Some ways to “clear space”

[Epistemic status: pursuing ideas, no clear conclusion]

Part of the thinking of my Psychology and Phenomenology of Productivity

Followup to: What to do with should/flinches: TDT-stable internal incentives

So there’s a problem.  When I’m agitated, the thing that most helps is doing Focusing on the agitation, to dialogue with it and get clarity about which goals are threatened. But when I’m most agitated, my mind tends to glance off of my agitation. I can’t stabilize my intention on the agitation enough to start doing Focusing.

So I have a circular dependency. I want to do Focusing, to help the agitation. I can’t do Focusing, because I’m agitated.

I think resolving this is what is meant by the “clearing a space” step in Gendlin’s 6 steps, and may be isomorphic to “unblending”.

Personally, I really want to have a systematic solution to this problem.

These are somethings that I know help boost me out of the circular dependency.

  • Grab another person to be my focusing companion. This one helps hugely, for reasons that are unknown to me. (Extra working memory? I don’t think that’s it. Maybe, having another person looking at me creates a slight pressure towards coherent trains of thought, instead of my mind/attention jumping around from stimulus to stimulus? That seems closer.
  • Start writing. This seems like it also anchors my attention, so that it’s easier to be in contact with the anxiety/agitation, without slipping off.

These are some things that might help, but I haven’t tried in depth yet.

  • Some explicit practice with the unblending step of Focusing? (It’s my understanding that some Focusing teachers train this explicitly
  • Top down regulating my SNS activity using something like Val’s old Againstness, or my suggestion serenity routine from 2014?


Note that I need my solution that itself avoids the problem of the circular dependency. Whatever the technique I use to to make space to do Focusing on the agitation has to be easy to do when agitated, or what’s the point?

But ideally, I could have a TAP sequence that looked like…

[Notice the agitation] -> [Snap my fingers (or something, to reify and time-condence the noticing] -> [Clear space somehow] -> [Do Focusing on the root of my agitation]

3 thoughts on “Some ways to “clear space”

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