Focusing and Healing the Planet


  1. Overview
  2. Attention and awareness facilitate life's healthy creative unfolding
  3. The richness of attentive space in the emergence of new Life
  4. The core attitude of faith in creating space and facilitating new life - both in focusing and other traditions
  5. How faith practices can be easily expanded to offer space for our planet to heal (and some of what focusing offers to this.)
  6. A few suggestions for offering simple focusing presence for our planet

1. Overview

The same principles and practices that we use to facilitate creative growth and healing in ourselves, each other, and with children and babies can be applied rather easily to 'larger bodies' such as our Earth.

What we have learned from focusing and meditation speaks to the possible value of such an approach. These practices can help us to feel the truth of these relationships between our attention, listening space, and connection with others on an interpersonal and interpersonal scale.

These approaches are very powerful and gentle ways to help our planet move towards wholeness without getting lost in complicated details.

With this experiential understanding, we can also apply these same healing ways of offering loving presence on a larger scale - without even leaving home!

[ Top of Page ]

2. Attention and awareness facilitate Life's healthy unfolding

(How our intention and awareness assist the process of life unfolding and developing, and the role that minds, bodies, and 'holding a space' all have in this process.)

A. Receptive sensitive attention is very life-nurturing and life-creating

 ". . .  the simple holding of a facilitative presence with a group has made a difference, even when I have not had the opportunity to actively intervene in any way, or to even say a word."

"As a listener I have an important role. I become part of "the creation or meaning". I am not only part of Nature, with my consciousness added to it which can listen, but my attention can create a cradle in which inner parts and parts of other(s) living beings can get companioned/listened to." (Barbara Rolsma) Barbara's website

Insights such as these remind us of how profound and loving it is to 'offer our attention' to ourselves and to others. When we listen receptively, we are not only 'midwifing' and 'companioning' others, we are also actively contributing to the process of 'bringing new life into being,' and supporting it in its tender early stages.

B. The key role of perceptive intelligence in 'bridging' or connecting different 'realms of being'

Our attention can not only make space (a cradle) that welcomes and 'holds' the new life, it can also point out bridges that already exist but were not recognized before.

 "...the bridges are already there, but usually we are cut off from them by acts of our minds in becoming conscious beings.     From my perspective we can heal this connection ... by listening to /welcoming consciously what has been split off from Life/Living."

Pointing out bridges allows our conscious awareness to move into and across these bridges; it allows something new to come. It is a highly creative act implicit in the listening, receiving, and 'seeing':

One set of bridges connects the spaces and qualities of receptive attention cultivated in focusing and prayer with Neale Walsch's suggestions of ways to bring about peace on earth through a form of opening to the "don't know".

Here a few suggestions Neale D. Walsch makes in his book "The New Revelations":

1. I acknowledge that some of my old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.

2. I acknowledge that there is something I do not understand about God and Life, the understanding of which could change everything.

3. I am willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.

4. I am willing to explore and examine these new understandings, and, if they align with my inner truth and knowing, to enlarge my belief system to include them.

5. I am willing to live my life as a demonstration of my beliefs, rather than as denials of them.<<<

Each is a way of allowing something new to enter. (This movement of opening to Something Greater is, of course, also part of the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer, many creative and artistic disciplines, and at the heart of many spiritual practices).

These bridges increase my respect and communications with many of our 'cousins' - others who are also facilitating and contributing to the creation of beautiful new life in the world in ways that they feel called.

These include those who pray, listen, meditate, and simply 'stop and wait in stillness.'

These bridges, or connections, are built from the beautiful relationship between loving open attention and the creation of a space into which new life can emerge.
That is the next section.

[ Top of Page ]

3. The richness of attentive space in the emergence of new Life

Summary of this section:
A) Space is alive and dynamic, and is affected by our intentions and attention
B) We can actually create spaces for new life to grow into - even when we don't even know what that new life might be!
C) Holding spaces open, in faith, is one way that we can participate in the process of creation.


  1. Safe loving attention facilitates creative unfolding

As we know well from focusing, whenever loving attention is offered to aspects of emerging life, something is quickened or facilitated. Spacious loving attention feeds life-in-the-process-of-becoming, just as the sun nurtures a plant.
(Focusing primarily attends to the physically felt qualities and aspects of emerging life; there are other practices that attend to more visual, auditory, or conceptual aspects of spaciousness.)
We are also aware that it is not loving attention alone, but loving attention in a 'held space' (safe/ protected space) that is important.

