I have been reading, Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg. She says to write like you walk, without forethought or planning, to write freely in one session and edit it in another. She describes writing as an act of courage, where you must surrender and let go as with a lover.
I want to show up here, with you, that way. I want to speak what’s in my heart without overly structuring it or “overwriting” as Berg calls it. I feel like I can and then there is something like a catch inside, a point where the vitality that wants to flow outward is jerked back a bit because (so the biggest reason in my mind goes) I am a psychotherapist. And in the room with a client, that means giving fully of myself—my attention, my presence, my senses, my emotions—while also not sharing too much about my personal life and my own challenges and struggles.
So here in this very public place, I also feel a need to not bare all so as to maintain that very necessary boundary that allows my clients (past, present, and future) who might wander through here to have their own experiences in our work together without it being overly influenced by my experiences. And yet, I so do not want to have one of those psychology–related blogs with posts like, “10 Ways to Find Greater Happiness” or “Reduce Your Anxiety in 5 Easy Steps.” I so do not want that because such self-help ultimately falls flat because it oversimplifies our experience.
It also often leaves out much of the author’s own experience. And THAT is what changes us, that is what speaks to us and resonates with our own experience—connecting with another person’s experience. That is why we love movies and art and music and other forms of true self-expression and deep sharing. It puts the emotional truth of someone else’s experience inside us and we are changed.
And so I want to bring my experience (not just my professional self) here, to you. I have spent the last 13 years very intentionally trying to find myself after a lifetime of unsatisfying work and numbing routine. Who am I really? What does it mean to me to have meaningful work? What do I long to do? What lights me up and feels meaningful? What things, and not just work things, strike a deep chord of truth for me and allow me to step forward naturally into them? And what are all these demons that keep plaguing me but also have something important to say? How do I make sense of all this and create a life where I am connected with myself and others, where I am true in my work and my being, where I know how to work and play? And why is it so hard? Where am I making this harder than it has to be, and where is it just hard because that’s how it is to forge deep authenticity? These are the questions I started wrestling with over a decade ago and, while I have found many answers and have finally (finally!) found work, my psychotherapy work, that deeply resonates with who I am, these questions continue to unfold in new ways. And I feel like my experience of this ongoing journey is something I need to bring to you.
Because it helps me to share it with you—it helps shape it and solidify it and thereby furthers it for me.
Because I feel like I have something to unique to say that might, just might, spark something for you and help you to see your own experience in new ways.
Because my unique voice comes from wringing the many aspects of my true self out of the mud of my particular experiences, and that hard-won voice, which we all have, shines like nothing else.
Because my unique voice is continually shaped by pulling it through the lens of the deeply transformative psychotherapeutic perspectives that I have been studying, experiencing, and practicing for many years now. These perspectives emphasize the therapist doing her own therapy and inner work, and they also emphasize the value of being where you are in your life and trusting that there is treasure in that being with, however painful, because it is what is deeply true.
The blending of all these elements makes this blog unique, I think. I’m not here to just write a diary about my experiences. I am not here to air my dirty laundry. I am not here to preach from on high as a psychotherapist. I am not here to offer a quick fix. I am here to take risks. I am here to be real with you and let you see how I pull my own experiences through my therapy perspective, my readings, my personal discoveries, my everyday encounters. My hope is that sharing this with you changes both of us. That by being vulnerable and reflective, I continue to learn and grow. And that by doing so in a way that is passionate yet humble, you can use it as inspiration for reflections and questions (and not as dogma) in your own life.
© Amanda Norcross and Learning to Listen to Soul, 2013.