Focusing Tips by Fiona Parr

I'm often asked questions which I feel are relevant to many people. So I share my responses here which I hope will provide a helpful insight for everyone involved in Focusing and an overview if you are new to Focusing.
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What does it mean when my companion says to find a place of aliveness?

Am I looking for an image, a place of safety, the same place that I usually go to for resourcing in my body? How can we work with this suggestion?

The suggestion to ‘find a place of aliveness’ may come at the beginning of a Focusing session, as part of the lead-in to the body. The companion helps the Focuser to bring their attention to their body, becoming aware of how it feels inside. It is helpful to find a place of aliveness at the beginning of a Focusing session because it puts you in touch with a bodily felt, physical experience of being Self-In-Presence. You know it; you experience it fully, and you can return to it during the session whenever you need to remind yourself of your intrinsic sense of well-being. This is especially useful when you are going through a difficult time, or being with strong emotions. It is a resource; a practical way of grounding yourself in your experience of being in Presence.

Why do I suggest that you look for a feeling tone or quality of aliveness? Would not ‘Presence’ work just as well? We talked about it in the class, and discovered that different words work well for different people. The word ‘Presence’ may not be easy for some people to identify. How do you know you are experiencing Presence? The bodily felt experience is often non-verbal, so you look for something that it can relate to more easily. And then it can show you, through a subtle physical sensation or sense.

The quality of aliveness may show itself though a sense of being awake, or in the flow; warm or expanded; open, somehow. It is not stuck, contracted or blocked. If you listen and attend carefully to your body, you may notice that there are parts that feel more at ease or flowing than others. Often when we Focus, people tend to go towards parts of themselves that are difficult, feeling uncomfortable or tight somehow. And this is a good thing. This is where your body wants you to go. It is calling for attention, and so you give it, with gentle curiosity, and this enables it to open and release. And before you do that, it is helpful to find a place in your body that feels alive or flowing first, and hence this suggestion during the lead-in.

You can notice what happens to blocked or stuck places in you when you bring a kind, gentle attention to it. It becomes more alive as you stay with it. You might notice the tight or stuck place is beginning to move around. You might get more information from it, such as how it is connected to your life, and what are the difficulties that are underlying it. And it might release and feel easier in the body as you stay with it. If you are finding images that fit with the felt sense of the whole thing, you can notice how the images progress from the inanimate towards animate and sentient. For instance, something that started out as a heavy rock in your chest may turn into an egg that has a chick inside. Or something that feels external to the body may transition to something there in your chest.