Marcescence Counselling. It’s interesting how very few people have asked, “Why Marcescence?” It makes me smile to think about it. Not much said. No labels. No description. No constructs. No expectations. It just is. Or perhaps there’s a part of you that wants to know. Our thinking brain often likes to be in the ‘know’. It likes to figure things out, problem-solve, and receive or provide explanations. Here is my thinking brain’s attempt (in words) at expressing how the sense of essence has been inspirational in the naming of our practice Marcescence Counselling.
The word Marcescence may be curious to say or sound-out for some, which naturally and ever so gently repels the notion to label. We recognize that labels have their uses and come in handy when organizing our homes and offices, looking for food items in grocery store aisles, categorizing books and music, having a diagnosis, and so on. Some
labels allow people to access services while other labels do the very opposite. It is not that we oppose labels or disregard illness, disease, and medical diagnoses as we can appreciate the purpose it can serve; however, our approach is non-pathologizing and therefore any past or current labels that have been given to (or taken by) others are merely noted as such. We believe humans (and all living creatures) are much greater than labels or constructs and thus the essence of the ‘whole’ person is central.
Something interesting about the word Marcescence is that some people are uncertain as to whether it’s an actual word while others are unsure of its meaning. Additionally, there is not a great deal of literature, as far as I’m aware, on what or how it is as such. Marcescence refers to leaves that hang on to their trees during the winter. Because Marcescence is difficult to fully know, we are left with the mere fact that these leaves are just as they are and so we can let them be as such. There is something freeing about letting it be and perhaps that is why the Beatles’ song “Let it Be” was so famous. The freedom in letting it just be, in not needing to know or label or create some sort of construct, we can truly enjoy them free of constraints thus allowing us to experience its true essence. It is seeing the beauty in it in an ethereal sort of way as Eckhart Tolle explains in chapter one of his book “A New Earth.”
When working with our clients, the practice of compassion, connectedness, and curiosity guides us in seeing the person’s essence. It is being in that present moment with the person and all that encumbers them. It’s about meeting people where they’re at and often helping people see where they are, because moving forward or trying to get unstuck without knowing where you have arrived can be quite unsettling for many. Like the way in which Marcescence may be difficult to know for our thinking brains, a person’s pain, struggle, or distress may be difficult to fully know as well; however, when we let go of the need to know or the need to be right, we are freeing ourselves from judgement and a present connectedness with one and others is experienced. We are not perfect, nor are we professional modern monks, or gurus by any means, we just practice providing open space for people to discover who they are while helping them get to where they hope to be.
Marcescence. What does it mean for you? How do you connect with it? Perhaps like a piece of ethereal art it pulls you in and becomes indescribable or maybe it is detected as uninteresting, and you find yourself swiping it away. Either way, there is a response however subtle it might be. Just notice it as such, a response, and be to it a non judgmental observer (I find curiosity works well for me). Now ask yourself again, “Marcescence. What is it for me?