Creative Edge Focusing E-Newsletter

Getting A Felt Sense:  Caring Feeling Presence

Caring for "Unpleasant" Parts of Ourselves

 Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director                                Week Two 

For this four weeks, we are working on perhaps the most essential aspect for successful Intuitive Focusing, creating a positive attitude, inside of yourself, for whatever might arise during a Focusing turn.This is The Focusing Attitude.
Empathy, Congruence, and Unconditional Positive Regard
It is also the essential attitude which you convey to a Focuser when you are being a Focused Listener:
"I am here for you, without judgment. I am happy to receive anything that comes up inside of you, without criticism. I will set aside my own reactions, judgments, own experiences and be here as a Caring Feeling Presence simply to listen to and to give back to you your own experiencing." It is a necessary component of the "empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard" which Carl Rogers defined as the crux ingredients for the healing relationship.
Caring for "Unpleasant" Parts of Ourselves
In the first part of the Caring Feeling Presence exercise below, you are asked to imagine picking up an abandoned infant and conveying to it, through your body, that it is totally wanted and safe in the world. That is a "relatively" easy task!
But the parts or aspects or "images" of ourselves that most need our own Caring inner attention are often parts that we have most wanted or needed to ignore, push down, turn away from, often feeling that leaving these parts behind is really the only way to survive. So, now, to turn toward and embrace these very aspects of the Self? Very difficult, a life-long task.
Unpleasant Images for Abandoned Parts
Here are some images people have given for their wounded part:
"A gangraneous leg --- I just want to cut it off."
"The Golum --- it has been underground so long that it is white and totally blind, cannot survive in the light."
"That fat, little crying girl from childhood --- Ughhhh!"
"Quicksand, waiting to suck me down!"
"A dark well of pain without bottom---"
Using Touchstones and Anchors to Establish a "Safe Distance"
Initially, you may need to establish some "safe distance" from it, some firm ground where you can "take a whiff" of it without getting sucked in, stick a toe in the water and quickly step back to the shore. The Inner Anchors in the second part of the exercise, be they pleasant places, remembered nurturers, fantasy warriors or guides, can serve this purpose as safe harbors, touchstones to return to when beginning to approach an old, sore, long-ignored, negatively judged inner aspect or felt sense.
Being Willing To Take Time To Establish Contact, Healing Relationship
And the feeling is mutual! Left alone, pushed out, uncared for for many years, the wounded part is not always immediately welcoming of your attention now:
"A dirty, little girl and she is screaming 'Get away from me!'
"A porcupine --- all quills, waiting to shoot them at me."
"A wounded dog ---biting my hand!"
Gene Gendlin, creator of Focusing (Bantam, 1981, 1984) used to say in these tenuous inner moments: "Can you just pitch a tent and settle down nearby, letting it know you will just hang out there, as long as it needs to feel comfortable with you?"
Try The Exercise Again With Special Attention To Negative Images, Inner Anchors, and Taking Time To Re-Establish Mutual Trust
Please try out again Pete and Ed's introductory Biospiritual Focusing exercise for finding a "felt sense," an "intuitive feel" for developing Caring Feeling Relationship inside. It involves learning how it feels, in your body, when you are trying to show complete love and safety to someone. Then, turning that same loving attention, that Caring Feeling Presence, toward your own inner experiences:
"Take a moment to find a comfortable sitting position---
Loosen any clothing that is too tight---
And begin to come quietly inside by closing your eyes and starting to just notice your breathing---
Just noticing your breathing---going in---and out---in---and out---Let any sighs or deeper breathing arise naturally---
(one minute)
Now, notice your body, how it feels in the chair ---
Massage any spots that feel sore---
Massage your head---
Wrinkle up your face and stretch your jaw---and relax!!!!!
Make a few circles with your shoulders, bringing them up to your ears, around toward the back, and dropping them down---and repeating four or five times---
(one minute)
And now bring your attention inside, to the place where you find a "felt sense" or an "intuitive feel" when you are using Focusing, often in the center of your body, around the chest/heart area----
(one minute)
And now, imagine that you work in a hospital---
An infant has been left on the hospital steps---
Let yourself feel the impact of this situation in your body---
