I can listen to you. I can guide you. I can nurture you. I cannot heal you.

Perhaps you have heard me tell this story before.  It is one of my favorites, in that it taught me a valuable lesson that continues to serve me well.

Years ago, when my husband and I were closer to the start of our spiritual journeys, we traveled to an ashram for a workshop led by a well known guru. We were thrilled to be sitting at the feet of ‘an enlightened soul,’ eager to absorb her wisdom.  And secretly, to hope beyond hope, that she would reach out and touch us with the peacock feather that would instantly deliver shatipat, a lightning bolt of divine wisdom, transforming us from human to transcendent. 

Peacock feather?  Lightning bold of wisdom?  Transcendent!  Arlene, c’mon!

Seems silly now.  And of course it didn’t happen.  Truth be told, I don’t think she even knew we were there.  But angels and miracles often become more than metaphors when we confront the emotional pain that accompanies our doubts and fears, and the path ahead is unknown.  We can’t help but think, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could heal us with a loving touch or the writing of a prescription.”

It does not happen that way.  It cannot happen that way.  It takes a stanch commitment to ‘doing the work,’ and there are no shortcuts.

It doesn’t mean healing is a DIY project.  I can help you along the way, but doing your work means courageously re-imaging and confronting the pain and trauma from your past. And that is an encounter that you and you alone must initiate and wrestle to the mat. During your struggle you will recognize what drains you and deflates you… what energizes you and inspires you… and ultimately empowers you.

I can create the curriculum. I can explore your childhood, your beliefs and values. But it is you who will seek the answers.  More to the point, only you can find them!  For the answers are within you. 

We can overcome our conditioning, rewire our brains, mend seemingly irreversible loggerheads and most importantly, open our hearts.  I can help you through the process with conscious breathing and mindfulness exercises; I can point you to the battleground with trauma-revealing therapies; I can nurture you along the way by listening with compassion and empathy.  But there is no peacock feather behind the screen in suite 1627.  The change that often comes in my office is your doing. 

And I have loved being a guest on the journey.


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