We therapists have the challenge of showing up and staying present with our clients. Ram Dass tenderly phrased the embodiment of that journey alongside others as “we’re all just walking each other home”. Indeed. It’s quite a challenge.
Sophie Strand is an activist, writer, poet and storyteller of amazing capacity, heart and passion, and a favorite. In her new Substack post “Make Me Good Soil: Bodying the Text”, she says, “I’ve always loved the dynamic of storyteller and audience. It creates a crack where a reader can slip inside. Can insert their own inhales and exhales…when stories are heavy with passion and sorrow, they can bend the fabric of space time…But the biggest shift was that when we write stories we forget that stories emerge from bodies. They are made of bone and blood and breath. They are heaved, sobbed, sung, howled from the bowels of our earthbound existence.”
I actually never forget where those narratives come from when I spend time with clients in my office. I try to notice and attend to my own bodily sensations as I sit next to the client. I notice that my breath, my heart, my lungs are all affected by the experience of the client’s suffering and tears. My delightful Cavvie has already done what she could: she brought her A-game in sharing a beloved, raggedly toy buffalo, lifting her head for a pat, her side to lean against. We breathe into the silence. And I try to follow a promise I make with myself: to see that there is also breath left to share a smile, to laugh even – at least once before the client leaves the session. We walk each other home, yes; and there’s some really interesting and delightful things we can notice along that path, yes there are.