All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up by other people.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Experiencing multiple relocations due to my partner’s career, I have had to reinvent myself numerous times. Some of the moves were more challenging than others, such as moving from the vibrant downtown of Chicago, to a very small town in Michigan. Moving away from a job that I loved, very close friends, and a city that finally felt like home at the time, seemed devastating.
My wise and wonderful father reminded me that “you can have anything you want, just not everything” – that is, at least not everything at the same time. He always encouraged me to be open enough to recognize the extraordinary people and opportunities that can be found everywhere.
In rural Michigan, I discovered gardening through working with a lovely gentleman who was a horticulturalist, and who also knew how to teach. A few relocations later when we moved to Philadelphia, the passion for gardening resurfaced and turned into an opportunity to compete in the Philadelphia Flower Show, arguably the most prestigious garden show in the country.
The connection of one to the other is something I could never have imagined as I had no context. And both turned out to be experiences of a lifetime.
Of course life transitions and needs for reinvention are more than geographical relocations. The need for transition can emerge quite unpredictably through loss of jobs, the death of a spouse, divorce, kids leaving, changes in health, the need to care for aging parents, retirement, and many other challenging circumstances.
It’s hard to move past the unfortunate things in life to the wonder of what could be.
In therapy, we can spend a lot of time talking about our wounds and lamenting all the things that have not gone our way. My approach with clients is to help reframe what is not working into a context of what potentially could be.
That is not to say that healing isn’t important, too.
But from the healing, the spirit of moving forward must come through collaboration, possibility, courage, humor, and the gentle provocation that is sometimes needed to embrace uncertainty.
The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.
I’d like to say it’s an attitude of not just thinking out of the box, but not even seeing the box.
Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle
Ask yourself what you would do differently if you had the freedom to do anything at all.
If you could redesign your life, what parts would you keep? What parts would you let go?
What are the doubts, hesitations, mental barriers, and closed-minded thoughts that get in your way?
I am enthusiastic about helping people improve the quality of their lives, and am told that I convey a sense of optimism that is contagious.
Fixed versus Growth Mindset
Interpretive Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Solution Focused Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Attachment-based therapeutic approaches
Bowen Family Systems Theory
Minuchin Structural Family Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)