Click on the link to visit http://www.beyondmeds.com, for a post including this astonishing poem by David Wagoner:-
‘Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.’
Don’t miss the wonderful 8 minute film with David Whyte talking about this poem (and other things) with Jeffrey Mishlove – the link to that is just below the text of the poem in the original post. David speaks at the beginning of the longing so many of us share for more ‘aliveness’, and talks about the uses of poetry:-
‘And this is where poetry is enormously successful…. Because usually in a room if you try and talk about very precious experiences, the more you talk about them, the further they go away. But with poetry, which is actually not about a subject, [or] about a quality or an experience, but is the experience itself, you can actually create that experience in the room.’
Clearly there is a close analogy here with the therapeutic experience. At the heart of therapeutic process, the therapist and the person they work with co-create a relationship in which it is safe for that person to connect more fully with their experiencing – whether of the past or of the here-and-now. The more able we are to make contact with our raw experiencing with our whole beings, without denial, distortion or distraction, the more able we become to process and integrate it – in Rogers’ terms symbolise it accurately. This creates space/freedom to heal and grow.
David explores the question of how we find our way in life – intuitively, deeply – in ways that meet more of who we are, and satisfy our longings for aliveness… He quotes Dante on the sense many of us have from time to time of having lost our way:-
‘”In the middle of the road of my life, I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost” (Divina Commedia)’
‘How do you know that you are on your path – because it disappears. That’s how you know. How do you know that you are really doing something radical? Because you can’t see where you are going. That’s how you know. And everything you have lent on for your identity has gone. And so you are going to enter the black contemplative splendours of self-doubt, at the same time as you are setting out on this radical new path.’
There is lots of other great stuff on http://www.beyondmeds.com as well. We think Monica Cassani offers a courageous, intelligent, reflective and much-needed voice, and is doing profoundly important work – for which, thank you.
Palace Gate Counselling Service
Counselling Exeter since 1994