“Hope allows us to live in the present rather than the past, and it opens the doors of our mental prisons.”Source: The Gift, 12 lessons that can save your life, Edith Eger
New Year’s Day 2021
Today is January 1, New Year’s Day 2021. A day on which we welcome a whole new year with everything we hope and expect. We hope that we will stay healthy and that it will be a year in which we can do things as we are used to. We may especially hope for a year without the limitations and consequences we have experienced in this past year with a virus that has affected us all. Whether we have been for or against the measures, calling it truth or madness, it has affected us all.
A collective fact
Who could have imagined that a year ago on New Year’s Day 2020, that we would experience a year like we have never experienced before. A year of limitations, fear, loss, insecurity, sadness, loneliness, anger, powerlessness and perhaps even resistance. A year in which some say that we have not seen such a situation since World War II. A year that everyone has experienced in their own way and has experienced its own limitations and losses. The virus as a collective fact in which we all had to find a way in our own way in order to learn how to relate. A fact that we simply cannot change and cannot do much else than consult ourselves and ask ourselves: what now?
I must honestly say that it was not only a difficult year for me, but also a special year. I am in the privileged position that in addition to the activities in the Practice, I have the stability of a Disablement Benefits Act benefit so that, although I had to close the practice for a few months, I did not get into financial problems. One of my ex-clients sent me an email at the first lockdown in which she wrote that she felt that society is now going through that she has been familiar with for years. Like me, she has been in a Disablement Benefits Act situation for a very long time. A situation marked by loss of income, loss of health, the feeling that you no longer participate, loneliness, impotence, resistance, etc … In short, a ‘personal lockdown’.
The message of this client hit me, like the other experiences that clients shared with me about their personal experiences with this “collective lockdown” and experiences with their “personal lockdown ‘in particular. I don’t think it is surprising that in the past years since I started the practice, I have been attracting clients who have ‘personal lockdown experiences’. Experiences with loss of income and health, with feelings of insecurity and powerlessness, resistance and anger. Experiences that can keep you trapped in lack of freedom where you feel that there is nothing left to choose. That you are at the mercy of what happens to you.
“But we can choose to be free, to escape from the past, regardless of what happens to us, and to accept what is possible. I invite you to make the choice to be free”Source: ‘The Choice’, Live in freedom, Edith Eva Eger
Experiences of a ‘survivor’
The fact that it affects me so has to do with my own ‘lockdown experiences’. For years I felt trapped in the loss and impotence of what had happened to me. I had lost my health, my job, my home, my income, my social life, etc .. It took years before I could experience enough ‘I strength’ to face my personal experiences and take responsibility for the choices that I had made. I have long felt a victim of my environment, the family I grew up in, the church I felt connected to, the relationships I entered into, the agencies that had to assess my capabilities and limitations, etc., etc. I was not able to feel my inner freedom. That inner freedom was ‘occupied’ by beliefs, feelings, thoughts and an attitude that held me captive. I was not aware that I had ‘the key’ myself! And maybe there was a part in me that actually didn’t want that at all. Becoming aware that you yourself have the key is not necessarily a liberating feeling in the first instance.
Take responsibility again
When I look back on it now, I know from experience that the ‘personal lockdown’ lasts until you lift it yourself. By that I mean that you will again feel your own responsibility for the choices you make. Because no matter what happens, we always have a choice. Not choosing is also a choice. To those who are not yet able to take this responsibility, that sounds unlikely, unrealistic, confronting and threatening. And I can imagine that very well. Because as long as the self strength cannot yet be experienced, for whatever reason, these beautiful words mean nothing. In previous blog articles I have often paid attention to the importance of freeing ourselves from our inner ‘occupiers’. Because only with a free self and free will are we able to make choices that do justice to who we really are and what we really want.
Edith Eva Eger
Last week I had the opportunity to read the two books by Edith Eva Eger. She wrote her first book, ‘The Choice’ in 2017 and her second, ‘The Gift’ in 2020. Two special books by a special woman who shares her experiences with us about her survival in the concentration camp. She is now in her 90’s and still working as a psychologist and psychotherapist. She calls her counseling with clients ‘choice therapy’. She not only shares her professional knowledge as a therapist, but also especially her experiences in making choices. She says:
“I call it choice therapy because freedom essentially means being able to choose. While suffering is inevitable and universal, we can always choose how we respond to it. I try to emphasize and harness in my clients the power to choose so that leads to a positive change in their lives. “Source: The Gift, 12 lessons that can save your life, Edith Eger
The work of Edith Eva Eger inspires me, even more than I already did, to draw attention to the process of choosing. Choices that we usually make unconsciously so that we cannot feel responsible for them. I am very happy and grateful that through my experiences and training with Psychosynthesis in the past 20 years, I have received a lot of support, support and confrontations to face my own experiences, my possibilities as well as my limitations and to become aware that I am deeply ‘free’. And that I am the only one who can free myself from my own ‘occupiers’.
Learning to choose from freedom
I have had the opportunity to free myself, to be free from….. and feel free to….. I have made choices that no longer keep me trapped in my limitations. Which is not to say that the restrictions are no longer there! Choices that, in addition to uncertainty and impotence, have given way to gratitude and vitality. That did not happen automatically. I too struggle every day with my own impotence and uncertainty. But there is always a new moment to make conscious choices. Do you choose a life from inner freedom or do we continue to make choices based on unconscious fears or insecurities? Eva Eger rightly writes:
“Freedom is lifelong practice; it is a choice that we have to make over and over again, every day. Freedom requires hope, which I describe in two ways. Hope means knowing that suffering, no matter how bad, is temporary. , and hope also means that you are curious about what is going to happen in the future. Hope allows us to live in the present rather than the past, and it opens the doors of our mental prisons. ”Source: The Gift, 12 lessons that can save your life, Edith Eger
Welcome to ‘practice’
Are you curious about what the new year will bring? Do you have hope? Do you also want to practice learning to choose in freedom and start feeling responsible again for your own feelings, your own thoughts and your own choices? Then feel more than welcome in the practice for Psychosynthesis Amsterdam to ‘practice’.
From this place I wish you a healthy and happy New Year with a lot of love in which you dare to choose a life in freedom, peace and love with yourself and the people you want to connect with.