Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On this Day, at about 5:20 am, in 1967 . . .

. . . I was born. Judging by the damage I created on the way out (I tore up the birth canal), I was brought into this world against my will. That picture is not me, but it may as well have been - I apparently cried incessantly for about 72 hours.

It's strange how little stories like that can shape our experience of our lives. I spent a lot of my first thirty years wishing I had never been born (apologies to everyone who knew me then - I no doubt made you a part of my suffering and I am sorry for having done so).

It's even stranger that if we can reframe the narrative, we can change the experience.

For whatever reasons, I had seen the story of my birth as a metaphor, a foreshadowing of my life. But I didn't really adopt this narrative until my teen years, after my father died, after I began doing drugs and alcohol, after I had gotten in trouble with the police, after having been suspended from school, and all the while trying to manage a social anxiety I did not understand and also trying to self-medicate the anxiety and the depression. In that context, the meaning I attributed to my birth narrative made sense.

Years of therapy and years of meditation changed all of that. I am becoming a therapist to "pay it forward," as the cliche goes. I want to help other people find the peace with their lives that I found in mine through good therapy.

So here I sit, 44 years old, happier with my life than I ever thought possible. And I am also sitting neck-deep in the energies of change.

Jami's life is shifting to private practice after years of working at a high-level in-patient facility - with all of the chaos that creates (I am the "homemaker" of sorts right now) and the lack of time together. And I am about to begin my practicum and internships. By this time next year, I will be a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and shifting my work from personal training and coaching to being a full-time (or at least 3/4 time) therapist (I still want to train some clients and continue to write and edit, since I love those jobs).

I have come to reframe my arrival into the world as a lesson - a mighty early lesson - in surviving adversity. Mine was a difficult birth, for whatever reason, but it proved I am a fighter - other children have died from similar complications.

Not me - I came into the world kicking and screaming - and there is still much to do.


Constance said...

Dear William:
We share the same day of the year as "official birth". I wish you the best with your continuing studies, and the changes and experience that will come with internship.

While you came in kicking and screaming, -I'm sure you also know that we are each here to really wake up to a deeper knowing; getting here in this human life is a very auspicious opportunity with every breath.

I see this human life as just one wonderful--and yes, often painful way in which Life lives all of us in our own way.

I appreciate all the work you do to bring new ideas and give voice to variety.

all the best in each breath,


william harryman said...

Thank you so much Constance - your words are very moving - I'm all verklempt!

Seriously, May 4 is a good day - one I am happy that I share with you.

Blessings to you on this day of your birth, and blessings on the work you are doing in the world! Assisting people in waking is a gift to all of us.


~C4Chaos said...


happy birthday. thanks for sharing your story. i'm glad that you found a better narrative to celebrate your life and for dedicating your working life to helping other people. keep it flowing, my friend. and ease up on the kicking and screaming :)