The difference between ‘unsafe’ and ‘uncomfortable’, and why it matters
In last week’s class, SD came up with the words, ‘the felt sense with its knowingness will keep you safe.’
This was in relation to whether people who don’t know each other can Focus together, which we were exploring in the class.
I felt those words to be clear and profound. And it implies a trust in yourself, and your ability to be in touch with your felt sense. When you listen to what it is telling you, you can respond appropriately.
If you are feeling unsafe in a situation, it’s a warning that action needs to be taken by you. You can pull back from what appears to be dangerous. You can take steps to protect yourself. And you can take care of your needs.
If, however, you are feeling uncomfortable, it might be that you don’t like the situation you are in, but there’s also a feeling that you can handle it. There might be benefits to staying with the uncomfortable situation; for instance, learning something new, or being in an unfamiliar environment.
I am often asked how you can keep yourself safe when you are Focusing.
Sometimes big, overwhelming feelings can sweep over you, especially if Focusing is new to you. You can always check with your felt sense, by asking, ‘does it feel OK for me to be with this?’ And then wait and see what comes. Two things can happen.
You may find that it feels too overwhelming right now. In which case, you can take a step back, to take care of yourself. Perhaps open your eyes and look around you. Notice your hands and feet. Find your grounding, and notice what physical support your can feel with your body. What are you sitting on, and how is the chair holding your weight? You can come back to your overwhelming feelings when you are able to be with them, without getting overwhelmed. So do whatever you need to do, to enable you to feel safe. There’s no point trying to Focus when you don’t feel safe.
Or, if you ask yourself, ‘does it feel OK for me to be with this?’ Your felt sense might say, it feels difficult or uncomfortable, but it is OK for me to be with it. In fact, it is good for me to be with it. This is where ‘magic’ can happen; you will find that it actually feels good to spend time being with feelings that are uncomfortable or unpleasant in some way. Feelings that you may have been trying to suppress or get rid of, are actually lonely, and they will respond to your friendly attention. Sometimes that is all they need, for someone to listen to them, to take them seriously, and to give them some kindness and compassion.
In order for that to happen, you need to be there, with enough capacity to be able to give kindness and friendly attention to yourself. You might need to acknowledge how big and overwhelming the feelings are right now. It helps to describe how it feels in the body. Notice its location and describe what it’s like. That gives you an external perspective; it helps to objectify it, and you can notice that it’s not all of you, but a part of you feeling like this.
I welcome questions about how you can make Focusing work for you in your own life. Please send me your questions, and I will answer in a future tips.