Welcome to 2020

Dostoyevsky was scheduled to die by firing squad, but was given a stay of execution at the last moment by the Tsar. This experience of believing himself dead and then realising he was again alive was a profound one for Dostoyevsky. I have some small glimpse into this feeling, as I emerge from a decade that brought the Christchurch earthquakes, the end of my married life and many other changes. I also feel joy at having experienced this decade.

As 2019 fell into the past, I speculated on life, my choices to date and what the future might hold. I realised that the greatest events of my life have been those surrounded by love. Nothing else endures. I had spent years trying to figure out the best way forward – when I was young, it involved notions of “strength” and when I was progressing through life, it involved illusions of “success”. Both were equally dead ends.

When we love others, we project our best selves into the world. I am not talking about those self-serving concepts of “love” in which the other person is used for our own gratification. I am referring to those moments where we try to put the needs of others before our own, where we attempt to step into their existence and understand where they are at any given moment (this is where the joy of being a counsellor arises). This is the greatest gift of our evolved brain – the imagination coupled with compassion that allows us to transcend our own selfish egos, even if briefly. The flip-side of this gift is the part of the psyche that focuses on the self at all costs.

As we move into this new decade, may we nurture the compassion and empathy in ourselves that allows us to transcend our own lives and make positive effects in the lives of others!

That your evolving narratives will bring you strength and joy!

Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns
Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns

Imagining the Stories of Others

I love history! It makes me think, dream and imagine. It gives me greater empathy, by stepping into the experiences of others. When I was a child, I wasn’t interested in “old” things, but when I turned 20, all of that changed. I became fascinated – so fascinated that I officially added a history emphasis to my degree upon returning to study.

I look at this oven, for example, and try to get my head around it being 2,500 years old. Was it someone’s favourite possession? Was it a gift from family? Was it made on site, or carted in carefully? Did they stand next to it for warmth in winter? What sorts of meals happened near this oven? I imagine, hopefully, that they were family dinners made and shared with love. I imagine someone carefully shuffling over this oven in anticipation of what would be shared around the table. I know what it is to create something for others in love, imagining their eagerness, thankfulness and joy as we share this meal together. I project all of these things onto this oven and try to imagine the story of those who used this beautifully crafted centre of their home.

Narrative Therapy Empathy and Objects
Imagining the Stories of Others – 2,500 year old Greek kitchen

This oven was part of the stories of people who lived long ago. I can almost sense them across the millennia. What things remind you of your stories? What stories would you like to build upon?

That your evolving narratives will bring you strength and joy!

Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns
Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns

The Australian Aboriginal Flag

In the building where I was taking my Narrative Therapy course, the Australian Aboriginal flag was created in 1971. I asked the Director at the Dulwich Centre if we students could see this historical spot and I got this photo. What a inspiring experience.