“Collaborating With Life” Comments, Page 1

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13 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Collaborating With Life”

  1. I have a session with my therapist today, and I plan to raise issues with her about things she said in our last session. I’m still in that precarious intro period where I feel like we click sometimes, but not all the time, and I’m not sure whether she can help me. I’m not sure.

    Usually before a session, I have a few seedlings that I plan to talk about, but in the session we go wherever. I think the most important aspect of this relationship is willingness on my part to be honest with myself. I’m there to heal, to grow – if I’m hiding from myself, I’m not able to get to the point where I’m open with my therapist. The problem for me is that I may not realize I’m hiding from myself!

    The value of a long-term conversation with a therapist is that if we have that “click” you talk about, and I feel that I’m being honest, over time the therapist will perhaps help me to identify ways that I’m hiding from myself. It isn’t an intentional withholding of important information – it’s my repressed childhood. I’ve been reading Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child” again, and it is clear that the therapist’s own childhood is just as important as the “analysand’s” needs – a therapist cannot help me to regain the vitality I lost in therapy if he/she has not achieved this for him/herself.

    I want to collaborate with life, that is definite for me, but I don’t always know how. I believe in the strength of the unconscious as much as I believe in the power of the therapeutic relationship. I have hope that whether or not my current therapist is able to help me, that I will find the right person who can. That’s why I come to therapy – to collaborate with life.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  2. Thanks for your great comment upsi. Like you I find it hard to know when I am hiding from myself – and sometimes find it very embarrassing when I find out I was. As you say our hiding/withholding isn’t intentional (which I find fascinating).

    How to collaborate with life is tricky. I certainly don’t have many good answers. My rule of thumb, ‘stay open, stay with it, and it works’, is one attempt. But it sounds a bit shouldish – it would probably be better to say: stay aware of when I open and close.

    I’m not sure if this is your first comment here, if so, welcome. Thanks for your great comment.

  3. I agree that you can collaborate with the living process, step into it, carry it forward, or block it. I also agree that we often have a choice whether to reveal something or not, although I do think we often reveal pretty much everything in our whole way of being, whether we share the explanation, or information, or not.

  4. This is a very interesting post Evan. The concept of collaborating with life is fascinating! I think we unconsciously & subconsciously hide things from ourselves, and others of course.

    I don’t really know what to make of this idea of how to collaborate with life. It seems difficult to me, but I think this is something that’s worth pondering. Thanks for making me think! :) x

  5. Hi Kitty, welcome – I think it is your first time here. I do think we hide things from ourselves. Please feel free to come back and tell us the results of your pondering. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Hi Evan — thanks for this — I think it’s important to remember that there are aspects of how we feel and think that we don’t consciously control, and so much that we’re not even aware of at all. This is a humbling thing to remember, and I think it’s a welcome counterpoint to a lot of the rhetoric out there saying “you can choose how you feel.”

  7. “Collaborating with life” is such a powerful phrase.

    It’s so easy to get upset with life because it’s not going as it should. That “should” is complex and often unconscious that collaboration seems impossible. Becoming more mindful of shoulds can help you make sure you’re choosing healthy ones that are flexible enough so you can work with what life throws your way.

  8. I wonder if the opposite idea of this is when you become ‘stuck’, not necessarily depressed but unable or unwilling to collaborate with life? I’m stuck presently, although recovering psychologically but avoiding doing anything creative, which was my life.

    I often say that I want a ‘holiday from myself’; perhaps what I really mean is that I want to ‘hide away’ that part of myself that is avoiding the ‘receiving of experience’ and being that I can’t literally escape from myself, I nonetheless remain ‘on the run’ avoiding the very things that make my life worthwhile. At one point I was using ‘pot’ and alcohol to block my experience; I no longer use pot and initially substituted alcohol for it, but I’m getting that under control now.

    I agree that structuring and forming the parts of our lives that we do have control over, whether we are willing or not in spite of certain experiences and the feelings attached to them that may never change, is what eventually leads to growth psychologically; every time I have become ‘stuck’ it is the taking of control even before I was psychologically ready that has brought about a re engagement with life. It’s like knowing that you have to eat something when you are poorly, even though you don’t feel hungry. I think the the new term for this is ‘acceptance and committment’, but I don’t actually believe this is a new process as it’s pretty much what you do in CBT anyway. What has helped me that was a new idea, to me anyway, was ‘mindfulness’ and even if it’s introduced as part of face to face therapy it is something we experience inside ourselves as we try not to supress particulare thoughts and feelings and also attempt to bodily experience the moments as thy pass; almost focusing without focusing, medititation minus the meditative.

    I’m not ‘there’ yet as regards recovering and can only access self therapy projects. Interestingly, I never have the opportunity to vocalise my experiences, prepare what I’m going to say each week or make a judgement about a therapist since the therapist is absent (obviously apart from the person who wrote the various pages I read or who prepared the questionairres), so the majority of the theraputic process is internalized. Also, I don’t need to choose how much I reveal of myself unless it’s the case that I’m ‘kidding’ myself, which of course we all do at times. That said, I made a choice today to reveal some personal things about myself to complete strangers; it took me 18 months to admit to my counsellor that pot was becoming a problem, and that I self harmed, just at the point that my sessions were about to end because of funding: if I had just been honest at the beginning, perhaps my recovery would be complete now. I think on the other hand that it took those 18 months for me to recognise that my habits were part of the problem; I had fooled myself prior to that.

    Thanks for a really thought provoking article! This site is a real ‘gem’.

    1. Hi Clare, I agree that it is finding the stuck points, where you seem to not be going forward with life, that is the start of shifting them and moving forward. And then, as you say, bringing a kind of unjudgmental acceptance of the fact that this is how it is right now… it does bring a kind of healing.

      Thanks for your recent contributions. All the best with your work!

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