“Here and now” – I hear and read it all over; in yoga magazines, on websites, in health-related talks. Everywhere! And yet, it isn’t new; it’s been around for a long time, perhaps a really long time. I first heard it when I was a student learning to be a yoga teacher, and then a gestalt therapist.
In gestalt therapy, it’s what we do as a therapist, helping our clients focus on what is present in their lives in the moment, instead of what they judge to be happening based on past unresolved experiences.
One part of our training is that we first learn about our own blocks. It’s part of what is termed the “Safe and Effective Use of Self”, or SEUS for short, and it involves clearing up our own unfinished business, learning the signs, and knowing how not to bring that into the therapy room.
For me, the whole point of therapy is to help a person be fluid in the present, unhindered by something that is making them rigid and unresponsive to their world. For instance – and I’ll use myself in this example – a few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a presentation that was really important to me. Usually, when I get ready, I write something out and then practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s always a lot of work, but writing comes easy for me. Not this time. For some reason, I kept getting stuck. When I finally stopped to examine what the problem was, I discovered that I was really scared that I’d picked the wrong topic, and that the whole thing would be ruined. It was too late to change the topic – I’d already announced it all over the place. The only thing to do was to forge ahead.
But that did it for me. Every time I’d allow the thought “What if this topic is all wrong!” to creep in, I’d be stopped. My solar plexus would seize up, my throat would go dry, and all those words and concepts and stories I’d memorized would disappear. Worrying put me in my head, imagining past disasters, and I lost all presence and connection to what and who was around me.
I got through the presentation, and it was well received. But one piece of feedback I received was that the flow wasn’t there as it usually is. The reason was because of that inner battle I fought right up to the day before.
Yes – the day before. Because I’ve learned a valuable technique: no matter what, when I’ve done whatever I can to properly prepare, then I relax and trust the process, so that I’m free to be present for my audience or my client.
That’s my way of being here and now for others. What’s yours?
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .