A Wholebody Focusing Experience

Focusing is about tuning into our inner sense of a life situation, in that space of awareness where we can experience our bodies concretely, to allow it to guide us to live that situation to the fullest.

Sometimes, a life situation happens closer to home - in our very own bodies. If we treat the state of our body at any one time like any other situation we encounter (say an interaction with someone, or a piece of writing you're struggling with, etc.) then it is not surprising to use it as an object of our Focusing.

What do we Focus on? We can Focus on anything within our bodies - pain, tension, a knot, a stuck gut, a certain posture and much more. We notice treat one of these like a Felt Sense, or as if it were a felt sense and explore it.

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Here's my own experimentation.

For those of you who know me a little bit better, you would know that I sometimes struggle to project my voice. Most of you would have told me to speak up.

The truth of the matter is that I often experience a constriction in my throat. Sometimes, it even gets inflamed, especially when I strain to push air out in an attempt to push the sound more forcefully into the ether.

I've started Focusing on my throat and jaw region, treating it as if it were a felt sense/ part of my feeling self. It was very tight, and I notice that my molars were trying to draw together, almost like two magnets, but not quite managing it.

In the spirit of Focusing this way, and knowing that my body might not usually link up to mental input (ideas, thoughts, images, memories, etc.), I concentrated on being mindful of the sensations and state of my throat and jaw. I also suggested to my throat and jaw that they could "be the way they are without changing".

This suggestion is a crucial attitude in Focusing. The intention is to mindfully create space in our awareness without trying to force anything to change. Change happens because there's enough of the right kind of space. A bit like an octopus unfolding if you moved it from a teacup into a swimming pool.

Next, I asked my throat and jaw a question, almost like I was interviewing someone: "What do you want to do? What needs to happen?"

I wasn't actually hoping that anything would happen. I've got to admit that at that time, a part of me felt like this was all too "woo woo" and not "evidence-based". So I was startled when my jaw started to move in chewing motions and my neck started to tilt. It was quite surreal but I was aware that I wasn't voluntarily doing any of this.

As I concentrated on maintaining that mindful aware space (for a long time I might add), the movements in my throat and jaw gradually changed. My head tilted left then slowly right, then left again. My jaw kept working, like it was getting around a really big bun. As these movements kept happening, I started to notice a subtle opening up at the back of my throat.

When I've come to a natural stop, I tried projecting my voice by singing a line of a song I liked. It wasn't a booming voice by a long shot but I noticed that I could speak normally without strain.

That's a start. Considering that I've struggled with this affliction for more than 20 years, this was incredible, and exciting.

How does it work? I'm not entirely sure yet because I'm still studying this version of Focusing up. I do know that I fully intend to explore it more so that one day, my voice can be comfortably heard.

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Afterthought:
If you consider as a whole that Focusing is simply the process of turning awareness inwards to explore the concrete sense of a situation via the body, in order to identify what is needed, then I've simply tuned into what my body to identify what it needed.

Give it a try. It might lead to something interesting.

Eric

Focusing and The Spirit of Mindfulness

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