Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Value of Focusing

Today I am appreciating the value of Focusing in my life. Gene Gendlin says, "No matter what you do, with Focusing, it will go better." And how true that is! I guide and teach Focusing because I am passionate about how it supports me in being whole and want to share that opportunity with others.

I was struggling with an interpersonal conflict. It felt painful. I was angry. When I took just a brief moment to look inside, I discovered how I yearn for both of us to be OK. Connecting with that yearning, and my beautiful vision of “OKness,” I felt an easing, and a wave of love toward myself (when before I was self-critical) and toward the other person (when before I was feeling angry). Not only does loving just plain feel better than being in pain and angry, it is way I want to be in the world.

Today, I am so grateful for how Focusing has supported me in connecting with and experiencing my deepest values, even in the midst of pain and conflict.

Focusing is a scientifically-proven and -validated way of accessing our inner wisdom and gaining physical and mental ease. I offer guided Focusing sessions on the phone or in person for $75 each or three for $200. For more see www.shula.ca or e-mail shulamit@shula.ca

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I Know Nothing Ahead of Time

My certification as a Focusing professional took place on April 1st. Of course, during my certification assessment, I spent some time listening to my insides. At the close of my Focusing, they gave me a knowing. As I stepped forward into the “fullness of this” (my self as a certified Focusing professional), my insides wanted me to remember that I “know nothing beforehand,” reminding me of the Fool card in the Tarot deck.

This was very satisfying to hear. It is an experiential reminder of how I want to be in life, with myself and other people, and especially with psychotherapy and Focusing clients. It’s like Gene Gendlin says,

I want to start with the most important thing I have to say: What matters is to be a human being with another human being, to recognize the other person as another being in there… So, when I sit down with someone, I take my troubles and feelings and I put them over here, on one side, close, because I might need them. And I take all the things that I have learnt… and I put them over here, on my other side, close. Then I am just here... There are no qualifications for the kind of person I must be. What is wanted for the big therapy process, the big development process, is a person who will be present.

It is useful to have learned things. But they do not guide my being with myself or someone else. Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi writes that it is necessary to leave what I know. I “have to leave the here to go there, to sacrifice the here for there.” In the holy place of “being with,” I must release myself from thinking that I know anything. Otherwise, what do I know? Only what I knew before. But touching the awe and mystery of what is happening now is dependent on not knowing, on not putting things in boxes. I must open a window through which I can see Ain Sof, the Open Space of the shining, infinite light of the Divine. “The place of unknowing… is desirable ignorance,” teaches Reb Nachman of Bratslav.

Just like The Fool, I have my traveller’s pack. It is here with me, on my shoulder in case I need the contents along the way. I know how to support people in process and by listening. I know how to demonstrate to them that I am with them. I know my professional boundaries and how to care for myself so I am in integrity and we are both safe. But how this person will be, who they are, and what is alive in them? This I do not yet know. The responses lie in this very moment. They are what is happening now, and it is for what is happening now that I want to drop my pack and be present. It is in reference to this moment of “being with” that “I know nothing beforehand.”

With gratitude to my Focusing teachers Ann Weiser Cornell, Diane Bourbonnais-Caron and Ruth Hirsch, and to Eugene Gendlin who brought Focusing to the world.

Gendlin, E.T. (1990). The small steps of the therapy process: How they come and how to help them come. In G. Lietaer, J. Rombauts & R. Van Balen (Eds.), Client-centered and experiential psychotherapy in the nineties, pp. 205-224. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Available at http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2110.html

Shachter Shalomi, Z. and Miles Yepez, N. (2009). A Heart Afire: Stories and teachings of the early Hasidic masters. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.


To celebrate my certification, I am offering two free guided Focusing phone sessions (some conditions apply). Offer expires April 30, 2010. Please contact me for details.

I offer guided Focusing sessions in person or by telephone at the rate of $75/session. You can save $25 when you buy a 3-session package for $200.

I also offer holistic psychotherapy that is grounded in the Focusing process at the rate of $75/hour-long session.

For more information: www.shula.ca ~ shulamit@shula.ca ~ 613-868-YOGA