Counselling & Psychotherapy considers:
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Living To Our Full Potential
On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.George Orwell
The Future How we let go of what we need to, see the future, imagining this, embodying it, live our desires, is also based on the choices, decisions and actions we take (see also Life's Journey - Connecting To Our Own Inner Direction & Creating Our Own Destiny). This may not only affect our present, but also how we live our future (whether it's regressive, progressive), which begins by what we do in the moment. We may struggle to create a different future if we hold on to emotions and associated thoughts, beliefs from the past. How we can be all we can be, individuated, not limit ourselves or others, with our sense of freedom, free will and live what brings us joy may be a question we hold. The therapy can explore these aspects with you. (See also Present, Past & Future)
Whatever the past has been, you have a spotless future.Unknown
How We Want To Evolve As A Person The natural process of evolving as a person - change and transformation, growing, developing, enriching our life, being in touch with our home truths can mean different things to us (even bring us up against existential despair) and as we evolve so too may our roles, identity, interactions, interests, life purpose, dreams, what matters to us, our vision. For some it is simply relating well with others on a day to day basis, adapt to situations, listening and engaging in conversations, being involved in our community, expanding our perspective and comfort zone that helps us evolve as a person. Evolving as a loving human being, make love last may also be important to us. For others, living from the heart and soul of who we are, in touch with our values, being reflective, exploring deeper meaning in our life, gaining wisdom, listening to the evolving consciousness may be part of our exploration alongside evolving all our relationships. (See also Being The Person We Want To Be - Getting Back In Touch With Who We Are)
The purpose of life after all, is to live it, to taste the experience to the utmost,Eleanor Roosevelt
to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.
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Transforming Our Life By clarifying more of who we are now, any blind spots and understanding the impact of our past, we may want to transform our lives (and relationship) with new direction and search for a deeper meaning of life (understanding). We may want to create a life of our own choosing, taking responsibility for forming our own future and live our life to our full potential. This may include transforming our emotions, fears, anger, behaviour, habits and addictions, our arousal and sexual energy, our purpose, intentions. Some of us may be seeking a sense of spiritual wellbeing - whatever this means for us. Questioning our own fragile, earthly existence, we may also have a need to belong or connect to others - our interconnectedness, the wider society and a world which is more than our personal world. (See also Life Transformation, Alchemy)
Life is a sum of all your choices.Albert Camus
Taking The Long Way Home Stuck or lost inside we may fill up all our available time with distractions, unhelpful habits or addictions, in order to avoid our emptiness, vulnerability, groundlessness. Sometimes we are faced with a courageous choice of stepping out of our comfort zone, taking the unfamiliar, different road in our life, maybe the long road, so we are not just focused on quick fix options but more focused on long term solutions. Finding time to not just be caught in the "right now" moment, simultaneously thinking both long and short term, may help benefit us, not just for now, but help prepare us for future opportunities, challenges ahead, which can be initially fearful, yet support our resilience and facilitate change (see also Accompanying Ourselves "In The Moment" With Awareness, Reflection). Building, maintaining supportive habits, routines, patterns may support us. Consciously and intentionally being curious, being willing to step into the unknown, uncertainty, taking the new steps we always wanted to take and choosing this new road from our loving adult and not our change us but also affect others around us.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.Beverly Sills
Life Transition & Existential Concerns Fear of dying and indeed fear of living can lead us to an existential search. Some of us may have a sense of alienation, loss, grief, pain or deep sorrow for us and the wider world - our existential angst. We may even experience disappointment, frustration or anger. Some people call this a midlife crisis, experienced like a lamenting, as if our soul is wailing. Often as we get older, these reflective concerns become more important as what really matters to us evolves. In counselling and psychotherapy we may want to examine how we belong in the world. These less tangible transitional challenges may point us to seeking different personal values, meanings or a sense that everything is connected and comes together as one. (See also Life Transitions)
No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.George Chakiris
Having & Holding Hope We all need hope and some satisfaction to sustain us, however small, and our hope can be elusive at times, we may feel hopeless, struggling to find any chink of light. Failures, disappointments are a part of life and it may be challenging for us to give ourselves and others the vision of hope by looking beyond shortcomings and seeing strengths and potential (see also Optimism, Pessimism & Discounting The Positive). Our hope can give us faith and meaning, help us through difficulties and despair by being resilient, propelling and inspiring us towards our future.
Dream big and dare to fail.Norman Vaughan
Aspirations Our aspirations drive our free will. What we strongly desire, long for, aspire to, hope for - our dream and what really matters to us, can help inspire and drive us, pave our way into the future when we envision this. Visualising this future and turning our aspirations, dreams into goals and desired objectives may be important. The therapy can explore:
- How we can achieve realistic goals - the options, choices & actions necessary
- Whether our life meaning, purpose & direction gets us closer to where we intend
- Our resourcefulness, creative & imaginative options
- What we believe is possible
- What our next steps might be
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Longing & Yearning We may be longing to be seen and known for who we are and some of us may be related to our early bonding patterns. We may feel empty or lonely inside, as if something is missing, be confused or stuck without tangible causes. At any stage of our lives we may get a sense that "the old show is over", and we can't get it back - a letting go process. Discovering and creating a new way of living may be a desire for some, as may our need to belong and respond to our existential loneliness. Some of us may be searching, yearning for meaning in our life. Through the ongoing process of maturing or ageing, many of our problems may also be about our longing - yearning for a deeper connection with us, others. Some may also be searching, longing, for a deep and meaningful relationship, sexual union, trust and intimacy with our partner, the world and for others the sublime - through a spiritual search. Our longing or yearning may be about not being in the moment or experiencing the journey of life because we are overly focused on the destination. For others our longing may also be about searching for perfection, something that is ideal, yet humanly impossible. (See also Suffering & Love)
It's never too late to be what you might have been.George Eliot
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Self-Growth Like healthy plants we need the right nourishment to flourish and grow (see also Getting Our Basic Dependency Needs Met In A Healthy, Loving Relationship), so our physical and spiritual needs are met or are in balance and we emotionally grow, grow sexually. Nourishment for us human beings is helped by having faith - a quality of love in ourselves - choosing this rather than the heaviness of fear based thoughts (scientific research indicates that this helps build neural pathways), trust, hope, remembering what's important to us, e.g. to speak up for ourselves, to be loved, heard, belong, fulfilled in our achievements, with a belief in something and "being in our being". Like nature, which rejuvenates itself, so too may we need our own act of faith, that our own life continues, transforms (and this personal faith may also include the co-existence of our self-doubt). Yet some people may want to have less self-doubt, explore having faith in that distant or still voice inside of themselves - one that they've known all along, yet found it hard to trust (see also Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold). Having gratitude, gratefulness, appreciation brings us in touch with faith. We may want to have faith in all of who we are, our personal worth, that things are possible, hold hope, so we can move forward. Beyond our need for survival - to no longer just get by in the world, may also lead us to questioning life's meaning, learning what we need to learn along the way. For some people, this curiosity or need to nourish ourselves spiritually may move towards a spiritual search, connections or spiritual faith, for others simply having faith in our highest good. (See also Benefits Of Psychotherapy - Identifying & Increasing Our Strengths & Resources, Growing Inside)
I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the differenceRobert Frost
Our Own Path Some of us may forever worry how we should be. We may constantly seek or need approval, validation and reassurances from others. Others may struggle to have faith in themselves, slavishly following or worshipping objects, public opinion or what is only sanctioned by external authorities - media, government, politicians, religious leaders (even our partner), etc. We may have been holding on to old loyalties, oaths, sacred cows which no longer serve us. Making the space and quiet time to take pauses, reflect, observe, may be important for us. Counselling and psychotherapy can explore our relationship style and support us in being in touch with our own voice, an inner voice - maybe distant at first, our own "inner" authority, free will, values and purpose. Some of us may now want to choose and embark upon our own path - the one that makes us happy regardless of what others say, and this may connect us with our purpose. Choosing our own direction, we may realise that rich meaning cannot be gained from what others tell us or impose upon us, nor by simply entertaining ourseIf. We may have often followed a path which is not really our own - one that others have set for us, depriving us of our own meaning, true to us, especially when we are in charge of our own agency - doing things and making them happen. Taking up our own authority, our own truth and what really matters, where we put our attention and focus, planning may become more important to us than how we appear to others. This may also be important in our relationship. In our own inner authority, we may want to be free to trust and responsibly live from our own, chosen ways rather than blindly follow others' rules. Counselling and psychotherapy supports you in developing your own moral authority, standing in your own ground, in relationship with others and the wider world. Enquiring about our own spiritual path may be a journey for some. (See also Our Responsibility)
Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of god.Mark Twain
Life Purpose, Dreams Keeping a lid on our feelings, we may feel empty, depressed, unable to express our purpose. Sometimes what matters to us - our purpose can be simple - treating ourselves and others well, evolving as a loving human being, sharing love, making love last, expressing our joy, desire, to grow. What matters to us, motivates us, may enable us to have a very short term purpose - a small, practical action we can do straight away. Some may be seeking a more medium-term purpose, e.g. their career or relationship. Others may be seeking a life purpose, maybe their dream, doing what we love, makes us happy, to evolve as a person. Connecting to the importance of our purpose may include something higher than we are currently living and reasons why we are here, pointing towards life meaning and ultimately only we can figure this out - in our own time, with or without guidance. Connected to our truest sense of our self, allowing ourselves to dream, utilising our courage to define our dream, overcome obstacles and reach for our dream, when we can't always see what's ahead may be important. Viewing our dreams as an adventure may help some. Our purpose gives us focus, motivation, direction and can point to what we really want and need in our life linked to our values, strengths and passions. Our purpose may be to know our own values and be in integrity with them, or to search for meaning, find the right path - what we really want and need in life, where finding our own path and purpose may be our journey in itself. It may be important for us to be in touch with our passion, desire, in touch with what nourishes us, doing what we love doing and are uniquely willing to bring, give and share with others, valuing others around us and showing this, aligning our actions with our purpose on a daily basis. Stepping outside of our comfort zone, what's familiar, may be a challenge. Connecting to our purpose (often sensed through our child within - connected to our feelings) and vision may be an important connection for some, remembering it and living it and making it happen - for others especially if supported by building, maintaining supportive habits, routines, patterns (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing). Being in touch with the purpose greater than ourself, society, may for some lead to aligning their purpose towards a spiritual path of their own choosing.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.Pablo Picasso
Self-Chosen Values Some of us may want to attach our values less to outside sources and more internally - making our life valuable. We may no longer want to seek our own value externally or through our need for validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration from others. For some, a challenge may be to intentionally define and choose our own values (and not simply following values from others) and self-respect, with compassion for us and the world, so they can guide, clarify, dignify us, inspire us, directing our own priorities, goals and journey in life. Our values keep us safe, may support us in being in touch with our highest good, moment by moment, e.g. do we need to speak up for ourself, care for ourself or others, work, rest or exercise, eat or stop eating, etc. Prioritising our values, the ones we want to live by - even when things are challenging and emphasising these, may be important to us. And when we are in touch with and protect what we personally value, these values can help inform and guide our boundaries. Our self-worth and value may connect us to what we personally value - our self-values. A task for some at this stage of therapy may be about moving away from only goal orientated, "completed" values as if they are achievements, towards personally chosen values, connected to our conscience and personal integrity. which can transform us in meaningful ways (see also Our Free Will). These values are unachievable, perpetually generated, evolving and active, experienced moment by moment - reflecting what we really want. Our core values may include honesty, respect, kindness, courage, being authentic. Linking our values with our goals may be important. Our self-values affect the weighting we put on things can support and evoke Will, our choices, bringing about change when we envisage our future, creating consciousness, adding meaning to our actions. Many of us experience that it is this consciousness, and not external forces, that points us towards our own dreams, life purpose and it is our will (volition) that supports our commitment to this purpose. Finding our purpose in life may point some of us towards spiritual enquiry.