In our gardens, it is not only the warm sun that contributes to the plant, but also the space (soil) into which "something" is allowed to be planted, unfold, emerge, and become manifest.

In addition, we cooperate with the space and with the seeds and sprouts - there is a sensitive co-operation with the plants and sun and air.

The gardeners (our conscious intentions) can:

- till and cultivate the soil (make the space welcoming and inviting),

- remove weeds from the garden (protect the space from adverse elements),

-  allow space for flowers to bloom without being obstructed.

(-They can also work with the flowers to shape or thin or prune them, etc...)

B. Living and dynamic qualities of space

In Focusing, we act as if space is very dynamic, or flexible.

We sometimes experience how inner spaces can be 'collapsed' and shaped by various emotions and qualities of attention, or how it can also be 'held open' by attending in certain ways, especially the presence of a caring listener.

We often intentionally "make space" for something or someone as part of the focusing process. Some of us have noticed how the volume, tone, and other qualities of spaciousness feel in our bodies when we focus or companion another.

One Aramaic translation for 'to make holy' includes "to set apart in a special space" - to set in an 'intentional container.

This suggests that space is actually created from some interaction with our attention!

That space was merely a possibility before it was called into being - called into being by some interaction between space and our consciously attention/ listening/ imagining/ wondering about.

 This happens not only in focusing, but also occurs elsewhere. It can be sparked by reading a book, hearing another speak, or just simply wondering about something with interested curiosity and openness. It happens when we are attending to our felt experience, listening to others, considering new possibilities or new ways of being.

Whenever we move into a listening, or a 'wondering about' mode, whenever we are open to possibilities - a space is held open/ created for something new to come.

This is a creative act, an opening to something new in 'an inner universe'.

C. Holding spaces for what we know and feel to be true, and for other forms of new life to emerge

1. Loving attention holds open space for 'new life' to emerge into being.

When we offer our receptive loving attentive presence in the belief that there might be a possibility of something (life-forward movement, 'growth', one's Deeper Self, the Higher Good, God,…), we are actually holding a certain type of space open for possibilities yet unknown to emerge!

We are very familiar with this from focusing. Focusing is based on holding spaces open for 'that which is felt in the body but not yet known in the mind' to come into that space, make itself known, and unfold.

This opening and holding a welcome attentive listening space is a generic creative force that is of great creative power. The openness and freedom that is provided by this movement of attention allows profound possibilities to emerge into the space that is 'held' for it.

2. Intentional loving attention holds open spaces even for that which is not yet understood or presently exists.

Not only can we hold spaces for 'that which is felt in the body but not yet known in the mind', but we can also hold spaces open for future possibilities, even if we are not certain whether or not they do or might exist!

Sometimes in focusing, we invite 'whatever wants to come' into an open focusing space.
We don't know what it is. We may not even know IF there is anything there when we start - that is, we may not sense anything there at all in a felt way.

But we may, and sometimes do, invite that < whatever > into a welcoming space that we have created. And sometimes, something emerges into it.

3. These qualities of loving attention apply to more aspects of being than those which can be physically felt.

Most focusers are familiar with the offering of receptive attentive presence to physically felt experience - that is the essence of the focusing process.

But the process of creating and holding spaces for 'that which is not yet known' is not limited to the realm of making space for only 'that which is felt in the body.'

Receptive welcoming attention can be offered to other things that may not have feeling connected with it. A good example of this is Walsch's guidelines for transforming the world listed earlier:  

"2. I acknowledge that there is something I do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which could change everything.

 "3. I am willing for new understandings of God and life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet....."

Walsch suggests 'holding a space' inwhich nothing is felt yet, but into which some possibility can develop - 'allowing something to come', without knowing or feeling what or how it might be.

There do not have to be any conditions or expectations of the form that will emerge into being.

We may or may not even sense what that possibility is, or where or how it might come.

All we may know is just that possibility can emerge, just as we know that felt senses unfold and shift.


We may not know when,
We may not know what.
We may not know how.

The good news is that we do not have to know any of these things in order to deeply participate in the process of creation!

 These perspectives expand our understanding and deepen our appreciation for the richness of the creative life energies that we are a part of.  

The creative power of this receptive attentional space assists in the birth of this 'something that could produce new life'.

'New life' in us, in others, and perhaps even for and on our planet.

