Sunday, January 16, 2011


Well, life has once again become so busy that other things have taken precedence over the writer's moments. So, now with a post...finally.

Boldness. Fearlessness. Courage in the face of fear. However you put it, the outcome is the same, action where others may choose not to act. My family has all agreed that I seem to exhibit this quality of being fearless. The story is that as a child I showed these signs early on. While taking a hike in the forest, I had run ahead, and as mom caught up to me around the bend she saw my little two-year old body up on top of a water fountain built for an adult, bent over so I could both turn on the water to get a drink and place my mouth to the cold water. She was mystified about how I had actually accomplished this feat.

Dad's version is similar, though in different circumstances. He recalls working on the third floor of my childhood home and after a few moments something caught his eye. Looking up he saw my head pop up over the roof-edge as I had climbed all the way up the ladder showing no fear at age five. He freaked, of course, and I wondered what was wrong. I had been about to put my feet on the roof and climb up with him, but stopped short when he yelled at me telling me to stay still so he could get to me. He ushered me down the ladder and quickly chastised me for my poor choice of placing myself in such a precarious position of harm. I didn't climb the ladder (while he was looking) but I did climb trees and anything else I could find.

This sense of fearlessness has also shown up in my unwillingness to give up on fulfilling my dreams. I have become an art therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor because of my unwillingness to give up.

There is, of course, a balance to these things. Instead of trying to push or "make" something happen (especially where relationships are concerned) I have had to learn how to back off and "allow" things to unfold as they naturally will. So many times people must take things slowly or at their own pace instead of getting caught in the possibilities and excitement of the moment.

As a therapist, I have been willing to go with clients in to the depths of their despair and hopelessness, meeting them where they are at. Instead of shying away from the depths of those emotions, I have been able to work with them to stay there and experience the pain so they can then release it, letting it go so that it is experienced in a healthy way. If I were not fearless I would not be able to stay there with them and see them through to the other side. Being "stuck" would be something I could do nothing about.

It has been a rewarding asset to have and a challenging process when others are not comfortable with intimacy. I work with clients to first establish trust, taking time to do this. Then, processing and opening up to the emotions slowly rather than all at once, pacing things so that overwhelm and then shut down do not occur.

Life takes time to unfold sometimes, and so does healing. So do relationships. They must go at a pace that works for those involved. So, allowing the client to set the pace has been important. Also, working with clients to not try to please me, but instead listen to themselves and get clear on what they need to do to take care of themselves, so that breakdowns are avoided and breakthroughs are maximized.

Being fearless has its perks. Knowing how to use it in healthy ways is also part the continual process toward being a successful therapist, friend, partner...