Therapy Without the Couch
Sometimes therapy is available within the spaces of our home and just outside our door. It seems that it’s getting more difficult to find such spaces, as 21st Century time nudges us to move faster while doing more. There is much anxiety, stress and chaos in the air we breathe. Lots of pushing and pulling, throwing us off balance and into each other. So how do we find some equilibrium – some sense of sanity? Short of seeking formal therapy, I’m sharing a few tidbits of advice that will not cost a cent and perhaps provide some solace, peace and grace.
First, find some personal time for yourself to be with yourself. Reintroduce you to you. Explore ways to do this via meditation, music, art, writing, reading, gardening, photography – find your passion that liberates you from the formality of the day. That is – from the must-do-check-list that includes job(s), family – children. Pump the breaks. Notice I did not mention twitter, facebook instagram nor cable TV. Do I have to explain why?
Secondly, locate the nearest park in your area. Visit before or after work – on weekends – explore it. Walk – bike the trails. Ask a friend to join the walk. Sure, listen to those playlists – sing and dance along – move to your own beat. Make time to not only think but dream – turn those endorphins free to dance inside your mind, heart and sprit. They are there waiting for you to turn them loose.
The beginning and ending of days differ for each of us. Awakening and lulling ourselves to sleep, have our unique fingerprints. For some of us, days begin with a bzzzt, bzzzt, ring, ring, beep, beep — maybe even a song from a playlist — but for others, the wake-up call is internal. It’s a matter of how our cerebrum grew up — became used to lightness and darkness — how it was trained to greet and exit each day.
My parents were born and raised on a farm and therefore did not rely on any digital alarm sounds. They had an internal clock that summoned them to chores that began at sunup and ended at sundown. Nope – they never punched a clock – most days worked overtime by choice – even on weekends. The land was their office – outdoor spaces throughout the day.
I may not have inherited their exhaustive work ethic, but I did inherit their internal chronometric metronome that awakens me roughly between 5:00am and 5:30am. You can place good money that I will be rising and shining within those 30 minutes.
While the morning timepiece has remained steady throughout my life, the nightly chimes have increasingly been shaving minutes. Remaining awake until 11:00pm was not a problem in the past . . . but . . . 11:00pm has become 10:00pm and now wavering on 9:00pm – as I desperately try to tug against Mr. Sandman.
How we live each hour of each day between entrances and exits is also unique to each of us. But what we tend to think of as ‘routine’ is not really ‘routine’ . . . is it? There seems to be always a nuance, variable and/or happenstance that tweaks ‘routinesness’.
For me, the day begins with breakfast, a cup of cafecito latino that accompanies me for roughly one or two hours of journaling – sometimes in Spanish – sometimes in English. Journaling is my therapeutic diary of sorting out past, present and future. There are always some musical guests that provide accompaniment . . . sometimes it’s Stevie, sometimes Johann . . . today it happens to be Eminem asking to “Lose Yourself” . . . so I will.
Journaling is exclusive personal time, when the FIRST daily therapy session takes place — not on a couch — but in front of a computer with a screen staring back. This is the space and time when reflection washes over mind, heart and spirit — healing, rejuvenating and advocating for each of us to enhance the human condition.
But this is only therapy session number ONE — the SECOND therapy session begins around 7:00am. That’s when Ellie, our trusted and loyal Golden, provides a few subtle yips informing me that it’s her time to partake in the therapy session as well.
By this time, Gloria, my dear partner in life, is ready to collaborate with the therapy — yup — it’s a family affair.
This SECOND dose of therapy takes place daily at Marshbank Park – a few miles from home. Marshbank sits on Cass Lake — the largest and deepest lake in Oakland County. The park provides 100 acres of therapy.
The session begins around 7:30am . . . before approaching the entrance, Ellie knows we are there. The park never fails to amaze nor does it ever disappoint . . . but let me stop yapping and show you . . . just maybe . . . maybe our therapy session may provide a sliver of solace . . . an instance of peace . . . a semblance of grace . . . so walk with us . . . I hear group therapy works wonders‼️
Special thanks to all employees who diligently care for the 600 acres of public parklands and facilities at 12 WB locations.
We respect your expertise and dedication.
Photography by Gloria Lopata Prosperi
at Marshbank Park West Bloomfield, MI – 2022 – on Iphone 13