Going Deep To Heal Relational Pain
Matthew Leavenworth is a mental health counselor in Billings Montana with Yellowstone Counseling Center. He graduated from Adams State University in 2015 with a master in mental health counseling and is currently pursuing his PhD at Adams State as a counselor educator. He has extensive experience seeing children, adults, couples, and families dealing with a range of disorders, including anxiety, depression, and trauma. He uses rock climbing as an experiential component of therapeutic healing and is an avid rock climber and outdoorsman when he is not home with his beloved wife Kylie and daughter Huxley.
By Matthew Leavenworth
I feel the sand under my toes,
The sky is blue.
The sun is opaque behind thin clouds.
A slight breeze blows across the water.
The dock is a hundred yards in front of me,
A peninsula out into a great expanse of water.
I have a towel in my hands.
My skin goosepimples and I shiver as the breeze picks up with a chill.
I think about turning back.
The water is too cold.
The wind will chill me to the bone.
There are sharks out there.
Instead, I throw the towel aside and start forward.
My steps are heavy at first,
The wet sand swallows my feet,
I can still turn back.
I start jogging forward,
My quickening steps find the wooden planks, faster and faster.
There is no railing; only the sparkling cold and deep that will swallow me.
The end of the dock looms,
The thought occurs.
I can turn back,
I can stop unless I take another step.
I leap forward.
Into the open unknown.
The water swallows me.
It is all the pain and the triumph and everything I am.
I am deep under water.
Deeper and deeper,
Until I see.
Other shapes in the water, like mine, staring back at me, swimming also.