I am a Mindfulness teacher and Focusing practitioner and I use both disciplines in my work with clients. Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation, which involves paying attention to what is happening in the present moment. It’s a kind of observation without criticism or judgement, seeing the world as it is, not how you want it to be, or through the distorting lens of your emotions.
I often call Mindfulness Kindfulness, because it has this quality of self compassion and kindness that accompanies it and which can give it a soothing or relaxing quality. With Mindfulness we are developing the skill of shifting gears from doing to being and from thinking to feeling. At first this requires some slowing down, but once you have developed the skill you can weave it into the whole of your life.
Focusing, sometimes referred to as “felt-sensing,” is a way of allowing our bodies to guide us to deeper self-knowledge, to psychological healing, and to working more skilfully with the difficulties that life presents us. Both Focusing and Mindfulness share an emphasis on coming into relationship with our experience, whether it’s our thoughts, feelings or body sensations. Rather than getting lost in our issues, we approach them from a different angle with a different attitude which means we have more space around them, and are able to see and feel them more clearly.
As a Mindfulness teacher for children and adults, I see my role as providing a calm and welcoming space where people can feel safe enough to come into relationship with whatever they are experiencing in a friendly, curious and compassionate way. This is not the usual way that we are with our own experience, especially if what we are experiencing is challenging. We often push away or resist things that we don’t want to feel, or judge what we are feeling as being wrong or bad. Coming into relationship with experience in this way, can feel like a relief. Just accepting and not fighting our reality, is like taking the mask off that we use to face the world and admitting the truth of what we actually feel. Sometimes just doing this is enough to bring clarity and calm. From this place of acceptance, a person can more easily access their own wisdom. Perhaps some fresh insight about the situation arises spontaneously, or the way forward in any situation becomes obvious. This is what is known in Focusing as the ‘moving forward’ energy. It may seem paradoxical, that just by seeing and fully experiencing a stuck place, we can access insights in how to move forward.
So much of my work involves getting beneath the mind, in order to access the wisdom of the body. However, sometimes it’s necessary to approach a person’s thought processes more directly. This involves getting up close with a person’s story and looking at the thoughts which they are believing.
In my experience of working with people over a period of 15 years, I see that 90% of our stress lies not in the situations that we are in, but our thoughts about the situation. Where there are persistent stressful thoughts that simply won’t go away, I use a method called The Work. The Work is a process of inquiring into stressful thoughts and beliefs, the ones that cause all the anger, sadness, and frustration in your world. Through a process of befriending and questioning the thoughts, they lose their power over us. This process often benefits from some written worksheets from the client, but it can also be done without them. This work is very powerful, with the right commitment on behalf of the client, life-long beliefs can dissolve leaving a person happier and freer.
Perhaps it’s important to say what I don’t do. I don’t consider myself a life coach, therapist, a psychiatrist, or counsellor. I am not there to fix you or provide solutions, I will not set you any goals or tell you how to make more money. Instead, I will invite you to pause, reflect or consider a situation from a different perspective. I am more of a mind masseuse or a non-judgemental companion, a sherpa guide through the labyrinths of your own mind.
I work with adults from any age and background and children from the age of 6 upwards.
Mary Louise Morris BA Hons, MA.