A client recently came in for her second session. During the first session, I could see a ton of potential in terms of her “getting it.” This is because she was totally doing it to herself (like most of us) by listening to the voice in the head and carrying lots of old stuff. If I’m doing it to myself, that’s awesome because I’m the one who can stop. I can learn another way. I don’t have to wait for change to occur in you or my job or the weather or whatever else in order for me to be happy.
When I first see someone like this, I must confess that I get excited for the second session. I want to know if their life has changed. I have very high expectations for this work, sometimes too high I’m sure. I’ve just seen it happen so many times now… Of course I stay even-keeled and don’t get hopes up or have expectations, but I can’t lie – I get excited like a little kid. I just love this stuff, and I’ve seen firsthand how these simple changes can have such dramatic and fast effects.
When she came in that second time, I was delighted at what I heard. It was right on schedule – there were clear, measurable, powerful changes in several areas of her life. She listed them and I loved it. Then she said something that I didn’t expect, because I hadn’t heard it yet. She said that of all the things I said to her, the most powerful was, “It’s okay.” I didn’t even know I kept saying this, to be honest. It’s been a while, and I should really look at the notes from the session, but I’m in a coffee shop downtown now and don’t really want to go up to the office.
I know the gist of it, though, which will work just fine for our purposes. She might’ve mentioned things that make her guilty from the past. What do I think of that? It’s okay. She might’ve said she was worried about how certain situations were going to turn out in the future. What do I think of that? It’s okay. And she might’ve mentioned present situations that were not ideal. What do I think of that? It’s okay. That covers the past, present, and future, so I think we’re good now. Whatever she said was a problem, I said, “It’s okay.”
Why did I say this? Because it’s true! This is about accepting the current state of affairs. If we say it’s not okay, then we’re arguing with reality. And as Byron Katie and probably others have said, when you argue with reality you lose. But only 100% of the time! We’re not saying it’s okay because it’s ideal. Rather, we’re saying it’s okay because it’s already happened. This is the situation right now at this moment. So we’re just being logical. Remember the tool of telling yourself, “This has happened.” Same idea here.
When we tell ourselves it’s okay, we can immediately relax into the situation. This means we can relax into how we feel about it. This is the essence of releasing. Feelings can’t survive in that kind of environment; they’ll eventually dissipate. They need resistance to survive for long. Another word that’s been big for me lately is “allow.” Allowing and relaxing into the situation are HUGE. It’s all part of the same attitude. We can still work hard, have goals, achieve, etc., but we have a softer attitude. Life will be much smoother with this attitude. We don’t have to try to control everything. Because we aren’t really in control anyway…
Back to “it’s okay,” another crucial point is that we have to start where we currently are. That’s why it’s okay. Where I am now is… exactly how my life is now. Exactly! I own every detail, I accept it all, and now I will do my best to learn and grow. But first I have to own it and start exactly where I am, right now at this very instant. If you don’t like something about your life, then you can take a minute right now and close your eyes, think about it for just a few seconds, and then simply allow any feelings to arise and gently breathe into them. Try this now. Let them do what they want to do, which is not be bottled up. Just witness them. We’ll be talking about witnessing more in future posts. When you witness feelings, you simply notice them with the wonder of a child, but you are not identified with them. Big difference, and it can mean the difference between being at peace or not. Good stuff.
I have a fledgling youtube channel now, and I have high hopes for it in the future. I think it’ll help lots of people. I’ll eventually put an entire first session on it, broken into bite-sized pieces so it’s not too long. Witnessing feelings and releasing them will be a big part of that, of course. There’s a video on there now about people who are super tight because they really, really hope counseling will work and will fix things. This is common, and those people really have to relax first and then go choose and see a counselor. In this video, I go through how you do that. It’s the same as the releasing I’ve always talked about but just in video format in case you want to give it a watch. It’s just under four minutes long. And it’s not professional by any stretch. I’m getting better with each one, though. I still need to smile more. Anyway, this video will work fine with any situation you don’t like about your life – past, present, or future. Releasing is releasing is releasing. This will force you to go ahead and accept it. Do it!
That’s all for now, good folks. Things are hopping, but I wanted to write something since it’s been a little while. I got licensed (LCSW) about a week ago, and I’ll go out on my own at the end of the month, hopefully in an office in or near downtown Pensacola, FL. So it’s busy, but there’s still so much to say about the things we talk about. It’s really all the same thing, though, and it works… If you stop for a few seconds and do it. And all it takes is practice. All the best to you, and as always, let me know if I can help!