I had a yoga teacher who once told me, “When in a pose you feel your muscles begin to shake, that’s the place the yoga starts.” Her explanation was that “yoga” means “the union of breath and movement,” and only when the movement becomes difficult enough, will you need to rely on breath to get you through. Like childbirth, I thought.

Therapy is not so different from yoga. There is a place where it becomes very difficult to move forward. That tender wound inside we guard so fiercely comes close to being exposed in session, and as we move toward it our breath, metaphorically or literally, becomes shallow.

Therapy is little more than finding that union and staying there until something shifts. Your therapist can be kind, understanding, wise and articulate, but her job is still to move you into the zone you’ve avoided for so long. She will delicately unearth the most reflexive of defense mechanisms, and bring to light all that aches for you to examine and make meaning of.

And you will resist her. You amazing, resilient, hearty individual know what it costs to bear the unbearable, to speak the unspeakable. You will not go softly. No matter. Whether you arrive wholeheartedly or begrudgingly, fully or completely check-out, you will not exit the same person that entered. Owning your vulnerable places is the way through. The obstacle is the way, as they say.

Know that therapy will, on its best days, be difficult. But take heart: this is where growth begins. Once you have seen a bit of yourself become unlike it used to be, once you have moved in one small way, you will begin to believe you can be anyone you want to be. And that is no small miracle.

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