Exercise: The "Felt Sense" of Various Interpersonal Situations
In the Complete Focusing exercise for these four weeks, we will do a Focusing process with a variety of Interpersonal Situations, hoping to experience a "felt shift," a true "paradigm shift" in our experiencing of ourselves and the Other in such situations.
But, for today, I'm asking you just to make a map, or a list, of unresolved Interpersonal Situations you are carrying and to try to find a bodily "felt sense," the "intuitive feel" and a "handle" word or image which can help you go back to each of these Interpersonal Situations during later Complete Focusing Sessions. I'm suggesting that you take some notes for later reference, on The Specific Situation/Person, the "whole body feel" of being in that situation/with that person, and some words/images/gestures which capture "the feel of it all."
Initially, we will work internally, using Felt Sensing and Complete Focusing to clarify the interpersonal dimension of situations for ourselves. As we proceed, we will also study and practice procedures for resolving such situations with the other person, if necessary. However, you will not be asked or forced to speak about any of your material to another person if you choose not to!!!! A lot of "resolution" can be done internally. Sharing Interpersonal Focusing with another is for the purpose of increased bonding and support for change. It is not required.
Felt Sense of Interpersonal Situations Exercise (at least 20 minutes)
--- First, get paper and pen so you will actually take notes.
--- Work with up to five unresolved Interpersonal Situations ( Also, if dealing with left-over anger and unresolved interpersonal situations is morally or spiritually repugnant to you, then perhaps you can spend the time instead coming up with up to five ways in which you "move beyond" unsettled Interpersonal Situations: the "bodily feel" of each of these, and some words/images/gestures which capture each for you):
--- Taking the first situation, close your eyes, go inside by beginning to follow your breathing --- in --- and out --- in --- and out --- in --- and out ---
--- Bring to mind the person you have difficulty with ---
--- Holding an image of that person in your mind, and experiencing how you feel about them in your body, make a list of at least three positive attributes of that person (from your point of view!) , and write them down
--- Now make a list of at least three negative attributes of that person (from your point of view!), and write them down.
--- Now bring to mind an exact specific interpersonal exchange with the person which captures the difficulty in your interaction --- one specific incident ---
--- And, imagining being in that situation again, notice what comes up in your body, the "bodily feel," the "felt sense" of the interaction FOR YOU. Sit quietly, sensing into the "intuitive feel" of "that whole thing."
--- Carefully look for some words or an image that can capture the "feel" of you-being-in-that-situation. Resonate and check any symbols against the "intuitive feel" until you find a "handle" for that "felt sense:" some words, images, or gestures that exactly capture it --- How it was for you: the internal "feel" of being in that situation.
--- Write down the specific situation and the "handle" words or images.
--- Repeat for each of up to five unresolved interpersonal situations with five different people.
--- Lastly, holding all of that information in your mind/body "feel of it all," scan and see if there are any similarities, patterns, or contrasts, differences between the five people-in-situations. And note this down as well.
--- If you find yourself "stirred up" be reflecting upon these situations, use the "Present Time" exercise to separate from that reactivity and come fully back to the present: Choose a shape, like round or rectangular, or a color, like black or orange, and name everything in the room that falls into that category, looking very carefully at everything around you. This "outer focus" should allow you to put the "internal focus" aside until another day.
--- If that is actually impossible for you, then take out Instant "Ahah!" #1: Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You and follow the Complete Focusing Instructions included, until something "shifts" inside ---