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Ownership, Guardianship, Trusteeship Choosing to trust our self may be important for us. Competitiveness and owning things have their place and value, yet also being internally powerful, in tune with the wider world, may be increasingly important for us. Our values may make us less concerned about ownership, pointing towards becoming more of a guardian or trustee of what comes our way - possessions, other people, nature, time, resources, even our own mind, body or sense of spirituality.
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Our Conscience & Personal Integrity Sometimes we may ignore our values or conscience, sensing what's true and false, drowning them out, struggling to listen to them, yet without them we would be lost. Other times we know in our heart of hearts we've done the "wrong thing" and gone against our conscience. Listening and responding to our conscience (without always having to induce feelings of guilt) to positively help us, so our conscience nudges us in the right direction (cleaning up what we need to clean up along the way) guiding and shifting us towards a positive direction. It can sometimes be as if we are out of alignment with our own truth (which can also play out in our relationship), and when we listen to our conscience as our own moral compass, it can nudge us back, so we can re-orientate ourselves, being in our own moral authority, accountable with our best intentions, in touch with our open heart and own integrity, connected to our core - thinking and behaving in ways we are proud of, seeing past our so called fear-based truths. Putting trust in us, trusting our innateness, vulnerability, our own home truths gives us a sense of our identity. And separating out truths and knowing things may be important to us, as may speaking our truth without judgement or the need to control others. Being faithful to our moral conscience, keeping our word, standing up for what we believe forms our integrity. Through questioning what really matters to us, what is our own truth behind the truth and "right" thing to do, we may feel more powerful, gain a stronger sense of our core essence - our deepest qualities, what we are born for and with, the heart and soul of who we are, greater than the sum of our parts. We may be interested in integrating all the facets of our personality into one reliable, consistent, transparent and authentic self (including our dark side), so we are the same inside and out, with nothing to hide, including our values, saying what we mean, meaning what we say, being Self-accountable. This sense of self, with our insights, sense of worth and acceptance gives us greater freedom to create our own opportunities. Some may want to listen and place trust into the essence of our own inner voice, rather than imagine what others expect of us (see also Our Need For Validation, Approval, Affirmation, Reassurance, Confirmation, Permission, Recognition, To Be Valued, Appreciation, Praise, Attention, Adoration, Admiration, Adulation, Acceptance), or what we think we "should" be doing. We may want to purposefully choose our own self-values, being in the circle of our integrity, congruent, self aware, guided by our own conscience. Exercising our free will may be a desire for others, so we can fully express who we are, our authenticity, virtues in our actions.
Integrity & How We Communicate How we communicate, having integrity in how we present ourselves to others and how they experience us, being true to our own code, being the person we want to be - supported by our conscience, values and authenticity may matter to us so we walk our talk, reducing any gaps between we say and do, avoid compromising our values or making promises we can't deliver - sticking to our moral principles and standards that we say are important to us so we utilise our courage to speak our truth. This promotes people trusting in us. To live our integrity - being reliable and trustworthy in our world - doing what we say we are going to do, being honest and telling the truth about ourself - without being unkind (living the challenge of not doing things we would not like to be announced publicly), being accountable for our actions and take responsibility for our feelings is an ongoing process.
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Our Own Internal Resources In order to take personal responsibility in life, we need a range of internal resources to make sense (meaning) of life's encounters - something that is learnt over time (see also Our Responsibility).
Taking Downtime Preoccupied or over-busy at work, we all need some guilt-free downtime, whether it's having a nap, just doodling, "faffing", daydreaming, giving ourself space to recharge our batteries, recover (see also Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold).
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Contemplation, Creating Space & Quiet Time, Taking Pauses - Self-Awareness, Observation & Reflection Many of us can keep ourselves busy always doing things, making little space, time for us to simply consider things, yet we all have a self-reflective side. Sometimes watching the world go by or listening to ourselves, sitting still - watching our mind in some way like a meditation, especially in a place we feel comfortable, at ease, relaxed (or alternatively finding this place in our head if it isn't physically possible) can replenish us. Accompanying ourselves "in the moment" with awareness, reflection and stepping back from things (also in our relationship), quietening our mind and creating daily quiet time (switching off all our technology, gadgets), letting go off our urges, taking pauses to breathe and relax, enjoy our own company, sit with our self and reflect, listening to what comes up for us, as we allow this (including our uncomfortable feelings, emotions), can move us away from stress, help anchor us, bring perspective, clarity. We are all affected by experiences, feelings, thoughts, some of which can have the potential to overwhelm us, as if they are bigger than us, we are captive to them. Giving our mind space, reflecting on these may support us. Contemplating, taking stock, catching ourselves, having a "wait and see" space, holding some perspective may be beneficial as may making space for our self. We all have a level of awareness and may want to cultivate this, developing our self-awareness, which supports our resilience. Our self-awareness - understanding ourselves - our actions, what shapes us as a person, being aware of our sensations, feelings, moods, needs, thoughts, perceptions, attitudes and behaviour - watching, observing, witnessing, accepting these without judgement and how we are perceived may be important for us as we learn where we need to grow and improve our connections with ourself and others, so we are both being and doing.
Self-Reflection - Looking Inside & Reflecting Upon What We Find Taking responsibility and a bit of time for ourself - some space to assimilate what we experience, composing our thoughts, can help shift our consciousness and determine the best response rather than react. Stepping back and reflecting also helps us learn. We may want to reflect on the metaphors for life which we hold... On a voyage of self-discovery and as we evolve we may want to explore where we are, where we are heading (can bring up existential concerns), our motivations, review our own personality, beliefs, triggers, emotions, senses, intuition, etc. and get to know our strengths, weaknesses, where we excel, and where we don't, our limitations or boundaries, that support our confidence and emotional intelligence. Allowing ourselves to daydream, being with our feelings and thoughts - recognising them, rather than being in our feelings and thoughts, as if there is no separation, can give us space, so the self - the "I" inside of us can be observed and we let go, handle uncertainty, not knowing things and open to other possibilities, mapping things (mentalising) with a compassionate intention to learn. And connecting to our intention may also be important. We can shift from emotional reactions to responding thoughtfully, as we listen to our inner voice, so we can think clearly, re-focus on what's important. Taking a pause from external matters, having our own rocking chair moments, may assist us. These pauses (some of us take space for moments of reflection in silence or in nature) can widen our horizons, help us self-observe and reflect, enhancing our self-awareness and inner wisdom, as we also listen to what our heart is telling us, creating a deeper connection and expanding our sphere of consideration with ourself, inner world and wider world. When we make time to reflect, we may sense an interconnectedness, consciousness to our past, present, future, our view of reality may shift, and our intuition, senses become heightened, things also may be transforming for us, our perceptions and attitudes may shift. We may want to have a healthy balance between making quiet time to stop and think, still our mind - being able to observe, reflect and act in the world, supported by our will, so we are not just ruminating, thinking and planning, but participating in life - in the present moment, interacting with others, expressing ourself in the world. (See also Life Reflection)
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.Carl Jung
Silence, Stillness & Balance With our full range of emotions, life can swing from many polarities and we may swing back and forth with them, from side to side, which can drain our energy. And like a pendulum, returning to the centre of our being, anchored in ourself (see also Connecting To Our Centre) can bring stillness, balance, neutrality as our energy renews. Noise is commonplace yet so is silence - the silence within us, what some have described as close to the soul - that silence within even amongst the external noise. Silence at times may be anxiety provoking, put us in touch with our aloneness, fear of the unknown and we may try to keep busy. On other occasions silence can help us switch off and daydream, still our mind, observe, reflect, be mindful, listen to our inner voice, expand our consciousness, help increase our focus. Some people utilise silence to be in touch with their creativity, solitude, with their spiritual, religious practice.
