Photo Credit: Kakadu National Park, Victoria by Gabrielle Clark
The first time I tried Focusing something was not right. I was usually good at what I tried, and I could pick most things up easily. Not focusing—I froze, I could not do it. My body would shake, my jaw would shake, no words would come out.
It was so hard! How was it that some people were saying how wonderful it was. I hated it and wished I had never joined the class.
This situation led me on a mission to get it. I would try harder; surely I would get it…eventually. I went to lots of different teachers. I did lots of reading, and I even spoke to Gene on one of his phone courses.
An Encounter with Gene Gendlin
Even given a chance to speak with Gene Gendlin, the founder of Focusing, I couldn’t get the words out that I wanted. They would have been, “please help me, Gene, I can’t do focusing and I don’t know why, please help me.” Instead, I made a statement about the process model. I held my breath and blurted out…“Hi Gene, I am so excited that my body will know what it needs when it finds it.” There was silence for a few seconds “Oh…what do you mean?” he asked gently.
Oh my gosh, I froze. Did I even know what I meant? How will I answer him? What if I can’t remember what I said? I had rushed it out so quickly, and I didn’t know if it was still there to be found. I panicked. I can feel this now, how I hold my breath and rush the words out quickly, I don’t feel my body at all. I paused and begged my body to bring it back, sure enough, it was there. I tried again.
We spoke back and forth for a while. Gene was not just answering me. He was trying to understand me and to help me to go on from where I was. He seemed to genuinely care about what I said and even wanted to hear more, to understand me or maybe help me understand myself. He would say something that he thought I had meant and then say “is that right?” so I could check it. It moved me profoundly and brought tears to my eyes then and now- this was so new to me and so wanted.
It ended up by him saying “we need both the words and a body sense. If the body is not ready, then it’s not ready, and if the words are not ready, they are not ready. They will come when they are ready.”
How this Conversation Lives in Me Now
Kevin McEvenue says, “when the story is ready to tell itself it will” and “the secret to your unfolding lies in you not me, I just throw things out now and then for you to check them.” My body likes these statements.
I will never forget this moment, and I think one day, with practice, I will be able to slow down enough to feel both. I will be able to pause and hold both my body sense and my words together and speak slowly and surely from a place of grounded presence. My practice will be to feel me first, then speak from that deeper place. To let it come, to allow the story to tell itself from where it wants to. This new ability is a scary thought both unknown and unfamiliar, but I like it.
No one can teach me how to hold both my body sense and my words together, I have to find my own way, and I am grateful to Kevin and Gene for the way they both hold space for a person to do just that.
To find my own way feels so good.
Gene Gendlin is the founder of Focusing. To learn more about him, please click on http://www.focusing.org/bios/gendlin_bio.html
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8 thoughts on “When You Help Me Go Further, It Feels so Good”
Thank you Gabe for sharing this piece that manifests the very thing you are sharing, how the words come when the body is ready and not before. But when the body and the words are ready to come together that seem to just flow. There is no hesitation and no regrets, they just flow and nothing more is needed. I can feel all that in this writing that seems to have come from that place in you. I so apprciate when that happens because I get to benefit from your experience that seems to support me in that place in me that knows from that which you speak! Kevin
I Gabe, I feel I want to say more, actually something in me wants to say more so I do. You have described that movement when the body mind seems to be at one with itself and then the words just flow. These words can come in a written word, a song, a poem, an image and for me to push the record button when I know it is time to do so. And then I speak without hesitation and without need to correct myself. I know that other people on this blog know that experience and they know when they are moved to express, and when they do it feels fresh and creative and a kind of surprise! Yes, we surprise ourselves. I love how that works! Kevin
“We need both the words and a body sense. If the body is not ready, then it’s not ready, and if the words are not ready, they are not ready. They will come when they are ready.”
I started my exercise routine today, but my body wanted to move in its way instead. I let these movements emerge without words. I remembered the quote above, and tears came. My body was ready to be with something for which my consciousness could not hold space. By allowing my body to move, I was giving my body the awareness it needs to support its own healing process without my interference. I’ve never felt that so clearly until today. What a relief it was that I didn’t have to find words and could trust my body to move forward when the rest of me could not.
Thank you, Gabe and Gene.
I like these words “my body wanted to move in its way instead” that feels so right to me. To come back home to my body and trust it knows the way is a practice I forget often. And when the words are ready to carry something forward they will come. Yes!
Thank you for sharing this.
This makes me smile. I want you to know I appreciate you and how you have held the space for me to go further without preaching or teaching. Just by being you and letting me be me and knowing when the body and the words are ready they will come and it will flow easily and surprise me and come from a deeper place that is closer to the me I have held back and held in and pushed down. The me that can burst out with spontenaety when accepted and given space and encouragement.
I am very grateful for your allowing and accepting and patience.
Allowing, acceptance, patience…….. how different that feels – to allow, to pause, if the body isn’t ready that is okay. If the words don’t come that is okay. No need to stress that it isn’t coming together right now, on demand!! When I remember this, I can be present to whatever is there. Gratitude for this message.
Thank you Gabrielle for sharing the living-ness of how it was for you. And for how your awareness of your very OWN process continues living in you. It feels important within me that you have shared this part—your own experiencing—of something that did not move smoothly and deliciously from the beginning. It’s so easy to write about something that “clicked” immediately. To be so thrilled about one’s discoveries that there’s an implication that that’s how it is [should be??!!!?] for everyone.
A big sigh releases itSelf as I return to your softness in describing how Gene accompanied you, how he let you be The-You-Who-Is-Discovering rather than someone who is following a protocol prescribed by someone.
In English we use the word “touching” in several ways. It comes to me that how you have written and shared this touches my heart, touches something in me that feels warmed, accompanied, satisfied. And that how you have written of Gene, in relationship with you, touched the bodily-felt-sensing that you hadn’t yet understood was already there.
What a lovely reminiscence.
I really like how you could feel the softness of the communication with Gene coming through my writing it brings it freshly back to me that he must have known to be soft and gentle with me by the way I was with him. It felt so good to be got and I didn’t even know that was what I needed!
It touches me too and still does – very much – throughout my whole being.
He let me be the ‘me who is discovering’ and it felt good.