How to Start Wholebody Focusing with a Partner

Photo Credit: Diana Scalera

When I attended the Scambi 2019 in Albano Terme, Italy this past summer, I presented my workshop Focusing Around the Dinner Table using mostly Wholebody Focusing as the vehicle to access this theme in our bodies. Since then, some focusers have been asking for help to learn Wholebody Focusing. I have begun working with some of the Italian focusers and have come up with a way for them to get started on their path to incorporating Wholebody Focusing into their Focusing practice. Below is a description of the steps of a session with Cristina Griggio via Skype. It can be a starting point for focusers who would like to add some Wholebody sensibility to their practice. 

  1. Both partners need to be willing let go of the need to have an agenda for their session and actively hold space to what your body prioritizes. Each partner can take a turn being the person who is focusing, and the other person is mostly silently holding energetic space for their partner while noticeing how what happens to your partner impacts your body.  
  2. Establish your energetic connection with your partner. If you are in person, make sure you have a sense of each other’s energy. If you are working via the internet, find your way to connect in this situation.  
  3. The Focuser asks her body a simple question “Where does my body need attention now?” Let your body choose what it needs. Let go of any narrative and your thoughts about what is necessary in this moment. Your body might have a different point of view.
  4. Wait and hold space for whatever comes. 
    1. Acknowledge the body’s sense of what is there without adding a narrative. Stay with the bodily sensation.
    2. Let what is there know that it can be just the way it is and has all the time it needs to be present to itself.
    3. Give your body permission to move, especially your hands, which may be able to support parts that are struggling.  
  5. Stay with whatever comes. Ask for help from other parts of your body, from the earth below you, the sky above, the air you breathe, or the chair in which you sit. 
  6. Let your body indicate when it has found a resting place (or ask your body to find a resting place).
  7. When the Focuser has come to a resting place, the partner can share how that experience with her partner impacted her body. The Focuser can also share more if they choose with their partner about their experience.  
  8. After the session, both Focuser and Listener should pay attention to whatever comes that relates to what happened in the session. According to Addie van der Kooy, each opportunity we take to spend time with our bodies in grounded presence causes changes (from minor to monumental). Our lived experiences after our sessions let us know what has changed.  

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Don’t disappoint me / Älä tuota pettymystä

Photo Credit: Maria Hakasalo

When I heard the diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder, strong feelings arose in me. it seemed challenging to find a connection to myself with the symptoms caused by the illness. The depression, as I experienced it, was new to me.

Since I started to listen to my body more, my body has started to call me to move. It happens in me during focusing sessions with minor and sometimes major movements in my body, but also I suddenly feel a need to listen to music and move. I stand up, start listening, and then moving in any way my body takes me.

One morning after the diagnosis I felt how my body was longing for movement again. What would I listen to? The YouTube channel had sent me a recommendation overnight, and I decided to listen to it.

The first notes of the song fit perfectly with my sad feelings. I started to move, without noticing the words, until I heard: “Don’t disappoint me, don’t let me down”. The words hit my own situation strongly. My body had deceived me. I was moving and grieving.

Suddenly I felt just like something turned on me. It was no longer me whose request it was. The “sick part” in me asked me not to disappoint it, not to be let it down. Amazing! It has hopes for me. It wants me to hold  it gently, and listen to its needs. It does not want to be left alone, blocked or rejected.

This started a new kind of journey, one in which the disease and I are not separate, or apart. We have a relationship in which  both of us have our needs. I listen to it, and it listens to me.

What kind of movement does this piece of Ruth B. bring to you? What kind of thoughts does it awaken in you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwIF_BdOmIY


Kun minulla todettiin autoimmuunisairaus, jouduin myllerryksiin oman kehoni kanssa. Tunsin pettymystä, minua masensi, tuntui haastavalta löytää yhteys itseeni sellaisena kuin mitä sairauden aiheuttamien oireiden myötä olin. Masennus sellaisena, kuin se päälleni vyöryi, oli täysin uutta minulle.