Creating & Being In Touch With Our Inner Sanctuary, Our Anchor Points Some of us (including those of us that are sensitive) may be so focused on controlling, fixing our outer reality, that we may have overlooked going inwards - not to escape what's happening around us but to be in touch with our true self, put any troubles, worries into proportion or relinquish them when we need to. We may want to utilise our own internal boundaries, creating our inner sanctuary, from our own anchored, centred and grounded place where we can take refuge, feel calm, safe, secure, relaxed. Our inner sanctuary can be a place just to be where we not so much bring our problems (our fears, doubts, anger and grief) to be fixed, but faced looking directly at them in the face, laying them down and letting them go. We may want to utilise the space to just sit for a bit, be in contact with our breathing, maybe write, release tension, draw, paint, be creative, reflect, meditate, explore or contact our purpose, listen to our inner voice, remember who we are (perhaps being in touch with the innocence of our inner child). We can create an inner sanctuary in our mind, imagine a familiar place (real or imagined furnishing it with visual details, colours, smells, sounds, etc.) where we feel most at ease, at peace with, making it how we would like it to be. Holding these thoughts, feelings, memories we can utilise them as anchor points (see also Anchoring Our Self), returning to them whenever we need to. We can also utilise our imagination further, inhabiting it with people who have inspired us along the way, loving teachers or guides in our life. We may also want to create our own loving, physical space in our home choosing whether to keep it clear or decorate it with things that inspire us, move us, maybe precious objects, candles, incense, flowers, photographs and also turn it into our divine sanctuary with loving, precious or sacred objects, symbols we value around us. (See also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Help)
Deepening Our Awareness Everything we have become includes what we have observed, which influences our decisions. Moving away from autopilot, witnessing our emotions, thoughts, beliefs, drives, behaviours and reactions, subtle physical feelings and random experiences, etc. like a scientist would, bearing the unknown, uncertainty, without becoming too absorbed, as if we are a third person looking on - looking at things not so much from things, rather than reacting to them, may deepen our awareness (see also What Is Being Communicated - Listening To Our Inner Voice). The context for which we think, including our focus, attention, concentration may also affect our actions, non-actions. Some people utilise counselling and psychotherapy to reflect upon themselves and the world, so they can know, manage and direct themselves more, not just cognitively, but also with their sense of intuition and inner wisdom, through regular reflection, allowing our thoughts and feelings to surface, bringing our inner world to light. Relinquishing what we no longer want to hold on to may be important for us. Becoming more aware of the power of who we are, may also challenge us in how we take personal responsibility and accountability in the world, not only in service of ourself, but others and beyond (see also Wellbeing Of Others - Generosity Of Spirit, Acts Of Service). What all this means may also be explored in the therapy.
Inner Wisdom Our inner wisdom, coming from what we've experienced (felt in the body) through engaging with life, supported by our Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Maturity, intuition, hindsight (so our emotions don't have to spill out), what we've observed and learnt (also from our failures, sense of helplessness), alongside our truth and knowledge, can help guide us as we reflect upon these, and we may be in touch with a wisdom, which is not only personal, leading us to spiritual enquiry, connection. As our resources grow and we are in touch with humanity, our wisdom evolves and may not always be conscious. The counselling and psychotherapy can help explore what qualities in us bring through the power of our wisdom, including our attitude and loving actions, sharing our wisdom with others.
Learning When we make associations, connections, we learn, change. Learning enables our mind to be stimulated, enriched. When things are difficult, what hinders our learning (including learning to be alone, learning from our mistakes when we repeatedly fail) and the fears we have may be a useful learning in itself (see also Underlying Symptoms). Knowing how our brain works, the best way we learn, our own learning style, whether it is through reading, images, listening, doing, etc. may help us. Learning from our feelings and moving towards our uncomfortable feelings and our wounded self, expressing our fears and pain can paradoxically release us from the impact of their grip. (In learning about love, we may have a choice at any moment of trying to have control over getting love, avoiding pain or to be open to learning to love ourself.) Learning can be viewed as stepping stones towards our growth - when we are willing to be changed by the process of learning (see also Evolving Consciousness - The Meanings We Make). Life's challenges bring us towards learning. Learning from new experiences can help update our model of ourself and the world. It is said everything happens at the right time, in the right place and for the right reason (see also Listening To The Evolving Unconscious). Learning helps improve our knowledge, yet we may struggle to adapt, trust life in certain areas, be open to what it presents, developing and growing (without trying to control others, situations), what life might be telling us, through each experience, situation, others around us. Valuing these lessons, being open to learning from them whether pleasant, unpleasant, comforting or discomforting and without becoming like a victim may be important to us, help us live a more peaceful life. Through our willingness to step back, reflect, listen to ourselves, be curious, explore and hear the truth, being open and with an intent to learn what we need to learn, we may also ask ourselves what gets triggered in us, what we might need to let go of. When we have a willing intention to compassionately learn, know our purpose, we may want to openheartedly listen and see things, utilising our senses, intuition, seeking deeper meaning, our own truth before making decisions. If we pray, meditate, we may overly focus on asking rather than listening, learning. It can be challenging for us to negotiate the ongoing process and be open to spiral of learning - for when we learn, we not only integrate and expand, we also consolidate and contract. And this natural pattern continues as we develop, transform, yet stay the same. Learning can reward us for respecting life, experience appreciation, gratefulness, gratitude. And through our experience of life (including our relationships with a partner) we can share the fruit of our lessons we've learnt, teach others by example.
Challenges Ahead Some may want to feel more intimate with others, balanced physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, moving from a regressive way of living towards more progressive ways. Others may want to bring out their uniqueness as an individual, and at the same time their similarities with others. Counselling and psychotherapy can also be a vehicle to explore being more "in the moment" rather than at the hands of fate or stuck in old familiar ways. As we notice our noticing, we may develop a deeper sense of who we are, able to observe, seeing things in slower motion at times, expanding our field of awareness, we may be in touch with consciousness and personal identity issues. Being grounded with healthy personal boundaries can support us. Mindful of the impact of our thoughts, words, actions affecting consciousness, we may want to choose whether these are unsupportive, unloving or positive, supportive, loving.
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To bow to the fact of our life's sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.Jack Kornfield
Suffering & Love Life will always have ups, down, highs, lows. Life and love contains negative and positive aspects. Love and suffering can be experienced as two sides of the same coin, where there is love in suffering and suffering in love. And as consciousness evolves, both suffering and love are inescapable (like dark and light, wind and stillness, separateness and oneness), part of the human condition, and how each of us compassionately Iive with this suffering in less fearful ways, is something included in the counselling and psychotherapy, which can also explore ways we may be holding on to any so called "negative emotions". Love is also painful - giving us not only great joy, but sorrow (see also Integrating What We Ignore). We can't live a pain-free life (see also Finding our way through our pain), avoid all suffering, despair, yet being equipped to respond to this may be our challenge, supporting our resilience. We can choose to respond to life's sufferings with destructive patterns or ways which may enrich us, leading us to finding our own meaning and values. Learning to feel the core painful feelings of life, being loving and no longer being afraid of them, is challenging. Sharing our feelings can be healing. Suffering and love are natural processes as we simply be who we are. In nature there is also uncertainty and chaos, endings (including deaths), beginnings (including births), transformations and we human beings often try to avoid this process. For many of us, the awfulness and awe of the world can at times be overwhelming (see also Our Resilience, Hardiness & Protecting Our Personal Boundaries). By opening our heart to both suffering and love aligning Love with Will or turning towards spiritual love, if that is our choice, we may no longer feel afraid, hold hope, be more able to enjoy life. The depths of suffering and love can be described as soul qualities. Powerfully and harmoniously living from the heart and soul of who we are, evolving from this place with others, may be important for us. Being in touch with our own humour, playfulness, carefreeness can for some lighten the load of any suffering we carry.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.Khalil Gibran
Our suffering may include being in touch with life's unfairness, helplessness over others' outcomes, the things outside of our control, heartbreak, heartache, unrequited love, our unshed tears, grief and how we mourn our own losses or aloneness in the world, lost innocence of childhood (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns), our wounded self, pain and hurt, the experience of our core, painful feelings, our painbody, deep grief and neglecting what is in our power. We may find it hard to regulate our emotions, painful feelings, grieve our unhappiness. Some may experience our suffering as if we have a hole in our soul, or have a sense of soullessness - in touch with a deep longing, yearning. For others, who are religious or have a belief in god we may have our faith tested, questioning if god is a intervening god, as if humans are puppets on a string and/or an inspiring god (see also Our Free Will). Training and allowing ourselves to sit with, endure and respond to suffering and the depths of our intrinsic feelings (without reducing ourselves or becoming like a victim or martyr to them) may be important, as may moving through the suffering we create, transforming it to also being loving. Yet some of us, in the face of love or being shown love, find this unbearably painful, preferring to retreat into the dark, as if the brightness of love is too bright.
