The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If you want to change your life, go see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”   The film follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to a less expensive locale, and choose seemingly exotic India as their destination. Enticed by advertisements for the newly-restored Marigold Hotel and beguiled with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.  As they cope with the unexpected, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

The film is a heartfelt reminder that transformation is the key to life, whether you are a retiree coping with a crumbling future or a middle aged woman struggling to overcome a eating disorder or a divorced person working to befriend your ex. It celebrates the power of relationship and connection in the work of transformation.

Transformation is always possible. Says Sonny Kapoor, a spokesman for believing in possibilities and being positive, “In India we have a saying: everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right, it is not yet the end.”

I deal with transformation, relationship, and connection in my practice. I believe that in order to know how to change and to find the courage to change, my clients first have to know where they are, and be at peace with that. All of us are journeying through life, but sometimes we are so busy worrying about what has happened or what might happen, we can’t simply see what is happening, right now, at this time, in this place, in this life we are living.

Once we can slow down and see where we are, we can choose to remain in that place or move to another place – stay in the relationship or leave, stay with this plan or form a new one, be at peace with this habit or break it. Each of us is so different and each of us is in a unique place and time in our lives.

For some people the issue is learning to stand up; for others, it is learning how to sit down. For some people, the need is to put on the breaks; for others, it’s stepping on the gas. For some people, the struggle is learning to say yes; for others, it’s learning to say no. For every one of us, it is learning to take risks, because change always entails risk.

Paradoxically, what we need in order to be able to take risks is feeling safe. As a therapist, my goal is to create a safe relationship with you, so you can jump into your personal abyss. The abyss may be a traumatic experience that was previously too overwhelming to face. It may be a foundational relationship that needs to be relinquished. It may be a habit that has supported you in the past, but has turned toxic. It may be honest self-examination. Regardless of the issue at hand, I work hard to create an atmosphere of trust, and to give you the push or the safety you need to take the next step. Together, we dance, moving forward, slowing down, stopping, and moving forward again.

Knowing when to encourage my clients to jump into the thick of it and when to get them to take a break requires an intimate knowledge of their capacities and limitations, and sharp tracking of their moment-to-moment experience. The emphasis differs from client to client and from session to session and sometimes changes from one moment to another. I let both my knowledge of and experience with you guide me, basing my responses on what feels right in the moment and on my training, which is so deeply known I sometimes can’t even put it into words.

My training in AEDP has been described as follows: “[It] is about working with the heart. Amazing things happen when both therapist and client tune into their hearts: people feel strengthened, they discover potentials and capacities for healing, growth and transformation that they never thought possible.”

Ah! There’s that word “transformation” again.

Posted by Judy Rabinor

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