Bookshelf Additions – Spring 2019

I haven’t been making as much time to read as I’d like, but I’m at least keeping some momentum going during a busy season of transition.  I especially loved 2 of the 4 books- The Alchemist and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.  I think they both found their way to me at precisely the right time.  Two of the 4 I completed on Mother’s Day, one of which was aptly Mom & Me & Mom.  And again, 2 of the 4 were gifts from friends who knew just what I needed.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

‘Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?’  ‘Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet.  Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.’

The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.

 

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

This was a beautiful depiction of therapy, from both sides of the “couch.”  As a therapist, and as a human being, I adored it.

A therapist will hold up the mirror in the most compassionate way possible, but it’s up to the patient to take a good look at that reflection, to stare back at it and say, ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting! Now what?’ instead of turning away.

Therapists are always weighing the balance between forming a trusting alliance and getting to the real work so the patient doesn’t have to continue suffering.  From the outset, we move both slowly and quickly, slowing the content down, speeding up the relationship, planting seeds strategically along the way.  As in nature, if you plant the seeds too early, they won’t sprout.  If you plant too late, they might make progress, but you’ve missed the most fertile ground.  If you plant at just the right time, though, they’ll soak up the nutrients and grow.  Our work is an intricate dance between support and confrontation.

Everyone wages this internal battle to some degree:  child or adult?  Safety or freedom?  But no matter where people fall on those continuums, every decision they make is based on two things:  fear and love.  Therapy strives to teach you how to tell the two apart.

He’d given me permission to feel and also a reminder that, like so many people, I’d been mistaking feeling less for feeling better.

Of course, the story a patient comes into therapy with may not be the story she leaves with.  What was included in the telling at first might now be written out, and what was left out might become a central plot point.  Some major characters might become minor ones, and some minor characters might go on to receive star billing.  The patient’s own role might change too- from bit player to protagonist, from victim to hero.

We grow in connection with others.  Everyone needs to hear that other person’s voice saying, I believe in you.  I can see possibilities that you might now see quite yet.  I imagine that something different can happen, in some form or another.  In therapy we say, Let’s edit your story.  

In the best goodbyes, there’s always the feeling that there’s something more to say.

 

Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou

She had my back, supported me.  This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important.  Not just because she feeds and also love sand cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap.  She stands between the unknown and the known.

My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small.  The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.

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