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Thinking at the Edge

Thinking at the Edge (TAE) empowers us because it shows us how to think and speak from what we know from living.  Teaching TAE brings me joy and faith in the future of humanity. I love to see the smiles on my student’s faces as they discover their own ability to generate ideas from their experience.  

In this article, first I’ll lay out the problems with the common concept of what thinking is, then I’ll attempt to explain the new way of thinking that happens in Thinking at the Edge and give some examples. Next, I’ll show how Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit takes us beyond the helplessness and despair of Postmodern philosophical theories that deny that we can say what we mean. After that, I’ll give an example of how Thinking at the Edge has empowered me. Finally, I’ll give you a short guide on how to practice TAE for yourself.

The personal is political. What does that mean?

Trump’s current attempt to exploit fear in order to convince people to vote for him is one manifestation of “the personal is political”. This tactic has been used by dictators the world over.  

For example, behavioral science is being used to “market” political candidates and opinions. According to the New York Times, the 2016 Trump campaign used Facebook data to create “a behavioral model powerful enough to manipulate people’s activity and, potentially, sway elections.”

If your Facebook personality profile showed that you were fearful, you’d get a message about how dangerous immigrants were. In 2020 you’ll probably get a message that “you’ll never be safe” if the Democrats win the election. 

As a result of this successful combination of behavioral psychology and marketing, our political system is not based on reasoned arguments. This form of manipulation appeals to knee-jerk reactions. 

You can move beyond these emotional triggers by learning to notice your bodily felt sense of a situation.  You’ll learn how to “accompany” your emotions from a place of “Presence” so that you can be aware of what is going on inside without being overcome by it. Focusing puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.

Thinking at the Edge (TAE) has helped me move from feeling powerless about climate change to a place of hope, with clear steps ahead that feel right for me.

My TAE process developed into how to position myself before any storm on the horizon, not just climate change. So I feel like I’m ready to go with coronavirus, straight into action, without the weeping and wailing. Action, in the instance of corona virus, means:

I am moved and grateful to Merilyn Mayhew of Sydney, Australia for this rich essay on her transformational process in my 7-week online class in Thinking at the Edge (TAE). Merilyn and I want to share her story of how TAE led her from helplessness to hope on climate change. This attitude has extended to her actions around COVID-19 as well:

In this compelling account by Dr. Juan B. Prado of México City, a mother is finally convinced to listen to her child’s wisdom, thus freeing her child from addiction:

Focusing and Nonviolent Communication enhance each other

Many of us are dismayed about the violent rhetoric in politics and on social media. We need ways to be able to communicate across social, cultural, economic and political divides. Nonviolent Communication and Focusing enhance each other and when practiced, are accessible tools for change.

Listening for Feelings and Needs in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) can lead to felt sense formation. For that reason, it’s useful to use Nonviolent Communication as a doorway to Focusing, especially if you are not used to the idea of self empathy. Jackal language and Giraffe language Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us notice when we are […]

Building resilience into activism

A Lesson from Aloes, by the South-African playwright Athol Fugard, shows what happens when feelings and needs are not expressed. In this post I “rewrite” the play to show how Focusing and Listening can transform communication and lead to resilience.

focusing brings insight on our inner battles

This post demonstrates how the quiet, receptive listening in a Focusing partnership brings insight by getting you in touch with your bodily felt sense of situations.

Focusing partnership training

To hear yourself think…it helps to have somebody listen! A Listening Partnership sets the stage for a special kind of listening.
There are two roles: the Explorer, person who speaks. And there’s the Listener.
If the Listener starts to help or give advice, it takes away some of the Explorer’s very special space.