogue only, I found myself doing a lot of theatre with them. I had people on their feet, reenacting situations they felt strongly about, feeling deeply into their bodies, showing what was important to them, not just telling--demonstrating.

What I quickly learned from this instinctual communication was that we don't always know what we want or where we are. Yet, in order to move forward in our lives, it is essential that we get to know where we are, now, and begin our movements from that place. This requires an assessment of our surroundings on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, circumstantial. And often entails looking back--going back to old relationships, old places, old memories.

Recently, I was working with a client on her breath. "I'm not breathing fully," she reported. "When did I stop breathing? Where did I stop breathing?" she asked over and again, like a mantra.

Finally, she opened to a moment when she had been startled by some news, and gasped in response to the anticipation of what was about to transpire. She had never fully exhaled after that moment, and here it was five days later and she couldn't take a full breath into her lungs.

By retrieving the memory of what had startled her and caused her to stop breathing, she was able to relax around the news and finally let go into a full releasing breath--and eventually was able to breath normally again.

Going back for suitcases, or going back for a long awaited exhale, both require a stopping of the momentum to move forward, a standing still and receiving of information, impulses, memories, sensations, and then a turning of our attention toward the time, feelings, experiences, that still have some part of our mind, body, spirit, and soul.

Do you know what's in your past that's keeping you from going forward? Is there something in your present calling for you to retrieve a part of your spirit that desires to be released? Have you any idea what changes in your life might occur should you reunite with a lost piece of your soul?


I woke with an image: I'm underwater in a chair from childhood--my father's big green overstuffed chair. I want to stand up, but as I do I go to take a deep breath and my lungs begin to fill with water. I resist the urge to rise, and sit back down.

I continue to imagine that I can breathe while seated and I take the tiniest, most shallow breaths--only enough to remain exactly where I am, which keeps me alive.

This waking image conjures up a dream I had a few weeks ago of being at the bottom of a pool. In this dream, I could easily breathe underwater. I was nestled in a corner, taking short shallow breaths that kept me alive. When it was time for me to rise up out of the pool, through a series of tiny inhalations, I filled my lungs with all the air I could. I was able to store what seemed like just enough air and was ready to ascend. But when I pushed off toward the surface, I quickly realized I would never make it to the top. I let out the stored air, sunk back to the bottom, and returned to my abbreviated breathing--a short staccato breath that would surely keep me alive, but never allow me to return to the surface and leave this body of water.

This morning I think, Maybe I'll have to allow my lungs to fill with water in order to leave this place. If I can't learn to breath in the water while moving, I'll never move on from here.

Deep within this place that I reside--a place you might also be in--lies a call to move forward. But we can't go forward, if we can't also make an enormous change. And the wisdom and courage for this change lies somewhere in the present moment, yet is held secret in our past. Not a long drawn-out go-back-to-therapy, I-can't-do-it-on-my-own kind of visit to the past. But rather a what-does-this-memory-have-to-do-with-the-present-moment piece of the past, which leads to the question, How is a piece of the past standing before me now?

I return to the vision and begin to imagine how it is I got to be at the bottom of this pool--knowing full well that this image is a mirror of my present life. Metaphorically speaking, surely I must have either held my breath throughout the descent, or been knowing of how to breathe all the way down to where I now sit. So I turn my attention to what I have stopped doing in my life that used to serve me well (the metaphor of having breathed my way down to the bottom of the pool) and I also look to where I have been holding my breath (the other metaphorical possibility related to getting to the bottom of the pool). Where in my life have I held something in instead of speaking up, acting out, or letting something go?


Images always let us know what is afoot. When I say image, I mean something we can draw our perception around. Like a sound we can recall, a dream that won't let go, or an experience we cannot shake.

Sometimes an image will be plain and to follow it to freedom is as linear as one-two-three. And other times we are so wrapped up in its mystery, that all we can do is look for road signs like synchronicities, unexpected happenings, and undeniable feelings we can't shake.

My images and dreams are of being in a place I can't safely move from. And from this image I know a new journey awaits.

What images are drawing you toward your future? And what blocks you from moving freely toward it?

Sometimes to move forward, we have to go back--to pick up the pieces of our spirit, soul, joy or passion. And maybe, like with my own dreams and images, you are just beginning to explore what moving forward and looking back could mean to the present moment and to the future, which lay just beyond the threshold of the unknown.

© Copyright 2004 KD Farris, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved.


Read KD's Past Columns:

June-July 2004 "Soulful Practice: Spiritual Practice--Soulful Nature"

Jan-Feb 2004 - "Making Our Dreams Come True Is Living A Truthful Life"

December 2003 - "Graceful Living - Confessions of a Professional Speaker"

October 2003 - "Serenity: As Calm, As Clear

May 2003 - "What are Your Needs?"

April 2003 - "Techniques for Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part II of II

February 2003 - "HESHE & Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part I of II

January 2003 - "Body & Soulful Living"

November 2002 - "Getting Into MESHE with Your Home Through Minor Adjustments"

October 2002 - "Being in MESHE with Clearing Clutter"

September 2002 - "Discover Going on Retreat"

July 2002 - "Build Your MESHE - Seek the Space: A Process for Reclaiming the Shadow"

June 2002 - Revisiting: "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"

May 2002 - "Bodywork 101"

March 2002 - "Being Present Within Your Prosperous Life"

February 2002 - "HESHE and The Third Bird"

December 2001 - "Manifesting Your Perfect Partner with Personal Truthz"

November 2001 - "Remembering What We Already Know"

September 2001 - "Be Led By What You Are Trying to Avoid"

August 2001 - "Draw Your Way to Clarity, Health & Balance"

June 2001 - "Tending to the Negative Mind"

May 2001 - "Gentle Conscious Living"

April 2001 - "MISON and The Moment"

March 2001 - "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"


KD Farris, Ph.D.
KD Farris, Ph.D. is a successful counselor, healer, and bodyworker. For more than twenty years she has taught extensive workshops based on MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT as well as many other self-discovery topics.

KD began developing her integrated bodywork and counseling techniques in 1983 under the tutelage of many prominent doctors and healers throughout the United States.

Her education into the spiritual and physical aspects of the human experience served as the foundation for her private practice and the development of a new philosophy. She combined her techniques into four guiding principles, which she shares in her book, MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT: What My Grandmother Taught Me About the Universe. She teaches a companion workshop series, where she creates an interactive environment demonstrating the material from her book with tangible, life altering effects. In these workshops, individuals discover a deepening of their relationship to self, others, and life itself.

Through individual counseling and group workshops, she has taught her results-oriented programs to many different types of people including those confined to mental institutions, substance and food abusers, and generally, people in life transitions, struggling with intimate relationships, or who lack direction in their lives. Visit www.kdfarris.com.

KD is currently touring a new body of work, Talking About People in Transition, Also Known As Liminal Space. She will be writing about liminality and its relevance to day-to-day living in upcoming issues of Soulful Living. For more information on this new and exciting topic, or to learn about more her private practice, workshops and lectures, visit www.kdfarris.com.

Contact KD at: info@MESHE.com

Visit KD at Her Website:


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