Last weekend I saw the film “Hannah Free,” and it completely tore open the door to my heart. Since then I have felt almost too tender to be out in the world. Today, finally, with the help of some wonderful music, the tears came.
It’s a convergence of things in this moment: the film, this work, this life I live, those I love. My inarguable humanity. I have always felt that as long as I am asking my clients to walk through the fire of their own challenges, then I must be willing to do the same.
Yesterday I met with a new client interested in spiritual direction. And she asked me, how did a social worker end up doing spiritual direction? First I smiled to myself with a happy knowing inside, and then I answered the question, remembering a particular moment in social work school, sitting around the table in class and thinking,
“There is nothing that any one human being is capable of thinking, feeling, or doing, that under the same circumstances, I am not also capable of.” Grammatically cumbersome, but absolutely true, then and now.
This same new client is also a healer and spiritual director, and she told me about when she realized that doing this work is as powerful and transformational for her as it is for the client. Is that the unspoken gift? The blessing?
I want to say thank you over and over to those who risk sharing their tenderest selves with me. And I want them to have a felt sense of my being fully present in the room with them, with all of who I am. It’s the boundaries that make it holy in some way I can’t yet describe. Boundaries that make it safe for the shy soul to come out of hiding.
I am continually humbled and awed by the entrustment given to me by clients, directees, and others. Parker Palmer talks about how in Circles of Trust®, we hold the focus person like a precious and delicate bird; we are the warm resting place from which they fly. And we hold them with the most reverent love and faith we can possibly muster. At one point perhaps we are birds together, held by love beyond imagination, perhaps even more expansive and majestic and powerful because we hold them steadily, gently, unwavering, and with fierce boundaries.
And my shy soul is also there, sitting with rapt attention, in her favorite party dress, arms and heart wide open.