Today in session, I was reminded by a client about the importance of inner wisdom in the therapeutic process. In my experience as an attachment therapist, one thing I consistently take note of is that unavoidable dance between the normalcy of everyday life and the urgency for the sense of resolve in the discomforts my clients uniquely face in their intimate life stories.
My client spent today processing the parallels she is noticing in relationship to how she experienced the shut down associated with COVID and the losses she personally felt as a result of this systemic trauma. My client found herself hurt and angry that the simple luxury and liberty to do something as normal and predictable yet invaluable as attending church could be taken away from her. She would spend the year navigating the uncertainties as best as she could, working to make sense of the seeming injustice that is the denial to attend church.
As of today, most churches in our area are allowing public worship once more and more liberties are being extended such as offering individuals the option to attend services with or without masks and also to attend church via social media, though not the same still a reasonable compromise.
It takes a certain level of self-discipline to truly lean into those discomforts that derive from the sudden loss of our liberties and permissions in the systems we subscribe to as human beings. While recovering from the systemic losses that my client encountered due to COVID, she was faced with a brand new systemic loss that challenged yet another liberty she had grown accustomed to within her church denomination. My client and many others in her faith body were faced with change when a church authority chose to retract a method of worship that had prior been deemed acceptable within that denomination.
Though finding herself in that parallel dilemma of loss, wavering between her obedience to her religious system and her anger toward the disruption from retracted liberty, my client noticed one thing; better skills to process and sit with the uncomfortable emotions. Though this rift continues to be navigated among members of this body, my client can notice a difference in her own skill set to navigate the inevitable disruptions that impact life as she experiences it at a systemic level.
I couldn’t help but feel moved by my client’s growth and brave willingness to explore her discomforts and intentionally sit with that “space between” herself and the system she desires to adhere to. This is just it: when humans navigate life, there is no formula for perfection and altogether comfortable solutions. No, in our humanness, we wobble somewhere between our need to satiate our own desires and our need to do so in a connected communal way.
As a systemic attachment therapist, I know all too well that wherever human community exists, so exists hierarchy and classism. We cannot help but navigate our lives desiring order in the midst of perpetual chaos. I trust my client will get to the answer she seeks. And when I say answer, I am not sure that is what I actually mean. I think what I may actually mean is equilibrium. In the disruption of the predictable it is natural humans will feel unsettled, angry, upset, powerless. These experiences are all too natural and indicative of what it means to be a human in a world in which we are constantly seeking to grasp knowledge and finding ourselves in some realms (particularly those realms associated with human connection and relationship) unable to obtain a concrete answer.
Though concrete answers in regards to relationship are like grasping the wind, there is undoubtedly growth and regulation that will derive from a wise pursuit and willing process. Sometimes that process (or journey) comes at a deep loss that will forever shift a human being. And sometimes that process garners positive results with very little collateral damage.
The intentional curiosity regarding who you are and where you are tend to be the driving forces that will lead you to a state of peace. At least this is what my brave clients are teaching me and what I am learning for myself as well.
Life tends to be this ever-flowing stream of “Where have I been?” “Where am I today?” and “Where do I think I’m going?” We thrive in feeling like we have an answer for the latter and flounder when we sink into the uncertainty of not knowing. But, when an individual can lean curiously and intentionally into the prior two questions, there comes this sense of peace and acceptance of the unknown. The body begins to understand it is all too familiar with unpredictability and new territory. Instead the body leans into those wisdom resources that regulate and calm the body in the chaos and work to ask intentional questions about what it means to exist in the here and now receiving just enough manna (meaning nurturance) for today and accepting (even more, trusting) that will be enough.
Inevitably, your life will shift and you will find yourself having to surrender your comforts to the forces that be. The ultimate question that will provoke your growth is "What am I leaning into to navigate this?" and "Is that working?"