Focusing – How to Listen to Yourself

I say yes you can. It is different from a ‘proper’ Focusing session, but it is Focusing nonetheless. A Focusing session enables you to really stay with something, long enough for it to unfold into something new and surprising. You give space for the body-mind organism to take its right next steps, in ways that you could not have predicted. That needs time and a good quality of attention.

But what if you don’t have a Focusing session booked for that day? What then? You can still Focus. You can check in with yourself; letting your awareness drop into the inner area of your body: your throat, chest, stomach and belly. This is a very sensitive area and responsive to your life situations. Give yourself a moment to see how it feels there. You could ask yourself, how am I feeling inside right now? And then wait and see what comes. You may find thoughts, feelings and emotions, body sensations coming into your awareness. You can give then some acknowledgement and say, yes, I know you’re there.

You may also find subtle things in your chest or your gut; things that are hard to describe, slippery, or a vague sense of unease. You can say to yourself, yes, that’s there too. You could put a gentle hand on your body where you feel it, as if you were giving it some reassurance. You are letting it know that it’s OK for it to be there, even though you may not know at this stage what it is about, or why it has come.

Have you ever woken in the morning after a dream that seems strangely compelling? You may or may not remember the content, but you have that strange feeling, that you can’t easily describe. It feels like that, and I can feel it there, is about all you can say about it. That’s what a ‘felt sense’ feels like. It’s ‘there’ somehow, but not easy to put your finger on it. Felt senses are part of our human nature, coming and going like feelings do. You can practice ‘felt sensing’, just like you can learn to become aware of your emotions. And this is the gift that Focusing can give you. It gives you access to the wonderful world of the felt sense, which allows more of you to be present.

Your body knows more about your situations that you are aware of, and by paying attention to this subtle sense that is there in your body, you get greater access to what you really think and feel about things. You make better decisions and you can communicate more clearly with others. To give it a chance to speak to you, you only need to pause; take a moment to sense in. Ask yourself how am I right now? And then wait. Acknowledge what you already know about how you are, and then wait for more subtle feelings to emerge. You might be surprised. Focusing can become your daily guide.

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