“Man, I just can’t get myself going.” I know the lawn needs cutting, and I even bought a $900 riding mower, but when I go out there and go to get on it and turn that key, I just hate it. I find myself saying, “The hell with it. I don’t care if it grows two feet, I’m not cutting it.”
In my work with hoarders I’m finding what lies beneath procrastination is often frozen or split off hurtful experiences. We isolate these and banish them to the nether regions of our minds where they continue to cast a shadow and have an effect. In RapidResolution Therapy we learn that after laying a strong foundation of connection and clearing major abusive incidents, there are sometimes “minor” incidents that still rise to the front to be taken care of and likewise cleared up. With mind already shifting and looking forward toward the new life we’ve intended together with the client, mind can now safely scan back and pick out just the right incident or string of incidents that still casts a shadow.
The fellow above had actually gotten his home about 90% cleaned up but found that certain “chores” still brought up the old resistance and the urge to give up in disgust. I asked him to stay with the picture of the ongoing success that we both knew about and, while staying with that, let mind scan back and pick out something that needed clearing. Without hesitation he went to age 12 when his dad would make him cut the front yard with an old rotary push mower and cut it again and again until it was just right.
He then made him transplant all the tulips, weed the entire flower bed, basically expecting the performance of a professional landscaper out of his son. If anything was amiss, he would dismiss him, sending him away, to do some lesser task inside the house. In other words, at age 12, if he couldn’t function like a professional, he would get demoted on the spot, treated as a rather useless day laborer and dismissed from his father’s favor. He continued, “I remember getting so frustrated with the whole thing, I’d just kick the shovels, kick the mower, and throw bags of dirt around.” He hadn’t thought about any of this consciously in years and years, and yet here it was still casting a shadow.
So I had him join me in looking back on the boy. I told him we or no one else would look at that kid as reacting differently or worse than any other kid on the block. He was in the middle of a tough situation and he was surviving, just getting through it in the best way he knew how. Nothing happening there said anything about him. Certainly no impartial bystander would expect a kid in that situation to handle it better and most would wonder what was going on for the dad to put all that on the kid. From a more enlightened spot in the present, where we both realized he was now in terms of being an adult with 90% of his home cleared, I had him look back and watch as the boy watched us with what we realized, and slowly start to get what we knew. I asked him to watch for the change in the boy’s eyes, watch for a certain light coming into the eyes, the sign that he was getting it. He saw it, opened his eyes, and nodded his head, breathing a big sigh.
The next time we met he greeted me with a wry grin. “You know for the last couple weeks, I’ve been making a game of mowing the lawn.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, there are a couple little boys that live next door. They watch me out of their window. So I went and asked their mom if it’d be okay if I let them ride on the mower with me. She said, ‘Sure’. So I bring them up in the seat and just for a moment let them take the wheel and try keeping it in a straight line. I keep my hand on the wheel, give it a bump if they lose their line, but just let them give it a try. The mom came up to me the other day telling me how they came in that night and couldn’t stop talking about riding on the mower. What a big kick they’d gotten out of that. And that helps me, ’cause I see what fun they’re having.”
When things that have been split off are reunited, the part of the self stuck in that experience is reabsorbed. As the experience is made part of the self again in a way that’s okay, mind frees all sorts of energy. It takes all that inspiration, and puts pen to paper in new ways–ways that are unpredictable, poetic, and amazing to behold. The energy freed up from things in the past joins the energy that comes together with the combined intention of therapist and client, and as Jon Connelly so often states, it has to expand, it can’t go anywhere else but to source. It fuels the total transformation of the client stepping into his or her new life now, fully present, clear, flexible, with mind bringing into awareness all sorts of new benefits and possibilities. I couldn’t have planned a more elegant application of the use of this energy. His mind did it perfectly.
(Note: All stories are shared here with client’s permission. Names are omitted to protect confidentiality.)
Mark A. Chidley, LMHC, Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, CAP, a fully licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, offers counseling services at his office Kelly San Carlos Executive Center in Fort Myers, Florida.He has been in private practice since 1997. He holds certifications in Rapid Trauma Resolution(2010), Imago Relationship therapy (2001), and now specializes in the treatment of couples as well as individual trauma recovery and anxiety issues. He brings rich experience from a combined 26 years of hospital work and mental health counseling.