Calling all Quirky and Awkward Parts: My First NW Focusers Gathering Experience
With the approaching NW Focusers gathering I find myself remembering back to my first time attending. My dear friend and teacher Jeffrey Morrison had encouraged me to attend previous years, but I barely knew anything about Focusing at the time, or so I thought and didn’t expect it would be the place for me. When he suggested that I could even present something related to Focusing I am sure I laughed or rolled my eyes. I was accustomed to him having more faith in me than me.
But eventually I did go and enjoyed it so much. I loved how laid back it was. People presented all kinds of things. And as far as I could tell, none of them seemed to be experts in anything. They just enjoyed incorporating Focusing into their work and relationships or appreciated the philosophy of Gendlin, valued the benefits Focusing brought to their inner work and wanted to share with others. I was impressed by the mutual participation and co-creation of the weekend.
I remember noticing how people would just walk up to me and ask if I wanted to Focus, people I didn’t even know! It was lovely. Two of us would scope out a couple of cushions in a room or sit in the sauna or find a bench where we could sit outside when the sun shown for a brief moment. It was a beautiful thing to sit across from someone I hadn’t met before and feel the immediate trust, ease, and openness that comes from a shared Focusing session.
As a newby I received lots of attention. I was welcomed and looked after, even honored for being new to the gathering. When I hid in my room from the friendly social interaction, fellow introverts knew to leave me be. I may have arrived not knowing anyone, but I left feeling connected in some way to every person there.
The sense that I belonged was instant. Even my quirky parts that typically feel out of place in a community felt right at home. As I was accepted for just being me, I found myself becoming more accepting of others. As I was cherished for my unique gifts, I more easily recognized the unique gifts of others. I could laugh at my short comings a bit more easily, my mistakes seemed less deserving of reproach, the awkward places in me felt the comfort of not being expected to be anything other than awkward. Letting go of how I wanted to be or how I felt I should be liberated a hidden young girl inside who felt free to be exactly who she was, playful and free and willing to be seen and heard.
During the final evening at the follies some played the guitar, others read poetry, one had a special talent for inspiring unstoppable laughter. Each of us so unique and each of us part of the larger whole offering our gifts, just being ourselves, which is such a gift to the rest of us, allowing us to grow even more as a whole. It is within this easy, welcoming, loving, accepting space that beautiful and emerging life unfolds and transforms.