[ Top of Page ]

4. Another perspective on faith

How an expanded understanding of what faith is connects many of us who are creating space and facilitating new life

Summary of this section:
1) Trusting or believing in  "something as yet unknown or unseen but believed in or hoped for" is one definition of faith.

2)Opening up to 'the More' in the knowing that something life-enhancing will come plays an essential role in focusing. Therefore, focusing is a secular faith practice.

3) Having "faith in the More" is common to secular and spiritual faith practices. This offers ways to connect and emphasize similarities with them - to link focusing and other secular faith practices with spiritual faith practices.

4) Some examples and details as they apply to focusing, prayer, and 'secular faith practices'.

5) Honoring the many people and groups who contribute to life in this way.

The first two sections pointed to our capacity to contribute to life through receptive listening and attending (the focusing attitude) - how we can create and hold a healing space.

As we prepare to apply this capacity to larger realms, such as our planet, it feels important to point out a bridge of connection with others who help to hold and create receptive spaces in parallel ways - other 'faith practitioners'.

There are more of them than you may think - both spiritual and secular faith practitioners!

 When awareness of what we already share becomes more conscious, we are further able to cooperate with its movements and with each other for a common good.

Connecting in this way adds a sense of 'we are all in this together', which is part of the beauty of this life movement. It offers the possibility of synergy, of 'two or more gathered together…" as we realize that we are all helping something be created into this world.

1) "Faith" - as both noun and verb - is an intrinsic aspect of the focusing process

Focusing trusts in and attentively cooperates with the inherent rightness of life-forward movement. When we are focusing or companioning, we are holding a creative space for each other or another and trusting in these two things:

a) Life moves (especially when we honor, welcome, and make space for it)

b) 'It' (the life in something - whatever the 'it' may be that we are companioning) knows its own rightness

Another way to say this is that:

c) Focusing includes the 'inviting' and 'offering' of certain qualities and expressions that facilitate the growth and unfolding of life (loving intelligent attention, creating space and receptive welcome, felt sensing.)

d) These are offered with an intention to nurture and facilitate the growth and unfolding of something that is not yet fully seen or known.

Focusing operates on the principle that something more than we know now can be experienced in our bodies, that something more than we know now can become more real or present, if we open to it.

Here is one definition of faith -
"Faith is trusting or believing in something as yet unknown or unseen but believed in or hoped for."

"Faith" used as a verb refers to this internal movement of opening oneself up to the More - to incline our hearts towards the More, trusting in its existence, and allowing it into our lives. We could also say that faith is "holding a space in our attention open for something as yet unknown or unseen but believed in or hoped for."

From this perspective, focusing can be considered one form of faith practice - a secular faith practice that involves felt-sensing, but a faith practice nonetheless.  

{{Here is where things can become confusing. Faith is a beautiful movement of opening to the More, of an attitude.
Faith is also used as a noun, as a thing one can have. One meaning of 'faith' as many people understand it is "an unquestioning belief in something as true."  

Sadly, the definition of this beautiful movement of heart and mind has often been interpreted to mean that people should have 'blind faith' - that they should have unquestioning obedience and sacrifice their own truth for some belief system.
From this unquestioning obedience, belief systems can clash, and lead to much suffering.}}

I acknowledge that the word faith can be confusing for these reasons. Still, I wish to return to the point that "holding space open for the More, for something believed possible but not yet seen or known", is one of the core aspects of the focusing and the listening process.

2) Using this perspective of focusing as a 'faith practice' to reflect upon similar movements between focusing, prayer, and other faith practices.

A) Faith practices lead us into open spaciousness and 'not knowing'

Most faith practices involve intentionally  'holding a space in faith'. They connect with  (Spirit, God, Life) in order that something can emerge into us or into the world. They also involve trusting in the rightness of whatever may come from doing this.

The spiritual practices hold spaces for spiritual dimension to express themselves in this world.  
The secular practices operate from other belief systems to describe the More that they connect with  and open to.

Notice that, in all of these, 'what may come' and 'how it might come' may not be known, may not be clearly felt nor understood, and may not be specifically asked for.  

Certain forms of prayer involve a very trusting and very loving offering of one's attention and intention to 'hold a space' for something to manifest without attempting to control or direct it.

When I feel moved to offer my mind or heart to pray in this manner, I usually feel that I am in a difficult place, not knowing what to do. I may not sense ANY right way through, nor even any sense of what way would feel even a little helpful.

