Nearly Spring - My thoughts for February
Today I would like to talk about the miracle of talking. Or, perhaps the miracle of one person being able to communicate with another person and being heard and understood. As a counsellor the miracle for me is when I am with a client and that client finds some understanding for feeling the way they do - that is, the reason they have sought out counselling - and understanding that understanding which can lead them on a path of recovery from whatever difficulties, nightmares or obstacles, all of which may have felt like a major struggle.
I believe the basis of this communication can be curiosity - “why am I feeling like this?” Then another understanding - “I do not have to feel, behave or act in this way. There is a route, a road to a different way of being.”
I have heard the Dalai Lama say “what we all want is to be happy”. Yes, isn’t that what we are all seeking? We want to be happy?
There is not a simple answer and there are many tools. Almost too many. We are bombarded with self help advice. So, we have to choose. This choice is in itself important. We can make this choice by listening to ourselves. By asking ourselves the questions ‘what do I need? What can help me at this time in my life?’
Perhaps there is not any one answer. How we feed and nourish our bodies matters; food or what we put into our bodies can make us feel good or not so good - or in the case of alcohol and some mind altering substances makes us feel good then makes us feel bad. Our choice. Exercise - there is more and more proof that exercise is helpful both for our general health and for our mental health. Exercise can make a difference to depression and exercise can alleviate it to some degree. Sleep, as with exercise there is more evidence about the value of sleep and getting enough sleep.
Finally - talking, counselling - therapy call it what you will. What it is, is two people sitting together with one person listening with the sole object of helping the other person. This is a relationship like no other because one person will not reveal anything about themselves and the other person talks about themselves and that may be in considerable detail and honesty. This is where and when the miracle can happen. The person who is listening finds a way to help the person who is talking understand what is troubling them. S/he finds a way to assist that person who is talking find their way to recovery and healing.
To be a counsellor is a privilege and I am grateful to those people who have shared with me and who have allowed me to walk some of the way with them on this journey called life.