This Part of Me Feels Heard

At the end of a Focusing session recently, the Focuser said, “This part of me feels heard”.



And that is one of the ways that Focusing differs from other interactions. Things within us are often pleased to be heard – to have said something aloud, saying it to a companion without needing to interpret or comment, and to be heard without being judged. These are all exceptional aspects of Focusing. And neither the Focuser nor the Listener needs to interpret or comment for the relief to occur, and for something to change.

When we are heard, sometimes that is all that needs to happen. We pay attention to something inside us, get to know it better, and acknowledge that this is how it is right now. It might change – in the next months, days, weeks, or minutes even – this is how it is right now. We are not trying to change it, or do anything about it, we are just curious if it does change.

On this occasion the Focuser was reaching into something that he felt and at first he couldn’t put into words. Then, gradually, the words came. They surprised him, and yet they didn’t surprise him. Deep down he knew what was emerging, and he hadn’t ever listened to it before. Memories came – recent and far back. Memories joined with other memories, making links that were at first surprising, then making sense.

All I did was to listen with my full attention, and repeat back to him some of the things he said. Hearing it back he sometimes changed what he’d said at first, hearing that the words he used at first didn’t quite ‘get it’.

The relief at acknowledging and voicing all of this was clear in his voice. It also enabled him to look at the initial circumstances differently, to change how he might respond to this situation, with the other person, another time.

Many of us find it easier to respond to other people’s wants and needs, rather than paying attention to our own. When we do so in a non-judgemental, compassionate way – just as we would for a dear friend – it feels good for us to hear ourself. It feels good for this part of us to be heard.

12 Reasons Sensitive People Love Focusing

I am very happy today to include a guest post by Emily Agnew.  Emily lives in the New York, and offers Focusing and a variety of services related to Focusing.  For more details about Emily, please scroll to the end of this article. 

I asked Emily if I could include her article here, and she kindly agreed .  I particularly like the way she has explained how some people find Focusing of such great help in their lives – I think she has explained it so well with her use of metaphors.  And, of course, the twelve reasons are true for anyone in Focusing.


12 Reasons Sensitive People Love Focusing  by Emily Agnew
Emily's boat

When I was a kid, my grandfather taught my sister and me how to paddle and steer our red canoe. He had just one condition: if we wanted to venture out of his sight, we had to capsize the canoe then figure out how to get it back to the dock.


His big worry was drowning, but I had my own reasons to avoid going overboard: I dreaded the horrible things I knew were lurking under the deep water, waiting to grab an ankle or bite off a toe.


Nevertheless, we did it: we capsized the canoe and plunged into the water. I felt panic rise as I hurried to get myself back into the boat before the demons of the deep could strike. The trip back was laborious as the waterlogged canoe didn’t steer well. We had to paddle slowly and I was cold and soggy.


But all of it felt manageable to me. I knew I’d be OK. Why?


Because my sister was there. 


Let’s face it: you can handle a capsized canoe or an overwhelming emotion by yourself if you have to. But the right kind of company makes it so much easier.


No wonder sensitive people love focusing with a partner. Solo focusing can be helpful, but like paddling a swamped canoe, it’s much easier with company. Here’s why:


12 reasons sensitive people love Focusing…and LOVE Focusing partnership

  1. Focusing empowers you to feel comfortable with your emotions, even the most intense ones. Focusing in partnership makes it even easier.
  2. You don’t have to worry about overwhelming your companion. The structure of Focusing partnership protects against this.
  3. Focusing empowers you as a sensitive person by helping you accept, value, and act on your own needs.
  4. When you lose touch with your own feelings because you are trying to sense other people’s moods and needs, Focusing brings you back to your body.
  5. Focusing helps you make decisions.
  6. Focusing gives you all the tools you need to find the right “in/out” balance in your life.
  7. In Focusing partnership you can have deep connection AND maintain control over your level of stimulation, which is often a “missing experience” for sensitive people.
  8. Your Focusing partner will never tell you that you are “too serious” or “too intense.”
  9. Focusing gets you out of your head when you get trapped in your thoughts. But it respects your thoughts too and doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
  10. Focusing is a creative playground for sensitive people…partnership even more so.
  11. When you Focus, you re-connect to the pull of your “true north” so you can live with depth, meaning, and authenticity.
  12. Focusing is an elegant and economical way to meet your needs for support and connection: once you’ve learned the skills, partnership is is free for life.


