It is spring in Toronto. The weather has finally turned ‘hot’, at least for a few days, and the streets are crowded with people dressed in summer clothes hastily pulled from the back of their closets.
With spring comes some themes in inner work. Love is one. Spring fever is visceral as our bodies react to the fresh warm air and the budding plants.
Spring is also the time when clients might say something like “I don’t know what to talk about today because everything is good.”
Upon exploration, they might find out that:
They don’t know how to “be good” in therapy if they don’t have a problem.
Or, they are afraid to be happy.
Or, they are afraid to show their therapist that they are happy.
I imagine a person who in their family had to keep their exuberance under wraps. This person is used to bringing problems to their therapist. It is comfortable because it repeats the situation of allowing the therapist to be the ‘helper’ and them the ‘helped’. A gorgeous spring day oozing with possibilities is disconcerting. How to keep Mom happy now?
I also imagine someone who sees therapy as a discussion of problems. A problem-solving think tank if you will. And it is this. But it is also more. Coming in on a particular day ‘without a problem’ gives us an opportunity to talk about what else therapy might be. Including: what it is like to be together in the room, what our (therapist and client) relationship is like, how we feel about each other, who you are, how you are being, what it is like to be you. This work is experiential. It might not feel like it is “going somewhere” the way the mutual problem solving does. But it is rich. And it sprouts into buds.
And then there is having. In spring we may be challenged to reckon with what we have. Spring calls us into beauty and new life – nature pulls us into the moment. Often this isn’t a smooth transition.
I have been having a hard time lately. I have been grieving deeply a series of losses I might have told you were pretty much healed. But my being insists otherwise. I was lying in bed on Sunday afternoon kind of numbed out. I looked at the flowers on the mantle. Gorgeous yellow flowers from my husband. They had bloomed tremendously overnight. I suddenly saw in those spring flowers what I have. Love. And beauty. And life. My being lunged towards these wondrous things. And then — opening to what I have immediately meant that I opened to what I did not have. It was an exquisite and wrenchingly painful opening. But I wanted it. Felt relieved at it. Am still hoping for more of it.
What we have is hard to have. As we open we open to everything, not just the good. So spring is difficult. We are alive and we grow and it hurts. All of this in one.