Therapist's Note: There comes a point in the counseling process where I can say to my client, “Did you ever imagine you’d get here when we started?” Usually eyes will widen, a head will shake...then a grin emerges. Here’s an illustration from my own life of how we can come to exceed our expectations of ourselves by leaning into our discomfort a little at a time.
Outstretched fingers reach for distant toes
Muscles groan and grumble
against the discomfort of less familiar pathways.
Inhale: spine lengthens,
space growing between each and every vertebrae.
Exhale: heart melts toward the floor,
space collapsing between chest and legs.
Muscles sigh and lighten,
releasing into refreshing new postures.
Outstretched fingers meet toes at last.
Confession: I spent the better part of my life passively accepting that I couldn’t touch my toes. I even told myself it just might not be possible, something about the proportions of my torso to my legs I theorized, without doing any research that might end up proving me wrong.
I still remember that embarrassing moment in elementary school gym class when I failed my “sit and reach” fitness test--my desperate fingers falling short of the marked line on the yardstick. That moment easily could have inspired determination to improve my flexibility, but instead it solidified my rigid resignation to remain tense. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to things I knew I could achieve; there was more glory in getting to the top of the rope climb than in touching my toes anyway.
A year ago today, events in my life conspired to coerce me into practicing yoga regularly. My rigid resignation to remain tense wasn’t working so well for me as it turns out.
Confession: I wasn’t good at it, truly, not at all. Yet (miraculously) I kept coming back to my mat once or twice a week, showing myself grace and compassion even as my awkward, clumsy body lurched and stumbled through unfamiliar, uncomfortable positions.
Then one day, without much effort or fanfare: I touched my toes.
Then another day, also without much effort or fanfare: I folded my fingers all the way over the tops of my feet.
Maybe someday: I’ll reach even farther.
This is so often what it is like to change. Consistent enough incremental discomfort eventually adds up to a whole new sense of self that defies previously-held notions of who we are and what we can do. There likely won’t be much glory in it, but the lightness and the release in our mental and emotional muscles feels so...darn...good.
Think about what you are trying to change in your life at this very moment.
I imagine there was a time, not so long ago, that you assumed the way you were was the way you were always going to be. Then came a time, also not so long ago, when the discomfort of staying the same finally outweighed the discomfort of stretching into new parts of yourself.
Now you’re here, on the mat, feeling unsure and perhaps a little silly. Yet you show yourself the grace and compassion you need for your next move.
You lean into the discomfort, just enough to find your edge. You do a little something new here. You stop doing a little something old there. You don’t strain, but do stretch. Afterward, you take a day or two off, until you’re ready to come back to the mat again.
Then one day, without much effort or fanfare: you just barely skim the surface of what you’re been reaching for.
Then another day, without much effort or fanfare: you firmly grasp what you’ve been reaching for.
Maybe someday: you’ll reach even farther.
Even while your reaching comes up short, notice how with each little stretch your heart and mind release rigidity and soften into flexibility.
Doesn't it feel so...darn...good?
For Further Reflection: Take a moment to reach for your toes. I mean it! Notice when the discomfort starts to emerge. What sensations do you feel? Where does your mind wander? How does this remind you of the changes you are trying to make in your life?
Therapist's Note: Clients usually find me in moments when their best efforts at change haven't yielded the difference they desperately seek. When I listen to stories of change not yet reached, I am often struck by how infrequently we give ourselves credit for how much has already been achieved in the efforts we mistakenly believe have been futile. When we can turn our focus away from the goals unaccomplished toward the changes quietly accumulating unnoticed the change process can rapidly ignite with new possibilities and momentum.
Among the dust and soot
of a fire left untended
an ember glows:
unexinguished by the cold of night
and the passing of time.
Such a small yet persistent spark
could burn brightly if only
someone would notice
its quiet unadorned potential
and give it breath..
Over the holidays I had the joy of staying in a quiet cabin on the shores of Lake Michigan. The temperatures were brutally cold, wind whipped over the water creating formidable waves and snow piled high on the ground.
I woke up one morning before my housemates and came downstairs to the chilled living room. The fireplace caught my attention--how good it would feel to huddle up next to such cozy warmth! It's been a minute since I've built a fire, but I was stubbornly determined to rise to the occasion.
I started by crumpling up paper and placing it around the partially burned logs from the night before. I struck a match, lit up the paper, and watched with pride as flames began to leap up, hot and high. Within a few minutes, much to my shivering chagrin, the flames disappeared, leaving behind no trace other than a small line of smoldering smoke rising off of the logs.
