Loss and Change
Last night while I was talking with a friend of mine, at one moment I felt huge hole, I was falling and falling, feeling there is no ground, feeling sadness, fear, nonsense, like it was question of life or death. Even when my friend left, I stayed in those thoughts and my body was overwhelmed. She was changing. I was changing. Our friendship was changing and in that moment nothing stable existed.
This is what is happening when it comes about change.
Changes are constant, some of them come and pass easily, we just adapt, some of them are part of regular developmental crisis, and sometimes we have life crises that push as to destroy everything we have built and reconstruct our lives. Through years we build ourselves, our identities, values, support systems, we are confident and secure with who we are. When hurricane comes, when we lose something/someone who is important to us, we cannot be the same as we were. Everything is falling apart and we are trying to hold ourselves to only thing we know, to our old values, coping strategies, defense mechanisms. But when something change, there is no way that we can stay the same, that we can be exactly the same as we were. We are trying, using familiar mechanisms and become just more frustrated because it doesn’t work. Impossible, it has to work, it was working my whole life, what is different now, why I cannot be who I was?! It’s a stage of confusion, tension energy and frustration. It is space between who we were and who we will become. Of course in that moment we can’t see any positivity or considering as an empty canvas on which we can paint whatever we wish. We just see blackness and desolation, the lack of nothing, we are experiencing chasm and that is the only truth for us. In Gestalt psychotherapy it is called “emptiness/ nothingness”.
Two worlds, one old that is not good enough anymore, and one new that we cannot create because in that moment we are unsupported. Space between that we have called “emptiness/ nothingness” is as a word says – ‘no things’. There is only process and being. Staying here is almost unbearable, and we try to escape, but freedom comes when we accept emptiness. Freedom to experiment with “who I want to be”, build up new and different world, created by my own taste.
Of course, the change is not an instant or a moment in any static sense, since time is a continuous flow, but it is a radical redirection of ours project of being. Gestalt therapy, takes a certain kind of awareness as its cornerstone. This is exactly the kind of awareness that Sartre says “keeps to the given without setting up claims for the future”. It involves attention to the present moment as “presence to being”. Being in nothing, with awareness encourages us to redefine values, knowledge, needs, and to see what belong to our being and what is imposed by others. During this “work”, we are waiting something new to shows up, to direct us, so that we know which course to take. Step by step we are taking small moves and build new experience that shape finally other world and new me.
In this process therapist have crucial role, the encounter between therapist and client can be healing and give balance between safety and challenge. therapists encourage clients to face those moments of choice that might lead to radical shifts in their ways of being in the world Many of the interventions of therapy can allow the client to engage himself/herself in moment awareness of her world-making process. Also, through experiment clients can face with new possibilities – not as prescriptive behavioral changes but as new ways of opening to life’s opportunities.