Still Life

At Therapist's Responses to the Challenge of Change

Excerpts from PART IV - The Courage To Be Authentic

Chapter 9 - Belonging and Becoming THE GROUP AS MATRIX
Coming Home:  Reflections on the Arc of Change (page 164)

Journeying through the landscape of unfamiliar experiences—tolerating discomfort, and realizing that the things we thought were fixed and necessary were in fact optional—we change. We let go of old certainties and entertain new possibilities, and our role repertoire expanded.

...... Perhaps now we can walk our solitary path more lightly and with more contentment. More stillness. In the end our travels take us back to community, to interdependence, to the life-giving potential that relationship can bring us. It is one thing to make a change within. It is quite another to carry it into our relational field.

From the beginning of the discomfort in old roles and the pull to personal growth, all roads lead to this chapter: the group experience. In a group we live out the new roles that our long journey has nurtured.

The journey of self-discovery is one of finding balance. Some of us are most comfortable in the company of others, some alone. The research into the functioning of the brain tells us that we are wired for relationship, that we prosper and grow, literally, in compassionate connection, in what has been called limbic resonance.

This is not always easy. The overlapping space of relationship is productive and life enhancing when both parties bring their truth to the connection, but our earliest experiences have not always fostered the development of a wide role repertoire to enable us to think, choose, and act in ways that respect this healthy balance. One tension that figures most prominently in our day-to-day lives is how to be true to ourselves while adapting sufficiently to be in creative relationship with others. The pull to maintain a relationship and adapt to its demands is met with a counter pull, to move away to self-determination, to our personal life space. As suggested in the last chapter, we may be conditioned to find safety in focusing on the perceived needs of another person at the expense of our own, or in pulling back into the safety of our closed world.

Excerpts from PART V - And What of the World?

Chapter 10 - Peacemaking in a Troubled World
(page 191)

Our longing to change the world is a reflection of our deep longing to recover some original communal design. At our best, we want to be at one with each other and with all things in the universe so that together we can create a society that nurtures and empowers, that celebrates diversity and welcomes challenge. Men and women in every cultural environment hold fast to the whole, to the community, to fairness and right action. We hold them fast, too, in our hearts and imaginations.

......We are becoming increasingly aware of and impatient with long-standing and intransigent standoffs between traditional enemies.

A One-day Workshop:  Peacemaking in a Troubled World (page 193)
The workshop design asks this question: How can we be messengers of peace in a troubled world?

This workshop is difficult to bring to life on the printed page. Like the topic itself, it is tempting to look away and set the issues aside for another time. And yet we carry these images and their demands for response under the surface of our everyday lives. We seldom speak of the toll that this information takes on us. To ease the loneliness of the sense that our efforts are a drop in the bucket, this is a most comforting and heartwarming workshop. The people who come to this workshop are those who at times don’t know what to do with the numbers of issues that they carry in their minds and hearts. Determined to live a conscious life, they can be overwhelmed by the suffering that enters their living rooms on a daily basis. The workshop is designed to offer a place for that distress and powerlessness to find expression, to leave behind some messages that make for despair, and to tap into the light of encouragement and inspiration.

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At Therapist's Responses to the Challenge of Change

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