Last night I went to see my 10 year old daughter’s talent show. If I am honest, I was definitely not looking forward to 3 hours of little folk belting off key renditions of Annie. But, as the night wore on I found my cynicism waning and an odd sadness welling up in my heart. It became so clear to me that these courageous, bright, eager children were symbols of the ever reaching human spirit. I recognized the energy in these kids, it is the same energy I see buried beneath layers of slurry in many of the people who come seeking therapy. It is the desire to be seen, to be appreciated and loved for who they are. I too know that desire.
Perhaps therapy is not only there to ‘know thyself’, perhaps it is also a vehicle to help one to connect to Joy…
I have always been a bit of a hedonist, when I was younger I used to deal with emotional difficulty by going out on the town with friends which often used to result in rather spectacular physical and emotional hangovers. In my late twenties- early thirties I began to assess the cost-benefit ratio of these little sorties and with time they have certainly all but disappeared. I have mixed feelings about this. It’s a bit like losing a crazy lover who was as mad as a hatter but had a fantastic sense of humor and an incredible mind.
Hitting 40 has put further pressure on me to develop healthier coping strategies, I climb, I surf, I do yoga and while I really do enjoy these pursuits, they are changing the way I deal with my inner landscape, as a result the topography of my inner-space looks different.
No longer do I feel as free as I did when I was reckless, I used to soar like Icarus, just a bit too close to the Sun. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the hangovers and admin that used to come with the lifestyle, I just miss soaring, the lightness of being.
Increasing responsibility has come with increased gravity. Sometimes I battle to maintain a degree of carefree altitude.
Interestingly enough I have observed that this relatively newfound stability of mind has its benefits too. Although I have been going through some pretty steep emotional terrain lately, my mind has a strength, capacity and flexibility that was certainly absent in my young ‘adulthood’. My ‘tipping point’, critical mass, whatever you want to call it is much greater than it has ever been. I can find my way to a calm inner space with less difficulty, the path is now well worn, Good friendships, slow walks, solitude, time to wonder, writing, meditating may not be dramatic ways of processing that which moves within, but in the long run, they are infinitely more effective.
PS: There’s always a little space left for Icarus…