Interconnectedness Of Suffering & Love "Why do I suffer?" may be a question we painfully hold. Yet through experiencing and finding our own understanding of suffering, it may also enable us to find our way through our suffering - be more than it. Through bearing suffering and managing our frustration and being in the here and know we can sometimes be in a place where it is OK not to know all the answers, the world's mysteries, utilising the space for our creativity to emerge. Therefore, the therapy may involve a frustrating yet creative process of guiding us through life's suffering: confusions, chaos, darkness, limitations, conflicts, hardships, apparent contradictions, paradoxes, uncertainties, the unknown and mystery. Through this "suffering of the soul" - our aloneness and connectedness, new self-values and meaning may emerge. In our suffering we may at time experience this separateness (as we are born we separate) and other times that we are not separate at all, being human, part of nature or something more (see also Exploring, Defining, Connecting To A Sense Or Experience Of Spirituality). We may want to re-think the values on which our living is based. We may have a strong sense of inter-connectedness acknowledging the universality of sadness, suffering and love. For some, a further level of suffering and love may be our need to contract the gap between what it means to be human and the spiritual. We may want to address existential issues or have such questions as: "How do I survive suffering and limitations in the world?" or "How do I express love?" Our humanity includes our feelings, unconscious motivations may often run counter to how we "should be", our productivity, efficiency and being human in both our wounded self and core self, unconditionally loving these aspects of us may be challenging, yet as we do, the more we can share our love with others. Wanting to avoid all suffering may also mean we avoid love and stop the flow of our tears for either. And how to evolve as a loving human being may be part of our suffering as we embrace it, find our way through it. Some of us may want to ignore or avoid life's inevitable sufferings, our shadow, biology, painful feelings, or wait for love, as if it will come to us. Yet love is also a verb - the powerful movement, action and creation of being loving to ourself and others through connection, compassion, holding love, expressing love, being love. (See also The Connections We Need & Make)
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploringT.S.Eliot
will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
Suffering & Love - The Bigger Picture Our experiences of suffering and love may broaden our minds as may reflecting upon and responding to a larger society, the impact of science, culture, art, etc. Some of us may want to use the therapy to explore, be in touch with unity and what unites us, the universality of Love out there in the world and compassion beyond personal relationships, be willing to give and receive Love in its human and divine forms, where we are in tune with us and the wider world, being internally powerful as our heart is open and the illusion of separation is no longer - oneness, as if everything comes together as one, where our will is aligned. These experiences (a sense of love, bliss, the divine) may also occur during sexual surrender as we let go, when we fall in love, in the company of a new born child, when we are in touch with someone's needs - seeing them as inseparable from our own, interactions with the many forms of nature (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing).
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There scarcely any passion without struggle.Albert Camus
Our love may include opening up to loving, allowing love in, being the love we are. Some of us may confuse love with approval therefore allowing love in without the beliefs of our wounded self. that it must be earned, that we must be worthy of love may be important. Valuing our own existence, essence, may support us. How we love ourself, opening our heart, connecting to love in its many forms, how we embrace ourselves with compassion and understanding, belong and share love with others may enrich us. (See also The Pain & Joy Of Life - Opening Our Heart)
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.Carl Jung
Inconsolable, Dark Night Of The Soul For some our despair may also be of an existential nature. When we have descended into the dark, it can be as if we will never see the light again. Hope can be elusive. Sometimes it can be as if we have sunk to the bottom of the well, collapsed on our knees, shattered in peaces. When we are in despair it can be as if our heart is breaking in grief, or we are quaking with fear. In this dark place there may be silence, and in this stillness, for some may live solace, love or a holy place, yet not for others. In this "dark night of the soul" we may struggle to know or find any peace, love. "The darkest hours are just before dawn", as the proverb says. Yet all that dawns upon us and the world around us may go unnoticed. It may be challenging, yet moving for us to take responsibility for our own emotional wellbeing. Grieving what we need to grieve, let go of what we need to may be essential towards our healing. Our compassionate work may also begin when we not only experience our darkest of nights, finding our way through this, but also reaching out for support, information, help, guidance - for some this may be experienced as spiritual guidance, for others not so. Reaching out to another, trusted person willing to be with us, hear us, may offer us solace. Committing ourselves regularly to exploring our false beliefs and negative thoughts - the ones we constantly tell ourselves, may also support us. A doorway through this darkness for some may also include being in touch with and expressing our creativity in it's many forms (a mantra, poem, piece of music, work of art) - something deeply moving, which moves our emotional state if we are willing to allow ourselves to be moved, what energises us. Being open to surprises, spontaneity, windows of hope can emerge, as we discover our own source of solace. A lifeline in the dark may be the knowledge that we are in transition, that something is transforming, that within the darkness and little deaths we face, comes a rebirth, that something else is emerging for us.
All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.St Julian of Norwich
The Pain & Joy Of Life - Opening Our Heart We may believe that the only way to find joy is through avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Some of us can feel brokenhearted, living from our wounds, stuck in this place of heartbreak or heartache, the grief of being human. Some may crush anything good or remain stuck in our head, unwilling to yield to be free to love. Others may try to avoid pain (maybe through cynicism), yet when we avoid pain, remain sad, we also avoid joy (where both pain and joy can be held in the heart) - our rapture, enthralment, pleasure, contentment, pride and sense of triumph, relief, hope, optimism, where room for spontaneity, surprises, may have become limited. We may fear we are unable to handle our pain, to trust we can. Evoking our courage to open and soften our heart, embrace our emotions, letting love flow, is our choice. Experiencing what we enjoy, living our desires, may matter to us. We may hold back our tears of both joy and pain. Valuing and listening to our heart's desires - the knowledge of our heart and what's important, no longer needing validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration from others, staying present, centred in our body - grounded (so we don't abandon our self), living from our growing heart, following our heart's desire, learning to trust ourselves, love us and others may be important for us. And when our heart opens, through our intent, so too may our mind and we may feel more relaxed when the things around us change and we can feel more emotionally connected to others. Living through our heart - even through learning, conflict, our tears, vulnerable, courageous, being accepting, having gratitude and appreciation, being kind, can create more fulfilling relationships as we open our heart to others, empower our responses, inform our actions, ethical challenges. This open hearted experience of joy - an elevated mood can for some bring us into alignment with our deeper purpose, what we value. For others being in touch with our sense of playfulness, fun, lightheartedness, liberating our energy, opening not only to joy, but also delight, ecstasy, bliss - the wonder of the present moment and our vitality, the receiving, giving and sharing of love can be a measure of success for us or may connect us to spiritual enquiry, experiences.
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on thee. And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.Robert Frost
Living Life To Its Full Promise A challenge may be to live to our full promise and potential, for love, expanding mind and imagination, pleasure, creativity and spiritual growth. Some may want to connect to a deep compassion for the world. The counselling and psychotherapy considers the unconscious forces pointing to our own potential.
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We can't "do" being.
Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold What we do matters and being mindful of what we do may benefit us so we not only live a role-based life but also a soul-based life and there is less internal disconnect. Some of us can be so busy or successful, endlessly "doing" or achieving things, only goal-driven (meaningful as they are) - we forget our own qualities of simply "being", present in the moment (which gives us momentum), centred in our own ground, anchored, neglecting our very existence, our real self, and need to connect and belong, value each day and moment, our own intrinsic worth. Moments often come in our life when we realise "I have to be myself", my "I-am-ness" and we may want to get back to being the person we want to be - in touch with who we are. "How am I going to live rather than just doing things, achieving things, getting things done?", "How do i want to be?" maybe a questions we hold (see also Life's Journey - Connecting To Our Own Inner Direction & Creating Our Own Destiny). It is our being that motivates us. Doing things from the outside-in, or being from the inside-out may be our choice. Choosing to do things with a heavy or light touch may be important for us (see also Building, Maintaining Supportive Habits, Routines, Patterns). Some of us may fear the unknown or silence and this can for some be anxiety provoking, and for others a place they are closest to themselves, the world and beyond, where we can have a sense (space) of timelessness and wellbeing. And our state of being need not be serious, can be playful, carefree and light-hearted, intuitive - nourishing us. We can experience this energy. What worries or preoccupies us can be forgotten or seen with a different perspective. Sometimes our "being" and "doing" can be out of kilter with one another, which can be explored in the counselling and psychotherapy. On other occasions it can be as if our "being" and "doing" merge into one as if are a spiritual being having a human experience - no longer feeling separate, when we are immersed into an activity - putting our conscious attention into it - our being into our doing. We can have a sense of synchronicity as if life speaks to us and we are in tune with it, connected (see also Impact Of The Unconscious), where things chime, "in the zone", as if we are in touch with and going with the flow of life - the momentum of will is aligned (see also What We Resonate - Noticing Our Energy, Vibration), relaxed, concentrated with a level of focus, discipline and freedom (see also Life Transformation, Alchemy). We may experience self-love. From this place our concept of time may be more fluid, as may our fluidity of internal presence (and the connection between our body, feelings, mind) in moving between doing things and simply "being" (see also The Realm of the Unconscious) and counselling and psychotherapy offers us a space to explore this.
We have fallen into the place where everything is music.Rumi
Navigating Between Being & Doing We may want to integrate who we are - being ourself and in our own inner authority with what we do. Navigating between both our being - awareness, and doing - responsibility, can be challenging, as we allow our "doing" to be an expression of our "being" - though not a definition of our "being". We can make space for our "being", taking us away from day to day anxiety and letting go of our redundant "defences" by relaxing, reflecting following our "No" or "Yes" out in the world or immersing ourselves in often simple, mundane, repetitious, pleasurable or nurturing tasks. We may take enjoyment from having downtime, doing the small, everyday things in life well, which in our own simple way can make us feel satisfied, good, great, give us a sense of presence or just being in the now. We can nourish ourselves, be connected and find ourself simply by being creative, in touch with what inspires us, our home truths through healthy distractions or in interests and activities, especially those that integrate the energy and sensations of our head, heart and body, such as music, playing at anything, taking a shower, bath, washing dishes or the car, ironing, gardening, cleaning, looking after the home, DIY, cooking, knitting, fishing, movements - including exercising, sports, dancing or singing, baking, being in touch with our passions, art, literature, being out in nature, being with animals, socialising (e.g. connecting with a long lost friend), travelling, taking a holiday, doing pleasurable things, including our work, playing, having fun, walking, being on top of a mountain, by a pond, making love, meditation, praying or simply stopping and doing nothing. And some of these may lead to peak experiences.
