This semester my graduate school cohort is taking Group Therapy, a dynamic course that is divided into two distinct portions. For the first half of class we listen to lecture, then we split from the professor and a counselor guides us in an actual therapy session. The hope is that in both settings—first as pupils, then as participants—we’ll gain a better understanding of ourselves, each other, and how group therapy can catalyze healing and growth.
This afternoon we met for our third class/session, and after two weeks of ice breaker-type exercises (sharing some funny stories and disclosing some personal quirks), our focus and energy shifted quite a bit. During the previous class we had collectively selected a certain classmate to propose today’s topic, challenging him to help us all wade into more vulnerable waters.
He started in an unthreatening way by inquiring about our first celebrity crushes, and after we had all enjoyed a good laugh envisioning those pre-teen hotties, he proceeded to read a quote and followed with a question:
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom (Anais Nin). What is one tight place that you would like to blossom?
Each of our 8 group members searched inside and shared courageously, which led to many powerful moments of speaking, listening, reflecting, and responding.
We noticed how the stories all centered around the themes of control versus surrender, fear versus faith, the familiar versus the foreign. We saw that though each of our “buds” and “blossoms” appeared in different areas of our lives, we all possessed a similar eagerness to grow. We recognized that while our minds may comprehend that blooming is incredibly beautiful, most of our hearts are still resisting taking the concrete steps necessary for change. Fixed, firm, closed, stiff—these bud-like states often feel so very safe. Seductively so.
While none of us seemed to be miraculously transformed by the session’s end, I’m convinced that several of us advanced that first inch forward by publicly naming our tightly bound-up buds and actively imagining the yet-to-bloom blossoms.
What is one tight place that you’d like to see blossom?