Focus In Deeply to Discern the Hidden Messages in Your Emotions  

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Exercise Details

Duration = at least 15 minutes.
Difficulty = 50/100.

This exercise developed by Life Coach Cougar Brenneman.
Inspired by Eugene Gendlin, John Lee, Deborah Jones, and others.

Step 1


Select—or let your body select—your current emotion, mood, or reaction. Type a general, short description in this box.

If you are having difficulty accessing a current emotion, try one of these suggestions:

What interferes right now with feeling great?

What’s a recent strong emotion, upsetting situation, high priority concern?

What drives your inner dialogue right now?

Repeat the name of a significant person, such as your mom or dad, spouse, child, mentor, abuser, enemy, or deity. Notice what emotion comes up.

Be inwardly silent for several breaths. Notice what emotion comes up.


Write your answers in the box above, and click the above button. Everything you write stays on your computer alone. Nothing is transmitted to us.


Step 2, A & B

Part A: Write several sentences that fully express your feelings. If a situation surfaced for you, articulate your understanding and feelings about the situation.

Take your time.

Step 3


Let go of the topic completely. If your mind is in problem-solving mode, worry mode, reading-the-computer-screen mode, rushing-around mode, creativity mode, or any other kind of "mode," you haven't reached inner silence. Inner silence means bare attention—mindfulness without thought or reaction.

Trust the process.

Move on to Step 4 after you have completely let go of your reactions.

Breathe In

Breathe Out



Step 4

Return to the emotions you identified in Step 2 or Step 5. (Scroll down in the box below to find your summary from Step 2b or Step 5b.)

Focus on the flavor of your emotions for several breaths, and either just allow it or even wallow in it. For instance, if you feel like crying, just cry until you’ve expended the need to do so.

Repeat your summary word, phrase, or sentence from Step 2b or Step 5b with every one to three breaths—whatever you need to return your focus to your emotion and to maintain your focus.

When the flavor of your emotion changes, go on to Step 5.

Close your eyes to enhance your focus.


Step 5, A & B

(If a technical glitch caused you to jump over Step 4, close your eyes and focus on the emotion from 2b. Repeat the words from 2b to help you focus. When the emotion changes, open your eyes and proceed.)

Now write new words that fully express—and then summarize—this new emotional flavor.


Part A: Describe your new feelings fully.


Step 6, A & B

Ask yourself each of the following questions. Wait in inner silence for your body sense to provide the answer.

Part A: What’s the core issue?


Step 7

Write "I choose..." and make choices about your situation, based on what you've learned.

Repeat several times, surrounding each choice with inner silence. Click the "I choose..." button after every choice you make.

(Inner Silence)


Step 8

Finish with Mastery Choices, surrounding each choice with inner silence. Use your own definition of mastery.

Examples of Mastery Choices related to this exercise include:
—I choose to live my life in full contact with my ever-shifting moods.
—I choose to focus daily on emotional nuances that I experience.
—I choose to honor what my emotions require of me.

(Inner Silence)


Future Enhancements that Apply to All Exercises

I have developed 315 more practices which are part of the same curriculum. This number will eventually grow to 3,000 or 30,000, depending on what the users (you) decide to do with this curriculum. Each practice targets different goals and different problems, depending on what you need.

For a tour of the full curriculum, use the following blog as a guide: Take the Tour: Explore the Joyful Wisdom Journey Curriculum. This blog is a illustrated guide to clicking the button at the bottom of this page that's labeled "Coming Soon: What's Next? Your Next Move." You can click the button without the blog, but the UI is not very intuitive.

This prototype lacks certain features that will help you to use it. Eventually, you'll have a blog that automatically receives all of your written responses to any exercise. No more copying and pasting.

All pages will have have:

  1. Feedback features that allow you to suggest changes.
  2. Links to user blogs where you can see how other people have used the exercise or meditation and what they've learned from it.
  3. A way to suggest alternative wording for each step in every exercise—including wording in other languages.
  4. A way to set your preferences for which wording you like, including your preferred language.
  5. Animation, audio, and video to guide you through steps that require them.
  6. Links to Clarity Community resources for learning or practicing each method in the community of others, rather than in isolation.

I've planned many other enhancements, but this gives a flavor of what's coming.

For a brief description of future programming plans, read the following blog: Plans for the Computer Programming Needed for the Joyful Wisdom Journey.

CLICK Step 1 below to use this exercise



Click the "Step 1," "Step 2," etc. button in the footer section of the screen at the left to advance from step to step EXCEPT at Step 5.

Return from Step 5 to Step 3 for more insight by clicking the Step 3 button—which will appear when you need it.

Use This Exercise for Something that Matters



You can make this exercise as powerful as you choose. Treat it like a YouTube video about cute kittens, and you'll enjoy it. Treat it like a paid session with a life coach, it'll point you in an entirely new direction—pretty good for something you found on the Internet.

However, treat it like a regular, weekly appointment with your coach, and you'll transform your life altogether. Take the time to delve deeply into who you truly are—for instance, by always looping back from Step 5 to Step 3 at least once.

Use this method for something that matters to you, even right now, when you're just trying it out. You're completely in charge of whether this method is like a cute kitten video or a daily companion that regularly helps you transform your life.

Make it significant



Image courtesy of: Vern Hart, USA ||  Original Image ||  Flickr profile ||  Twitter

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