HOW TO FIND SOMETHING NEW
It is unconscious because it’s unconscious. One of the primary goals of psychotherapy is to help bring unconscious to consciousness. This is oversimplified and a little more goal oriented in language than I’d like - but still. It’s a big part of how I understand the work I do, as therapist and as patient.
Old patterns. Chronic ailments. Stuckness. Despair.
It is hard to wrap our heads around ourselves.
To see the particularity of ourselves.
And to understand the depth of the unconscious dynamics that are at play.
This is why writing about “issues” drives me a bit bananas. If you are grieving, fighting cancer, in the process of adoption, experiencing depression, living with bipolar, etc etc etc you can find a community of people and writing on your particular area of experience. But we have to be careful. To say "I am dealing with depression" is not to say anything about my personal experience.
All of the experiences in our lives influence how we experience the things that happen to us.
So to say “I am in therapy” is to say something but not everything.
The border between commonalities and ourselves is not clear.
But to dive into commonalities and wave an issue flag wipes over the meaning of what is happening. For you.
I wanted to share an article with you that illustrates what I mean but I don’t want to appear critical of people who are suffering. That would not be kind. What I mean to point out, without unkindness, is a way of abdicating the self that is tempting but only serves you to a point.
What this all comes down to is experience.
We aren’t given much in the way of help in articulating our experience.
So often when I ask the question, “What is/was that like for you?" or, “How do you feel in this moment?" the answer is ideas, stories, past feelings. It is hard to stay with what is happening for us right now. It is hard to even glimpse at ourselves. As we are.
But it is in the glimpsing that we unpack the past, present, and future. Because it’s all in there. Our sleeplessness, for example, is an expression of something. As are many of our chronic physical and emotional ailments. We have to give ourselves an opportunity to express that something. If we knew what it was we wouldn’t be struggling in the same way.
We have to leave room for what we don’t know.
Therapy is often seen as - patient talks, therapist listens. This is one piece. But patient listening to themselves, patient listening to therapist, patient asking questions of themselves and their therapist, silence in the room… these things are so important too.
So here is my question for today: How are you letting something new into your awareness?
Perhaps the answer is simply: by looking at the force with which my words and lifestyle push up against my deepest self.