Evoke Podcasts: A New Sensibility
Each week I go to therapy. I have made it my consistent practice since 1999 to meet with my therapist regardless of the state of my circumstances. I never know what will come out in the session. Sometimes I complain about everyone in my life. Sometimes I unload the stress I am carrying. Sometimes I express gratitude for the healing grace my therapist has shown me. Rather than a problem-solving session, it is a place where I can be myself and that is okay. It is a place where I am welcome and where I can’t get it wrong.
Essentially, therapy is a place different from the context I grew up in. This is what it can be for everyone. The thinking is different. My therapist is with me in a way that nobody has ever been with me. She is loving and curious, rather than anxious and eager to fix me. Instead of fixing, she is intent to understand me. And when she finds me, I have the experience of “Oh. Yes. There I am.” Therapy is a place I go back to each week to find myself and re-immerse myself in a different sensibility—a different way of thinking and being in the world than the one I was raised in. With that sensibility, I am able to be with those that I love in a different way—in a way I was taught to fear growing up.
This new way of being is loving and letting go and it is terrifying because I can get hurt. When people ask me about the title of my first book, The Journey of the Heroic Parent, they often ask, “Why heroic? I just want to be good enough.” I tell them the hero is the one who is willing to look inward, willing to look for the problems and the solutions to their pain inside themselves. While the journey is inward, we don't need to (I would argue can’t) do it alone. We need at least one other person to see us. I read somewhere recently, “You don't need to tell everything to everyone. But you do need to tell someone everything” in order to heal. It is the experience of sitting with an empathic Other that helps us to realize we are okay, and that feeling is everything. There is a place on the other side of shame and when you find it, you want everyone else to find it. It is like having the Salk vaccine in your pocket—you want to give it away to everyone in the world for free.
I started broadcasting webinars for parents on December 18, 2007 and since then have broadcast over 1,100 episodes. In late 2017, we decide to add the podcast format for easier access. I am clear that webinars and podcasts are not therapy. In my perspective, therapy is not a place you go to hear hard things, it is a place you go to say difficult things. But these podcasts can provide listeners some of the same sense I have received from my 30 years of being a client in therapy. I can talk with listeners, on the same level, about the challenges of being human, being a Self. I can talk about the challenge it is to love an Other as Other. It is not a top-down, me telling listeners the way it is. I am with the listeners on the same level, sharing my experience on the road less traveled.
And I love to do it. I love to share my story, especially the screw-ups, to give listeners a sense that they are not alone. I don't believe that therapists are experts on your life—the expertise is in creating a process where you can discover the truth hidden deep inside of you. If you listen and make it a practice, you will develop a sense of the work of becoming a Self. It doesn't matter if the context is parenting, marriage, work, or any other relationship—the project is the same. This is true because every relationship we have with others is based on the relationship we have with ourselves. The Self is the foundation upon which the rest of it sits. I love hearing from listeners, parents, and clinicians about the difference the podcasts make in their life.
Every few months, I spend some time in therapy reflecting on the gift it has been to sit with my therapist. Usually, it comes with tears of gratitude. When I share my thanks, invariably she says the same thing, “I am just doing for you what someone did for me.” So, if you find these podcasts helpful or healing in any way, I would offer the same to you. I am just doing for you what someone has done for me.