I am writing this column from a glass tower, 40 stories in the sky, overlooking the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The beauty of every variation of frozen white below is both soothing and exciting. Even though the temperature outside is in single digits, I would just as soon be here as going on a winter vacation somewhere south.
One of my favorite sayings is that first we create our environments, and then they create us. I have come to learn that open space is for many one of the best perspective bringers and can create a clarity and simplicity in us. Perhaps that is one of the purposes of winter. Without the distraction of beautiful foliage, we are able to see through to the essence of things.
Perspective is one of the goals of therapy. In an environment relatively free of distraction, we can unload the many nuances of situations that are painful or problematic and at last arrive at an understanding of what is really beneath it all. Sometimes it takes several sessions of “venting,” maybe even more, before a client feels that they have unburdened the self of the troubling details that somehow have seemed important not to be lost, but that have obscured the true view of a situation.
It is amazing to me how we each have a therapist inside of ourselves; we only need a willing and skillful listener to encourage us to listen to ourselves as we regain our vision of who we are and what needs to be embraced or changed. This takes time and can feel like a single digit experience to reveal our inmost selves to another trusted human being. It always seems miraculous to me when I see this process happening for couples or families who have gotten lost and have the courage to look for each other once again.
Perspective. It can only come with a little distance.