Life Itself is the Best Teacher

Fortunately psychoanalysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts.  Life itself remains a very effective therapist.  Karen Horney 

Not everyone is a candidate for psychotherapy, some because they don't need it, some because they don't have access, and some because they are reluctant for any number of reasons.

Psychotherapy is a powerful tool for healing, growth, and change of all kinds, no question.  I have seen miracles in my own life and the lives of others born in the consultation room.  However, I never forget that life itself is, in the end, the best teacher.

Life generously offers all the lessons we will ever need in our journey to wholeness.  Some of these lessons come from our old friend experience, some from our elders and teachers, some from our deliberate reaching out for learning, and some from mystery - dreams, inspiration, synchronicity, intuition, and epiphanies.

Our part is to learn to pay attention and to practice discernment, carefully sorting and testing and holding the bits and pieces of knowledge that come our way until we are sure that they will increase our wisdom.  All of this takes courage, commitment, and compassion, as much as we can muster day by day.

A therapist can be a valuable ally in this enterprise, the creation of an authentic and meaningful life, bearing witness and helping avoid the pitfalls that are bound to appear.  When courage wanes or compassion fails, he can point the way to reconnect and recharge or lend a sustaining hand.  When commitment falters, he can hold the worthiness of the goal up to the light again.

Still, the journey, the quest, is an individual one, and will be made with or without our permission and cooperation.  Life will offer lessons: we can accept the offer or not.  The choice is ours.  We can resist, we can deny, we can shudder in fear, we can insist that our old knowledge is perfectly fine, thank you.  Or we can grab hold and give it our whole hearted, full bodied best.  Just imagine what could happen then.

Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.  You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.  Eleanor Roosevelt

The Guest House


This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all.

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.


Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

And invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.