“The Journey” by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do- determined to save the only life you could save.

“You must let people live their own lives and learn their own lessons. If people are not receptive, let them go their own way — even into difficulty or dangerous circumstances.” ~taken from I-Ching #4

When we are faced with the destructive behavior of a loved one, we often are pulled by our own compassion to help them along the journey. It is important to examine our intentions and their impact, because all too often our assistance prevents the individual from taking ownership of the situation. When boundaries are enmeshed, it invokes dependency rather than confidence and perseverance.   A recent article featured in the magazine, The Atlantic, titled “How to land your kid in therapy” examines the impact of parents who out of their love for their children attempt to mitigate most difficult situations for their children. It can be challenging to determine what is appropriate especially with adolescents and their families, because of the adolescent’s developmental needs for individuation and the parent’s ongoing responsibility for their child’s wellbeing.   The drive behind this behavior is building self esteem and happiness, yet it protects children from feedback Read more […]

“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” ~ Emile Zola

There are just some days when we wake up and it is difficult to shift our thinking and behaviors. Seeing our human shadow can often cause a lot of shame, even when we might be more forgiving of the same in others. Developing compassion for ourselves is an important step in breaking free of self defeating thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I often ask clients to try and translate the compassion they feel for their loved ones into compassion for themselves. However, it takes time to develop self compassion and in the meantime we are left vulnerable to self loathing.   Tolerance for the process can be hard to come by, especially if we are isolated. Being isolated clearly can arise from having a limited network or emotionally unsafe relationships, yet often isolation comes from an internal place- fear of breaking the silence and taking the risk to share our inner world with trusted companions.   In therapy, I often help clients identify what is keeping them silent. Read more […]