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February 2019 Newsletter

Note From Catherine
Dear friends,
At the Institute, 2019 got off to a magnificent start with the Advanced and Certification Weeklong breaking outside the bonds of the USA and making its way down to Chile.
So many participants wrote beautiful words about their experiences that we've decided to keep collecting them and share many of them with you in our next edition of the In Focus newsletter. We have one to share in this edition (check out what David Nishio wrote below), just to whet your appetite for more!
It took me a long time to "land" back in the USA after I returned. For a couple of weeks, my body held the feeling of  flying high from the experience.
In these times, we can sometimes feel burdened by cultural diversity, and badgered to embrace it on the outside, no matter how we feel on the inside.  I want to live in a fair and just world, and so I am always interested in understanding how my behavior can or should be altered to make room for everyone. Yet, too often, honest efforts at raising consciousness somehow turn into battles. Anger, guilt and exasperation can dominate efforts to embrace diversity. Focusing offers a gentle way forward, but not enough people in the world know Focusing to bring it into diversity training.
At beautiful Punta de Tralca, we were able to genuinely relish our diversity. And we didn't achieve this by pretending that we were all the same, nor by glossing over potential areas of conflict. Rather, we expected conflict and invited it into the open. Over the last few years, the Weeklong Team has learned the value of beginning the week by directly addressing diversity and how to welcome it. On Day One, we were led in a workshop asking us all to consider the ways in which our Focusing practice can be used to safely and lovingly encounter whatever difficult edges might emerge. We followed that with cross-lingual Focusing, where people literally Focus with one another in two different languages.
All of this fostered a sense of appreciation for one another and encouragement to care for one's own needs when difficulties arose.  All of that, in turn, created a sense of freedom which was exhilarating. We checked in with one another regularly, wanting to see where the "shadow" might emerge, not wanting to have a joyful experience through pretending, but rather through honesty and courage. By all the evidence, it was an amazing experience for all.
Although the event took place in 2019, it felt like the capstone to 2018. I want to thank -- of course -- the leaders of the Weeklong for the amazing efforts they put in all year. I also want to thank all of you who have volunteered in small or large ways to make the Institute a very alive organization.
This year brought some important beginnings and endings. In honor of Gene Gendlin, we began the Felt Sense Conference at the anniversary of his passing. This is a new kind of conference -- just two days, and in the city, where there are a variety of housing options (like friends' couches!), which keep costs to a minimum. Our intention for these conferences is to emphasize the many ways in which felt sensing and the philosophy of the implicit are (or can be) practiced.
In 2018, we launched our first real capital campaign, Stepping Up, which we will continue over the course of about 2 years, to build up resources beyond your regular annual contributions. A huge thank you goes to the major donors who helped us kick it off with great success this past summer.
In 2018, we ended the "contract courses" which were being offered in Focusing and FOT certification. We heard loud and clear from many people that featuring a couple of specific teachers over and over again made it seem as though the Institute was specially endorsing those individuals.  Many said that it made it seem as though we thought them superior to all others. It also felt unfair to those who might also like to have paid contracts to teach courses through the Institute. In the future, we might return to offering courses where the teachers are paid by the Institute to teach.  However, we will only do so when we feel that we have the staff capacity to vet and rotate teachers in a way that feels equitable.  Of course, classes and courses where teachers donate their time continue.  Let us know if you are interested in volunteering to teach!
As 2018 ended, we finally got our hands on our new website!  It isn't available for public use yet, as there are many small kinks to work out.  (In case you didn't see it in the last newsletter, there is a long document I wrote explaining the complexity of developing the site, and the process we've been through.) The important thing is that we will want and need all of you to engage with the site when we launch it by creating your profile and uploading whatever information you are wanting to share with the world.
And, of course, 2018 was marked by the planning of the Weeklong's first flight out of the USA.
Among these few big things that happened in 2018, there have been hundreds and thousands of moments, where you reached out in some small way, or someone reached out to you. We have begun each year to list every person who has given a donation to the Institute or who has volunteered in some way -- so that we make sure that your part in fueling this organization doesn't go unmarked.
