The Celebrity Therapist

Life is difficult. This is not a news flash, and yet we are confronted with a daily barrage of how wonderful your life “should” be. If only you follow these five easy steps, they promise, you will find contentment and true bliss in your marriage, family, job and physical fitness routine. And! It can all be yours for only $19.99 if you order now. What a deal!

So we follow the steps, pay the money and envision all the wonderful things soon to come our way. Then you get in a fender-bender on the way home from work. Your baby throws up all over your new outfit. The economy takes a dive and you realize you are upside-down in your house mortgage.

And you wonder why. Why does this always happen to me? I’m a good person and trying really hard to do all the things Oprah tells me to.

We begin to wonder if the problem lies with us. We are somehow defective and certainly don’t deserve good things. Enter self-destructive/addictive behaviors, i.e. what we believe we do deserve.

But Thomas Moore, therapist and author, posits that we are looking to all the wrong things and people for the joie de vivre that slips through our fingers.

“Fulfilling work, rewarding relationships, personal power, and relief from symptoms are all gifts of the soul. They are particularly elusive in our time because we don’t believe in the soul and therefore give it no place in our hierarchy of values. We have come to know soul only in its complaints: when it stirs, disturbed by neglect and abuse, and causes us to feel its pain.”

Moore was used to clients coming to him expecting to be “fixed” of what ailed them. His response is unique:

“Care of the soul is a continuous process that concerns itself not so much with ‘fixing’ a central flaw as with attending to the small details of everyday life, as well as to major decisions and changes…the first point to make about care of the soul is that it is not primarily a method of problem solving. Its goal is not to make life problem-free, but to give ordinary life the depth and value that come with soulfulness.” (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness In Everyday Life)

In learning to make peace with those aspects of yourself and your life you fight the hardest against, life doesn’t necessarily become easier, but much more purposeful and meaningful. And in the process, even happier–no shipping and handling required.


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