YOUR BODY’S WISDOM
Sometimes, Listening to Your Shoulder Can Fix Your Digestion
Anders B. Asphaug, Facilitator & guide
9 April 2015
This story from one of my sessions with a client illustrates the remarkable and often surprising way that Focusing brings insight and healing.
The session was with a coaching client, so it started out in coaching mode, and then became a Focusing session. I’ll describe both phases, to give a taste of how I work with people using my own felt sense as a guide, and the way things might unfold.
As we go into the session the client, a busy family man, seems high energy, and is talking a lot.
I bring my attention to how I feel as I interact with him, noticing a sense of dullness in my body. He seems kind of distant to me, like when someone is being polite, just speaking to fill the silence.
If we slow down we notice how rich our inner world is.
Time and again, it turns out that our bodies know much more than what we are conscious of, and what first seemed “random” or “illogical” turns out to be some hidden connection that actually makes sense.
Curious about this, I deliberately slow down, feel my body, and then ask him what it is like for him to interact with me now. He immediately points out that he is aware of hiding from me (i.e. that he is playing some kind of role and is not being quite honest. At this point we have worked together for a while, so trust is high in our relationship). I can feel my body relax as he says this, and I feel happy. Now the session can start going deeper. We explore some more how it is like to interact here and now. It’s interesting and fun.
The Focusing part of the session starts when we notice that he has a visibly hiked up left shoulder. Something is tensing up there. We are both curious. What can that be about? When he feels into it, he senses a subtle lump somehow inside of the muscle.
With some guidance he is able to start communicating with this lump. It turns out it is panicking. It’s really scared that something bad will happen to him. As he listens to it, it tells him details of what it is not wanting for him. This eventually relaxes it, and his attention starts going to other places in his body that are also tensed up, though they have distinct qualities and different concerns. We sit with these places as they come up, patiently and with curiosity.
Listening to all of them, what their worries and concerns are, and letting them be just as they are, works wonders. At the end of the session he can feel himself being relaxed and open, and as an added bonus his bowels are moving, signaling that it’s time for a visit to the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, it turns out he has had difficulties with a constipated digestive system during the last week, and now things are moving again.
From shoulder to stomach – what a ride!
Although surprising in its apparent randomness, this kind of thing is far from uncommon in a Focusing session.
Although surprising in its apparent randomness, this kind of thing is far from uncommon in a Focusing session. In fact Focusing is basically a sort of discovery, so in a way we expect to be surprised.
The nature of the process is to remain open and curious about what our bodies are telling us. Time and again, it turns out that it knows much more than what we are conscious of, and what first seemed “random” or “illogical” turns out to be some hidden connection that actually makes sense. And so it gets much easier to love and accept ourselves, and open up for a more free and joyful life.
Anders B. Asphaug
MSc, Cand. polit.
Anders is a certified Circling Leader, a educated conflict worker, and is currently certifying as a Focusing professional. He leads regular authentic communication workshops and communication courses. He is also available for one-on-one sessions for people who want to gain the inner strength (and skill set) necessary to stand more firmly in their life. He finds that in order to master your relationships with others, it is essential to cultivate your inner relationship.
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