The end of another year is fast approaching. I feel fortunate that I don’t get snagged up in the chaos of Christmas, so instead this time of year begins a kind of hibernation period: its probably the only 2 weeks of the year where I really withdraw from the world - in part, there is that permission granted from the world. No one else is working, we are all on a break and therefore there is no feeling that someone is waiting for a response. Its telling that I rarely put on an ‘auto-response’ on my various email accounts or telephones - who would be emailing or calling until January?
So, we are here again. And being ‘here’ means I get to look at the ‘again’. What did I set out to achieve in 2018? How did I fare? Each year I do a year-end review, and in the period of “Twixmas”, I will do that again. I’ll up the meditation practice and spend a few hours each day contemplating what has been and what is to become in 2019.
If you have been following my blog, you will remember that I set out an intention to “get blogging again” back in January. And some 40 posts later, here I am. I’ve pretty much blogged every week (aside from holidays), and I am really pleased with that. I’ve also been bowled over by the number of people who tune in regularly - some 50 to 60 people read the blog each week. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all. I’d also like to thank those of you who have been in touch following up on topics I have written about; and to those of you who have shared the blog with others over various social media pages like Twitter. I’m never quite sure how my writing might be useful, but its heart warming to see it has some impact. It goes a long way to fulfilling my wishes to help others.
Where there is light there is always the shadow - so what didn’t go so well? Getting blogging again was in service of developing a writing habit (check); and that came with the intention of using the blog as a vehicle to write a book. Okay, that’s not happened…yet. But, I have been gathering inspiration and motivation. Life hasn’t opened up in the way I wanted in 2018, but there is a sense that enough settling has happened in 2018 to make more space in 2019 (I notice the little voice that says “oh yes? I’ve heard THIS before!”). On a practical level, another year of being with clients, another year of educating trainee therapists - these have been critical in shaping my ideas as to what I want to write about.
My hope is to write a book on integrating Buddhist ideas in to the practice of counselling and psychotherapy. I’ve long been interested in this area: my Masters thesis explored such an integration, and its timely that this research has just been published in the Journal of Transpersonal Research (it is tradition in my household to celebrate publications with a bottle of Chateau Neuf Du Pape).
I’m very aware how many texts are coming out in this area, so I have had to think a lot about what would make my contribution a valid one to spend time on. I see some gaps, and I have to thank the students I teach at the University of Brighton for their curiosity, their questions and their challenges to help shape my ideas. My intention is to write a book for therapists new to either field - those therapists qualified but want to understand what all the fuss is about with mindfulness and Buddhism; and / or those Buddhists training as therapists who want to understand how their world view can be translated in to the therapeutic frame. I don’t want to write a dry book; I want it to come alive with case studies and ideas how therapists can forge the therapeutic alliance and intervene for therapeutic change based on the skilful means of Buddhism.
And this is where I could use your help: those 50 or so of you that read this blog regularly - what kind of book would YOU like to see? Where is your curiosity around Buddhism, meditation, counselling and psychotherapy? What kind of client presentations do you struggle with? I’d love to hear from you.
I’d generally like to make this blog more interactive. It is possible to add comments to these posts; and equally you can interact via Twitter or Facebook. The more feedback from you as I write, the less post-production editing of the book.
It only remains to thank you all again; and to wish you all the very best for the festive season. I hope you find the time to rest, pause and look back on 2018. When we meet again in January, I will update you on my own process and share my thoughts for 2019. Until then…"cheers"!