Tending and Befriending
Posted: March 17, 2020
I'm thinking that during a time like this, sharing bits of my experience would be a better way to connect with you. Instead of telling you in blog form how to be during this experience (which I'd have no way of knowing because there is not a shred of evidence on what to do in a time like this), I'd try to process my own, and hope that through connecting to my process, it can help you better understand yours. I was working with a Focusing partner yesterday – it’s one (of many at this point!) forms of my self-care. It came at a great time, day one of fully working from home (I worked from home on Friday, but for some reason it didn’t feel like it really counted because things still seemed…normal?) I, and mostly all of us, have been experiencing a wide range of emotions since at least the weekend (in NYC). I’ve been anxious about this for a few weeks now, actually. I had said to a few clients last week that the sense was like the weatherman predicting a massive blizzard for the weekend to come, so you know hunkering down will happen, there will be a grocery run, but we’ve seen this play out before and barring unforeseen power outages, etc, we get through it. It might even be pretty! But this isn’t a blizzard because no one on this planet (maybe if you survived the Spanish flu 102 years ago?) knows what this is going to feel like. Not to sound trite, but it’s uncharted. One thing I love about Focusing as a practice is that it helps me go inside when the temptation is always to “think” it through. It's so tempting to try to go up to the head and think it through when there is a threat. That sort of "fight or flight" response. But in Focusing, it's about slowing it all down (something we have a bit more time to do) and getting a grasp of the “felt sense,” that which is on the “tip of the unconsciousness,” and seeing whatever comes from that. It’s feeling in the body, as that is where the emotions get stored. That felt sense can come with words, colors, textures, sounds. Mine often come with images. An interesting image came to me as I was focusing yesterday: an old woman "clutching her pearls." I recognized it as a part of me, and a part that felt connected to other parts but also a bit isolated and afraid. In addition to the isolation and fear, there was a resounding sense of shock that the grandmother was experiencing (that was the “clutching of the pearls”). In her entire life she had never been through this before. She is high risk and doesn’t know what to do. She was in shock. My focusing partner suggested I keep her company, and “tend and befriend” as she likes to say. I had to, as here was this person (part of me) in a state of shock. I had to be patient with it and allow whatever was happening to happen. The bigger “me” knew all along I’d be okay, I’m safe and sound right now in my home. I could take the time, despite perhaps other parts being afraid to engage, and tend to the shock. Because there is going to be shock around all of this. Mine comes in waves. Later in the day after my daily walk around the block (staying away from people!) I came back into my apartment and questioned to myself, “what is this? It’s just so…weird.” And shocking. Because it is. It’s something completely foreign to all of us. I want to continue to share my process, not as a way of scaring anyone. I feel fine. In fact, after tending to the shock, there has felt today like a significantly lighter sense to myself. An “I can do this thing I have to do.” And so, I will give my best to help you do this thing we all have to do now. For more info on Focusing, please visit www.focusing.org. Love, and light.