Thursday, July 21, 2005

Some lessons 

It’s been quite a while since I said anything about my counselling here. So long in fact that any mention of it now will have lost the benefit of the context provided by several much earlier posts. Should it be of any interest, this post provides some of the background.

Even though I’ve been keeping quiet about it, I’ve still been going to counselling, however for the past several months it’s been going through a long lean patch; in fact since January I’ve been trying to bring it to a close. Yet in all of those weeks when the dark side of me goes to the sessions with a secret inner resolve to drive the process to an end, the light side rediscovers something of the value in those sessions; just one hour in the week when I can disengage sufficiently from the self-sabotaging drive that threatens to stifle me (whoever he is), and allow that light-loving part a few moments freedom, a few moments to be seen.

Yet although in the minutes of the sessions the light shines for a while - albeit still only through the cracks of the shutters - within minutes of leaving, the spell is broken and the world, resentful at having been held at bay, comes rushing back in, a mass of demons intent on denial and destruction, and the insights are crowded out, trampled underfoot, shouted down by the more powerful voice of the darker self.

So although my original intention was to share as much as I felt able, hoping perhaps to try and demystify the counselling process, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to hold onto an insight for long enough to be able to record it here.

Yesterday though was different. Something has been slowly loosening up for several weeks now; the chinks in the shutter are opening a little wider, staying open a little longer. I managed to come away with some learning intact.

I’ve always recognised that I have difficulty accepting compliments; I might acknowledge the quality in something I do or produce, yet I find it so hard to acknowledge that any such quality has its source within me. Even though I might understand, on an intellectual level, that in order to appreciate another fully we have first to appreciate ourselves, there’s always been some invisible stumbling block for me. But something clicked into place yesterday and I realised what that block is: a dislike of vanity in others has bred a fear of being vain myself, which in turn has mutated into a rejection of almost any good feelings about self. Fear of vanity prevents us appreciating ourselves. I think for me that fear has other sources way back in childhood too, but I can’t as yet access those.

I said a couple of days ago that I had no dream, but that’s not quite true. I’ve had a dream for over 20 years, but I was so engaged in it I didn’t realise I was already living it out: I’m father to three wonderful children – well, hardly children any more; they’ve grown into three of the most caring, capable, responsible, self-reliant, well adjusted people I know. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Nevertheless, seeing them setting out on their own lives with such confidence and willingness to engage in life gives me an immense feeling of fulfilment; far more than I would ever get from any mere job. Somewhere along the way, we must have got something right.

The third lesson is hardest to acknowledge here, but I have to acknowledge it if I’m to move past this point; I’ve become disconnected from my own heart. Not lost it altogether, but lost the ability easily to hear its voice. So there have been times when it has had to shout to make itself heard – not with words, but with tears that seem to come from nowhere, yet hold a tremendous force; a tidal wave of suppressed power that threatens to swamp the safe façade if its full energy is released.

So this is where my task now lies; not in wondering and worrying about my job; that is not and never has been the central issue, even though I might have thought it was. The real work lies in living out that quote in my sidebar from Thoreau:

"What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen."

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