As I write this I’m sitting in my room overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a retreat centre in California. I’m attending the 23rd annual International Focusing Conference. I’ve attended most of these gatherings of Focusers from around the world.
What I want to speak about is the importance of belonging to a safe community when you’ve been betrayed by those who had power over you as a child. It’s so important to find a community where you are accepted and encouraged to grow. It’s about being connected to people who share many of your values and who will support you in developing your own beliefs and strengths, rather than insisting you follow some party line or creed. I’m lucky enough to have two of these communities.
The first is the Focusing community, an organization of people who find access to a deep level of personal awareness by paying attention to the body’s physical response to their thoughts and feelings.
The other is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Some people say Unitarians don’t believe anything. That’s not true. UUs believe in supporting each person in his or her personal path to the best possible way of living. It encourages you to think for yourself.
“Service is our prayer,” says the Unitarian covenant. It’s a community dedicated to helping others as well as enriching each others’ lives through belonging to this community.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you need to find a Focusing group or join the UUs. These two work for me. They fit who I am and what I’m comfortable with.
The important thing is that each of us finds a place where we can belong without feeling pressured or exposed.