A page from my book “Haiku on living with you”.
We are nothing if not our senses. Yet modern life encourages us to ignore those felt senses by turning our attention instead to the pursuits of consumerism, technology and materialism. The more we crave “stuff” outside of ourselves, the less time we spend listening to what is inside us. •
I find the practise of Focusing helpful when I’m trying to tune into myself. Started by the psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin, it involves listening to your body and your inner sense of knowing, fostering a sense of curiosity in our deepest felt senses through compassionate attention. Please note - the below exercise is not suitable for people with PTSD/ complex trauma. In these cases, the importance of working with an experienced therapist is key.
Here’s a simple focusing exercise:
1. Sit on a chair. Feel your feet flat on the floor, and relax your body into the chair.
2. Close your eyes if you wish, listen to the sounds in the room around you and accept them. Similarly accept the smells/textures around you.
3. Notice your breathing, and slow it down if you’re feeling anxious.
4. Turn your attention towards the felt sensations in your body. Find the one that feels strongest, to focus on.
5. Notice the colour and the sensation of that area of your body. For example, if you feel an area of pressure in your chest, give it a colour (say, red) and see it inside you.
6. Ask yourself, is this red area hard, soft? Does it pulse or vibrate? Does it feel still, full, empty? Does it hurt?
7. Ask yourself, what is this area trying to do - is it, for example, trying to push up into your throat and out into your mouth? Is it trying to push people away and make a barrier, or is it trying to invite people closer?
8. Ask yourself, what are the words contained in this area? For example, is this red area holding the words “pain”, or “help me”, “fear”, “joy”, “don’t touch”. Just listen to what words come from this area and acknowledge them to yourself.
9. Keeping your focus on that area of your body, put your hand on it and say to it “I hear you, I understand”. •
10. If it feels right to you, send love to that area of your body.
#haiku - 28 minutes ago