'In the cherry blossom's shade,

there's no such thing as a stranger...'

Kobayashi Issa

In my workshops and teaching, I endeavour to create a safe environment that honours our tenderness and courage in trying to meet ourselves and others in a real way.  When we do this we become, in Gendlin's phrase, 'more of ourselves than we have been able to be so far...' It is an often beautiful, deeply enriching encounter.

Buddhist teacher Kitissaro speaks of how each of us carry 'orphans of consciousness' - parts of ourselves which have never been fully accepted or loved.  Much of my emphasis is on reaching and tending to these parts. When we acknowledge these places of fear, dread or disappointment, particularly in the presence of others, something relaxes. This is a process that generates integration, self-acceptance and self-compassion, as well as a growing tolerance and empathy with others.

Good theory - and the wider context it provides - reminds us it's not just us... 

The best theory clarifies something real or true, shedding light on aspects of our experience which would be otherwise harder to acknowledge. In this way, theory provides a wider, more universal context for acknowledging elements we struggle with: our disappointment, our envy, our sadness, our anger, our longing to be adored or tended to. It can be illuminating and relaxing to understand the source or structure of these elements: it allows us to hold them differently and to relate to them with more insight, skill and kindness.