Sharing the Path: Guilt, Therapy and Self-Inquiry

brown notebook in between of a type writer and gray and black camera

As I have now been a self-published author for 6 years, have written two books and am 3 ½ years into my third, I would like to take this blog in a new direction. Thus far I have written in the style of the subject matters in my books. Being that there are many aspects to my personal life, background professions and wide education that all contribute to the books I write, I would like to expand my blog posts into these areas to give a richer connection to the person behind the words. I hope you will take this journey with me. With each post I will focus specifically on an area of my life that somehow relates to my writing work. I will begin by talking briefly about my history with psychotherapy.

I was 23 and quite used to my inner share of guilt. Having graduated from college, almost finished with a graduate degree in International Relations and Communications, and working for an international development organization, I was losing some of the formal structures of my young-adult life but becoming a bit unhinged emotionally. Anxiety was becoming more familiar, now standing side-by-side the guilt I had carried from a very young age. It was suggested I find a therapist to work out some of the self-blame I assumed was warranted that perhaps was not “my” fault but rather a result of difficult dynamics in my childhood. I had a connection and found my first therapist (social worker).

It was wonderful to have this support, and as my friend (who recommended therapy) suspected, there were issues to be understood that were not my fault. Of course, the world of psychotherapy has its particular ways of labeling dynamics in the world, but this was a gift to me at the time, and still is. The issue was emotional incest, also referred to as covert incest. A relief to have a diagnosis, lots of books and ways to address the guilt and anxiety, and a kind, supportive therapist, it was my entrance into healing some of the psychological trauma and confusion from my past that was taking its effect on other relationships in my life with people, work, hobbies and myself.

I have done several rounds of therapy throughout my adult life (I am now 55) and have been extremely fortunate with the practitioners I have had. Simultaneous with my first experience, described above, I was introduced to Transcendental Meditation. I took comfortably to this and continued it religiously for 2 years. I was also encountering readings around effortlessness and self-inquiry which I responded to gratefully. I had also been a dancer since age 7 and was easily drawn into self-care through body work (at the time massage). At some later point, I was exposed to a practitioner who combined emotional talk-therapy with gentle touch on a table. I do not remember what the technique was, but it was profound. While (years later) involved in psychoanalysis, I felt like what would be most interesting to me would be to somehow combine psychotherapy with body awareness work. For those familiar with my books and the mindfulness practice I have developed (Mindful Reality), this is the most direct memory I have of how I came to do what I do now. Of course, there were many other influences along the way, but combining the themes of guilt and anxiety with psychotherapy and body awareness were the seeds of the mindfulness/philosophical work which take care of me now.

One thing leads to another, but my work around guilt and anxiety are continuous. In the end I have landed more solidly on using self-inquiry (my own brand) as a sole therapeutic tool (which I often do through a lot of journaling), as well as the Alexander Technique, which I continue to practice and teach, but I believe the various psychotherapeutic practices I was exposed to along the way were invaluable. Though, now, I am not interested in analyzing thoughts and mental patterns but instead appreciate recognizing habitual thinking as something to be avoided, I am not sure the latter would have been as useful before knowing where the pain came from. Everyone has their own path, but this has been a small sampling of mine.

Below is a list of areas from my life I hope to address in my new blogging endeavor. Please feel free to make suggestions as I would love to connect with as many of you as possible!

Zen Buddhism, Sri Ramana Maharshi, The Work of Byron Katie, Mindfulness, Psychology, Emotional (Covert) Incest, Philosophy, Determinism, Blogging, Writing, Self-Publishing, The Alexander Technique, Ecstatic Dance, Modern Dance, Contact Improvisation, Choreography, Parenting, Living Alone, Perimenopause, Being a Writer, Politics and Resistance, Portland, Maine, The Farmer’s Market, The Topic of Free Will, The Word Consciousness, People I Follow and Love

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