“I’m still here.”

These are my thoughts, as I sit in my car on the shoulder of the freeway, watching the cars roll past me.

My body seems to have a life of its own, separate from me. I feel myself trembling, awake with endorphins, hearing my heart beat in my ears, reflexes in hyperdrive.

What happened?  Piecing it together.

I was driving on the freeway when it suddenly started hailing, obscuring my visibility out the front windshield.  I saw brake lights in front of me and put my foot on the brake.  But the brake didn’t take.

What was happening?  Was I pressing the wrong pedal?  Did I somehow have my foot on the gas?  I felt with my foot.  No, it was definitely the brake I was pushing.  But the brake did nothing, and I was a split second away from impact.

“This is it,” I thought to myself.  

But at the same time, something else was happening.  My hands were on the wheel.  I felt the wheel turning.  Felt the car responding.  Felt myself gliding over to the shoulder, missing the car in front of me by mere inches, slowing to where I now sat.

Into the rear view mirror, I saw a white sedan lose control, careening across four lanes of traffic, coming to rest perpendicular to the oncoming cars, now swerving to avoid it.

That’s when I understood.  It wasn’t that my brakes had gone out.  We’d all been sliding on ice, and mine hadn’t been the only car that had lost control.

I also understood the physical reason that I’d been able to regain control of the car.  It was because, in my confusion, I kept taking my foot off the brake, then pushing it down again, thus “pumping the brake” which I now remembered is exactly what they tell you to do if you ever lose control of your car.  

This story exemplifies something I see every day in my life, and also in my practice as a therapist, and it is this –

Our resources are greater than we know.

You feel it intensely in an experience like the one I’ve just described.  

My small self was frantic. 

But simultaneously, something skilled and spacious in me took over, calmly maneuvering us to safety.  

Now, I could tell this story in a few different ways.  

I could tell it from a spiritual perspective, highlighting my sense of something greater stepping in to lend a hand, just at my moment of greatest need.  

Or I could talk about it just in terms of parts of the self.  While one part of me panicked, another part of me got calm and took effective action, without my even having to think about it.

But however you frame a story like this, this much is true. 

We all have problems.

We also all have resources.

AND…  What we focus on, we amplify.  

If you consistently feel under-resourced, that’s a good indication that you’re practiced in focusing on the problem, which, if you stop there, just feeds your sense of overwhelm.  

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s that old “glass half empty” “glass half full” binary.  

One way to think about therapy (like the kind I practice) is that it’s a way of shifting your focus from focusing on the problem to focusing on the resources that help.  Because the more you focus on developing your inner resources, the stronger they get.

And the truth is, it doesn’t matter HOW you talk about it – whether you identify it as your relationship to the divine, or simply a wise part of yourself that you’re able to access at times.

Whatever you call it, your inner resources are there for you to draw on.

So how can we become more resourced?  Let me count the ways!

(Probably as many ways as there are healers!)  

In my practice, I work with three main tools – A somatic healing modality called Depth Hypnosis, Suggestion Hypnosis, and Shamanic Counseling (based in the principles of core Shamanism, as opposed to a lineage based practice).  These tools might be helpful to you, or there might be something else you’ve found that speaks to you.

How ever you go about it, what matters is this – 

The more you identify the resources you want to grow in yourself, the more you can  invest the time, care, resources and actions to help you cultivate your relationship to them.

If you feel like you can’t find your way, it might be that you simply don’t yet know the steps to follow.  

This is one of the things therapy can help with.  (And likewise, regular individual spiritual practice!)

And what about you?

Have you ever had an experience that showed you you were more resourced than you knew?  What was that experience for you?