Do we need to tell our stories?
The Celts were pioneers and survivors long ago. I grew up on the adventures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Sídhe, Tir na n-Og and other epics and sagas. I do not ever forget the adventures of the brave Cuchulain, and the story of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his salmon of knowledge and wished I could find this fish with amazing intelligence and wisdom.
I longed to soothe the pain and distress of the enduring and persevering Children of Lir on Lough Deravaragh, a lake not too far from where I grew up. Maybe that is why I trained as a therapist. I dreamed about Deirdre and the sons of Usna and Queen Maebh and her brown bull and in my dreaming, I was part of a colourful, creative dynasty.
As a nation, we are story tellers, we tell tales in our writings, in our clothing, our art, in our music, in our language and in our dances – we have a need to tell our story, both its universal and unique tapestry. We know this from our work as counsellors and psychotherapists.
I know that there are counselling theorists, theories, schools, approaches, techniques, tools and interventions that require us to focus on goals and outcomes. I appreciate this trend is mostly because agencies are under pressure for funding, and also maybe this urge to find solutions is due to good research and is evidence based.
I wonder if it is balanced and considered in relation to culture and ingrained ancient knowing as well as current trends in society. I worry that we seem to be distancing and becoming disconnected from our own authentic whispers of the heart. We are being seduced and pulled out of our selves so we can be brainwashed by what others deem important.
There is no time for us to tell our stories, to get in touch with the vagaries of life and living, to use our imagination, which is the most powerful tool in our humanity. No one really wants to listen to our innings. There is another agenda. This then creates self-doubt about norms, inner and outer conflict and anxiety and a struggle to be true to oneself, and fit in to what is expected. The result is we lose ourselves!
That is why I have appreciated and loved my therapists and my therapy over the years. Thank you for listening to me, for accepting me as I am with my skewed thinking, my deadened or over stimulated emotions, my physical appearance and my continuous search for meaning and for a spiritual dimension that sits with me, and my life.
You respected my journey at my pace and supported me to listen to my inner landscape and my knowing. You did not make my process of development about you, or your need to achieve a result, as if I was a product to be shaped according to some other design.
Thank you for being there for me, for the consistency you provided. Thank you for holding professional boundaries so I could test my learning and growing. Thank you for your warmth, your encouragement, your support and for not colluding with my idiosyncrasies.
Thank you for taking a risk, when I wanted to use my creative yearnings, curiosity and imagination as part of my inner expression and then manifest this in our sessions in your counselling space. These were times that had an impact on me, times that created trust both within myself and our therapeutic relationship and engaged both of us in a shared humanity.
I think this was the language of my soul. These were deep moments of connection both within me and with another human being and the outcome was an ease in my relationship with myself and then with others in my life. I am deeply grateful for my experiences and for the space you held for me to re-discover, shapeshift and integrate aspects of myself. I hold myself now, most of the time, with a loving, compassionate presence and with a kind embrace for my imperfection.
These encounters cannot be measured. I cannot provide evidence except to say, they were escapades of grace and were life changing for me in my appreciation, self-acceptance and love of myself as a wonderfully flawed human being doing the best I can on this earthly world. It leaves me more open and accepting of others as a community of global brothers and sisters with a shared humanity and a shared story.
These moments and times somehow, connect me back to the magic and mystery of my childhood stories and tales of heroines, witches, healers and herbalists and fairy men and women, who had inner powers of seeing and knowing, who had information and a knowing beyond words, who used rhyme and reason to solve their riddles. I connect on some level without a need to question, or without any hesitation, to this folk psychology, that continues today in films and animation and in written story, song, dance and craft that inspire and support well-being and joy.