October 24, 2011
This is the fourth and last week of David Rome's Tricycle retreat, Focusing for Meditators. In the teaching, called Fulfilling the Felt Sense: Action Steps, Rome discusses how to use focusing techniques to move forward, step by step, with a frustrating situation.
I want you to think of a situation—might be one that you’ve already worked with, might be a new one—where you feel somehow stuck. Stuck, blocked, frustrated, uncertain, indecisive. And again it may be a fairly small matter—which side of the family are we going to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with—or it may be the kind of place where we again and again experience being stuck or blocked. And one of the important things about focusing is that in focusing we’re not really looking for a big breakthrough, an all at once solution, because these issues are implicit. They are not ready to be fully solved all in one blow. And I think that’s one of the reasons why we get so frustrated and remain blocked often is that we’re looking for that one final solution that will make the problem go away. But very often that’s simply not available. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be some kind of movement in the problem, in the situation, in the lived experience of it. But those movements tend to be very subtle. And that’s really what happens in focusing: being sensitive to this more subtle level and being open to and inviting small changes, small movements, insights, and action steps, things that we can do that won’t solve the whole problem and yet somehow they move us in the right direction. Maybe it's something that we need to say to a person that is the next step. Or something that we need to do in terms of some pattern in ourselves that we’re working on that we would like to change. We’d want change all at once but we can find through this intuitive process a next step that moves us in the right direction. And it may take many, many, many steps before there’s a larger change in that situation. But we have to be willing to be patient and gentle with ourselves, and as we learn to appreciate these small steps, small shifts, then we become more comfortable with being patient and we don’t feel as completely stuck, immobilized.