I keep a "Focusing Journal" where I regularly listen to my body's wisdom. I feel that daily Focusing tunes me up as a therapist and grounds me into my body. It also helps me to be a more compassionate human being.
I have been studying Inner Relationship Focusing for many years, and I am always astounded by the insight that comes through my Focusing sessions.
Intuitively Listening Within
You can heal emotionally by listening deeply to your body. When you feel anxious, there is usually an emotion that needs your loving attention. Symbols and solutions for positive change will arise from your body when you get quiet.
1. BEING IN PRESENCE
“I’M SENSING SOMETHING IN ME THAT FEELS…”
Presence is a state of unconditionally "being with" whatever is arising in your awareness.
Whenever you catch yourself saying, “I am…” or “I feel…,” notice how it would feel to say, “I’m sensing that something in me feels…”
Presence is powerful. From presence, you can be with any emotion without feeling overwhelmed. When you are aware of your inner experiences, you can acknowledge them and say "hello" to them.
From witnessing presence, you can sense how each inner experience is a part of you, and that you are much larger than any single part. You are even larger than all your parts put together.
Your witnessing Presence is able to keep company with everything within you with compassion.
2. GOING SLOWLY
“I’M TAKING TIME TO…”
What you do not yet know needs time and space to emerge and unfold.
When you take your time to really feel into your body, you allow a "living forward" process to happen.
It is in the body that our ‘next step" lives.
You need to go slowly enough for the unfolding of your inner symbology to arise. If you feel you’re not going very deep into your body, try going even slower.
Notice exactly what is happening right here, right now. When we slow down and keep something company in this slow way, our body will communicate to us through words, poetry, symbols and imagery.
3. SENSING IN THE BODY
“I’M NOTICING HOW THAT FEELS IN MY BODY NOW”
The body always exists in present time. The body communicates the truth of how we are feeling right now.
The body cannot lie. We might want to ignore what can be felt in the body, but if it is there, it is real.
The body also expresses wholeness. The body brings the whole situation, all of our past and all our future relating to this problem, this stuckness, into this single felt-moment - now.
As you keep company with something in your body, a fresh image, word or thought will likely come into your awareness.
4. STAYING IN CONTACT WITH THE UNCLEAR EDGE
“I’M SENSING FOR WHAT IS UNCLEAR HERE”
In Focusing, we can be with our experiencing in a way that is open and curious about what is unclear.
To help the ‘more’ from your subconscious to open, you need to hang out at the edge of the whole thing. You need to sit near the places you don’t know.
It is important to notice and value what is fuzzy, vague, puzzling, unclear, and hard to put into words. This is where the ‘more’ is to be found.
Whenever you are taking your time and feeling it in your body, you can sense for the ‘edge,’ a sense of something not-quite-in-words-yet, almost-known, and ‘fuzzy.’
This is where the life-forward energy is enfolded. Learning to cherish the slow, the subtle and the vague helps your inner symbology from your subconscious to emerge.
“I’M LETTING IT KNOW IT CAN BE THE WAY IT IS FOR AS LONG AS IT NEEDS TO BE”
As we take time to keep company the unclear edge in our bodies, we are creating a space for something new to emerge.
At this point, we do nothing but keep company with what’s there and wait.
It can be very difficult to just stay with something, keeping it company, when it feels like nothing is happening.
The more we can trust that our body knows the direction that we need to grow, the easier this whole process will be.
From Presence, we can patiently wait with something until it is time for it to shift. When something shifts, it is an experience that can be described as grace – beyond our control.
5. HOLDING A SPACE FOR SOMETHING NEW TO COME
“I’M SAYING ‘YES’ TO WHAT’S COME”
If we already knew what our growth direction looked like, we wouldn’t need Focusing to find it. So when it comes, it may surprise us. In fact, it probably won’t be what we expected at all.
Whenever we sense some kind of movement, shift, relief, opening, flowing in our bodies, we are experiencing a step forward.
A new insight is often followed by a deep spontaneous breath.
A new insight might just be a word or phrase that doesn’t seem connected with anything but somehow it feels right in your body.
It might be a single word or an image that seems strange or even bizarre. Whatever it is - if it fits with how your body feels - it symbolizes your next step.
6. WHATEVER FEELS LIKE ‘FRESH AIR’ IS A STEP, NO MATTER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Your symbol might not an actual ‘action step’ but a ‘process step.’ Sometimes inner realizations do not require outer action.
In order for your inner process to ‘carry forward,’ you need to suspend judgment about what should happen, what action should be taken, and where this will lead.
A ‘step’ is a shift, however small. It is a change in how your current situation is perceived and carried forward in the body.
If you sense more flow in your body, and if it feels good - it is a step that needs to be welcomed.
AN UNFOLDING PROCESS
Symbols for growth unfold one after the other from the body. Each symbol is only a step in the whole process of living forward.
It is important to remember that the symbols from your subconscious are just an indicator of how to move forward. The direct experience in your body will always be more than you can capture in a symbol, no matter how well it fits.