Today I’m tackling a fascinating topic – and that is, the topic of faith. I’m not talking here about a religious or spiritual affiliation, but understanding that what you put into therapy is working on your behalf.
I bring it up because it’s easy to lose faith in the therapy process at times – healing is not linear; often things get worse before they get better; and the therapy process can seem mysterious in its ways of working. So while we’re in the midst of it all, it’s useful to cultivate a sense of hope and faith. Things will get better.
A role model of mine talks about faith as the idea of possibility – what’s available to us. Having just watched bits and pieces of the Winter Olympics (aerial ski jumping, for example), I know that people can defy what are seeming human limitations. And I’m not naive enough to believe that we all will or should become Olympic athletes. However, even if we cultivate a smidgen of that possibility, we will be in a better place.
Rather than possibility, many of us live lives based on probability – that is, projecting the past onto the future. And although it’s important to understand and heal our pasts, it isn’t necessarily the template for the future. Change is possible and it requires having some level of discomfort with the unknown and furthermore, having different and new experiences – both in and out of the therapy room.
Lastly, we are limited with the English language as to how we think about faith. Faith in our culture is this belief that if we just ask (God, the Universe, the Divine, etc.) for what we want, we should get it no matter what. But there really is a path to faith. The act of seeking leads to finding. The act of peace-keeping leads to peace. The act of minding leads to mindfulness. So, imagine if faith were a verb – to faith. The act of “faithing” leads to faith. There is something we have to be and do on a regular basis in order to embody faith.
Likewise, the same thing goes for therapy, which brings me back to my original point – what you put into therapy is working on your behalf. Imagine therapy is a verb as well – to therapy. This verb might encompass going to therapy, being present while in therapy, and embodying your therapy in some kind of way. There is no way that one’s efforts “to therapy” can be impotent. Inherent in the action is the result.