Pray to God, but row...

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Pray to God, but row to shore.

April 10, 2015

I grew up in the 80’s when the decor was a mix between dusty pastels and rustic country. There are many reasons the 80’s were a great decade, but interior design is not on that list. Every morning breakfast was served at the kitchen table which looked out a patio door bordered by all sorts of strange antique kitchen gadgets. Amongst the old serving utensils and egg beaters was a wooden spoon bearing a tiny painted boat and the phrase, “Pray to God, but row to shore.” I looked at that spoon and its message every morning for at least a decade. Ironically, as tacky as that poor wooden spoon was (my apologies Mom, but the whole wall was awful), I have come to believe the message it carried is one of the most brilliant things that’s ever been written. It’s also become one of my guiding principles personally and professionally.

Many of my clients are looking for something, be it love, happiness, weight loss, or relief; they are longing for things to be better. And we talk about it, at length, why is this important to you? What meaning have you attached to that which you seek? How would life be different with it in your grasp? Most of all though, I ask, what are you doing to get yourself closer to what you want?

The wisdom of the spoon, pray to God, but row to shore, isn’t just for the faithful. It doesn’t have to start with a prayer, perhaps it’s just a wish, an intention, or a longing. But we must also follow it up with rowing to shore, meaning, do your part. If you want love, what are you doing to find it? I can guarantee you that unless you have a really hot UPS driver, chances are love is not going to just show up on your door step. You have to be out in life, in situations to meet people and ready for love when it shows up. You have to be healthy and striving to find your best self, and have done the work to first love yourself.

You want to be at a healthy weight? Ok. Great, I support that and will help you, but what are you doing to get yourself there? Many of my clients think they would like me to surprise them with a wake up call and a field trip to the gym, however, I would bet they’re not really going to be happy to see my smiling face at 5am. What I can do, though, is help you begin to challenge those negative thoughts that run around like wild dogs through your mind, but you have to do the daily practice of keeping them at bay. I can tell you that your worth is not measured by the size of your jeans, but you have to begin living that truth. I can encourage you to get your butt to the gym or offer to do our sessions over a walk, but you have to show up.

I believe with all of my heart that people can change, that things can be different (I would be a really shitty therapist if I didn’t). Therapy and the therapeutic relationship can be very powerful tools of change. Over the years I’ve witnessed remarkable and inspiring transformations in my clients’ lives too many times to count. Whatever it is that you long for, we can work on it. We can understand how you got here, we can clear the barriers getting in your way, we can make plans to help you achieve goals, we can bear witness to the disappointments and successes you encounter and we can get you heading in the direction of the life you want to live.

I’m not a magician and I can’t do the work for you, but I will be honored to be your partner in the journey while you start rowing.

A person in a row boat in open water presenting how Hinsdale therapy for anxiety can improve your life.

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