“Symbols are everywhere, and everything that you experience mirrors a part of you . . . “
The Four Insights, Alberto Villoldo
Recently I was in a case conference where a colleague expressed a growing frustration and anger toward a client who after 10 years of therapy had not made any significant movement or change. As I drove home from that meeting I found myself caught in the following monologue.
“I suppose we all have places where we don’t make movement in our lives; places where people think we should make changes, places where people want us to make movement or even parts of us that want or wish that we would move, make some change, do something to make our lives different for ourselves or others. And yet we don’t. We stay stuck in an old belief, an old behavior, an old attitude, a certain defensive pattern or way of viewing a person or the world…something we just can’t seem to give up or do differently.
“ If this were my client I must ask myself ‘what is it that I don’t want to change in my life? Where don’t I want to make some movement? What don’t I want to give up so that I can make changes that someone wants me to make or some part of me wants me to make? Where am I like this client? Where is this client mirroring my life to me? Where am I just like him?’
“ I find myself resisting answering that question. It seemed like too much work and therein lies the mirror and the shadow. Of course I am angry at him. I see myself and I don’t like what I see. “
And so I thank my colleague for bringing this topic up. For in the coming weeks I shall examine where I am not making movement that I need to make. Even as I write this I feel a stirring in my gut about a possible answer. So I must thank this man, whomever he is and whatever his name for doing the work of God, for being my teacher here! And yet, he will never know how his inability to make movement may cause me to make movement that will change my life and potentially the lives of those I serve. But will I? Can I? Only time will tell. And if not? Then, once again, he and I are one. Perhaps I shall have a greater understanding of his plight and greater compassion for his journey. For in the end….we are no different, he and I.