Befriending yourself - Matt Licata

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arale

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Befriending yourself - Matt Licata
« on: December 14, 2019, 12:04:22 AM »
Matt Licata is a psychotherapist. He doesn't necessarily focus on trauma but in his poetic writings, he leads the reader to take a very gentle and compassionate stance about one's brokenness. Here's his blog: http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.com/, and I get regular feeds from him on Facebook: https://www.mattlicataphd.com/. He also runs an online community at https://www.befriendingyourself.com/

Here's a sampler of his writing that has really touched me:

The commitment is to envision our lives in a new way, befriend ourselves and our experience, and no longer abandon ourselves in times of intensity, confusion, and challenge. To discover firsthand the rarity of having a human body, a sometimes-broken heart, and a miraculous, sensitive nervous system.

To apprehend the breathtaking reality of a sunset fully experienced, just how astounding it is to have the capacity to listen, feel, sense, weep, fail, and succeed. To fall to the ground and get back up, only to fall again and behold the mercy of that cycle once again.

Root yourself in the integrity of direct, primary experience, even when that experience is of confusion, doubt, hopelessness, and fear. To somehow trust even in your inability to trust, accept that part of you that cannot accept whatís happening, and forgive that part of you that just cannot forgive. To be an unconditional friend to yourself, a friend of the breath, who will end the trance of self-abandonment.

In this revisioning, pain is something we enter consciously, as a curious traveler of the unknown, committed to participate and behold in more and more subtlety and depth the entire range of human experience as it unfolds here.

Not a life that always feels safe, peaceful, and confirms to our most deeply conditioned hopes and fears. But one rooted in creation and destruction, dark and light, vast enough to hold it all, to use everything here as a way to penetrate the miracle and connect more deeply with others, helping them (and ourselves) in ever more creative ways.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Befriending yourself - Matt Licata
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 02:42:56 AM »
I've read Licata's blog for a few years now. Sometimes it takes some patience, as he likes to present his reflections in a soft, gentle, flowing manner. Reading him feels like being with a thoughtful, peaceful companion.

He deals with some deep issues, yet his relaxed manner I find very appealing. He doesn't run from the harsh times, but he's good at pointing out different ways to regard them.

One of the hardest realizations that I've found in his entries are his hints that even what we think of as bad (sadness, anger, guilt, rage, etc.) are things we might learn to regard more benignly at some point. That we can heal by going deeper within. Not easy, which makes his heartfelt approach a welcome one.

Even regarding extreme hardship, he gently reminds us that yes, we can still move through them; and might even find something useful to consider en route to the new life we're all seeking.



 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2019, 02:48:15 AM by woodsgnome »

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arale

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Re: Befriending yourself - Matt Licata
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 10:58:26 AM »
Happy to meet another Licata fan here!

One of the hardest realizations that I've found in his entries are his hints that even what we think of as bad (sadness, anger, guilt, rage, etc.) are things we might learn to regard more benignly at some point. That we can heal by going deeper within. Not easy, which makes his heartfelt approach a welcome one.

Before discovering trauma work, I spent a lot of time following the advice of the spiritual / mindfulness literature, practicing showering equanimity, non-judgment, compassion, etc. towards all things that arise in me (including the really difficult feelings). I would try to bulldoze my despair with an equanimity that has been forcefully manufactured and put together by my will. Of course, all it led to was a sense of failure and an even deeper despair because I felt not good enough for God / salvation / enlightenment.

Trauma work taught me that itís counterproductive to do anything outside my window of tolerance. As this article posted by Kizzie says it so well (Flashbacks: Experience Distress in Safety):
The key is to experience the distress of the past within the safety of the present. If past distress entirely blocks out awareness of present safety, the effect is re-traumatizing rather than therapeutic.

Anything that overwhelms me and pushes me out of my window of tolerance is re-traumatizing rather than helpful - even God or enlightenment! Since then, I've learned to titrate: welcome as many things as possible while staying in my window of tolerance and accept that yes, there will be things that I will not be able to welcome, and there will be times that I will be able to welcome less - and this is where Licata's gentle words have been useful as reminders, as validations of my lived experience.