After a few frustrated attempts, I began to think the problem was inadequate wood and kindling. I contemplated bundling up and going outside to scavenge for better fire starter, but the howling wind encouraged me to stay right where I was. Perhaps my fire building skills had grown rusty and I was better off waiting for someone else to awake.
I furrowed my brow, squinted into the space where the fire was supposed to be and watched the embers twinkle.
That's when I remembered--all an ember needs to burst into flame is a breath of fresh oxygen.
I leaned in, inhaled the sooty smoke and exhaled all the air in my being with as much oompf as my cheeks could muster. The embers cracked and flashed deeper shades of red. Whoosh.. Jostling with energy, the embers burst into flame. Whoosh.. The flames grew hotter, brighter, taller, engulfing fresh brittle wood.
Whoooooooosh.,,,until the fire took on a life of its own.
I sat back, warmed, satisfied.
That's when I remembered--all change needs to burst into flame is a breath of fresh oxygen, too.
As simple as it sounds, it's easy to forget. We're trained to focus on the flames and not the embers.
Focusing on the flames in the process of change looks like putting all of our effort into reaching our final destination. When the flames first ignite we feel optimistic and competent. But when those same flames die out quickly, our options appear to be to exert even more effort or to just give up. We may throw up our hands and grumble with frustration, self-criticism and self-doubt. Or we may buckle down, trudge up the mountain, wield the axe, chop down more firewood, and haul it back to camp only to have the flames die down once again.
We've probably all been here at one point or another (maybe you're here right now): paralyzed with overwhelm or spinning our wheels or some terribly awful oscillation between the two options.
While we're busy making ourselves miserable, the fire isn't getting what it needs to sustain itself and the changes we're seeking appear further from our reach than when we first began. It's this sort of experience that gives change a bad rap as something elusively, soul-crushingly impossible.
There's another way to approach change: we can focus on the embers. Instead of putting effort into what we think it may take to reach our goal, we look backward on what's already ignited. We don't give up or trudge out, we look down to the messy black soot and find that piece of charcoal that refuses to stop burning. We marvel at it, give thanks, and remember--all that ember needs is a breath of fresh oxygen.
If you want to make change, if you've taken any steps towards change at all (even if all you have done is read these words) I promise this: there is already an ember. It ignited before you even noticed it and it's been twinkling throughout the cold, dark night, just waiting for you to wake up and tend to it again.
All that ember needs from you is for you to lean into it and breathe into it with all the air in your lungs at the moment.
It will take on a life of its own.
For further reflection: What is one small (but important) change that took place within your thinking or doing before you were even aware you wanted something to be different in your life? How might you breathe into that small change to help it burst into flame?
Therapist's Note: We often associate the process of counseling with moving participants toward solid explanations of what they're experiencing and why they're experiencing it. Personally, I tend to take a different approach to my work. Drawing on theories and practices that emphasize the ways we construct meaning, I often find that what best supports clients in making change is providing space for explanations to shift and evolve (and even contradict one another) over time. A change in our explanations can create all kinds of other changes, like petals opening from a flower.
Winter winds creep in.
Dark, damp days stretch into one another:
the difference between dawn and dusk grows difficult to perceive.
Nearly frozen raindrops fall like needles.
All color begins to drain from the natural world.
A bright bloom stretches tall.
Tender, tenacious petals unfurl.
Unexpected beauty blossoms--
startling and soothing to the soul.
The view outside my office window has become increasingly dreary and depressing this past week, but this delightful flower keeps capturing my attention. It's funny, I'm sure she's been gracing me with her presence for quite some time, but it wasn't until the chill set in that I paid her any mind.
I found myself pondering what meanings and motivations she would assign to her surprising existence...
Is she blissfully oblivious to the impending threats as she revels in the present?
Or is she radically defiant, undeterred by worries and expectations?
Does she notice just how excruciatingly exposed she stands?
Or does she feel the wonders of being stretched-wide open?
Does she shudder self-consciously about how out of place she appears?
Or might she take pride in standing out from the crowd?
I imagine if she could speak, she would answer each question with a sigh of recognition and a loud, long "YES". She would resist my efforts to tame her into simplified "this" or "that" explanations. After all, those who are created wild and free know well the joys of embracing the complexities and contradictions of being alive in this world.
Each of us are like that bright bloom as we move through change.
We are tender yet tenacious.
Oblivious yet defiant.
Exposed yet open.
Self-conscious yet proud.