Thank you, volunteers!
Thank you, donors!
It is an honor to be Executive Director of this organization, and a pleasure because of you.
With warmest regards,
In This Issue
Annual Appeal
News from the board & ILC
Felt Sense Conference
Reviving Peace: Focusing and Peacemaking
Weeklong in Chilé
Focusing in Japan
Farewell to Melba
Focusing Conversations
Upcoming Courses and Events
Connect with Focusing
Ways to Help

At the Institute, we are Stepping Up to the next level, where we are more visible to the world, and -- the world is more visible to us.  Our "Stepping Up" campaign is the Institute's first capital campaign, meant to build up our resources to offer scholarships, improve infrastructure so we can support our teachers, promote research and enhance connections for our members.
Donations to Stepping Up brought several students from El Salvador to the Weeklong in Chile. Thank you!  Please continue giving to this campaign, above and beyond whatever you are normally able to give to the Institute on an annual basis.
Board of Trustees
News from the Board &
International Leadership Council
           Ruth Hirsch
ILC Develops Process for Concerns
by Ruth Hirsch
Over the past year, a central discussion in the International Leadership Council (ILC) was whether it would be appropriate to develop an Ethics Code
for The International Focusing Institute (TIFI).
Many organizations that provide therapeutic and educational services to members of the public have Codes of Ethics. Since TIFI is an organization in which many of its members (as Focusing Professionals, Trainers and Therapists) provide various levels of training and therapeutic services, the ILC felt it germane to contemplate establishing an Ethics policy.
The ILC consulted with others from a variety of organizations related in some way to TIFI and/or Focusing. After much discussion (which also included input from the Board), it was decided that in order to be congruent with Focusing's process-oriented foundations, it made more sense for us to develop a document based on process. 
As such, the ILC formulated a process-oriented document that details steps to be taken by us (the ILC, the Executive Director and/or the Board), should a member raise concerns regarding one of the leaders of TIFI. For the purposes of this document, leaders of TIFI include Certified Focusing Trainers, Professionals, Focusing oriented Therapists, members of the ILC and Board, staff members of TIFI and the Executive Director.

The full Concerns Document may be read here.
Board Institutes Portfolio System
by Paula Nowick
Paula Nowick
Eight months ago, a consultant spent only an hour and a half with the Board of Directors, but his message inspired us to consider how we might reorganize ourselves to be more effective at ensuring that the revolutionary message of Focusing become more widely known in the world. Previously, we had used our Board meetings to review 'Old Business' (checking that prior initiatives were properly implemented) and to discuss 'New Business' (discussing the merits, timetables, costs, etc. of possible new proposals).
We were following the time-honored standard procedures of most boards, but the consultant asked us if we thought these were the best procedures to help Focusing flourish in our increasingly diverse, information-overloaded, and volatile times. Might our efforts be more successful if we, as a Board, focused more time on anticipating and navigating the opportunities and challenges ahead of us rather than on micromanaging the obvious business of the present?
Yes! the Board concurred. But how?
The Board, with the thoughtful guidance of our Executive Director, Catherine Torpey, started by assigning a specific area-of-significance to each of the six Board members. In Board lingo, an area-of-significance is called a Portfolio, and the Board now has six Portfolios: Programs/Membership, Governance, Finance, Fundraising, International Collaboration, and Research/ Gendlin Center. 
The Board then examined all of the Strategic Plan's Actions in order to assign each to a specific Portfolio. For example, Goal 1 is to "Build an organization that has the capacity to keep Focusing alive and available to everyone."  One of the Actions listed under that Goal is to "Make reasonable income projections for the coming 3 to 5 years, including new possible sources of income."  This was incorporated into the Finance Portfolio. Another Action under Goal 1 is to "Offer opportunities for certified teachers to teach."  This was assigned to the Programming Portfolio.
From there, each Board member, in collaboration with Catherine (and occasionally other Board members) is evaluating how to execute the actions assigned to that Portfolio.  They are also considering whether the Portfolio would benefit from having a small committee of additional volunteers.

