In something lost, something is found and in something found something is lost.
I don’t know about you but the extent to which the last couple of years and the pandemic appear to have accelerated changes to how I live my life reveals itself to me at the most unexpected times and in unexpected ways.
Last week I went to meet with a colleague in Hampshire. I used to think nothing of jumping in the car and heading to a meeting and it was only in the doing of it that I realised how unfamiliar it had become and also how the experience of it had changed over the years.
My thinking was that of course with experiences that are unfamiliar there are heightened senses, things require more thinking about and take more energy but no matter, the unfamiliar is familiar and we just need to pace ourselves, allow a little extra time and also expect and plan for being a bit more tired.
All went well, I made the meeting in good time, it was enjoyable, indeed the unfamiliarity made it enjoyable, until it was time to leave. Having arranged a meeting nearby the next day I had found somewhere to stay for the night and needed to travel a bit further.
Getting back into the car I could not get my phone to connect to the car and so I couldn’t get the navigation to work. I turned the car on and off, I unplugged and replugged the phone to the car, I turned the phone off and back on again – nothing. Sat in the cold and the dark, with it pouring with rain and being somewhere I’ve not been before I was annoyed and a bit agitated but then what I noticed most was my feeling of alarm and sudden sense of being thrown back on myself.
Of course without the technology I was a bit stuck but hey, I was only in Hampshire not stuck up Everest so why such a strong reaction? Before the technology I used to be able to find my way easily enough? Then I realised I didn’t have a map in the car and again there was a surge of alarm before the thought that I’ve found places in the past without a map. Of course there are still road signs and then people to ask!
Having reordered my thoughts and feeling much more at ease I drove to the place I was due to stay, noticing how nice it was to be looking for road signs rather than listening for instructions. I enjoyed the peace and quiet, the feel of driving, the anticipation and pleasure of finding my way using the trusty old road signs. It was a different kind of journey and one that reminded me of how it had felt when I was in my late teens being able to just jump in the car and drive. To take my time, follow signs that interested me, enjoy the driving and the journey.
The next day the technology was working again, for a moment I thought to keep it turned off and then having a ferry to catch, I decided that the nowadays familiar technological solution was probably safer than the now unfamiliar non technological road signs solution. As I drove to my next meeting I was happy to feel my watch vibrating every time I approached a junction and hear that robotic voice issue its instructions but I also felt sadness because I’d also enjoyed what I had rediscovered in the absence of them. I reflected that in something being lost, something had been found and now in something found something was lost.
In my work as a psychotherapist it is invariably loss that brings people to meet with me, be it loss of loved ones, health, happiness, possibility, opportunity, ease, work, meaning, identity, relationships, faith, security, sense of self, reason to name just some. At the moment when people are confronted by loss and feeling overwhelmed and traumatised I always feel humbled in being there with them, to think and feel with them and bear witness as they come to terms not only with what has been lost but also what is then found.
Finally, as the festive season approaches my thoughts turn to how for many it will be a time to find joy, companionship, relaxation, fun and cheer but for many others it will be an experience of being confronted with loss. This is nothing new but I wonder about the potential for this one to be even more challenging; after all we are yet again facing uncertainty from a new variant on top of what for many has been another year of further losses.
If you are struggling then you are not alone, if your own attempts to try and cope aren’t working then don’t suffer in silence – there are people out there who can and want to help. And if you think you know someone who might be struggling then ask them if they are ok and remember it’s quite often the case people will say they are ok when they are first asked, so do be ready to ask a second time.
From all of us here at the practice we wish you all the very best for the festive season.
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach
UKCP registrant, MBACP (accred), UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych
Nicholas Rose & Associates
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching for children, adults, couples and families.
Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose
Read the previous one – Mind Matters – The ‘kind’ communication that really isn’t kind at all!
See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here
Read a profile of Nicholas here
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