Step back from yourself for a moment. Take a genuinely curious look through the window. Can you see all of that in you in this moment?
When we can gently hold together contradictory aspects of our experience of change, we gift ourselves with both grace and flexibility. Grace to experience self-compassion as we set aside judgments about being too much of "this" or not enough of "that". Flexibility to draw from any of those parts of our experience that serve us well in the present moment.
There's no need to tame yourself.
You are created wild and free.
Wild enough to brighten dreary days.
Free enough to bloom in any weather.
Ah, I can hear the sign of recognition and your long, loud "YES".
Reflection question: Which pair of contradictions listed above most resonates with you? Why might that be?
Therapist's Note: We often think that getting started is the hardest part of making change, but in many ways I have witnessed and experienced that it's the messy middle that can be the most frustrating. One of the important ways I support my clients when they reach this juncture is to offer the reminder that discomfort and disorientation are not signs of failure, but in fact signs of life under construction--something new is coming.
Sunshine filtering through the trees.
Music playing on my radio.
Wheels gliding down the road.
Orange flashing lights.
A barricade with a warning attached:
Welcome to my drive to my office all summer long!
(I'm listening to the steady beat of jackhammers as I write this, by the way.)
From week to week, new road construction projects have been cropping up at nearly every intersection between my home and my work. While a few have remained steady for a period of time, most days the exact locations and nature of these pesky interruptions have been in a constant state of flux, leaving me caught off guard more often than not.
There's no poetic way to put this, it's been incredibly....annoying. I'm the sort of person who appreciates moving from point A to point B as directly and as efficiently as possible. I like my morning commute the way I like my morning coffee: straight up, with nothing unnecessary added.
When our lives are under construction, each day can hold disorienting detours that catch us off guard. The orange flashing lights. The drum of jackhammers. The barricades that stop us from taking familiar, favored paths. There's no poetic way to put this, it's incredibly...annoying.
The in between space of life-as-construction-zone can feel hazardous. We want to believe that when the dust settles we will have a smoother, more pleasant road to travel. But in the meantime, all that is evident in the present moment is the certainty that the debris is getting in our way.
So here's what I've been learning about road construction...are your ready for it?
All the detours I've had to take have helped me find new paths I never even knew existed.
When the construction crews move on to the next corner and my usual road opens back up again, I find myself contemplating a fork in the road.
Do I stick with the route I comfortably traveled before?
Or do I allow the detour to become my new normal?
In some cases I've chosen the former, but in other cases I've chosen the latter. Admittedly, even when I've gone back to my usual route, it's comforting to know another option is there for me should I need it again down the road.
What if all the detours we take while our lives are being jackhammered apart and cemented back together can become as much of a gift as the end result of our change process?
Being forced to explore new avenues for being and moving and responding brings discomfort, disorientation, and annoyance, absolutely. But it can also expose us to a new normal that we grow to prefer. At the very least, being rerouted provides us with knowledge of another option we can try again someday.
As you travel, if the rubble and the rumble of construction throws you off course, take heart. Not only is something new coming into being, even better, you are being invited to learn a new route.
(Grumble if you need to.)
This detour is only temporary.
But the pathways it will share with you are yours to keep...forever.
For Further Reflection: What is one new option you've discovered in your process of change? Do you think you'll keep taking that route once the construction crew clears or will you return to your past pathways?
Therapist's Note: Many of my clients who are goal-oriented folks are inclined to tackle change as an item on their to-do list that needs to be checked off as soon as possible. When we're lucky, change works exactly that way. But often change turns out to be far more exhausting than we realize--it takes tremendous emotional, mental, and even physical energy. Slowing down and even stepping away from change can be as integral to the counseling process as taking action.
I hit the pause button for a minute.
I needed time to play in the sun and rest in the water.
I needed time to refill my pool of ideas and words.
But guess what? Here is my blog, waiting for me--right where I left off.
And guess what else? You can do the same thing.
You can hit pause, too.
(Maybe you already have.)
Change does not need to be continuous to take root. The changes we make can wait for us when we need to walk away from the process temporarily. In fact, sometimes the best thing we can do when we're seeking change is to give ourselves a moment to replenish our resources.
Have you ever needed a snack in the middle of a movie? You hit pause. Grab nourishment. And pick right back up where you left off, with greater contentment and enjoyment now that you have a full belly.
Or taken a rest day after a long run? You hit pause. Let the hard work sink into the tissues of your muscles. And pick right back up where you left off, with greater strength and endurance fueled by engaging your body's built-in recovery process.
