I find myself suddenly moving beyond fear to exhilaration. Last night I was studying for a quiz I had today and in my readings I came across Fowler’s development of faith model. I had recently read about this model (and other models) in Pagan Spirituality, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw it smiling up at me from my textbook (not that Fowler’s model has anything to do specifically with Paganism – I was just tickled to identify something I’d already read for fun). I am fascinated by development, particularly spiritual development. I found myself bubbling over with excitement that I had a hard time focusing on completing my reading, even though it was the very material about which I was so thrilled.
After the quiz today, our professor conducted an exercise called ‘clearing a space.’ The exercise was very similar to guided meditation. When we finished it, we had a discussion about the technique and how and when it can be used with clients. I began to get very excited. During the break, I talked with my professor and showed him the sections of Pagan Spirituality and asked him about other psychologists and philosophers that were mentioned in the book. He was familiar with some of them, yes. He mentioned other similar techniques used in therapy and brought up the concept of ‘mindfulness’ – a buzz word in the counseling profession right now. He mentioned another psychologist who works with unblocking energy in the body by tapping different body parts, and affirmed my somewhat hesitant comment noting that sounded a lot like chi. If there are therapists doing legitimate work with energy therapy, then what’s to say they’re not realigning chakras? Even if they may not call it that (I honestly don’t know anything about this yet, but I can’t wait to research it)…My professor told me and the other student involved in the conversation today that all of a sudden, counselors are “rediscovering” techniques, ideas, and philosophies that have been around for millennia and are largely eastern based.
You might be wondering why it is I’m so excited about these seemingly mundane events. My ultimate long-term goal involves work with applying both traditional and alternative methods of healing (acupuncture, reiki therapy, massage therapy, crystal therapy, chakra work, theta healing, meditation, etc. along with traditional therapy). However, the more I learned about competencies and ethics and professional practice throughout this semester, the more discouraged I was becoming. It had been beginning to look like my dream might not be possible the way I had envisioned it.
I felt a surge of energy that is still rocketing through my body. Not only are professionals beginning to understand the significance of – and research – what has healed people for thousands of years and learn from historical predecessors, but I have the opportunity to be a pioneer in this particular area of the field. And while I had intended to be a pioneer the whole time, I had imagined potentially having to be the among the first to take my machete and start hacking away at the jungle of institutionalized thought to get down to what has always been present and is beautifully simple.
And to make my day even better, I found out that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is coming to Atlanta in October when he will officially accept a Presidential Distinguished Professorship at Emory University, be installed, and hold an interfaith summit and one-day conference. Tickets for the interfaith summit are sold out, but tickets for the conference have yet to go on sale. Then, I came home and ate chocolate pudding. Yum.