- Felt Sense
- Inner Child
- Self Esteem
I want to say how much I value Focusing in these difficult times.
It is giving me enormous support on a personal level.
I am sure that everyone can benefit as much as I do, even though you may already have support systems in place, such as mindfulness, meditation, support of family and friends, and connection with nature.
This is adapted from an interview I did recently with Amy McCormack for Thresholds, the quarterly professional journal of BACP Spirituality division.Focusing naturally lends itself to supporting spiritual practice by developing the capacity for grounded aware presence and empathy for yourself and others... When I am being in nature, I have a sense of connection.
When I am Focusing, I find that the more present I can be and the more grounded awareness I can bring to my Focusing, then the more my Focusing can flow. They are interconnected.
How many times do we say to each other, ‘take care’, or ‘take good care of yourself’, or ‘look after yourself’, usually as a way of saying goodbye?
Do we really take care of ourselves? Do you?
What often stops us is lack of time, or perhaps an unwillingness to slow down, pause and listen, and take the action that is needed.
Sometimes we may not listen because we don’t want to hear what our body tells us.
Gene Gendlin explained it by saying, ‘if you want to smell the soup, you don’t put your head in it!’
It’s the same principle when you are Focusing.
You are being curious about what you find inside yourself. You want to know more; to find out where a feeling is coming from, how it relates to your life situation, and what it needs so that you can move forward.
If you are ‘merged’ with a feeling, it’s like having your head in the soup.
You can’t see anything else. Your whole experience is the soup.
When you’re Focusing, it is helpful to say ‘I am aware of..’, and then describe what it is you are aware of.
But what is awareness itself?
It may feel like an open, spacious attentiveness. When you are Focusing, it is a deliberate act of turning your attention towards something. It it the context within which all content, all life experiences happen. It has no content itself. It has no particular agenda, of looking for a particular outcome. It has no needs or wants for itself. It just is, a state of being, always and already present.
A Focusers asks: 'I’ve been reading about Internal Family Systems Therapy... and wonder if you can answer my question….what is the difference between the Focusing you do and IFS?'
Focusing emphasises the felt sense, which is something unclear, fuzzy and not yet defined.
I suggest that you put your attention into the inner area of your body, while holding an awareness of the parts you are being with. Look for what’s unclear about ‘the whole thing’, more than you already know about this.
A Focusers asks: ‘Despite some encouraging success with focusing, I still have a reoccurring familiar problem that often crops up. To me the felt-sense can feel like an intermittent radio signal....'
I see this happening often in Focusing sessions.
You are tracking something and the felt sense is there clearly and strongly. Then, it seems to have gone, somehow. And you are left feeling disappointed and perhaps lost or confused...
Felt senses can be delicate, fragile even.
A Focusers asks, ‘One question I had in mind while listening to your session was, how does one operate from a place of quite/presence/heart to attend the difficult aspects/parts of oneself.'
I agree that our identification with parts of us goes very deep.
Even though we would love to be able to live from the awakened, aware state all of the time, few of us experience that. In my view, it is enough that we can experience it at least some of the time.
Focusing involves a surrender, and a deep, attentive listening, which is humbling and life-affirming.
This surrender I am referring to is about letting go of personal, ego-driven will. I cannot force myself to change.
If I try, I might find there’s a part of me that digs its heals in, and resists the change more strongly.