If pursuing change is causing you to run on empty, hit pause and permit yourself whatever nourishment or replenishment you need. It's okay. Change is patient. It will wait a minute for you.
Of course the pause button only works well if you come back soon enough. A movie paused too long will shut off. A body paused for too long will need to rebuild strength all over again.
So come on back just as soon as you're ready.
Because that movie you've started?
It's so so good...you can't wait to see what comes next.
(Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash)
For further reflection: What is one thing you can do this week to hit the pause button and replenish your resources? What day and time can you commit to doing just that?
Therapist's Note: One of the most common phrases I hear from clients is: "I am so mad at myself for not getting started on this earlier." It's an incredibly common phenomenon that people consider starting therapy for months or even years before they find their way through the door. If you're frustrated with yourself for letting your relationship reach this level of conflict or for allowing anxiety to have a voice in your life for this long or for putting off making a change you knew would improve your life: you're in good company. And while in theory in would have been nice to get started sooner, you're hard at work now--and that's what matters most.
Just one at first.
I'll get to it tomorrow.
I'll get to it next week.
Then dozens and dozens more.
Really, I will this time.
Don't worry, I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about me. You see, this year I put off weeding the flower beds in front of my home for...quite a bit longer than I wish I had done.
When I first started to notice the weeds, I wasn't worried about them. They were small in size, few in number. I would be able to get to it soon enough and take care of it then (so I thought). There was no urgency to make my garden a priority (just yet).
But then, as happens here in Indiana, the rains came down and the sun came up. And all the weeds started growing and multiplying as if they had nothing else in the world better to do with their time.
Now the weeds had my attention.
As I finally began uprooting the prickly weeds with my hands (and, occasionally, a shovel), I thought to myself how it might be wise to simply release my flower beds to the wild (surely, I was fighting a losing battle). I grumbled a bit at my month-ago-self. Why hadn't I started with weed number one?
But then, I remembered: the weeds were small then.
Other priorities had distracted me. Life had carried on, without pausing, while the eager weeds commenced their hostile take-over of my unsuspecting garden.
This same process plays out over and over again: in my own life, in my office, in the world. When discomfort first shows up, it tends to feel small, isolated, and quite manageable. We assume there will be time to take care of it later, when we aren't so busy. It usually takes that discomfort growing and multiplying for some time before it finally has our attention.
If you are in the process of change, you might at this moment be looking around at all the weedy discomfort that has commenced a hostile take-over in your life. You might be fantasizing about releasing your life back to the wild. You may be grumbling at one-month-ago-you, or one-year-ago-you, or ten-years-ago-you. Why didn't I start with discomfort number one?
So I want you to remember: the discomfort was small then. Other priorities distracted you. Life carried on, without pausing.
Yes, it would have been nice if you had been able to get started back then, but you just didn't get around to it. And that's okay. Because guess what?
The work can still be done.
It's going to feel overwhelming at first. It will be a challenge to know where to start. And it's going to feel frustratingly slow. You might work a whole day in the garden, step back, and wonder if you made any progress at all.
So, while you're at it, remember this, too: it took time for the weeds to grow, it's going to take time to pull them out.
Thank goodness that right now the ground is soft and warm from last night's summer rain. The sun is not yet overhead and a cool, refreshing breeze is visiting. In this perfect moment, with your hands (and, occasionally, a shovel) you can pull those pesky weeds up and away...
until all that remains in your garden is room for beautiful things to grow.
For further reflection: If you were to come up with the most forgiving explanation possible, what is one of the best reasons you had for waiting to start the process of change?
Therapist's Note: A common response I receive when I tell people what I do for a living is: "Oh gosh, isn't it awful listening to people's problems all day long?" I always respond, "Actually, that's not at all what I do; I hear the most amazing things every day, I witness incredible resilience and growth, it's pretty awesome." Yes, clients come to counseling having experienced messy, heart-breaking things in their lives. But the mess ends up fertilizing some incredibly beautiful, tender blooms.
The pungent aroma.
The sting of grit clinging to skin.
The creepy, crawling things writhing and wrestling.
I've been spending plenty of time in the garden recently: preparing the beds, planting the seeds. In my interactions with the dirt, I found myself pondering the contradictions within it.
On the one hand: discomfort and disgust; mess and chaos.
On the other hand: soft, soothing warmth; a satisfying, soulful connection to life-giving, life-sustaining earth.
There are moments in life like dirt.
When everything becomes pungent.
And the creepy, crawling things surface..
