Two years ago this week I took a huge step, an incredible risk. I did a scary thing; I followed my gut, my heart, in search of something more for my life. With a laptop and stack of books shoved into a backpack draped on my right shoulder and water bottle in my left hand, I entered into a classroom for the first time in 20 years pursuing what I never thought I’d ever go for – a master’s degree. I left the comfort of what I knew, a 20 year career in HR, for a world unknown except as a client on the couch. This leap of faith was huge for me; I’m not typically much of a risk taker. I’ve finished the course work now and find myself in practicum sitting in the therapist’s armchair. I’m doing what I’ve seen done for decades, what I’ve read and discussed with peers and mentors about in countless books, and what I’ve written about in thousands of words. It’s surreal to be where I am now and I am so honored to be holding space for clients who are in need, just as many therapists have done for me – with ears like a donkey, perked up to capture it all.
I see the world so much differently than I did two years ago; my perspective on the world has truly changed. We are a fragile but incredibly resilient world made of hearts and souls that need to be heard and honored. We need to be heard and honored when we hurt due to the actions of ourselves or others, when we are angered at the situation we find ourselves up against, when we have been betrayed by someone (even ourselves) or something we trust, and when we seek to understand those many thoughts, conditions, and things that bewilder us. We also need to be heard and honored when we are full of joy and thankfulness. We need to be heard without judgement or immediate interpretation. We need to be heard not to be told what to do, how to fix it or us, but so that we can find out ourselves what needs to happen next to move forward with our life on our terms. It is through being heard and honored that we are able to move forward and carry on with a little more ease.
Where or to whom do you go to feel truly heard, unfiltered? When have you felt the kindness of another human being hold space for you to let your true self speak unfettered?
The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.Parker Palmer