A Tree, Lost in the Forest

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Therapy is sometimes long, hard work.

It’s easy to feel lost, waiting for the fruits of one’s labor requires patience. Occasionally as you know, a client of mine will email me and a special response is in order. Below is an excerpt from a recent response I wrote. As always, it is shared with explicit permission.

To give some context, we were working on changing patterns by trying something different.  Usually, this starts out with a person feeling lost but I already know this as well as the relief that will come.  I wish I could just download the reassurance from my brain to theirs. One note, this particular individual works with computers, hence the technical references.

Photo Credit: David Kovalenko

I want to give you a proper kudos for doing something different. I know there's been plenty of times when you've found yourself going around and around but there's been no exit. Writing to me and sending it is a different thing. If nothing else, it gets out of your head and has the opportunity to transform. I suspect you believe it's a small or not a thing at all but here is where we complement each other and differ at the same time.

You are the forest. Right now, from your perspective, you only see a few trees. From my perspective, I see you, the forest as a whole. I'm looking at patterns, comparing them to patterns I know, and plotting out the next tree to plant. Neither position is better or worse; they are just different perspectives - macro and micro. Whenever you describe one of your trees to me, that sharpens my ability to detect patterns as it adds data points.

Photo Credit: Kelly Balch

"You are the forest. Right now, from your perspective, you only see a few trees. From my perspective, I see you, the forest as a whole."

The cool thing about this is that you don't have to know why you're talking about a particular tree. I may ask you to describe a tree on your right, file it as an outlier (for now) but that makes you decide to describe a tree to back left which adds to a pattern. Over time, you have learned to detect your own patterns and may know which tree to plant next but don't have the seeds, the spade, or the location. We plot these together, clearing the path over time, and gathering the tools and supplies we need. You don't have to plant many trees, just the ones you want or need to get the desired effect. When we do it well, they self perpetuate.

We've been doing a lot of describing which is important as you know. One must build a discriminate database. You've recently been able to discover new territory. It is your job to explore and report back. I will help you do this by asking questions but really, you have a natural ability if you'd let yourself believe it.

Photo Credit: Hermes Rivera

From my perspective, we are opening up the map but I know my expectations are different from yours.  I aim for the long game with the bigger, longer lasting payout. That requires short term patience, time, investment, as well as bearing through what I know will be temporary irritation, pain, depression, anxiety, and fear.

When you are in the trees, it’s difficult to see the bigger picture and trust the direction you’re moving. It feels like you’re moving in circles, like you’re walking blindly in the dark. I promise you are not. I know sometimes you can see the flashlight that I’ve got with me. At some point, you’ll reliably have your own flashlight and maybe even a very bright one. This will be the daily long term payout for your investment right now. The path you’re on leads to a richer, more rewarding life."

Photo Credit: Brent Cox
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