Change!? Why Change?

In last month’s Listening Ear,  I made the announcement that my office was moving from its current location at 1271 Howe Street, down the road a block and a half to the new location at 1125 Howe, suite 612, effective October 26th.

Getting the News

As you can imagine, I’ve known about the move for several months; news that started as a rumour and became definitive more recently.  I knew it was for real when I saw the request for redevelopment sign posted on the exterior.

At first, just the mere whisper of a rumour hit me like a ton of bricks.  Many of my current clients will attest to the fact that I was very happy in my cozy little space.  When I heard that I might have to move I was…discombobulated.  I had spent the last three years of my counselling practice here; it was where I started Willow Tree Counselling.  First ‘homes’ have a way of feeling special.

Some Self-Reflection

When I reflected on my feelings–shock, sadness, wistfulness, annoyance, anxiety–I realized that I had created my own little world inside my counselling space, a world where I operated under the (unconscious) assumption that my universe was not subject to change.  I could be happy in my counselling office forevermore.  I came to the understanding that it was not much of a leap between 1271 Howe street and a fairy tale that I had created in my mind.

I thought about all the other situations where I’ve lived my life as if the situation would be permanent and it was a cause for pause: those situations are not actually permanent either, even if I live my life as if they were.

Time to Deal

So, what’s a counsellor to do?  I came up with what seemed to be my only viable option: roll with it.  And this is where my Willow Tree analogy comes in: the willow’s branches flex with the conditions of life and snap when we get rigid about situations.  I decided that if I wanted to minimize my suffering, I had better accept.  There’s nothing I can do about the fact that 1271 Howe Street will be reduced to a pile of rubble sometime in the New Year.  It’s beyond my control.  I then focused what was in my control such as finding an office in Downtown Vancouver and creating a safe, confidential space. And honestly, there were times when I wasn’t too accepting–times like, for example, when I discovered that my venerable blue couch was half an inch too long to fit in my new office and that I had to buy new furniture…fast.  But there is a lesson in the anxiety too: use it to motivate, and roll with it at the same time too.  It’s easy to accept mildly uncomfortable feelings and a greater challenge to accept the ones that ain’t so pretty.  For me, anxiety falls into the latter category.

And, I must continue to accept the little imperfections: going to the washroom door and not remembering the code, figuring out how to make tea efficiently with higher overhead cabinets, etc.  A metaphor for daily life, really.

And none of this diminishes the excitement at being able to invite clients to my new counselling room.  I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating the space.

Thank you to all clients: past, present and future.