“What we call “weakness” is often not a lack of structure, but a lack of process. When that process is actualized, we experience strength. Process is based on relationship."
- Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
How the Most Painful Time in My Life Began the Most Amazing Adventure of My Life
I began my own clinic in 1996, during one of the most painful times in my life, a time when I realized,
I could no longer do me the way I was doing me,
I had no idea what that meant, and,
I knew I had to learn ‘how to stay.’
Learning how to stay has been my “process,” learning curve, and blessing in disguise. Looking back, it was about finding my strength from a dirt load of shame; learning the difference between ‘doing nice’ and ‘doing real,’ learning how to stop moving from one city to another, one idea to another, or from one extreme to another.
My life is not like many I know around me though I see shadows of it in my favorite movies and books. My days are not valued by pleasure seeking; travel, scratching an item off my ‘bucket-list’ or counting Facebook friends. My days speak of a different type of value, a different way of doing a mile, a different kind of arrangement, and another way of counting. I began with one client and since then, I have learned much about suffering and healing.
How can I describe the voice that comes from working with people who suffer? How can I describe the voice I’ve become who knows how hard people work at staying in their patterns yet be the voice responsible to disrupt those patterns knowing it creates more discomfort?
It has become a joy to labor for those who suffer. Yes, it has difficulties. But there is a place inside me that isn’t burdened, nor needs to place that burden upon someone else. I have a deep quiet place inside that allows me to carry their burdens without resentment, complaints, and complications.
I would be dishonest if I told you the last 20 years were without craziness, bitterness or regret. To write the truth, the last 20 years took the whole of me. There have been tough times, when doubt paraded me like an elephant through twists and turns, panic, discouragements and indecisions. If frequent flier miles were awarded for countless nights of sleep - I’d be rewarded a trip around the world.
In 1996, there was some small appeal within me that said, “yes.” Yet, all along, I knew in the back of my mind that if I gave up I would choose a betrayal.
In January 2016 I begin the 20th year of my clinic. I know that I have been diligent and thorough. With the help of many, I’ve learned how to stay, do real, and found a generosity within me that is unlike any other. I’ve found and sharpened my arrowhead to handle the unpredictable and found my position in this community. My success is staying in the process and finding relationship – my best work is ahead of me.
Thank you to clients and those clients who refer clients. To the medical community who trusts me and refers individuals, couples and families, who in turn trust me and refer other individuals and couples and families, and the list goes on…. I have been a part of your life; not all at once, but during important points that lead you from one challenge to another. To be a part of your ‘life process’ has given me a deep sense of relationship and community. Together, we are learning to live in this world.
To my spouse; you are the quiet, light, and word that gives me strength to stay upright and listen. Thank you for the heroic experience of “…you matter.” Gratitude.
To my child (ST): “…. life is a rollercoaster that never ends on a hill.” Gratitude.
To my sibs and friends: who provide comfort and listening without interruption. Gratitude.