This February my two-year training as a Focusing-Oriented Therapist and trainer culminated in a community gathering at Punta de Tralca, Chile. This was The Focusing Institute’s first weeklong outside of the USA and witnessing the meeting of people from all of The Americas made this particularly special to me. The week was led by Jeffrey Morrison, Jan Winhall and Edgardo Riveros who presented on themes including the Philosophy of the Implicit to Trauma and neuroscience. However, the weeklong is much more than workshops, it is a really gentle space set up to greet new members of the focusing profession into a community of the ‘felt sense’.
I was struck by the rare quality of intelligence combined with openness, an assumption of ‘goodness’ rather than an area of ‘testing’. I grappled with the realisation that I anticipated the trainers wired into ‘right/wrong’ thinking, evaluation and judgement, busily protecting their field and guarding against new members and a feeling of having to be ‘good enough’ to join them. Instead, the kindness, warmth and genuine desire of the trainers to meet us new graduates was something I could no longer deny and I was able to have a real sense of how a community which assumes the best felt. This is a rare and glorious experience and one which defines the focusing community. While many communities are seeking to share information and good practice I have rarely witnessed an embodiment of professed values like this.
Openness, curiosity and a quality of presence to the moment and to relationships was evident throughout the week. Catherine asked me to lead some fun games in the evening and the quality of play, fun and expression was easy to find, completely apart from the competition, shame and worry that often accompany adults playing and soon the participants, few who spoke both English and Spanish needed any encouragement to have fun together. I remember the week as having a quality of easily accomplished embodied grace to it which has continued to nourish me since.