Transform Your Life, Learn Focusing, Welcome the Way We Grow
by Barbara Dickinson
If you would like to listen to the audio version of this blog post, you can find it here.
It is the time of the Winter Holidays. Outside, the skies darken much earlier. Inside our homes and workplaces, decorations, celebrations, plans and dreams may cover the walls and tabletops. Within our inner home -- some might say our heart -- there can be joy, sadness -- the whole mélange of emotions, especially at this time of year.
For so many, there may be no holiday celebrations, only loneliness, fear, isolation, even hunger, danger, and loss. Here, we are embarking on an exploration of interaction -- relationships between people. And one of the things we hope is that these explorations might help us strengthen our skills in getting along, in pursuing peace.
Being able to get along with the people around us is one of the essentials at any time of year, but especially now, when we may start the day on emotional overload, face too many challenges, watch our energy drain away from unreasonable expectations, and struggle to meet deadlines, whether imposed on us from outside, or generated from our own internal sense of responsibility.
For my whole adult life I have looked for ways to get along better with people. It has never come naturally, and I have always been grateful, even a little astonished, when a method appeared that gave me some of the skills I need. This desire to improve my “relationship skills” and the discovery of a method to achieve my desire are what brought me together with Sandy to build a home for “Exploring Interaction”.
We start by building family relationships. As we grow, we expand our base to include friends, then perhaps we may form an attachment to someone who becomes a significant other. There are workmates, relationships built around service or hobbies. A second layer of family relationships may emerge if we start a family of our own. And so on!
So many relationships; so little formal education on how to be skillful, effective, supportive, empathic, compassionate, attentive, and most of all, a good enough listener! Take a moment to reflect on the relationships you have known in your life so far. How many of them would you call successful? This doesn’t mean they are still active relationships. A relationship can be successful even if it has to end, like friends we make in school, but may have to leave behind when we move on. Perhaps make a note of what comes to you.
Now take a moment to reflect on relationships that you would call unsuccessful for any reason. Perhaps a friendship or a love relationship ended badly. Perhaps a family member is estranged. Perhaps there was a death before a rift could be mended. Whatever the cause, hold these gently and compassionately, honoring whatever hurt, sadness or other feelings there may be. Perhaps make a note of what comes to you.
These relationships are your landscape of interaction. When you hold them gently and compassionately, do you find places where you might like to work on your skills in relating?
They say if you want to succeed, look for people who have come before you and succeeded at what you want to do. Learn from their experiences and apply the lessons of the best. The same may be true about learning to improve relationships. We can learn from the work of two people who devoted themselves to the needs of every human to:
- improve their relationships;
- relate to people they find difficult;
- resolve conflicts between people.
Drs. Janet Klein and Mary McGuire developed a method called ”Interactive Focusing”, which contains the means to introduce attentive listening, empathy, and compassion to any relationship. While their method is a specialization in the area of Focusing, its elements can be learned by anyone.
In future blog posts, we will elaborate!
- We will talk about what makes this approach to interaction special and unique.
- We are excited to show you what we are developing based on this important work.
- And we will be offering you opportunities to learn and join a community of like-minded people, intent on improving interaction in all aspects of life.
Until next time!
Sandy Jahmi Burg
This site does not provide medical or any other health care or fitness advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The site and its services are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment.