HAVING A PARADIGM SHIFT: COMPLETE FOCUSING SESSION INSTRUCTIONS
Gendlin's Six-Step Focusing Process: McGuire's PRISMS/S
In Intuitive Focusing, first, you relax and find a felt sense, an "intuitive feel" that is before words and more than words. Then, you go back and forth between open-ended questions ("Why is this hard for me?", "What's the meaning for me?", "How is this related to that other decision?") and the "intuitive feel," looking for words or images that exactly capture "the feel of the whole thing," until you find a sense of resolution, of knowing the meaning, an "Ahah!" experience.
At this moment of "Ahah!" you are experiencing a "felt shift," a Paradigm shift. The kaleidoscope turns, and the whole situation is new. New ideas, emotions, and action steps suddenly become possible.
Eugene Gendlin (Focusing, 1981, 1984) was the first to describe Focusing as a series of steps which could be practiced as a self-help, problem solving method. Please see Intuitive Focusing for a full explanation of Gendlin's six-steps of the Focusing process.
Below is a set of instructions taking you through the complete Intuitive Focusing process. If you purchase Creative Edge Focusing ™'sSelf-help Package , you can listen to audio CD Intuitive Focusing Instructions, Disc 2, Track 1: Relaxation, Then Focusing.
Be Gentle With Yourself
At all times, please remember the Focusing Attitude, the Caring Feeling Presence inside which we are also practicing these four weeks! Having a Caring Feeling attitude toward whatever arises inside is the best insurance for a wonderful quiet time with your own inner experiencing.
Try these long instructions only as long as you feel comfortable. Don't be judgmental of yourself if nothing huge seems to be happening. It can take a long time to learn to recognize a felt sense, the "intuitive feel," amidst all of the other things going on inside of your body (thoughts, images, muscular sensations, etc.).
If you've recently joined this e-newsletter, later exercises will take you back to practicing separate steps of Focusing, like Relaxation, Clearing A Space, and Getting A Felt Sense. Impatient? You can check earlier e-newsletters about these exercises at the Creative Edge Focusing E-Newsletter Archives. And/or you can start at the beginning of Intuitive Focusing, Disc 1, and try each exercise in sequence.
Don't force yourself to stay quietly inside longer than is pleasurable for your. Remember, many people learn the basics of Intuitive Focusing and having "felt shifts," or Paradigm Shifts better if they can be in interaction with a Listening partner. Start your own self-help group, using the Focusing In Community (Focusing en Comunidad) manual from the Self-Help package, or seek individual Coaching or a class/workshop with a Creative Edge Focusing Consultant or Certified Focusing Trainer
If any tears arise during Intuitive Focusing, let them come. Be very gentle and curious with the place the tears come from, asking "What are these tears all about?", "Why does this move me?", "What's the meaning of these tears?"
Three Different Approaches To A Complete Focusing Session
Each of the three sets of complete Focusing instructions we will try in the next lessons emphasizes a different way of getting a "felt sense" or "intuitive feel."
1. "How Am I Today?": You simply ask yourself, "How am I today?" and wait and see what comes as a felt sense.
2. "Clearing A Space": You clear a space inside, making a list of all the issues you find, positive and negative, then choose the one thing from the list you would like to focus on.
3. "Focusing On A Situation" You think of a specific situation or issue about which you want to learn more, and find the "bodily sense" of how that whole thing feels.
Try each set. You may find that one way works consistently better for you, or you may find that you like to use different instructions to work on different kinds of issues. But, for the next four weeks, we will practice #1:
1. "How am I today?"-Allow 20-30 minutes
---Lie down and get comfortable---loosen any clothing that is too tight---
---Now, stretch your arms up over your head, point your toes, and stretch as long as you can---and relax---10 seconds
---Let your body relax into the floor---10 seconds
---Now, tense your feet, hold for a second---and relax---and breathe, in and out---10 seconds
---Now, tense your calf muscles--- hold---and relax---and breathe---in and out---10 seconds
---And, now, your thighs---tense---hold---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds
---And now your pelvis and buttocks---tense---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds
---Now, your stomach and lower back---tense---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds
---Your arms---tense---relax---and breathe---10 seconds
---Now, your face and neck---tense them up---wiggle your face all around---and relax---10 seconds
---Notice your thought process---and gently set it aside---10 seconds
--- Find a peaceful place inside of yourself, a place of Caring Feeling Presence. Bring to mind the Anchoring images, your inner Nurturers, from this week's Caring Feeling Presence exercise---30 seconds
---Now, ask yourself, "How am I today?" and just wait and see what comes---30 seconds
---Now, ask yourself, "And what's the feel of that whole thing?" and, again, wait as long as a minute for the "intuitive feel," the more-than-words, of the whole thing to form, probably in the center of your chest/heart area.
---Again, find some words or an image that are just right for the feeling.
---And ask yourself, "And why does that matter to me?" and see what comes---
---Find some words or an image to capture it just right, going back-and-forth between intuition and symbols until there is a sense of fit: "Yes, that's it."
---Now, ask yourself, "What would this be like if it were all okay?" and see if you can get some words or an image for that.
---Now, ask yourself gently, "What's in the way of that being okay?" and just wait and see what comes as a bodily sense, an "intuitive feel" around your heart center.
---And find words or an image to capture that, going back-and-forth until the sense of "fit."
---Now, hold those two intuitive senses next to each other: the way it would be if it were okay, and the way it is now, and see if you experience any change or shift in how it is.
---See if you can find any small step that would bring you closer to how you'd like it to be.
---Now, just spend another minute receiving what has come---
--- If you feel like you want some more steps of problem solving on this issue, you can do more rounds of Focusing: ask yourself an open-ended question, wait for a felt sense, the "intuitive feel," then look for words or images to capture it---
--- When you're ready, end the Focusing for today and slowly come back into the room.
You should feel relaxed, refreshed, less stressed, after a Focusing Session. If, however, you don't feel better, but perhaps feel disoriented or sunk in an unpleasant feeling, you can try the "Present Time" procedure, borrowed from Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling to bring you back "into real time":
Look around the room and name every one of a certain color(all black, all white, or all yellow -- whatever!) or shape (round, square, rectangular, or whatever!) of object in the room. Look around very carefully at this outer world. Continue with variations of this exercise until you feel grounded in "present time" again.