Continue reading Don’t disappoint me / Älä tuota pettymystä

The “Me Here” Series of Training Conversations

Trainer logo2mergeIn August of 2018, Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I met to discuss what is new in Wholebody Focusing.  Addie and Kevin collaborated on FOCUSING WITH THE WHOLE BODY: A CD-integrated Focusing Learning Program that was published in October 2006.  We wanted to bring together the two people responsible for this extraordinary learning program and to look toward the future of Wholebody Focusing.

That day we filmed until what needed to be said was complete.  The result was the six videos listed below.  The first four are already on the blog.  You may have seen them already.  The last two complete the series and set the stage for what comes next.

My experience as the producer/editor of these videos is that new ground is broken in these intimate dialogues and they may need several views to fully take in what is being shared.  This blog is proud to have the opportunity to make these conversations possible and to be the mechanism to share them with those who would benefit.

These six videos are each part of a flow of exploration so you may want play them in the order they are listed. Once you become familiar with them, you may want to pick and choose which one suits you most on any given day.

Please comment and share how these conversations have impacted you.  This is an exciting way to keep WBF as a vibrant life experience.

The Inner Core Muscle of “Me Here” This Interview discusses training someone to find grounded presence.

The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”   This interview discusses training someone to “hold both with equal positive regard.”

Let Your Experience Be This interview discusses how to be with whatever comes even if it is not what you expected.

Me Here and My Thoughts This interview discusses how to be with racing thoughts that may or may not be true or helpful.

What Is Needed to Start the WBF Process?

Why is establishing an inner structure so important to learning Wholebody Focusing?

 

The End Note: Why Talk About Muscles?

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When You Help Me Go Further, It Feels so Good

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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The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”

Welcome to the third video blog of a heartfelt conversation between Kevin McEvenue and WBF trainer Addie  van der Kooy.  In this part of the conversation both share their excitement and experience of the practice of “Holding Both” – an inner dynamic that naturally comes alive when you not only make space for a body sense of your suffering, but also include the bodily felt connected-ness and aliveness of “Me Here.”  This  inner core muscle of Holding Both opens up new possibilities of deep healing and even transformation.  Enjoy,

Addie van der Kooy (email: avdkooy@outlook.com)

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A Gift that Keeps Giving & How I Mustn’t Feel the Joy of all that Until I Pause!

Photo Credit: Pixaby

Here is where I want to begin, reflecting on what Diana shared below in her blog that will not let go of me until I say something. This was a very powerful connection that demanded my attention. I am appreciating how the power of Diana’s heartfelt piece on the Blog that so deeply touched me. There is so much there as I stop and make room for what wants to come in me now. Maybe see what comes for you here too. Kevin

Pauses Big and Small

“Each time I paused, I felt more like myself.  I felt more appreciation for who I am, the struggles I’ve survived and the beauty I created along the way.   This is an appreciation I had never felt before because I was always too busy trying to change myself to be something or someone “better.”  Instead, I now know that this treasure trove of information about me is readily available and that whenever I pause and hold space with equal regard for what is there, something new about me will emerge.”

       Diana Scalera November 19, 2018

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Wisdom from an Unlikely Place

How lucky am I
to be able to turn
to see these gnarled trees
through this train window
stopped
waiting
for some unseen obstruction
ahead

Sunlight illuminates
my friends, the trees
their trunks, their limbs.
Orange-khaki-colored brush
crouches in front of them
Unashamed of their winter attire
Take me as I am
they signal in their own
private language
I have no need for adornments.
I am here.
That is enough.

Elizabeth Morana

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My Background Feeling: unprepared for life

Video Credit: Horseshoe Falls by Elizabeth Morana

Water sometimes has to go
over a ledge and
drop
without knowing
what comes next

you panic
there is nothing to
hold onto
no email with information
you needed
to orient you

The drops of water
too are disoriented
they rely
without forethought
on gravity

They don’t know
which way is up
either

Oh, Angels!
Teach me to be like
Water

Elizabeth Morana

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