Radical acts of being. Hope, Acceptance, Forgiveness and Gratitude.
Shortly before he died, Plenty Coups, the last great Chief of the Crow Nation, told his story—up to a certain point. “When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground”, he said, “and they could not lift them up again”. This is a vulnerability that affects us all—insofar as we are all inhabitants of a civilization, and civilizations are themselves vulnerable to historical forces. How should we live with this vulnerability? Can we make any sense of facing up to such a challenge courageously? (Lear, 2008)
We often attach certain meanings to the word “radical”. For myself, I see it as resistance to the status quo. Doing things differently against the accepted norms…maybe even “upside down and backwards” different.
In mental health and psychology, the “radical” approaches of therapy are not necessarily about political or social understandings, but rather new and unexpected ways to approach “change” and moving forward while accepting that some things are beyond our control. It is what it is.
In this four-part series, I’ll talk about four “radical” concepts we use in counselling. Radical Hope, Radical Acceptance, Radical Forgiveness and Radical Gratitude.
In the face of all odds and in spite of the situations we find ourselves in, we can still move forward through the process of change even though it feels like all we see ahead is uncertainty. Radical hope during a global pandemic means we will continue to reach out creatively for connection and will continue to believe in a future where we can still live happy and healthy lives without the comfort of knowing what the future holds.
We cannot change the fact that Covid-19 is a virus over which we have little control, but we can nurture hope in spite of uncertainty during this time. In continuing to move forward one day at a time we can be creative about positive change and we can let go of expectations that life must only have certain outcomes. This uncertainty is also the definition of vulnerability. Vulnerability may feel uncomfortable, but it is an arena of personal growth that opens us up to “possibility”.
Part of the counselling process is to “instill hope”; otherwise, look beyond the current uncertainty we are living in to find new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that gives us hope and supports positive changes…in new and different ways.
Collaborative Possibilities is here to help you incorporate “radical hope” for the concerns that bring you into counselling.
Lear, J. (2008). Radical hope: ethics in the face of cultural devastation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.