The goal of therapy is to heal or resolve problematic issues, whether they’re physical or psychological. While I’ve certainly paid my fair share of professional therapists over my lifetime, lately, I’ve been having everyday therapy that comes free of charge, from my experiences.
Everyday Therapy: Spike’s Writing Workshop
A month ago, my friend Janna told me about a memoir workshop she’d been taking. The workshop is led by the local writer and memoirist Spike Gillespie and is made up of a diverse and small (5-12) group of aspiring writers. Since I have been wanting to write a memoir for about 10 years, I thought, ‘no time like the present’ and signed up myself.
The workshop is not like a traditional writing class in which you’re given prompts or asked to focus on setting or character development in whatever you’re working on. The basic premise is that you bring a memoir piece you’ve already written, read it out loud to the group, and get feedback.
It is the intimate setting and the reading and listening to each other’s stories that provide the writing instruction as well as the therapy. When people share their histories, no matter how diverse they are, common human experiences emerge. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, young or old, a famous writer or an unknown blogger, there is value in reflecting on the points of our lives that intersect and connect us.
Everyday Therapy: Book Club
I belong to an unusual book club. My friend Bobby (who is one of the loveliest people I know) started it a dozen years ago and I’ve been a member for over 9 years although I took a 5 year hiatus when I lived in Europe. It is made up of a small group of men and women who are connected through Bobby.
Book club meets every 6-8 weeks; sometimes people have read the book and sometimes they haven’t. We meet over dinner at someone’s house or a restaurant and start off by sharing our good news, what is happening in our lives that is positive, enriching, and probably challenging. Then we discuss the book, what we liked and what we didn’t. And, we end with thoughts on the current political situation.
We met last night, and, as occasionally happens, we spent a lot of our time sharing good news. Although each person is going through something different, our news had similar themes – letting go of expectations, trusting in the Universe and our intuition that opportunity will present itself (maybe couched as difficulty and frustration), and moving forward toward our goals. Like writing workshop, this sharing brings us closer together and helps nurture growth.
Everyday Therapy: Meditation Series
I’m doing another 21 day meditation series with Chopra Meditation. This one is titled Destiny and Desire, and it’s focused on asking and answering deep questions. Who am I? What do I want in life? What is holding me back from achieving my destiny?
What has really resonated with me in this meditation series is the concept that we don’t have one, set-in-stone life purpose. Rather, one’s destiny evolves over time and may be different in different moments. As Deepak said this morning, “Purpose is more like a winding path along a mountainside than one specific destination.”
Furthermore, if we are tied to expectations about how our life’s purpose will manifest itself, we most certainly will be disappointed. Our perceived understanding of success and failure is flawed, because both provide opportunities. Deep stuff to grow you for sure.
Writing workshop, book club, and the quarterly meditation series are examples of my everyday therapy. These experiences, and the people with whom I share them, motivate and stretch me, give me space to reflect and analyze my behavior, and are, in bits and pieces, healing me.