Part two of our Focusing Oriented Conversation with Emily Agnew
Highly Sensitive Introvert Emily Agnew in her own words
I’m a certified Focusing teacher and guide, writer, and consultant working with highly sensitive introverts (read more about high sensitivity here). I use Focusing to create the listening space they need to flourish.
Why highly sensitive introverts? I happen to be one myself, and I’ve spent thirty years experimenting with ways to overcome the anxiety that often accompanies the trait. So I’ve been a natural fit for clients struggling with similar issues.
And why Focusing? My own story is a poignant answer to that question.
I didn’t have anything like Focusing as a child. I loved learning at school, but with the long hours, the crush of people, the noise, and even the smells, I’d come home dazed and exhausted. I craved my classmates’ company and mutual understanding, but I was wounded to the core by criticism or disapproval so I kept myself apart for fear of being judged and focused on being a good student.
I had no idea how to manage all these strong feelings and reactions. As a result, I suffered daily from anxiety. I hid it fairly well through high school, but part way into my five-year stint as an oboist with the Honolulu Symphony, it got bad enough that I started looking for help.
I became a student of Zen meditation and established a yoga practice. I studied Nonviolent Communication, Inner Bonding, and The Work of Byron Katie. As I began to share my insights with others, all these modalities were helpful.
But Focusing has turned out to be the most powerful tool for me and for my sensitive, introverted clients.
To us, Focusing is like a Swiss Army knife sprinkled with catnip. It is not just pragmatic and elegant: it is irresistible.
It is irresistible because we sensitive introverts need meaning, depth, and authenticity the way plants need water and sunlight—and Focusing takes you directly there. As you encounter meaning, depth, and authenticity within yourself, you find clarity where there was murk, and next steps where there was confusion.
Even better, you find that meaningful connection I so craved since my school days. It arises naturally when you focus with a partner or with a trained guide.
To a highly sensitive introvert, Focusing is simply a life-saver. We flourish when we get all the listening space we need. We wilt and lose courage without it.
That’s why I want to get Focusing skills to as many sensitive introverts as I can.
I write a Focusing-oriented weekly e-zine and blog, The Listening Post, for sensitive introverts. I work with clients by phone and Skype, and I create programs and communities to serve sensitive introverts with relationship issues, decision-making, self-care, creativity, happiness and more. You can read more at my website, www.luminoslistening.com.
I live with my partner in Rochester, New York, where a butterfly occasionally lands on my shoulder in the form of a text from my daughter at college.