I’ve heard writers talk about writing a book is like giving birth.
Let me say straight out: It isn’t. SO NOT!!
Pregnancy and birth is a hard thing. Creating a human with your own body is a project and then some. Labour and delivery is a beast and to compare anything to it is a disrespect to anyone who has ever pushed out a baby.
But there are parallels and this week I am seeing them. This book was a labor to write during and following a time of global upheaval–and I’m thrilled that she’s ready for the world. I’m proud of her.
Wired for Connection–the book, is a series of chapters on what my clients have taught me during over 2 decades of delivering therapy. They thought they were getting therapy with me–what they didn’t know was that they were teaching me. And I was listening.
I never intended to go to counselling school and become a therapist. But life happened. One graduate course taken for interest started the slippery slope to getting a full degree.
I graduated with a ton of head knowledge. I had read 1000’s of pages and written hundreds more. I knew the models and the approaches in the books. But I don’t think I had a grasp of what it looked like to sit with a client who was stuck in a place of pain and respectfully hold space in a way that invited them to be in a better place. I was petrified when I started my private practice: Did I know enough to actually help people?
Turns out I didn’t.
That’s where my clients come in. I don’t know if they knew how much they taught me about life, about therapy, and about relationships.
I was the expert of the process (those models of therapy and strategies of communication were useful!) And my clients were the experts of their story. They knew the truth of their experience. They discovered what happened when they tried something different. Together we collaborated and co-created outcomes that neither of us would have figured out on our own. I discovered a richness to a calling I didn’t even know I had.
So much of what clients taught me was paradoxical. Actually, they didn’t “teach” me—the most important lessons in life, I think, are better caught than taught. So much of what I learned was counterintuitive to conventional relationship wisdom. Together we learned the way to real relationships was messiness, mistakes and discomfort. We noticed the route to acceptance was authenticity, that tears make life better, and that raw courage is often about tender things like saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you”. And so much more.
When my husband left me in 2005, I didn’t know how I could continue to be a therapist. How was I supposed to help others put their lives together when mine has fallen apart? My clients will never know how being with them was healing and restorative. I’d watched them deal with crushing disappointment and abject abandonment and I knew that if they made it through, I would too.
When I had opportunity to ruin my career every week on live radio, once again, my clients taught me how to do terrifying things. The commitment my clients had to the hard work to show up in their lives challenged me to show up in mine.
And when a second chance at love came my way, and a client said to me in a loud declarative voice: “Falling in love is terrifying!” I could agree with him with every fibre of my being. Once again, watching my clients live their lives helped me live mine.
Truth is, while I was being their therapist, they were being my teachers. Every one of them. So were my kids, my friends, my now-husband. Having a front row seat to people as they talk about their lives has helped me stop being a spectator in my own.
William Paul Young says: “I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing”. I spend my life with people as they sort through their hurts to create possibility for healing. Little do they know that I am learning and growing and healing right alongside them.
Relationships are hard—but we are wired for them. We are wired for struggle and growth. Watching people struggle with their own lives has inspired me to struggle and grow in mine.
Relationships are hard for us all. But if we show up to connect, and we do it anything like right, we learn from each other. We learn from each other in ways that surprise and delight us.
We are wired for connection.
Books are available for purchase at Amazon, Kobo and directly through Wired for Connection. Send me an email through the bottom of the contact page or purchase through Amazon (paperback or e-book with kindle):
Wired for Connection mug also available, separately or save with book purchase:
Mug is available for purchase and pickup at Conexus Counselling office at 105-1483 Pembina Highway (204 275 1045) or via contact email right on this website!
I have a really important favour, which I ask, both humbly and boldly: After you have read the book, will you please write a review on Amazon? Those positive reviews make an enormous difference to help get this book out to the world!