Thoughts with Richard Bleil
A friend of mine, who may or may not read my blog posts, frequently posts about interest or signing up for spiritual healing events of one kind or another. I see my reflection in her soul, because I’ve been there myself. I’ve done rebirthing, life regressions, crystal healing, weekend seminars and the like, and it all came down to just one thing. I was hurting, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and I was trying to heal my pain.
I hope I’m wrong. I honestly do, because she’s very sweet, and she deserves so much better than to go through what I did. In the end, I finally gave in and went to therapy, for several years, sometimes twice a week. That helped me to learn a lot about myself, the root of my pain, how to recognize it (which ultimately helps me to mitigate it), but I still have it. If she’s going through what I am, I hope she does better at healing than I am.
Therapy isn’t easy. It takes a special kind of courage to seek help from a professional. First, you have to overcome your own mental biases in admitting that it’s okay to ask for help for yourself. Secondly, you have to be prepared for the biases of others who may find out, which inevitably they will. There’s a lot of social bias against those who go to, or have gone through, therapy. That takes courage as well, to be able to stand up and say, yes, indeed, I’ve sought help. Finally, it’s very difficult to actually go to therapy.
I’ve been dead several times. I’ve been accosted by gangs in back alleys in the middle of the night, I’ve been in a car crash that should have killed me, I’ve had my heart stopped on the operating table for a triple bypass, but the only time I’ve ever been truly frightened was in the waiting room to see my therapist. Of course, the more frightened I was to see her, the more I realized that I needed to see her.
Through it all, it was just an attempt to deal with the damage from my past, and the pain left in my soul. Even today I’m learning more about myself and why I hurt as I do. Another friend of mine posted a meme that read, verbatim, “What does it mean to ‘hold space’ for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” People who truly suffer from depression know what this means, but it’s a difficult concept for people who do not suffer from chronic depression to understand. I often say that a depressive episode is just somebody’s heart and head going through some kind of journey. It’s working something out, and often the person going through the depression does not even know or understand what the journey is about. To hold space is to support them emotionally, to “stand by them”, even if that means giving them space to be alone and being there for them on the other side without criticism.
My friend is on a more obvious journey. She’s trying to find a guide to help heal her hurt, and I’m sure she’ll find some reprieve from it, but in the end, well, it wasn’t enough for me, but I hope it is for her. I’m holding space for her.
Often, when people are hurting, we stand in their way. It’s rarely intentionally, and even more rarely something that we recognize. Saying things that I think might help, like “snap out of it” or “it’s all in your mind” really does more harm than good.
And please don’t misunderstand me. I am a very spiritual man. I’m not sure I believe in things like crystal power and universal energy, but I am not willing to discount it either. I accept the possibility that there is some validity in these things, I’m just not willing to put my own spirituality in these beliefs, but, as Shakespeare once wrote, “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I hope my friend can truly tap into these powers, but whatever happens, I’ll be here for her. She deserves no less.