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Our Internal Weather

by Shoji Tsuchie, TNT, Shimane, JAPAN

Shoji Tsuchie is a Buddhist priest, school counselor and psychotherapist. He also teaches Yoga and Focusing. His e-mail address is tsuchies@mable.ne.jp

Our feelings often cloud and also clear up. Therefore, if one is asked, "Please tell me how you feel, and express that as weather. How is your internal weather? Is it clear and sunny?" the person would focus automatically on his or her feelings, and might say something like, "It is not clear and sunny, um, it's cloudy, and it may start to rain." Even people who have difficulties getting in touch with a felt sense can respond to the question, "What is your internal weather?" When we are asked such a question, we begin to look into ourselves and try to express ourselves accordingly. "Weather" is a suitable form of expression because we are often influenced by the weather around us. It may be said that our internal weather is an expression of our experiencing.

My joint researcher, Ms. Yuko Dateyama, is an elementary school teacher who asks her students to observe and draw their internal weather daily.


Practice in the elementary school

Ms. Dateyama is in charge of a second grade class. She practices the drawing of internal weather at the beginning of her class. She distributes small pieces of paper (18cm_13cm) to her students on which a postcard-size frame with rounded corners is printed (see picture).

The children begin to observe their internal weather quietly, and are given about five minutes to finish drawing. Even children who do not want to participate in class activities or even sit down seem willing to draw their internal weather. Each one files and keeps these pictures.

As a result of continuing this activity for four months about 3 times per week, Ms. Dateyama thinks that her students' concentration and expressive ability have increased, and discipline problems have decreased. Moreover, children often consult with her concerning troubles at home and their relationships with classmates.


Although a certain boy could not get in touch with his felt sense easily and was not able to draw at first, he began to draw a thundercloud and lightning after a while. He also drew a sandstorm-like image by scribbling on the paper. After continuing this activity for several days, the sun gradually came out slightly and a couple of yellow treasure boxes entered the scene. He drew the contents of the treasure boxes on the next day, and his pictures became brighter after that.

Another boy completely colored both sides of his paper with brown crayon. This was his special way, he said, of expressing his sunny weather and he often boasts of it to Ms. Dateyama.

In the case of a certain girl, the leaf bud of the heart appears in the picture (see picture below). It grows In another girl's picture, a man and woman, who are very good friends, appear. Their relations improve, and they end up getting married. Children are very pleased with drawing their internal weather, and they say, "My heart feels refreshed. I want to continue drawing every day."

Instead of drawing the internal weather, one girl often composed poetry on her paper. I will introduce one example.

Swing, swing.
Hold me, mommy
For ever.
Hold me, mommy

When the children saw their own files of drawings again after a long break of summer vacation, they said, "When I see the pictures I drew before, energy comes out."


The Method of Drawing Internal Weather

First session

"Although we cannot see the heart, it feels many things. We want to express how it feels, and to have someone hear it. However, since we cannot express well how the heart feels or do not have someone to hear it, we have often given up trying to express the heart. Then, in the end, we do not understand anymore how we feel, and we grow unsure about ourselves."

"Now I will show you how to express your internal weather. You compare your heart to weather, and this will help you to express how you feel in a way that is easy to understand. When you feel fine, your internal weather is very nice. When you are worried about things, your internal weather may be cloudy. If you are sad, it may be raining. When you are very angry, you might say that there is thunder inside."

"Internal weather changes often, just like the weather outside. A clear sky may suddenly cloud up, or a cloudy sky may become sunny. Clear skies are not always good. Sometimes rain and wind feel good to you. It is important that you understand and accept exactly how your heart feels right now, OK, let's begin."

Instruction for each session

"Please sit up straight in a chair and relax your head and shoulders. With closed eyes, breathe calmly, relaxing your body."

(Wait about 30 seconds) "How do you feel? Do your body and heart feel relaxed? (Sometimes, the teacher can otClearing A Space at this point.) OK, now pay attention to your chest and belly. And please ask yourself, "Is my heart clear now, or cloudy?"

(Wait for 10 seconds) "How is it? Can you sense your internal weather? What you sense may not only be weather but also a view, a color, or an image. Please draw what comes on the paper I gave you with a crayon or colored pencil. A regular pencil or a pen is also okay, if you don't have anything else. If you cannot see an image, looking at the paper can help one to appear.

(After a few minutes) "When you finish drawing, look at what you drew once again. Then compare the picture to how you feel now. If it seems different, please adjust your picture."

(After about 1 minute) "If you are finished, please write some comments in the unfilled section of your paper. If you understand why the weather looks the way it does, please write that as well." The children can share their drawings with the group sometimes.

In Closing

Internal weather can also be used in the guiding of Focusing. For example, when a Focuser says, "I feel a little uneasy", a guide may propose, "Why don't you express how you feel as weather?" The guide may also give the Focuser some time at the end of a session to look at his or her internal weather. Expressing internal weather at the end of a Focusing session may, in many cases, have the Focuser looking at a wonderful scene. Your internal weather may also gradually clear up by merely focusing on it, much in the same way that when you focus on your breathing, it automatically slows to a calm pace.

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This page was last modified on 22 February 2004

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