Summary: Key decision taken: Northern Calfornia in 2011!
We opened the meeting with a brief attunement and then Mary Hendricks Gendlin spoke to us.
She had a two-part message from Gene:
(1) He expreses to us his pleasure that this can go on without him because it is a process belonging to all humans.
(2) He urges Coordinators to help your students take what they are learning ongoingly into the context in which they’ll be teaching, or help them develop one. (This second point is written here in the corrected form after Mary talked to Gene again.)
Then Mary spoke of her own process over the last eight (?) years. In response to a very difficult ongoing crisis she continually overrode her own body’s signals about its needs. The result was a serious physical breakdown. She now has a probable diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion and Parkinson’s. Both are being treated, and she is finding her energy coming back somewhat, and feeling somewhat better, although she still has to be careful and guard her energy. (The crisis is also now mostly over.)
Various members of the group responded to Mary, including being moved by her story, and expresing a hope that she will now listen to her body’s signals as much as possible.
Mary went on to acknowledge that so many people are devoting their lives to Focusing now, and asks us to ask: What can we do collectively that we can’t do individually? How do we move beyond our individual work to being picked up by institutions and structures? She told the story of the many strands involved in bringing Focusing to China. This was a successful instance. Then she told the story of not being able to recommend a US person working with Focusing and children for a speaking opportunity. In this case, there was not success. (Yet.) Mary invited us to sense together this process of strands and how it can be facilitated. Other examples Mary gave of the many strands was in New York with the module for marketing a contemplative practice for children, the Harvard connection, and the Emotional Intelligence possibilities through Dan Goldman using the Clearing of space module. It was noted that Akira is the Japanese translator for Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life.
Mary mentioned there has been "lots of seeding" now we need "the crossing” to happen.
Then we collected topics for dividing into work/interest groups. The topics for the afternoon were:
(1) Coordinators’ Functions
(2) About teaching Focusing and supporting Focusing teachers
(3) How to bring Focusing with children into all our training
(4) How do we nurture ourselves as Coordinators?
Proposals from these groups after they met included (numbers correspond to groups):
(1) Suggesting that Coordinators come to the Weeklong to experience the international community. Continuing education for Coordinators, learning from each other. We want to keep diversity and quality. Wondering if there is a way to have Coordinators’ local or regional meetings.
(2) We find that Focusing teaching is no less important than FOT.
(Sorry I didn’t write down any proposals from groups 3 and 4, but if there were some, please let me know and I’ll update the minutes.)
In the evening, groups formed again. The groups this time were:
(5) In what form can Focusing become better known? (ie Is there some way of presenting Focusing that can help it be better known?)
(6) Specialty certifications that would come after the regular certification with additional training, eg Focusing with children or Focusing and art therapy AND Staged certifications, in which people could receive recognition for achieving milestones such as Focusing Partner
(7) Ways of fluid conflict resolving (Astrid Shillings, Patricia Manessy)
When we resumed the next morning, we heard reports from these groups.
Group (5) reported on some words like “immediacy” -- some phrases like “The Living Body” or “The Action Body” -- and some slogans like “Focusing goes beyond mindfulness” or “EMDR is for trauma and Focusing is for everything.”
Group (6) reported on discussions of “advanced” certifications that would come after regular certification, and “partial” certifications, which could perhaps be called recognition or attestation such as being able to listen in partnership and know what a felt sense is--”Trainee in Companionship”
Group (7) brought us a proposal: to develop an International Interactive Team that Focusing people could call in, in cases of conflict, either to be a listener to both people or, if only one is willing, to listen to one person.
Aafien de Vries gave a report from two coordinators in Nederland, Marta Stapert regarding her health and Erna de Bruin's desire "to take a step back"
Crystal wanted to share her concern for a centralized data base to catch " the hundreds of students that have fallen by the way side" Melinda responded with the reality of maintaining all the changes required. Ann suggested Constant Contact as an example of services available for such tasks.
Then we had a presentation from Nada on the concept of Functional Wholes as a principle of organization. This is a principle of how to get things done without having to agree. “In the human body, the heart doesn’t do what the kidneys do, but the whole body implies the next step.” Those who have an idea and have the energy to carry it out are empowered to do it, and are the ones who make the decisions about it. When the people who care enough to be involved are also the ones making the decisions, you get to work from instances rather than from generalities. The people doing the work have the intricacy of the issue. This is a decentralized model that depends on good communication and shared fundamental values. Some recent examples of functional wholes or "different models of decision making” as Mary called them were the Gendlin Online Library project and FISS
We heard a presentation from Robert Lee and Doralee Katonah on the new Weeklong, which is two Weeklongs meeting in parallel, one for certification and one for Field Projects-- supporting your Focusing projects by creating a particularly fertile collaboration group with 4-7 other Focusing Professionals in your Field.
The next Children’s Focusing Conference will be in Hungary (very cheap!) on September 17-21, 2008. The best route is by air to Amsterdam and then by train to Hungary. It’s possible to bring the kids!
Announced: The next Meeting at the Edge Conference for Focusing and body-oriented professions will be Sept 22-26 near Zurich, Switzerland
Akira handed out brochures for the 2009 International which is now open for registration at http://www.focusing.jp/conf2009/. The total cost of the conference including room and board is as little as $1,000. It will be held on Awaji Island, the nearest airport is Kansai International. The dates are May 12-16, 2009.
The 2010 conference will be held near Pforzheim in Germany, and the dates are May 5-9, 2010.
We had an interesting process around the 2011 conference. Knowing that Elena and the Argentina Community had passed on the 2010 conference to Germany because of date conflicts with the Iberoamerican Focusing conferences, we were interested in whether they were wanting to do 2010. (At the same time we were aware of a preference stated at past Coordinators’ meetings to be back in North America once every three years.) But Elena said that she would prefer 2012. Then we checked in with Joan Klagsbrun heading the Boston community, who had previously expressed an interest, but Joan said that her energy is now engaged in creating an FOT conference. SO the Northern California community offered to hold the conference in 2011 (nine years after the last time we did it) and the offer was accepted by the Coordinators.
Following the conference decision we had an “Action Steps” process in which people could propose topics or projects on which they would like to continue to meet with others by email and phone. Each Action Area had a proposing person and other interested people signed up with their email addresses.
Other Coordinators who were not at the conference are urged to contact these key people to be involved in the discussions/projects.
Bringing FOT to therapy: Marine de Freminville firstname.lastname@example.org
FOT Conference: Joan Klagsbrun email@example.com
Creating Guidelines for Quality of Training: Atsmaout Perlstein
Little Bits and Pieces: Heidi Essler Essler.Seminare@t-online.de
Staged Certifications: Olivier Gourmet
International Interactive Team: (see above) Astrid Schillings firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Weiser Cornell