{I guess I could say that my felt rightness actually invites me to trust that (Something) knows what is right, and leads me to open to that.}

When this happens, I shift from trying to control or figure something out, into opening myself up to God, or to Life.
I acknowledge my own wishes and desires and fears. Then, being willing to let go of controlling it all, I offer myself and the outcomes up to God's greater rightness.

A common spiritual prayer offered in this way is "Not my will, but Thy Will be done."

Perhaps the most common secular 'prayer'/ faith practice of this type is:  "Trust the process."
(Let go of trying to control things, and trust the process to bring about healing/something more)

There are many healing forms, therapies, etc, which are based around this opening in faith for something to come, rather than attempting to direct it. They may involve 'not resisting something anymore' - a  letting it be, or letting it move in and through us. (Allowing its life-forward movement to unfold in ITS way.)

B) Another movement within "faith practices" involves offering receptive attention and space TO 'wantings' (the 'desires of our hearts and minds')

These expressions of spiritual 'faith practices' involve 'asking in faith' for a desired outcome, for something to happen or not happen. This is perhaps what many people mean when they think about prayer.

In this form, our attention may focus primarily upon 'what we are wanting'. This wanting, this longing or request, may be offered into an open space (to God in some prayer forms, to the universe in others). Our longings are received by this larger spaciousness.

Petitionary prayer (praying FOR something in particular, about  "an issue") is one spiritual practice along these lines. Here we allow the calling of our hearts for something to happen, or a need to be met, to be offered into the vast spaciousness of God/ the Universe.

 Focusing on particular issues, on something that we feel is wanting our attention, is also a form of giving space and attention to what wants to come, and of believing in something not yet fully known.

Another secular practice along these lines is  "manifesting" something desired - offering attention and energies by visualizations, affirmations, or by imagining or feeling that you already have it.

 Some practices of manifestation are more directive than others; many do not take felt knowing into account. Yet they do involve acknowledging and experiencing our wantings in a 'larger space' in faith that this will help bring them to fruition.

There are forms of secular and spiritual prayers for peace in which one is encouraged to fervently wish for peace, or to visualize it. These could be seen as forms of 'manifesting peace', for example,

Many faith practices combine these two movements of receptive space and attention to wantings/longings - one gets quiet inside, opens to the More, and then may feel drawn (from within or by Spirit) to pray for someone, to visualize peace, or to be with something that comes up.

In the prayer or meditation space, one could feel a wanting for spaciousness. So, I am making a somewhat excessive distinction here - attention to spaciousness and attention to what is wanted actually flow together as part of a single movement.

3) Similarities and differences between focusing and prayer may be partially due to the 'direction' that one listens, or the direction that one 'speaks to.'

When our bodily experiencing is embraced in loving attention, shifts of healing and insight can occur.
This loving attention can come from us companioning ourselves, from another person's company, or from a spiritual Presence companioning us'.

I wonder how many of the differences in language, practices, and beliefs between focusing and many spiritual practices are due to the 'direction' that our energies and attention are offered.

How much of the separation between 'faith practitioners' has emerged from differences based upon whether we are 'working' in 'inner' or 'outer' realms of experiencing?

In the historical roots of focusing (therapeutic applications) especially, the felt senses that one focuses on are usually those sensed to be intrapersonal, the felt senses that one attends to are usually those from within the client/ focuser.

But these same principles apply equally well to our being able to sense into and resonate with what feels to come from outside of us.
This is the case with most prayer. Some experience the Presence of God as being within them. At other times, we may pray to Someone or Something that feels to be outside of who we are, often that feels TRANSCENDENT or TRANSPERSONAL (such as to God.)

Many people would experience or interpret the guidance and rightness and or grace that comes in prayer as if it was coming from outside of themselves.
In focusing, the guidance or shift or sense of rightness are usually experienced/interpreted as coming from within ourselves.

The interpretations and location of the experiences are quite different. But there are some deep similarities in some of the core movements, principles, and dynamics. Looking at the similarities may help us build bridges and connections among 'faith practitioners'.


4) Connecting these movements to similar ones in other transformational faith practices

The guidelines from Walsch, and the Course in Miracles, are other examples of these movements.

Step One - Noticing - "I acknowledge that this situation (strife on the planet, a situation in my own life, etc) doesn't feel like it is working."

Step Two - Pausing - "Realizing this, I can take a moment to acknowledge that my present processes and reactions are not working." (Becoming aware that the present set of beliefs and actions and reactions are not working - that something More is needed.)

Step Three - Choosing another way - "I can remember that there is another way of being with all of this " (even if I don't know what it is or from where it will come.)

