The Meaning of In Process
Picking a name for my business felt a little overwhelming, it felt a little like picking the name for a child; I wanted it to be a name I would always love. But this task had the added dynamic of appealing to the general public and trying to communicate something about the way I approach therapy. I played with words and ideas like growth, heal, heart & mind, evolution, revision, whole self, invitation, balance, integration, holistic, strength, story, and process. But no matter how much I loved the idea of what I was trying to convey, the words as Name didn’t feel right to me. My brain kept coming back to one phrase. It may have been its familiarity – it is the closest thing I have ever had to a consistent life motto – it is the respectful and hopeful posture I extend to myself and to my clients:
Process refers to a series of actions or changes taken in order to achieve a particular end.
(Its definition can include changes happening naturally or systematically)
Process values the end result and values the steps that come before. Embracing process, allows us to be generous with ourselves, to know this part is meaningful, to be at peace knowing we are not at the final destination, and to rest along the way. And process encourages us to keep moving, to know we are unfinished, to keep hoping our vision can yet be reached!
May I offer you a visual?
It is not without doubt or comparison that I have learned to call myself an artist, but it is a title I am working to own entirely, as creating is life giving to me! Photography is one of my favorite ways to create. Let me give you a little glimpse into this beautiful world that holds such a breathtaking illustration for therapy.
Before the digital era, photography required film. In film photography, processing refers to the developing of photographic film or paper to create an image. In order to process film and prints, you need a photography Dark Room. In a previous home, I once had a simple Dark Room where I could process film and photographic prints. One of my favorite parts of film photography is the moment when you put a blank sheet of photo paper (already exposed to light through the film negative) in a chemical solution called Developer. In this part of the process, developer acts on the paper and processing transforms the latent image into a visible image. The latent image: even while the paper appears blank, the image exists, it is just hidden and not yet developed!
People this is amazing! I see myself in this way, I see my clients in this way. We are in the process of becoming. We may have an idea of what is coming, who we are becoming, because we have done the steps that come before. Even before our print starts to slowly come into focus under that water with Developer in it, we have an idea of what’s coming…we’ve taken the picture, we’ve developed the film, we’ve exposed our paper to light through the film. But it is exciting, awe inspiring to see that beautiful piece of art emerging from the blankness of paper.
This is the hard work and the excitement of film photography! And I have experienced this to be an inspiring illustration of therapy.
We patiently develop a vision for our lives. We go through the process of gathering our tools, we learn, we experiment, we create, and then we, our lives requiring both darkness and light, slowly emerge as the art work that they are. It is not simple or quick – it is a process! And another encouragement? We can keep creating until we have the piece of art we envisioned, our lives, our selves.
If you like poetry, one of my favorite quotes from the poetic Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them … Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!”