Knowledge is power, however knowledge without experience it is just information. Growth comes from experience and the most challenging experiences can offer us the biggest soul stretch if we see it as an opportunity rather than a setback.
Its not the circumstances we get thrown that define us, its our belief about them.
Depth of character comes from diving deeper and you will not be able to really understand the depths without the experience or at least a taste of actually being there. You can read many books and hear others personal stories but until you are there, in the experience…its just a story, someone else’s story.
It is often thought via the clients themselves that the better therapists are those that have walked in the shoes similar to what their clients have. That’s not to say someone who has good skills but no experience can’t be of quality guidance but the ‘life experience’ that is added to that knowledge makes the person not only skilled, but also good at relating to where that person is at. And that can be incredibly valuable to those in the midst of struggle seeking support.
Recently someone very close to me fell off the boat, so to speak
(A persona I am unable to be a therapist for as they are too close).
They had been cruising and surfing the waves the majority of their life and had little understanding of what those that struggled in deep waters actually felt. This person is a born fixer, a doer, a positive action controller and an impatient optimist who in reality had little time or empathy for others who were struggling. Not because he is heartless and un caring, more because he had never emotionally struggled much before or if he had it was only a bit of a surface gurgle before all his programs of controlled survival kicked in.
When he fell off the boat and struggled against falling deeper and deeper into the dark recesses of the ocean (his unconscious) his fear increased. No life vest, no compass, no sign of a lighthouse or land in sight. He used his old programmes to try to sort himself out but none of his old tricks worked. He was falling deeper and deeper down to the the dark realms of the ocean floor and he could do nothing to prevent it, no matter how hard his mind willed him to get back up to the surface. Night sweats, anxiety attacks arising out of the blue, and the wet black dog heavy on his chest 24/7. Being the fixer he rushed out and grabbed at anything he could find to remedy the situation. Paid so much for what he thought was expert advice and found himself impatient, frustrated and more and more desperate. Why didn’t anyone have an instant solution? Why didn’t anyone know how to ‘fix’ him? He tried several costly psychologists ($180 Aus a pop!) but they didn’t ‘fix’ anything and as a working man, who’s work was suffering he needed a solution quick smart! He tried hypnosis and a few others options like a touch of cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness, but was left disillusioned and felt as if he was plummeting deeper and deeper. Some psychologists wanted to scrap back into his childhood and blame his upbringing. But he didn’t want to trawl through all that and go all Freudian for umpteen sessions. He just wanted to sort out what was in front of him right now. He also found that many of these so-called experts were much younger than him and lacked the experience of life that he could relate to even thought there slick advertising shone like a beacon of instant hope.
In fear and desperation, he grabbed on to the recommended western model of medication to try to at least help him stabilize enough to find out the what the hell was really happening.
I am not one to judge another’s choices in this regard. (Nor should anyone) regardless of what you think you know is a better path or solution.
The gift in inside the pain.
Along the journey which he is still in, he has become a more philosophical deeper being, a more insightful caring compassionate person. A door has opened within him. It has rocked him to his core and truth be told he a better man for it. He see’s things differently now. He is amazed at how others survive such terrors from within and has not been struggling for that long in comparison but it hit him like a bolder and knocked him flat on his face and in my opinion for the better.
He has now walked in the shoes of many others who struggle within the deep recesses of the unconscious proddings. He GETS IT! He has shown incredible gratitude to those that have held support space for him. He gets that ‘fixing’ things isn’t as valuable as experiencing things that make you a better more insightful person. Of course he still wants it all to go away, but he also sees that the medication is just a holding space for him to really work on what got him to fall off the boat in the first place. And he is determined to get to the bottom of that once he finds the formula that works for him personally.
He has said to me several times ‘You are so lucky you have your spiritual life; I don’t know how you survived what you did!’
Which has made me reflect that everything I have been thrown in my life I have looked on it as a soul growth experience. I am a spiritual being experiencing all these life challenges, and in experiencing them, I have living knowledge of what it feels like to be there.
The other aspect is that in being a sensitive absorber and empath I tend to merge with others vibrations naturally. I tend to energetically step into their shoes, and feel what it must be like to be where they are for a time. I have spent many years learning how to cleanse and transform what I do absorb and that at times that in itself has been very challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Each deep challenge that one experiences offers a hidden gift. The bigger the lesson, the bigger the stretch, the bigger the opportunity for growth. Its not a competition of who gets there first! Stuff that! Remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady is good.
Walking in another shoes is an experience. And experience that can change you and humble you. Until you have been there, beware of assuming you know where someone is really at.
If you don’t know, try asking them what it feels like from their perspective. Something that many people avoid doing as they are either afraid of making the person uncomfortable or more likely, that they feel helpless and uncomfortable at not being able to fix it.
You don’t have to fix anything. Simply listen attentively, inquire without judgement and show compassion not only in your words but in your actions. That in it self is priceless.
LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART
Take your awareness down from your ‘fixing’ head into your heart
HOLD SPACE FOR THE PERSON STRUGGLING
Be energetically present in a relaxed attentive manner
ALLOW THEM TO SHARE WITHOUT YOUR PITY OR YOUR JUDGEMENT.
They already feel like they are failing, don’t add to the sorrows
CALL THEM REGULARLY AND TOUCH BASE TO SHOW THAT YOU CARE.
This is accepting them as a whole being rather than just when they are happy
DO NOT WAIT FOR THEM TO CALL YOU.
When one is struggling they often do not want to be a burden so you calling shows that you really do care.
IF THEY DON’T PICK UP. LEAVE A MESSAGE TO LET THEM KNOW YOU CARE.
Do not assume they will call you back or take offence if they don’t return your call. They are the ones struggling. Reach out to them regardless. Let them know that they have someone in their corner. Offer to drive them somewhere to get groceries or leave a nice meal for them as a loving gesture or something similar that is thoughtful
In these times we all need to be supported where we are at.
Blessings on your journey within and without