Welcome to that funny time of year where some days it’s winter and some days it’s spring, definitely spring, until it’s winter again! A time when I always go out in the wrong clothes and all my shoes get thick with mud and my walking boots stay pristine as I misjudge the demands of this crazy in-between season.
So, something to share with you this month… I have gone back to college. Having not done homework for the last 30 years and adding in work and running a business, I am having to tame my swotty instincts, as the time available for ‘reading around the subject’ is nowhere to be found when studying at this time of life!
But ATTIC will hopefully be all the richer for it as it is all very relevant and interesting. As many of you know, I love pondering what it means to be a good and true human in a society constantly diminishing the deepest calling of our humanity and spirit.
As it turns out, when you enrol in a person-centred counselling course, you are invited to think about specific aspects of this all the time. The core skills we are encouraged to cultivate include showing empathy, being respectful, practicing non-judgement, being genuine and congruent, cultivating self-awareness and showing consistent unconditional positive regard for your client.
Over the last few years, I have also been training with the Three Ravens college of therapeutic shamanism (which I cannot recommend highly enough). A perfect synergy of psychotherapy and hunter gatherer shamanism, we explore how differently we would have behaved, when nature’s systems and resources were essential to our immediate survival and had to be shared with all the other living beings around us, when our lives literally depended on who we showed up as, before we learned how to manipulate the odds.
Anthropologists believe that as hunter gatherers we worked fiercely to maintain egalitarianism within our tribes and it struck me that the core skills I am being asked to cultivate to become an effective counsellor are the exact same list that would have made that egalitarianism possible- I am just being taught how to be a good and true human.
Which was a pretty WOW realisation given my constant exploration into just that. To model nurturing behaviour that helps those around us naturally thrive, we just need to return to our original old-school human blueprint. But there is still a missing part to this insight that if truly embraced would change the world.
For when I talked about this aha moment with my teacher from the 3 Ravens college, he reflected back that although true, often what is missing when honing your skills to make you not only a great counsellor but also a better human, is a connection with the other-than-human world and nature itself.
We tend to judge our impact through a very human-centric lens. Counselling does a great job with the human bit. But imagine if you could extend showing empathy, being respectful, practicing non-judgement, being genuine and congruent, cultivating self-awareness and showing consistent unconditional positive regard to every sentient being who lives on the Earth and to the Earth herself….. how beautiful could our experience of life be then.
So as we cross into a new season, enjoy the unknown- will it be spring today or winter?!