Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Photo by Jason Bell for National Theatre UK

Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Angels in America’ is receiving a much praised revival at London’s National Theatre this year, with a marquee-name cast and director earning the production many accolades, despite its runtime of almost 8 hours divided into two parts.

Despite it’s sprawl, Mr Kushner’s work is — at heart — a meditation on Change and Stasis. Using the evocative backdrop of the early 1980s and the AIDS-panic of the era, he examines how human nature is torn between wanting the safety and stability of stasis versus the fundamental desire to create and change. Mr Kushner comes down strongly on the side of change, and the thematic elements of his work are extremely involving and life-affirming, despite there being much despair and anger on display, as well.

The lifeblood of therapy is change. Clients seek help because they want to change, or hope and believe that change is possible. Likewise, counsellors practice because our faith in a person’s potential for change is central to our work. To remain the same is to carry on with what is familiar and safe, even if it is uncomfortable, difficult or neutral. To live, in many ways, is to embrace change. The very fact of life — the inexorable march forward in time, through the ages, experiences and consequences of living — is change. To stay the same in life is to, in some way, stop living. Being able to embrace what life brings is to be alive in a very real, practical way.

Whenever I begin a counselling relationship with a client, we examine what it is that they would like to be different in their lives — what changes they hope to make, what changes they feel are necessary for their wellbeing, what changes life is offering for their consideration. Being able to embark on the journey of discovering who you are requires the acceptance that change — in whatever way — is upon you. To fight it and remain static and unmoved is to reject change — and from the perspective of this transpersonal counsellor, to reject living and being alive.

So — change.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anaïs Nin