September 8 2009 – Tip #198

September 8 2009 – Tip #198
October 17, 2009 Ann Weiser Cornell

What if you don't want to do Focusing because the problems are so tough that they can't change anyway? Read on…

"How do you do Focusing when you don't want to do Focusing?"

Ian writes: "How do you do Focusing when you don't want to do

He adds: "I'm sure, in decades of Focusing's existence, someone
must've asked this before!"

Dear Ian,
Yes, absolutely, that question is not a rare or a strange one!

we don't ever want to force or trick ourselves (or parts of us) into
Focusing when they don't want to. That wouldn't work, anyway, besides
creating a low-trust inner relationship.

But what you can do is
say to it something like, "Sure, we don't have to do Focusing today if
you don't want to… and I'm sure you have a good reason not to…"

there, where you didn't exactly ask a question but you did indicate
your warm interest in knowing more, you're likely to start sensing the
"why not."

It could be anything. It could be something in you
scared of what you'll find, today. It could be something in you knowing
that today it would take time, and not wanting to take the time. It
could be something in you feeling tired of being nice. All kinds of

Even though you're not really Focusing (you wouldn't do that when it didn't want to!), you can certainly acknowledge the not-wanting-to, and let it know you hear it.

When stuck between a rock and a hard place


have a feeling I know what Ian's reason for not wanting to do Focusing
is. Because he goes on to ask the following, which he says is a related

stuck between a rock and a hard place, can Focusing still be useful?
I'm referring to intractable situations imposed by circumstances and/or
by more powerful people, where choices are either limited or
non-existent – in
other words 'lose-lose' situations."

First, let's say that no
wonder something in you doesn't want to do Focusing if it believes that
it won't do any good! "That stuff out there–those people and those
circumstances–that won't change. So what good will Focusing be?" Right?

now I'm going to say something kind of amazing, so listen carefully.
(It's something I've just been learning from Gene Gendlin, so I hope I
get it right…)

When we put the problem out there, and say that THAT can't change,
that is a viewpoint. By doing that, we have already sliced up the world
in a certain way. We have separated ourselves from the problem… and
that is as much of a problem, and as wrong, as separating mind from

I know that's quite a philosophical mouthful… but the
good news is, you don't have to understand all that for Focusing to

The simple answer is Yes, emphatically yes, the Focusing
process works to bring change even when a part of us doesn't believe
that change is possible, and even when it looks like the problems are
all out there, over there, totally separate from powerless little me.
You just need to be especially careful to identify as Self-in-Presence,
and make an inner welcome for a fresh felt sense to form… the way it
feels right now, beyond previous words and concepts. You'll amaze


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Sign up here and get your first lesson right away.

Thank you! Your first lesson is on its way to your inbox. If you don't see it in the next couple hours, be sure to check your SPAM folder (or Promotions tab in GMail)