Change doesn’t always happen quickly. It often starts as a thought way in the back of your mind. So far back, there are no words to express it. Perhaps because there is a fear that expressing it will make it disappear. But oddly enough, sometimes people and objects materialize that speak for that submerged thought. That bring it into the world, without you knowing about it.
Three years ago – when the submerged thought that I wanted to work more directly with people in a therapeutic context was shifting around a bit (like an octopus at the bottom of the ocean) – I found a brown leather Eddie Bauer diary stuck between random books at a thrift store. I picked it up and quickly flipped through it. It looked blank, so I excitedly paid $5 for it.
I love fancy notebooks and have quite a collection of them. I put the diary on a shelf, forgetting about it.
Fast forward two years. The submerged thought about becoming a therapist was now out, and actionable. I had enrolled in the certification classes for hypnotherapy and mental health coaching, and needed a notebook that I would use especially for this course. A notebook to represent this transformation in my life.
So I went to my stack of fancy notebooks and grabbed the diary I had found in the thrift store. When I got to class, I opened the diary to the first page, ready to take notes in my fancy leather notebook and be a diligent student.
It wasn’t blank after all. The first 10 pages were quite occupied. They were occupied with notes and a few diary entries that a man named Fred had taken at what must have been an AA meeting. Fred must have bought this fancy diary to represent the major change he was making in his own life.
After a few moments of bewilderment about what I should do (try somehow to track Fred down? Tear out the marked pages?) I decided to go ahead and use the remaining pages for my own notes and diary entries. Fred and I were on parallel tracks: his anxieties, fears, and doubts mirrored my own – although from a different place, time, and set of emotional circumstances.
And Fred’s intense struggles with addiction gave me courage. If he could get through that, certainly I could get through this.
The last page of Fred’s diary reads, “To have something you’ve never had u have to do something you’ve never done.”
And to do something you’ve never done starts with a thought, at first submerged, and slowly realized.