It was our first meeting.
Harold had called the office early in the morning. My administrative aide deemed his to be an emergency situation and put him through to me. He quickly asked for an immediate appointment. I explained that my standard protocol was to send a person a psycho social and sexuality questionnaire for them to thoroughly answer then send back to me a week before our first appointment. This would permit me to be better prepared to give attention to their specific needs.
There was such an urgency about his manner that I scheduled an appointment for that evening.
That evening, Harold arrived 15 minutes early and in an obvious state of agitation. After the initial exchange of pleasantries in the waiting room, I asked him to come into my office and have a seat.
Harold shifted uneasily on the couch across from me. I could sense his apprehension building as he started telling me his “story”. Immediately, I knew his deep pain points and the back story behind each of them. How could I be so certain? His “story” was my “story”. The experience was like hearing myself for the first time sharing particulars of my own journey as a two time Prostate Cancer survivor.
He had prepared himself well for this meeting. He summarized his “story” with a statement that filled me with empathy. “I have lost my manhood. I am impotent. How can I ever satisfy my wife or myself? This is effecting everything I do. My job, my relationships in general, everything. I am no longer a whole person and at the end of the road.”
Before going any further I asked Harold for clarification. “What do you mean by “at the end of the road? Are you having thoughts of ending your life?”
“Yes. That is my urgency in having this meeting.”
“If I have heard you correctly, you very much want to be with your wife and honor your marriage vows. You have been a conscientious employee and are considered a loyal friend by those who you call your friends. Is that correct?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he answered without hesitating.
“Then,” I said, “Is it accurate for me to believe that you are a man of your word?”
“Yes, my word is my bond,” he replied.
“I work on a contractual model. An example is that we will only work on what we have contracted to work on toward measurable outcomes. Because you impress me as a person who will honor a contract he enters into, I have a contract offer for you to make with me so our energies together are rewarded with the results you most want.”
“The contract is that no matter how much emotional pain you are in you will not take your life nor cause it to be taken. Also, under no circumstances will you take another person’s life.”
Harold answered, “Sure Doc.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s make sure about this. Repeat the contract word for word beginning with I commit to you, Dr. Virgil Beasley, no matter how bad things get, I will not take my life nor cause my life to be taken. Also, under no circumstances will I take another person’s life.”
As he repeated the commitment verbatim I was closely watching his breathing pattern, eye movements, flush tones, signs of body tightness, voice intonation shifts. When he got to the ‘nor cause my life to be taken’ part his neck muscles tightened as did his jaw and his voice trailed off.
I asked him how he felt with making that commitment. He answered, “Fine, not a problem.”
I then asked him to restate a part of the contract. This time, I instructed, “Say, If things get real bad I might cause my life to be taken.”
He made the statement and when he did he was relaxed and his voice remained strong. I then asked him if he noticed any differences in how he felt or thought between the two contract statements.
Tears came gushing out as Harold said, “Wow! I do not have the courage to take my own life and certainly would never intentionally take another’s life. But lately I have been driving fast and when I am tired. I dozed off last week and was awakened by the blast of a cement truck’s horn. I was across the center line and was headed straight toward him.”
When he regained his composure, I again asked him to make the contract but this time to do so for one year. He was unwilling. We worked it back to three months. Again, when he said yes, I had him verbalize the contract once again, this time in the positive followed by the “If things get real bad I will take my life or cause it to be taken.”
He looked and reported being at ease and in total agreement with keeping the contract for three months. He then said what I consider to have been the most important take away he had from our meeting.
“We’ve got more to work on here than me again having sex with my wife.”
“Harold, I am reminded of a client I worked with some a few years ago. He had a consciousness awakening. I believe this is possible for you and it only takes a few minutes a day.
“Imagine you being this person. You are about to leave an important meeting and you remember you have your garage parking ticket in your pocket. You go to the receptionist and ask if she validates. She says, “You have a beautiful smile.” You beam and walk away then recall that you still have not gotten your ticket stamped. You go back to this lady and again say “Do you validate? “Yes. You have a beautiful voice. I can just picture you singing lead in the base section of a chorus.” As you are soaking in this form of acknowledgment you again turn to her but this time you ask, “Do you stamp parking tickets to assist in paying the fees downstairs? “My pleasure”, she says, “Let me have your ticket.” She stamps it and says, “I know with your smile and your voice you are going to make this a great day for lots of people like you have for me.”
You stop in the lobby for an espresso. Noticing the barrister totally engrossed in customizing each order and presenting her artistry with pride to each customer. You tell her, “I felt so good being part of your coffee making experience. Your pride and joy in your work is refreshing.” She answers, “I believe that if I am going to do anything and feel fulfilled I must put my all into it. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I usually only get feedback from dissatisfied customers. You made my day.”
“Harold, I request that between now and our next appointment you will fill out my paperwork and have it with you at your next appointment. I further request that you commit to making other people’s day a special great day. To do this, genuinely acknowledge/validate a minimum of twenty people a day. My intent is that you experience an ‘awakening’ of consciousness, an ‘awakening’ of spirit, an ‘awakening’ of recognizing your own inner limitations.”
“What will be the benefits to you if you have such an ‘awakening’ by saying yes to this contract request?”
Pause now. Put yourself in Harold’s situation. If you were asked to enter this contract for not just three but thirty days, what do you think would be your benefits?
I look forward to sharing more of healing journey others and Harold have embarked upon with me.
Welcome to the chronicles of individuals and couples, yes, me as well, who journeyed through the ravages of surviving from and moving to thriving after prostate cancer treatment.
I am glad you came. I invite you to learn from cases that I have encountered as well as what I have gone through. As we process through the experiences of prostate cancer affecting sexual, intimacy, relationships and life itself, let us learn together.
My desire is that you will learn for yourself from how I, and the other survivors I have come to know, have traveled and learned from having a better life after prostate cancer treatment. So that you and your loved ones can also achieve transformation awakening resulting in fabulous sex, more intimacy and relationship fulfillment.
Your reactions, associations, comments, and inputs are critical to my being able to best serve you with my expertise.
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