By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
When I look at the world (locally and globally) I see an environment of conflict and separation, while I believe in oneness and unity. There is a great need for mending fences and finding connection, but the problem(s) feel way too big for me to make a significant impact.
When my clients have expressed similar sentiments to me, I point out that we do what we can. Sometimes that is donating money or time to an important cause, but when those are not manageable you can still add light and peace to our world by smiling and connecting with everyone (including complete strangers) that you encounter in lines, behind store registers, or even while passing them on the street.
This small act can brighten another’s day, lift their heart and put a smile on their face. A colleague recently shared that saying “Awwwww” in your mind (like you would when seeing a cute puppy), will allow for the opening and sharing of your heart space, without saying a word.
Me? I do what I can. I donate, I smile, I share my heart space, I pray, and I meditate. And like you, I question if it is enough. These actions, over time, have proven to be a bridge for an incredible experience.
A few weeks ago, I was approached by a couple of Muslim therapists, to meet with Jewish therapists, so we could discuss the importance of maintaining the therapeutic alliance in our work when we encounter clients of different faiths, nationalities, and beliefs particularly during these difficult times. (I’m writing this in November 2023.)
Due to our desire to initiate this quickly, and challenges of availability during the holiday season, we started small. Four of us sat for a nearly 2.5 hour conversation at our first meeting. It was impactful. We talked about our families to create connection and commonality, and then with intention we led with our hearts. We asked each other gentle questions and probing questions. We answered honestly and authentically. We looked at our common beliefs and core values as well as our seeming differences. We sought to understand where these differences came from and what holds us to them.
What was our secret? [Read more…]