Being In our Being How relaxed we are is intrinsically connected to the relationship between our body, feelings, mind (see also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Not Help). And some of us may want, yet are afraid to simply "be" or expand their "beingness" through change - broadcasting our "being" energetically (which may not necessarily mean we are relaxed, happy or that we have to believe we should be different to how we are - more just allowing space for each moment). We may also seek the freedom to be how we want to be in our own ways (see also Our Free Will). However we are not a closed system out of relationship with others. Not only being self-focused, also being with others "in the moment" helps us connect to our own being, as can giving, surrendering or dedicating our self to other people or a greater good, embracing love, as if we are being love, the energy of love - the love we are. This way of being responsible, caring, loving as part of our nature - being love in the world - may be experienced as intrinsic for us, as if close to our soul (outside the limits of our body, qualities of which include our intrinsic self worth, suffering and love, relinquishing what we need to let go of) - "soul making", evolving our heart in the ability to love - that has been described as the soul's journey, starting through loving ourself and sharing our love with others, which for some may point to a need to be loving in our actions in our relationship, marriage, or for others lead to a spiritual search, or need to know spiritual Love. These experiences may actualise us, evoking our own existential dilemmas.
Being is. Being is in - itself. Being is what it is.Jean-Paul Sartre
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Beauty Being in touch with, appreciating, loving beauty in its many forms, whether in people, nature, art, sport, music, dance, computers, etc. may stir us up and matter to us and we can feel moved, uplifted by beauty, feel alive. Beauty on the outside may be easier to identify with (as if we only see or want to possess beauty outside of us) than being in touch with, appreciating, honouring our own beauty within (see also Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold).
Gifts Reviewing our intent to give gifts may be important. Giving gifts through kindness without any strings attached, without an agenda to get something back, without expectations for gratitude, approval, that the person must appreciate it, like it, use it, may be a challenge for us at times (see also Giving, Receiving & Sharing Love - Loving & Being Loved).
Kindness We may have certain fears, reservations, that we will be seen as weak, taken advantage of if we are kind, that we may end up feeling rejected, hurt. And this hurt may date back from unkind responses in our childhood, so we may have build walls to shut ourselves off. If we are shut down or discounting of others to protect ourself we may also be rejecting ourself, feel bad inside, self-critical or judgemental, struggling to be kind, become a perfectionist to us or others. Yet at one level we are all one, part of a whole, where kindness reverberates, as does unkindness. If we treat ourselves badly, we are likely to treat others badly. And similarly, if we are unkind, harsh, judgemental to others, we are likely to be so for ourselves. We can't ignore our own circumstances, anxiety, behaviour, etc. yet our difficulties don't have to rule out being kind - coming from our heart, our true self. Being kind to ourself and our body, having unconditional love to ourselves and others - having compassion, empathy and appreciation, gratefulness, being thankful for what we have with our sense of loving care towards others often enhances our happiness and can benefit others' wellbeing and esteem, reduce stress, enhance social interactions. (When we are pressurised often just small acts of kindness, a genuine smile can reduce this.) We may believe others may think us strange if we are kind, that we want something in return, and we too may wonder what is the point of being kind without any reward. Being nice (without losing our power) because it makes us feel good may be important to us. (Some may confuse being nice - which can come with strings attached with being kind - which tends to be more sincere, wanting nothing in return.) When we feel good about ourself and spread kindness, this has a ripple effect. Being in touch with the virtue of our kindness - an elevated mood, expressing this, keeping our heart open, utilising our vision, being compassionate, with generosity of spirit, softness, honouring our and other people's small achievements, accomplishments and extending unconditional kindness, blessings to others with no agenda, thought of reward, often makes not only others but also us feel good with a sense of joy as may offering acts of service. Connection to individual kindness may also link us to becoming moved by a collective kindness - a love of one another in touch with our internal response to promote wellbeing in others - agape.
Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want, and do.Emanuel Swedenborg
Wellbeing Of Others - Generosity Of Spirit, Acts Of Service Moment by moment we have choices whether to be mean spirited or generous in regard to the wellbeing of others, have meaningful interactions with others, trusting our intuition without expecting anything back or sacrificing ourself. Yet we all need to belong and in each moment we may be faced with being neutral, mean spirited or taking our initiative, leading the way, willing to open our heart, having good will, being kind, generous in the act of giving - giving things, our time, encouragement, opportunity, ourself - not necessarily through grand gestures. And through the act of giving, being altruistic, simply listening, carrying out acts of service to others, the wider community, giving with good intention with generosity of spirit can also give us great satisfaction, meaning, give us what we need.
God does not command that we do great things, only little things with great love.Mother Teresa
Grace We may struggle to be graceful, compassionately forgive, accept our helplessness about changing outcomes, others, needing to yield to reality, let go. Grace (an aspect of love), like blessings, isn't necessarily associated with religion. We cannot force or pretend we have grace. Yet we can let grace in - be open to it, because it is our intention and effort to do so. And calling up the strength and wisdom of grace that everything is connected can for some be experienced as being from a spiritual source.
Blessings - To Bless & Be Blessed Holding grace, counting our blessings, having appreciation, gratefulness, gratitude honours us and others. Blessings can be experienced as recognising the divine in us, others (and blessings form a part of many religions), choosing to freely give our blessings, thanks through us to others in generous kindness - even those we don't get on with.
Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.Joseph Campbell
It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
Seeking Deeper Meaning Meaning on the one hand can be seen as just imagination, evolving consciousness. Finding meaning - what something's saying can help us make sense of things, experience life differently, live our joy, deepest desires, grow. It is not easy to define meaning yet it is often associated with sense of purpose, our impact and value, being involved with something bigger than ourself. As we evolve, we may be questioning what motivates us, pointing us in a direction of questioning what our life means. Our ambition, longing and yearning or disappointment may also point towards our search for meaning. We may also have a sense of meaninglessness in our life and for some finding meaning in life can also be a way of not allowing our vulnerability, tenderness to surface, avoiding our painful feelings (see also Stumbling Blocks, Obstacles, Reluctances) and the counselling and psychotherapy can be a space to look at this. Sometimes we can be searching so hard for deep meaning in life, yet overlook what's in front of us - finding fulfilment, meaning in love and personal relationships. Loss of meaning, meaninglessness, may for some bring up disturbances - a sense of pointlessness unfulfilment, some of which may point to our feelings of emptiness, an existential crisis or a search for our own purpose in life. And having existential concerns we may be searching for a secret to feel OK in our life only to realise there is not one (see also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Help). We may be questioning what really matters and is meaningful. Some of us may try to make sense of things by understanding connections between events and our experience, our perception. Some people's curiosity, or current circumstances, may lead them to seeking a deeper connection to themselves and the world, a deep sense of fulfilment. As we selfreflect, we may then see all in a larger than material context, searching for deeper meaning in various ways, learning what we need to learn. It is part of the human condition to have belief in something, have hope for the future, which gives us meaning. Our quest for personal meaning - what things symbolise for us, may also point us towards our self-values and exploring what it means to take care of ourself and others. Having meaning gives us a sense of internal presence. What we do with our life may also determine the meanings we make. Staying open in the moment to meaning, rather than pretending we know it - tolerating not knowing, can paradoxically bring us closer to meaning. As our consciousness awakens and evolves, continuous multiple meanings are created, we may become aware of a collective consciousness, which is beyond the personal. We may have a sense of universal consciousness, which may include a spiritual awakening (Selfrealisation), leading to a spiritual enquiry or deepening, for some, and not for others. Either way as we let go, free of identifications and attachments, and often in silence, we may want to listen and respond to that voice of SeIf, from our heart, which we may experience as small and awkward at first.
The only journey is the journey within.Rainer Maria Rilke
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Life's Journey - Connecting To Our Own Inner Direction & Creating Our Own Destiny Fuelled by advertising, media and aspects of religion, we may live our life as if there is an arrival point - a time and a place, when we feel complete, reach our goal, get to our final place, have it all, things are perfect, we have arrived and will be at peace. We may struggle to accept imperfection, incompleteness, the unknown as part of our humanity and be in the moment. As Ralph Emerson quotes "Life is a journey, not a destination" and the therapy explores our own journey (outer journey and inner landscape) and important destinations, what they mean for us. Yet in many journeys there are roadblocks, potholes in the way - can we relax and enjoy it may be one challenge. Our life could be seen as one interconnected journey where we are on an emotional, psychological journey, affecting our physiological journey - the physical feelings in our body or spiritual journey - however this speaks to us. This for some may include evolving our heart in the ability to love - what has been described as the soul's journey (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing). Choosing our own path, settling in to our own journey, slowing down, accepting our feelings, may support us. We may feel lost inside, have lost direction and connecting to our purpose may help give us direction. Like a train, our thoughts can take us to many destinations, different directions. Being clearer about the direction, destinations (even undiscovered ones) we may want to head towards, may be important for us and to make things happen to get there. When we are connected to our authentic sense of who we are, our real goals - what we truly need and what we are doing - committed to something really worthwhile (our inner direction), our will (motivational forces) can be very powerful. When we act from our innermost place, in touch with our free will, we have the potential to be more creative. Our curiosity, ideas, imagination and aspirations can support us. Past trauma may inhibit our sense of direction. Liberated from our past, free of our old defences and free from anxiety about the future, we are able to let go of things, be present, "in the moment", responding more intuitively, listening to whether our feelings are informing us that we are heading towards our direction. Windows of opportunity seem to occur more. Some people experience how free will, providence, destiny and inspirational guidance and insight seem to play more of a role in their lives, as if our life is co-created. Creating our own destiny may be important, envisioning our future - framing our thoughts, beliefs, images, to how we want to live, embodying this, living this. What all this might mean to us, inside the depths of our own psyche, how we might live our life's journey creatively and what we dedicate our Iives to, may present new challenges. On this journey we may come across other travelling companions, some like-minded, others incompatible. They may encourage us to travel further, whereas others may have held us back. Some may stay with us until their own journey takes a different course and we part. How to influence each other and humanity's destiny in small, simple or powerful ways through our actions, manifesting both our inner and outer evolution, may also be a need for some.
