What Should Have Been Still Exists Within

He sat in my therapy room concentrating deeply on his inner process. Finally he said, “It’s there. I just have to follow it.”

Then half to me and mostly to himself he said, “There’s a path. If I sniff it out I can find it. It’s overgrown.

Sometimes I get off the trail. But it’s there. I just have to find it and follow it.”

I knew he wanted to explore making changes in his life. Now he was telling me his body’s wisdom was showing him an overgrown trail. I could sense his excitement at finding this overgrown path that would guide his next growth edge.

I smiled to myself. This was exciting validation of Dr. Gendlin’s Blueprint Theory. My client had never studied Gendlin’s theory that the baby is born with a blueprint, a knowing of how life is supposed to unfold. Without being consciously aware of Dr. Gendlin’s theory, my client was articulating his discovery of his own blueprint.  His was a path, not a blueprint. The meaning is the same, however, whether it’s a path or a blueprint.

Dr. Gendlin’s theory says a baby is born with a blueprint, a plan that outlines what is meant to unfold. The blueprint already knows what is supposed to happen, just as an architect’s blueprint knows how the house is to come into being.

For the baby, when everything goes according to plan, when there’s a breast waiting and the baby can suck, the baby is happy. If something goes wrong, the baby’s body experiences discomfort. And so it goes throughout our lives. Our body signals tell us whether we’re following the blueprint, the trail, or whatever guides us from within.

So, what do we do if our own early development didn’t follow the original organismic plan? What if our parents failed us and didn’t love and protect us?

The good news is that the blueprint is still there in our bodies. Or in terms of my client’s overgrown trail, we can sniff it out and get back on track.

That’s what the felt sense is for. It’s our organism’s urging us to do as the blueprint planned for us in the first place – before we ever got wounded or hurt.

That’s why it’s important to become skilled in Focusing, to learn how to follow the guidance of your body’s felt sense so that your life can be guided by your deepest, wisest knowing.

Each of us can learn to make decisions and shape our lives in a way that is uniquely right for us.


  1. Hello Mary,

    I agree about the templates present within us when we are created. And in the process of therapy these templates are often discovered, developmentally delayed or injured-and with the right dynamics healing takes place. I would like to offer that during EMDR therapy these templates, beyond immediate recall of the client are often exposed and healing takes place in deep areas and provides great freedom. Great article.

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