Step Four - Opening up in Faith to the More -
"In this remembering and pausing, I can open oneself up in faith for something new to come."
I can open up to, and making space for, a connection with another tier of energy and wisdom - from God in these particular forms - to bring in something new, even if I don't know what it is yet.

In all of these forms mentioned in all of these sections, something is allowed to guide, to direct.
"I" cooperate with it and can influence it, but primarily I facilitate and allow the movement of what wants to come from a source (inner or outer) that has more wisdom than I know consciously.


5) Looking at commonalities between faith practices

- When we feel moved to offer our attention to hold an open spaciousness and let come what will, without having any conditions or knowledge of what is to come...

- When we offer loving attention to 'something that is wanting to come forward', or that we feel moved to, and let it unfold as it wants to from there…

- Whether we feel moved to do these things within a secular belief system, or within a spiritual one...

 All of us who do any of these things that involve offering our awareness and intentions towards something life positive, that involve an open spacious faith in the More - all of us are doing something in common.
We are part of a deep creative process of offering ourselves in the service of assisting new life to emerge and develop into being.

This is an important bridge upon which we can connect more deeply and consciously to ourselves. It helps us recognize the important nature of what we are called to do, and to others, and lets us more fully appreciate the contributions of others who do various other forms of faith practices.

Secular, spiritual, personal, profession - there have been, will be, and are many people, and many tribes of people, who offer their love and care in faith in order to serve life in some way.

The word "cousins" comes to mind. It has a certain quality of kinship to it - 'kinfolk' who also 'offer something in faith to help make this a better world!'

The invitation to join in one of the myriad forms of this process has been offered for centuries. Jeladdin Rumi has sung:

Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times!
Ours is no caravan of despair!"

There is plenty of room for all.
This vast caravan of love and faith even makes space FOR our despair, but it is most definitely not a caravan OF despair!

It is built from the essence of hope- the expectant awaiting of The More Than We See Or Know Now.

This caravan we are on is based on an understanding - one that we develop and embody experientially as a result of our faith practices - that there is always the capacity for something life-forward to come, that our caring and wanting and hoping and listening and making space all contribute to birth the fruits of that life-forward movement into our lives and our world.

[ Top of Page ]

5. Applying what is known from faith practices to help heal the planet

1) What we have learned from personal practices can be applied on a global scale
2) We can 'hold a healing space' for and with the Earth.
3) There is a fundamental reframing of 'what we can do to heal the planet' based on what focusing teaches - our planet is in need of deep healing - can we facilitate her finding 'her own way through'?

 1) What we have learned from focusing and other growth practices and faith practices can be applied on a global scale.
These things include:

a) Trusting in life-forward movement

b) Creating/ invoking a receptive welcoming space in safety and trust

c) Building a relationship to deepen the space

d) Connecting on the three levels that occur in focusing listening:
- Creating a shared field of connection by attuned listening
- Listening for what comes, for what it needs, and helping articulate that
- Moving with felt aliveness as we feel called to in response to what we have heard and how we have been touched.

We know that our listening and acceptance are of profound value.
We have helped each other with this.  
We have helped ourselves.
We serve the earth as a whole by these practices, helping it become a better place to live.

Perhaps we can be of even more service when we remember to consciously invoke and hold a bit of listening accepting space for all of humanity and for the globe in this way.

One of the largest blocks to expanding this form of listening attention that we learned in a human setting into other realms is our skepticism and disbelief that such a thing is possible.

Most of us have no problems just waiting, trusting, ourselves and others as part of the focusing process. Can we consider doing the same for our planet or its life forms?

When I think back to when I was introduced to focusing for the first time. it seemed to be very strange stuff, at first glance:
-Someone suggeststhat there is an inherent 'body wisdom'.

-And that there is some 'life-forward movement' inside of living beings that 'knows' which way to go, if we only would listen and let it.

-That somehow attending inside, where there might be nothing at first, or only vague sensations, can lead to profound life changes.

-That a listener does not need to 'do' anything, but be present, and perhaps reflect back.

Yet, this all now seems so very obvious and natural to many of us. In fact, many of us base our lives upon these things:

I would like to invite us to consider that all of this may apply equally to beginning a healing relationship with non-humans.

The earth is a complex adaptive system. It therefore operates along the same dynamics as smaller complex adaptive systems, such as organic life forms - humans, animals, plants.

Many of us have had the experience that the energetic patterns of aliveness and information flow of creatures ON the earth can be 'sensed into' in a focusing way.

