Focusing: Listening to the Wisdom of the Body for Healing 2
By Kathy Keary
This is Part 2 of a 3 Part series. Read all the articles here.
In our first article, an introduction to focusing was provided. The specific steps involved in focusing are outlined below.
I think it will be helpful for you to see the process in action, so we will offer a series of three weekly videos that will be available on our website and in social media.
The first video will appear on June 2 and will give a brief introduction to focusing. In the second video on June 9, I will lead a colleague in focusing. In the third video, which will be available June 16, I will lead the viewers through the steps of focusing.
A third article will be available on our website June 8, that will delve into my personal experience of focusing.
Attending to the Wisdom of the Body: A Path to Emotional Healing
1. Prepare by sitting for a few minutes in silence to center yourself. Paying attention to your breath leads you to your center.
2. Identify what is taking up space in you. Take an inventory of all the issues that stand in the way of your feeling good, free or whole. As you identify an issue, set it down in front of you putting space between you and the issue. Then ask if there are any other issues taking up space in you. Continue in this manner until all that is taking up space in you is identified. Notice your interior spaciousness as you set down the issues.
3. Take a look at the issues you have identified. Which one seems to want the most attention from you? Which has the most energy?
4. Ask your body if it would be OK to be with the issue you identified. If the answer is yes, then go to step 5. If it is no, then have a caring presence for not wanting to be with it.
5. Identify where you feel the issue in your body. Care for that place. Perhaps place your hand there and feel the warmth, the light and the care. Or you may imagine healing rays being directed at this place. Reverently care for this place in your body in any way that is comfortable for you.
6. Continue to care for this place in your body where you feel the issue and notice if any change occurs in the way this place in your body feels. When the feeling in your body shifts or eases, rest in this place as long as you would like.
7. What word(s) would you use to describe how this place in your body currently feels after caring for it? Does an image come to mind that represents how you are feeling? Does how you are feeling evoke a memory? What feeling is sparked by the experience?
8. Savor the new feeling in your body. When you are ready, thank your body for what it has revealed and return to the room.
Below are a few resources you can use to learn more about focusing. If you leading yourself through a focusing exercise, you might also find useful my article on journaling: Writing from the Heart: The Contemplative Practice of Journaling.
Peter A. Campbell, PhD & Edwin McMahon, PhD; Bio-Spirituality: Focusing as a Way to Grow. Loyola Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1997.
Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD; The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing. MJF Books, New York, New York, 1996
Eugene T. Gendlin, PhD; Focusing. Bantam Dell, a Division of Random House, Inc., New York, New York, 1981.
Note: New articles in this series will be posted to the website every Monday . The full series can be found here: An Invitation to Something New: The Contemplative Life. On Thursday’s we’ll send an email to remind you of the articles
[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
Image above copyright by Vetre Antanaviciute-meskauskiene | Dreamstime.com