Sunday, 3 January 2010


I am very aware that the language of Sophrology and its specific vocabulary can appear at first to be a bit off-putting, it certainly scared me; add to that the fact that Professor Caycedo has “invented” words to describe certain of the phenomena that we live in Sophrology.
In my role as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, I try to explain that words are labels for ideas, feelings, sentiments etc… in other words for things that we experience, the phenomena that we shall be looking at later. How could you explain the words “hot” or “cold” to someone who has never experienced them? The vocabulary that Professor Caycedo uses is in the same vein; such things have to be experienced to be understood. That is where the quote by Aristotle is so appropriate. So do not be put off by such words as “vivance” “phronic region” etc, don’t try to understand them, just live them, and the understanding will follow.
Whilst I was learning, some words were forbidden; the word “but” for example. “Yes, but…” How many of us have been guilty of that! Or quite simply; “but no!” My way round it was to say, “However” ……it’s amazing the different dynamics that the change in word brings it. It is less negative; it is giving an opening rather than a closing. In French, the impersonal “one” is often used. For me as a non native speaker it is much easier to conjugate than “I You and We”. However, it is impersonal, and it was also banned from our vocabulary. No longer was it the “one”, the “other” but “I”. And that means taking responsibility. For me, myself, I.
Some words were added for example “yet” I can’t do it…yet! Here again, an opportunity to start a new road, rather than sitting down and refusing to go any further.
Translation from the French gave me quite a few headaches. “Je suis conscient” I am conscious, or I am aware? Apart from the fact that the latter makes many think of a particular film star, it seemed to me to be closer to the mark. I have also come across the word “mindful” which has a similar ring to it. And then, I realized, that what I had to do was to explain what I meant by the use of the word, and I could use the former, to englobe the latter, and to remain closer to the original semantics. That particular aha moment came on the return of the first trip to Andorra, as I woke out of a slumber…..An example of the sophro liminal layer bringing forth the answer.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Forward ....... comments please

My introduction to Sophrology, and my subsequent Voyage, is quite a love story.
Born in Scotland, I have lived in France since 1990, and the birth of my 3rd child. In 1996, my equally Scottish ex husband left me, and I found myself as a single parent with 4 children, ages ranging from 4 to 12. I had a difficult time, however went back to work, as a teacher, and as they say in France, made my life again. In 2001, thank to the wonders of internet, I met a wonderful man, Jacques, and we embarked upon a relationship. This was long distance, as my four lived with me, and his three with him. Not only did we not fancy making dinner for 9 every evening, we wanted to take it slowly, and give our own relationship a chance to grow, without the distraction of 7 pre and teenage children.
Let’s fast forward to 2007 which was the year that we both celebrated our 50th birthdays. I rather diffidently suggested that we celebrate together. He agreed, to my huge surprise, as long as we did something different. We did. We decided on a Scotland Savoy workshop; mini highland games in the afternoon, bagpipes, Scottish dancing, Scottish and Savoy songs, haggis and tartiflette on the menu, national costumes from all over Europe.....we had a wonderful time.
Parties mean presents, and Jacques found me a most unusual one. It should perhaps be empathised that in my speech I referred to the “eclectic” character of my home, which gives a clue. And some time before, when I had been bemoaning the state of my house, Jacques hinted that his present to me might help the part of me that was organised and throwing out challenged. I am not joking when I say that I thought it might be a skip!
It was, however, something much better; it was an introductory weekend to Sophrology. Jacques said that he was offering me that, because he didn’t want to bury me, he wanted to grow old with me; because he loved me. And my frantic life style, two jobs, a constant running to try to catch up was not conducive to a serene and relaxed partner.
So off I went to the first weekend to learn, I thought, to relax. There I discovered that Jacques’ present went so much further. This was an opportunity to learn not only to learn how to relax, but to live in a positive manner, and also to teach other people as well.... the teacher’s soul in me went yippee!
That very first day had me hooked. I joined in with 4 other ladies, plus the teacher. The other students were in their second year, and radiated a lively serenity that I wanted too. They were in touch with themselves, their emotions, and as I learnt, their bodies.
And that is one of the central points of Caycedian Sophrology, getting back in touch with our bodies. This is an area that I shall be developing throughout this book.
The book is an attempt to synthesise what I have learnt in parts of my journey. It is not a translation of the excellent books that are available in French. It does follow more or less the same path, for a very good reason. All of these, including my own, are based on the work of Professor Alfonso Caycedo, the creator of Sophrology. Therefore the history, sources, language, methods and practices will all be the same.
My Voyage continued and continues, as you shall discover.
In the first two years I lost count of the moments that were important to me. The first weekend we used a technique to help us make a choice. I wrote down the things I thought I wanted, including a tidy house. What came up was a peaceful home....tidy was only a means to an end. On the second weekend, I “gave” in English; I was so concerned about language, how to translate in English, what I could say, that it was blocking me. I actually got applause, and I thought, “I can do this”. The contents of the weekend were not always positive; Sophrology can disturb, said our teacher, and when I stopped fighting it did. My hidden feelings on a variety of subjects bubbled up; my hearing loss on one occasion and on another Pandora’s Box was well and truly opened. I learnt from both of these experiences. And continue to do so.
The positive ones were amazing; seeing myself as if I were looking at myself from the outside (more of that later) accepting the me that I could see; opening myself to the world; welcoming the energy of the Universe................These are teasers to hope that you will go through the book and find these examples, and more.
Jacques is not the only person in this love story. Yannick, the main teacher is a wonderful example of unconditional living and sharing love. And then there are the “gels”, the ladies whom I met on my voyage, and who joined me helped me, shared with me, reassured me, laughed with me, and cried with me. Certain shared the car journey, bedrooms, belly laughs, shopping, brandy and the high moments in Andorra; Sylvie, Isabelle, Cendrine and Celine “let’s laugh together”. Others shared with me in class, and I hope that Fred, Anne Laure, Aurolie, Elzabeth, all learnt something from me. I certainly learnt from you.
This story started with romantic love, and has not yet finished. We can also find filial love, my children so happy to see their mum relaxed; parental love, my parents delighted to see me fulfilled and challenged; amical love, friends old and new enjoying the me that I am; and Universal love, the love that comes to me from the Universe.
One thing that I shared with my classes was “Desiderata” An old hippy poster, it resonated, and resonates with me. So do other old hippy posters, and songs; Turn Turn Turn, The Pete Seegar song based on Ecclesiastes, And last but not least, Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, when he said......
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that),
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.
For me Sophrology is a way to bring sense and worth to all people, and it reminds us, that we are all, brothers, or sisters, under the skin!