How about the earth itself, as a larger system with a 'life of its own'? The energy and organizational patterns that are often felt as 'aliveness' can resonate within our bodies, experienced as felt senses.

2) Focusing with our planet

We hold listening spaces open for something-not-yet-known to emerge for ourselves and others.
Some of us offer this listening attention to babies, or to animals.

We can also offer this space to our entire planet.

Our receptive awareness can allow a very rich space into which our Earth's next right steps can emerge.

We already do this in one sense. We listen to ourselves, and to each other. Each of us holds certain aspects of the planet within us, so any personal healing that we do IS already a form of also offering space and helping heal aspects of life on our planet.

We can also expand 'who we listen to' to include Earth as a whole.
 We can begin to develop a relationship which helps us to trust her knowing and its life-forward movement.

When we do this, it is as through we are the listeners, and the world is what/who is being listened to.

When we offer and hold a listening attitude, this 'holds a space open in the universe' into which SOMETHING can emerge into being in the entire planet ("the earthbody".)

There is more synergy and connection when we share this process of offering and holding space for our Earth with others who are doing parallel forms of creative attentional practices.

While we may not know what these somethings are that can emerge and unfold, we don't have to - the Earth knows!

When a receptive welcoming space is offered to any living system, a shared field is created. As the Earth is sensing and responsive in its own ways, it is able to be part of a shared field, just as are babies and animals.
As we hold space open for the Earth to unfold, and sense into our Earth, we become part of a larger joined felt-sensing system that links our awareness with the 'Earthmind' and 'Earthbody'.  

 A key new understanding that comes from this is that the Earth knows its own right next steps and what is to come - just as any other living complex adaptive system does.

At times, we may even be able to experience a sense of Gaia physically, and articulate what comes from senses in that shared field - speaking a Voice of the Earth.

One could say that it is an act of faith to offer space to the Earth in faith/trust in its intelligence and capacity to heal. (This is also, in a way, what Walsch is saying in his 5 things that he suggests we do for the earth.)

"But I have never felt any sense of our Earth as a being, as having a life of Her own!" one might say.
Hmm, how often have we tried this?

It is a very small leap of 'faith' that something healing can happen even if we don't 'feel' or 'know' it to try this out, given what we already know and have experienced.

In my early days of focusing listening, I often felt nothing while I listened, but I held a space for someone to shift and heal. And they did, even if I felt nothing. Over time, I sometimes would feel more connected and could begin to sense something in me that resonated with something in the other person.

Likewise, even if at first we feel nothing (and it is hard for Earth to 'tell you' how much of a blessing your presence has been as easily as your companion) it is very simple, rather painless, and who knows what may come?

3) Proposing a process of trusting in the inherent rightness and healing power of the planet itself
(instead of trying to 'fix' it or analyze its problems!)

There is much fear and self-protection in the world.
There are urgent and desperate pressures suggesting that there is not enough time to check inside, to listen deeply...

There are pressures to not listen inside. Voices cry out, "Don't listen inside - listen to ME!!! (whoever the 'me's are that are calling for our attention.) We know better than you - trust us!"

There are movements toward oversimplification and polarization - pressuring people to decide if "you are either 'for' us or 'against' us".
And, within this, often either choice that people propose feels anti-life.

These pressures 'collapse the space', limit choices, and encourage reactive movements based on fear and anger. There is much pushing one way and another - pushing for certain directions and actions, painting fearful scenarios.

In response to this suffering and distress, many feel called to 'find the solution' for the earth's problems, investing great amounts of energy to help figure it out, to make wise decisions and recommendations.

The complex implications of political, cultural, environmental, health, and other issues on our planet are literally overwhelming the present decision-making and informational processes that we usually use to make decisions. It may seem to be too much to even be able for anyone, or any group, to figure out - too much complexity...

It is easy and natural to feel helpless and overwhelmed in response to wanting to help.

On the other hand, isn't this analogous to people who are expending incredible amounts of energy trying to analyze and 'fix' the problems of others rather than listening and trusting in the clients' own capacities to heal?

What a gift and a healing potential is contained within the capacity to trust 'inherent rightness.' If focusing teaches nothing else, it teaches us that there is a softer and more effective way to facilitate change than by trying to fix or bringing in outside solutions. Just as we do not have to frantically struggle to 'fix' our clients, neither do we have to 'fix' the earth!

