The practice of human being

At last, my book wobbles its way toward its date with destiny – this week I submitted by proposal to the publisher. I am both jubilant and relieved…and now I must wait for the commissioning editor’s verdict…so throw in a measure of anxious waiting into that emotion cocktail too.

The book is entitled “The practice of human being: bringing the Buddhist dharma into counselling and psychotherapy”. It is a first person account of my own experiences of training in traditional, Western psychotherapy and how being a Buddhist has become part of, if not the centre of, how I think about psychotherapy…and being a human being!

I shared with a friend last week that I felt 10 months pregnant – the book felt long overdue, but I didn’t quite know how to make that final push. Working on the proposal helped – and it slowed me down, as I was beginning to focus on “getting rid” rather than making it the best book I could.

I first started making notes for my book ideas a little over 4 years ago. My wife and I were holidaying in Normandy – my land of inspiration – and I felt a growing sense of wanting to write down my ideas about psychotherapy and Buddhism all in one place. It really was to be my own ‘manual’; to set up and consolidate my frame of practice as a psychotherapist. Soon, the fuel to keep going was my teaching work – how could my experience helps those trainee therapists that I work with each year?

And here we are, near the finishing line, I hope. Of course that is not entirely true – as the proposal goes to peer review and I then have to meet the requirements of the editor. All being well though, I hope my baby is born in 2023.

Will they have siblings? That is my aspiration, yes! If nothing else, this book has shown me what can be learned through the act of writing. Just this past week, in dotting i’s and crossing t’s for the proposal, I have seen ALL the material I need to work on as a human being come out of the shadows. I am inspired to keep writing as a practice. My meditation mentor actually invited me to put writing at the centre of the mandala that is my life.

It is an invite I am excited by.

Having submitted my proposal, it is now time to truly ease back. A month today I go back to work; and with that, resume seeing clients face-to-face…another aspect of life that brings excitement. I have missed being in physical presence with clients; I have missed practicing psychotherapy in the way I enjoy practicing psychotherapy*

This coming month is about active rest. A chance to immerse myself in Ngondro practice, catch up with friends and family, some time in France, lots of biking…and a daily diet of coffee and reading.

Until then, signing off. 

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*This is another book idea – how to put the phenomenology (and direct experiencing) back into Humanistic psychotherapy.

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