The Children’s Focusing Conference was held in early February and it was a conference that I was very much looking forward to. Getting to spend 3 days with like minded people who want to nurture their own inner child, and in turn support children in whatever way they can, was a very exciting prospect. And it didn’t disappoint. There were attendees from all over the world, spanning across 26 different countries and time zones, making the world a very small and connected space. It also highlighted the very different worlds and environments our physical bodies live in. These are the environments that children are born into and hope to survive and thrive in.
Connecting through Zoom and hearing from the presenters and participants, how they interact with children in different situations either through teaching in a regular classroom or supporting children in foster care, through therapy/counseling or just wanting to be there for their child or grandchildren, expands the heart and creates a huge network of support across the global Focusing community. There was a real sense of sharing and holding for each other over these three days.
The theme for this conference was Moments of Wonder and the first presentation hosted by Luzia Stefan (my room neighbour at the weeklong in Dublin!) began by offering us this:
“All grown ups were once children…but only a few of them remember it”
“By knowing Focusing we have the opportunity to remember and to value the child inside us and inside others”.
This set us up nicely for the coming 3 days! A nice reminder to let our inner child out and run amuck! Personally, my inner child was very happy to take part in all the exercises over the weekend, she’s loves to draw and colour and to allow the meaning of each moment to emerge. A moment of wonder!
One of my favourite exercises was to create our elevators, that were going to transports us to our inner stories in our body, with the lovely Lucy Bowers. It wasn’t what I expected it to look like and it reminded me of the book from my childhood Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, as my elevator became a bubble that traveled around having “Adventures in Fairy Land”. Lucy wasn’t feeling very well that day and was assisted by her good friend Susan Watson. And as I write this article for the Newsletter I see an email that breaks my heart a little, as I learn that Lucy has passed away peacefully. I first met Lucy in September 2022 as I assisted with Zoom for her workshop, that she gave so generously in support of TIFI, she had such an infectious personality you couldn’t not immediately love her! I am really glad she made it to the Children’s Focusing Conference that day and we got to be held in her warm and enthusiastic presence one more time. Although I had only met her a few months previous, I find tears flowing softly as I read that email. Rest in peace Lucy, I’m sure you and Gene will have a lot of fun observing us from above.
I’m sure Lucy was really happy to be there in February and was enthused by the ever growing interest in Children's Focusing. It’s so encouraging to see, through the presenters examples how Focusing can help no matter the environment and situation that the child may find themselves in. Rene gave a wonderful presentation around the inner critic that left us wanting more! Throughout the weekend we had lots of opportunities to see how Focusing has helped children, from Dance/movement to Pausing to sensing how it feels from the child’s point of view, how things are heard or received or even held.
Monika Linder gave a lovely presentation called ‘We are each other’s Environment: Imagining a Culture of Moments of Wonder’ She brought us through exercises where we allow our bodies to share with us what we felt and then check if something more comes when we hear what others have shared. The Institute has made this video available to all through their YouTube Channel and it is definitely worth a watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W30pzpXvxdY.
One of the, if not thee, highlight of the conference was the wonderful presentation from 18-year-old Anna Boukydis. Anne grew up with and very visibly embodies Focusing. Anna’s presentation was incredibly mature and beyond her years. Entitled Kids Now–a–Days, she encouraged us to connect with the inner child within us all, helping us to remember what it was like to be a child or a teenager again, and she described some of the issues that she felt her generation is experiencing and how she deals with it all in a Focusing way.
One clear similarity, that came across during the conference was the recognition of how Focusing can support a child’s inner world so they are better resourced to handle anything the outer world may have in store for them. Having supportive adults who can listen in an accepting and open way can be an essential bridge for them to really find their way in this world, while also being open to, and, creating Moments of Wonder!
You can still sign up and view all the videos from the weekend: https://focusing.org/event/recordings-past-event-moments-wonder-online-children-focusing-conference
Remembering Lucy <3
Here is a short video of the lovely Lucy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W30pzpXvxdY