o one seems to get as much love as they think they need, nor gives as much love as they might. This seems to be part of the human condition. In the vortex created by this reality, events occur which separate us from the knowledge each of us has of our true nature as human beings. Continuous frustration or even trauma in the process of relationship, can sometimes lead to a kind of forgetting what it is we know about ourselves, and others, and what we know about the relationships we have had and do have. In early life, some experiences can be so dangerous as to blind us to what it is we know, and can separate us from ourselves and others, creating a seemingly endless cycle of fear and self loathing. I am continually reminded of how difficult it seems to be for each of us to have simple kindness for ourselves and thus, for others.

I agree with Joseph Campbell who once remarked that he didn't think people are interested in finding something that gives their life meaning. Instead, he thought we are searching for an experience of being alive. In the almost 30 years of listening to the experience of those in this search, I am continually amazed and in awe of the courage, and dogged persistence of those so engaged. I am also aware of the loneliness, frustration, disappointment and sometimes confusion, which can often be an all too consuming aspect of the human experience.

I think of what I do as attending to, waiting upon, listening to these experiences, especially the present but also the past. As the feelings, ideas, and facts of each person are respected, and understood in the process of listening, gradually change occurs. This occurs, in part, because in visiting their relationships in the re-telling, people can experience their life in a new way, which helps to re-acquaint them with what they already knew, but had forgotten. Gradually they discover "the human being grows only in the soil of self-acceptance." It is in the process of our own growth throughout life, that we most often have those sought after experiences of being alive.

All of the above is a much abbreviated description of a very personal and potentially powerful process. What makes it possible at all is the degree to which each person can be committed to this process, and the degree to which I am able to be present in a thoughtful, responsive and respectful way as their life experience is gradually revealed.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Glidden