It is your job to pick up that infant and to convey to it, through your body, your way of holding it, that it is safe, that it is perfectly and truly wanted in this world. Imagine picking up that infant---
Now, imagine what you would do in your body to convey to that infant that it is prefectly safe, that it is truly wanted in this world---
(one minute)
Notice what you do in your body to convey this loving attention, without words---
(one minute)
Now, imagine turning that same kind of Caring Feeling Presence toward your own inner places, whatever they may be---
(one minute)
Bring to your mind times in your life went you felt loved and valued in this way. Look for particular places or people or animals or situations where you felt completely safe, completely wanted, basking in the warmth of loving attention---
(one to three minutes)
Choose one of these images/places/people/situations that could stand as such a strong symbol of this kind of safety that you could use the memory of it as an anchor or talisman to bring you to that sense of Caring Feeling Presence to your own inside experiences. We'll call that your Inner Nurturer---
(one to three minutes)
Now, look through your life and store of memories and images and see if you can find an image of a part of yourself that is now or was at some point very much in need of that kind of Caring Feeling Presence. It could be an Inner Child, yourself at a certain age or time of life. But it could be another kind of image: like "a wounded animal" or "a butterfly with a crumpled wing" or "a gangrenous leg---I just want to cut it off" or a particular physical tension (headache, tight jaw, stomach knot) that you often suffer from. We'll call that your Inner Woundedness---
(one to three minutes)
Now, imagine taking your Inner Nurturer and turning that Caring Feeling Presence toward your Inner Woundedness---
(one to three minutes)
Just spend some time seeing if you can touch your Inner Woundedness with that Inner Nurturing---
(one to three minutes)
And come back into the room when you are ready.
Things That Get In The Way of This Inner Attitude
This exercise is just a first step. You might have found that Inner Critical Voices arose while you tried this exercise ("This is silly!" "I don't have any weaknesses!" "It's too late. The past is the past," etc. In the next weeks, we will continue working with establishing a Caring Feeling Presence inside, and the things that can get in the way of that. Turning toward oneself, and others, with love and self-love, is a life-long learning! But we are starting today.
Two E-Groups, Creative Edge Practice and Creative Edge Collaboration, for Ongoing Support and Learning
There are now two separate Yahoo e-groups.
Creative Edge Practice is a closed group, where people can feel safe for the vulnerability of sharing Focusing experiences and responding to others with Focused Listening responses. The only requirement: a willingness to introduce yourself upon entry into the group, so everyone knows who is in the group. Further active participation is welcomed but not required. This is a very warm, sharing place, as well as a great opportunity for learning the actual skills.
Creative Edge Collaboration is an open group for discussion and networking around projects related to the spread of listening/focusing to various audiences and throughout the world.This is a great place to brain-storm ideas for bringing Listening/Focusing into parenting, education, support groups, psychotherapy and other helping professions, business, non-profit organizations like Peace Corps or Heifer International, spiritual communities, or whatever project moves you!
You can visit the homepage of each by clicking on the link and join from there as well. You can choose "emails only" and do not have to start a yahoo account, although accounts are free.However, access to message archives and other web-based features requires the free Yahoo ID. In creating an account, make sure to choose your regular email address to receive messages directly to your usual inbox.
If you order the Self-Help Package, now with the rock-bottom reduced price of $49, including US shipping, you can use the Intuitive Focusing CD to follow Dr. McGuire as she speaks these exercises and view actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing turns on the DVD.
Click here to access Dr. McGuire's blog, Ultimate Self_Help: Sex, Food, and Focusing, or find it in the right upper corner at Creative Edge Focusing
About Creative Edge Focusing (TM) 
Mission: bring Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and The Creative Edge Pyramid of applications from individual to interpersonal to organizational, to all audiences throughout the world.
Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director
Location: Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR
These materials are offered purely as self-help skills. In providing them, Dr. McGuire is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Creative Edge Focusing (TM)
Dr. Kathy McGuire