“…the best wood-pile will not blaze till a torch is applied.”

William James

In what aspect(s) of your life are you willing to get scorched to get what you want or to get to where you want to be? Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Alfred Adler, Rollo May and a host of other esteemed and influential figures in the field of psychology, pointed to the innate potentiality resting within each and every individual. In us is a special something, that represents our authentic self. There is an ability that lies within all of us to push through and overcome the gravest of challenges. In many cases, though this potential lies within, it takes a certain spark to incite a flame.

If, according to Darwin’s theory of evolution, the purpose of each member of a given species is to seek to perpetuate its existence, and that of its lineage, indefinitely, we know that on a primal level, we are capable of incredible resiliency. It’s easy to overlook this fact, to get distracted with menial pursuits and overcome with anxiety in the face of trivial issues, but somewhere, deep inside, the resiliency is there. We are capable. That holds true for all of us. So, why are some so easily paralyzed and averse to the idea of taking action to better ourselves? The human mind is capable of such awesome power, but it can also be our fiercest adversary. It’s not easy to tap our potential when circumstances have gotten the better of us. Any number of barriers might stand in the way. To name a few, we might be hindered by a relationship challenge, rocked by a monumental event, or just generally feeling “down in the dumps.”

The practice of psychotherapy seeks to help individuals reach this potential. Therapists do not aim to force their will upon their clients, but are dedicated to building a sense of connection, so that one can be free to live up to their own expectations. On his role in the therapy room, Carl Rogers stated, “I would like to go with him on the fearful journey into himself, in the buried fear, and hate, and love which he has never been able to let flow in him.” Sometimes, it takes a trusted confidant to help an individual unlock the hidden secret to their own success. Whether the barrier is a devastating event, a difficult relationship, or an overall weight of emotional distress seemingly provoked by nothing, sometimes we are in deep need of a certain spark to help ignite our fundamental capacity for growth and perseverance.

Just as the mythical phoenix is born anew, with a fresh soul, through a pile of its own ashes, so too are we able to break free from our afflictions, to rise above and become the magnificent being that we truly are. Stoke the fire.