I ask clients to commit to five sessions to begin with, because one session doesn’t produce much change. It seems unrealistic to think that 70 years of anger and pain could be released in a few sessions – but yesterday, that’s exactly what happened! I have a 70 year old client, male, Sammy, who came to see me three weeks ago because of severe depression, roiling anger and an inability to enjoy his life and a new lover. His 90 year-old mother had recently died, and he’s working at a $10 an hour job that barely supports him. This after a lifetime of fast red cars, Orange County opulent track-manor materialism, combined with 30 years on psychiatric drugs prescribed to dull his psychic pain. When his wife killed herself two years ago, he knew he’d hit the end of that road.
After realizing how his old buried anger was hi-jacking his brain (amygdala hi-jacking it’s called) and was keeping him “looping” onto old miseries, he was ready to do the “brain exercises” to release it. And because he worked hard, began to listen to his own thinking, he had a major epiphany. As he waited impatiently in his car at a stop sign, while a 400 pound man hobbled in across the street, he thought, “Why doesn’t he just let go of all that blubber?” Not very compassionate, to say the least, but because he was finally “paying attention” to his own thoughts, he got hit with an epiphany about his own “400 pounds of blubber.” And it hit him like a lightening bolt, “Why do I want to carry 400 pounds of my blubbery-misery-invested-past in my brain? Why do I keep diving into it, and swimming in it everyday? I’m ready to let it go!” And he showed up at my office, a changed man – ready to own his power again.
He told me a funny story that foreshadowed his entire life, especially if you believe in “magical realism.” When he was nine, he was at a farm in the Midwest that had an outhouse. Being a curious boy, he took a big brick, looked down into the stinking hole, and then threw that brick down there. Guess what happened? Yes! You got it! He got splattered – completely covered in poop. And as he told me the story, he laughed. Because he realized that all he’d been doing since then, is looking down the poop hole, throwing brinks down and getting covered in poop. I asked if he was ready to stop throwing those bricks, and yes! He’s ready. So today, just take a look at your thoughts, and stop throwing bricks down the pooper. Instead, look up at the blue sky, enjoy the scent of flowers, grass – focus away from the pain of your past, and embrace the freedom of choice in the NOW. The choice is yours, however to do it, or not… and that’s what creativity really is all about. Knowing that your own thoughts are creating your own experience, yes? I’m off to walk now, move this body and enjoy the day!