Paddle out of the bay, into the richness of the unknown


Once you learn to Focus, you can move from rough waters that threaten to flood your boat to a place of calm in which you can clearly sense your “right next step.” You can also sense inner ripples so subtle you might not have noticed them before: the “tug on your sleeve” of something quiet but important.


You are confident you can paddle back to home waters, whatever the waves or weather…and this liberates you to explore enticing new horizons, just as my sister and I did in our red canoe.


©2016 Emily Agnew

Photo: Rodrigo Amorim, Creative Commons license: Sinking Boat



To read more articles by guest writer Emily Agnew, subscribe to The Listening Post e-zine, providing support to sensitive people in the form of Focusing-oriented articles and videos. Emily is a certified Inner Relationship Focusing teacher living in Rochester, New York.  She works with clients and students around the world by phone and Skype in 1:1 sessions and intensives, and by videoconference for her special courses Focusing 1 and Focusing 2 for Sensitive People. To learn more, visit Emily’s website at


Yoga – Bridge Pose

bridge over streamDo you have problems with any of these areas of your body:

  • Tight hamstrings?
  • Pain radiating from the leg into the lower back?
  • Arthritis in the hips?
  • Pain in the back, pelvis, knee or foot?
  • Fallen arches?
  • Shoulder pain?

Then you may have a misaligned pelvis.

How does your pelvis get out of alignment?

There are all sorts of reasons:

  • Do you sit for long periods – at a computer, in a car, on a comfy chair?
  • Perhaps you don’t do much activity – walking or other exercise every day.
  • Do you wear high-heeled shoes?
  • Or maybe you were born with a tilted pelvis or an illness might have caused it.
  • Or it might be that you have just got used to standing or walking in a certain way?

I believe that many of these problems that people experience today are caused by misalignment of the pelvis.

Whatever the reason, if your pelvis is misaligned or tilted, it is very likely that it will eventually cause you pain.

The tilt may be from side to side, which can cause scoliosis of the spine.

If the pelvis is tilted backwards, you may have a condition called lordosis or swayback, where the natural arch in the lumbar back curves more than normal.

Forward tilting of the pelvis is known as kyphosis, which causes a rounded back. This is particularly common in older people (where it is exacerbated by possible osteoporosis), and is common in younger people too.

All of these misalignments of the pelvis can cause significant problems in other parts of the body – for example the neck, shoulders, all parts of the back, hamstrings, hips, knees, feet.

The good news is that Yoga is very good at helping us to keep our pelvis well aligned, and realigning some forms of a tilted pelvis.

Yoga also brings our awareness to areas such as a misaligned pelvis, so that we become conscious of it in our everyday lives. We can then try to avoid sitting, standing and performing other activities in ways that will worsen problems such as these.

In Yoga we do not usually target specific parts of the body with our posture work. Rather, we work on the whole body and practise a variety of poses to bring balance and equilibrium to the whole of us.

Through my own teaching and observing my students’ postures, I have become aware of some asanas that are particularly good at helping us become aware of, and realigning, the pelvis. The most important of these is Tadasana, the Mountain Pose, and I will write more about this another time.

Another is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – the Bridge Pose. I mention this with the warning that alignment of the body is critical in this posture, as any misalignment will only exacerbate tilted pelvis problems. Most of us are unaware that our pelvis is tilting this way or that, and this is where it’s good to have an observant teacher to guide you.

The hips stabilise the area where the upper body meets the lower body. So a tilted pelvis can cause core muscles to shorten, thus pushing out of alignment anything to which they are connected. Long term misalignment may cause worsening of conditions such as arthritis. It will also cause torsion or twisting of the knee during walking, while the body tries to compensate for postural changes.

I have written more about the Bridge Pose here, and you can download a pdf of detailed advice for the Bridge Pose.

I would be very interested in your experience of a misaligned pelvis and Bridge Pose.

If you think your pelvis is misaligned, I recommend that you consult a health professional before practising Yoga.

“Truth is within ourselves”

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no riseFrom outward things; whate'er you may believe.There is an inmost centre within ourselves where truth abides in fullness. (1)