“We’re all neurotic, by the way.” I say smiling to a class of yoga students, as they sit on their mat, looking at me expectantly. Some of them smile and chuckle with me, others nod eagerly at me and others seem to be having a difficult time paying attention. I continue: “So if we can just accept that for what it is, we will be able to find more compassion and acceptance for where we are, which leads to a little less suffering.” They’re expecting to start moving or practice some kind of meditation or breath-work, but probably not expecting to have to sit with a statement like that. I laugh because I know this idea to be true in my own life and work. They chuckle probably for a few reasons- they might be thinking: “What is she talking about?” or “Everyone else might be, but I’m not,” or they laugh knowingly because they have encountered their own neuroses and are working on accepting themselves exactly as they are, with varying degrees of success. True healing requires us to pause and seriously consider our own wounding. Yoga is another tool for healing, so I often bring topics like this up in the yoga room as well as in therapy sessions with clients. Neurosis, in this sense, is not as serious or as awful as we might have previously thought, and it certainly does not indicate or point to a life of misery. it simply refers to the conditioning, internal suffering and defense mechanisms most human beings develop as a response to everyday life.
Viewing entries tagged with 'coping'
A cairn is a pile of stones or rocks, often used as a trail marker, landmark, or memorial. We use cairns in the field to mark where the group is so we can find it when we go to the field. Wilderness participants also look forward to cairns, as they mark where camp is and represent the end of a hike. On a solo, the cairn represents where staff will come to deliver water, food, or other needs while the young man or woman is reflecting and considering things. Over the course of a stay in Wilderness Therapy, the young person will see and build many cairns which represent a variety of things: starting and ending points, art in general, part of a sculpture of some kind, something done in group while they listen to others, and steps along the journey of their experience. In many ways, research in outdoor behavioral healthcare is like cairns, marking the way, representing steps as we investigate and evaluate this innovative therapeutic intervention.
I worked for 11 months as a field staff before becoming a Wilderness Therapist. As a member of the field staff team, I have memories of the therapists coming into the groups and shaking things up after we developed a rhythm within our group for the week. At the time, I did not understand this approach. Why leave students feeling sad or upset, letting them deal with these feelings on their own?