The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.20, No.3, Autumn Issue 2017
New York Metro Focusing: An emergent focusing community
Cynthia Callsen (Focusing Professional)
Larry Hurst (Focusing Professional)
Cynthia Callsen Larry Hurst
EMBRACING THE WHOLE, WELCOMING THE NEW
The vision of a new local Focusing community emerged for New York’s Cynthia Callsen in 2007 out of a Focusing training project assignment and was articulated at The Focusing Institute’s Certification Weeklong that year. Titled “Bringing into Being a Living Focusing Body,” the sense of the whole was that this local Focusing Body would be a living, breathing manifestation of the practice of Focusing and its underlying philosophy. Not a ‘Changes’ Practice group, not training, not a workshop, but rather a place that would hold all of this diversity and more—an anchoring to steady the inner life of the local Focusing community as well as to give a new face for Focusing to the non-Focusing.
A small team comprised of Larry Hurst, Naomi Glicken and Katya Salkinder, joined with Cynthia to bring this project to fruition. We held our first meeting of Focusers from our metropolitan area on February 29, 2008, when around 40 Focusers gathered and named our local organization New York Metro Focusing.
Collectively, we then created a Mission Statement:
The mission of New York Metro Focusing is to embody and carry forward the practice of Focusing and the philosophy that supports it as developed in the work of Eugene Gendlin and others. By holding regularly scheduled meetings, NY Metro Focusing offers members of this local geographic community ongoing opportunities to connect, share, and grow in their appreciation and practice of Focusing. The group welcomes newcomers by offering them an opportunity to learn about the life-enhancing practice of Focusing. In this way, NY Metro Focusing aims to engender a thriving and visible presence for the practice of Focusing in our Metropolitan area.
We meet five times a year. On each occasion we offer a largely original theme, usually devised by one or more of our members. Over time NY Metro Focusing meetings have evolved from Experiential Presentations of the work and interests of Focusers in the Greater Metropolitan area to Focusing Explorations of topics of interest, guided by members of our community. These meetings offer an opportunity to engage in a Felt Sensing, Interactive Conversation – slowing down, listening from a Focusing place, and letting what we hear resonate within us to bring something new and fresh both within ourselves and within the group.
At our gatherings we include networking and refreshment breaks as well as a Marketplace session for members to announce their workshops and associated services. Attendance has ranged between 15 and 50, including newcomers. A small donation is invited to cover the cost of the room hire and refreshments.
The organization is held together by a coordinating group (the Planning Group) comprised of individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds and expertise. These individuals take responsibility for every detail of our meetings including hiring the meeting space, creating and mailing the announcements, setting up and cleaning up, refreshments, and liaison with the evening facilitator and main Focusing teachers in the area; also setting the dates for the Planning Group’s own meetings and creating the agenda for those meetings.
Early on we created a website and an ever-expanding email list for the announcements of our meetings and other local Focusing events. We invite you to explore our site – www.nymetrofocusing.org . Especially you might want to note the Archives page which lists our almost 50 meetings with notes for many of these meetings. We also would like to draw your attention to further details of our meeting process – notes prepared for the 2015 International Focusing Conference in Seattle, USA – http://www.nymetrofocusing.org/group-process-and-shared-field-focusing-interactions.html.
With the passing of Eugene Gendlin we all feel a deep need to honor his immense achievement in opening our minds to the life-forces held within our own bodily selves and to their powerful interactive qualities. From this comes a sense of urgency to play our parts in bringing the benefits of Focusing to everyday relationships, whatever the situation – with sincerity and humanitarian purpose.
New York Metro Focusing still has a way to go as it strives to build and sustain its constituency. However, in tandem with the continuing dedicated work of numerous other Focusing and Deep Listening initiatives nationally and around the world, we are determined to carry forward the spirit of Gendlin with courage and conviction. We can only live in hope that, some day, a threshold will be reached where people and communities and indeed governments globally will be able to come into each others’ sights to have Focusing- oriented conversations.
It has been an honor to present this brief summary of our group, its purpose and its aspirations.
Cynthia Callsen and Larry Hurst. July 2017