You know those people who dig and excavate and chip away at old ruins, those people called archeologists? Curiosity of the past is understandable but who wants to get dirt under their fingernails for such a cause? Not me!
Little did I realize when I began therapy that I would be embarking on a true excavating adventure. And what is even more amazing is that when I began, I was not even aware that I was moving towards getting my own hands dirty, so to speak.
We know about exploration – we explore the foundations of knowledge and try to fill the tank with more and more facts; we explore the tiniest to subatomic matter; we explore the furthest to distant galaxies; we explore the past to the time of dinosaurs; we explore the future to centuries ahead.
Our eyes look, our ears listen, our fingers touch, our lips taste and we are captivated in wonder by all of creation.
But, I believe, the greatest target of exploration is within oneself – not the body, but the mind.
And so, when I began my work with my therapist, I began an excavation. It is the most curious thing because I was not exactly sure, in fact I was completely ignorant of what I was searching for. There was only an impulse, a drive that kept me digging and a vulnerable, naked intent that took ahold of me.
The search takes place in the dark. The tools used are unseen and unknown (at least to me they were). Handling such tools was awkward and frustrating. There was only clumsy movement with no sense of direction nor any easily understood goal.
O.k., o.k., now I’m scaring off those of you who might consider entering the fun playground of psychotherapy. Hey, don’t be frightened. It’s actually quite exciting. Who wants to live their whole days and complete lives in comfortable and boring circumstances? Maybe we don’t have the chance to go to the moon or discover the Americas, but we CAN dive into that wonderful adventure of learning who we are.
Hey, go ahead and laugh. You won’t be the first one nor the last. I’m laughing too. Really, there are people watching me who smirk and snicker and most of them are the voices I hear within myself that continually told me I was on a fool’s errand.
I felt like Don Quixote but at least he had plenty of faith, courage and belief. Whatever faith, courage or belief I may have owned continued to waver and flicker and threatened to die.
Well, yes, like any excavation project or any crazy search for life on other planets, the work is grueling and dirty and sweaty and the dust and commotion created is immense.
The pull is almost overpowering to give up the exertion and return to the ground/surface on planet Earth where all seems clean and calm.
The voices pounded away at me: “Give up your silly pursuit. What do you really hope to gain? There is nothing to be found. You have been enchanted by a romantic idea that has no foundation in reality. Just accept your lot like everyone else and save yourself all that turmoil and trouble.”
So, with so much doubt, confusion and weakness of will, how did I continue? How did I hang on to that willowy, barely discernible sense, that yes, there IS something valuable to discover deep within?
Well, I can’t answer that question. I suspect that there is a life force that insists on exerting its power. I could not ignore the hints that came my way that confirmed that my efforts were not a tremendous waste.
To be honest, I have no idea how I was to snag sufficient faith that my endeavor was worthwhile; how I strengthened my shallow and weak belief that I was heading in the right direction; how I sensed that the dirty and difficult work WOULD reveal a hidden treasure – a healing that was to be mine alone.
I wavered and threatened to quit too many times to count. But I always returned to the thought that ‘ I don’t have anything to lose even if the hunt, in the end, is a hunt for nothing.’
And clinging to these concepts did help:
Persistence; Perseverance; Patience
And now- well, you could say I’ve become a believer in archeology.