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We all experience times when things seem out of alignment. What used to feel comfortable or safe, or was a known and reliable thing, suddenly is no longer. Our emotions, behaviors, and experiences seem unfamiliar, like something is wrong. We can feel like we’re going crazy!!

I’d like to suggest that it is these very times, when things no longer fit, that we are actually experiencing great and powerful change. And that it is important during these times that we slow down and allow things to just be, allow them to re-coalesce into their new shape. It requires us to sit in discomfort, and we’re not so good with that in our culture.

We are so quick to jump at the chance to bring things back into comfort. We get depressed, we take a pill, we feel lonely, we reach out, we get angry, we take some deep relaxing breaths. Now, I’m not saying that is all bad, but perhaps at times we could instead just hang out in the messiness of it. Let it percolate a bit. Remember that balance and harmony come out of chaos and confusion. We have to really experience the craziness in order for things to start making sense again.

Here is a great example from the book “On Being Certain, Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not” by Robert A Burton. Read through the next paragraph, the whole thing, don’t skip anything. And when you’re done, close your eyes and feel you body. Notice your emotions, and what your body is like. Sit with it a moment or two. See what is familiar about it. Then, open your eyes, and scroll down and read the next paragraph.

A newspaper is better than a magazine. A seashore is a better place than the street. At first it is better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times. It takes some skill, but it is easy to learn. Even young children can enjoy it. Once successful, complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however soaks in very fast. Too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. Once needs lots of room. If there are no complications, it can be very peaceful. A rock will serve as an anchor. If things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance.

Now close your eyes and just notice, without judgement or trying to change anything. When you are done, scroll down the page.

OK. Good. Now, take a look at the following image, and then read the paragraph again.

Image

A newspaper is better than a magazine. A seashore is a better place than the street. At first it is better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times. It takes some skill, but it is easy to learn. Even young children can enjoy it. Once successful, complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however soaks in very fast. Too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. Once needs lots of room. If there are no complications, it can be very peaceful. A rock will serve as an anchor. If things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance.

Makes sense now doesn’t it!! This is what happens to us when things shift, when a new configuration is forming. Things seem like they don’t make any sense at all! These are the first stages of healing. I can’t tell you how many times this happens in my office. We all want to come into to therapy and have things just get better right away. But it rarely, if ever, works out that way. Instead, there is often a period of confusion, chaos, where things go crazy. This is necessary. We have to be in that place. But it is temporary and helps to not be there alone! Suddenly, things will make sense again. It might take one word, one thought, one action or movement, and suddenly this new way of being that had been feeling unbalanced and out of whack, comes into focus, and is the new YOU. This is how we heal, and change.

Chris Tickner, MFT (at Tree of Life Healing) is a Pasadena psychotherapistchild therapist, and clinical supervisor practicing holistic psychotherapy, combining mindfulness psychotherapysomatic psychotherapyneuroscience, and good old fashion humor and compassion to form a a powerful treatment that is transformative and holistic. At Tree of Life Healing, Pasadena’s Holistic and Alternative Healing Resource, we provide an array of treatment approaches including Somatic Psychology, Jungian Psychotherapy, group therapyHakomi PsychotherapyReiki Energy TherapyShamanic Healing,Intuitive Counseling, and more.

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