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There I was living my life with a false sense of security…I had my Act together…or so it seemed! Though the door to my inner world was creaking and showed signs of wear, I was lulled by the fact the hinges still functioned and I could shut out the world when needed. When open for community business, I was all frozen smiles and fragile confidence, but behind my psychic door I was dog paddling in a pool of anxiety, regrets, and resentments. Then came the pivotal moment when the mental games no longer worked and I stood in the doorway of uncertainty; confronted with the absurdity of my actions. I couldn’t duct tape the hinges together any longer and I broke. Just hanging onto the door jamb of my sanity was all I could do. Internal voices pelted me with my greatest fear “I’ve lost control!” The eyes of family, friends told the story of hurt and disappointment, and the ultimate judgement, “she’s come unhinged”.
Was this unhinged state permanent? Un-fixable? No! Life changing events, sometimes referred to as an existential crisis, are part of the human journey. When I experienced that period of personal crisis…inexplicable grief and loss…I felt the weight of those years of disconnection from myself, yet I can now marvel at the fact that given time, wise counsel, doses of humility, and yes, the privilege of my community standing, doors opened to me. But standing at that threshold of change, I had to choose, would I enter the gritty path of recovery, or remain stuck in the lie of denial. Recovery is a choice point that we all are challenged to reject or receive, and sometimes it just takes a while for the ego to let go and receive compassion with a hard pill of pure truth.
Experiencing a traumatic life changing event in your own life may have forced you to doubt your worth and/or competency, and appear unrecognizable to yourself. In this moment of quiet desperation, in the confusion and darkness, you may have questioned your mental stability. It may feel as if you will never be whole again, never be standing on firm ground and in control of your life. This perceived setback to your emotional stability may feel ceaseless, but in fact, you are on an egoic threshold, and the open door of the psyche has reached a choice point between stagnation and growth.
How does one navigate this path of uncertainty in a world that fosters fear and anxiety? Endurance: digging in to the grind of life, the day in and day out rigor of putting one foot in front of the other; and grappling with fear while getting on with the next step that moves you forward on your journey! There is always something to doubt, worry, and fear, but getting out of your head, breathing deeply, and involving yourself in something meaningful that contributes to the common good will distill the fear, and move you from a place of emotional paralysis to a place of action…the space where confidence and trust in your ability is galvanized and becomes the hinges that support a resilient spirit.
If we are willing to own the controversy and challenges that life presents to us, and stop wandering in the canyons of our past or crystal balling our future in the dense fog of the unknown, the truth becomes clear. We Only Have the NOW! Look, feel, touch, smell, the good that exists in the present moment…this is what is true. And through a lens of gratitude, the thick ropes of doubt and cold quicksand of shame no longer have the power to bind our consciousness. When we have the courage to step through that threshold of change, a paradigm shift awakens us to a renewed spirit of incredible growth and emotional maturity. You don’t have to be heroic to accomplish recovery, the only requirement is a humble “Yes”.
Our psychic door can be repaired, the hinges mended, and secured, we can re-align ourselves with our values, to what matters, and reattach our life to a stronger and more secure place. Yes, there is great risk in our world, however finding courage in inspirational readings, nature, a child’s sweet smile, and the act of contributing to the collective good, is the key to persevering in times of struggle. Seeking the help of a spiritual counsel or a psychotherapist who can support you in the process is also an intelligent choice. A quote from bestselling author Brene Brown is my signpost:
“When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending.” Open yourself to the Possible!