A Gift From The Moon 

The crescent moon is so thin against the deep blue sky that it is barely an outline. But when my daughter and I get to the lake near our house, it appears to be a full moon with a bright rim, or the very edge of an eclipse. It is beautiful and strange, and I am grateful for the sense of wonder it creates.

We are on the way home from a visit to my mother, whose health is waning. I feel heavy and sad, and also uncertain. But I am glad for my daughter’s presence and her laughter. She is here for spring break, and as we brave the fierce wind to take in the moon and the choppy lake, I am struck by how intensely good things and hard things can co-exist.


As a therapist, one of my roles is to help my clients make space for the both/and. To help them discover the resources that make life feel better while learning to navigate what is difficult, to see and hold the whole picture rather than being sucked into parts of it.

In order to help my clients do this work, I must do it for myself.

To help others grow the capacity to orient to the good even in the midst of struggle, I need to develop it myself. I also need to be resourced in order to show up for my clients. If I am dragged down by what is difficult or painful, then I won’t be in a state to be present with compassion or curiosity. And at the end of the day, my clients’ woes will pile up with my own, leaving me heavy and discouraged.

But if I can make space for beauty and grace and laughter and ask myself to notice the lightness, the joy, the unexpected gifts, no matter how small or fleeting, then I can find some balance. My breathing can ease, and I can feel grounded and centered enough to hold the sorrows and the stresses with more ease and equanimity. My own, and my clients’.

Making Use Of My Senses

The senses are a powerful way to connect with what is good. Paying attention to sights, sounds, touch, taste, and smells bring us into the moment, give us little gifts that can sustain us as we move through our days and evenings.

Since I began writing this piece, I have travelled to the Caribbean, homebase for the next couple months barring any substantial changes in my mom’s health. Over the past week, the rich blues of the sea and flickering candlelight have helped me tolerate working on my taxes, the crash of the ocean waves reminds me that the earth is a powerful refuge that offers comfort for grief, the rhythmic chirping of the frogs at night lulls me to sleep with a sense that it’s good to let go and rest, and the gold and purple ripples on the sea at sunset help me tap into a sense of underlying well-being no matter what difficulties co-exist.

Good news and bad. Sorrows and silliness. Grief and grace. Tedium and adventure. Suffering and relief. Ugliness and beauty. It’s all part of life. Can we be open to the resources that offer us refuge and restoration along the way? Can we give our clients the gift of living into this for ourselves so that we can be that much more present for them?

Can I support you in your journey?

Join the mailing list (below), take the free mini course on integrating somatic approaches (here), or learn more about  somatic clinical consultation (here) to see how it could support your work and growth as a therapist.

© 2024 Annabelle Coote

This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be considered as legal, ethical, clinical, health or any other business or clinical practice advice related to your work as a therapist.


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