Friday, 13 April 2012

Staying on the straight and narrow

An interesting conversation arose inspired by recent reflections on the various facets of progress.  There is an expression I regularly remind myself of, "progress not perfection" which would not, I suspect, cut it where certain personality types are concerned.  

For some, progress is a single linear transition from A to B, never involving diversions via C.  Others of us progress in a rather less straightforward fashion, diverging off towards, C, D and occasionally even E, if it appeals sufficiently.  It is not the speed, but the scenery that we appreciate, and we are open to learning along the way: the reward is, after all, the journey.  The destination is something we may hold in clear focus, but it is not the be-all and end-all.  We are confident in our ultimate arrival, but are open to growing along the way.  We are not averse to conceding that a wrong turn may have led us towards a T-junction but we view this is something other than a dead-end, for there is often much to be gleaned even in the decision as to when to turn around, and in what direction to make the revolution.  

We do not, I think, ever encounter the same place twice and this is borne of the fact that we ourselves do not tread two steps as the same person.  We are informed by each breath we inhale, each thought we have, and each feeling that arises.  

Starting therapy, either for the first time or the umpteenth time, one embarks upon a journey.  One of the most difficult questions I am forever confounded by is, "how many sessions do you think I'll need?"  I do not wish to avoid the issue, or withhold a professional opinion, I'm simply not qualified to estimate.  There are too many variables, and there is only room for one in the driving seat: my client.  The journey is entirely in your hands.  I may have a road atlas, but within its pages are countless possibilities.  I hope never to assume the position of a SatNav, perched on the dashboard and simply along for the ride, directing individuals towards their stated destination.  Apart from anything, experience has told me that we tend to benefit most when our intended end point changes along the way.

"It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey."
Wendell Berry

"A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it."
Jean de la Fontaine

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