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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should you do if you feel you are a spectator of life ?

    Related Topic
    For most of my life I feel like I have been a spectator in life - I feel numb, I don't seem to be able to engage in longstanding meaningful friendships - usually finding it takes a lot of effort to maintain friendships and feeling like I dont have the energy to put in. I don't feel like I have found anything in life to be passionate about except I do like painting,but cant afford art lessons
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  • 12


    I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    I am sorry to hear of your experience of feeling like a spectator of life. It sounds like there are several aspects to this which leave you feeling like you are not living the life you wish to be, There is a lot you can do.

    However, I expect longterm change from a situation that you have experienced for most of your lfe will be most supported by ongoing therapy. This may be the greatest gift you give yourself. If cost is an issue you could investigate some low cost alternatives. Community centres sometiimes offer counselling that is at a minimal charge.

    Alternatively, I recommend you paint without lessons and focus on what you can do. Visit art galleries, they are often free. Many people explore their creative urges without ever having lessons. Do what you know you like and that is paint: now! Also, you could download free meditation and visualisation tools that help you become centered in an embodied way. Getting to be in contact with your body and with yourself is a good start to engaging in life: your life.

    Feeling numb is a response that helped you once. A part of you feels numb. Can you explore other parts that can “be with” the numb part in a curious and interested way? In other words, don't try not to feel numb but see what is around the numbness. it could have lots of useful information for you to help you take the next step forward in your life.

    Good luck,

  • 1


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Margie makes the excellent point that maybe being numb helped you once. Maybe there are still some advantages to being numb, and being a spectator of life. Numbness may protect you from the pain of letting people close who may then disappoint you or hurt you in some way, for example.

    Accepting and getting to know yourself a little better (including the numb part) may not only give you lots of useful information, but help you understand when it may be helpful to use the skills you have, and where it may be possible to experiment with different ways of being in the world. At times, I imagine that being a spectator of life may be the best response to a situation - for example, when you are checking out a new situation or possible friendship, and are gathering information about what it may be like to get more involved before making the decision to do so.

    It sounds like when you feel safe to do so, you do connect to parts of yourself that feel - like your interest in painting. Connecting to this on your own terms may also help you get to know different parts of your emotional self - parts that are alive and creative!

    I agree with Margie that finding a counsellor, or perhaps an art therapist to work with may indeed be the greatest gift you can give yourself.

  • 1


    Miroslav Hodza

    Massage Therapist

    An illness or an injury always come from a space of imbalance. It can be that such a situation has an emotional, physical or environmental … View Profile

    Great points Margie. Art is a wonderful medium for therapy. Maybe explore textures or colour combinations. Who is to say that your need to paint an object… Abstract art is just as beautiful as a portrait or landscape. This isn't the point tho as the observation alone is gold in as much as it stops rumination (overthinking) by the mind.

    From a Chinese medicine point of view it is the stomach (and spleen) that give a person grounding and it sounds to me that grounding is what is problematic for you. This is just one scenario and in it food choices would need careful consideration. I will just say that foods with lots of yang such as sugars and stimulants such as caffeine (coffee and black tea) can be the first point for reduction. Introducing vegetables especially root vegetables and proteins (beans, eggs or meat) in dishes that are warm as in soups, broths, stews or currys can be of great help. This is especially true in the cold seasons.

    As I said earlier this is just one scenario, in  other cases it is a liver, heart or kidney disharmonies that need attention. A deeper diagnosis is needed to isolate the causes thus  I will recommend a professional consultation as a way forward for you.  You may wish to read an article on anxiety that I have written as many pointers will also apply here.

    Having said that, as Margie pointed out meditation and prectices such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong are always very beneficial in grounding your qi deeply in your body (yin).

    Take care
    Shiatsu, Chinese Medicine, Massage Therapies

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