I first learned to love in my wild & wacky ethnic family. I needn’t say more—the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding covered it for lots of ethnic types. Big-hearted characters with unending generosity and pure intentions rule interactions… even if we are boisterous and dysfunctional.
Next, I learned to love through my work with psychotherapy clients—hour after hour sitting in the most privileged seat in life—I am awestruck about the human ability to stand up over and over again when we are knocked down. I can’t help but love my clients; their resilience and light is irresistible.
And now I want to tell you about this love.
Sometimes when folks can’t take it anymore, they wash up on the shore of my office. They’re desperate for change, or hope or someone to tell them they aren’t crazy. Sometimes they can’t believe they made the call, or that their life turned this bad. Sometimes they come in with shame and self-loathing, sometimes very matter of fact. A lot of times people catch themselves off guard and before they know it, they’ve gathered a softball wad of Kleenex in their hand. At this point, some of them proclaim to me that they don’t usually cry. I fall in love with them even more when they say those things. It’s the purity that gets me: of course, everyone wants to be above crying in the therapist’s office.
Yet, they proclaim to feel so much better and happy they finally made the call and finally came in. After 30 years in my chair, I see that every person has traveled their own unique path and each story is a special blend of life circumstances, temperaments, experiences, resources and strange luck. Human beings oozing with passion are hard not to love.
So to the person who is considering coming to psychotherapy, here’s what I have to say: Life is going fast and we’re all dying every day, so let’s get to work, roll up your sleeves and dive in. Let’s get going; it’s time to face those boogeymen, and fight back at the things that bother us. Let’s learn to ride the twists and turns in life. Let’s see what beauty or uniqueness we can find in ourselves and in one another. Let’s all breathe, because breathing helps everyone.
Besides there’s so much stuff to do—groovy sharing and connection, waves to surf, mountains to climb, and whole worlds to discover. There’s so much wholesome life to be living, and enough room for everyone. But no one can do any of it if they are tranced out with substances, activities, or device screens. So put the phone down for an hour or two and come on down. It’s not too late—because every day we get another chance to wake up and be alive!