By , September 30, 2008 11:00 am

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From Creative Edge Focusing: This month’s Getting A Felt Sense Exercise :

The “Intuitive Feel” of Two Different People : “Good” vs. “Uncomfortable” Feeling


In this exercise, you are learning to recognize an “intuitive feel” or “bodily felt sense” by having strong bodily responses brought up by different imagery. When you repeat the exercise, with different people behind each door, different “bodily felt senses” or “intuitive feels” arising in response to each person, you will gain more and more experience with, and confidence in, the body’s response as a source of information (and Intuitive Focusing as the method for symbolizing all this preverbal information into useable knowledge!)

You can also have a similar experience of recognizing your body’s response to various events, and the endless information held “preverbally” in this “intuitive feel,” by, for instance:

(1) playing an up-beat and then a slow piece of music, and noticing the difference in the “bodily-feel” of each. This is, of course, the basis of the success of the symphonic form in music, each section calling up a different “mood” or bodily-response. You can practice using Focusing to look for words and images to describe the “intuitive feel” of the two different pieces of music. You will begin to see that the “felt sense” can be an endless source of new verbalizations, new symbolizations about anything that comes to the body’s attention. You could write a poem, create a dance, describe the music to a friend, write your own piece of music, and create many more symbolizations to describe the effect on your body of the two different pieces of music, all from the one “bodily felt-sense.”

(2) Putting your body into a posture or gesture that seems to capture how you feel right now. Then, putting your body into a posture or gesture that captures “How I would like to be feeling.” Pay attention to the “intuitive feel” of each posture, using Focusing to make words or images for the bodily-feel of each posture, with Checking and Resonating until the symbols feel “just right” in capturing the bodily-feel. Now, go back and forth between the two body postures, paying attention to the bodily-feel of each, and see what happens. New words or images, or a new posture, may emerge!

(3) Reading different pieces of poetry, and noticing the “intuitive feel” that arises in your body to each different poem. Use Focusing, with Checking and Resonating, to find some words or an image for the “intuive feel” that comes in response to each different poem.

(4) Looking at pieces of art and, again, noticing the “intuitive feel” of each which arises in the center of your body, and using Intuitive Focusing, with Checking and Resonating, to create words or images to describe your “body’s response” to each different piece of art.

You see that, whenever we create meaning, or articulate the meaning of something to us, we begin by referring to our “bodily felt sense,” our “intuitive feel,” and creating descriptive words or images to capture that “bodily feel.” Meaning is created from The Creative Edge, the non-linear, right-brain, “intuitive feel” that comes in our body when we turn our attention to “pondering” on something.

I am a very kinesthetic person and an NF (iNtuitive Feeler) on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (you’ll find free versions on this test at the link. Please also see my paper,”The Body As A Source Of Knowledge” for an introduction to Thinking and Feeling as ways-of-being in the world). Getting a “bodily felt sense” comes easily to me. I learned Focusing naturally and easily, simply saying, “Thank goodness Eugene Gendlin (Focusing, Bantam, 1981) finally put into words the way I have been living all along.” But others, perhaps less kinesthetic, perhaps Thinkers rather than Feelers on the MBTI, have great difficulty in knowing what it means to “check with your body and see what comes.”

If none of these Getting A Felt Sense exercises are working for you, if you find yourself saying, “I have no idea what she is talking about! I don’t get a ‘bodily feel’ when I listen to music, read poetry, look at art”, then you might want to check into the writings and books about Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell at  . Ann describes herself as someone who had no idea what a “bodily felt sense” was, and she developed her methods of teaching Focusing with a lot of awareness of people with a similar problem.

Pre-Focusing Practice

B. Getting A Felt Sense #1: The “Intuitive Feel” of Each Person
(from Complete Focusing Instructions download at top of page)

Here you are learning the difference between thinking up an answer in your head and the second Step of Intuitive Focusing: Getting A Felt Sense. (download Complete Focusing Instructions above to find this exercise, or follow this link to my blog introducing it)

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

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