“Our little portion of oneness is given a name, is told all kind of things about itself, and these details…become facts.”
~ Thandie Newton in TED Talks: Embracing Otherness, Embracing Myself
I recently began keeping a journal to record my thoughts about a sensory processing issue I have had ever since I was a child. So, the counselor of the local university in Costa Rica with whom I have met up with assigned me with the task of this, especially as I informed her about my desire to incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy into my healing process.
The memory of that day trickles in, aided by the tactile and audible sensation of rain pattering down steadily all about us:
She and I had met up in a public location for a one-hour session. We walked around the corner back to her university office when it had ended. I asked her curiously about her background and, granted she were willing, about some of her personal experiences that fueled her pursuit to study the field of psychology. She paused, asked why I wanted to know, and when I replied she politely declined to divulge any information to me.
The relationship that I have with my counselor back in the states is very different, and (appropriately) built on open communication and expression. She tells me about her family. I joke about the things that happen in my classes. The mutual sharing helps coax me and acclimate into the therapeutic atmosphere. She often sits firmly still yet very relaxed across from me in a lazyboy chair and I in another one semi-parallel to her.
Now, there are distinct differences between these two guided relationships, both bearing pros and cons. I find it noteworthy to mention that my focus is on my present situation. Less than six weeks remains in my program in Costa Rica. I want to make the most of the time; or, should I say, quiero aprovechar el tiempo.
I wonder just how much I will be able to “open up” to who feels like a passing stranger, a mailman, a salesman, no one truly interested in being…welcomed inside. Trust, as delicate as lace, as fragile as fine china, as fleeting as dusk light pouring through the cracks in a window: my lack thereof is why I not only cannot but I choose not to be vulnerable.
Brené Brown declares in her presentation on The Power of Vulnerability that it takes courage to be vulnerable. She makes the point that connection, the ability to feel connected, is how humans are neuro-biologically wired and why humans exist in the first place. What really resonated with me and made a remarkable distinction between segments in her thesis was the description of shame (something that “unravels connection”); and shame is the fear of disconnection.
After paying for the counseling session, I left the office of the university counselor that day. The rain soaked my shoes. I felt a very familiar and penetrating sense of coldness. I thought and I walked. I thought and thought some more. Let’s say I’ve been thinking for about a good week on this up until now (this is my weekly routine, really).
Once more, I retreated into solitude only this time I didn’t feel as angry or rejected or misunderstood. I figuratively sat where I was in the dim confines of my own “room”. Laura Hollick of Soul Art® refers to this as “nothing time” in which one does absolutely nothing. Is it ironic that I would actually discover her business during my “nothing time”?
[Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Matthew 14: 23-29
At one point I reprimanded myself for being as open about these very intimate issues as I have been. Part of it is due to the fact that I am worried about the effect of such transparency on my professional identity; the other part concerns whether or not people will continue to mandate the solution to me (notice I did not say whether or not they will understand). This weekend, however, liberated me from those voices and the entities behind them.
In the silence and solace of utter nothingness, modest and obscure shadows, crinkled fabric, shattered glass, broken dishes—I rediscovered a piece of Sandra among the shattered remains within this dwelling space.
If that statement is the determining factor of whether or not I receive the job, well, perhaps another career path is better for me.
Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself. Thandie Newton. TED Talks, 2011. Video. Youtube.com
Soul Art®. SoulArtStudio.com. Web. 19, Aug. 2012
“Matthew 14:23-29″ BibleGateway.com. New International Version (NIV), n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2012.