Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Communication

Big Sur, California
In really good family therapy, family members are encouraged to practice open communication - to use their own voice and to speak for themselves - to go through the eye of the storm, if you will.

Most of the time, most of us, avoid the storm. 

It's ballsy to head straight for the eye of the storm.  It is scary, uncomfortable, nerve-wracking, and our deepest fear is that we won't survive.

Avoiding the storm may feel safer temporarily, but what price do we pay in the long run?

Okay, enough with the metaphor.  What am I really talking about?  Any painful or "unacceptable" thought, feeling, jealousy, insecurity, memory, experience, need, desire, want, etc. can swirl and churn into a storm.

In family therapy, open communication is facilitated so that family members can talk about it - whatever it is.  And families overcome their deepest fears to face the pain and suffering head on - out of pure love and trust and because they want relief, freedom and the safety, bond and connection that comes with intimacy and belonging.

Sometimes we avoid difficult conversations because we don't want to offend, hurt or drive away those we care about.  We want to protect our loved ones.  Sometimes we avoid opening up and sharing our dark secrets because we want to protect ourselves from the shame that we feel.  We fear being abandoned or rejected.

Too many filters and there is too much distance.

Open communication is connection.

I have been through the eye of the storm with my own family members - both family of origin and current nuclear family.  I have helped other families traverse the eye of the storm. The outcomes may be surprising, unexpected and initially, even undesired.  But they are always worth it.  I can tell you that no matter how scary or uncomfortable, there is beauty and peace on the other side.

There is something clean and fresh and uncomplicated about telling the truth, about living your truth.  After many such storm crossings, I would not live it any other way.

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