By , October 21, 2008 12:59 pm

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From Creative Edge Focusing: This month’s Getting A Felt Sense Exercise : “From The Bottom Up”


Here you are learning the difference between thinking up an answer in your head and Intuitive Focusing: waiting for a subtle “feel” of the whole thing, an “intuition,” to form in the center of your body, and then creating words or images that are just right to capture it. You are looking for the “intuitive feel,” the Creative Edge, the right-brain information that is more than you can put into words. Eugene Gendlin, creator of the self-help process called Focusing (Bantam, 1981, 1984) calls it “the felt sense” of the whole thing.

Gendlin also created this exercise. He came up with it to help people who were having a lot of trouble with the idea of a “felt sense” or “intuitive feel” inside of the body. Perhaps they didn’t even know what “inside your body” meant. Perhaps they could only pay attention to their concrete bones and muscles, not the more murky, blurry, “something-more-than words” that is the Creative Edge from which new ideas and solutions can come.

Kathy Shares Her Experience: Hard To Find My Body!

So, I did the loosening clothing, the paying attention to my breathing, in and out. Then I tried to feel the inside of my big toe. It was not as easy as I expected. I found I had to wiggle my toe to find the feel of it, and think I should add this to the instructions. So, I found the feel of my toe from the inside.

Then, I moved to my knee. Again, that was not so easy. I almost had to put my hand on my knee to find it. I put my attention inside of my knee, the feel of it from the inside.

Then, I moved to the feel of my body in contact with the supporting surface. Immediately, I felt the pressure of my thighs and bottom against the chair. It took me a while to realize that, oh, my entire back was also leaning against the chair, and to feel along my spine. And even longer to realize my feet were also resting on the floor. Surprising how oblivious we can be of our body-world interaction! Now, I could feel the whole envelope of my body touching the surfaces.

Then, per instructions, I brought my attention to the center of my body, around my heart, chest, lungs, and just tried to feel inside of there, that whole cavity. Sigh. I’m pausing to do that again, now. I could do that, find that energy space inside, not the bones and muscles, but the cavity, the space inside.

Then, I asked myself, “How am I today?” and waited, as much as a minute, for a feel of it all to come inside of that cavity. It took quite a while, my mind beginning to doubt, but eventually, I found something and the words that came were flighty, worried, scared.

I stopped there, putting a flag in, knowing I could go back to work with those handle words in a deeper Focusing turn later.

Research has shown that galvanic skin response (GSR, the physiological measure of stress used in lie-detector tests) actually lowers when people find words for unclear feelings and body-senses during Focusing.

E.g., even if the words might seem unsettling, like worried, scared, the body responds with relaxation. Even if the words are difficult, it is better for body-tension to find words, images, or gestures through Focusing, than to carry the unknown as body tension and stress.

Pre-Focusing Practice B. Getting A Felt Sense #2: “From The Bottom Up”
(from Complete Focusing Instructions, which you can download from link at top of blog)

Remember, especially at the beginning, time those “1 minute” pauses. You will be amazed at how long a minute is, how seldom we ever pause for a whole minute!!! And it is exactly in the PAUSE that the Creative Edge comes.

Here’s another method for finding the “intuitive feel” of the inside of your body, especially the space around the chest/heart area where you will experience the Creative Edge, the intuitive information that is more than words (Eugene Gendlin invented this):

Allow 5-10 minutes

—Close your eyes and get comfortable—loosen any clothing that is too tight—
1 minute
—Follow your breathing for a few moments, just noticing the breath, going in—and out-
1 minute
—Now, turn your attention to your right big toe—Can you feel your toe?—10 seconds

—Now, turn your attention to your knee—and feel your knee from the inside—10 sec

—Now, pay attention to your body where it touches the chair or floor—Feel everywhere that your body makes contact with the supporting surface—30 seconds

—Now, the inside of your chest, where your heart, lungs, diaphragm are — this is where the felt sense, the “intuitive feel” comes–feel in there, inside—10 seconds

—Ask yourself, in there, “How am I today?” and wait and see what comes—If you wait for at least a minute, a “felt sense” will arise, a subtle “intuitive feel” of yourself, that is not in words—
1 minute
—Just be with the “intuitive feel” for a moment, feeling it and trying to find a short, feeling or “quality” word (like “scared,” “sad,” “tense,” “silly,” “joyful” “red,” “jumpy,” “elastic”) that captures the quality of the “intuitive feel”—Or you might find an image that is just right—or perhaps your body wants to move into a certain posture or gesture.
1 minute
—You can use this quality word or image or posture as a “handle” to hold on to an “intuitive feel” so that you can come back to it later for a Complete Focusing Turn —
10 sec
—When you are ready, come slowly back into the room

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See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

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