We know that there IS a 'right answer' - or at least 'an answer with rightness.' But the good news is that we don't have to know the answers to be able to be of great service! Nor do we have to 'figure them out' for others!

Consider that the earth may well be capable of 'healing herself' if we offer her loving attentive response Presence. And, that we do not have to 'understand her' or make analytical interpretations to help her move forward in her own best way.

I believe that our planet has an emergently creative soul. Our efforts might better be spent on offering receptive welcoming attention and moving from what comes in response. We can 'be present for our planet; this would assist her to move life-forward into her own rightness!

If we consider some of what we have experienced through our practice of Focusing:

  - We can feel the difference between being in a critical situation in a spacious way and being in the same in a narrow constricted field.
 - We know to pause, sense inside, and listen when we notice this happening.
 - We know the difference between trying to 'figure our way out' of a situation, and having the blessing of a transformative healing shift that comes when it is ready, that lives its own way into the 'answer.'

Anything we can do to build peace and trust and offer acceptance might allow the earth to "FOCUS HERSELF" and shift forward into 'her own solutions' in her own life-forward way.

Knowing all of this, why deprive our earth of something that she may be desperately in need of right now?
This can be an immense and 'easy' contribution that can bypass a great deal of conflict and inefficient effort.

I am quite excited about this paradigm shift (reframing) of efforts and energies to improve the world situation!
Those drawn toward analysis can offer their gifts, and those drawn to offer space and intuitively sense can offer their gifts. Focusing's can allow life-forward bridges to develop between both aspects of these efforts through its capacity for harmonization and articulation.

This  also takes a big load off of me feeling responsible for 'answers' or right solutions in these critical times. I am relieved at not having to 'figure it out for the earth.'

I don't have to try to decide what she needs next.

This doesn't mean that I don't have an important job to do.
I feelvery responsible to listen and move as I am led, and I feel very responsible to speak what I hear from the Earth. And possibly to take action based on what I hear her ask for.

[ Top of Page ]

6. Some suggestions for starting this practice

1) A few ways to be of service to our Earth and to each other
2) Considerations in offering a safe welcoming presence
3) Supporting the unfolding
4) An open invitation and blessing
5) Concluding and beginning

1) A few ways that we can be of service to our planet and each other.

Focusing offers a beautiful and powerfully loving way of assisting in the creative healing of the world. This can occur on several levels, individually or all together:

a) We can check inside to see if it might feel right to simply offer a bit of our attention (in whatever focusing way that we offer it to ourselves and to others) to the world - whether we 'feel her presence' or not. This might mean just making an intention to do so, then taking a small amount of time and hold a space in that intention.

 b) We center in our bodies, we make space and be open, and listen for what wants to come. In this, we can connect with our planet, be a part of the 'shared field', andgive it more space into which it can find its own rightness and healing.

c) Space can be held for something that we sense 'wants to come' (such as a felt sense or image of peace and justice) for the planet.
Or we may feel drawn to hold a receptive loving space with a recognition that we don't have to know what is right for her - we just know that opening up this caring listening space will allow whatever needs to come to be able to do so.

Perhaps this is what some of us are called to do - often all that is needed to allow healing to occur are receptive space and connection.

2) Considerations in offering a "safe and welcoming space" to our planet

   An essential aspect of this process is building trust - our trusting the Earth to heal, and her 'trusting us' to be a healing presence.

  From Barbara Rolsma:
>>> When a listener is able to hold a space in which I am conscious of something, my becoming aware of things starts to be able to unfold; it becomes a safe place to be in. This can never happen if this "new being" does not experience acceptance first. It is needing to experience first that I am willing to accept and welcome it, before it even will unfold.<<<<<

Right now, the earth might have some distrust for much of its current inhabitants -  for some very good reasons! As we begin to allow that relationship to become more loving, and the planet begins to feel accepted by us, and we by 'it', might it not become more free to grow and change?

Part of the richness that we offer is the listening space, and part of this is the acceptance (caring feeling presence). It goes a long way towards 'helping the planet feel loved' by at least some of humanity. And, without this love and acceptance, it is hard to change and grow.

This does not really require us to do something radically new. We are simply 'taking on another focusing partner' - our planet!
Maybe on some regularly scheduled basis, we take a few moments, make space, and attend with love and care (and a bit of curiosity for those so moved.)

 a) The process of building a relationship can begin with 'saying hello', offering a welcome, and being sensitive and patient.

