I Have Paws For Feet
I’ve been on a more explicitly spiritual path these past few years. I’m starting to integrate these experiences into my writing and work. If you are a therapist looking to open more to spirituality but don’t know where to start, I'd love to tell you about some new sessions I’m giving. Contact me by email and I’ll send you the details.
I can say anything.
I can say it earnestly.
I can even conjure up belief inside myself when I say it.
Such that if you heard it you might believe me.
But it’s still not true.
Language has use but in and of itself it isn’t any-thing necessarily.
People tell us a lot of things.
“I love you.”
“I want more from you.”
“I am going to change.”
“You need to change.”
It all gets very confusing. We hear words and they mean something to us.
They may not mean what the person saying them meant.
What matters just as much as words is our experience.
Do we feel safe? Do we feel loved? Do we feel supported?
And of course history can mean that we don’t feel supported when in fact we are. But we can’t leap from how we feel - in this example unsupported - to what someone else says “I support you.” We can’t persuade our minds this is true.
We have to work through the feeling. We have to find out whether we are indeed supported.
Sometimes we can do that through language. We can feel the other person and feel that their support exists.
Sometimes when people say they support us they can’t really do it the way we need them to.
We need to be attuned to how we feel in relationship not just what the people we love say to us.
If we don’t feel supported we can express that. When we do it in a non-blaming way the conversation can be productive. A person who really supports us can support us in expressing those feelings.
“I’m not feeling supported here. It’s confusing. I see you sitting there looking at me. I can see that you mean it. And yet deep inside I’m still feeling unsupported. I want to figure out what the truth is. I want to change my story and learn to trust. And I need to do it slowly - one step at a time - in my time.”
“I’m not feeling supported here. I can see that you mean it in this moment. But when you get busy with work you aren’t available. And that happens more than I feel comfortable with so I need to figure out if I can trust here and what I need."
And here’s the hard and amazing part. You get to choose. We each get to choose what is right for us. If something is too much we get to say - “that’s not ok for me.” If we need more contact or less we can express our needs. And if we aren’t heard we get to choose what we do in relationship.
There’s no rule that says how a relationship should be. Each of us gets to determine what works for us and doesn’t.
Usually, we learned how to relate so early in life that changing the pattern is very challenging. It feels uncomfortable, wrong, and raw when we mix up our pattern. That’s actually a really good sign. It means you are trying something new.
If I tell you I have paws for feet - don’t believe me. Check in with your gut. How do you feel? Am I right? Should you believe me?
And this goes for everything. Our lives are full of language. Language meant to persuade, alarm, entice, describe, support… Always check in with your gut. Breathe. Feel your body and ask - what do I feel? What do I believe? What is true for me?
What you believe - it’s exactly where to start.
And it’s enough.
There are no mistakes. You - right where you are - contain a piece of the whole that is essential.
That we each don’t know this is a tragic wound.
One which thousands of people who are doing this work for themselves are waiting to help you heal. In countless ways.
Don’t believe me.