Focusing let’s us experience strong emotions in a different way, from a larger perspective, not being caught up in our feelings but being WITH them. What a difference!
I Am Not My Feelings
I remember when my brother Mark told me that he had been diagnosed with late-stage, untreatable stomach cancer. I felt so full of sorrow for him, his daughters, our mother… I could hardly stand how much feeling there was in me. Mark was calmer than I was!
I called up one of my closest friends Jane, also a Focusing teacher. Her warm, listening voice, just saying back to me what I was saying, brought back a sense of having some space inside. The feelings were still enormous… but I was even bigger. I could turn toward my feelings and be a listener to them, just as Jane was being a listener to me.
And then I could be there for my brother and my mother as well.
Focusing in a Crisis
Focusing can be a good friend and ally when we go through hard times. Having a regular weekly Focusing practice with a partner or with yourself is like building support that can be there for you when the rough times come.
Here are some special tips for those times of strong feelings:
1. Pause. Take time. Call your Focusing partner, or just take that time for yourself. Even in the midst of a crisis, there’s always a way to take five minutes. (If you don’t know what I mean, think Ladies Room!)
2. Be gentle with yourself. If you’re feeling strong feelings in your body, put a gentle hand on that place. Like you’re saying to the feelings, “Yes, I know you’re there.”
3. What a difference it makes to just listen, to HEAR how it feels. Don’t feel you have to fix it. Just let it know you hear it.
And when a friend is in a crisis, offer this same kind of listening. It’s like balm to the soul!