my favorite shot of the weekend :)
Before the girls and I left on Friday evening for our Tahoe trip I had a session with my therapist/wellness coach (who we will call just T, for privacy purposes). Now, I should probably start off by saying that in no way, shape or form am I embarrassed to admit I talk to a therapist 2-4 times a month. I'd shout it proudly from a rooftop just to prove it! For me it's always seemed like c'mon, do I really need to be convinced to sit with someone completely unbiased for an hour a week to help walk me through past, present and future pieces of my life? Someone who is trained to guide me into new, positive, loving perspectives? Someone who I can be crude and teary or sassy and bitchy or calm and reflective with without fear of judgment? Frankly, I think it takes courage to say hey, I'm not living my life in a way that feels most true to me...and I don't know how to get back to her...to recognize you're maybe struggling to make sense of certain things or even to admit you feel a little lost as to what the next best steps forward should be. In short--if you feel like you have to have extreme "issues" or must be "crazy" to see a therapist...then (no offense) you probably are little bit crazy with some issues. To have a safe space for uninhibited, intense honesty and freedom from fears is such a profound and beneficial thing for me. Therapy and wellness coaching, my friends, is awesome :)
After a particularly long rant (did I even pause to take a breath?) where T pointed out I was taking on an awful lot of responsibility for my role in a particular life scenario, she gave me "homework" for my peaceful beach time. She said to me, "you need to reflect this weekend. Ask yourself--what's it going to take? What is it going to take to forgive yourself?".
Have you ever been in this place? The space of replaying scenes over and over again in your head, wishing you had done this or that differently, behaved a certain way or said what you felt more eloquently? A place that feels like if you had just handled something "better" or chose another thought, action, path then the result would be one you could feel happy with? This is where most of my unforgiveness lies. This is where it dwells, like a bumpy toad, in my gut. And since unforgiveness centers around things that happened in the past (years, months, weeks, hours ago)--things that are over and completely out of my control now--I essentially have to decide to either forgive myself and others outright, or to live the rest of my life feeding this bumpy toad in my gut. He is hideous and weighs me down. He negatively affects my present life. He influences my choices, thoughts and feelings. I want him OUT.
So, after meditating over T's proposed question for a few hours, I came up with this ground breaking answer to share with her at my next session: I'm not sure.
The thing about therapy and life coaching is this; they are not immediate cure alls. Most of the work has to be done outside of the office--on your own time, at your own pace. If there was a magic switch I could flip to fast forward to a time when "everything is OK" I probably would have hit that sucker years ago. Take this pill and everything becomes shiny and new? Get me a glass of water, stat!! But then I'd be fast forwarding my life. I'd be missing opportunities to learn and grow. And wishing your life away to avoid discomfort is about as foolish a thought as any. It wouldn't truly be living.
I have a few more days before I meet with T again; a few more chances to meditate and stew and mull over. It's OK if nothing on the level of epiphany strikes me. The proposed question at least has me thinking a bit differently--it's got me slowly releasing negative thoughts. It's letting me, at snail speed, begin to feel allowed to say "I forgive" and let go. And that is something to be thankful for.
Watch out, toad. T and I are coming for you.
ps- If anyone has questions about my experiences with therapy and wellness coaching, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I have been so fortunate to work with people who have changed my life in beautiful ways--it is a pleasure to speak openly about it. I would be happy to give you my humble opinions and suggestions :)