A beautiful paradox

Julia Samuels, the renown British Psychotherapist, expert on grief and bereavement and author of the wonderful, This too Shall Pass, has coined a phrase that really speaks to me at this time. She speaks of a “Fertile Void.”  We tend to see situations as black or white, this or that, either or. And it is quite common to see ourselves, in any tricky place or time, as having only two choices: To move forward or retreat.  But there is another alternative and one that should give us pause to ponder. We could see this time as a ‘fertile void’, a place to sit in this discomfort and listen, learn, and travel inward to our interior selves. Imagine, instead of thinking we have to know everything now, rather say: “I don’t know, I am going to sit with this, listen and see what comes up.”

The reason this phrase resonates with me is because I have a very hard time being with things. I am discovering that real freedom is to be okay, despite and not because of circumstances. It is a hard one to get our head around but something to aspire to everyday.

In this ‘fertile void’ try reframing your perceptions about what is happening around you. Problems are caused by our perceptions of what is happening rather than what is actually happening.

A couple of things to try:

  • Breathe deeply in for 4, out for 4. Do this 5 times. Slow down. Notice the sounds in the room, your feet on the ground. Gently rub two fingers against each other and notice the sensation.
  • Make a cup of tea. Put down your phone and sip your tea slowly while doing absolutely nothing else.
  • Replace “ if only I could…” with “ I have/I am.” Write this down into two columns and see how the reframing shifts something.

A Fertile Void is a beautiful paradox. A place of emptiness where things can grow.

What do you want to grow in this space? What would you like to see differently?

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