Focusing in this time of pandemic has helped me to stay connected with other people while coping with the frequent sense of fear, loneliness and isolation. It has been a pure gift to join the Irish Focusing Network on zoom weekly in giving and receiving, helping me to connect deeply with how I am carrying it all at this time.
I also made myself a promise to read a poem daily to nourish myself with language, connecting me to my unique felt sense of the meaning entwined in the poet’s words. David Clarke, professor of psychology at Oxford University said "poetry, songs and music can give shape to something hidden inside".
I am delighted to share this experience with you, inviting you to focus with a poem written by myself Marie McGuigan, "Deeply, Deeply, Deeply". I was invited to write a poem as part of an inter-generational cross community project in Belfast.
This involved primary school children and residents from the local Fold Housing group. We met weekly for six weeks to create and sew onto individual linen squares. They were then integrated as part of a huge quilt which has since been displayed at Belfast City Hall.
I invite you now to pause, take three deep breaths and go quiet inside...
Take your time to let your awareness come to your body - Maybe first being aware of the outer area of your body, like your arms, and your hands.....
Being aware also of your legs and your feet.....
Being aware of your body's contact with what you are sitting on....
And noticing the support that's there.....resting into that support....
And letting your awareness come inward, into the whole area of your body, the area that includes your throat.... your chest.... your stomach and belly area...
Give yourself a gentle invitation in there to hold this inner space in awareness, holding the words of the poem lightly as you listen, while allowing the poem to hold you.
After I read the poem we will sit in silence for a minute. I invite you to ask yourself, What comes? What do you notice? Where do you feel it in your body?
Poem read slowly,
Deeply, Deeply, Deeply
That we will deeply love all of our children,
That we will deeply honour and respect those not so young,
That we will deeply listen to one another with an open, kind, courageous heart
To reach out,
To get involved,
To discover something new,
Where love and courage live,
In that place we call home, wherever that happens to be,
Standing on the holy ground of this amazing earth place,
Where we have each been fearfully and wonderfully made.
"Ar Scath a cheile a mhaireas na daoine"
It is in the shelter of each other that the people live"
Marie Mc Guigan
1 minute silence - You might take some time to sit with whatever came for you, taking time to note down whatever came in your Focusing journal.
I will share my own felt sense of this poem with you.
Then the words “where love and courage live” brings an acknowledgement that it does take courage to cross over to the other. A big sigh then comes - something about “risk” like stepping out into the unknown. I notice then it feels nervy and good, both parts are there. Something of the more comes towards the end now in the context of the North of Ireland “it is in the shelter of each other that the people live” where love and courage lives.
Sending you all much love and peace,
from Marie Mc Guigan
Irish Focusing Network
Listen and Watch
Listen to Marie recite the poem on YouTube: