By Garet Bedrosian, LCSW, CIRT, CBT, CET
Glorious, blooming springtime is in full swing, with joyous new life everywhere we look. Flowers, trees, babies, puppies—we can feel the sap rising, the juices flowing. Things are percolating . . . what new opportunity will today bring?
Tending our inner garden
Spring is a wonderful season to think about trusting ourselves. Planting a seed takes trust and commitment: We believe this seed will sprout if we water it every day, give it space and sunlight, and keep the bugs away. By nurturing that seed, we are amply repaid with ripe juicy tomatoes, vibrant new blossoms, and sturdy stems and branches to support them.
Our everyday lives are filled with negative messages, which are the “bugs” we need to weed from our internal garden. It’s all too easy to get swept up in “busyness,” which robs us of the time and space to listen to our inner voice and allow new seeds to germinate and grow within us.
In my work as a somatic psychotherapist, one of the most challenging concepts for my clients to learn is to trust the wisdom of their bodies, not just their heads. The mind can be a minefield for clients, filled with negative messages:
- “I’ll look stupid and people will laugh.”
- “I’m too fat.”
- “What would my mother say?”
- “I’ve never had any talent for art.”
- “I’ll never find my soulmate. No one will ever love me.”
Learning to weed out those mental “bugs” and just dive in is the secret to a fulfilled life.
Overcoming the “no’s” from childhood
Even the most well-meaning parents may unconsciously instill messages of doubt and fear. That was the case for me, growing up in Rhode Island. As a child, I had no way of imagining this wonderful life I have today, because of my doubts and fears.
Fortunately, I was aware of my intuition from a very early age—I pictured it as a pilot light inside myself. When I focused on it and trusted my intuition, it would take me where I needed to go. When I acted only from the stories in my head, my pilot light dimmed. Intuition was the secret, I discovered—if I trusted myself, it would happen. And so it did—teachers and opportunities, recognized as such by my intuition, appeared for me with uncanny timing.
Embracing the unknown
Like the seeds we plant, life unfolds in ways we cannot predict. Most of us are uncomfortable to some degree with the unknown. Yet not having a firm, preset notion of how big and little things will play out in our lives can actually be freeing—even exciting! Adding some improvisation to our lives, bit by bit, is a wonderful way to start breaking up the mental blocks that keep us stuck. Take the plunge and trust, and amazing things will start to happen.
Consciously spend some time in the unknown. The creative arts are a safe way to get comfortable with trusting your intuition and letting your body lead the way. Turn off the running internal critique and just play!
- Pull out that paint set from the back of the closet, get out a blank sheet of paper, dip your paintbrush into the first color that catches your eye, then make a movement onto the paper. Once you begin moving, the art takes over.
- Put on some music and just move your body in time—pretty soon your dance will emerge all by itself.
- Grab a pad and pen and write random words down on paper, letting them flow, and see what develops.
Find a mentor
Raising children to recognize and honor their authentic selves may not even be on the radar screen for many parents, who often struggle with rights and wrongs and goods and bads. No wonder so many of us need mentors to help us learn to trust our inner voices and become our authentic selves. At first we may need a mentor to hold that space for us so that we can learn to find our own way.
A mentor is simply a trusted adviser, in any field. For example, when I wanted to create a vegetable garden in my backyard, I hired an urban garden expert. I learned so much about what to plant where and how to replenish the nutrients in the soil. I used to believe that I had to figure everything out all by myself, but soon realized that wasn’t the case. I’ve hired many mentors in my life to become the happy, confident, open, and successful person I am today. Every dollar and hour I spent was a worthwhile investment in myself and my future happiness and success. Now I feel honored to do mentoring for others, which has a very satisfying “full circle” symmetry for me. Mentoring others to connect with their authentic selves is one of the great joys of my life—just like the glories of springtime!