I thought a lot before sitting down to write this post. I thought so much, that I actually had the whole post in my head, with the right sentences, the correct punctuation and climax and anti-climax points, all neatly laid out in my head, while on the train earlier this morning. Now I am sitting here, and it feels very scary and I forgot everything.
Still, I have decided to be real, and honest.
Here it comes.
Clients come to us because they, somehow within themselves, are scared of taking a stand, making a decision; not to mention, just feeling out of synch with the Self and not knowing what is happening to them. They come, sit in front of us, and ask us to make sense of their jumbled thoughts and unreliable feelings, to put things in order for them, to show them that because we [seem to] have our lives under control, they will be able to do the same.
They live in a closet and it doesn’t matter if the closet contains their sexuality or gender-related issues: it is a closet where they hide the Real Self, with their likes and dislikes; it’s a dark place, with a door they are scared to open, so they cover it will wallpaper that they hope will hide it from everybody, including themselves. But it’s there. And then they get frustrated and angry at the world “that doesn’t understand them” so they go and hide in that closet, where they are free to be themselves, at last, and for once! Free of condemnations and judgements! Then, of course, they get angry at themselves for not being able and strong enough to break that door wide open and let the sun enter into that closet, let the world see who they really are… but they are too scared to show to a world who is used to them swearing and acting like machos that they actually love poetry; or to a world who knows them as serious accountants that they actually secretly sing in the shower; to a world who has accepted them as mothers and devoted wives, that they would like to spend the rest of their lives welding at the bottom of the sea; to a community that knows them as priests that they don’t believe anymore; or to your friends who believe that religion is for pussies, that you silently pray every night; or to your partner who wants you wearing full makeup, that you would rather go out wearing nothing but your smile.
That closet contains so many people. People who don’t like themselves, not only for their likes and dislikes hidden in that closet but for not having the courage to speak their own truth. Because if I speak my own truth I will be alone, will not belong to that group anymore, and as of now I always found comfort in that group. I know that group, I know those people, I know that they are doing their best, and if only I could simply accept them a bit more, compromise a little bit, understand them more, change, morph, adapt… everything would be so much easier…
But we cannot hide from our Real Self, that self that is in the closet, tapping away, singing in the shower, praying or not believing, dreaming of welding, or faraway places, adventures, new people. That Real Self that every time we open our closet is there, arms wide open ready to go, to begin, to start, to change, to do fucking something!
So, clients come to me, sit on my sofa, talk, cry, admit, retreat to a safer area, close that door, stand up and leave.
They have an idea of who a therapist is. What about the therapist’s closet?
So here is my Truth.
I have lied. I have my own closet. Let me take you in.
I have lied to myself, mostly. But my Self can’t shut up (and I so much love her now for this) that she gently pushed me to write a whole book so that me (the Body-me) could face the Truth, open that bloody door wide open, and face the consequences.
I wrote Rebeltherapy because I am a rebel and because I so love freedom that I am now prepared to fight for my right to freedom, for my own sense of freedom, for what freedom means to me. I wrote Rebeltherapy and I still believe in every single word that I have written. But I have to admit that while writing it and the more the time passed after publishing it, I have changed.
I wrote Rebeltherapy and me being Me, I also went back to College: writing about my past made me realise that there have been choices I made which were not true to Me, choices I felt at the time compelled to make because of my family situation and my level of anxiety and bla bla bla; but now, I have no excuses anymore. Now I feel strong enough to open that door, take everything out of the closet, clean, sort what I want to keep and what I want to leave behind me. Writing about my past in the book and then starting a whole new course in Art and Design at Blackburn College created a tiny little crack in that cocoon I wrapped my Real Self in, and I now know I cannot stop, nor want to stop, this process.
Since writing the book, some friends have become old friends, people I used to know. Since then, I sat and faced the memories and the feelings attached to the memories of the earthquake. Since then I sat at my laptop and filled a Word document titled: What I know. Since then I re-read the Celestine Prophecy, all the following books in the series and religiously (never a word was more apt) done all the exercises in the workbooks.
Since then, and since the end of my 90 days I wrote about in the book, I left the Soka Gakkai International, the Buddhist organisation I was part of. I felt that I cannot belong to any organisation which proclaims that their book is “the only book”, that their Truth is “the only Truth”. What kind of a rebel would I be otherwise? I still strongly believe in the Lotus Sutra’s teaching and in the Mystic Law as a whole, so the references I made in my book are still valid.
Since then, I know that I am someone who is longing for Peace at heart, but I am also a warrior in Spirit and with a spring in my step, and that regardless of the books read, the journals written, the people I listened to, my own internal wisdom is what counts.
From now remaining centred, safe, fully aware, feeling loved and protected and part of a Whole while being The Whole at the same time, will be my daily practice, my daily reminder of me as a Spiritual Being who is having a temporal Body Experience. I know that I can only believe in what I call One Faith, borrowing and honouring the Love and Compassion as taught by Christianity, Dedication as taught by Islam, a sense of Mission and Higher Purpose as found in Judaism, connection with Mother Earth as gifted by many indigenous and pagan tribes, Detachment and Meditation as provided by the Eastern Religions. I need to feel free to meditate, go to Church, hug a tree, fast, or use Tarot cards and see Auras because this is what I stored in my closet. Inside my beautiful closet, there are no dogmas; just imagination, wonder, love, deep connections and that inexplicable feeling of warmth in my solar plexus. If this makes me “different”, “wacko”, “not real”, it also makes me unique and very much Me.
The feared rejection by the community of right-thinking and conformists is still there. The finger-pointing image of God I had in my mind had to be replaced with full-on Agape, Cosmic Love, before I came out of my personal closet. The labelling of Buddhist is gone. The guilt-tripping condemnation by whoever thinks that what I believe in is wishy-washy, mediocre, ordinary and common and that me abiding by my own freedom makes me less of a professional therapist and hence unable to help clients, is also still there. Part of me has been wondering what the fraternity of psychotherapists might think, but that’s the whole fear in the closet. Not real as such.
Gone was me as a Buddhist. For the first time in my life, I have no label to protect me, to hide behind, to define me. I told a friend, the other evening, that I feel like being on a makeshift raft, in the middle of a storm, hanging tightly on the mast: cold, damp, but I know that I have to be there for now.
Will I be losing potential clients? Could be. Am I bothered? I just want to work with my feet firmly in my own truth. The right clients will come.
Will I be losing friends? Were they actually Real Friends?
Will I miss the role and identity of being a Chaplain? I thought I would, but not in reality. My sense of deep spirituality and existential perspective feel actually refreshed and more present regardless of a role and a title. Not only, I believe I will now be able to act in a more fully encompassing way than when belonging to a single religious organisation.
I am thinking now about some of my actual clients: they sit there and observe me. The only difference between me and them is not in the number of certificates I have on my wall, but simply in me having walked part of the journey ahead of them, and that I am still alive to tell the tale. They observe me: I am now fully living my own Truth.
Will my practice change? Definitely my level of congruency. I am also sure that the relational depth and warmth will be positively affected, and my integrity strengthen.
As of now, I am less scared, after writing these 1340 words.
Opening that closet, believe you me, is not that bad at all.
sending you all love and light and positive vibes ♥