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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I'm a Lobster

I continue to ponder the truths revealed over the course of the past year. Reflections about therapy swirl in my head.

One really good thing about going to a gifted therapist is the confidence you feel that you did the best you could, given the best possible guidance. I’ve concluded that therapy is most effective when the subject comes with an open heart and simply tries to understand his/her feelings, and how they translate into behaviors. A good therapist will help you find the root causes and offer alternative ways to be "relational." On the other hand, some couples approach the therapist as a quasi-judge or mediator. The focus, then, becomes one of arguing your "best case." Sadly, nothing is learned. The scales of “justice” may swing one way or the other, but nothing changes in the underlying behavior…the injustices continue. If couples’ therapy is to lead to success (i.e., saving the marriage) both spouses must adopt the first approach. It's no mean feat getting two people at opposite ends of a chasm to come together (Old Chinese saying: You can't cross a chasm in two strides).

Then, again, saving a marriage is one thing. Saving a soul is another. I’m grateful to my therapist for healing (well, not quite yet...not for a good while) my soul. I’m grateful that she held a mirror to my face and helped me to see who was really there. I’m grateful for her insights into living and loving…alone or with another. She made me into a better, wiser and more chastened person…

* * *

…which brings me to lobsters. Lobsters must shed their shells as they grow, or they’ll die of constriction. Some lobsters live for decades, shedding their armor repeatedly as they grow older and (I presume) wiser.

I’ve been shedding my armor for the past half-decade, but the pace quickened mightily this past year. I couldn’t go on living in my old skin. I was choking. I’ve been growing a new and softer skin, one with a more relaxed fit.

* * *

I’ve changed.


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