It's Sunita here.
I have a relationship-based practice. It's always been that way, even before I truly understood how important relationships were for our well being and health - and for our survival.
So when I am treating my patients, it is also a time when I catch up with them and learn about what is going on in their lives. Last week I had Jonathan (This is his real name which he enthusiastically allowed me to use) in my chair and we were shooting the breeze, like we always do. Jonathan is a consultant who works for a management company. He and I have always gotten along really well and have enjoyed many conversations over the years. Topics have included family, philosophy, culture, music, work, books, movies and pretty much everything in between.
It's no surprise that he and I have talked about my journey as a survivor of Attachment Trauma. I have also shared with him how my creativity as a writer was brought back to life as my brain healed through D-ISTDP (Davanloo's Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy).
I was telling Jonathan about the special space that I am creating to dedicate myself to writing and about my plans to bring attention to and advocate for those who suffer from the effects of trauma and mental illness. He listened appreciatively and said all the right things that a sincere friend would. However, something that was not easy to decipher came over him. Wistfulness, a seriousness, a sadness perhaps. It wasn't clear. But it was easy to see that he had a shift in his thoughts and his mood.
Jonathan shared with me that those at work who know of the documentation that he does for the projects he is assigned to, feel that he is a very good writer. He told me that his wife also thinks that and has encouraged him to write a book. He said he really enjoys writing for pleasure but just hasn't gotten around to doing much of it. This didn't make sense to me. I am sure he would have enough interesting things to write about just knowing the wide variety of topics that our talks have encompassed. And he has a quick wit that often catches me off guard. I would buy a book written by him. And I imagine so would many others.
So I asked him why he doesn't write. He took a few seconds to reply, "I guess I just haven't given myself permission ".
Such honesty, such insight, such truthfulness.
And such a shame.
Because Jonathan is a writer and deserves to be able to enjoy the pleasure of following this passion of his.
How many of us deny ourselves a life of living our truth? How many of us waste our talents? How many of us refuse to face the fact that we have gifts that were meant to be used for our pleasure and delight? And to uplift, help, inspire, and entertain others and make a difference in their lives? How many of us turn our back on our light?
I suspect millions.
Are you one of those people? What is holding you back from going for the gold? Why are you not pursuing your interests and passions?
Some of the reasons we give ourself include:
- I'm too busy with work and family. Well, that's not going to change anytime soon.
- I don't have free time. Have you noticed that those people who are pursuing their passions also have only 24 hours like you do.
- I'll do what I love when I am retired. No one can give you a guarantee of good health, resources or even that you will be alive long enough to retire.
There maybe a little kernel of truth to some of the reasons we give ourselves to postpone or avoid doing something we love, but the main reason is because we are just too afraid to attempt something that means everything to us.
What if we fail at it? What if we are no good at it? What if no one likes what we put out?
Well, I say who cares!
Don't point fingers at others when the person who thinks you are not good enough is YOU.
Have the courage to take the first step and as they say at Nike, "Just do it"
Then do it again. And again, until you are good at what you enjoy doing.
Allow yourself the ecstacy of being in the moment and being one with yourself when you do something you connects you to your highest being. Allow yourself the freedom to fail repeatedly at what you love to do because the journey will be worth it. And, I promise, one day you will wake up and have created a body of work of which you will be proud. And, you will never have to look back with regret that you didn't try.
In her book Figuring, writer Maria Popova asks this question, "Where does it live, that place of permission that let's a person chart a new terrain of possibility, that makes her dare to believe she can do something other than what her culture tells her she is, and then become something she believes she can? How does something emerge from nothing?
It is never too late. Even if you have only one day left to live. Wouldn't you rather die having done your heart's work? Even if it's for a day, rather than never getting around to it?
Aren't you curious to know where that place of permission lies within your soul?
I am. And I am exhilarated and thrilled to be living in the places where I gave myself permission to go.
I end by sharing this poem of mine with you,
To walk into
Looking at it
Through the glass window
You are hiding behind
The concrete bunker
You have been
Wishing you a week of courage to be You,
Be well Do well Live well,
PS- I will be the first to stand in line to buy Jonathan's book.