The other day I started to reflect on the meaning of therapy, outside of the barriers of a certain image so many of us hold; a living room like setting, lying on a chaise longue, spilling out our most intimate stories to a complete stranger. I have come to realize that this is not always how therapy works. More and more everydayI also realize that the heart speaks the same language everywhere I go. As stigmatized as it is, therapy is in fact something everyone around the world desires andthat which we seekfor ourselves on a daily basis without even realizing it.
This thought process began for me the other evening when my boyfriend’s uncle Rufostarted to chat with me about a voluntary activity I had been participating in for the past couple of weeks. He had thought that my helping local families in a rural neighbourhood with their vegetable plots,was part of a project I was assigned to. I explained that organic agriculture was in fact an interest of mine and that it was something to keep me busy, that I took great satisfaction in doing and that I did voluntarily. “Ah yes, “he said, “It’s your therapy.” Indeed it is. “I have my therapy too,” he began to tell me in Spanish, “Sometimes I will wash laundry with my wife,” he reflected, “The other day I washed for the ENTIRE day, non-stop!” I realized part of the healing aspect in that for him, “It is the using of your hands that is so therapeutic, isn’t it?” I asked Rufo. “Yes!” He replied enthusiastically.
I understood Rufo completely. Something about using our hands and moving our body in a slow or methodical way can have a soothing impact andallow us to drain out the noisy thoughts that so often plague our minds and allow us to just be.
This was a moment where Rufo had opened up to me unexpectedly. It was one of those beautiful moments where two people who normally have the run of the mill, “how are you?” “I am fine and you?” type conversation all of a sudden broke out of that routine and shared a part of their lives they may not normally share with others.
I have looked around and realized that we all have our ways of de-stressing. We all have our own therapy. My boyfriend’s is to play soccer. He runs and plays until the sun goes down and until he forgets what he started worrying about in the first place.
For me, it is getting my hands in the dirt, to surround myself and to feel one with nature, as cliché as that sounds. I stop feeling boredom, suffering or pain when I am in the garden with my hands in the dirt or watering the crops. I am able to be in the moment like I used to be when I was a child, playing in the dirt. Nothing else really matters, the sun shines on my back, I have nowhere to be and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Farming is a methodical routine, which repeats a lot of the same actions over and over again. I guess that is what I love about it though. It’s soothing and satisfying work watching what you plant come to life as a healthy, glowing fruit of your labour, no pun intended! As my therapy, farming and gardening feeds my soul, when I start to do it, it feels as though my body had been craving it forever.
I think that if we all could fill our day by doing only the things that our soul craved we would be a much happier, healthier, open-minded society. We would talk openly about our problems, pain and suffering to each other, even with people we do not know that well. We would live moment to moment, relishing in every smell, sight, sound and touch experienced on a daily basis. Imagine a society where we wouldn’t hurt so much, where suffering wasn’t stigmatized andwhere everything seemed simpler and void of confusion?
I ask the question then, what else would our society be like if the only choice we had was to feed our soul’s truest desires?