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Archive for the ‘marriage counseling’ Category

Photo by Guy Mayer

In a thought provoking paper entitled, Reflections on Sacred Experience and Sacred Science, Peter Reason wrote, “…I heard for the first time the challenge that we in the West had lost the feeling for sacredness, the ability to notice the sacredness of our world, and that we need to discover this anew if we are to learn from the traditions of Native Americans. One is entering a different world, a world that is again alive and enchanted, a world in which all sentient beings bring their gifts of teachings, and are thus worthy of honour. Such an animate world is akin to that inhabited by the alchemists, and can only be comprehended fully through a participatory consciousness.”

In this same paper Reason quotes the following from Morris Berman’s book, “The Re-enchantmant of the World:”

“The view of nature which predominated in the West down to the eve of the Scientific Revolution was that of an enchanted world. Rocks, trees, rivers, and clouds were all seen as wondrous, alive, and human beings felt at home in this environment. The cosmos, in short, was a place of belonging. A member of this cosmos was not an alienated observer of it but a direct participant in its drama….The story of the modern epoch, at least on the level of mind, is one of progressive disenchantment. From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal world… At least in theory…the “mechanical philosophy”… (is) the dominant mode of thinking. That mode can best be described as disenchantment, nonparticipation, for it insists on a rigid distinction between observer and observed. Scientific consciousness is alienated consciousness: there is no ecstatic merger with nature, but rather total separation from it…”

Reason points out that our disenchantment and disconnection from the natural world and from our own experience has led us to a kind of soul sickness and calls for a “re-sacralization of the world.” One way to do this, he suggests, is to follow theologian Matthew Fox’s advice to “…fall in love at least three times a day.”

And so today I fell in love with a puppy I met on my walk, rubbing my cheek against her silky soft fur, and laughing fully from my belly as she wiggled wildly and covered my face with kisses.

Later I witness the anguish and sorrow of a couple desperately attempting to find their way across a chasm that seems to grow wider and more dangerous with each moment – with each jagged heartbeat – and with each accusation. Finally, as they sit rigid and exhausted, I ask them to take just a few moments to listen for what else might lie silently beneath their fears, anger, frustration and betrayals. Softly at first, barely perceptible even, their breathing steadies and something indescribable begins to happen as the energy in the room shifts and remarkably (you would have had to have been there) and seemingly as if by magic we are each touched and even (I think) for a moment transfixed by the undeniable presence of a battered and weary but still living love.

After work I spoke with a friend whom I’ve known for over thirty years and as she shared with me a simple and yet oh so sweet story about her day, I allowed myself to savor her voice, her laughter, and her unique and wildly optimistic perspective, and I felt my love for her warm my heart and gentle my spirit.

And so, I have fallen in love at least three times today and I resolve to fall in love at least three times tomorrow as well. In doing so, I allow myself to be enchanted and to more fully embrace the sacred.

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In “Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal,” Rachel Naomi Remen wrote of a workshop she attended that was facilitated by the late Carl Rogers, creator of Client Centered Therapy.” Rogers shared the following with Remen’s group:

“Before every session I take a moment to remember my humanity. There is no experience that this man has that I cannot share with him, no fear that I cannot understand, no suffering that I cannot care about, because I too am human. No matter how deep his wound, he does not need to be ashamed in front of me. I too am vulnerable. And because of this, I am enough. Whatever his story, he no longer needs to be alone with it. This is what will allow his healing to begin.”

Of all the wisdom that has been shared with me over my many years of training and experience as a therapist, Rogers words reflect the true essence of healing.

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A University of Utah Study found that women in troubled marriages are more likely to not only suffer from depression but also other life threatening conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, meabolic syndrome and more… You can read a summary of this study at WebMD

The National Institute of Mental Health has asserted that, “the single most powerful predictor of stress-related physical as well as emotional illness is marital disruption.”

According to Bryce Christianson in In Sickness and in Health: The Medical Costs of Family Meltdown published in Policy Reiview, “Divorced adults are more susceptible to severe emotional and psychological problems, plus early death from an assortment of causes, than for married individuals. The suicide rate for divorced white men, for example, is four times higher than for their married counterparts. The situation for divorced adults is such that Harold Morowitz of Yale University contends, ‘Being divorced and a non-smoker is slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack or more a day and staying married.” You can read more disturbing facts regarding the health effects of divorce here

So to remain in a troubled marriage poses significant health risks (and I’ve seen ample evidence of this in my work with clients) and at the same time divorce poses health risks of its own. Considering the evidence as well as the considerable strain that is being placed on marriages today by the troubled economy, I would suggest that more needs to be done to support the creation and maintenance of healthy marriages.

Our response at SagePlace is to offer a support and educational group for couples designed to strengthen relationships. To make this group affordable, there will be no fee, however we will gratefully accept donations. If you’re interested in attending, contact us as attendance will be limited.

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