The possibility space is where our habitual ways of thinking and feeling meet our grounded bodily felt sense of life.
You can let a bodily felt sense form about any situation you are involved in or want to get insight or direction about. This bodily felt sense is not just a “gut feeling” or an emotion, or an intuition, although those might be part of it. The bodily felt sense of a situation is a feeling for the “whole” of the situation. At first, the most obvious inner sensation might be of a strong, easily identifiable emotion, like fear, anger or joy. Make room for that, say hello to it, acknowledge it, so that more meaning can come. The whole of the situation is often a subtle sense that is hard to put into words. You can learn to welcome this “edge” of awareness, and give it a chance to clarify.
Thinking at the Edge (TAE) shows you how to combine your felt knowing with your conceptual thinking process, so that both are enriched. The first step of TAE is to let yourself get a felt sense of what you want to do, or a problem you want to solve, or a place where you feel stressed or stuck. Getting in touch with your bodily felt sense of a situation opens you to receive intricate knowing from your lived experience.
Next, you look for instances in your life that have something to do with the felt sense. These instances can come from childhood, or from a conversation you had yesterday, or from any lived experience in your personal history. Instances can be “positive” or “negative”, but are all somehow relevant to what you are working on. In working with your instances, you start to see patterned responses that you can move beyond. During the process, you come up with your own set of words and phrases that have rich meaning for you and say what you really want to say. In the final steps of TAE, you distill all you have learned, and come up with your own relevant “theory” which you can then apply in real life.
Essential to this process is learning Focusing. Focusing is the practice of inviting a bodily felt sense of a situation to form, describing it, and allowing it to unfold. Because your body knows you, that unfolding carries meaning for your life. What was stuck or unclear comes into focus, and you find that the problem you were addressing has “carried forward”: the meaning you have grasped has changed you and the situation at the same time.
Focusing and TAE are not just techniques or conceptual frameworks or belief systems. They tap into your body’s natural ability to grasp your situations in a more complete, more intricate, and more spontaneous way than is possible through intellect alone. Once you learn how to listen to the Edge, you have a multi-purpose tool for thinking, creativity, healing and moving forward in life.
Since we are not used to pausing and sensing inside, it helps to have an experienced person there to accompany us in this inner space.
The promise of Focusing Partnerships: Once two people are experienced in Focusing, they can become Focusing partners. Your partner provides the conditions—hard to find in our world—for you to listen to what wants to emerge from within you. You, in turn, can provide that listening space for others. You and your Focusing Partners can become “mutual mentors” in realizing projects, getting unstuck, providing mutual support, or articulating new directions that go beyond either/or. Focusing partners do not analyze or give advice. They simply provide the space for pausing and sensing inside.
I have been a Certified Focusing Trainer for 16 years. I enjoy providing the listening space and guidance necessary so that your next step can emerge through the natural processes of Focusing and Thinking at the Edge.
Is Focusing for you? See for yourself, with a free 30-minute Focusing session:
Dolphin images by Elizabeth Moran