Life is full of amazing experiences. Large, medium or small, all are big. Being aware of life’s full-ness keeps me motivated, contented, excited and alive.
How do you recognize your own experiences of living fully? Which ones in the past have filled you with contentment, satisfaction and aliveness?
One of the times I feel most filled and alive happens, as it did last week, when I am attending a four day clinical intensive in NYC called “The Master Class. During the master class, intensive experience happens on more than just the clinical level.
The mission of the class is for seasoned clinicians from the US and abroad, to develop greater mastery in the many therapeutic techniques that have evolved from the work of the man considered by many to be the greatest clinician of our time, Milton H. Erickson, M.D.
For four days a dozen therapists of various disciplines provide therapy for each other under the auspices of two supervisors, Helen Adrienne, practitioner of mind/body therapy and author of “On Fertile Ground/Healing Infertility;” and Jeffrey Zeig, founder and director of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, author of over 35 books, and world renowned clinical master teacher. Supervising our work in a way that affirms our growth as therapists and individuals, Helen and Jeff show us the many ways our own healing can help us to help our patients to heal.
One of the bonuses of every “class” is that through the respectful and compassionate witnessing of each other’s emotional work, in addition to the ongoing chit chat, laughter and fun of “getting-to-know you,” authentic friendships emerge as if through a compression of the time needed to trust and feel safe.
In addition to our work with our peers, we are each privileged to have a therapy session with Jeff. It was in my first class three years ago, in my first session with Jeff, as I spoke about how I was struggling to finish the manuscript for my first book, “Soul Mothers’ Wisdom,” that I first felt the powerful life force of the master class experience move into me and move me forward.
As I talked, and cried about my writing block, to my surprise Helen left the room. Returning with her drum, Helen led the class in chanting over and over, “Bette, you can do it!” The power of that group energy carried me into the next two years. Every time I sat to write I listened to that chant. It’s force propelled me to feel the life force of my book and take it to the finish line.
Other less intense, but equally significant life experiences can have a similar effect. Yesterday I was attending the Massachusetts chapter of NASW’s annual symposium where I had been a presenter of a group work workshop. That alone was a force. But there was more.
At lunch I sat next to an amazing young woman, a Social Work student from Uganda. Janet told me that her dream is to return to Uganda where she hopes to provide social work to families, particularly mothers and children. However, this will be a difficult journey she explained. For social work is not understood in Uganda as it is in the United States. Janet will have to carefully network, plan, and organize in order to offer the healing she so deeply longs to bring to her country.
As we hugged goodbye at the end of our lunch, I was inspired to realize that despite the differences in years of experience and cultural contexts, Janet and I had come together in a powerful moment of commonality of purpose. My brief time with Janet left me feeling more excited about the work I hope to do with single mothers. I left the symposium grateful for the social work opportunities in this country, and more fully alive within myself.
And you? Perhaps you might bring your attention to what is going on currently in your daily 24 hours. In that fullness of attention you will be able to realize the infinite number of ways life is full, and the infinite number of opportunities for you to be full of Life.