You can learn to allow the process itself to make the next steps it needs.
Last week I talked about how the body process is not neutral, and the next forward steps of your life can be felt in your body as a release, a shift, like a “yes” in the whole body.
The question I said I would answer this week is, what gets in the way of these life-forward steps, and what to do about it?
We start Focusing by pausing and allowing a space of open attentiveness. We bring awareness into the body. What we mean by “the body” is the place where you can feel more than you can put into words.
This “more than words” feeling is the felt sense. Gene Gendlin sometimes calls it the “this” – because before you have words, you can say “this” to refer to the feeling. You can lose it and then say, “OK, I have it again,” and still you can’t say what it is!
You can speak from this “this” – and that works better if you speak slowly and keep sensing as you speak. (If you aren’t talking to a Focusing person, you may need to assert your space, as in “I need to say this slowly, I’m not finished, please.”)
When you get it right… when the words you find match the feeling, even incompletely… you get the body shift, the deeper breath, the “Ah!” – even a little bit. And then you are ready for the next step of sensing, because doing even this much changes things a little, and now you can sense freshly.
What gets in the way of this lovely process?
• Thinking you already know the answer
• Not taking enough time
• Being anxious that nothing will come
• Fear of the unknown blank
Turning toward what gets in the way
Many years ago, when I assisted Gene Gendlin in his Focusing courses, I often heard the following exchange:
Gene: “Focusing requires that we have a friendly attitude to what comes.”
Participant: “So what if I can’t be friendly to it?”
Gene: “Then see if you can be friendly to THAT.”
I found this a remarkable answer! “Not being friendly” is something to be friendly to! This captured my imagination, and over the years (and with the help of Barbara McGavin) my development of this track in Gene Gendlin’s work became Inner Relationship Focusing.
One of the key phrases in Inner Relationship Focusing is “something in me.” For many people, this phrase “something in me” is an empowering and simple way to turn toward their own felt experience.
Let’s see how this works with what gets in the way of allowing the next right steps to come.
Thinking you already know the answer
“Something in me thinks I already know the answer…”
Not taking enough time
“Something in me is finding it hard to take time…”
Being anxious that nothing will come
“Something in me is anxious that nothing will come…”
Fear of the unknown blank
“Something in me is afraid to just sit with this blank…”
Acknowledging and turning toward “something in us” that is in the way, allows it to be there… and it’s no longer in the way. We are pausing again, sensing again, back to Focusing.