I think I know how avalanches occur.  I have seen a few mini-avalanches outside my window on the tree branches.  Rarely does the snowfall in a straight vertical pattern here because of the wind.  On occasion when the snow does fall without wind, the flakes accumulate on the tree branches.  If the snowfall is heavy enough, the builds to a maximum height.  At that point, the slightest alteration in the environment, or just a few more flakes landing, and “flash” a cascade of snow falls from the tree branch.  When this happens, I am sometimes startled, because I neither saw nor heard a trigger for the tumbling snow–no squirrel, no bird, no gust of wind.  The weight, depth, and angle of the snow is all that is necessary at just the right moment.  At this precise moment, there is a readiness to collapse inherent in the structure of the snow accumulation.

I have seen this same phenomenon in therapy.  “Readiness” is probably one of the most important elements in healing, and is often overlooked.  “Readiness to change” may be more precise, because we can also be in a readiness state in other ways.  Dr. Thomas Hora, an existential metapsychiatrist who wrote in the late 1970s and 1980s said people change for two reasons–through wisdom or through suffering.  Most people choose suffering.  Sometimes by the time someone comes to see me, the toll of their suffering has reached unbearable levels, and they have begun to see that the source of their suffering is not “out there,” but rather it is due to their own way of thinking and perceiving.  They already have divorced one or two spouses, bought the new house and car, accumulated power and prestige, taken different jobs, or moved to different locations, but they are still not happy.  The weight of their unhappiness and the failed attempts to be happy by making changes in their external world have prepared them to be ready for change–an inner change, a collapse of the old ways of thinking to make room for new awareness and new thought patterns.

When someone comes to me in such a state of readiness, a mini-avalanche of healing occurs with such quickness and fluidity, it is both startling and breathtaking!

1 Comment

  1. Missy Dixon

    I desire to be ready to change on the golf course. The golf course is my peaceful place, I marvel at the beauty of a golf course, the green of the fairways, the manicured grounds, the ability to imagine one’s flight through the obstacle course that all golf courses are. Yesterday we had a lovely day on the course, it is so green and peaceful on the golf course, especially in the Springtime! So how is it that I can take this beauty, ignore it, basically shut it out and compartmentalize it as an obstacle whilst climbing into my little closet of suffering after hitting a shot that is less than anticipated? Why is it that I allow myself to fall prey to my own ‘anger-ego‘ and succumb to the reaction of impulsiveness that has ingrained itself in my game? What is the secret to breaking this chain, collapsing the pile of thoughts and angst that get in the way of my peaceful place? When will I shed myself of the build up of this avalanche of unrealistic expectations? Is there a trigger, a thought process, an emotional release I can apply to this scenario to finally rid myself of this suffering; or am I destined to continue burdening myself with lofty goals of a game only those who are willing to practice, practice and practice honing their game and skill level to a point of perfection? HELP … I’m melting!

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