Creative Edge Focusing E-Newsletter

Getting A Felt Sense:  Caring Feeling Presence

Dealing With Inner Critical Voices                                                                  
 Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director                                Week Three 
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.In Week One, I talked about turning a Caring Feeling Presence toward your inner experiencing, finding an Inner Nurturer and an Inner Woundedness. In Week Two, I talked about establishing an inner, trusting relationship between "parts" of the Self that had perhaps been at war for years and didn't really like each other.
Now, we take on Inner Critical Voices: recognizing them and dealing with them.  These, too, will each have an "intuitive feel" to them, a "felt sense" holding a lot more information, if you can take time to separate out the various aspects and "sit with" the "intuitive feel," the "felt sense," the "something more" about each of them.
The Inner Abusive Relationship: "I Hate Myself, I'm So Stupid, I'm So Worthless"
Actually, we are going to start with the most difficult Inner Critical Voice, and that is the one you don't recognize and you don't have a "felt sense" for. When you are having the most negative feelings about yourself, you are actually suffering as the Victim of an Inner Abuser...only, instead of hearing the Inner Abuser saying, "You are hateful! You are so stupid! You are so worthless!," you are saying these words to yourself: "I am hateful, I am so stupid, I am so worthless."
So, here the first step is just separating out these two things. You need to begin to hear the voice of the Inner Abuser saying"You are so...!" and, separately, experience the "felt sense" of your Inner Victim ---  feeling afraid, beaten down, overpowered, overwhelmed. And, then, the Inner Victim, with the help of Inner and Outer Listeners/Nurturers/Anchors, needs to be able to stand up to the Inner Abuser and say, sometimes very strongly, "Shut up!", "Go sit over there!" "I'm putting you behind this brick wall and locking the gate!" Or the Inner Nurturer can join with the Inner Victim and stand together, saying, "We are not going to let this go on!" or "I am not going to let you talk to her that way."
If you have a really strong inner "self-hate," a really strong Inner Abuser/Inner Victim "stuck together," then Focusing-Oriented Therapy, or Focusing Training with a Certified Focusing Professional, individually or in a class, may be the best way to go. It helps to have an outside Listener helping you to recognize and to "stand up against" a strong Inner Abuser.
At some point, if you can separate from, recognize, and take a stand against an Inner Abuser, then, eventually, your relationship with that part of yourself might soften and change. You may find a way to, with safe containment, begin to get a "felt sense" for "all of that" related to the abusing voice, to give that Inner Abuser a chance to "say how it is" for them, to explain why they responded to you the way they did. You may even come to have some more compassionate understanding of that part.
But that is not usually the first step. The first step is getting separate, experiencing the feelings of the Victim part with Caring Feeling Presence as company, getting out of the victim role, and taking a strong stand to quiet the Inner Abuser, with whatever help, inner and outer, you can find.
Other Inner Critical Voices
There are a lot of other Inner Critical Voices which might arise which are easier to deal with. Ann Weiser Cornell, creator of the Inner Relationship approach to Focusing, recently called the Inner Critic the Inner Worrier: a part of yourself that really thinks it has your best interests at heart and is trying to warn you, trying to protect you. It may say things like, "Oh, you don't want to open yourself up like this," or "Oh, you are not getting anywhere with this Focusing" or "It really isn't safe to trust other people" or even "You don't really need anyone. You'll just get hurt," an endless variety of , it thinks, "helpful" comments like this.
Ann points out that, if you can give this Inner Worrier an "equal hearing," turn some Caring Feeling Presence toward it, then it can come to tell you how much it cares about you, how hard it is trying to protect you, what it doesn't want you to have to feel or experience. And, at some point, another part of you may say to it, "I do understand what you have done for me, how you protected me in the past. And now I don't need that kind of protection anymore. I am strong enough to live in a different way."
Making Space for Every Voice, Every Different "Aspect" of Yourself Inside : Inner Conflict Resolution
Although an Inner Abuser/Victim relationship may need special efforts, as described above, often what you discover inside as you progress in a Focusing Session is a "conflict." Usually, when your life is "stuck" or "blocked" or there is a problem you can't resolve, it is because there are at least "two sides" to the issue.
So, at that point in Focusing, it is extremely useful to be able to separate the different "felt senses" or "intuitive feels," to differentiate them, to be able to say, "Okay, so there is this part of me that wants to go forward, and this other part that wants to stay right here." Then you can turn some Caring Feeling Presence to each "side" of the issue in turn: "Okay, there's something about 'going forward.' Let me sense into and articulate that whole thing..." and, later, "And then there's this 'whole thing,' this 'whole felt sense' about 'staying here.' Now, let me sit with this side and see what comes."
When you are a Focused Listener, you will often find yourself giving a similar Reflection: "So I'm hearing a part of you that wants to go forward, and a part that wants to stay the same. Would it make sense to turn toward one of those and be with it for a little while, see what is there, knowing that we can spend time with the other side a little later?"
Try The Caring Feeling Exercise Again With Special Attention To Noticing Any Critical Inner Voices That Arise and Just Saying "Hello" to them (Ann Weiser Cornell created this wonderful terminology), Just Acknowledging Them
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. And, at this point, also noticing any Inner Voices that rise up, criticizing you, criticizing the Focusing process, etc.:
"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.
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