Overlooked trauma

For some time now, I have been reflecting on the meaning of the word trauma, or more precisely, what does it mean to say something was traumatic? It is not always the more obvious things that leave us traumatised. We can too easily dismiss an experience, when comparing it to other peoples "bigger " more obvious trauma.

In reality, a traumatic experience is not so much defined by the type of event, but more about how a situation impacts upon an individual, or community. It's defined by a meeting of an external situation with the unique intricacy of each person. It is too simple to say x event = x

Living from your "bigger self"

Though you may not be able to tell by looking, some of the time I feel like a scared child: vulnerable, cautious, defended,... to name a few qualities. I look out from those scared eyes.

And at other times, I feel like an adult, a grown up... neither of those labels quite feel right (and as we and my son know, not adults are grown ups!) I feel undefended, curious, I can take risks, speak out when needed, feel and act from my values. It feels better to live from here, not just for me but for my family and the broader world.

How come we can switch from one to other in a moment and how can focusing help us get bigger? Read More...

Who meditates? (or does Focusing?)

Sometimes I get stuck in Focusing. Usually this is because I have become identified with some part of me that wants something to happen - or conversely wants to avoid something happening. Or it could be the part of me that wants to understand. It can take me a while to spot this has happened. Once I do, the process invariably changes.

In meditation (which I don't do that often, I have to admit), it is surprising how quickly, even automatically I become "the meditator". I call it this, as it feels like a persona or role that I spent many years developing - not in any conscious way, but more through habit. A key quality of this part of me is that it wants to create a better experience. By better I mean "calmer, easier, less anxious". There is of course nothing wrong with wanting to feel calmer and so on but it is how this part does it that makes things difficult. This part of me is not that interested in being curious or accepting - it just wants to feel better and make difficult uneasy things go away.... at any cost. It is like this part of me climbs into the driving seat of my being and takes control. It is more subtle than this image suggests but is still a takeover.

For too many years, I charged ahead, identified with the part of me that wants to control to avoid pain and ended up pushing huge parts of myself away in the attempt to feel good. I wished it had worked, but for much of the time I just ended up straining and wanting...

It seems to me that there is a real subtlety of having an aim in meditation or in Focusing. It has to be held lightly and in relation to what is happening right now. Let's not use our meditation or Focusing to override difficult experience or anything that calls for attention. How do we know when this is happening?

These days when i feel a little stuck, I drop these enquiries into my process.

Can I say to myself - everything is welcome?
Can I say to any part of me "you can be there just as you are"
If I am with a difficult aspect of myself, am i curious about it?
Do I feel empathy for this part of myself?

If there is a no to any of the above questions, then I have something else to turn towards! and we can be curious about that.

Put simply. let's be conscious of who is driving our process...


The unknown is a powerful place

I often say to people when they are learning Focusing that there is a lot of hanging about in the unknown and encourage others (and myself) to acknowledge that this means you are on the right track. More than ever now, I am appreciating just how important this is, in Focusing and beyond.

To put it another way, if we already knew everything there was to know about our life, then all our issues would be resolved, right? The fact that we have unresolved situations in our life means there is something yet to know, something to be discovered. I like that and funnily enough it brings hope. Read More...

Misunderstandings about Focusing

Over the last twelve years I have been teaching Focusing, I have come across many misunderstandings about it, both from those who have simply heard about it and those who practise it and even know it well! - including me. So I thought I would explore a few misunderstandings.

Who makes the new years resolutions?

Who makes the new years resolutions?

Like many others, I have been reflecting on last year and giving time to thinking about the year ahead… and wondering shall I make some kind of resolution?

In the past I have made many resolutions and to be honest, they have not come to much. They have usually been far to vague to be actualised. Things like “I’d like to be more fearless next year”. The intention is good I know, but it soon gets forgotten or lost. Also, as I look back I see that this resolution was being made from only one side of myself (my Focusing teachers call this a partial self). The trouble is, that no matter how wonderful and well intentioned our resolution is, if it comes from only a part of us (even a very positive one), we will probably be in trouble: What happens for me, is that all the other parts of me that did not sign up for the resolution kick in and rebel! and the resolution fails. We all have these partial selves, even famous people it turns out - I was listening to the radio 6 last week and heard an exact from Russell Brand’s new book “Revolution” He very clearly and humorously spoke about having some part of him that was scared…and went onto mention that there was “more than one of him in here”… insightful. Read More...