Discovering Beauty in the Midst of Illness

Rainbowby Rainbow Lonestar

Who’d have thunk it possible?  Somehow beauty and illness don’t seem to go together very well.  My experience going through a bad bout with the flu is showing me otherwise, though, thanks to the process of Focusing and the qualities of Presence that are at the heart of it.

What an amazing journey going through an illness can be when the time and space are created to really be Present with the process and all that arises throughout it and when the body’s needs are deeply listened to and honored at every stage of the way.

When I got bulldozed by the flu a few days ago, the first thing that was needed was re-prioritizing my to-do list; everything that’s not absolutely essential has to wait, including dishes and laundry.  Information input and output need to be severely limited, because there simply is not the energy available to deal with them.  This means cyber surfing is out and any correspondence with folks is limited to only the most pressing and is kept as brief as possible; all others will just need to wait.

That done, it’s time to settle in with what is here right now, acknowledging with Presence (which is gentle, open, spacious, compassionate, curious, loving, quiet and nonjudgmental, among other things) everything that is going on with my body in this moment, which is a LOT!
Photo on 2016-04-18 at 13.24Ah, there is the deep ache in the bones of my legs and feet, the ache in the bones of my face and jaws and the pressure and fullness in the spaces between; I can feel my pulse beating in some of these places and am also aware of the high-pitched, unwavering internal sound of my nervous system hard at work.  Then there is the internal sense of a fever and the heat flush in the face that it brings, along with the sense of top-heaviness and fatigue that always seem to come with it, as well as the chill and feeling of not being able to get warm enough.

Interesting for me to note that there is nothing within me that seems particularly unhappy about these current conditions I find myself in, even though it’s not exactly a fun and enjoyable experience to be having.  Maybe this is just another testament of how much the process of Focusing has already changed my experience of life and how I relate to everything that shows up for me.

So now that everything that’s currently going on with my body has been acknowledged, it’s time to listen and sense in deeply to what it is needing – is it bed rest?, fluids- if so, what kind? (some favorite kombucha, please, with extra Vit.C thrown in), food? (definitely No!), fresh air?, sun?, quiet?, some nurturing music?, etc.

All along the way, I’m becoming more intimately acquainted with my body, of how my habitual patterns of holding myself often contribute to the tension and aches that my body experiences and how even seemingly minor shifts in posture can open up a sense of spaciousness and ease where there was none before.  How very cool is that?!

And so it becomes a kind of dance my body and I do together throughout the day, this acknowledging what is here now and sensing in to what is needed and wanted at any given time.  The feeling is that we’re all in this together working for the common good of the whole being that I am; what a beautiful experience it is to sense that every part of me is on board and united in helping my body regain its health and balance!  And with it comes the sense of complete trust that gives me the ability to let go into the process, knowing that it will unfold as it needs to and in its own time restore my body to a state of health.  And so the dance continues…

Getting Started and Guided Focusing Sessions

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”    Marcel Proust

Once we decide to try Focusing, our first step is often a Guided Focusing Session from a Certified Focusing Professional.  For many of you, that will be with me.  For those who feel any kind of conflict toward trusting me, I can refer you to another Professional who can provide a guided session over the phone.  You can also search yourself on the website for Certified Focusing Professionals.  SAFETY in this process, in general, is an important topic you may be aware is holding you back.  Possibly some of these points will help.  I can also send you more information and would be glad to have a more in-depth conversation in person or on the phone around this as well.  First, in Focusing, we are primarily working with an inner experiential process and if it feels best, each of us can keep ‘what’ the experience is about, to ourselves.  All content that might come up in a Focusing Session is always 100% confidential.  I have not signed any oath to report certain anythings.  Next, Focusing is relationship building and we will be encouraged to honor what feels right to the inner relationship.  One shares what is wanting to be acknowledged and accepted out loud.  Anything which feels tender or needing to be protected would be acknowledged as that or silently to yourself.  This sense of safety and trust in the Focusing partnership process builds gradually over time.

Guided Focusing Sessions are precious self-care time.  Both you and I are doing nothing else but hanging out with, listening and inviting whatever inside of you is wanting your awareness right now.  You are holding what we call the Focusing Attitude of friendly, open curiosity toward whatever would like your attention. When something comes freshly (‘a felt sense’ experience), I will help you acknowledge it and sense into how it might want you to be with it.  You will get a feel for all the ways your body might choose to communicate with you – physical sensations, emotions, images or thoughts.  Every inner landscape is different and every Focusing session is different, yet, the core desire to connect and be understood weaves in, among, around and through it all.  And the experience of appreciation is often there, especially at the end, like one would feel for any authentic time with a good friend.  If something hangs around awhile, this is often an opportunity to get to know it better, possibly come to fully understand it. Sometimes there is not much communication, sometimes it is ‘hang out and do nothing together‘ that some part of us most needs right now.   This is not wasted time.  We are building a groundwork of acceptance and trust from which we will grow.  This same understanding that we are developing from inside may be just what we need next in our outer relationships as well.  Our body holds all of the complexity of where we have been, who we are now as well as a sense of where we are going next.  A Guided Focusing Session is an opportunity to tap into that rich fabric that is our life.

Guided Sessions are very helpful for moving through past or current issues that seem to be stuck or to re-invigorate your own sense of self. They are approximately 90 min for first time sessions and closer to 60 min in general. Guided Sessions, like massages or other self-care, are often helpful to integrate into your life on occasion as needed.
My current fee is $50-80 (sliding scale) for a Guided Focusing Session.
Sessions can be held in person  at my home office or via phone or Skype.

The prerequisite of having a Guided Session with someone who is certified to teach Focusing ensures that we are all on the same page in terms of understanding what type of experience we are practicing and exploring when we enroll in a Level 1 or similar workshop.