?Why the A in AFOT
Shaun and I have been practicing Focusing Oriented Therapy for over 25 years. We have been teaching FOT for over 15 years. Our teaching has become increasingly rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing. There are many reasons for this. At the heart is our belief that this work is sacred work. We believe that when we are in session with a client we are in ceremony. In our search to bring spirit more fully into our practice and our teaching, we started to bring Aboriginal knowing and traditions from the land into our work. Shaun and I have taught Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Brazil, China and Japan and we have found that Indigenous practice resonates across cultures throughout the generations.
We have found in our work with clients that the body strives for balance and knows how to find its way to wholeness. Humans are intrinsically part of the natural world with an amazing ability to adapt, to survive and to thrive in the face of adversity; as does our mother earth and the Rock People, Animal People, and Plant People that live with her. If we look at trauma though a post-traumatic growth lens we can see our trauma responses and adaptations as profound and sacred transformative teachings that help us to survive. When we experience beauty and feel into our connection to the natural world and to our traditions, we are able to sense into our lives as living connection. Mind. Body. Emotion. Spirit.
Western culture has become increasingly individualistic. Finding the places where we are connected, through Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Therapy, can bring strength to those places within us that are fragmented or disconnected and searching for a way to reconnect and heal. We all have the ability to connect to ritual, to nature, to the elements, to the plants, to the land and to our ancestors.
Healing from trauma is often challenging and complex. Many of us have become alienated from one another, from our culture, from our land and from sacred practice. AFOT is a way of connecting to our roots and applying the principles of our own Indigeneity. Reclaiming our connection to land and to the natural world in the spirit of ‘All My Relations’, is the honoring of that connection to all peoples and to all living things across nations, cultures and forwards and backwards through time.
“A felt sense is often only a piece of who you are and a part of the relationships we all share in. It is our teacher and our natural way to spiritually connect with our ancestors (past-present-future) and to connect with all of life and land. We are in connection and in relationship with water, air, fire, earth and all the relatives who have wings, fins, roots and paws and this connection flows forward and backward in time, through the generations. A felt sense is an ‘all my relations’ - an interrelatedness and an intergenerational connecting point.”
-Elder Gerald George, Sto’lo Nation, British Columbia, Canada