Perhaps we can begin by simply 'say hello' to our felt sense of the whole world, (or to whatever larger space calls us to make space for it.) and beginning the inner relationship with it.

b) We can check with the Earth - "Is it ok to be with you?" - and sense what happens.

c) If we have no felt sense of the world, we might dedicate a few moments each day andhold a space to invite one to come

{Many of the Inner Relationship Focusing steps described by Ann Weiser Cornell in her book "The Power of Focusing" Focusing Resources website apply to developing relationships with other life forms quite nicely. Other forms of focusing also work well here, too. The Focusing Institute}

d) Perhaps as we focus and listen, if nothing comes after a while, we can take a minute to 'hold the earth in our hearts' in whatever way we feel moved or called to, which may include more focusing, visualization, prayer,…

A great deal of where to go next depends on what comes in response. But taking the first step to pause and listen 'in faith' seems to be what matters most at the start.

3)Supporting the unfolding

As we are familiar with from Focusing, our role is to follow the movement and aliveness of what comes rather than directing the process or forcing it to follow some pre-arranged path.

In that spirit, perhaps some of us will receive something out of our connection with the Earth that what wants to emerge more clearly, that wants to be made known. These listeners can then speak for the voices of the planet, and help it feel heard.

As more unfolds in the listening process, "saying it back" to the earth so that she feels heard is another bridge of healing and promoting life's movement. This may take the form of words, art, dance, song, or prayer.

As we help ourselves and our planet sing her songs and ours, we become more of who we really are - and so does our planet. There become more and more wise men and women who speak for the planet's deeper tones and needs.

 Perhaps some might bemoved to take action steps from what comes - to serve that which needs to be made manifest in concrete reality. Certain external structures need to be built to support the emergent internal processes. This may involve social action.

There is no real need to 'figure any of this out ahead of time' - as our sensitivity grows, we will sense into next steps guided by our sense of rightness for ourselves and for the earth.

4) Offering blessings and an "open" invitation
(...and an invitation to be open)

Is this real, or imagination?
Does the earth felt-sense?

We know that it 'self-regulates' weather patterns, temperature, etc - but can she regulate its own healing?
Could there really be healing facilitated by a deeper mutual trust - we trusting her to know what is right for her, and her trusting us to listen and respect her?

We, who companion others in the faith of an inherent forward rightness, who have experienced the miracles of new life and surprise and shared fields and the More from our practices - is it really so crazy for us to consider that something like this might be possible?

There is no way to know in advance. There is no way to know for sure without trying it.

It involves a certain amount of faith - trusting in "something yet unseen and unknown, but hoped for."

Might it feel right to 'invest' a bit of our attention towards the possibility that, maybe, allowing a little more space for 'Earthbody' could allow her to come more fully into being? That, without sacrificing our comfortable homes and lives and many blessings, we can offer something precious and healing and desperately needed to the whole world and its inhabitants - loving accepting spaciousness for us all to unfold into more of what we can be?

Even if we do not know 'who she is', what she wants, "where to seek her", or even if she exists- even knowing none of these, is it totally unrealistic to consider that something life forward might come if we hold space open for our planet to rest in her being within our loving receptive attentional embrace ???

There are no guarantees.

Taking time to listen receptively to 'the planet' instead of using that time and energy to DO something FOR the earth risks our being seen as ridiculous - and all of the other names that those who dream and hope have been called in their childhood and throughout the history of humanity.

So, perhaps it boils down to this question - how willing are we to risk being 'stupid' or 'naïve'?

How willing are we to be disappointed, to hope and dream as we did when we were children, and risk having those hopes dashed?

At times like these, in the face of critical voices that have prematurely collapsed the possibility fields of creation for themselves, and are trying to do the same to others, I remember what I know:

- I remember what I know about the nature of reality, about the powerful role of faith, and of our capacities to influence what may be possible.

- I remember that the universe can be friendly and responsive - and how the choice for what will come, for what kind of world will unfold, is, to a large extent, up to us.

- I remember that we can align to an attitude of continuing onward, with hope in our hearts, and that we can bless ourselves, others, and the world in the process.

5) Concluding, and beginning

Having read what you already have,you may wish to simply stop and sense into what feels right based on what is coming up for you in response. This would be embodying the spirit of this approach.

I would like to end with some words from Brian Andreas

     In my dream, the angel shrugged and said,

"If we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination,"

…and then she placed the world gently in the palm of our hands.


With deep gratitude for your loving attention and caring,

[ Top of Page ]

Created on ... September 15, 2004