I got married last week. How odd to write that? I say that because in many ways, my life and my self is no different to this time last week when I was not married. But when I stand back and say to myself “I am married” there is some disbelief. It is something about achieving a milestone, or as one of my friends said to me on the day itself, “as if you have become an adult”. And I imagine a lot of this internalised sense of “gosh” is taking part in a ritual, a ceremony, acknowledging a rite of passage.
My partner and I have been together for over a decade and for some time we considered why get married given we were committed to our relationship anyway. Yet it felt somehow important to have a public witnessing of our commitment to one another: to bring our friends and family together and celebrate love, life and the power of living a conscious relationship. Relationship to one another, relationship to our friends and family, relationship to our community. Relationship was what we were celebrating, honouring and committing to.
In this blog I’ve been sharing my recent sense of transition: to be meeting new insights about my “Self” and how I have come to be the way I am. Much of this has not been easy, yet there is an honouring that this material must come to light, and a certain inevitability about it to (the timing as it is post-retreat and ahead of the life event of getting married. I know that unless I investigate these deeper and (up until now) hidden aspects of my Self, they will remain in my Shadow and block a greater engagement in life and relationship with others. I also know that exploration - its process and outcome - will lend itself to my therapeutic work.
And this is what I have been pondering this week - in my transition, in contacting unknown parts of me, how does this impact my therapeutic work at this time? How can I use my vulnerability in the service of my clients? Is that even possible? What “status” of emotional well-being is ideal for work with clients? Does a therapist have to be “fully therapised” themselves to be a good therapist? Is “fully therapised” even possible? What does that look like? Its certainly not to be saintly and removed from and above this life.
I celebrated a birthday at the weekend. Not a ‘big’ one, but big enough…it felt big because of the process and transition I feel I am in post retreat. There is something distinctly ‘mid-life’ about this transition. I speak with many clients about their experiences of reaching mid-life; the nature of it like climbing up a mountain in the first half of life only to get to the top and realise the view isn’t what they expected. I shared this metaphor with a friend at the weekend and he said “yep, its all downhill from here on in”. Is this mid-life? Am I halfway through? What does downhill mean? It gets easier? Or is that a reference to the final finish line?
I’ve shared in recent weeks how I have connected to a sense of ‘loss’, or more accurately a fear of loss. In coming back from retreat and re-connecting with friends and family, I have been hearing news of separating relationships, diagnoses of cancer, loss of jobs and deaths of loved ones. The very stuff of ‘life’. I carry these in my heart while I sit and listen to similar narratives from my clients. Spring is in the air, normally a time I connect with life, with renewal…but things feel differently this year. A little darker, a little more shadow. Yet there is a sense that this period of shadow is incredibly powerful and profound; a potential for growth and ultimately healing.
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