A journey of a thousand miles began with a single step.Lao Tzu
Our Vision, Visualisation, Envisioning The Reality We Wish To Be True Some of us may view life as a journey, want to connect to our own inner direction, create our own destiny, envisage our future now - visualising the reality we wish to be true. Acknowledging our view of reality, utilising our free will, we may also want to be more in touch with our vision (especially those who tend to procrastinate). Yet we may be holding on to or unhelpful perspectives from our past - what we want to see and why we do what we do. (Our current perspective may also affect our vision now.) We can get closer to our vision by being kind, embodying our values and passions - what inspires us, gives us momentum, direction as we imagine, create our future by what we envision shaping our destiny now (see also Our Creative Imagination, Creativity, Inspiration, Innovation). Visualisation (imagination) can assist us. Plasticity of our brain (what fires together, wires together) is affected by what we visualise - our future. Living our vision can be supported by our goals - how we achieve things (see also Manifesting What We Need). We may be questioning whether our vision is purely in service of ourselves or includes a wider community and following through our vision with action may be our next step. However, before we take our next positive step, we may need to look at what stops us envisioning the positive, including:
- Negative attitude
- Unhelpful habitual thinking patterns, unproductive, negative thoughts & their meanings
- Repetition compulsion
- Impending Doom, Sense Of Dread
- Catastrophising, Awfulising
- Negative Scenarios
- Confirming Our Expectations
- Linking Our Behaviour To What's Happening Inside
- Remembering - Old Emotions, Current Emotions
Our Potency Maybe lost or stuck in some way, some of us may struggle to grow up or feel impotent. We may not only want to develop our potential for love, our own sexual potency but also to be in touch with and express our potency in all its forms - our strengths (see also Intrinsic Self-Worth - Valuing Who We Are), resilience, power, spiritual power, leadership - being in our own authority, centred in our own ground, harnessing our potential in creative loving ways, supporting our confidence. The counselling and psychotherapy for potency explores our own power and strength. (See also Therapy For Men's Issues - Men & Power)
The idea is there, locked inside. All you have to do is remove the excess stone.Michelangelo
Creative Blocks - Uncovering, Cultivating Our Creativity, Inspiration, Innovation Everyone has the capacity to be creative. We may have limiting beliefs that creativity must only be about art and not about solving problems, making intelligent decisions, combating difficulties and challenges, taking risks, being successful in life. Some may be creative in one aspect, yet struggle in other areas and this can be true about how we use our experiences, e.g. the creative advantages and disadvantages of having a monkey mind. We may want to be more in touch with our creativity, making space for what inspires us and be closer to our being, yet our thinking may have become concrete, less imaginative. Our blocked emotions (even the so called negative ones) may be the very untapped resources we can draw upon to support our creativity. The very blocks that stop us being creative (e.g. our sensitivities, general fear or fear of making mistakes, drives, impulses, urges, daydreaming, unhelpful images on our mind) also have the potential to be creative forces, if we embrace this challenge (see also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity). We may have memories of how our creativity became eroded as a child and this can be included in the therapy. We may view vulnerability, uncertainty, ambivalence and not knowing purely as a curse, rather than these experiences themselves also being a means of expressing creativity, facilitating change. It is not our feelings, thoughts, the mundaneness of life, our actions, non-actions (e.g. procrastination) themselves that stops us being creative or remain passive - it is what we do with them. Finding out what techniques, methods support our flexible thinking and creativity and what blocks it, may be important. For example intense focus can be good for some, yet not others. Overly focusing on the end result and outcomes may sap our energy to be in the present, fully embracing, participating in the creative process. Ways of thinking, feeling, doing that stifle our creativity may also include:
- Unhelpfully distracting ourselves
- Trying to include everything, struggling to leave things out, which can inhibit us opening the space for something new, fresh
- Being stuck in doing or thinking in familiar ways, struggling to adapt, change or let go, allowing something new to emerge
- Holding limited beliefs that true creativity can only exist if we are suffering, as if we have to be some sort of tortured artist
- Rigid beliefs of what we're "supposed" to create
- Being caught in a love addiction (or other unhelpful habits, addictions)
- Believing that if we lose our self-judgements, criticisms, we will become less creative
- Becoming selfcritical, judgemental or stuck in our self-doubt
- Becoming overly competitive, a perfectionist, over-demanding or fear failure, mistakes or the unknown, which can immobilise us, as may our stress, fear, anxiety
- Burying ourselves into routine, responsibility or even self-neglect
- Stopping being exploratory, inquisitive (yet when we are in touch with our curiosity, it can spark and support our creativity through difficult times. And in these difficult times (e.g. depression, frustration, anger) we still have the potential to be creative
- Not identifying why we want to be creative and who for
- Waiting for our creativity to arrive (maybe expecting a spark of inspiration), yet it never seems to
- Becoming disappointed or cynical, closing off our heart, struggling to expect stumbling blocks or allow ourselves to fail
- Struggling to respond to the loneliness, solitude and silence, when we are in the midst of the creative process
- Finding it hard to collaborate alongside others (which can be another source of creativity)
- Struggling to get in there, do the hard work
- Losing touch with hope and what used to inspire us
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.Robert Louis Stevenson
Our Creative Imagination, Creativity, Inspiration, Innovation We are all creative beings and wanting to understand and express things is simply creative and it is our want that can drive our creativity and bring out our original ideas that have value into manifestation. We all have the potential to be creative, imagine with more freedom - tapping into our free will and resourcefulness, the wave of possibilities (utilising our whole range of positive/negative emotions), generating ideas, opportunities, consider other possibilities, including making connections with all our experiences (as Steve Jobs said "Creativity is just connecting things"), synthesising new things. When we do, we can feel more energised, experiencing this momentum directly as if we are "in the zone", as things come together and our concept of time may alter and become more of a "space". Some may have peak experiences. And when we are in touch with our vitality, aligning our will and personal power, being receptive to our creative energy (see also What We Resonate - Noticing Our Energy, Vibration), we can be more creative. (When our creativity and imagination flow - see also Our Free Will, some people may report an almost artistic expression of love, a heightened sexual energy, heightened awareness of spirituality or a deeper connection to the world.) How we inspire our self may be a challenge, and often as we are inspired, so too are we able to inspire others (co-creativity). We may want to explore ways in which our "creative juices" can flow in and out - by being touch with our creative imagination, creativity, daydreaming (even utilising aspects of our magical thinking), thinking outside the box, tapping into our feelings, getting hold of them, creatively expressing them. Constructively channelling our anxiety (and all our What if? questions) in creative ways may support us, put us in an elevated mood. Counselling and psychotherapy can help explore what we would do without our fear, how to embrace it, the different ways of being creative and what sparks our ideas - ones that suit us, what we do with our attention, focus, concentration and how we bring the process of our creativity into form. Following our passion, desire can be exactly what we need to do, yet may not always work for others. The counselling for creativity and the containment of therapy explores our own source of our imagination (e.g. imagining what is going to happen, believing this) and how this can facilitate change, contacting and expressing our creativity, attitude to risk and put ourself on the line, get in touch with what we know and don't know, what we want to explore and value (these qualities may live outside of our ego), and how through practice, diligence and discipline we can go off somewhere inside to establish a state of flow if that helps us. We may want to consider the following influences, so we can find out what inspires us, personally accesses and enables our creativity, creative process, alongside our own tapped and untapped resources and to provide an end result, so we solve problems, make our ideas happen, experience "Aha" moments:
- Not being afraid to fail
- Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, courageous
- Putting aside what we know, see where this takes us, explore other perspectives
- Utilising our imagination to bypass our limited thinking to suppose, wonder possibilities, dream, daydream
- Being in touch with what sparks our stimulus in different spaces, places, what inspires us, what stimulates our divergent thinking, whether it be other people - maybe their stories, blogs, art, music, nature, our favourite place, achieving or solving something, doing something useful (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing)
- Considering our own, genuine interest, enthusiasm, excitement and start working on these and no longer only going along with others' ideas
- Opening ourselves up to receive, initiate creative influences
- Getting in touch with what engages us, what's funny, amusing, challenging or painful, all our emotions that can influence our creativity
- Tapping in to the curiosity, fun, creativity and imagination we once had when younger, freer and innocent, including any childhood wounds, vulnerability and tenderness
- Being in the company of children (as Picasso said: "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."), or other creative, supportive or inspiring people
- Getting in touch with our passionate energy, being open to its subtle forms
- Remembering what does inspire us
- Being in touch with all our senses (refining them and opening up to our under-used ones), what's around us, what moves, inspires us now, e.g. nature, certain people, art, film, music, sport, meditation, personal interests, passions, desires, etc., navigating between being and doing
- Being in touch with our own alchemical processes, what sows the seeds of our creativity - the mysteries and magic of it, allowing nuggets of creativity to emerge, even in places we wouldn't normally dream of
- Allowing the creative process to unfold, be in the (sometimes timeless) moment
- Being willing to make mistakes, "fail", enter into the unknown or even chaos, and dropping our anxiety around this, allowing for something creative to emerge through this process
- Feeling something creative, inspirational, coming on and collecting it, playing with it, struggling through it, challenging it
- Tapping in to the creativity that occupies our unconscious
- Allowing for surprises, spontaneity, unpredictability, trying new things (sometimes overriding the practical or apparently logical) & seeing what happens
- Thinking flexibly
- Taking inspiration from our own values, from supportive others around us (collaborating with them if it supports our creativity), from all walks of life, being interested & curious about them, their stories, influences, drives, dedication & determination
- Getting out there - being open to new insights, embracing new scenarios, experiences, sensations
- Allowing our creative expression to nudge us towards meaning
- Having some perspective and turning our actions into creative expression (our perspective becomes more enlightened when inspired)
- Being compassionate, open to learning, persevering, developing the resilience to overcome challenges
- Converting our inspiration into action, achieving our goals, however small, making a difference
- Looking after our health, diet, sleep, exercise, etc.
