Over this past year of transformative personal and social change I have been greatly nourished through meeting regularly with each of five friends. In each pairing we share mutual reflections on our lives and its vicissitudes. In each pairing a different Susanna is drawn to life, each relationship drawing forth a uniquely co-created perspective and way of telling the story, the many stories. Each with different details enjoyed and exchanged. Each pairing has its own angles and wisdoms, its own fruits. Each conversation opens to a particular realm unlike any other. Each realm waits for the pair to return to its stream of consciousness.

And then again there is the narrative that appears in my personal journal. The story I tell myself; the conversations between different aspects of myself to free me for peaceful sleep. Sturdy Susanna, outraged Susanna, fragile Susanna, wise Susanna, philosophical Susanna, worried Susanna, peaceful Susanna. I tell my family to make sure they burn my journal without reading it if anything happens to me. It is not the full picture, I tell them, I use it to have a winge.

My meditation teacher says, 'All imaginings are the invention of the mind. All memories, all constructions of experience, all dialogues.' As a counsellor I am attentive to all of these, these being the focus of the counselling exchange - within a background of affective resonance energized between us. My meditation teacher says, 'The goal of meditation is the stilling of the Mind. So Mind withdraws to the back of consciousness. (He demonstrates with a gesture, pulling fingers into a point from between the eyes towards the back of the head.)... So the Real Self can be experienced directly, which is peace.'

Sometimes I (dare to) wonder whether the conversations of counselling and the deep conversations between close friends, are the meditation technique to open the mind, to still the mind, so something else can be experienced directly, the resonant field itself.

There is the narrative, the sound, the movement, the story and the meta story. There is the resonant field generated between the counselor and client in which the greater story of the Self can emerge into the light. This can be seen by both, can take shape in the present moment of connection and becomes a springboard for renewal in engaging with life. A line comes to mind from my early religious education;'In the Beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God'.

Currently I am relishing a return to an experiential training process, that of Hakomi, a body-centered psychotherapy. In this later stage of my life and professional practise it is good to loosen again the set pieces in my mind from earlier trainings and become open to being held in the large narrative of a group process. In particular, I enjoy pondering the ancient meaning of the word Hakomi which is native American Hopi for: 'where do I stand in relation to all the realms?'
Susanna Howlett