Focusing Tip #360 – “My felt sense either floods me or slips away.”

Focusing Tip #360 – “My felt sense either floods me or slips away.”
December 11, 2012 Ann Weiser Cornell

“My felt sense either floods me or slips out of my hands.”
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JP writes: “I’m trying to process some complex relationship difficulties that I’m going through. When focusing I go through a sense of loss, pain, anguish and frustration. The felt sense tells me that I have a deep wound inside me that hurts very much. However, I’m having real difficulty accessing it and communicating with it.

“Usually it comes fresh quite fast and hard almost flooding me at times, but when I give it attention it fades. It feels as though I’m grabbing something sore but it becomes slippery and keeps slipping out of my hands. This is followed by a process of rationalizing where I go into my head and become very distant from the felt sense. Then in time the whole process starts again. It’s almost as though I sway to and fro the felt sense, never achieving or maintaining the right working distance from it.”

Dear JP,          

It sounds like you’ve already gone a long way with your Focusing process, and good for you. Let’s see if I can help with the rest.

So you come to the place in your Focusing process where you can sense there is a deep wound inside you that hurts very much. At this point, if we were working together, I would say, “Let’s go very slowly and gently here.”

In my experience, feelings that are like “deep wounds” are typically from long ago, and they are hedged about with protections that have also been in place for a long time. There are parts of us that don’t want us to have to feel those feelings, because they don’t believe we have the resources to handle them. We do… but once upon a time we did not.

So when you begin to get close to a feeling like a deep wound, remember to go slowly and gently… because if you do not, alarm bells start to go off, fire doors start to swing closed… and awareness cannot get close to what is actually needing attention.

The quality of contact is the key
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When you begin to experience something like a deep wound or a deep level of painful feeling, I would recommend giving first attention to “quality of contact.”

That might sound like this: “I am sensing what quality of contact IT would like from ME right now.” Perhaps IT wants you to go slowly, or be gentle, or be respectful, or come closer, or back off a bit… It doesn’t have to speak, you can tell from sensing what it needs, just as you could tell what kind of contact a puppy or kitten would need.

Once this part of you has the quality of contact it needs, it is much less likely to flood you or run away from you. Safety is being established. Now just go slowly, and keep the quality of contact primary and the process itself will do the rest.

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