News from the British Focusing Association

I am very happy to tell you that the latest edition of the British Focusing Association (BFA) newsletter is now available to read on its website here.

There is something for everyone, and this contents list may give you an inkling of just a few of the ways that Focusing is used.

  • Congratulations Gene Gendlin on Your 90th Birthday 
  • ‘The Shift’—a poem by Helen Evans 
  • Listening—a Precious Gift by Karen Liebenguth 
  • We Need to Listen Fully 
  • Becoming a Better Focusing Partner through Community by Marilyn Harding 
  • Focusing and Touch—an Experiential Review by Gordon Adam
  • To Touch or Not to Touch—Focusing, Healing and Touch by Pamela Carr 
  • Focusing and the Enneagram by Chris Wilson 
  • Focusing and Photography by Manjudeva 
  • Introducing Focusing to Women who have Experienced Prison or Immigration Detention by Suzi Mackenzie & Alex Brew
  • Practitioner Profile—Rob Matthews
  • Letters to the Editors 
  • Workshops, Events, Groups Listing 

Read the newsletter in full hereand sign up for future editions here.

How do you feel when you are standing?

Blue Mountains – Carolann Samuels

Tadasana

Tadasana is the Sanskrit word for Mountain Pose. It is one of the most important poses we practise in Yoga, for it is one which we use most often in our everyday lives. And all we have to do is stand.

When you are ‘just standing’, how do you feel?

Do you tend to lean on one side? Maybe you slouch a little, or stand up tall and quite stiff? Does your back ache? How are your shoulders?
In which direction are your feet pointing?  is your face relaxed?  And how are your hands?

When we stand with awareness, we can notice all of this, and more.

We keep balanced with ease.
Movement is minimal – just enough to keep us standing here without effort, remembering that even mountains move a little.
Standing up tall in a conscious way may be new for us. It may feel awkward, as though we’re not straight. It might be helpful to ask someone if we lean to one side, or stick out our abdomens.
Then when we know how to be tall and straight, we can practise at any time: in a queue, when brushing teeth, speaking with a friend; looking at a picture. And someone looking at you wouldn’t say, she’s making an effort to stand tall, they would say, that person is standing comfortably, at ease with herself.

As we become aware, we begin to make more connections – between the authentic self and the physical self.

Where do I stand on important issues?

Do I stand up for myself, or for someone else?

We look ahead – facing what is ahead of us.

We are not running somewhere.

We look without and within.

We take stock; observe; feel; see.

Where am I?

Where do I want to be?

Where do I want to go?

What do I want to do about myself?

Are there obstacles?

What about the strength of a mountain?

Avalanches and rockslides sometimes happen on mountains.

If we spend all our time in our heads, not only do we have to deal with all the messy thoughts spinning around, but we also find ways of seeking solutions to all our problems and navigating our lives through only one vehicle: the mind.

The mind is not meant for all that work.

The mind can only work with what is in the mind, so creative solutions must come from outside the mind.

We experience shifts in perception through our skin, inside us – in our throat, our stomach, solar plexus, maybe. We feel a new awareness, and then we can store it in our minds for future reference. It doesn’t work the other way round – we can’t think before we feel it.

Standing in our own body helps open the throat for the opportunity to speak with our own voice. It also helps to move us out of our thinking centre and into a place of feeling and sensation. It’s the place of feeling that we are present. Thoughts keep us in the past or future.

Only when we are truly present can we know who we are.

And as we pay attention to our bodily experience, we find we can tap into the wisdom of the body, and the whole complexity of how we are, in this moment.

Yoga and Focusing each work very well to help us in gaining this awareness.  Put them together and the whole effect is so much more powerful.  If you would like to know more, contact me here.

(With acknowledgements and thanks to Swami Sivananda Radha and Laraine Herring for their writings on Tadasana)

Where are you?

Volcano and a puff of cloud – Carolann Samuels

For many years my creativity remained hidden.  It peeped out now and again, but ever so shyly, and retreated if anyone even looked at it the wrong way (whatever the wrong way is – I didn’t know).  I hid myself behind computers, numbers, duties.  I could become creative within these confines I imposed upon myself, but I didn’t trust it, nor did I pursue it.

 

I admired the creativity of others, but didn’t think that could ever apply to me.  

 

Who was I to think I might ever draw, paint, make pots, write, …?

Then I found Focusing.  I didn’t realise it at the time, but a door was opened.  Something in me knew that I could find some room for these practices that previously felt so alien to me.  And I didn’t notice it happening – not until I found myself in art shops, signing up for courses, and actually practising at home.  

 

I love the subtle way this happened.

 

I have written about this is other blogs, so you can see what a big deal it has been (and is) for me.

 

I also have a sense that many creative people already are Focusing.  

 

This may be because they have learned Focusing one way or another or it might be instinctive. You only have to read some of our great poets to see how they pay attention to what is going on inside them.  One example is this poem of Robert Browning: “Truth is within Ourselves”.  

And I have recently come upon another example.  Orna Ross teaches the principles, practices and process of creativism, conscious creation and creative living through her Go Creative! books and blog and the weekly Go Creative Show.  Here is one of her poems, which I think describes her creative process, especially when she says, “just be quiet. Unmask, that is all, and she will offer herself, unasked and unasking. No demands from her, ever, to know: where are you?

 

Where are you?

Where are you? The splendour of creation awaits.
Beauty veiled, she dallies, playing with the wings
of birds passing, swaying her hips with the wind,
wanting to dance, to bring you music from planets
and clouds. Call her by right name, hear her answer.
Male or female, she is yours. She lingers, singing
and playing, holding out a braceletted hand, all tinkle
and glint. She wants to roll ecstasy over and under
your skin, swirl bubblings into your blood, breathe
you away through the waves of the ages. You can stay
where you are (where are you?) and just listen. No,
don’t even listen, just be quiet. Unmask, that is all,
and she will offer herself, unasked and unasking. No
demands from her, ever, to know: where are you?
Orna Ross

 

If you would like to find out how Focusing can help with your creativity, contact me.

Most people don’t know this.

Ancient rocks – Carolann Samuels

What is split off, not felt, remains the same. When it is felt, it changes.

Most people don’t know this.

They think that by not permitting the feeling of their negative ways, they make themselves good.

On the contrary, that keeps these negatives static, the same from year to year.

A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change.

If there is in you something bad or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be, and breathe.

That’s the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs. (Eugene Gendlin)

 

Find out more about how Focusing can help this change – at the bottom of this page.