“I’m actually moving at top speed in the right direction.”

Jill writes: “I have a funny, uncomfortable place in me where two things don’t fit together well. 

“On the one hand, in guiding or companioning a Focusing process, we are advised to listen without judgment, without taking sides, without a goal. We are careful of avoiding being biased toward one part or one thing in us, when there is more than one voice wanting attention. 

“On the other hand, there is the idea of supporting or ‘siding with’ the life-forward direction of a person, supporting what is life-serving and leads to more aliveness in the person. That doesn’t seem totally neutral. But it also seems right. What would you say about this?”

Hi Jill,
One of the central characteristics of the Focusing process, that everyone observes, is that we are so often surprised by what comes. “I thought I had only two choices, but actually I have many.” “I thought this relationship was weighing me down, but my body tells me I feel open and light. What a surprise!”

I have a great example of this. In 1995 I had come back from a trip where nothing went right. Six workshops had been planned, and all but one had to be cancelled. I was in debt, and this ‘disaster’ sank me even deeper. I felt scared, stressed, and overwhelmed. So when I sat down with my Focusing partner for our first session after this happened, I expected my felt sense to be scared and stressed. How could it not be?

Actually, it was completely different. What I felt in my body was a feeling of ‘moving at top speed in the right direction’. Like riding in a jet plane. Totally relaxed, and totally going as fast as possible. In a new direction!

Sure enough, in the next six months I was able to take new directions in my work and pay off all my debts. That is what I would call an example of life-forward direction!

Of course that is a dramatic example. Sometimes the life-forward direction is more subtle, like a sense of the pleasure it gives me to pick up a new knitting project… and if the sense of that comes in the middle of a Focusing session, to welcome it rather than ignoring it as a distraction.

Living in “Possibility Space”

So what I’m trying to say, Jill, is that there is far from a contradiction here. The neutral, unbiased stance of Self-in-Presence makes a “possibility space,” where we don’t have to know in advance what would be right, or in what direction fresh air will come. We CAN’T know in advance. We’ll hold ourselves back if we try to pick a direction. The body-life process knows better.

And at the same time, when the life-forward direction emerges, we can recognize it, dwell with it, enjoy it, cheerlead it… So we (and our Focusing partners) don’t miss it.

You don’t try to know the direction in advance. But once the direction emerges, it is OK to follow it where it leads.

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