- Exploring doing things differently to what we normally or routinely do & developing, building, maintaining supportive habits, routines, patterns, that facilitate our creativity
- Considering changing our environment to a new, refreshing, formal or informal one - whatever works best for us
- Identifying what routines work for us, our preferred times of the day when we are creative, what conditions, atmospheres, suit us best, e.g. silence, certain sounds, aromas, the light & spaces we prefer that support us being creative, getting down to the work
- During the creative process getting to know what works best for us, e.g. taking lots of breaks, pushing things through when we need to
- Staying focused when we need to
- Exploring our vision, utilising visualisation, envisioning our future
- Making & protecting time to plan, prepare & think constructively
- Being in touch with our imagination & moving it towards manifestation, utilising our personal will (see also Procrastination Cure? - Mobilising Our Resources To Act)
We are swimming upstream against the current of love when we separate into "us" and "them".Brian Weiss
Love tells us that we are all connected, all equal, all the same, all one.
In Tune With Us & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness We are not just a self-absorbed, isolated, narcissistic "I". We all live in communities and are also a "we" - being connected, involved with others, sharing interests, interactions, part of something beyond us, part of nature. Boosting, nurturing our relationships, expanding our social circle, relating with others, developing meaningful interactions, giving back to society, offering support to others and being in service to others can be both challenging and fulfilling at times, supporting our sense of wellbeing. And being in touch with our vitality, what we resonate - noticing our energy, the energy of love, may support us. And how we responsibly participate in the world beyond our own interest and environment ("rising like lions in slumber" as Shelly writes) and what we transmit is in our hands, gives us a sense of belonging. Acknowledging the ripple effect of interdependency - that relationships affect us and we affect relationships, that we are more powerful together when control and love is shared may support us. Some may be in touch with a sense that at some level we are all one - that there is an interdependent love, so as the cells in our body make up our whole, so too do all people, as if we are all connected in the world - a spark making up a whole, intertwined in a complex pattern of energy, which for some may lead to deeper questions (e.g. is suffering and love interconnected?), a sense of mutual interdependence with the environment, all that is living and spiritual enquiry. Appreciating our differences, caring for our planet, may also be significant for us. A further dilemma may be how to be in harmony with us, and with the world and vibrations beyond us, seeing the potential, capabilities in others, no matter how they present themselves, being cooperative, part of a global community and in service of this, empowering us and others for the highest good and what calls us - the universal Will beyond our personal Will. Experiencing disharmony inside may point to a need to align ourself with the wider world (personal love, collective will and universal love).
spiritual counselling in London - spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, spiritual guidance, self-values, spiritual path and creative blocks
One Love! One Heart!Bob Marley
Let's get together and feel all right.
Respect For The World Around Us Respect can be seen as being a core human virtue. Having self-respect can be a platform for respecting all of life, nature, the world around us, respecting our partner. Some times we can get so used to things, taking them for granted, we overlook respect. At times we may live as if only we count. Being grateful and appreciative of everything, can teach us respect taking responsibility for our interactions with others. Imagining we are a guest in the world may also assist us.
Opening Our Heart To Our Own Ethics Further challenges may be to live from our own integrity, how to fully express the Will in our actions with our heart open, develop our ethical stance in the world as we choose our direction in the world.
Guidance, Truth Some may view guidance, truth as coming from a spiritual source, whereas others do not. Opening and accessing guidance, truth for some may mean surrendering control, letting go, listening and exploring what personally guides us, our truth without a spiritual context, which can be explored in therapy. For others, what guides us, truth (see also Our Home Truths), may be experienced as ultimately spiritual and being in our loving adult - as opposed to our wounded self may bring us to spiritual enquiry which can also be explored in the therapy. (See also Truth, Knowledge & Knowing Things)
Spiritual Enquiry, Feeling Spiritual, Choosing A Spiritual Path, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Wellbeing As we loosen some of the protective patterns of our ego, some of us may recognise their life is empty without the spiritual dimension and want to explore what it feels like to flourish spiritually. The WHO states "Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing." (See also Psychological Wellbeing, Psychological Health, Psychological Resilience, Mental Wellbeing, Mental Resilience) Some of us may live as if only we count or only want to be connected to their own path, have a spiritual void, not have any spiritual feelings nor desire to pursue a spiritual path, "repress the sublime", be shy about spirituality. Others may choose to discover, embrace and integrate this aspect of life, sensing wisdom, strength, comfort or Love from a spiritual source. Entering into the spirit of life may lead us to the spiritual. Some of us may experience a place deep within that wants to be fulfilled or get to a place in life when we become in touch with something that is larger than ourself. We may be questioning the impact of the unconscious, sense a consciousness beyond ourselves, and this may lead to a spiritual sensibility or search (as if spirituality is patiently waiting for us). Pondering spiritual questions, we may want to examine our value systems in a meaningful way and how we want to live - whatever this means for us (see also Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold), and this for some may also include being on a spiritual search, path. For some people, as we relinquish our resistances, or are in touch with a life force within and beyond us, we may also want to be open to seeing what happens spiritually in our life (this for some may include a surrender, yet without giving up, no longer exclusively attached to outcomes and coming from our core self rather than only our mind). By embarking upon a spiritual search, wanting to be more in touch with this life force and our creativity, we may want to follow what we are experiencing. Being in touch with our breathing, listening to our inner voice, letting go, forgiveness and gratitude, in touch with life's suffering, learning what we need to learn may for some also lead to a connection to what is spiritual, a spiritual essence - whatever this means for us, and the need to be in a more "soulful" way out in the world. "Whether we are inside our soul, whether indeed we have a soul, or our soul rests within us?", "How does our soul have a spiritual source?", "Does the energy of Love come from spirit?" - may be questions we ponder upon.
God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.Joseph Campbell
Exploring, Defining, Connecting To A Sense Or Experience Of Spirituality In order to bypass our own personal issues, struggles, some of us may flee towards the spiritual. Others may experience the natural connection to the energy of life and its interconnectedness, that we are spiritual beings having human experiences, or simply may want to explore or feel connected to a spiritual sense - just valuing, enjoying, engaging in the simplest things of life without naming it or having a belief system, reducing it to some "thing" or limitations of a "word" (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing). Some may link spirituality with God, what is holy/sacred or an ultimate being (and our own special, cultural, religious, spiritual entity word we have for this): the sublime, or the experience of opening our heart, love and compassion, grace, joy, nature, intuition, wisdom, higher power or higher guidance, truth (see also Truth, Knowledge & Knowing Things). Other word associations that match our experience or our own sense of spirituality may include our creator, the loving source from where we came, a greater good, the deepest place within ourself, our true nature, vast emptiness, wholeness, the one, oneness, essential goodness, divine, consciousness, spiritual will. Spirituality can also be interpreted as an umbrella term connected to mind, spirit and through our hearts and minds. And what this means for us alongside living a spirit-connected life can be explored in the therapy. We may also want to explore our personal sense of spirituality through the following overlapping areas:
Spirituality Through The Experience Of Our Senses Spirituality may be experienced as being present in the moment connecting to what is spiritual through simply being, living, tragedy, death of a loved one, beauty, pain (see also Suffering & Love), certain disturbances, existential crisis, art, serenity, nature, our senses, the innocence of children, including our own childhood, the depths of humanity or simply whatever deeply moves us. We may experience a profound sense of awe or wonder, timelessness, altered state of consciousness, moments of illumination or depth of psychic awareness, which may reveal experiences of a new dimension beyond our self encountering forces beyond rational understanding. Others may also experience spirituality through a yearning for deep connection, hope, warmth of mankind, Love.
Spirituality Through The Experience Of Sense Of Self Our separateness, connectedness, the awe of where we came from or spark of conception may point us towards spiritual enquiry. Searching for deep meaning, purpose and connectedness or being in touch with a calling may also point us towards a sense of the spiritual, as may questioning why we suffer and the nature of free will. Journeying into the unknown, going beyond our self, revealing new dimensions of our self, absolute truth, humility, wisdom and wholeness, connectedness and sensitivity, empathy with others may also lead us to spiritual enquiry, a spiritual sense.
Spirituality Through Experience Or Sense Of What's Divine Or Sacred The role of destiny may play a part in our search or sense for the divine or sacred. Maybe through deep connections with others, the wider world, nature, we may experience, recognise, honour a divine energy or ultimate being and want to meditate or have a desire to pray or have personal encounters with a spiritual entity, experience the holy or have sacred moments and want to nourish these. We may experience a sense of oneness, wholeness, unity, union, we may no longer separate Love from spirit.
