Equipping Ourselves to Step into our Future
An African American man, raised in the segregated south, was present at a recent Focusing study group. He shared his sense of a lifetime of suffering in a racist society. After an experience of Focusing, he shared: "For the first time, I felt that there was power in my pain. That is something new for me. I feel some sense of power where I'd felt powerless."
Focusing can shift what seems intractable. It can shift long-felt pain held in the hearts of individuals, and even pre-conceived ideas held by whole societies.
Where once we felt powerless, Focusing helps individuals and communities develop the capacity to be resilient and even strong. We learn to see the whole of a situation, to be with uncomfortable situations, to attend to the implicit meanings and possibilities in difficult situations, and then to act from choice rather than out of reactivity.
We want Focusing, Thinking at the Edge and the Philosophy of the Implicit to take their rightful place in human development so that seemingly intractable problems might be opened to new possibilities.
The International Focusing Institute has a key role to play in carrying Focusing forward.
The time has come for Focusing to be a household word.
In this phase, we must raise $75,000 by August 31. We are calling upon each of you to make a special financial gift, above and beyond what you normally budget for the Institute in any given year. Please help us reach our goal by August 31!
Below are some of the key ways in which we are Stepping Up.
Initiatives to Reach Out
If Focusing is to reach all parts of the Earth, and reach into areas of conflict and struggle in the world, then high quality Focusing training needs to be more available to those who have limited financial resources. It needs to be more available to all language groups and all cultural groups. We are currently partnered with struggling communities in El Salvador, Gaza and Peru. We are seeking funding to create more materials in Arabic for use with the millions of Arabic-speaking refugees throughout the world, and we have a scholar ready to do take his sabbatical in the Middle East to teach Focusing if we are able to garner the funds. We are also eager to bring more members of nascent Focusing communities to our Advanced and Certification Weeklong through the Janet Klein Scholarship program.
The Focusing community of El Salvador has been growing stronger and stronger. They now have a committed, core group of people who are beautiful Focusers, and eager to deepen their connections and their learning. The Salvadoran people are embracing Focusing as a path forward from the traumas of civil war and gang violence. A fledgling group in Peru is also eager to deepen their learning of Focusing as a new frontier for Focusing. The exciting move to Chile of the 2019 Advanced and Certification Weeklong provides a unique opportunity to allow these emerging leaders to connect with one another and strengthen their skills, in order to bring Focusing to countries ravaged by political and economic strife. Give now.
by Robin Kappy
Focusing needs to take its rightful place in the world. In order for that to happen, Gene Gendlin’s work must become more recognized through academic research. Philosophers talk nowadays about philosophical practice, but Gene actually delivered one, through his great work, A Process Model, and through the development of the practice of Thinking at the Edge. The practice of Focusing which he developed is a revolutionary place where human beings delve into their individual experience, and in so doing also see their intimate connection to others and the world around them.
The Gendlin Center is taking the first necessary steps to bring this brilliant work into academia, where it belongs. First on the agenda is the creation of a “Gendlin Prize” to get research going in Focusing and in the Philosophy of the Implicit. As an added incentive in keeping with the ethos of Focusing, the award will come with mentoring as well. But that’s not all – there are already people doing brilliant work that needs to get highlighted. And those people need to be brought together so that their work can be multiplied and amplified. For that reason, the Gendlin Center is planning conferences which will take us to exciting new territories of thought, while grounding us in respected academic circles. Give now.
Building Organizational Capacity
Those of us who have had our lives, our work and our thinking deepened and enriched by Focusing are eager to share it with the world. We often ask ourselves why it isn't better known and more accepted as an essential modality.
With the passing of Gene Gendlin and Mary Hendricks-Gendlin, the torch has been passed to us. They dreamed that felt sensing would permeate all areas of life, both personal and social. They dreamed that rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old, from all cultures and languages, would experience the power of the simple and life-enhancing process of Focusing. Their dream is our dream, too. We are honored and ready to fill the "big shoes" that they have left us.
The Institute has been building its organizational capacity in the years since Gene and Mary stepped down from leadership. We now have a strong Board, a dynamic International Leadership Council, a Strategic Plan and an energetic Membership Committee. We have broadened the number and kinds of programs we offer, and seized the opportunities that online technology offers. We are regularly offering programs in many languages, significantly broadening the number of those who are able to engage as leaders or participants.
And we are stepping up with more! We have some big initiatives underway to make Focusing more findable, and to support our Focusing Trainers and Coordinators. Give now.
Our long-awaited new website is under construction. The website is being designed to be mobile-friendly, multi-lingual and attractive to newcomers. An incredibly generous donor has kicked off our fundraising for the website with $25,000, which was vital to helping us identify our needs and find the right developer. In 2018, our expenses will include technical support for changing the system while maintaining continuity with the old website. In addition, we plan to have a part-time staff member whose mandate is to reach out to our members in multiple languages, to make sure that you know how to make maximum use of the new site.
Our re-designed website will not only make it easier for newcomers to get connected, but it will also be more welcoming and inviting to those of you who are already part of our community. The new platform will make it easier for you to upload information about yourself, your classes and your events. Your work will be made more visible and accessible to the world. Our international, multi-lingual community means that the website is the place where we meet -- like a virtual home. Do you want to connect with someone who shares your particular interest and lives near you? Our site will allow you to find other Focusers with mutual interests.
We are committed to making it “A Home for Us All,” as we stated in materials we shared at the International in Cambridge. As stated above, the funding needs for this include our plan to have a staff member who will be dedicated to helping you make use of the website. Give now.
There is something very special about being with other Focusers. We know that we are more likely to get a patient and listening ear. We can connect so easily in a heartfelt way. We have made great use of video-conferencing to help you connect with each other easily and at little or no cost. What's more, for some Focusers who live in remote areas or have other limitations, these online connections have been lifelines. Many times, we’ve seen these video-conferences evoke tears of joy – or at least great smiles!
Our Membership Committee has created several exciting online benefits to membership: Roundtables are organized as a conversation on a specific topic, led by a small group of facilitators. These have mostly been in English, but we have begun offering them in other languages, beginning in January with Italian. Cafecitos are Spanish language online gatherings which consist of interviewing a Focuser about his or her work. Participants ask questions and sometimes take part in an experiential exercise. Trainer Talks are recorded interviews, with topics especially of interest to those who are certified and teaching or leading groups. We are now looking to expand and strengthen our Partnership Program to help you find partners for your regular practice. Funding needs for all of this are for staff to support the work of the volunteers. Give now.
Your gift will allow all of this to happen! Please step up!
It is possible to direct your donation to a specific initiative, but please note that it is most helpful to us when you give an "unrestricted" donation to support all of our work.