Seattle Counseling Services
Two caterpillars are walking along and a butterfly flies overhead. One caterpillar turns to the other and says, "Man, you'll never get me up in one of those."
There is a place, way deep down inside of me, where I experience a sense of connectedness to something much bigger than myself. I notice that, when I live my life from that deeper, soulful place, my life simply works better than when I am coming from a more reactive, fearful, insecure, or ego driven place.
Individual Counseling Services
My intention providing Seattle counseling services for people is to help them experience what it means to open their heart to themselves. It is what happens when our soul holds our ego with tenderness and compassion. My work is to help people learn how to recognize when they have gotten hooked, gotten pulled off center and are coming from a reactive, ego driven place. I help them learn how to get back to center, to their deeper, more soulful self. The reason this is so important, in terms of the quality of our life experience, is because, when we are coming from our deeper, soulful self, our life just works better. We are more joyful, more peaceful, and more effective in everything we do. This is true whether it is in relationships, a work situation, our own physical health or even a conflict situation in the world around us.
Imagine looking at life this way for a moment: All we really have in life are moments of "now"... Bazillions of them going by every day. And in every single moment of now in our life, whether we are aware of it or not, we are either coming from our soul (love) or we are coming from our ego (fear). It will always be more or less of one or the other. The one we are "coming from" is what determines the quality of our life.
In my experience with Seattle counseling services, therapy is not about changing people; I don't think there is anything wrong with who we really are at the core or essence of our being. Therapy is about helping people recognize and become more of who they really are, at a soulful level, and less of who they have sometimes tended to be at an ego level.
Our soul is who we really are. The natural state of being of the soul is peaceful, strong, and compassionate. In our soul, we will find our backbone, our real strength and power. The soul's power is not power over anything or anybody. It comes from a kind of groundedness and clarity of its own. It is never mean spirited or adversarial, but is rock solid. Our soul is where we have access to our intuition, our creativity and our discernment.
It is where we will find our clarity, our wisdom, our passion, and our playfulness. It is where we find our timing and balance. It is where we find our ability to set healthy and appropriate boundaries and where we can ask for what we need and want. It is where we can let go of things that don't really matter. It is where we experience empathy and compassion, which are the natural states of being of our deeper self, our soul. It is simply who we really are.
In our ego, we are stuck in it's illusion of separateness from the divine, infinite, omnipresent, unconditionally loving nature of the universe. It is like we are stuck in a bad dream and don't know we are dreaming. It is always coming from different forms of fear of loss of that infinite love. It can show up as a fear of being abandoned, rejected, betrayed, or being the one not chosen, not seen, not included. It feels the pain of not being respected or valued. Fear takes many forms including anger, greed, guilt, resentment, vindictiveness, spite, jealousy, boredom, impatience, criticalness of ourself and others. It can manifest in the form of anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessions and it is where we will find all of our addictions.
All of the symptoms and sufferings that come from our ego structure, even the most ugly and hurtful thoughts and behaviors, come out of an innocent misguidedness, a reactiveness to the perceived experience of loss of love.
But our ego is not the enemy. I think of the ego structure as the amazing and beautiful pallet of colors with which we get to paint our life's story. Our ego structure is made up of sub-personalities. I see them as different facets of our personality, like the facets of a diamond that reflect different colors in the sunlight. There is nothing wrong with any part of who we are. It is only when our ego innocently (but misguidedly) reacts from the fear based illusion of disconnectedness and loss of love that it can be insecure, fearful and hurtful to ourselves and others.
Think of your life as a bus. The question is: "who's driving the bus - your soul or your ego?" At any given moment, is it coming from light or darkness? Every moment of now is one or the other.
Relationship Counseling Services
“The power of an open heart is that a closed heart cannot stay closed in its presence”
Your relationships are not a place where you are supposed to get everything you need or want in life. Think of your relationships as one of your life's arenas in which you get to do your own personal and spiritual work. And like a magnet, you will tend to attach yourself to the very people who will give you an opportunity to do some aspect of that work.
In my time with couples, I notice most people simply don't have the tools to have healthy, loving, supportive and respectful relationships:
- Most people don't know how to listen to their partner with an open heart in such a way that the other person actually feels heard and understood.
- Most people don't know how to speak from their open heart to tell their own truth (their own experience) without some intention of creating an effect in the other person. They may be trying to get them to change their mind, change their behavior, or trying to make them feel something (good, bad, guilty, ashamed, etc.).
- I find that most people (especially us guys) don't really know how to be supportive to our partner in such a way that our partner actually feels supported. We think we know what it is to be supportive when we try to fix rather than just really listen with an open heart. By the way, guys do not have a monopoly on this limitation.
- Most couples do not know how to have conflict be a positive, creative part of their relationship. All relationships will have conflict; that is not the problem. The problem is not having the tools and the loving intention to know how to have conflict so that both people will come out of it in a better place than they went into it. We need to be as committed to each other's happiness, safety, and well being as we are to our own. To have successful conflict, our intention has to be coming from a loving soulful place.
I provide specific tools that help people recognize when they are hooked, or getting hooked, into an ego reactive place. They learn how to get back to a more soulful centered place before they make a mess they will need to clean up.
Some of the tools I provide include:
This is a way to initiate a difficult conversation. You might say: "Is this a time that you could listen to me?" It does two things:
- It puts you in a calmer place so that you can say the thing that needs to be said in a softer, cleaner way that's easier to hear than if you just jump in and say something from an angry, challenging, critical or reactive place .
- It gives the listener an opportunity to temporarily call "time-out" to the exchange if they know they are not in a place where they can hear or let the information in. If they feel they can listen with an open heart, it also gives them a moment they may need to open up and listen in a way that the speaker is more likely to feel heard.
This is a way to open your heart when you feel criticized or attacked. When we are criticized, our ego always feels defensive. The unique quality of our soul is that it is totally defenseless but it is infinitely safe. There is no fear in our soul and there is nothing to defend or protect. The only thing that ever needs defending or protecting is our ego. So, if attacked or criticized, practice defenselessness by looking for the kernel of truth in what the attacker said and simply acknowledge it. Ignore the parts that are untrue. It's amazing how disarming this is to the attacker and how centering it is for the listener. It is only the anticipation of practicing defenselessness that is uncomfortable to our ego. The actual doing of it, especially if practiced regularly, is very freeing. Try it and see.
Telling on Yourself
This really is an extension of practicing defenselessness: Freely offer up other examples of whatever the criticizer has pointed out and acknowledge them. Try it out and you'll see. It really is an amazing relationship practice.