Our Spiritual Roots & Routes - Which May Draw Us Towards Spirituality Sometimes the spiritual values of love, compassion and honesty can draw us towards a spiritual path. Others people may be drawn to creativity or the meaning of things, as a way of being in touch with, or expressing a sense of the spiritual. We may have a desire to love, with an intent to invite Love into our heart may want to know spiritual Love, that we are both human and divine, fallible and vulnerable, and want to integrate both. The value of Love, nature, our dreams, imagination, metaphor through stories and poetry, music and dance may assist our journey towards a spiritual source of Love, source of support, spiritual awakening, sometimes through peak experiences...
Peak Experiences It was Abraham Maslow who originally wrote of peak experiences - rare moments of intense sheer happiness, transpersonal experiences, fulfillment, experienced as euphoric, ecstatic rapture or a deeply moving state of internal presence. And in these peak experiences, our behaviour may effortlessly flow, not constrained by conformity. We may become more mindful of the present moment without past influences or expected future experiences, feeling completely responsible for our behaviour and perceptions. Our mind may become more flexible, free, open to fresh ideas, thoughts. Our judgement and sense of time and space may be altered. These peak moments when we are in touch with our "being" may come from ordinary, simple or intense events and we may experience an internal flow of energy leading up to this. We may have a feeling of utilising all our capabilities and capacities at their highest potential. Triggers for peak experiences may also include creativity, art, music (playing or listening to), etc., gaining profound knowledge, insights, e.g. scientific discoveries, great writers, exercise or extreme sport, orgasm, orgasmic experience, connecting with nature. We may also have peak experiences through a shock, death, opening our hearts, intimate moments with friends or family, being in love, feeling love, making deep connections with others, introspection. We may have vivid moments which make us feel good, joyous or simply being through meditative (or other similar) states, epiphany or religious experiences. When in this heightened state, our internal conflicts, inhibitions, fears, may have dissolved. Having peak experiences for some may mean effortlessly functioning without struggle - an experience of being at one and harmonious - a whole self, where things come together (free of conflict without doubt, inhibition), in the zone, able to flow easier, be more expressively spontaneous, in touch with a will and volition that is not just personal. Following peak experiences, we may see ourself and the world in new ways, maybe with new meaning, experiencing everything coming together as one, through space, a spiritual search, spiritual connection, and the therapy can explore this further..
Spirituality, Spiritual Growth - What We May Experience & Where It May Lead Us To Spiritual growth, means different things to different people. For some this may simply mean, letting go, taking responsibility for themselves, their self-values, and other people. For others, spiritual search and personal growth may mean connection with energy larger than the personal, a spiritual connection with nature, the universe. What this energy, higher consciousness or spiritual consciousness means, is for each individual to interpret. The NHS take into account the place of spirituality as an integral and important part of a person's health and the Mental Health Foundation have published a paper "Inspiring Hope: Recognising the importance of spirituality in a whole person approach to mental health"; many schools of psychotherapy also acknowledge the psychological relevance of spiritual experiences and religious events. We may find spirituality places us on a path towards ongoing growth, compassion, expanding our consciousness, spiritual power and connection with an universal energy, what is sacred. Spirituality may for some help us understand life through meaning. At times, it may help us connect to or give us reassurance, a sense of safety, courage. We may be in touch with will and volition, Love, beauty, simplicity, innocence, as we give up all resistances for a moment, resting in our true nature. Some may experience moments of spiritual serenity - all is well with a sense of harmony, serenity, calm, peace of mind and contentment, maybe through silence. We may report how our perceptions, creativity and sexuality become heightened, our experience of time and space alters. The quality of what we see, smell, touch, hear, taste, feel may deepen and we may be in touch with an almost "sixth sense" or what some people call a spiritual energy and our dreams become enriched. Our sense of spirituality may guide us to a lifestyle, which is good for our and others' health, wellbeing and we may also be drawn to being generous, offering acts of service.
Spiritual Search, Spiritual Connections - Our Own Self-Determined Journey, Responsibility We may want to explore what spirituality means for us. How our spiritual journey manifests, its development, discovering any of our own spiritual discoveries, is our own responsibility, and belongs to us as our own individual exploration linked to our own personal integrity. If "repressing the sublime" is no longer our choice, the therapy offers a space which may guide you in gaining access to your deepest aspirations yet take a value-neutral stance, not directing you to any particular religious or spiritual belief. With open hearted compassion, some may want to undertake a sacred quest of becoming a moral human being, and experience a shift from our mind to our heart, being in touch with a love for others, all of life and the divine - Love from a spiritual source, whatever this means for us. Our own spiritual journey may include regulating our spiritual life, having compassion for us and others for the highest good in our loving actions. This may also be about balancing our work with the rest of our life, allowing for exercise, being involved with a community of friends, alongside the connections we make through reflection, meditational mindfulness or prayer, nature and how we also live our life in service of others - not necessarily in grand ways. Being in touch with the interconnectedness of life (others link spiritual union with sexual union), sensing spiritual love, remaining centred and grounded fully in our body, involved in the fabric of everyday living, practical tasks and relating with others (see also Love Of Humanity), being playful, lighthearted, having a sense of humour may also connect us to being human in the world.
Spiritual Principles & Connection To Religious Faith Some people may be challenged by how they take personal responsibility for their spiritual life, in how they can be flexible, co-operative, open hearted and not simply follow orders, doctrines. Understanding our self, realigning our sense of self with how we authentically want to relate in the world may be important. Some of us may not be religious at all. Others may be a person of religious faith. Living a religious life, we may deeply value our religion, honouring its important place for us in the world. Our religion may include a spiritual dimension and some may want to be connected to their own spiritual principles or connection to a higher power, which may, or may not be part of their organised religion, aligning their act of faith to this. Some may have a transcendental experience of going beyond any specific religion. The counselling and psychotherapy honours what works for you, alongside your own religious beliefs, spiritual experiences and explorations. Some may become very righteous, inflated about their own religion or sense of the spiritual, struggling to tolerate other people's religion or those with no religious convictions or spiritual beliefs (see also Religious Activities - Obsession With Religion, Religious Addiction). We may deny our own faults, vulnerability, shadow, biology, basic instincts, try to hold some sort of religious or spiritual superiority or elitism, which takes us out of relationship with others, stops us learning. (See also The Connections We Need & Make)
Spirituality - Our Possible Challenges Some of us may turn to spirituality as an escape from emotional difficulties, others towards a source of healing. How spirituality connects us to power, Love, moves us towards subjective reality or illusion so we are not overwhelmed by inflation or succumb to psychological disturbances so our ego remains intact may be challenging. Some may believe that by experiencing a spiritual path, journey that we can have all the things missing for us. We may go about fixing ourselves or others so we can be happy. We may believe we have "made it", once we swap all our unhealthy habits always for spiritual practices, including yoga, meditation, mindfulness, prayer. Yet our actions may be hidden, controlling strategies to get all the good things we want (e.g. to be rich, happy, honest, peace of mind, etc.) telling ourself we want to learn, bypassing our feelings (especially avoiding difficult, uncomfortable feelings) as we are now on our spiritual journey. Yet we may use this spiritual path to fix (and ignore) these unwanted feelings, our inner child or false beliefs of our wounded self - wanting our anxiety, pain to go away. We may stay in our old control strategies. Our healing work may include listening to our inner child, noticing our intention and not use our spiritual path to ignore our essence. Pursuing spiritual enlightenment, with the ability to self-reflect, maintain humility and transparency may be a challenge for some, changing our lifestyle for others. We may want to explore and make sense of our experiences - some of which we may view as spiritual. Spiritually awake, we may be seeking a deeper connection to our own spiritual path, innate capacities and ideals - our full worth. We may be challenged with our own faith and trust issues.
Fleeing Towards Spiritual Enlightenment - Spiritual Bypass Spiritual bypass happens when we use our spiritual practice through prayer, meditation, etc. or to "bliss out" as a way to get rid of or avoid taking personal responsibility for any difficult, uncomfortable feelings, anxiety, hurt, shame, wounds, anger, depression. Seeking spirituality without stopping finding, connecting with our self, ego intact, peace of mind, being in the present moment may inhibit our spiritual connection... Some of us may use our belief system to avoid feeling, expressing our psychological pain (see also Accessing Our Feelings, Healthily Expressing Feelings, Fully Feeling Our Feelings - Allowing Our Emotions To Flow), handing over our personal responsibility to spirituality. There may be an alienated, vulnerable, abandoned part of us (maybe our wounded self or inner child), who doesn't feel OK, with an overwhelming need to be loved and find their worth outside of themselves. We may find it hard to turn to our own loving adult for self-compassion, providing us with enough safety and love of our own, so this younger or wounded aspect of us is healed, acknowledged and accepted, OK and safe, integrated into our life - that our sense of self (I) remains without giving our self away. Disempowering us, we may bypass this process, fleeing towards the spiritual or become obsessed by religion, or hold a smug, insincere composure. The therapy may explore our intent when we meditate, pray, contact the spiritual - whether this is to avoid pain or connect with ourself and learn about love - loving ourself and others. A need for some may be to integrate spiritual or religious beliefs, aspects into our adult life, avoid magical beliefs, thinking, be centred, anchored, grounded, inhabiting our body and at the same time not avoid transcending our pain yet be personally empowered, including having our own personal will, free will - open to learning, so we don't lose, bypass our authentic sense of self with our own identity, faults, biology and shadow, enjoying intimate relationships and consciously choose to develop and live our own, authentic spiritual life. The counselling offers support in not ignoring our messy humanness, so called negative feelings, vulnerability, unwanted aspects, so we embrace our painful feelings, learn about what we are doing or thinking to cause our pain, taking responsibility, are fully human, embodied and divine.
And it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known as unknowable. This is a simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things — plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tidepool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.John Steinbeck - "The Log from the Sea of Cortez"