I know what it’s like to feel unequal to the task required of you, feel incapable. I’ll never be the man I was, but I’ve come to embrace those parts of my mind that are peculiar, broken. I understand now that’s what makes my mind special. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. You have no idea how extraordinary you are. If you can embrace that there is no end to what you can do. Walter Bishop, Fringe episode 322.
The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you. Leo Buscaglia.
We all have within us the capacity not only to heal from crises but also to turn our sorrow into something new and strong. In fact, true growth requires spending time outside of one’s comfort zone. Happiness need not be analyzed. Comfortable people tend to cling to their old patterns. Indeed, adults who have never suffered are shallow and, well, insufferable. Because they haven’t experienced much pain, they haven’t felt motivated to truly explore themselves and their relationships to the world. We all suffer, but we don’t all grow. Some people are so crippled by great sorrow that they die inside. Like a tree hit by lightening, they never recover. Some refugees are this way. Even after they escape the horrors of their home countries, they live shadow lives, going through the motions but never reconnecting with any life force that allows them joy and relationships. Mary Pipher.
It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Theodore Roosevelt.
If we want to be courageous and we want to be in the arena, we’re going to get our butts kicked. There is no option. If you want to be brave and show up in your life, you’re going to fail. You’re going to stumble. You’re going to fall. It’s part of showing up. If you are not in the arena also getting your butt kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback. Vulnerability is not about winning, it’s not about losing — it’s about having the courage to show up and be seen. It’s about willingness to say, ‘Look, I don’t have all the answers.’ Brene Brown.
The search for truth is not about letting go; it’s about going deeper. The goal is not reaching a single realization, but living the process of realizing again and again. Jewish wisdom encourages us to be sacred skeptics. Many think skepticism is paralyzing, hopeless, cynical; but it’s the opposite. Skepticism inspires us to know more. It can be revelatory. When we both hold and question our truths, we become lifelong learners rather than absolute knowers - as well as more interesting and much easier people to be with. Not seduced by certainty, we can be open to the truth. Irwin Kula - Yearnings.
There are shatterings, betrayals, having been orphaned, that bring you into relationship with this person. You don’t choose your spouse; your story chooses your spouse. You don’t make a cognitive, thoughtful, reflective decision. It’s a reaction to stories of brokenness that most people don’t know. Dan Allender.
If one wishes to be fed for life, one must face and develop a relationship with the Life/Death/Life nature. When we have that, we are no longer bumbling along fishing for fantasies, but are made wise about the necessary deaths and startling births that create true relationship. There is probably nothing a woman wants more from a man than for him to dissolve his projections and face his own wound. When a man faces his wound, the tear comes naturally, and his loyalties within and without are made clearer and stronger. He becomes his own healer; he is no longer lonely for the deeper Self. He no longer applies to the woman to be his analgesic. When the man cries the tear, he has come upon his pain, and he knows it when he touches it. He sees how his life has been lived protectively because of the wound. He sees what of life he has missed because of it. In fairy tales, tears change people, remind them of what is important, and save their very souls. Only a hardness of heart inhibits weeping and union. There is a saying from the Sufi long ago, asking God to break one’s heart. “Shatter my heart so a new room can be created for a Limitless Love.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. One is fluid, the other is rigid. One is alive, the other is stuffed. Eventually, I found a radical way of thinking about listening. Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. When I’m willing to let them change me, something happens between us that’s more interesting than a pair of dueling monologues. Like so much of what I learned in the theater, this turned out to be how life works, too. Alan Alda.
An important axiom of psychotherapy that I have learned (and forgotten) so many times from so many patients: the most valuable thing I have to offer is my sheer presence. Just be with her, I thought. Stop trying to think of something wise and clever to say. Let go of the search for some dynamic interpretation that will make all the difference. Your job is simply to offer her your full presence. Trust her to find the things she needs from the session. Yalom - Creatures of a Day.
There are things that we’d rather not pay attention to - we’d rather put thoughts to it than affect. In school, we were told to use our words. It’s not a bad thing necessarily - we will always view things as “it.” What is different though is engaging the conflict. Engage the affective cycle so it can have its completion. Most people that come to therapy have their affect cut off. We are socialized that way - to not value our anger or feelings. Roy Barsness.
The West has succumbed to giving the left brain the importance. We struggle to be in our right brains. Texting inhibits the right brain. Conflict with texting is really bad. We need to see the person's face and hear their voice. The more we communicate in non-embodied ways, the less resilient we become. It’s harder to have difficult conversations, we just rely on our phone to make people go away. Curt Thompson.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. Rumi.
The problem in therapy is always how to move from an ineffectual intellectual appreciation of truth about oneself to some emotional experience of it. It is only when therapy enlists deep emotions that it becomes a powerful force for change. Yalom - Love’s Executioner.
You are worthy of immense respect. When someone treats you like an alien, when you are as gifted as you are, that is violence. Dan Allender.
People have said, "Don't cry" to other people for years, and all that has ever meant is "I'm too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don't cry." I'd rather have them say, "Go ahead and cry. I'm here to be with you." Mr. Rogers.
Any time there is something said that is unkind, to me that’s harm. There are not really grounds for harm to occur. We’re already aware of what that looks like. How you invite people to be aware of it is your choice. Any moment where something is said, words are spoken, there is a tone of voice: are you aware of the harm and impact you’re having? Steve Call.
The constant disconnect, the shame in not being able to show up as authentic and true, the desolate loneliness of the human condition - make connection that much more important and necessary. Marc Anderson.
You don't have to look at life through a shame lens, but life happens through a shame lens. Mike Paterson.
We need to do things regularly and rhythmically that put us in the path of beauty. It’s intentional. Rhythm is needed to form resilience. We run out of steam because we are with our suffering by ourselves. What we remember is what becomes our anticipation. We need someone to be curious about us and mentalizing our welfare. We need a person to tell us the truth. We need the good and the ugly. One who invites the other to joy and hard places. Curt Thompson
And so I began, slowly to think about staying in suffering instead of always trying to climb out of it. When the hope for new remedies is daily dangled before our eyes - to acknowledge pain, to sit still in its mysterious presence and feel helpless. What sets me apart is simply a learned ability to manage the blades of deep pain with a little bit of dexterity. Mental health doesn't mean making the pains go away. I don't believe they ever go away. I have not healed so much as learned to sit still and wait while pain does its dancing work, trying not to panic or twist in ways that make the blades tear deeper, finally infecting the wounds. How we handle pain and suffering has a direct correlation to the depth of our relationships. Ann Wilson - Betrayed & Betrayer.
You can’t appreciate something unless you know what it’s like to go without it. Tom Batterson.
Much of the violence that plagues humanity is a direct or indirect result of unresolved trauma that is acted out in repeated unsuccessful attempts to re-establish a sense of empowerment. Peter Levine.
Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Dune - Frank Herbert.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”