The Call to a Passionate Life.Psychotherapy April 5, 2015 - 3:32 am No Comment
Recently, a wild, wicked old friend…Life, forced me to stop and answer the following questions:
“What do I (really) want?”
“What do I (honestly) feel?”
“When will I (truly) be happy?”
And “what must I do to feel right with myself?”
Before you rush onto the rest of the article, I invite you to make a cup of tea, grab your notebook and sit with these questions yourself for a while.
Few people allow themselves the luxury of such questions.
They are in fact deceptively difficult. Many of us have stock answers we recite reflexively, answers we have carried around like a stale school lunch, too unempowered to peer curiously into the murky depths beneath.
Unless you can humbly ask these simple questions and allow your heart to speak, you have no chance whatsoever.
Many men have been conditioned to shun feeling, avoid instinctual wisdom and override inner truth, the average man is a stranger to himself, a slave to money, power and status.
In Philip Larkin’s haunting lines, they are;
“Men whose first coronary is coming like Christmas, who drift, loaded helplessly with commitments and obligations and necessary observances, into the darkening avenues of age and incapacity, deserted by everything that once made life sweet.”
Many women, similarly struggle, their natural strengths eroded by shrill inner voices of negativity. Increasingly, women valiantly balance career and family. Little energy however is left over for the dreams of the young girl… in fact, many of the women who come into therapy feel betrayed by their dreams of princes and fantasies of fulfilling tea parties and would much rather leave their unhappy marriages and strike out on their own, onto dusty roads in foreign countries with mysterious lovers.
There are few models in our culture that invite or permit us to be honest with ourselves. There is a natural assumption that somehow time will solve the distress in our heads and the hollowness in our stomach.
But this my friends, is a lie.
As I approach midlife, there is a growing pressure to keep the appointment with myself, invited, but missed years ago, to go within and find what is true for me in spite of the enormous pressures to play out the old roles of partner, father, therapist and economic animal. As James Hollis poignantly states,
“At midlife permission is to be seized, not requested. Fear, not others, is the enemy, if we are afraid of our own depth, our passionate capacity, we ought to be even more afraid of our unlived life”