Recently, I wrote this verse:
I can do everything right
And still all that I have done will
My daughter’s life may be happy.
And it may not.
Injustices will get better or won’t.
Even if I do everything right,
It will be this way
And, then, I will disappear, too.
Afterwards, I thought I could not post it without explanation. I thought people would think I was dark or pessimistic, which isn’t my feeling at all. I started to try to write something to explain, but then I decided, instead, to offer an example…
The other day, a coaching client of mine was struggling. They looked at me and said, “I just want you to tell me what I can do so that I can at least feel hope.”
Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, believed that his job was not to allow a client to escape from their emotional frustration. Instead of helping them escape from what was bothering them, he sometimes blocked their escape, increasing their frustration.
My client looked at me and said, “Just tell me what action I can take so that I can feel hope.” They were frustrated by not feeling hope.
I could have easily said something to relieve their frustration, to give them hope. But as an experiment, I decided to see what would happen if I increased their frustration.
I looked them in the face and I said, “There is no hope.”
The client looked at me, surprised. “There is no hope?”
I held their gaze. “No. There is no hope.”
The client looked at me for a long moment and then their shoulders dropped. Their face became more relaxed.
I asked, “What are you feeling?”
They said, “So much relief.”
“Because I don’t have to fight. I can try, but I don’t have to believe I am doing something wrong if it doesn’t go my way.”
I can do everything right and still all that I do will disappear. And I will disappear too.
Truly knowing this, I can really watch the sunrise. I can really hear a friend. I can just be.