As a coach and counselor, my belief and value is that I am here to help. Being a helper puts me in a position where I constantly have to learn and grow. Sometimes, I’ve been the helpee. It takes courage to ask for help. A helpee can feel vulnerable. There appears to be an imbalance of power. The counselor is the “expert”. They’ve got it all together. They must, right? They have all the answers. Right? I sure hope so. They can “fix” me. Right? Well, they can sure try. Speaking for myself, I was and still am a human being, and well aware of my humanness. I am always learning and growing, and rely on others to help me in the process. As the Beatles say,….”I get by with a little help from my friends”. I’ve taken some hits in life, as we all do. It took one, last, big fall to get me to take a good look, and I am still a work in progress. Always will be.
Before the fall, I had lost the most important parts of my life: My self and my most meaningful relationships. So, as a therapist, I was good at helping others. I had a successful practice. BUT (oh yeah…the big BUT), not as good at helping myself. In other words: I could talk the talk, but not always walk the walk. I guess you could say I stumbled.
What I do understand about life, and repeat frequently to myself and others, is that life is never over. We do not reach a point where we can “retire” from life. It presents new and distinct challenges, regardless of our age and experience. Experience just teaches us to expect change, perhaps to grow comfortable with change, to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and learn from what we have lived. So, instead of simply getting caught in the current, and letting it happen to us…jump in and swim. Life is enjoyed more as a player than a spectator. So choose what you want to be or how you want to be at any given moment. Accept the challenge and joy that life offers, and understand you are never too young or old to learn or to change. I know this, and I know it only gets better if you keep working at it.
For a significant number of years, I lived my life on autopilot. I failed to recognize and fully appreciate the unconscious and cultural forces that influenced my choices. The string of choices that I made lead me to a state of feeling unhappy and unhealthy and without much hope. Given that my life became like that of a goldfish swimming around in a bowl, there wasn’t much chance for change. It’s interesting that I could see it so well in others, and not myself. It’s interesting how a fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in water. Well, I was in my own way. I felt alone, but I was not. That’s good to know. I’m human.
I have had many wonderful opportunities and experiences in my life. I had what I am sure many others were wishing they had for themselves, or do have. To change required me, in part, to alter my perspective or “frame” of reference, and look at things for what they were and weren’t. I had to start to make the hard call. It required me to be honest with myself and others. It required, and still requires me to break down what stands between me and my most amazing self and life.
Being in life fully is a practice. To know and to be one’s best self is the ultimate goal of this journey; this spiritual experience we call life. Again, it’s a journey, and we’re all in it together. So, don’t beat yourself up or alternately think you might have figured it all out. Life is a series of events and changes. It’s dynamic and living and breathing. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and I’m not sure it’s over then.
So, don’t wait to get to heaven. Live life now, and experience a little bit of heaven every day.
Peace, Love and Youness,