Open Focus Results #1: High Shoulders with Pain

As a certified Open Focus coach (COFC), I’m prevented from making claims for open focus sessions.  I’m not licensed to treat anything, and can’t claim to have done so.  Which is fine with me.  Instead, I will share what I see and hear from the people I work with.  Like today’s session.

An orchestral musician presented with tension and pain in the right upper arm, neck and shoulder.  As we were on Zoom, I could see the shoulder elevation, and infer the tension.  I could also see pinched features and lines around their eyes and mouth.

I aimed the session at maintaining a narrow focus while simultaneously connecting to space in a diffuse, broad way, which is what musician’s must do:  You can’t stop being narrowly focused on the instrument you’re playing, and at the same time you must also take in other musicians, the conductor, and the balance of sound in the room.  If you are using narrow, objective focus to switch between these views, you will tense up and that will affect the sound you are producing.  What’s needed is a simultaneous attention that shifts effortlessly as the need arises, but never loses touch with all these elements.

The only way to do this while staying relaxed is to open your focus.  It’s the easy and effortless way to pay attention to several things without being too narrowly focused on any one thing.  We went back and forth from the space in the body to the space in the room (narrow, diffuse, narrow, diffuse), and when we both opened our eyes 30 minutes later, the hunched shoulders were now sloping away from the neck and the eyes were sparkling in a relaxed face.  As we processed the session, their shoulders fell even more.  It was wild to see.

I love this work!  I love seeing the results and hearing “Wow,” after a session, which is the response I hear most often.  It’s feels like a miracle.  It isn’t, of course – it’s just me helping someone use their brain and nervous system the way it was designed:  Changing how you pay attention changes your brainwave pattern which changes your physiology.  That’s how we are designed.

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