Elizabeth Lesser's Broken Open Toolbox
Dr. Bennet was a brilliant and well-trained therapist. He also was a humble and tender man. All of these are good qualities to look for in a guide.
Psychotherapy is a powerful process. If it works well, we emerge with a stronger sense of who we are in our body, mind, heart, and soul. We gather skills to help us move with less fear through the fires of life. We create a firm foundation that can support our talents, endeavors, relationships, and quests. Combined with a spiritual practice like meditation, therapy can help us develop happiness, humanity, and mastery in life. And yet, for all of our spiritual peace of mind and our psychological sanity and strength, there remains the fact that we will never quiet all our anxieties or tame all our neuroses. We are, remember, bozos on the bus.
And that is where prayer comes in.
Sister Alice Martin teaches gospel singing at Omega. I have taken her workshops because I love to sing, and for me singing gospel music is like diving into an ocean of bliss. Sister Alice is an electrifying singer, songwriter, and gospel choir leader. When she walks into a room, you sit up a little straighter. When she directs a group of people singing, you never take your eyes off her. During her workshops, in between leading the group in song, Sister Alice talks about prayer. "Prayer is about being hopeful," she says. "It is not a phone call to God's hotline. It's not about waiting around for an answer you like, especially since sometimes the answer you're going to get is no!"
My favorite advice about prayer from Sister Alice is this: "If you are going to pray, then don't worry. And if you are going to worry, then don't bother praying. You can't be doing both." When I stop and listen closely to what's going on inside my head, I often hear the buzz of worry, like the drone of bees in a wall. That's when I remember Sister Alice's words of wisdom. What would I rather being doing, I ask myself, worrying or praying? I usually choose praying. It's a lot more fun than worrying.