Posts tagged: Focusing Partnership Exchange

INTEREST AREA: BUILDING COMMUNITY — SUPPORT GROUPS EVERYWHERE!!!

By , June 16, 2008 2:10 pm

Interest Areas: Seven Places To Start Practice Groups !!!

The Interest Areas under “Is This You” at The Creative Edge Focusing website (www.cefocusing.com ) give the First Ten Steps you might take to bring the model of Listening/Focusing into seven whole different areas of living: Organizations, Support Groups and Communities, Relationships, Parenting, Education, Spiritual Communities, and Helping Professions (psychotherapy, counselling, medicine, body work, etc.).

In the next e-newsletters, I will introduce you to each of these Interest Areas and possible First Steps so that you might start a Listening/Focusing practice group in any of these areas.

INTEREST AREA: BUILDING SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY AT HOME, IN THE COMMUNITY, AND AT WORK

The Building Supportive Community Project brings the Creative Edge Focusing TM Model, with its two Core Skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and seven Applied Methods of The Creative Edge Pyramid, into existing support groups and communities, as well as starting new Focusing Communities.

Some applications are 12-Step Groups, Support Groups, Community Mental Health , Religious and Spiritual Communities, Hospitals , Prisons , Schools , Conflict Resolution, Participatory Democracy , and Collaborative Work Groups and Collectives. See (PDF file) Focusing and Twelve Step by Steve Crawford and Focusing Recovery by Suzanne Noel for an integration of Gendlin’s Focusing theory and the 12-Steps.

What Is Community?

Community means a felt-experience of interconnection and mutual support as well as the capacity to work together toward a common cause. In a community everyone can belong, respected for their uniqueness or their role but working toward the common good. For community to work, people need ways to respect and to capitalize on differences and to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

Community can be built starting with people who initially come together for mutual emotional support, as in a support group. That experience of sharing can build outward into an actual community which can organize toward a common goal, for instance, advocacy.

Or, community can be built starting with people who initially come together to accomplish a shared goal, as in a grass-roots campaign or a non-profit or for-profit organization. The good feelings created through collaboration can end up having also created feelings of mutual care and supportive community.

Dr. McGuire’s manual (download a Sample Chapter, English or Spanish,  in our Store) , Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group (in Spanish, Focusing en Comunidad: Como Empezar un Grupo de Apoyo de Escocha Y Focusing) teaches the basic skills needed. Audio and video tapes and phone sessions and workshops enhance this learning. The Creative Edge e-discussion/support group connects you with other people throughout the world who belong to Focusing Communities. Find contact links below.

See the free article The Focusing Community for a full description of the model.

Support Groups/ Twelve-Step Groups

The Listening/Focusing peer counseling model for building community starts at the emotional support end. The exchange of Listening/Focusing turns in Focusing Partnerships provides the empathic glue that bonds people together and motivates them to want to take care of each other, individually and in terms of uniting around a shared goal.

In a support group, usually around a particular topic like divorce, cancer, adoption, addiction, grief, we have the opportunity of discovering that we are not alone. Others have had similar experiences. They are interested, also, in hearing our own unique story, in all of its detail. Pooling all that we have learned, we can solve our problems. Support groups are places for powerful bonding because of this shared experience.

The Listening/Focusing exchange in Focusing Groups/Teams and Focusing Communities can be as powerful as psychotherapy in terms of healing and moving forward, yet it is safe, self-empowering, and inexpensive. These are bonuses to support group participation too good to pass up!( See More on Focusing in Support Groups.)

Community Mental Health

The Focusing in Community model can also be applied as a grass-roots method for integrating mental health care, as a peer counseling method, into communities.
See APPLICATION: Community Mental Health

Creative Edge Organizations Are Communities

In addition to incorporating Creative Edge Focusing into emotional support groups , building supportive community can start with groups who come together to accomplish a common task. The Creative Edge Organization model can be used for motivation from the bottom up. The Collaborative Edge Decision Making Method (PDF file to download, English or Spanish), with components of Shared Leadership, Coordinated Collaboration, and Creative Edge Impasse Resolution, grounds power and responsibility for decision making in each individual. See More on Task-Oriented Community Building.

Starting either with emotional support groups or collaborative work situations, by teaching the two simple skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and the seven applied methods of The Creative Edge Pyramid, you can strengthen community through
—the personal, creative, and spiritual growth of each member
—the relational aspects of mutual care and conflict resolution
—the task-oriented level of problem-solving, group decision-making, and concerted action toward a goal.

