Truth and freedom through courage and wise compassion
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
― Joe Klass, ’The 12 Steps to Happiness’
Ain’t life a pain at times! You’ve just got things in order when suddenly life reminds you of its complications and bites you in the ass. Why does it have to be this way? Well, maybe we should start there…
I am here offering an opportunity to sit down and closely examine your life and life, in general. This ain’t an easy journey and ‘The Road Less Travelled’ (a great book by M Scott Peck) is the one that is less known and less secure. However as Robert Frost concludes in his poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’, ‘I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.’ This road can seem too scary at first but due to the trials, challenges and tribulations we encounter on this road this journey can make us into better, more noble and more enlightened beings. This may be an actual road or decision we need to make about the direction of our lives or it may be seen as a metaphorical road for the deep introspective journey many of us are resistant to take for fear of what we might find there. As Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, suggests, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
This conscious raising journey towards the truth is one that I would like to walk with you on. This is an epic and admirable journey. I am here to help you along the rocky path using wise compassion. (I’ll be Samwise and you can be Frodo). Although it will be you that will be taking the steps out into the unknown, I hope to shine a torch for you on this journey. The torch will be the skills, qualifications, experiences and person centred approach that I offer and the rough map is the reliable information that an ethical use of the scientific method can provide. The courage and hope that it requires to take these steps, while one does not know one’s precise destination, is provided by philosophical and spiritual insights into suffering and the meaning we attach to it. Through this undertaking we will delve into truth and from there personal freedom will emerge. This is also a journey that will test and reveal your strength and dynamic energy. On this quest, hopefully you can hear wisdom in the words of the singer/songwriter, Luka Bloom, and ‘Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you’.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ― Jim Morrison
Although personal freedom and life satisfaction are very strongly linked, (global cross cultural studies from the World Value Survey suggest that freedom and life satisfaction scores are highly correlated) I believe that freedom, rather than satisfaction, is what the human spirit/psyche/mind is seeking. Support for this is evident in the importance freedom plays in country’s values, e.g. ‘equality, liberty and fraternity’ in the French national motto, ‘…the home of the brave and the land of the free’ in the US national anthem or in Ireland’s own unofficial national anthem, ‘The Fields of Athenry’, with the line, ‘Nothing matters, Mary, when you’re free.’ People from all around the world strive for freedom. They want to break their chains and become free. People have come up with different ways to try to achieve this. This has led to mixed results which have often been tragic and/or horrific. We need to be mindful and informed in this journey as a desire for freedom is a powerful force. Art, music, history, scientific enquiry, philosophy and literature have all contributed to and been shaped by humankind’s love and pursuit of freedom. Societies, particularly in the West, have been shaped by a desire to maintain socially cohesive societies while granting as much freedom as possible to its citizens.
Our work will explore how we can break the chains that restrict our personal freedom, whether these chains are perceived or actual. Part of this journey is discovering who and what we are. It is first about critically looking at ourselves and our own shadows and fears. With this freedom also comes responsibility. It is about understanding our deep interdependence and about discovering ways to live freely while also enhancing (or at least not trampling on) the freedom of those around us. We will look at ways of coping with this responsibility as sometimes this weight or cross can feel like too much to bear. Again we will use courage and wise compassion to navigate this sometimes tricky course. As Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher says, ‘Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom’, so some fear is to be expected on this journey. Temporary comfort can be gained by avoiding the things one knows one needs to address, choosing the more familiar road and not daring to change course. Let us not be entrapped by the illusion of comfort. Give yourself the chance to live a life filled with authenticity and freedom.
Bravely stepping out on the truth and freedom journey:
I am not promising a pain free ride and I am not promising that we will reach the final destination. I am promising that I will be a temporary companion and occasional guide. I am promising that I will journey with you and help you to face the truth so you can become more free and take on life with honesty, courage, fortitude and wise compassion for yourself and your fellow beings. Let us go on this journey. As Bilbo Baggins said: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” I can’t do the walking or carrying of your burdens for you but I will give you a place to lay these burdens down for a while and we shall find ways for you to ‘keep your feet’ for the road ahead…
– I am a country lad from Longford who has stepped away from the comfort of the shire (God, I have to stop with the Lord of the Rings analogies) and has gone on my own adventures across the world, including working and studying in the UK, working in New Zealand and travelling across South America. Along the way, I have gained valuable experience, skills, qualifications and insights. This includes an Arts degree (Sociology; Greek and Roman Civilization). On reflection, this degree was never going to get me a steady job! ☺ but it did give me insight into the effects social systems and culture has on our lives and introduced me to some of the great minds, e.g. Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, of ancient Western civilization. I followed this Arts degree with a conversion degree in Psychology leading to a Master of Science degree in Psychology. I also have a University Advanced Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Skills and Studies from the University of Derby. I apply aspects of CBT in my work when looking at how we interpret the world around us. I use theories from evolutionary psychology and insights from music, literature, religion and philosophy to help us understand and explain important aspects of the human condition.
– I have worked in numerous settings, including police cells, prisons, psychiatric wards, homeless shelters and community health centres, over the last ten years delivering therapeutic interventions. I have facilitated support groups for people going through difficulties. I am a keen meditator. I have regularly been on silent retreats and I have trained people in basic mindfulness techniques so that people can pay attention and keep their eyes open to the reality of the world within and around themselves.
– I am delighted to work at the Natural Clinic as it matches my own focus on a holistic biopsychosocial perspective for understanding distress. I also love its focus on using the dynamic exchange of energy and one’s own internal ancient wisdom as a way of healing. I enjoy getting to know people and their stories. I have gained many insights from these stories and I am grateful for the trust people have placed in me while they shared often very sensitive personal information. I have seen myself and other people transform when we have been offered a therapeutic space, time and wise compassion to help us journey through this perplexing, frustrating, beautiful and precious thing we call life.
If you think that you want some assistance in rediscovering and/or reigniting the light within you (and you can handle the possibility of a couple of Lord of the Rings eulogies) then please book an appointment or give me a call on the number below.