And the grit clings to every crevice of our wrinkled souls.
Our first instinct in these messy moments may to recoil in repulsion, eagerly searching for a clean sink to wash our hands of it all. Yet...these are the rich, fertile moments that enable us to plant something new. If we can allow hope to shelter us like a well-worn sunhat, if we can place trust as a cushion beneath our aching knees, we can stay there beside the soil, tending to what is to come.
If you find yourself in a dirt-like moment:
Let your hands turn the warm, damp earth.
Wipe the sweat from your brow with your dusty forearm that feels like sandpaper.
You can sit back with a glass of cold lemonade--water beading on the smooth surface, ice chiming. You can survey the work you have done with a sense of satisfaction. You can take a long hot shower, sighing in relief as your skin feels new again, as the water eases your aching muscles.
Just when you are starting to doubt (or perhaps just when you've forgotten to look for it), a tender green shoot will rise from the pungent, gritty, creepy-crawly, warm, soothing, life-giving dirt.
And you will rise along with it.
For further reflection: What is one thing that grew out of a dirt-like moment in your past? If you were to imagine that one thing as a plant, tree, or flower, what would it look like?
Therapist's Note: By the time clients find their way to me, they have usually done tremendous amounts of thinking and analyzing about the problems they face. Once we get to work in counseling, we often find that some of those ways of thinking and analyzing have actually created new problems on top of the old ones. Part of my role is to help clients move from "paralysis of analysis" into action by encouraging a shift in focus: away from efforts to think perfectly towards efforts to do something different imperfectly.
Do you hear it?
The geese have arrived in droves.
Crossing the street.
Guiding little goslings along the banks of the canal.
Even waddling through my front yard.
I find them endearingly obnoxious. Or perhaps obnoxiously endearing.
Either way, geese impress me with their tenacious ability to get to wherever it is that they need to be.
Geese don't study maps.
Or list the pros and cons of various destinations.
Or analyze or assess or overthink.
Geese don't have a clue as to why they are going where they are going or how precisely they are going to get there.
They just do their goose-thing.
They simply GO.
And somehow, it all works out.
When it comes to the process of making change, I find it helpful to look to these loud-mouthed fowl for inspiration. As humans, our great gift of intellect can also be our downfall. We can become so enamored with our ability to think-things-through that we can forget to check in with our (so-called) baser instincts.
While we'd like to believe that we can find the best direction using our high-powered brains, the truth is we can never fully anticipate, predict, and plan how to get to where we want to be.
No matter how smart we are, our imagination is often limited by our past experiences. We cultivate a lifetime of familiar patterns of thought, intended to help us function in our normal day-to-day existence. As helpful and efficient as they are under ordinary circumstances, these same patterns of thought are typically too restrictive to fully envision the vast realm of alternative possibilities waiting to greet us.
Fortunately, our thoughts aren't our only form of guidance. We also have emotions, gut feelings, and intuition. Our instincts can lead the way when logic falls short, if our minds are willing to relax and quiet down for a moment.
If you want to something in your life to be different, take a cue from the geese.
Just look within.
If you had to choose your path, without answering any of the "whys"...
where do you FEEL you truly want to go?
Take a deep breath.
Spread your wings.
Take flight (as best you can).
And somehow, it will all work out.
For further reflection: Instead of something to think about, let's take a risk to do something different. Get some crayons and draw a picture of a bird in flight, going with the first images and instincts that come to mind as you create. That's it. You're done. Really.
Therapist's Note: No matter how much you want to change, no matter how much joy waits for you on the other side, I can almost guarantee that the process is going to be painful at times. Working on a relationship can mean leaving behind familiar ways of protecting ourselves from getting hurt. Overcoming anxiety can mean erasing long-held, easy-to-come-by patterns of thinking. Counseling can support you in navigating the contrasts of loss and gain inherent in the change process.
True change involves loss.
(I wish it weren’t so.)
As we approach Easter, I’ve been thinking about tombs. Not bunnies, not jelly beans. The part that comes before all of that.
In the Christian tradition, long before any of us were born, long before any of us tried to change, there was this notion that perhaps the tomb and the womb are not all that different.
As the story goes, Easter really begins with Jesus crucified and placed in a tomb, covered by a stone and enclosed in darkness. Lifeless, gone.
But that’s not how the story ends. It is told that mysteriously, miraculously, from that same tomb Jesus was brought back to life. Resurrected, reborn. New life victorious over the shadow of death.