Click here to visit the Building Supportive Community Interest Area and scroll down to find the Ten First Steps For Bringing Listening/Focusing into Support Groups, Community Mental Health, and Task-Oriented Settings

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

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

FOCUSING AND SPIRITUALITY 4: AGAPE —THE SPIRITUAL LOVE OF THE OTHER

By , June 2, 2008 10:30 pm

Experiencing God in The Other

For me, intense spiritual experiences of the love known as Agape happen regularly through the experience of exchanging Listening/Focusing turns in a Focusing Partnership or a Listening/Focusing Community. Through the use of Focused Listening, I am able to set aside my own stereotypes and prejudices and really enter into the world of the other person. In these moments of empathy, when the Focuser touches upon her deepest values and most profound truths, as the Listener, I am often moved and touched by the absolute uniqueness, yet universal humanness, of the Other.

In these moments, often with a sheen of tears in our eyes, it seems that the boundaries separating one person from the other drop, and we stand together in a shared, sacred space. I believe this is what is meant by experiencing The Christ Within The Other or Universal Oneness or Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” vs. “I-It” experience. For me, there is no more sacred experience.

Here is how I recently described this experience of Agape during Listening/Focusing Partnership Exchange:

“I like Listening/Focusing better than Focusing Alone because, when people share Listening/Focusing turns, they actually build up Love between each other, the Love of “the unique otherness” of the other which is Agape, which is “seeing Christ in the other person,” which is Buber’s “I /Thou vs. I / It experience.” I am way more interested in promoting a method that creates Love in the world than I am in any individual’s personal growth.

And so I like to spread Listening/Focusing partnership, but even more important, Listening/Focusing groups, and, most importantly, Listening/Focusing Communities. In a Community, there is Listening/Focusing for conflict resolution and for Win/Win decision making, two more HUGE VAST ways to create love rather than conflict, prejudice,stereotyping.

The experience of Love being created? I am Listening to another. That person touches down, often, into a place of tears, a place of deepest, most profound meaning for them. I am also moved to tears of empathy. In that moment, it is “as if” the boundary between the other person and myself dissolves or broadens or merges — I am still there, and they, but there is also this Togetherness — and, in it this feeling of Love — my heart swelling, sometimes tears in my eyes, and a sense that Something Sacred has entered into the room. Something beyond the two of us, and something with qualities of Awe and Grace and the kind of Love that God or a Universal positive force — well, something like that!!!

And, this Love lasts. I am now bonded to this person. In a Focusing Community, out of this Love, people take each other to doctor’s appointment, sit with each other through chemo therapy, help each other move furniture, celebrate each other’s Birthdays, show up at a meeting just to hear each person Check In, each person say their News and Goods from the week. I do think that this mutual “touching into tears” may actually be a crucial, almost physiological/spiritual part of this “melting and merging.”

It is possible that the quality of sharing in my Focusing Communities is different or deeper than in other Focusing Groups because of the emphasis I place on teaching Focusers and Listeners alike to move toward, move into, welcome, the places that start with a shimmer of tears in the eyes, and, if the Focuser stops and “senses in” right there, at the “place of tears,” hugely deep meanings unfold.

It is that, building community (not just partnership) in a world of isolation and mistrust and hate, that I love above all else, and it is Listening, more than Focusing Alone, that allows this to happen, really, really predictably. Creating Love predictably! What could be better! You can take any group of people, no matter how polarized and hating, and, if they will do Listening/Focusing turns with each other, seeing each other’s mutual Uniqueness-yet-Commonality, they will find themselves loving each other, having deep compassion for each other, and being willing to take action steps to help each other (at least, this is my belief! Carl Rogers has done more of these actual world-peace making gatherings than I. Mine have been local Focusing Communities — but six of these over 30 years, all creating love and bonding, each lasting 5-10 years).”

See articles in PDF:

Focusing and Spirituality: The Still, Small Voice Within
Being Touched and Being Moved: The Spiritual Value Of Tears
Finding The Meaning Of Tears

Click here to see the whole Experiencing The Sacred Interest Area and scroll down to find Ten Ways to Bring Focusing into Spiritual Communities

EXERCISE: FOCUSING UPON A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE OF AGAPE
(You can read these to yourself now, download them for repeated use, read them into a tape recorder for playback; leave at least one minute of silence between each instruction)

If you need a different kind of Focusing Exercise for where you are today, please click here to access the e-newsletter archives at Constant Contact and choose any Focusing Instruction that fits for you.

As last week, you will choose an experience to spend Intuitive Focusing time on that had spiritual meaning for you, a moment when you might have said that you were experiencing God or The Sacred or Something Profound – often, this can be something that touched you or moved you, perhaps bringing a sheen of tears to your eyes. It might be a piece of music, a prayer or passage from the Bible, a poem, a sunset, the smile of a child, the touch of a friend.