What has not changed from earlier days is the Board's commitment to work collaboratively to further the Focusing Institute's mission. Today, in addition to their responsibilities to keep the Board informed about how well the strategic goals and actions in their Portfolio are being carried forward, Board members are called upon to keep informed about the totality of the Institute's goals, so that all decisions are made from a holistic, living-forward viewpoint. Catherine has a graphic of a high castle watchtower with six windows providing a 360 degree overview of the outside terrain. I like to keep that image in mind as we feel our best way forward as members of the Board of Directors of The International Focusing Institute.
Board of Trustees
At the 2nd anniversary of the passing of Gene Gendlin, The International Focusing Institute is pleased to offer the Second Felt Sense conference.
This year's theme is Creativity. Through this lens, we will explore how thinking, drawing, writing, dancing and living are all brought more alive through felt sensing. Whatever your interest, we invite you to join us, and perhaps even offer a workshop of your own.
We have plenaries and workshops by Rob Parker, Evelyn Fendler-Lee, Grace Wing Yee Chan, Sondra Perl and Samarra Burnett.  Lynn Preston has invited us to her apartment on the final morning, where she'll facilitate a conversation to integrate all we've learned and experienced.  If you would like to offer a workshop, please check out our guidelines for proposals.  
It promises to be a great experience and we look forward to seeing you there!
To learn more or register, click here.
Board of Trustees
Reviving Peace
By Lyly Rojas, Ph.D
Lyly Rojas, Ph.D., is a certified Focusing trainer who feels fortunate to be a Peacemaker and promoter of the culture of peace. 
Lyly Rojas
When people ask me what my work is and I explain that I am a Peacemaker and have taught the culture of peace in such diverse settings as war-conflict zones, universities, international humanitarian organizations, to the military, police, diplomats, and multinational corporations, they often ask me how I can teach something so idealized and unattainable given that war is as old as humanity. Peace, I'm often told, is naïve.
For we Focusers and/or meditators as well as for participants in so many other spiritual practices, the experience of inner peace is real, however elusive, short lived, or hard to come by it may be. If inner peace is possible on a personal level, then it is exponentially truer for that millennia old wish for Peace on Earth.

El "Weeklong" en Chile: 
Memorias y Más
Reflexión por David Nishio
For the English version, please click here
Salí de Lima entusiasmado, sintiéndome casi preparado para lo que viniera, casi.
Al llegar a Punta de Tralca y ver tanta gente talentosa me sentí inexperto, casi como si no estuviera en el lugar correcto, casi.
Cuando escuché decir que el Weeklong le cambió la vida a alguien casi no me la creí, casi.
Sin embargo, luego fuiste tocándome gentilmente el alma, y yo fui tocando la tuya casi sin querer, casi.
Y ahora me la creo, completa y absolutamente: Me cambiaste, algo dejó de estar roto, casi como si siempre hubiera estado completo, casi.
Cuando te vea de nuevo te diré: ¡Holaaa! ¿Cómo estás? ¡Te quiero! Y nos daremos un larguísimo abrazo, casi como si no nos hubiéramos dejado de ver, casi.
Gracias por cambiarme la vida con tu conocimiento, con tu sonrisa, con tu mirada, con tu abrazo, con tu compañía, con tu confianza, con tu compasión, con tu gratitud, con tu cariño. Gracias, porque aquí no cabe un 'casi'.
Watch for more on the Chile Weeklong with reflections, photos and videos sent by a number of participants. 
Incluiremos más reflexiones, fotos y videos sobre el Weeklong en Chile, enviados por varios participantes.
Board of Trustees
インタビュー with 池見陽先生
(Focusing in Japan: An interview with Akira Ikemi, PhD)
By Taeko Sakurai
For the English version, click here.
Akira Ikemi, PhD is professor of psychotherapy at Kansai University. He studied with Prof. Gendlin at the University of Chicago graduate school. He is one of the founders of the Japan Focusing Association and a former board and ILC member of TIFI.
