Sometimes It’s A Struggle To Stay in the Arena

I have not written in a few weeks and this photo is one of the projects I’ve been doing in the meantime.

Sometimes It's A Struggle To Stay in the Arena 1

Painting, lettering, jewelry, ink work have all been used to fill my soul. What has made my soul so empty? Once again, I have faced the possible suicide of a client. Rescued by a loved one, this attempt had a “happy ending”. But the rope was around her neck and I am facing the reality that this person could have lost her life to a deep despair that overwhelmed her in that moment.

This kind of experience shakes me to my core. Professionally, I feel like I let the person down, that I should have been able to predict this, and intervene before her hands ever touched the rope. I shared this with my wise friend, also a therapist. She reminded me that we are one influence among a myriad of others. She reminded me that we don’t really have that much control. Her words brought a sense of comfort, but they also helped me to slide down the rabbit hole.

If I embrace that I don’t have control, then I am embracing my vulnerability. Vulnerability is that word I like to talk about and throw around. But I dig my heels in when it is time to step into the arena and experience vulnerability. If I truly accept that I do not have the control over the outcome of therapy… and life… then I have to face that I could experience devastating loss. I would not have the power to stop it from arriving on my doorstep. Those that know me, know that I operate in life from a profoundly emotional and spiritual place within me. This place creates a deep well of love and compassion for my clients. The loss of one of my clients, especially at their own hands, would create grief within the same deep well. Therapy is a professional relationship, but it is also two people connecting, caring, healing. It is transformative for both of us. I have seen and experienced the power of transformation.

Brene Brown says that the antidote to this fear, this foreboding joy, is to embrace gratitude. So, I will continue to do therapy…and life… from that deep well of love and compassion. I will risk loss and grief. Because to be a part of that transformation is a gift, one I am honored to receive every day I step into my office. But when I get scared, I may retreat to creating something in my art room. And when I am filled back up, I will re-enter the arena, ready to be vulnerable, ready to love again.