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Older man, explorer: James Roose-Evans

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James Roose-Evans

James Roose-Evans, at 90, quoted T S Eliot today in his inspirational ‘audience’ with us at The Bleddfa Centre: ‘Old men should be explorers’.

If ever there was an explorer through – and of – life, he is one. And like many explorers, he is able to open up the way for others to find new territories.

The territory James Roose-Evans explores is the inner life, the journey is inward, and the destination? James encouraged us today to think of it as ever further, beyond, still to come. ‘Don’t think of yourself as old.  No – not ‘old’!  Older!’ Always moving forward, always looking ahead, and moving towards.

And death. We talked also about that great taboo. James thinks we do not think about death enough. And how do we think about that great thing we all face, we all come to? James doesn’t see it as an end, but as transition, a moving from, through and towards. At 90, he is able to say this without it seeming sophistry.

Someone asked him how he managed both to have given so much energy to so many different aspects of his life: so many disparate creative projects, his priesthood, theatre directing, Bleddfa itself, and so much more, and at the same time go so deep into silence in his life. The silence, he says is the place, the balance, the inward source of everything else. If James has an overriding message, it is to turn attention inward both to understand what is in us, and to find the deepest connection with something greater than ourselves. Everything we need, all the resources we need, he says, are in here, are within: we do not need to get them outside ourselves and from others.

And if we practise silence in our lives, give space to our inner life, it helps us to receive synchronicity in our lives and be open to things when they come to us. Learn to listen, so that we recognise something special when it is before us

After a shared period of silence, James’s final word was from Hamlet: ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will—.’ In other words, as he says, if we f…. it up along the way, it doesn’t really matter that much: something beyond ourselves is there, shaping something beyond the end we see.

And, that brings me back to Eliot again: ‘In our end is our beginning’. Let us not be afraid.

Links to https://jamesrooseevans.co.uk and The Bleddfa Centre Also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Roose-Evans from which the photograph is taken

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10 things about Focusing: FOUR

Why not?

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‘Why always “Not yet”? Do flowers in spring say “Not yet”?’ – Norman Douglas, An Almanac

            ‘Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week’ – Spanish proverb.

I’ll bet most of us recognise times when that ‘not yet’ or that ‘tomorrow’ holds us back. We feel that something on occasion seems to hold us back from doing what we want. That letter or book we want to write; the holiday we would like to take but keep putting off; the job we want to change but don’t; the diet we want to maintain; the resolution to get up early, or get out more, or make more friends, or…  I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.

Focusing is a fantastic way of enabling this impasse to unfold itself and move forward into some kind of action, or inner resolution. Whether it’s a small thing or something that leaves you feeling disappointed with larger aspects of your life, Focusing can help you connect with both the wanting and the not-wanting felt-senses; if you just try ‘hearing’ them in this way you can be surprised by what you will find, and how things open up in new ways. You may find that this thing is not what you deeply want after all. Or you may find that it is, and that the rest of you is now OK with that.

Why not try this out for yourself? My next Focusing workshop is around this very theme: to find out more and/or book your place visit http://www.bleddfacentre.org/focusing-workshops/

10 things Focusing can do for you

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing 10 things about Focusing. I hope you can get an idea of what Focusing can do for you.

ONE: 

Take you into a place of inner peace and calm

In Focusing we call this ‘finding Self-in-Presence’. How to describe it? It’s just a very quiet, still place of being. It can be like finding the still point in a whirlwind of thoughts, feelings, doings and active life. It can be like coming behind a wall out of the wind. It can be like finding still water. It can feel like coming home to a comfortable chair. It’s a kind of space inside yourself, which also isyour Self. Usually, when I find it, I almost automatically breathe a sigh. It’s a kind of ‘Here I am’ moment. Very often, clients who experience this for the first time tell me, ‘I’ve never felt peace like this in my whole life.’

So far this sounds similar to mindfulness. But Focusing goes further. This inner awareness space of Self-in-Presence can also be a calm Presence given towards other aspects of ourselves, often aspects that are not so calm: aspects that feel stuck, or emotionally tender or overwhelmed, that feel stressed, angry, depressed, lost or trapped in some situation.  Being ‘in Presence’ means we have a different way of approaching these parts of ourself, one that is able to be in relation to the part rather than overwhelmed by it, and one that can enable that part to be heard, accepted, understood empathically: all conditions that enable it to shift from its stuck state into where it really wants to be. There is often a sense of release, a kind of inner sigh as something moves and changes.  This process is one that can turn what feels difficult into what feels less uncomfortable, less painful, or even joyful.

Focusers are passionate about all this, because we have experienced such wonderful benefit from it. As a counsellor, I have also seen how learning this skill can be releasing and healing even for very deep and long lasting hurts.

I’m probably showing my age here, but it is like the old Heineken advert: it refreshes the parts that other things can’t reach!

Being Within Me – 13th May workshop

The first of my four one-day experiential workshops at The Bleddfa Centre. This workshops reintroduces the practice of Focusing as a way of knowing one’s Self more deeply, with compassion and empathy, using the sense of our embodied feelings as a doorway into our inner awareness.

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This workshop is for you if:

  • you are interested in mindfulness and would like to engage further with your inner life?
  •  you are a counsellor or psychotherapist who would like to explore how this gentle, healing practice can help clients
  • you would like to deepen your sense of your own spiritual life, grounded in physical awareness
  • you would like a relaxed and self-nurturing day of gentle self-discovery

9.30 am – 4 pm. £40 including lovely home-made lunch (sorry, early-bird rate now over).

Pre-booking essential: 01547 550377  hello@bleddfacentre.org  www.bleddfacentre.org