Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I have been in a total rut for years but just couldn’t get out of it. Since my divorce over 10 years ago, it has been such a struggle to keep the house, clean up the messes and re-align my frazzled brain that I haven’t had a chance to come up for air.
After a recent three week trip to the other side of the world, I returned home to have a sudden epiphany about my entire life- I could see how I had gotten sucked into putting others’ needs before my own, accepting blame and selling myself short, and padding the corners to help ease the pain. I had not only lost weight while away but also a whole lot of misguided notions in my head. I am seeing clearly for the first time in many years.
my question is this- the experience of getting away gave me a perspective that all the therapy in the world couldn’t have given me while my day to day life was numbing me with it’s onslaught of demands. Isn’t there some kind of treatment that therapists could provide that would have a similar effect? I’ve watched some of my friends remain in therapy, and on medication, for years and their lives never seemed to have changed appreciably.
Is therapy something we really need? Or is it something we developed a need for because few of us, with our demanding lives and jobs, has the freedom to simply relax and gain perspective in ordinary ways?
Travel certainly is good for perspective but so is time, age, and readiness. Many people travel blind if they are not ready to question their givens.
In therapy, which can be a form of travel, it is much the same. Too often people just tell stories or rely on medications- thus they go nowhere. However, intent based treatment is very useful as it helps you travel to the future you wish to create.
Travel should be a tad unsettling- the challenge of dealing with unknowns helps you grow and learn about yourself. Therapy that’s not unsettling is just comfort food. Our culture is all about comfort.
So to answer your question- yes, therapy is something that many people can really benefit from. People need to be challenged in order to reexamine whatever truths they were taught in life. Many of our ideas are pure B.S. Only exposure to other truths help one gain perspective and realize new possibilities in choices.
Studies show that the cathartic epiphanies that people have after extreme experiences are not in and of themselves tied to genuine improvement in one’s life. Real and permanent changes need to be tied to consistent on-going behavioral change.
You seem to already know your story, so talking about it wouldn’t be useful. So get out and forge that future you’ve just had an inkling of.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: when students of Zen Buddhism are sitting in zazen seeking satori (enlightenment), there are stick wielding monks who circle slowly behind them, watching carefully. If one of the monks senses that a student is falling asleep, they apply a carefully timed whack to wake the student up.
It sounds like your travel experience was the whack you needed to wake you up. But you have to realize that if you hadn’t been seeking enlightenment, you probably wouldn’t have found clarity of vision. More likely, you would have just found a really good price on shoes.
The important thing with all change is continuance. You have to ACT on the truths that you see and keep up your efforts. If not, you will fall back into the daily rut that ever beckons.
Too many people put off important acts, saying “I’ll get to it. Soon.” But if one does not act when the energy is there, how on earth do they expect to act when the impetus is gone?
We need to be first certain we have made a good decision; but when we decide to act we need to do it with absolute purpose and continue on to the goal.
Bon voyage. I hope you make it to your new goals. Please write when you get there.