I collect stones. Stones with strange patterns. Stones with holes in them. Stones with fossils. Stones in wonderful colors. Most of them are polished by sea and wind, each season more beautiful than the last. A couple have words on written on them, all have a story to tell.
I keep some in a glass bowl on my table.
We were having coffee, she was crying. Everyone is against me, I can not go back to that job, they all say different things on what is wrong with me, she sobbed. It could be true, I did not protest. She wanted to know what she should do.
Pick a stone for each of your colleagues and tell me about them I said. She did. The stones were evaluated, this black one is a doctor, this aqua one the other nurse, and so on. They were all placed on a long line. Where are you then? I asked. She searched through the bowl once more and finally came up with a small grey rough stone. Put yourself in the middle I said. She was not able to do that. She choose a spot outside the line with the other fifteen.
No let’s make some piles I said. What do they say to you. She remembered something that everyone had said, and I made her think it over. Was it really about her? Was it about her way of reacting, was it something she really had done wrong, were they actually ganging up on her? She talked, moved the stones, sorted them. Close to the end of the session there were two piles and two single stones, herself and her boss. She was able to start thinking about the messages the person in each pile sent her. Perhaps there was things she could talk through with them?
There still was the issue with her boss. In some way or other that had to be resolved. We did not go into that yet. We did not talk about how to approach the others. In fact we did not do anything else than take another look at the mess, trying to find the elements that could be left for now, trying to select what would be the first step.
Her exercise until our next talk would be just that, to remember, they were not all against her. Next time we would practice the eventualities of her talk with her boss, we would perhaps schedule an appointment for both of them. Not know, for now she was just to find strength in the fact that there was another way of looking at life. She was not alone.