November 12, 2001
Commitment to Yourself
Following feelings to their roots is possibly the most challenging growth work we can do. At the outset I find it highly advisable to have the assistance of an experienced facilitator. Once the way and style are firmly set, the process can continue independently or with the assistance of peers.
Unfortunately, some of us enter growth and feeling work with the idea that it's like a hospital operation. We expect to lie passively, feeling no pain while the surgeon cuts out the problem. We chase after the illusion of the "Quick Fix," going from one so-called expert to another. We just want a Daddy or Mommy to make it better - but we're not kids anymore.
To be blunt, the problem is not a dispensable thing that can be cut out - it is in every fibre of our being. As Pogo used to say, "I have met the enemy, and it is us." Real healing is growth, not surgical removal, and since it's our life, we have to take part! We can engage experienced assistants, but they are our chosen partners in an amazing dance. They cannot help us without our dedicated involvement, commitment, and self-leadership.
Unfortunately, most of us don't enter deep therapy until we're falling apart. We're more desperate than motivated. We feel terrible about ourselves, scared, depressed, confused - wanting a caretaker, but afraid to open up. We feel crazy and afraid we'll completely "lose it." We want someone to make it all go away. More than any time in our lives, we feel that we really don't know anything for sure. To be an equal director in our healing seems ludicrous.
There is one thing we are sure of, however - we feel terrible. We cannot continue living like this. To escape once again in distractions, addictions, and quick fixes is to stay blindly stuck or to get worse. We need to see that there's only one life-affirming way to go - toward the feelings.
Even in our most confused state, the therapeutic relationship requires us to be committed - to ourselves. This means being actively involved, bringing issues and feelings to session, working with them at home, and directing the therapist as much as we choose to follow direction. It's essential to understand the general process, and to eagerly seek feelings and their release.
If we're reluctant, passive, and not "owning" our process, therapists cannot do it for us. If they are sensitive to the rate of our development, they won't push. They may strongly suggest and encourage (without coercive attitudes), but they will never use their energy to move us against our will. This is not a moral issue, it's a practical one. Pushing either creates more inner resistance/distance, forces us into out-of-sequence experiences we are not ready to integrate, or seduces us with therapist-created dramatic experiences that leave us forever dependent on the therapist.
Outside manipulation results in experience that we cannot "own" because we did not create it. If someone else eats your pie, you can't taste it. Only when you are fully in your experience can the knowledge and healing flow straight through - not from the therapist, but from your real self. You have to be ready, you have to want it, and you have to be involved.
It's your life.