Making steps toward uniting with your life
Years after completing my graduate studies in Clinical Psychology I was looking for an approach to counseling that had spirit in it. In 1990, after living in a Steiner based community in New York for six years, I learned of a training in Biographical Counseling in Emerson College in England. I said an immediate ‘yes’ to the 3 year training. It gave me a new perspective on the human being and on counseling. Biographical Counseling has as its foundation the teachings of Rudolf Steiner on the rhythmic, cyclical laws underlying human life and development, on karma and destiny, and on the truth of who we are and our place in the cosmic and earthly order of things.
It offers the refreshing perspective that we are always in the process of growing and developing: of becoming. And though we are encouraged to look back to become conscious of the events and relationships that have formed us, the emphasis is more on where we are going and what capacities life is asking us to develop. Whatever difficulty or challenge we are facing is exactly what we need to be working on us in order to prepare us to be able to offer more to life. We practice finding the gift in whatever life brings. Mary Oliver, in her poem, The Uses of Sorrow, puts it this way:
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
We can easily be captivated or entrapped by our life story, by believing that this is who we are. We are more. We are asked to practice witnessing our own life from a more objective point of view, slowly teasing loose the grip of self-centeredness. In doing so we can be open to the fact that there is a deeper layer of story that speaks of the spiritual intentions that guide and inspire us; that makes us aware that our life and struggles are not simply personal but are connected to the life and struggles of the times and the world we live in. Life is challenging. We create the world by how we meet these challenges. The pictures and ideals that we hold of what it means to be a human being, help us to meet life’s challenges with grace and dignity.