I recall a story of a woman who brought her child to speak with a Buddhist monk because the child was eating too many sweets. The monk stated he could not speak to the boy that day and directed the woman to return in two weeks. When they returned, the monk passed along some very simple wisdom about overindulging. Hearing this, the woman demanded to know why the monk could not have simply passed along these words two weeks earlier. The monk replied, “Because two weeks ago I was eating too many sweets.” As a therapist I find myself highly motivated to avoid being a hypocrite. I cannot give guidance to clients that I do not follow. I am writing today because this morning I confronted a client on his “writer’s block.” He was making excuses for not doing what he loves doing. Instead of acknowledging and coping with the obstacles that prevent him from writing, he avoids writing. In moments like this I take note of my hypocrisy, I admit to myself and to clients my short comings and I make plans to resolve whatever conflict is causing me to be a hypocrite. For many years I have kept myself so frantically busy that there is not time in the day to write. This thing that I love doing also scares me, and so by jamming my day full of appointments and work, I guarantee myself that I do not have to face my fears. Like my client, I find writing to be overwhelming. I consider the entirety of the project instead of doing a portion of the whole. I am able to psyche myself out in seconds. I am inspired to write every day. To not act on inspiration feels wasteful and my avoidance might make me appear ungrateful for those moments that motivate me to write. I often talk to folks who are struggling to “get out of my own way.” I am guilty of this as well and so for today I am not willing to avoid this thing that I fear.
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