My articles

A CAT’S DEMO OF HOW TO SAVOUR PLEASANT FEELINGS


This morning as I returned from my walk a little tabby cat ran up to greet me, her tail in the air.  As I stopped she rubbed against my leg then lay down beside me and rolled over.  Her feet gently pushed against my walking boots and she half closed her eyes and began to softly purr.  I stood still, bending over and talking to her in a gentle voice, without even touching her.  I realised that she was showing me how to welcome and savour pleasant feelings when they come.  What a lovely demo for me.  She reminded me that I too can pause, to allow myself to be comfortable and supported fully by the earth, and to welcome, be with and fully experience life’s energy flowing through me.  This brings appreciation and joy and a wish to share Focusing skills with others...

© Pamela Carr 2013





AN EVENTFUL DAY OUT INSPIRES FOCUSING ON THE HOOF

What an uncomfortable and unforgettable experience I had recently on a day trip to a local National Trust property when challenging situations seemed to be arising one after the other.

It was when I got home and reflected on my day that I sensed a mixture of appreciation and discomfort.  I was grateful for many things - the warm sunny day, walking easily in sandals and wearing light clothes, exploring colourful gardens, buying some fresh garden produce at the shop, taking some photos, watching children enjoy rides on an old-fashioned musical merry-go-round and eating a delicious cream tea.  The plan had been to have a whole day of just such pure pleasure but instead lots of challenges came too.  I listed more than ten, including being held up in a traffic jam, missing the direct route into the property, not being able to get printed information about the day’s events, being confused about opening times for  tours of the house, not knowing how to find the ‘sheepdog event’ and waiting in a long queue to go into the gardens.

Rather than pause and practise a mini Focusing session and relate fully in the moment, what did I do?  I blamed the Farm Car Boot Sale for the traffic chaos, myself for driving the long way round, the organisers for not providing information sheets, the system for having only one till and one assistant at the entrance to the gardens and so on.  And I filled in a comment card, a feedback form and spoke to several assistants to enquire, to give some feedback - and occasionally to thank them too!

Later, when I actually Focused with this whole thing, I realised that I had been merged with something in me that just wanted to have a good time.  And I was able to acknowledge how hard it worked at trying to get what it wanted that day!  I realised that because I hadn’t paused and it wasn’t attended to, it continued to react just like a little child who is desperate for attention.  When things weren’t what it wanted, it found a lot to say and to do.

I’m grateful now for such a clear and useful cameo experience of some of life’s small challenges, and the knowing that what was needed was the ability to ‘Focus on the Hoof’, so I could respond more comfortably for myself and for others too.

This seems to be about the benefits of accessing awareness, Focusing attitudes and skills to support when outer challenges come: to pause and acknowledge, and to sense in the body, notice the breath, to sense the feeling of being supported, spacious and flowing.  And then to relate with what is happening from a wider view and respond in the moment from a more allowing, curios, kindly and generous place.

And the moral of the story seems to be: “Don’t leave it at home - keep practising ‘Focusing on the Hoof.’”

© Pamela Carr 2013



SOFTENING INTO THE MOMENT

I'm inspired to explore,

in this here and now,
as I pause -

to soften into the moment...
I notice how my hands become still,
my  breath deepens,
my shoulders drop a little,
my face relaxes,
and my mind responds
and kind of settles down into body's support.


Then an image comes of a great oak tree,
sturdy and strong and able to soften and respond,
to turn its leaves toward the sun, to dance with the wind
and to appreciate each drop of rain.
I’m sensing how it softens to bring new growth with the prompts of spring
and to set summer flowers into acorns -
this year it has many fruits, it’s called a 'mast year,'
and then as light and warmth fade, it softens again
and its leaves fall to earth,
to fulfill and replenish the exquisite cycle of being alive
as it sighs once more into winter’s repose.


Some knowing comes:

Yes, just like the oak,

I too can

gently sigh

and soften

into each moment...

 

© PAMELA CARR 2013




THE SCARED LITTLE BOY

A warm smile comes now as I remember and write about how I related in a focusing way with a scared little boy.  By embodying the gentle qualities of presence and using presence language, I helped to create a safe space for him to be with and then to move through his fears. It’s a true story which illustrates the healing power of Focusing in daily life.

Last year around the time of Halloween I visited local National Trust gardens.  I was walking along the damp mossy paths and after a while came to an underground tunnel and grotto.   As I stepped inside I entered a fantasy world with cardboard images of witches with broomsticks and boiling cauldrons.  The walls and roof were decorated with many spiders and their webs, and I could hear a loud screeching and howling, an eerie and scary sound which went on and on and on. I paused and listened, acknowledging the chilly shiver through my spine.  I looked around, admiring the creativity of the folks who had set it all up.  Then I walked on, and came out into the autumn sunshine at the other end.

A few steps away down the path, I could see a boy, about 6 or 7 years old.  He was standing with a young woman and they were kind of huddled together.    Sensing something was going on for them, and wondering if it might be connected with the Halloween themed grotto, I approached with a friendly “Hello.”  The woman responded and told me how her son wanted to go in the grotto, but was feeling scared. 

As I acknowledged what she had said, the little boy asked me “What is it like?  What’s there in the tunnels? And what is making that sound?”  I bent down beside him “Ah,” I said gently and slowly,  “Maybe part of you would like to explore and is curious to know more about all of this, ..........and another part is feeling scared and doesn’t want to go in the tunnel.  “Mmmmmm,” he replied.  So I said:  “I’m wondering if you have had some Halloween activities in school.”  “Mmmmmm, yes,” he replied again.  I continued:  “Well, because it’s Halloween..............the gardeners and volunteers here at the gardens wanted to celebrate...... and they’ve had fun decorating the tunnels and grotto........ and they set up a sound recording .......because they wanted to make it feel really exciting and really scary.” 

After a pause I said “No wonder you are sensing all this............Maybe you could sense inside your bodyand say hello to the part that wants to go in and explore ...........and say hello to the part that is feeling scared...................  And then let your body show you if it’s ok to go in and explore..........or, if it’s ok to not go there today................”  As he looked up hesitantly at his Mum, I stood up again, smiled and silently wished them well and walked on.

Later in the day I came across them again.  They both looked happy and relaxed and the little boy waved and called over to me “I did it.....I did go in the tunnel!  “Well done, good for you” I called back.  As he beamed a big smile, I noticed a glow of joy and appreciation flow through me as I inwardly thanked Focusing. 

These skills we develop in our Focusing, of noticing and turning toward, of acknowledging and gently being with whatever is arising, really do translate to our daily lives too.  They can bring a shift, an easing, a new perspective, an opening to new steps forward.  Even when we come face to face with big scary somethings!

As we practise Focusing we discover it can help us to build a new relationship with a part of us that is feeling scared.  We realise it must be here for some good reason of its own.  And we find a way to allow it to be here, but without it getting in the way of what we truly want or need to do.     And just like in the story, if you know Focusing, you may find you have opportunities to help others to do this too.

 [Note:  Halloween, origins in 18th Century, the eve of All Saints Day, 31 October.]

© Pamela Carr 2013