Perhaps this week you could bring to mind an experience of Agape that you have had: A time when you felt a special closeness to another person which had a spiritual feel to it

By spending time with “the intuitive feel of it all,” you are going to make more words and meanings for what is Sacred, to you. Please find a comfortable chair in a quiet place, and give yourself at least 30 minutes for Intuitive Focusing:

Okay — first, just get yourself comfortable — feel the weight of your body on the chair — loosen any clothing that is too tight —
(One minute)
Spend a moment just noticing your breathing — don’t try to change it — just notice the breath going in — and out —
(One minute — )
Now, notice where you have tension in your body (pause) —
(One minute — )
Now, imagine the tension as a stream of water, draining out of your body through your fingertips and feet (Pause) —
(One minute — )
Let yourself travel inside of your body to a place of peace —
(One minute — )
Now, bring to mind an event or piece of music or art or religious symbol that felt Sacred, or had a spiritual significance for you. If it fits for you, look for a time when you experienced the special closeness of Agape with another person (pause) — Take your time to find a powerful, meaningful symbol or event —
(One minute or more — )
Think about it or get a mental image of it — take your time to choose something that matters to you —
(One minute — )
Now, try to set aside all of your thoughts about this experience, and, as you carry a mental image of the event or symbol in your mind, just wait and see what comes in the center of your body, around your heart/chest area, in response (pause) — not words, but the intuitive feel of that whole thing —
(One minute or more — )
Now, carefully try to find words or an image for that intuitive feel — Go carefully back and forth between any words and the intuitive feel of the whole thing until you find words or an image that are just right for it —
(One minute — )
Now, gently ask yourself, “What was so important for me about that?” or, “What about that touched me or filled me with awe?”, and wait, at least a minute, to see what comes in the center of your body, the place where you feel things —
(One minute or more — )
Again, carefully find words or an image that exactly fit that felt experiencing —
(One minute or more — )
Now, ask yourself, “And what was so Sacred to me about that, what do I mean by ‘Sacred’?” and, again, wait quietly, for at least a minute, to see what comes in the center of your body, without words, just the “feel” of “the whole thing” about “Sacred.”
(One minute or more — )
And find some words or an image to capture that “whole thing,” The Sacred —
(One minute or more — )
Now, ask yourself, “Does that capture what I mean by ‘spiritual’?”, and, again, don’t answer from your head, what you already know, but wait, as long as a minute, for an answer to come in the center of your body, your wordless intuition, The Creative Edge —
(One minute or more — )
Again, carefully find words or an image for that, and check, “Is that it?” —
(One minute — )
If the answer is “Yes,” a release of bodily tension, a sense of “rightness,” then turn your attention to noticing any “spiritual” experiences that are present around the edges of this experience, right now — feelings of Sacredness, of floating in Oneness, of Awe or Gratitude, of being moved or touched with tears — stay with these immediate spiritual feelings as long as you like —
(One minute or more — )
Try to find an image or other symbol or gesture that might serve as a “handle” for this particular spiritual feeling, something that would remind you of how to find your way to this place again, at any time during the day when you want to revisit the Experience of the Sacred —
(One minute or more)
And, when you are finished, come back into the room.
If the answer is “No,” your body remains tense, then, set aside everything you have already thought and tried and ask your body, The Creative Edge, again: “What is Spirituality for me, and where might I find it?”, and, again, wait, as long as a minute or more, to see what comes in the center of your chest, an intuitive “feel” for the whole thing —
(One minute or more — )
Take a moment, again, to carefully find words or an image for whatever has come —
(One minute or more — )
Keep at this as long as you are comfortable, asking an open-ended question, waiting for an intuitive sense of “the whole thing” to emerge, looking for words or an image or even a gesture or action step that fits the intuitive feel “exactly.”
(One minute or more — )
But, if no clear “felt” experiencing of Spirituality arises, just remind yourself that, by spending Focusing time sitting with The Creative Edge, you have added energy and started a new living-forward, and, especially if you continue to hold “the feel of it all” on the back-burner of your mind, later something new will likely pop up —
(One minute)
Appreciate yourself and your body for taking time with this, trusting that taking time is the important thing – new experiences can then arise later.
(One minute or more — )

Remember, Intuitive Focusing is often learned more easily in the company of a Focused Listener. Go to Creative Edge Focusing TM at www.cefocusing.com  to find many resources, from self-help groups to Creative Edge Focusing Consultants for individual Coaching or Classes and Workshops.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

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