Archive for February 17, 2018

A Very Quiet Winter

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 9.59.17 AMNow that I’m back in Ontario’s snowy, cold winter, I don’t get out much. In fact, days go by when I stay inside. Going into freezing temperatures can set off my lung disease and my allergy to cold. That sounds like a recipe for depression, but strangely, I’m feeling very much at peace. I’m actually relaxed and happy. It’s something like being on a retreat.

When I check in with the centre of my body, the physically felt “switchboard,” the place that’s in touch with how I’m experiencing my life, I feel at peace. When things don’t feel happy in my torso, I know something is wrong for me.

This “barometer” guides me in how my life should go forward. We all have this knowing in our bodies. Focusing calls it the felt sense.

My body’s felt response is much smarter than my mind when it comes to realizing what’s right and wrong for me.  If only I remember to keep checking in with it, I have a reliable guide by which to lead my life.

Recently, with the usual busyness removed from my life, I’ve had lots of time to ponder the wonders of the felt sense. There was a time, though, a couple of years ago, when I lost faith in the reliability of the felt sense. Here’s what happened.

I’d carried out my plan to move from Toronto where I’d lived all my adult life to Kington where my son, daughter-in-law and little granddaughter live. The change wasn’t working out the way I’d planned. I wasn’t happy. Worse, I’d brought my husband here and I knew how hard moving was for him. Maybe the felt sense was not reliable. Maybe this move was all a mistake. The implications were very disturbing.

It was my Focusing partner who got me thinking about the infallibility of the felt sense.

“Have you ever thought that maybe your felt sense is not just about you?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe it works on behalf of Harvey too. I’m just so glad you got Harvey out of Toronto. He’d have been left with his patients and his work. He worked all the time. And now that he’s in Kingston he’s really enjoying himself. He’s getting healthy, he’s making friends, he’s enjoying pickle ball, and on and on.”

This was a new way of looking at the big move.

“You think my felt sense includes those close to me?”

“And a whole lot more.”

I’d forgotten what Gendlin said in his original paperback about the felt sense. I pulled out my yellowed copy of the original 1978 Bantam paperback. It said:

Your physically felt body is a part of a gigantic system of here and other places, now and other times, you and other people – in fact the whole universe.

This sense of being bodily alive in a vast system is your body as it is felt from the inside (p.77.)

Wow! If that’s true, you and I are connected to every plant, animal, human and, indeed, the whole universe.

What do you think? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


The Exercise Class For Seniors

I live in an apartment building inhabited mostly by seniors. I’ve always known that there’s a twice-weekly exercise class. Many of my neighbours attend, but I never considered it was suitable for me. I have a personal trainer at Good Life. Twice a week I’m in a yoga class. I am a fit older woman who needs more exercise than most seniors. In order to get enough physical exercise, I need to be with younger people.

At least, that’s what thought until lung disease dealt a devastating blow to my body and my self-image. Yesterday I joined my neighbours in the exercise class in the building’s party room. It felt so good! It was just what I needed. The instructor took us through a series of exercises that worked every part of the body. Oh my, after driving all the way from Arizona to Kingston and spending weeks pretty much immobilized, my body rejoiced as muscles came alive and my energy flowed the way it’s  meant to.

Until the warmer weather comes, I’m confined to my apartment building. Cold weather is very hard on my lung condition. I also have an allergy to cold (cold urticaria.) On my brief forays to take Sammy out for a pee, I pull a mask over my face and cover any bit of skin that might be exposed to the sharp winds blowing off Lake Ontario.  All of this means I have to make a life for myself indoors.

What are the resources for a person who’s a shut-in for the winter? I’m finding there are plenty. In order to relieve my family of tasks others can do for me, I’ve found a dog walker for Sammy. The walker comes three days a week and takes him for a long hike in the countryside with a pack of other dogs. On in between days, he’s still so relaxed from the hike that he’s happy to sleep away the day in the apartment. (1)

Then there’s the drugstore that delivers for free if your order includes a prescription. It’s five dollars if it doesn’t. (2)

A resourceful young woman has a business that delivers your groceries from Loblaws. That costs twenty-five dollars or fifteen dollars if you order online. She brings them to the apartment and together we put the food away. (3)

The VON provides foot care in the building.(4) I’m signed up for their next visit.

And so, on it goes. A surprising number of services make it possible to avoid the cold winter.

I’ve given the contact information for my discoveries. If you know of some other good sources, please let me know.

As for living inside all winter, so far I’m doing fine with plenty of friendly neighbours, a stack of good books and enough projects to last me until April. I’ll keep you posted. But here’s my question to myself: Will I be able to maintain a happy, peaceful way of life without going out into the wider world? After all, while I’m aging, I’m determined to Stay In Charge of My Life!



  1. Groovytown Dog Lodge. (613) 583-3647 Owned and operated by Kristen Kadis. Pick up and delivery. Also boarding. Located in Odessa
  2. Shoppers Drug Mart
  3. Shannon O’Neil (613) 328-2698 Shannon and her mother provide cleaning services  – same number as above.
  4. Victorian Order of Nurses Brenda Adams, Community Services Manager. (613) 634-0130 ext. 2401