“Come and tell us your story!”
by Pieter Le Roux
That is how one of the most profound experiences of my life started. I had heard about Hedy Schleifer from a few mentors of mine who had the privilege of studying under her. But nothing could prepare me for what I would experience. In August 2015 Hedy and Yumi visited South Africa and they were presenting their signature EcCT-training. At first I was one of the people wondering whether or not the amount of money was worth it. Having been through a long battle with cancer I had to rethink all my expenses. But having heard who Hedy was and the impact she had on people I took the opportunity. On the third day, I got the invite from Hedy: “Come and tell us your story!”
During my sickbed days I often took the chance to reflect on my experience and what was happening to me. I actually thought that I was handling it quite well. So full of bravado I started telling my story to the people who attended the training. In one corner Hedy sat, listening, observing and totally present in the moment she invited my being to “appear.”
“May I say something that I’m noticing?”
In the middle of my story, Hedy asked this strange question. At first I was taken aback, but there was something in the way she said it. It was full of curiosity, empathy and warmth. She asked it not as a therapist but as someone who had “crossed the bridge” and was totally in my world. Often people will say that ‘they are there for you’. This was different. She was really “here” in my world and experiencing my story with me. She gave me a tap on the shoulder and said: “You look heavy. What are you carrying?” Looking at my shoulder I replied, “Nothing.” “No, it looks like you are dragging something. When did you first have this feeling of dragging something?”
Taking a moment and looking down at my shoulder again it hit me. My shoulders were drooping! And it did feel like I was dragging something. And then the awareness struck as a wave hitting the rocks! I first started feeling this way when I had to drag the chemo drip around! That feeling was still with me. What I experienced impacted me more than I knew. I didn’t choose this. Nobody does! The anger I felt, the sadness that was still in me and the fear of it ever returning was holding me prisoner, and Hedy saw it! But on a deep level she was ‘with’ me.
Holding my being in such a safe way that I could experience it.
So that I can become aware of it.
So that I can be freed from it.
“You are no longer connected to the drip!”
With these words I was set free.
Finally I was loose from the drip. With tears and laughter flowing at the same time I experienced total freedom. This ‘neighborhood’ in me that was so dark and scary was set alight with a new consciousness. A new consciousness that I was fully alive, that I can enjoy and savor my aliveness. As a sign of my aliveness Hedy invited me to throw back my arms and feel the total freedom! I did it! I was free from it! And I reveled in that knowledge and feeling!
This is the story behind this picture. To some it might only look like a picture. For me it will always be a powerful reminder of my experience with Hedy Schleifer. With all her knowledge, wisdom and experience she guided me out of captivity and into a new life. A life of freedom. A life I’m living each day.
“Come and tell us your story!”
That is how my experience started. With Hedy you will experience something! The only question is, how will your experience start?
Pieter Le Roux, Imago Therapist