Whether or not you are a Christian, Easter illustrates the consistent, confounding interconnectedness of loss and newness of life. The tomb--the dark, uncertain in between of change--is also the birthplace for mysterious, miraculous newness to emerge victorious over the shadows of our lives.
No pain, no gain.
Winter makes way for the spring.
Dark before the dawn.
If we want something to be different, we need to be ready to say goodbye to something that already is. These might be things we are eager to say goodbye to: our tendency to worry too much, our fear of what others think of us, our habit of doing too much for others while neglecting ourselves. But just because we want to get rid of something about our current reality doesn’t mean it won’t be painful when we lay that part of ourselves in the tomb.
Feelings of sadness and grief and even longing for the ultimately undesirable past are normal parts of the change process. After all, if we had nothing to lose by moving forward, we would already be where we want to go. Letting go of the familiar, even when the familiar is uncomfortable, can involve just as much hard work as grabbing on to what we seek.
Often, this part of the change process can catch us off guard. We were expecting bunnies and jelly beans, not the tomb! We question this new thing we thought we wanted. We doubt our ability to do it. We feel foolish for even trying. We contemplate giving up. This part of change can feel heavy, as if an immovable boulder has been rolled in front of the opening that was just beginning to appear.
If you find yourself in a painful part of creating change, take heart. A new synthesis is coming. You are exactly where you need to be, but you’re not going to stay there.
Loss hurts as it carves open space within us: cavernous as a tomb.
Yet in the emptiness, in the uncertain darkness...new life is born.
For further reflection: What will you have to let go of in order to take another step towards the changes you want to make in your life?
Therapist's Note: Getting started on the process of making change is often an underestimated task. It takes a lot of courage to enter into the uncertainty of something new. By the time a client finds their way to me, they've done a lot of work laying the foundation for change just in all the work they did to decide it was okay to contact me about counseling. If you're thinking about making a change, like reducing anxiety or improving your relationship or finally listening to that nagging sense that something in your life isn't quite right, this post can help you name and overcome the fears you have around getting started.
Here I go.
I am starting.
Have you ever watched a fresh, tiny infant?
A baby newly born moves in unusual, awkward ways. For so long, she was accustomed to the tight quarters of the womb that held her movements in check. She could flail, kick, and punch--but only so far before her fists, elbows, and feet would meet the solid walls of her protective, cozy habitat. Now, living in the expansive, wide open world, baby's arms and legs move with wild abandon in ways she is not expecting.
A baby newly born startles easily in this strange new context. She inadvertently bumps into her own face. Or, just as alarming, she bumps into absolutely nothing at all.
I imagine it must feel a bit like absentmindedly walking down a set of stairs, expecting another step beneath you only to strike level ground. For a brief moment, your mind and body are thrown into confusion. You shake it off, regain your balance, and are less likely to be thrown off the next trip.
When we begin to make change, we are babies newly born. Our efforts are sweet and precious, worthy of watching with a sense of wonder, but also...startlingly awkward.
We flail. We accidentally bump into our own face.
A baby newly born loves to be snuggled up, tightly enclosed and pressed up against the warmth of a caregiver. There are no unusual, awkward movements--nothing that can startle--when nestled inside a womb-like embrace.
Yet a baby also needs room to stretch and begin to make sense of her own muscles in the real world.
When we begin to make change, we are newly born babies. We need people and places that feel familiar, that hold us close, that nurture us and snuggle us tight.
And, we need room to stretch. Room to exercise new parts of ourselves. Room to make mistakes.
I pondered writing this first entry for quite some time. I wanted to get it exactly right. To start off on the perfect note. Be graceful.
But then I realized that starting this blog is just like starting anything new. If we wait until we can do it exactly right, with no clumsiness, without the possibility of being startled--if we wait until that time...well, we'll never get started.
Nothing new is graceful in the beginning. And that truth, in and of itself, is a form of grace. Permission to be messy. Permission to get startled. Permission to feel confused.
So here I am, emerging from the safety of the womb, flailing out into the world.
I hope you'll join me.
Be a baby.
For further reflection: If there was no possibility of failure, what one change in your life would you want to make first?
Here you will find metaphors, images, reflections, and inspiration on the change process. Psychotherapy intersects with creativity, nature, and spirituality on these pages. You can start anywhere you'd like. You'll find a note on my thoughts as a therapist as well as a prompt for your own reflection at the beginning and end of each entry.
I'm a licensed therapist in private practice in Indianapolis who provides counseling to individuals and couples, particularly around issues of anxiety, adjustment, and relationship wellness.