The Door To Another World

Are you willing to take the risk to step through?

An elaborately carved wooden doorway into another world
Image generated by author in Midjourney

The journey of self-awareness holds many opportunities to step through a door into another world. It may feel like there will be no way to turn back should you find the new world is not to your liking. It is a one-way door, but the danger of staying stuck in old patterns and behaviours is far greater than any risks to your well-being from moving through the door.

There is discomfort in living in a world you have outgrown.

We have a choice of whether to step through the door or not, but imagine the discomfort a crab would feel if it could not shed its outer shell and allow a new larger one to grow in its place. Imagine the discomfort of a snake reluctant to shed skin which has become too small. If you keep putting off stepping into a new world, you will gradually feel the discomfort building until it is unbearable.

Somewhere along that timeline of discomfort is when many people seek counselling. For the first few sessions, all we can focus on is the discomfort you are feeling. As a Counsellor, I listen to and help clients identify places where the shell no longer fits.

The new life is calling from beyond the doorway, and you begin to hear its enchanting sound alongside the constant chatter of your discomfort.

Begin focusing on the enchanting sound from beyond the doorway

Some people have already heard the call, which has drawn them to therapy. They yearn to pass through the door, but the large rucksack full of past experiences prevents them. Maybe they need to pause a while, to unload all the baggage they have carried for so long and consider it all carefully. They will need to repack parts that have served them well and discard the rest.

Often this process of sorting is enough, everyone is different, and as a therapist, I cannot predict or control your process. On several occasions, clients have reported feeling “much lighter” after the first session. Others will take several weeks before they even recognise a door is there inviting them to enter another world.

At some point, the client walks in, and I am aware they are in the process of moving through that door into the unknown world. There is a lightness of being that I have not noticed before. There is a sense that I am no longer needed.

How will you know when you have stepped through?

A common sign that clients have begun to pass through the door is that they are running out of things to talk about. Any regular complaints, anxieties, shaming or blaming, anger and frustrations have melted away.

By examining all these things in detail, taking responsibility and developing an empathic understanding of yourself and others, they no longer exert a hold over you.

How will you make sense of what has happened?

Trying to make sense of it will probably be the thing that holds you on the threshold, unable to take that final step. Some people like to hold up psychological theories, astrological predictions, and maps of spiritual pathways trying to make sense of their process by looking at it through the lens of someone considered an expert.

Be like one of my clients who came to me for over 20 weeks with all manner of conflicts and anxieties in his life. He walked in on the 21st session, and I expected his usual update. Instead, he said

“None of it matters anymore. Nothing has changed, but all the things I reacted to before don’t matter anymore.”

He then went on to describe his process in a metaphor.

“It’s like I was on a spider’s web, but all I could see was the small section in front of me. Wherever I went, there was danger. Now I can see the whole web from above and how everything is connected. A small disturbance in one part of the web ripples across the whole web.”

He was a man who liked to rationalise everything, but he had realised that he would never know what had caused the change in his reactions or understand what I had done to help him with that change. He had pushed open the door and was ready to enter the unknown.

Is that the end of therapy, then?

For some, it may be enough to step through the door. Others may need continued support to survive in this unknown world. I have returned to therapy on several occasions over 37 years. Each time I have discovered a new door, I need to pass through to yet another unknown world.

How do you know when there is another world calling?

One of the most obvious triggers is trauma of any kind. I have had the trauma of a tumour causing the loss of hearing in one ear (I am a musician, it is a big deal), the collapse of my business and my daughter’s death.

Each trauma was accompanied by a voice calling from an unknown world. The physical circumstances of my life had changed, and to survive, I had to change my whole relationship with life itself.

Sometimes I reacted quickly, and other times it was a tortuous process where I was hanging onto something from the past. I thought I needed it to support me when it kept me anchored in a pattern I had outgrown.

Responding to the invitation

One of the most familiar phrases clients use is “I’m overthinking it”, which will certainly not help you here. The door to another world leads to an unknown future. If you start planning or trying to predict the steps on your journey, you will stay firmly planted in your present struggles and difficulties. Any worries about what the future may hold will only serve as an anchor to the past.

The journey could be short or long, but if you dare to take the first step and trust in an unknown future, it has already begun.

Get in touch if you want some support along the way.

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