Healing clutter through somatic work

Believe it or not, decluttering is a powerful form of healing. I have found over the last 10 years that it helps mobilize people after being stuck or helps them slow down enough to address what’s been left behind for so long. Helping people let go is a holistic approach and addressing people in their outer world first makes it easier to then address their inner world. That inner world that has soft spots that we rather avoid connecting with.

Yet, it’s those soft spots deep within us that can give us the most insight, shifts and change. Being ready to go to that place can be challenging and that’s why I love helping people with their outer environment first. Then, when they are ready, we slow down and go within. This can be done through multiple techniques.  When we use focusing, we connect very slowly with the body and a deeper felt sense.

This approach is wonderful because it can be done alone, with a trained focuser, or even a friend who understands the steps. It’s a process where you connect to your inner world, self and a felt sense. Here you let go of identifying and instead you acknowledge, keep company, and notice something inside of you. By going through this 6-step process (check out last month’s blog) you can release trapped trauma from your body and reconnect to the same problem in a new way.

Focusing Steps

As mentioned in my last blog there are several ways to approach this process. In this blog I’ll be referencing the four step process.

Coming in 

  • bringing awareness into your body
  • sensing or inviting what wants your awareness now
  • waiting for something to come

Making contact 

  • with something inside
  • acknowledging it
  • beginning to describe it

Deepening Contact 

  • keeping something company
  • symbols, images, words arising
  • sensing it’s point of view

Coming out 

  • bringing the session to a close
  • sensing a stopping place
  • seeing what has changed
  • thanking it and letting it know you will come back

Learning to slow down and be present

Going slowly and connecting with the body first is fundamental! The body, mind and nervous system need to feel safe before they reveal anything or allow for a shift to occur. By going slowly through the first step of coming into the body you are creating a safe environment for what needs attention. Physical sensations will usually be felt first and dealt with before you can go deeper and connect with a felt sense. 

When the body feels safe enough it will share an image, a word, phrase, or even allow you to sit with a felt sense or sensation that is asking for your attention. Making contact with something in you is a HUGE part of the process. How many times have you ignored how you felt? When do you ever pause to fully connect with your body and a felt sense? When we think of someone we know, we don’t think of them in a list form, we have a felt sense of who they are. It’s important to connect with this felt sense within us, especially when we are feeling off or else it will sit and fester inside of us and cause dis-ease. 

Bringing ourselves into presence is key to being able to connect with the body and go within. Slowly sensing the room you are in, different parts of your body, the surface that you are being supported by and the whole of your body needs to happen slow enough that you can stay connected to the present moment. If the mind starts to chatter, it’s ok. In focusing, we welcome the mind and thinking as natural parts of the body. As thoughts arise, we acknowledge and thank them. Maybe something there needs attention first before going deeper. The key is to sit with what is happening in the moment, keeping it company just as a friend would if you were telling them your troubles.

Taking the first steps to go within

Below are some examples of presence language that can be used for each step of the process. A lead in is used during sessions to help you connect slowly to your body and what wants to be revealed. You can try something like this alone or with a companion. It’s key to go slow. You can do this for 1 to 5 minutes, or as long as you need to feel safe and connected.

Coming in lead in:

Note the statements for the lead in can be done alone, by the focuser with a companion or by the compainion. If a companion is leading in just change the “I’m” to “You are”

  • I’m taking time to bring awareness to my body
  • I’m sensing the contact of my body with the surface I am sitting on
  • I’m feeling my breathing
  • Letting my awareness come inward…into the inner parts of my body…throat….chest…belly
  • I’m taking my time to let the whole feel of that thing about ______ and inviting the whole feel of that to come into my awareness now 
  • Or I’m giving myself an inner invitation to see what wants my awareness now and waiting

Connecting and making contact:

  • I’m sensing something in me that feels…
  • I’m finding the best way to describe it…
  • I’m checking to see if that description fits…
  • I’m open to what wants to be revealed and finding words for it…

Deepening contact:

  • I’m sensing if it’s ok to just be with this
  • I’m sitting with it, to get to know it better
  • I’m sitting with it, with interested curiosity
  • I’m sensing how it feels from its point of view
  • I’m sensing if it has its own emotion or mood
  • I’m letting it know I hear it
  • I’m going slowly and sensing in my body

Coming out:

  • I’m sensing if something in me has changed
  • I’m willing to come back to this focusing space
  • I’m appreciating  my body’s process
  • I’m thanking my body and everything that has come in this session


  • You are sensing something in you that feels like…
  • You are aware of something…
  • You are noticing…
  • You are remembering…
  • Something in you feels….

You might be asking yourself what “it” is referencing in this process. This “it” is the something that is calling for your attention. It could be a part of your body or a sensation that needs some company, or it could be a part of you that is angry and needs to be seen. When we are able to observe, name and keep a part of us company, we create a relationship to this part of us rather than being overwhelmed, or trapped in the sensation or emotion. 

When trying this technique, be sure to set time aside in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and make a point to do it for a certain amount of time, whether alone or with someone. Have fun with it, healing doesn’t have to be so serious! This technique allows you to connect without having to relive past traumas and remember the body will only tell you what you are ready for. Stay tuned for next month’s blog on the roles of the companion, focuser and what makes focusing different from mindfulness.

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