Christel Kraft is one of the original focusers who worked with Gene Gendlin when he first started teaching focusing. She has been a life long focuser and is now in her 80’s. During a recent Monthly Gathering of WBFers sponsored by Focusing Initiatives International, Christel shared with the group how focusing helps her connect to how her life is now.
As I sit listening to Kevin’s voice, I notice a desire to rest my hands on the desk in front of me. There is a wanting for the stability that this gives me beyond the contact of my feet on the ground. I feel a stronger sense of safety with this stability.
I let myself be with this new sense of stability. I notice how my sense of the temperature in the environment has changed as if a cool breeze has swept through the room. When that passes I notice how my feet want my attention. They have problems. The stability of my hands allow my feet to be heard.
When Kevin started speaking I noticed my spine. It immediately become aware of itself. First there was an awareness of how each part related to the part adjacent and then there was a sensation of the wholeness of my spine. It was effortless to be with this wholeness. Some movement came and the awareness of the wholeness of my spine was still there. It was satisfying and it was enough.
Kevin begins by asking us to “find ourselves once again together.” It is a most luxurious invitation to take the time to explore who I am separate from all the normal static that is part of my life. To be with Me, I make room for the life in “what wants to be heard” and to help this part become aware of itself. This part is always functioning within me, however, it needs my consciousness to become aware of its own existence. I take all the time I need to find and spend time with Me as Me.
When I began to listen to this intunement, I noticed a Quiet come over me, as I listened to Kevin’s voice. A field opened up. He reminded me, as listener, to “be present to myself.” Then Kevin said something about “plugging in to something bigger than us.” I liked hearing that. I experienced a sense of possibilities coming in many different ways through the spacious satellite-dish that is my WholeBody.
It occurred to me: What really happens is beyond these words—the words that he was using. It feels important to me to underline that. Each of Kevin’s intunements brings a deeper knowing in me. I might even express it this way: They bring me in-tune with myself.
My Wholebody Focusing practice is mostly silent. I move into grounded presence and give my body permission to move in the ways it needs. Automatic or spontaneous movements emerge. Words or images might surface but not necessarily. I eventually settled on this type of practice because it allows me to remain in grounded presence in a deeper and more sustained way. Without the need to search for words or images, I do not get triggered out of grounded presence as easily and I don’t have to worry about whether I am doing something “right” or if I’m addressing what is needed. My body takes care of that. Whatever emerges from my body is what it needs. I just need to give what emerges my awareness, equal regard and my consent.
Two dominant movements have consistently emerged. The first one is how every session starts. If I stand, my legs shake from the hips to the ankles. This movement first came to me during an automatic movement Qigong session many years ago. If I am sitting, my feet lift off the floor and shake in a different way. I have a vague sense of what is behind these movements. The leg movements seem to have a cleansing quality. It feels like a release of built up tension or static that might get in the way of what my body might need.
The second dominant movement usually emerges while my legs are still shaking. My arms shoot up over my head and stay there. My arms can be moving or still. This second movement emerged in a foundational session related to an image that has been with me for a long time—an image of a small bird with damaged wings that stubbornly preferred not to change in any way. This movement emerged during a health crisis. In a grounded state, I brought my awareness to how this crisis was affecting my body. My arms flew up at the same time a Kundalini-like sensation of a tornado arose from my feet and moved toward the top of my head. My understanding of this movement is that it was a moment in which this little bird tested its wings and found that they actually worked. This was a turning point in this health crisis. This movement emerges each time I am in grounded presence to remind me that anything is possible and to give me courage. Both of these dominant movements ebb and flow through my sessions in relation to whatever else emerges.
It is very warm this morning. I have the overhead fan on to keep me cool. As I hear Kevin suggest that I connect to something outside myself I notice the sensation of the cool air on my skin. And then Kevin suggests that the sensation of something outside myself can be how my skin feels. He asks me to wait for something to come and I realize that my feet are already moving and my arms are wrapped around each other. My body is here with me today. Is there any goodness in me today? I wait for the answer. My thoracic spine releases the tension it was holding.