Transform Your Life, Learn Focusing, Welcome the Way We Grow
I'm sitting on a rock in the picnic area of Smart View Recreation Area. This nature park is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway that follows along the top of the Appalachian Mountains in southeastern USA. These mountains were originally formed 480 million years ago. This is the setting for Smartview Stories.
Welcome, I am Sandy Jahmi Burg
I am an author, certified Focusing Coordinator and neuroscience educator. Relational skills, including interoception, are key to everything I do. I help people of all ages become their own best friend. I help people explore living from a body in ways that empower neuroplasticity, our brains capacity to continue growing and evolving in response to life experiences. We are social beings. When we bring these skills to the communities we belong to, they thrive and become more resilient.
Our brains make sense. We often think we are broken, the world is broken. Actually, these character flaws, within or around us, are normal reactions to the relational, cultural and intergenerational trauma of these times. Each implicit something that does not feel right can find its way to an explicit wanting for us. In Focusing, we call this wanting-made-explicit life forward movement. This is a natural process that we often ignore or unknowingly block because we were not taught the skills of living from our body in ways that empower neuroplasticity.
Yes, we are vulnerable to emotional harm which disconnects us. We are also capable of holding ourselves and each other with a kindness and clarity that resonates authenticity. It is this ability to resonate that activates our brain's natural capacity for healing.
I'm joined here by Focusing Friends and Trainers from around the world. We work together to make these valuable life skills accessible to all who find us.
"I Believe in the Power of Focusing"
I am committed heart and soul to increasing awareness about how beneficial the skill of Focusing is. My vision is to seed Focusing skills locally and around the world to people who are naturally attracted. I see Focusing become an accepted mainstream skill, easily accessible to all who want to learn it. Schools, colleges, businesses, churches, community service and mental health groups, prisons, police and fire, medical institutions, entrepreneurs, people from all walks of life benefit from practicing the natural skill of Focusing. From birth to death, our brains are actively interacting with what is going on inside of us as well as what is going on around us. Focusing helps us experience more from all those interactive moments and from this, greatly expands the flow and richness we experience from life.
"When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Mom!"
My childhood dreams revolved around motherhood. I wanted to be a mom. At age 11, I had an intuitive knowing that someday I'd be mom to a blond-haired blue-eyed boy named Scott. Scott came 20 yrs later, letting his two sisters enter the world first. I was keenly aware as my children grew that the way they each processed emotional and other life experiences varied dramatically. Curiosity stirred and I began passionately exploring health, psychology, spirituality, emotions and communication.
The Effects of What we Put in Our Bodies
I began by applying my 25 yrs experience working part-time as a Medical Technologist in hospital labs toward looking at how our bodies work chemically. I found that nutrition and hormones vastly influenced our moods. Thus began years of experimentation learning new self-care techniques, learning to eat what my body needed now and learning to prepare food in healthier ways. If you’ve ever tried this yourself, you know it’s a gradual process of bringing attention to your body, maybe noticing how clear or energetic you feel now. It makes sense. Our bodies are miraculously versatile and yet, we can do so much more with a little care and the right building materials!
We Must Feel Safe to Make Changes
In 2002, I met Parker Palmer and began studying Circle of Trust, a retreat method that he had developed with a team of facilitators to create safe spaces for professions like teachers to nurture personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. I began facilitating Wholeness Circles within a few years, a safe space focused on inner work inspired by poetry, art, music, movement and the seasons of nature. These were generally 2.5 hour evening programs or day long retreats.
Oh, the Challenges of Human Communication!
Meanwhile, a creative entrepreneurial opportunity landed in my lap. I had an opportunity to create educational content for a cooperative communication computer game titled Peace Navigator in partnership with a 501c3 called The Peace Learning Center that I adored. I became a partner in an LLC called Software Training Institute. Here I studied Non Violent Communication (CNVC) by Marshall Rosenberg and any other model of peaceful communication I could lay my hands on. I coordinated 30+ students to create the audio/visual effects for the computer game.
The Gatherer Finds Beauty in All She Finds Along the Way
In 2007, I became a Sufi initiate. Sufism is a way of life in which a deeper identity is discovered and lived. This deeper identity, beyond the already known personality, is in harmony with all that exists. Jahmi is my Sufi name. One of the 99 names of God, Jami means The Gatherer. It reminds us to enjoy the process of gathering, whether of people in your life or the resources you need at this moment. What is gathered has beauty in and of itself, it is not simply a means to the end result. As Sufi’s experience our inner life as reflective of our outer life, it also refers to gathering parts of yourself to help you better reflect your purpose in life.
