Welcoming Back the Collective Exiles of Death and Grief

forest-clearing

I have always loved the invitation of "What wants attention?" to open a Focusing process. In my life as a Focusing teacher and in my personal practice as a Focuser, I used to think that this invitation was enough for whatever wanted attention to show up: that after I made that initial opening, the rest would happen by itself; that all I had to do was open the door and whatever wanted to be seen would wander though. Maybe it would take time to come, but eventually it would come and be heard and met. I had this image of opening a door and waiting... 

But what if that ‘something’ on the other side of the door has not only been kept out by protective forces in you but has been exiled by the larger collective. What if that ‘something’ has showed up at many doors over and over and been turned away, hundreds and thousands of times... and what if it had done this for generations. How would it feel to be that something? Imagine being such an exile. Would it be enough to see an open door for you to go in, would you trust it after all the rejections? I doubt it. Read More...
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What does welcoming mean?

I love the word "welcoming" and I use it a lot in my courses and sessions with people. I invite myself and others to "welcome" feelings or parts of themselves that arise in focusing... and I wanted to share what I really meant by it as it's one of those words that means different things to different people and can easily be misunderstood. Read More...
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"You matter" - the implicit and essential message of Focusing

seedling
It is a tragic truth that too may of us go through life feeling that our life does not matter, that what we deeply feel, value and believe does not matter, that even our existence does not matter. I meet many people that in some way had this message given to them as a child. Their feelings and inner life was not of value or worse, that how they were, was in some way not allowed or too much, flawed or damaged... Their sense of mattering in the world was broken or compromised. Imagine living in a world where you feel your life has no consequence? That your experience does not count in any way. Maybe you life, or aspects of it, was somewhat like that?

To feel we matter is an essential need. Even the word "matter" brings a lot. It speaks of substance and has its origins in latin words for origin, source and mother. When we matter we feel substantial, we feel real. Our existence in the world is noticed, is valued and cherished. It is an essential "message" to give to each other and an essential thing to feel.
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Behind the annoying person is a whole life...

Behind the annoying person is a whole life...

Over recent months, I've noticed how my son quickly goes into blame and frustration when his best friend does not respond to a message, a whole story can emerge about how his friend hates him or how they will never talk again. I am sure we have all done something similar, we send a message to a friend, expecting a response and when it does not come, we fall into blame and hurt.

And I notice how I am now learning to wonder…
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Is it ok to tell a story in Focusing?

There is a common misunderstanding about Focusing that it is all about the body, that you have to feel it all in the body and the body is where all the wisdom lies. To me, this is too black and white, and a little literal. What we can often forget is how important it is to tell a story, to give space to the narrative, or to share the narrative. When the original research was done into Focusing, they originally called what they found "a different way of speaking". They didn't say it was people listening to their bodies, they said it was about a different way of speaking. They saw that when people spoke, and at the same time referred to their direct felt experience, then change happened. So I want to talk more about this way of speaking. Read More...
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