Sifting and Weighing

As I mentioned last time, I’ve been having a hard time lately writing blog posts. I think one of the biggest reasons is that so much is in-process for me right now. I am in the final year of my counseling internship, and it has been and continues to be an exciting but challenging journey. My time, my mind, and my heart are full, and I am always pushing what they called in graduate school my “growing edges.” I am going through lots of growth inside and out. And it is hard to know how much of that to bring here.

In wrestling with that question, I remind myself that the title of this blog is “Learning to Listen to Soul,” not “Learned to Listen to Soul.” Present tense, not past. Ongoing, never finished. To me, the ongoing nature of the process makes it exciting and hard all at the same time. Finding it exciting is why I created this blog: to share my learning process with you. Finding that same process to also be hard is why I struggle at times, like now.

One of the questions this topic brings up for me, and something I often talk about with my therapy clients, is how much each of us reveals about experiences that are new or still unfolding for us.

By Olesachem (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sifting, The Manhattan Well Diggers by Olesachem, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes I need to share what is new—it needs light and air to continue to grow. Sharing it solidifies and nurtures it. Speaking the words furthers it in ways that keeping quiet does not and elicits responses from others that feed it.

Other times, I need to wait to share the new thing. Usually this is because it feels premature to share it. Sometimes it is a process that isn’t done yet. Sometimes the experience is still raw. Sometimes it is a tender, green shoot that I need to protect for a period of time so it can develop sturdier branches and roots before I reveal it to others.

Each of us tends to lean one way or the other: we share too much about what is in-process for us, or we share too little. Sharing too much can leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed. It can also drain the life from experiences that need to incubate in the dark for a while. Sharing too little, on the other hand, can leave us feeling alone and overwhelmed. It can deprive us of crucial support and encouragement so that we miss seeing our strengths and vitality during a challenging time.

When I’m going through a lot, my tendency without question is to share too little. If I’m not careful, I fall into my old pattern of isolating and believing I must handle everything all by myself. And that is what I am continually weighing in deciding what to share here with you, especially right now during this time of intense growth. Which experiences are still too undigested and need to metabolize more? Which things need to be put into words here, even if it feels a bit risky? And if not here, where? And how do I know the difference?

Thank you for letting me sharing my thinking process with you. I realize I do that here sometimes: I talk about my process of sharing, rather than just sharing. But I also know, as both therapist and therapy client, that talking about what it feels like to share your experiences with someone else is just as important as actually sharing them. I value being able to sift through my thinking here about what I’m sharing. I hope it is helpful to you too.

© Amanda Norcross and Learning to Listen to Soul, 2014.

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