Shadowboxing

“One of the great surprises is that humans come to full consciousness precisely by shadowboxing, facing their own contradictions, and making friends with their own mistakes and failings. People who have had no inner struggles are invariably both superficial and uninteresting. We tend to endure them more than communicate with them, because they have little to communicate.”

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

What a harsh statement! But it rings very much true. I work as a marriage and family therapist in private practice. So by definition, I meet a lot of people facing their inner struggles. And the longer I work in this profession, the less patience I seem to have for people who just want to feel better without actually facing the source of their discontent – people who in some way say: “I want to do everything exactly as I have always done it. I don’t want to change a thing. I don’t want to learn to think differently. I don’t want to learn to live differently. I just want to feel better.” And I guess, here lies the challenge for myself as well: In order to solve this crisis of discontent, I might have to change my expectations, my thinking patterns, and my way of doing things….

One of my biggest hurdles hurdles might be my desire for security, control, and predictability – for a back-up plan, a safety net. I like planning things. I even enjoy studying maps so I can always find my way.  When going to a new city, I used to look at the map sections in the phone book and pretty much memorize the main streets and landmarks. Now I look at maps online to prepare – and I don’t like the car’s GPS because it never let’s you see the big picture, just the next turn – asking me to blindly trust it. I don’t think  so….

 

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