Feeling relaxed and dreamy I continue at a leisurely pace, noticing the brightness, and that the brightness has a certain quality to it, a promise of good things to come. I am peaceful and optimistic.
The early morning silence is broken by a few birds still calling out to each other. I delight in being a part of this tranquil scene. At the same time I am vaguely aware of some slight discomfort.
Perhaps it is to do with the brightness, there is a sort of stillness to it, and an intensity that feels a little unsettling. Then I notice again, how pleasant it is to stroll along with the sun’s soothing heat gently warming my back.
I realise that if I look ahead towards the brightness I get a funny, uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. A nervous, fluttery, edginess that becomes a rather sharp ache.
There is something about the perfect brightness, a kind of atmosphere, something unreal. The word ‘artificial’ comes to me, it seems to resonate. I stay with the word and what emerges next is both an image, and a feeling of shadows lurking behind the brightness.
Quite uneasy now, I calm myself by breathing in the comforting smell of heat on paving stones.
I shiver. There are still a few birds chattering reassuringly and I try telling myself that all is as it should be. However my body knows better. It is fully alert.
What was that noise….that faint rustling? I walk a little faster….not too fast….its probably a bird….my ears are straining, searching for the faintest sound.
The hairs on the back of my neck are literally standing on end….and then I hear footsteps behind me….I’m almost running now…. a hand clasps my shoulder….Something crude is whispered in my ear.
I scream and scream
‘Okay, okay’ he hisses.
Then I run in one direction and he runs in the other.
I remember this incident vividly, even though it happened some years ago. I can see now how my vague sense of discomfort developed into a definite awareness of danger.
Eugene Gendlin discovered Focusing, he devised the term ‘felt sense’ to describe an unclear, intricate ‘bodily awareness’. (p.10)
Focusing is a process of deepening my connection with this bodily sense. It is a process that might occur naturally and it can also be learned.
I can focus alone or with a Companion. To begin with I am just trying to get a feel of something faint and delicate. Slowly and gently I build up my connection with it by describing and acknowledging everything that I notice.
Because the felt sense is very fragile I need to be sensitive. If I am impatient and try to hurry things along it will disappear.
Gradually the felt sense becomes stronger and more fully formed. Meanings contained within it can emerge, deepening self-awareness and personal insights.
*Focusing (2003) Eugene Gendlin