Akira Ikemi
桜井: 池見先生、今日は、日本ではどうしてこんなにフォーカシングが盛んなのかについてお伺いさせてください。
池見: TIFIのウェブサイトによると、日本には201812月現在148人のフォーカシング・プロフェッショナルがいます。これはイスラエルの146人、カナダの145人と並ぶ非常に多い数で、日本はTIFIにおいて重要な役割を負っていると言えるでしょう。
桜井: 随分沢山の方がフォーカシングをされているのですね。日本フォーカシング協会のサイトに大澤美枝子先生が「日本におけるフォーカシング小史」(大澤、2017)という記事を書かれていらっしゃいましたが、日本にはかなり早い時期にフォーカシングが入って来たようですね

Taeko Sakurai is a Psychologist in Melbourne, Australia. She is      currently a Trainer in Training.
Board of Trustees
Farewell to Inspirational Focusing Teacher Melba Jiménez
By Beatrice Blake
Melba Jiménez
In 2009, the FMLN party, the party of the former guerrilla, won the presidency of El Salvador.  I had a lot of hope that in 2010, we could show the new government the benefits of Focusing and Empathic Communication. At that time, Melba was working as a technician in the poor people's hospital, Zacamil. She brought me in to give workshops to the staff there too! Yara and I continued our teaching partnership and, with Melba and Yuni, formed Nuevos Rumbos (New Directions). We were united in our belief that Focusing and Empathic Communication were essential practices that would improve lives. Melba and I tramped around to government offices and NGOs, trying to show them how our workshops could make a difference in mental health and violence prevention. Unfortunately, they weren't ready for us....
One time Melba and Yuni and I were at the beach. I had a playful urge to cover them with sand and they let me! I piled handfuls of heavy wet sand on top of them until only their faces were showing. I even buried their hair. Lying down as they were, as if they were in ancient sand-colored sarcophagi, I believe I saw their original faces-truly the faces of eternal Mayan goddesses.
Beatrice Blake originally trained as an acupuncturist and was always interested in the body/mind interface. She became a Certified Focusing Professional in 2000. Since immersing herself in Gendlin's Philosophy of the Implicit, she discovered that Focusing is the way to recognize ourselves as part of the natural order, ending the split between science and spirituality, 'objectivity' and inner knowing, and a method for learning how to dialog between the two.
Board of Trustees
Focusing Conversations Series
Listen to conversations with Focusers, hosted by Serge Prengel
Gordon Adam - February 2019
In this conversation, Gordon Adam talks about his experience of the advantages and benefits of including physical contact as part of the Focusing exchange.
Upcoming Courses and Workshops
The Second Annual Felt Sense Conference
May  17th -19th, 2019
New York City
Part of The Focusing Highlights Series of pay-what-you-can classes. Interactive Online Class facilitated by Kati Kimchi taking place Saturday, March 30th, 2019 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Eastern Time USA..
Ifat Eckstein
An Online Workshop facilitated by Ifat Eckstein taking place alternate Wednesdays from March 20 through May 1, 2019 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Eastern Time USA.
Part of the Focusing Roundtable series for TIFI members, this free online conversation is hosted by Christel Kraft, Bruce Gibbs, and Mónica Gómez Galaz on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019 from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST. Class size is limited.
Become a Member
This section of the Institute's website has a sortable list of major International Focusing events.
Connect with Focusing
Join one of our many email discussion lists to discuss an array of Focusing-related topics.  Members can also join our Facebook Forum.
Click here to check out the benefits of becoming an Institute member.
Become a Member
Ways to help the Institute
Volunteers Needed
We would love you to bring your energy, enthusiasm and skills to help our mission.  Some of our needs:
  • Being a technical hosting for our online webinars and workshops
  • Offering classes and online conversations in your language
  • Translating our communications into your native language, and bringing content from other languages into English
  • Producing and editing content for our website and social media in all languages
  • Copyediting articles that are submitted to our newsletter in all languages
  • Creating guided Focusing recordings in all languages
Please contact us to see how you can help!
Send us your Focusing-related high-resolution photos!  By sending them to us, you confirm that you have the rights to the photos.  You also authorize us to edit and use the photos on our website and communications.