You might be thinking, “what does a re-orientation to experience actually mean?” Sounds like some psychology jargon, huh? Well, let me break it down for you a little bit. This terminology is rooted in mindfulness approaches to therapy. To read more about mindfulness approaches CLICK HERE. When folks enter into psychotherapy there can sometimes be a lack of clarity about what's going on and/or what is keeping someone stuck in certain patterns. On the other hand, some folks know exactly what’s going in their lives and yet change still feels really difficult. Experiences might feel big, confusing, overwhelming, or downright raging! There may also be circumstances beyond a person's control that interfere with day-to-day experiences making it very challenging to know what to do.
A re-orientation to experience allows a person to begin the process of sorting through “what is what” in one’s life and identifying approaches that might be helpful in the moment. A re-orientation to experience begins with cultivating a greater awareness of self, emotions, and behaviors. This provides a foundation for acknowledging and experiencing the full range of humanness, including a wide range of emotions (i.e., anger, guilt, compassion, happiness, excitement, sadness, etc.). When a person makes space for wholeness, a person provides the opportunity to heal while fostering resiliency in the face of adversity.
Part of this re-orientation process is also allowing for self-compassion as a person learns more about individual reactions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Self-compassion is an understanding, softness, and a non-judgmental approach to all that arises within an internal experience. It is also means developing a greater tolerance for uncertainty and also a greater tolerance for experiencing challenging internal feelings. It doesn't mean tolerating abusive situations or social injustices. It is doesn't mean turning an eye away from things that are hurtful. This re-orientation is more about allowing for the full range of personal feelings, thoughts, and reactions to provide space for greater opportunities for change and shift.
As a person gains greater awareness there becomes a renewed opportunity to explore different approaches to address the life challenges, interpersonal conflicts, and emotional discomforts. Having greater flexibility may reveal multiple options to address a challenge. A re-orientation to experience allows folks to begin the process of release from limiting perspectives. A re-orientation to experience allows the space to notice the role of social injustice and social barriers in life. It’s not all cookies and cream when it comes to opportunities in the world.