Abwoon is the Aramaic Word for the Power of the Universe to Give Birth to New Life Every Moment
From 2007 – 2010, I studied with Neil Douglas-Klotz, an Aramaic scholar and Sufi teacher in his Abwoon Interspiritual Leadership Program. The intent of this program was to develop leaders in interspiritual practices for peacemaking and service, in ministries of spiritual direction, counseling, teaching and ritual. Oh, the juiciness here! This program centered around the teachings of Jesus in Aramaic, Genesis and older Creation stories, Simple Presence, Heart Awareness, Gratitude, Celebration, Sound and Embodiment as well as Sufi Spirituality. Lots of dances, chants and meditations. The focus in Aramaic with Jesus’ teachings were around The Lord’s Prayer, Beatitudes and his ‘I AM’ teachings in his last year. As much as he tried, Jesus could not seem to convince his disciples (other than Mary), that they too, could do what he did and eventually even more…
Valuing Humans and the Natural Earth Cycles in Balance
In 2007, I also took a 17 Day Immersive Permaculture Design Apprentice Training. Permaculture is another study of process that takes years of observation to understand. Ideally, permaculture implemented is multi-functional, diverse, life-supporting, aesthetically-pleasing, appropriately-scaled, energy-efficient, and functionally connected – patterning landscapes, demographics and species assemblies to provide ever-evolving, permanent food and resource systems. I observed, practiced and applied permaculture theory to what was already years of Landscaping experience with low-maintenance and natural habitats. I still enjoy offering Sustainable Landscape Design Consults.
Circle Toward Wholeness
From 2008 – 2012, I founded and ran a 501c3 called Circle Toward Wholeness. This logo which I still use was designed by John Sledd. The vision of Circle Toward Wholeness was to provide innovative education for inner peace and wellness to people where they were already gathered in workplaces, businesses and community centers (host sites). I met many amazing people on their own healing paths and was proud to connect them with others when I could. My own studies focused on new information emerging in the field of neuroscience, the scientific study of our nervous system. I came to understand that our bodies work at least as much on electrical principals as they operate biochemically. New research and understandings emerge daily toward integration of our right and left brains toward wholeness. What an exciting time for us all!
We All Deserve a Safe Thriving Environment to Call Home
One of the facilitators I interviewed for support with a Circle Toward Wholeness video project called Wellness Moments was a musician named Bob Grubel. Bob and I fell in love and have been life partners since 2010. We live in a charming home Bob built himself where we grow most of our own food and share resources in a small intentional community in Floyd, VA. I closed Circle Toward Wholeness not long after I came across Focusing.
My Skill Has a Name – Focusing!!
I first read about Focusing in a Tricycle magazine in Nov 2011. It was an interview with Eugene Gendlin, the philosopher who named Focusing. I immediately recognized it as something I was naturally good at and knew I wanted to take the training to learn how to teach Focusing. I studied with Ann Weiser Cornell (Focusing Resources) and additionally mentored with Cathy Pascal, a Coordinator from Chapel Hill, North Carolina until March 2014 when I completed my requirements as a Certified Focusing Professional for The International Focusing Institute (TIFI).
Floyd Focusing Increases Local Awareness
Oh What Happiness! A lifetime searching for 'Live Connections' and now I live it. Offering Guided Focusing Sessions and educational training in the skills of Focusing brings the most amazing people into my life. I began locally here in Floyd, Virginia. I offered Changes groups at The June Bug Center, free talks at the library and staffed booths at various local events. My early students were super supportive and became assistants in my classes which soon expanded online.
Partnering with Mindfulness Organizations
In 2018, I was blessed to be hired by InStill Mindfulness as a teacher for their InSchools program. We provided a weekly semester long program in mindfulness training for groups of teachers in districts around the area. At first, this was very much an inner journey. As we went along, teachers were encouraged to incorporate some of what they had learned into their classrooms. Toward the end, we worked 1:1 with teachers in their classroom supporting their way of bringing mindfulness to life in their workday. I had a blast! I also developed deep, deep respect for the teachers I worked with.
Smartview Stories are Born!
On a new moon in July 2018, a very new idea came forth around writing a children's book series makes Focusing skills accessible to children. What a journey this has been! Besides gaining skills as an author, I have accumulated photo editing, graphic design and marketing skills I never imagined I would need. Over 5 years in and this project feels fleshed out enough to really bring out into the world. In 2024, we will partner with Kickstarter to make more of these teaching tools accessible to teachers in schools and other group facilitators who do not necessarily have time or opportunities to study Focusing themselves. Blessings to everyone who has supported me this far and cheers to those I'll meet on the way forward!
Support for Bringing Focusing into the World
The Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change emerged as a request from experienced Focusers wanting to improve their ability to share Focusing with others. I set it up with a format that encourages students to connect with the greater Focusing world and bring back what they learn to our community. Wow, together we are so amazing!
In Sept, 2021 I applied as a Coordinator-in-Training with TIFI and expanded this program so that it can be a pathway to certification as a Focusing Professional. I was and continue to be supported by three impressive mentors. Nina Joy Lawrence and Pat Omidian are partners in Community Wellness Focusing and Focusing Initiatives International. Helene Brenner, with the support of her husband Larry, has developed The Art of Feeling, valuable resources to be more emotionally connected in our disconnected world.
A year later, I had over a dozen students in various phases of certifying. I completed my requirements and became a Coordinator in February, 2023. My students have the option to continue as a member of the Learning Community beyond certification. We are beginning to explore various ways we can collaborate and share our skills to serve people wanting to learn and live these valuable life skills.
Maybe you have been inspired by my story to join us. There is no prep. You begin from wherever you are. Contact me, join the movement and step proudly into your flow!
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.