Yesterday’s post included a Joseph Campbell reference, and today we remain with the themes of the hero’s journey, and the importance of mythology in our quest for meaning. Laurie Penny and Alison Nappi have written very different pieces around these themes – although both include a Dr Who reference (often a good sign, in the writer’s experience).
Alison’s piece is a glorious, dizzying, dancing exploration of existential meaning, our ‘bat-shit’ crazy culture, transformation, immanence and spiritual growth, full of passion and vitality – a poem, to Laurie’s equally and differently alive prose…. Alison’s quote from the work of Rainer Maria Rilke rather sums up the qualities of her own piece, as well as its focus:-
“The deep parts of my life pour onward, as if the river shores were opening out. I feel closer to what language can’t reach. With my senses, as with birds, I climb into the windy heaven… in the ponds broken off from the sky. . .”
One of our core underlying intentions at this service, is to meet people exactly where they are, with the supportive alchemy of love, empathy and authenticity, whilst simultaneously holding an honouring intuitive space for all that they have it in them to be. It seems to us that a helpful therapeutic presence needs to include both elements, and that this is about a deep respectfulness for that person’s own inward compass, and – trustworthy, innate and sacred – unfolding process. We don’t need to know where the road leads, and nor do they. It is enough to walk alongside, in this spirit. The rest tends to take care of itself.
Not everyone who comes to therapy is after transformative change, or a hero’s journey, or the far reaches of spiritual growth – which brings us back to meeting people where they are…. But some are – whether overtly seeking to answer a call, or simply finding they have stumbled onto this road one day, as Alison describes. As therapists we are, in potentia, supporting people in this kind of quest, and it seems important to us at this service to acknowledge that (and be up for it). And, of course, if you change the language and tweak the conceptual structures, what Alison says is noticeably similar in content to what Carl Rogers said about the actualising process, therapeutic process, and the ‘good life’.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling in Exeter since 1994