My therapist has a little waiting area outside her office and I take comfort in the predictability of its seasonal decor. As a constant observer of my surroundings, I notice every little change. Like if a new picture on the wall is crooked. I have resisted the urge to set them straight but it takes effort. I've spent the majority of my life invested in trying to set all manner of things straight. Particularly people I am in relationship with. There are decades of well worn grooves to that old dance of mine.
When I was sitting in her waiting room yesterday I shifted my gaze, from a picture hanging a little off kilter, to out the window and across the parking lot where the area's largest homeless shelter is located. A taxi pulled up and, after what seemed like forever, the rear passenger door opened and its occupant made their way around the back of the taxi over to where someone was standing. I watched as the person from the taxi reached their arms up and out and embraced the other person. They stood nestled together for such a long time that I felt like my observing was an intrusion. Eventually they broke apart and walked away with their arms around each other's waist. In the fading light, I watched as the taxi's rear lights glowed red when it backed up and drove away.
I turned my attention back to the waiting room, avoiding looking at the crooked picture. I tried to remember all the messy bits of life that had happened since my last therapy session. Things I wanted to share with my therapist so I could get feedback and help processing my responses. She has especially offered me a different way to look at something each time I've uttered the words always
In the safety and security of my relationship with her I am learning how to change my own steps, as the picture says. Yesterday, my therapist correctly guessed that when I was challenged to a new pattern this past week, my first thought was fuck you.
She was delighted when I shared that I then had a graced moment where I realized I was being offered a new way of dancing, if you will. And I took it.
As we sifted through the previous ten days and the relationships I've been navigating I felt hopeful. Predictable patterns are changing. I'm changing.
As a non toucher my whole life it is a new thing for me to be the one who craves a hug from Dearest One. We've developed a practice of hugging each other when one of us is leaving the house and then again when one of us returns. We hug for a long time.
One of the things I thought about while I watched those two people hug it out on the lawn of the shelter was how good it feels these days to be hugged like that. As they hugged for at least 20 seconds, I'd like to think it was life giving for them both, too.