Notes on my Focusing bottlenecks

Related to: My current model of Anxiety, Some ways to “clear space”, What to do with should/flinches: TDT-stable internal incentives

[Epistemic status: thinking aloud]

It seems like my Focusing practice is bottlenecked on two things:

  1. I still sometimes have the problem of noticing an aversion, but deflecting from it. It is not automatic to transition into doing Focusing, especially when I’m anxious. Instead, I deflect into pacifyer / distraction behaviors (like watching youtube or what not).
  2. Sometimes, I just can’t seem to get a handle on what’s wrong. I can’t make progress, and the thing just sits in me, stagnant, sometimes for days, locking up my energies and preventing me from flowing.

I think I should focus on problem 2. If that problem were perfectly solved, problem 1, might or might not resolve itself.

So, what could I do to make focusing work better for me, so that I can more reliably get a foothold?

Some ideas:

  1. This might mean that I just need to go back to the basics: do the actual six steps of Gendlin’s Focusing, and see how that works.
  2. Maybe I can do binary search? Start broad and break down the universe of discourse into a taxonomy: “Is this about work?”, “Is it about something other than work?”, If it’s about not-work “Is it about my romantic life?”
  3. Instead of Focusing, try IBR? This has a different rhythm, and sometimes has helped me get unstuck.
  4. If I can get any handle on it at all, I could try exploring gradients: taking the imagined situation and varying attributes of it, one at a time, and seeing if those variations feel better or worse, and use that feedback to triangulate to the exact thing that is bothering me.
  5. I should maybe read this book, which I do own.
  6. Maybe just hold my attention at the felt sense for minutes at a time?
  7. Maybe I should try speaking from the felt sense or “acting it” out?
  8. I think (in addition to other things on this list), that I have to remember that I have been mistaken about what the felt sense is concerned with before, and be less apt assume that I know what the bothersome thing is, when that theory is not getting feedback from the felt sense.
  9. I should try taking the felt sense out of my body so that I can talk with it?
  10. Thank acknowledge that I don’t know what the felt sense is doing yet, and thank it for looking out for me.

Do other people have other ideas?

Oh. Also, I think that part of the art of solving problem 1, might be learning to notice the slight and subtle urges to distract myself, before they give rise to action.

[Interestingly, the thing that is currently stuck in me feels slightly improved, after writing this.]


2 thoughts on “Notes on my Focusing bottlenecks

  1. Some additional thoughts on both of these:

    1. Sitting down and doing a full focusing process, starting with clearing a space seems to help.
    2. I think that the thing that is most needed is a loving, accepting presence sometimes. This smooths the transition (problem 1) and helps when you can’t seem to get traction (problem 2)


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