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Self Disclosure

pine tree

Tonight (and for several days now) I am sitting with the awareness of the truth that we (those of us who make our living sitting with others, guiding, offering wisdom, tools etc) can be so eminently helpful, wise-seeming, perhaps even perfect in our tidiness, all the while we are spinning in our own lives. I fit this category at the moment. Right now. It is humbling. Oh, is it ever humbling. It is so tempting to imagine I'm a fake. It is so tempting to imagine that my last clients, a miraculous couple who are so full of heart, capacity and genuineness, ought to be sitting in my chair, and I in theirs.That, in the interest of honest advertisement, I ought to declare, from the highest rooftop in this neighborhood, my own shortcomings. How can I offer help to others when I am unable to make sense of my own life? When I am capable of abandoning myself so efficiently? How does it work that I am no less powerful, no less full of wisdom, even while, between clients, I am reeling, attempting to make sense of my own marriage or my own parenting?  In fact, that perhaps here, in this place of utter intimate ungroundedness, I am capable of some of my best work? It flies in the face of what we are taught in this culture, in these programs that teach us how to be "healers". I want to undo that. Really people....let's dismantle that absurd antichrist as if our lives depended upon it.

It's just another face of shame, shame that tells us that this business of being human is flawed (while supporting the consumerist grandiosity that has become our human expression on this finite planet). When I was in graduate school, dutifully pursuing my 30 hours of therapy as part of my clinical requirement, I would show up each afternoon, to my perfect elder-woman therapist's perfect Amherst home office, flower boxes always blooming, door always slightly ajar, her hair perfectly styled, her clothes beyond perfect; flowing tencel exspensiveness. We would carefully talk about whatever relationship issues I was facing, whatever family dilemma I was holding, whatever angst I had about being a therapist, about being 25 and responsible for other people's well-being in my internships even though I was merely a student. It was always one-way. We never once talked about anything that was alive, real or present for her. Somehow this was supposed to be the process to health. Somehow, in this place, I was supposed to learn how to sit with others in their most intense heartbreak, unknowing, and darkness...all while sitting in a position of having none of it myself.

I am rabidly against this model. I am a fierce activist for reciprocity as the only, THE ONLY, path to true health and wholeness. It is a fundamental law of this universe, that all things exist in inextricable relationship. Unrelenting reciprocity. Relationship surely means transparency. It certainly means circular, cyclical. In this model, there is no hiding. It takes extraordinary self-love to allow this way of being as the path to wholeness. I'm working on the self love part. I'm working on it.

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