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  • Writer's pictureOskari Pentikainen

Expanding your life

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Life has an inherent tendency to flow and expand. Yet our lived experience can feel quite different to a flow or expansiveness. We may feel stuck, trapped in old ways, troubled by past experiences or relationships. Here counselling can help.

Therapy can help you unblock the flow and help expanding your life. A therapist won’t have a fix or magic wand to do this for you. I certainly don’t, nor do I know anyone who does. The good news is, however, that you don’t need that from me or anyone else. Within you have all the needed resources for this work. My role, as I see it, is to accompany you on this healing journey, be your tour guide as needed and help you reconnecting you with your inner resources.

For difficult and painful experiences, old habits or deeper shadows (parts of us that we disown) there rarely are quick fixes. Equally, however, the rewards for daring to say "hello" to these parts and starting to explore them can be life transforming.

Acknowledging what troubles us, or indeed that we are troubled, can feel daunting. This alone can be a powerful first step - a statement of intention. Avoiding aspects of ourselves (be it difficult feelings, experiences, intrusive thoughts, behaviours) is a common cause for feeling limited, stuck or unfulfilled in our lives. We may try to ignore or wish these parts away yet the opposite happens. What we resist persists. This starts limiting our experience of life.

Avoiding feeling-a-feeling is akin to blocking the flow of a stream, and starting to build a dam. We start building up a reservoir of disallowed and unprocessed emotion and limiting habits. For a short-term benefit there is a longer-term cost of accruing unresolved material. Reservoirs of sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, shame are some of the common ones.

The bigger these reservoirs get the more limited our lives become. As time passes, the prospect of addressing them may become daunting or seemingly impossible. We may start taking them as inherent parts of us and who we are (It’s just how I am…I've always been like this...I'm not an emotional type). We tell stories to ourselves justifying its existence or our avoidance (It’s all because of…If only I had…). Equally, we may not be consciously aware of the reservoir’s existence (yet feel that something's off; and feel entrapped in unhelpful behaviours), or find ourselves dwelling in the reservoir and be attached to the feelings and stories (poor-me narratives, revenge fantasies; if only someone understood me...). Yet part of us recognises that the stagnant water of the reservoir is off and unhelpful place for us to be in.

No matter where you are in this journey, as your birth right you have the capacity and resources needed to heal and grow. B y acknowledging where you are at starts the process of reclaiming back your power. This can be a daunting and daring step to take.

Therapy can help to reverse engineer this process, unblock the flow and help expanding your life. It can help reframing your relationship with the stream, help undoing blockages and clearing the reservoir. Indeed unpicking these blockages (incl. allowing feelings, unpicking self-beliefs, recognising deeply-held musts-and-shoulds) allows restating the flow. Ultimately, we don’t need to unpick and search for all the dross in the reservoir. Flow of life will help clearing it.

As we start going through this change process, our life starts expanding. We don't need to worry about creating that expansion. It starts happening on its own as the obstacles are being removed. Whether it is feeling lighter, being triggered less, memories having less emotional charge, being more connected with ourselves, others and life itself - we start feeling change. We start inhabiting and living from new spaces within ourselves. Curiously, as our lives start expanding, we also start pondering less about meaning and purpose. Experiencing life itself becomes increasingly meaningful.

Being humans, we all have unprocessed material waiting to be released, resolved and healed – for us to grow. That is given. There is a choice in there however: how do you choose to be and relate with it all?

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