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We have very different ways we can know something: I know in a conscious way that Paris is the capital of France. But I also have another, deeper emotional, sensual knowing of Paris – the smells of Paris, the taste of Paris, that odd little back street that I couldn’t tell you how to find but that I could walk to with ease. One kind of knowing – the conscious sort – is right here in my head. The other – that fuzzy, wordless, poetic knowing – is here in my gut. This is what our body knows, and Focusing is a simple but powerful way to learn to listen to the deep wisdom of your body.

We do this by becoming aware of what’s called the ‘felt sense’, which is a feeling in the body that has a meaning for us. A felt sense is more than just an emotion, though it certainly has an emotional aspect. It’s those fuzzy feelings that we don’t usually pay much attention to. But when you do, the felt sense can begin to get a shape, a colour, a smell or even a taste. Let me give you a couple of examples. Sometimes, we just don’t feel quite right. We might say, ‘I got out of bed the wrong side this morning’. That vague feeling of unease is your body trying to communicate with your conscious mind; it’s a ‘felt sense’. But a felt sense doesn’t have to be about something distressing. Let’s imagine you’re taking a walk on a beautiful fresh morning. A rainstorm has just passed over, and as you come over the brow of a hill, you see a perfect rainbow hanging in the air in front of you. You smile and feel your chest welling up with an expansive, flowing, warm feeling: That’s a felt sense too.

Why would we want to spend time with a felt sense? Because they are the way your body communicates, and your body has immense wisdom. My Experiential Iceberg diagram shows that, at a deep level, our bodies are connected to everything around them. Given that it’s been that way since you were born, imagine what a wealth of experience and knowledge your body has.

Focusing has something in common with meditation, but it’s subtly different. I’m developing a series of workshops on Focusing in nature.