There’s a moment in every psychodrama where the protagonist realizes that her old way of doing things is no longer working. She has encountered a choice point, and there are two ways of dealing with it – she can panic and go back to her old ways, even though she knows that won’t work, or she can surrender, release the fear, and ask for help. In that moment, either option feels like it really sucks.
And yet according to psychodramatic philosophy, it’s only by letting go of anxiety that I can truly step into my spontaneity – my ability to come up with a new response to an old situation, or an adequate response to a new one – and move forward in my life. That requires walking through the fear and asking for help, which isn’t easy, to say the least.
Over the last few months, I’ve been in what Christina Grof, co-founder of Holotropic Breath Work, would call a “spiritual emergency.” After 2 accidents (with accompanying injuries), potential work opportunities that have stalled mid-stream, a new place to live that has fallen through, and a lot of disappointment that has led to deep acceptance about who I can really count on and who I can’t, I’ve been sitting with my Higher Power (who I call Spirit) and asking, “What now? What am I meant to do next? With whom? Where? Show me!” The response: crickets.
I heard a saying that the teacher is always quiet during the test, but I haven’t even been able to feel the teacher in the room.
My old behavior would be to make things happen by forcing them, no matter what the cost (read: two accidents within a week). My new behavior, however, has been to sit still and wait…and wait…and wait…and wait. Talk about uncomfortable. When I was forcing things and making them happen, I knew where I was and who I was and what to do; without it, I’m f-ing clueless. And yet if there’s one thing those accidents taught me, it’s that I have to surrender, slow down and trust – other people and Spirit – to take care of me.
After the protagonist lets go in a drama, she has to step into unknown territory and take on a new role – one that is completely unfamiliar and that she’s not very good at. It’s scary and uncomfortable and at some point, if she’s lucky, she can just be in acceptance that it’s going to be that way for a while, and trust that eventually, she’ll find her way. The one great comfort is that she doesn’t have to do it alone.
As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” So that’s what I’m doing.