Impressions From My Weeklong Experience in Chile

Shared values, diversity, and service

Being in a community of shared values, the warmth of late night poetry around a fire, and needs met for belonging and learning - this is my overall impression of the Weeklong. I applied for a scholarship in order to find next steps on my Focusing path, to reconnect with 'my tribe', and to complete the Certification process. (The last major gathering I attended was the 2011 International in Monterey, California.) The Weeklong left me feeling nourished and excited by a greater awareness of the experiential and philosophical scope of Focusing. There's a renewal of personal passion and confidence to continue developing and sharing forms of contemplative communication that are based on Focusing. I want to share with you three particular impressions to give you a sense of my experience.

My first impression was that digesting new material was vastly accelerated when in dialogue with others of shared passion (Focusing) and shared values (e.g. - authenticity, how people grow/heal)! For example, one of the presentations - given by each of the Facilitation Team and others - illustrated some Focusing practices and several features of resourcing oneself - the talk confirmed some things I already knew, illuminated some new possibilities, but left me with several difficult felt senses in my torso; I felt troubled. My roommate asked me what my impression was of the presentation, and we inquired mutually into how we each experienced the talk, in a Focusing way. Over the course of 10-15 minutes, these felt senses in my torso were each received and transformed as knowings that hadn't been allowed to complete, some because of a lack of self-trust and other blockages. I (and seemingly each of us) ended the inquiry with a relief in the body and a rich and clarified understanding of the material that had been presented. I felt more whole, and in touch with self-trust. I learned maybe 10 times as much as I would have if I'd experienced the presentation alone or with other non-Focusers. The learning experience was thus healing and highly integrative in a community of shared values and share passion.

A second impression is one concerning diversity - in language and in style. With 30- some Focusers from Latin America and a fewer number from mostly Europe and North America, we experimented with cross-cultural Focusing by splitting into pairs. I had a Spanish-primary partner and I was English-only. I had to rely more on my felt sense of her process and less on the context that language might provide, and to trust, as Companion, what I sensed had potency (needed reflecting). As Focuser, I felt freer in dialoguing with my felt sense because my partner was having to rely more on her felt sense and was not likely to be analyzing content. Our brief exchange, then, seemed to generate a mutual (heart) intimacy and a stillness which we both acknowledged and which occurred at least in part due to 'the language barrier'.

Also, in the course of pairing up with a half dozen or more different partners during the conference, I noticed a sense of playfulness and experimentation opening up. It seems that our different styles empowered a conscious exploration of how we each, as Focusers, wanted to be presenced by our partner, and to request that from the other. In summary, without presumptions about how an exchange might proceed, a fresh process was more likely, a greater freedom for the felt sense to develop and evolve; familiarity was not in the way.

A third impression is that the gentleness and authenticity of Focusing is a valuable and necessary ingredient for a world needing new harmony - spreading Focusing is part of a larger movement that I can be responsible to and take refuge in. I already believed that liberating what's emerging inside us is necessary to truly shift our perceptions out of separation and into interdependence, to create healthy social, economic, and ecological relationships. The aspirations voiced by various speakers for creating a more caring and careful world, and the work that many of the attendees are engaged in, emboldened me to shift my motivation more toward service. Coming together for this Weeklong created a felt sense of this larger service aspect of sharing Focusing. In times of doubt or difficulty I will rely on this feeling of a larger movement.

I extend my appreciation to all those who shared their passion by planning, facilitating, and attending the Weeklong, for all the kindness I received while there, and for the warmth of the people of Chile. On the last day of my home group, I feel-see an image of we Focusers drawn by vacuum into some center to be nourished, and then leaving; my perception shifted from me planning to attend to all of us co-attending through some transpersonal force, and then co-leaving. Maybe this is the way it really works!