Focusing in Ireland

Poetry Gathering Reflections - June 2022

Kindness - Naomi Shihab Nye - 1952

Listening to the poem 'Kindness' being read to me by my focusing partner allowed me to experience the emotion which the words evoked in my body.  I initially experienced feelings of fear running through me at the sense of loss and desolation. Then I felt a sense of sorrow behind my eyes and nose evoked by the suggestion that you must travel where 'the Indian in the white poncho lies dead by the side of the road' before you can know the 'tender gravity of kindness'. I was struck by the richness of our life experience and the emptiness and insignificance of death and the wonder and continuum of it all. I loved the reference to the 'simple breath', the breath of life.

When kindness was described towards the end of the poem, a sense of warmth spread across my chest and into my heart which felt like a balm that soothed everything.

The notion that you can only know kindness if you have deeply experienced sorrow reminded me of my travels in India when I had experienced a dark night of the soul. Feelings of deep isolation and separateness and a lack of belonging kept me from sleep.  They brought me back to the loneliness I felt sometimes when I was growing up as an only child. Feeling the depth of that separation and being with the rawness of the sorrow that arose in me because of it, broke my heart open and enveloped me in a compassionate inter-connectedness to everyone and everything around me like I had never experienced before.

Listening to the poem 'Kindness' in a focusing way allowed me to experience the emotion evoked by the words in my body rather than just an understanding in my head. It gave me a sense of the whole meaning of the poem and the cadence of life's journey.

Focusing provides such a beautiful container for exploring poetry in this way. Thank you Marie for facilitating such a wonderful session.

The kindness in the group and in my triad created a safe space for a very inspiring session.

Tina Kiely

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