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Focusing Tip #654 – Focusing isn’t talking to your body

Focusing Tip #654 – Focusing isn’t talking to your body
April 24, 2019 Ann Weiser Cornell
Do you talk to your body and wonder why that isn't helping? Read on...

Focusing Tip #654 – Focusing isn’t talking to your body

Do you talk to your body and wonder why that isn’t helping? Read on…


A Reader writes:

I tried Focusing with my client. She has a chronic pain in her shoulder. I had her tell the shoulder that she is not angry with it. The next week she came back and the pain in the shoulder was worse. She told me, “I don’t like Focusing.”

Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Michelle:

Thank you so much for writing. This gives me a chance to clear up a common misunderstanding about Focusing. Many people think that if you talk to your body with kindness, then you are Focusing.

Not at all, I’m afraid.

Focusing isn’t talking to your body. It is listening to your body.

Imagine this pain in the shoulder… or as I would say, “something in the shoulder is in pain.” Your client (at your suggestion) talks to it. She tells it she is not angry with it. But how do we know that that is what it wanted to hear?

In any relationship in life, whenever we talk before listening, we run a big risk. If we haven’t listened first, we are likely to be imposing our ideas on the other. And this is true however “nice” we are.

Here is what I would do. I would invite this client to feel her own sense of grounded support in her whole body. Next I would see if she would like to describe the sensation that is being called “pain.”

After that, I’d suggest she might inwardly sit next to it, and sense its emotion. Maybe it is angry. Maybe it is scared. Maybe it is defending or protecting something. We don’t know until we listen.

I’d say to the client: “You might let it know you hear it…. and then sense what kind of company it would like from you right now.”

Respect begins with listening. This is true inside us as well as out.

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