Friday, July 30, 2010

Help Your Selves

DaVinci Weeps

The other day my friend Colleen wrote, "Who else thinks self-help books should be comprised of blank paper and a pen...?" There was a deep, resounding recognition in me when I read that.

I tried therapy (talking to a therapist) a few years back when life was too big for me. It was okay. It was nice to have a relatively anonymous someone to say anything and everything to, but (at nearly $200 an hour) I just didn't feel it was really helping me. I wasn't getting the release I so needed and wanted. Simmer down, now... I'm not poo-poohing therapy. I know it works well for some. It just didn't work for me. I'm thinking there have to be others.

Finding what worked for me was partly due to good advice from friends, and partly due to my own determination to find my way to a better emotional state. All I know is that when I see a blank piece of paper, I see it as an invitation to loose (not lose) myself. Paper doesn't judge. I can write, scribble, use color or not, anything. The paper accepts me for who I am and, every now and then, reveals things to me that I might not have otherwise seen or understood.

I feel like a broken record lately, what with my edicts to create, create, create. But, my exuberance comes from experience. It feels good. Even if what you're creating is dark, it feels good. It gets the soul gunk out. To me, that's as important as physical exercise, good nutrition, and proper sleep. People tell me I'm amazing, or that my work is amazing, and I can't help but think, "Are you freekin' kidding me?! I'm just doing what I do to get by." However, this particular therapist is very cheap at far less than $5.00 a month.

I've been kind of mentoring a dear friend of mine, urging him to write. He has wonderful stories, a terrific gift of gab, and a beautiful sense of humor that, like all really good humor, comes from a hard resilience, a refusal to break when life gets tough. I'll admit, it's more than mentoring, I've been practically nagging him to write. At first he was astonished. Then, like a timid forest creature sniffing at treats left out on a log, started coming around to it. Now he's coming up with ideas and seems excited to begin. I love seeing that in a person. I love watching that leap. And then... yesterday... he said it. "I think this is going to be good for me." Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Looking for a good therapist? Let me help you help yourself. Email me. I'll help you set up a blog, send you a blank journal, needle and thread, recipes, etc. Your you is in there, just waiting for a chance... all you've got to do is allow yourself some freedom to roam.


  1. love this one too! okay, let me go help myself...also, i have a fabulous therapist...but it isn't for everyone and we always need the right person for us...and that right person for you is you! :)

  2. Spot on observations Barb! Anxious, challenging or just plain busy thoughts can be calmed through the act of writing them down - thoughts loose their power over you once they have been penned ...

  3. I couldn't get my now ex-husband to do therapy. Or take kick boxing classes together. Not until I was through with the marriage was he willing to participate in therapy. At $220 a session, what he/we learned was that I was already DONE. Years prior, when he refused to go to a 3rd party, I suggested we go to the self-help section of the nearest bookstore and buy a dozen books on healthy relationships and read them, mock them, critique them, burn them but generally end up with a dialogue. I thought then and think now it is a good starts the conversation and gets you engaged. Self help books should be approached like any medicine. You take it for a bit and then assess if it works. Are there side effects? And the blank page to write down observations is helpful. A conversation with oneself.


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