Over the years I have found that if I focus solely on the so-called source of a person’s stated issue, then I collude with an idea that I have not seen to bear fruit – that discovering the source ensures reconciliation and the key to well-being. First of all, the source of an issue is an abbreviation inherently. And my declaring it is a presumption. We are complicated beings, fed by many streams and negotiating the world in a thousand ways, known and unknown. Thus looking for the source may very well take one to the end of one’s life without satisfaction: Ugh, I missed it somewhere! Just when I thought, Yes, this must be it; I found that the treasure I dug up, while interesting, didn’t seem to hold the key to happiness moving forward. Sometimes the endless search for source leeches money, energy, hope, time, so that the issue more and more defines one’s days, oneself, rather than less and less.
And the lists that draw a hard and fast line from column A to column B – if you have this disease you are this, etc. – well, the subtext then seems to be, If you aren’t cured, you haven’t … gotten rid of that pesky anger, loved life enough, expressed your creativity enough. To me, this is the same as not loving god enough, or not behaving in some other “good” way, so that now you are suffering the consequences. This is not how I see the people with whom I work. And the reason may have selfish roots: I have more compassion for myself than that too.
Imagine focusing on the source of problems. The view becomes tight, contracted, looking for a speck in the sand. Now imagine allowing resources to rise up – all of them – creative, strange, surprising, hiding in the most mundane places or in the shadows of your very difficulty. Imagine allowing the tension around the issue to relax as the wider landscape arises, your focus softening, your breath become deeper and easier, the force and expansiveness of life just gently triumphing by simply being bigger. Familial resources near and far become more generous in the give and take of your generosity, unburdened from guilt as you gently cease from taking on their outdated struggle. They are delighted as you break away, to love more, to live more. Your well-being reflects and refracts that glimmering stream of well-being in them – at one time almost completely obscured – but now refreshed in you.
So I am always looking on the wide horizon for such resources, inviting them in, welcoming the who and the what that bring peace, promise, and sweet relief within the context of this specific person in this moment that we share. These resources can be gathered up and taken outside of this moment into my client’s larger life, and then I can withdraw into mine.