Posted by: Joan Brooks | July 3, 2012

Common Ground

My mentor  asked me what it was like to read my first blog to him. His asking helped me to discover what I was experiencing rather than being focused solely on his reaction. On the one hand (my left), I felt squeamish as I worried that he wouldn’t want to hear what I had written. On the other hand (my right) my chest expanded as I realized I liked what I had written. I took a deeper breath as I felt pride at my accomplishment.

Imagine my surprise when he asked me what common ground those two sides had. What?! Common ground? Don’t I just want to get rid of the “bad” feelings and stick with the good? But, as I considered his question I realized that the common ground between these two feelings is actually my heart. I want to write only from my heart what will help and touch the heart of others. This process clarified for me that both what I write and how I touch others with my writing are important to me.

A couple of weeks later a friend told me that she is being promoted. On the one hand (for her, the left), she feels confident and ready to take on the new challenge. On the other (her right hand was tightly clinched into a fist), she heard a familiar voice telling her that this time she would fail. When I asked her about common ground, her left hand opened and softly enclosed her right hand. This instinctual movement by the body helped to sooth and comfort the scared place in her. Her whole body softened as she said again, “I’m ready.” She has a movement (left hand enclosing right) she can come back to when that voice once again gets loud.

Now, don’t confuse the voices I described above with the voice that says, “You’re worthless! No one will ever care about you in any way!” or “You’ll never amount to anything because you’re nothing more than a piece of shit!” That voice is destructive and NOT yours, although it may seem that way, and needs to be silenced. I’m talking about the voices that seem negative and negating, and yet offer wisdom and insight. The harsh “worthless” voice does neither.

So, the next time (could be now!) you become aware of a situation where you have two different feelings or reactions as described above, notice how each one feels in your body. Then ask, what is the common ground? Follow your body’s lead in response to the question. What thoughts, feelings, physical sensations/movements do you have? Let them inform and guide you as you move to a place of wholeness. What have you discovered that you can take with you into your life?

I’d love to hear your experience with finding the common ground between seemingly disparate feelings. Share as much or as little as you’d like.

In the meantime, be good friends with your body,


Joan Brooks, Certified Rubenfeld Synergist

DBA Healing Hands Healing Heart

Practitioner and Teacher of the Rubenfeld Synergy Method –

  • Sheree Diamond

    Thanks for sharing, Joan. Many of us go right to “the head” instead of the heart. You provided a great reminder to always remember to tune into our bodies for the answers.
    Sheree Diamond, The Flow Doctor

    • Joan Brooks

      Sheree, thank you so much for readling and commenting on my blog. Yes, the body contains great wisdom when we stop to listen.

  • Joy

    thank you for writing – from the first blog I took and have been LIVING the statement – your body is just waiting to help you navigate your life

    From the second I finally heard the distinction between a ‘negative’ voice with wisdom – and a harsh voice that needs to go. Never had quite that distinction before.

    Please keep writing – so I can keep getting easier with myself

    much love


    • admin

      Joy, I’m so glad my posts have been helpful to you. We can all use being easier with ourselves so I’ll keep writing.



  • Deborah DeNicola

    Thank you for this info. I do dream work and work with people holding images in their body. It’s true the body is wiser than the mind in many cases. So many of us are so steeped in left brain knowledge that it’s hard to access the body’s truths. And it takes time an practice to attune yourself to your body. Next time I have conflicting feelings about a decision, I am definitely going to try this!

    • admin

      Deborah, You’re right. We have actually been trained out of listening to our bodies! As youngsters (for some people, as infants) we were taught to ignore the signals of our bodies. For example, when we were told to kiss Uncle Ed although he smelled and looked at you funny. Or when we were told not to be afraid although our hearts were pounding and our palms were sweaty. In those instances, we had to “swallow” our own knowing and override the signals of our bodies. That then becomes the norm.

      I’m so glad you’re willing to tune into your body. Be patient with yourself as you re-learn what you knew as a child. Your body is just waiting to help you navigate through your life!

      With warmest regards,


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  • Laura Connell

    Yes, often what we think are negative feelings or experiences or qualities in us have a positive flipside (if I’m understanding correctly). I used to think it was bad that I liked spending time alone but now I see I’m lucky and that it helps me in my work (writing) and that it’s a gift to enjoy your own company.

    • admin

      Laura, I believe it’s important that we find the value in those traits that seem “negative”. Your example is a good one and reminds me that a lot of the traits that I didn’t like about myself are now some of my greatest strengths.

  • NorthLight

    Lovely to see you here. I like what you’re writing. Just at present I haven’t found common ground between two highly contradictory emotions … but when they cool off a bit there may be some. Mostly I just wanted to say ‘Hi,’ and welcome to the Blogosphere!

    The Rubenfeld session you did with me remains in my awareness as some of the most valuable mind/body work I have done. Many Blessings on what you’re doing.

    • admin

      NorthLight, It’s so good to hear from you! Thank you for reading my fledgling blog and for your thoughtful and kind comments. If you’d like some help with finding the common ground between your two emotions, please let me know. I’d be happy to do a phone or Skype session with you.

      I miss you at camp. I hope one day I’ll see you there again.

      Love, Joan

  • Lianda

    Great points: your body is a reflection of the disagreement between the thoughts in your head, and the emotions in your heart. I believe that’s how our 3 part system works! You noticed it when you talked about the instinctual movement in your friend’s hand.
    That’s one of the reasons that I love using muscle testing – your body can’t lie, and you can get to the Truth with doing this procedure. I’ve actually found a reliable way to self-test – you can find out about it here.
    Keep up the blogging from your heart!

    • admin

      Lianda, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I believe the thoughts in our head are experienced in and expressed through our bodies and emotions – if we will listen. The body is an instant portal to all aspects of us – spirit, emotions, and mind.

      I’ve had limited experience with muscle testing, and I agree that the body does not lie. Ironically, only the advanced neocortex is capable of fabrication, minimization, exaggeration, and all the ways we learned to hide from painful reality. That is why working with and through the body is so powerful and profound.

      I so appreciate your time and thoughts!