The Revolutionary Pause: Mary Hendricks Gendlin

This recording is very different from the rest of this series. Instead of an actual, spontaneous conversation, this 7-minute recording is a staged reading of the beginning of an article that Mary Hendricks Gendlin wrote. We did this as a memorial to Mary.

In the article, she was explaining what she meant by “The Revolutionary Pause,” using a personal situation that many people can relate to in order to make this concept come to life. This brings out in a very dramatic way how pausing makes it possible for us to notice the dynamics of power and control, and find our own way.

Five of us did this recording, Bruce Gibbs, Jocelyn Jacks Khan, Susan Rudnick, Catherine Torpey and Serge Prengel. We hope it inspires you to “pause for peace” – – inner peace as well as interpersonal and societal peace.

mary hendricks gendlin: revolutionary pause

Mary Hendricks Gendlin was the Executive Director of the Focusing Institute. She was in so many ways the heart and soul of the Institute, alongside her husband Gene.

The following are the opening paragraphs of Mary Hendricks Gendlin’s speech about ‘Focusing as a Force for Peace: The Revolutionary Pause’:

“Focusing is a force for peace because it frees people from being manipulated by external authority, cultural roles, ideologies and the internal oppression of self-attacking and shame. This freeing has to do with an ability to pause the on-going situation and create a space in which a felt sense can form.

“When we know how to focus we refuse to take ourselves or any other person as merely an instance of a culturally defined category or group. We don’t say, ‘I am good, you are bad.’ Or, ‘I am a wife and mother’ as though this defined the total of who I am. Or ‘You are the doctor, I am the patient’ as though our interaction would then be governed only by the meanings of those roles. Or ‘I am a Christian or a Moslem’ as though the ritual forms would then exhaustively define my spiritual life. We know there is always a rich detailed intricacy, a ‘more’ in each person’s experience.”

Published August 2015