Lorenzo Mattotti – Credits

There is a great forest around me. It is as magnificent as it is mysterious, but even though my first steps are uncertain – as they always are – I am not afraid, since I chose to enter it.

Around me, in front, and behind and above and below is the vast and wonderful forest of the human soul.

The branches of the trees intertwine, the trunks bend and touch, and the foreheads point to the sky, seeking light and sunshine. The scent is intense. On the ground, moss and mushrooms, ivy climbing the barks, brambles and berries. The music of the forest is made of wind and crunching leaves, of sounds and breaths. Of sudden silences, cries, broken and barely whispered voices. The creatures around me talk, sometimes crying, sometimes hesitating, holding back. Some seek me out and approach. Some run away.

In this wonderful as well as very mysterious forest of the human soul, emotions sing the melody of life and dance the dance of attachment.

It looks just like the setting of a fairy tale, so much so that I almost, at any moment, expect to catch a glimpse of Little Red Riding Hood with her basket, or Hansel and Gretel holding their little hands.

Compared to the fairy tale woods, the difference is that this forest is full of signs and markers. The signs bear the names of the thinkers who first charted the different approaches.

Each sign tries to lure me to its destination.
Each sign reads the same slogan: “direction required.”
Each path leads to a different recess, closed to all others, with impassable walls and narrow rules.

I walk. I study, I explore. I look at signs, smell the environment, listen to different harmonies, try to tune in to the forest to figure out where to go. But, most of all, I look for my way.

The signs are supposed to help me, yet they disorient me because at the end of each path I find a very tall gate.
The plaque is clear: to pass it, you need a key that is also an oath.
The key is a blind faith, and the oath is an absolute devotion to each specific dogma, and its protocols.

Beyond the gates, I find other directions. I find labels, and hair-accurate schematizations that divide emotions into right and wrong, adaptive and maladaptive, correct and pathological. I find judgments. I find definitions and disciplines that standardize something that I, on the other hand, in my heart cannot quite level, nor do I want to judge.

Suddenly, the forest of the human soul appears to me as a jungle.

“Ahi, as to say what was is a hard thing

this wild and rugged and strong forest…”

I feel lost, disoriented, so much so that I begin to feel some anxiety.

My heartbeats quicken.

My breath becomes short.

The forest seems to want to swallow me up.

Then I stop. I breathe. I raise my eyes and antennas.

I look at the creatures around me and wonder:
What am I looking for?
What do I really need to find my way?
Where do I want this road to lead?

Faced with so many “license plates” and too many judgments, before I get lost in what I now perceive as a labyrinth, I realize I need a compass.

Fortunately, I do not have to look for it….
The compass I need is not an object. It is not an artifact.
It is something that has existed for as long as life has existed on our planet.

The compass I need is the essence of life itself, the principle that regulates and safeguards it.
It is the most powerful drug in the universe.
It is the Sun of every forest.
It is the dance that nourishes every fiber of our being, the physiological nourishment of our every cell.

Love is the compass that led me to the road I sought.

The road led me to the “home” I dreamed of building to welcome the world’s emotions and embrace, at last, the wonderful forest of the human soul.

No more walls.
No gates.
No more “label.”
Just welcome, fellowship, understanding, connection, support.
In a word: openness.
Real, total, not facade, but deep down.

Opening to emotions, opened me to the world, revealing to me a whole universe made up of infinite galaxies of emotions, all valid, all okay.

That’s what made me fall in love with the path I chose and that has not yet stopped filling me with wonder: its openness!

The openness of the EFT – Emotionally Focused Therapy – universe goes beyond the concept of “inclusion.”
In a literal sense, to include means to shut in and it is therefore inevitable that someone or something will be left out….

To include, on the other hand, means to open “the gates” wide.
Always. And still.
Without judging.
Without labeling.
Without ever pigeonholing people, their emotions, behaviors and patterns that for some reason they have chosen to follow.

Of course it is not easy…
The road to openness starts uphill and immediately forces us to unhinge much of the paradigms we grew up with, leaving all judgment behind.

How about we discuss this in the next post?
Let me know what you think!