These luscious green and furry beech leaves have only just unfurled - in fact they still need to spread a little more. Like a new born baby they seem perfect and pure. Nothing has sullied them yet. A blank slate perhaps?
They are full of possibilities.
You were like this once - full of potential - anything was possible - pure and perfect.
Some say that we are all born with a wealth of zest - full of energy and excitement at the world around us. Also - we have an incredible intelligence - we learn things so quickly and easily. And sociability is a strong force within all of us - we want to connect so desperately with everything and everyone around us.
So what happens?
As the weeks of summer pass. the leaves lose their freshness - they have been exposed to all sorts of weather and environmental forces. Bugs may have used them as a home or for food. A drought may have turned them brown.
We too are exposed to all sorts of difficult things as we grow up. Even if we have loving parents, we are protected from some of the worst possibilities but life is never perfect. We get 'hurt' in some way or another. Our potential becomes limited and sometimes with a lot of hurt that potential seems to disappear. We can become people who are stuck, with low self esteem or behaviours that create problems in our lives.
The good news is that we have natural mechanisms that help us process all these difficult experiences. But, often they aren't allowed to come into play. For instance, I strongly believe that if a child is allowed to feel their feelings in an accepting manner - is allowed to cry for instance, in a very gentle way, then their hurts can be dealt with in a way that doesn't create problems for them later in life.
In our culture though, often children aren't given enough of this gentle attention. "Big boys don't cry."
I believe that counselling provides that gentle support and acceptance of a person regardless of their faults - an acceptance that allows the client to help to accept themselves and to start enjoying fully who they are. It helps them recover some of the zest, intelligence and sociability that they have lost.
As a counsellor - I am here for my client to help explore how they feel about many things from the past and the present. Instead of shoving feelings away, out of sight, we gently unwrap them and try to understand them and often feel them afresh. It takes courage, but the work is done sensitively and at the client's pace.
It's all about recovering that 'pure' you bit by bit!