Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Logotherapy & Running, The Power of Purpose and Pilgrimage

Recovey Camino Run-Walk-Run 2022

What is a life purpose?  How do we live in a way that aligns with our core values?

Am I willing to do difficult things, worthy of my effort and energy, along "the way"? 

- Mark Lane-Holbert, PhD(c), Educational Psychology, Cert. Logotherapist & USATF Coach


Coastal Spain, along the Camino de Santiago, May 2022

A few years ago, I set out to answer these questions as I started training in something which would transform the way I see the world: logotherapy. It is the psychology of purpose and meaning-making amidst difficulty. I am an educational psychologist and running therapist, and find it is especially useful in motivation, seeking a higher purpose in alignment with our values, as well as recovery from past and current suffering, including addictions; it is actually part of many inter-religious chaplains' training (including my own as a retreat chaplain). Here is an approximately ~40 minute introductory presentation I recently gave for the Global Logotherapy Initiative: Intro to Logotherapy (YouTube)

 Also, The podcast episode this month, primarily from a talk recorded after our recent run-walk pilgrimage in Portugal/Spain along the Camino de Santiago, outlines how identifying our purpose can help us to have the courage, faith and willingness to begin difficult things, grow and change, in all aspects of life.  

Building & Crossing bridges together

Dr. Viktor Frankl (founder of logotherapy) would assert that modern epidemics of depression and anxiety are rooted in our existential reality (some is inevitable), and require a "meaning re-frame", reframing a seeming problem to be meaningful and part of our purpose in life. Logotherapeutic practice asserts there is ALWAYS MEANING in every situation, that life challenges are a spiritual springboard to meaning, and that we are called to "response-ability" (the ability to respond to any given life circumstance in a positive way).

Purpose is Powerful
Many of us have goals and dreams, and maybe even good habits to make them happen. However, research has shown that life purpose and values are much more a director of our actions than these arbitrary goals we set, and our latent higher purpose or faith determines many of our daily habits. In other words, we will live out the actions and attitude that we purposefully choose.

Sometimes, other life events or circumstances get in the way of us meeting a goal or accomplishing a dream, but they can never get in the way of our purpose and values. Over these we have complete control. They determines how we see the past and make sense of the present. This is our true work.

This brings me to pilgrimage, i.e. movement along a physical and spiritual path towards a destination, with the purpose of discovery and seeking spiritual growth through intentional work, one step at a time. 
Recovery Camino set out to help individuals in all these areas, we've trained purposeful pilgrims and welcomed 2 amazing groups over the past year, each with the goal of covering ~200k over 10 days, about a Half Marathon each day. Some did miles joining virtually too!
Pilgrimage is much like an endurance event with many legs. Only in our case, we sought to grow in willingness by utilizing 12 spiritual principles as a pathway to recovery and meaning, together. 

Attitude and Actions: How Logotherapy Works
Consider any large problem you are facing... Is there some ability to respond? Something within your control? Even if you do not have a solution or know when this will end definitively, a good guide is to mindfully recall that the only thing we truly control are our own actions and attitude, a.k.a. our responses to the situations life presents. 

Logotherapy helps us to identify how to respond in alignment with our own values. It also helps to identify the latent purpose found between the music of our soul (our intuition, conscience) and life circumstances. 
We manifest our purpose through the things we can control, responding using our values as guideposts within all areas of our lives; be it in running, family, or other vocation. This is well-researched and has a proven track record, (link to recent studies) as both clinical and pastoral therapy.

What we cannot control (other people, places and things) we learn to let go of, lest they get the better of us and take up large amounts of our mental energy and life.  This is not to say we simply throw up our hands on social issues we care about, or the change we seek in the world- the exact opposite- it is to say that we are destined to find freedom within purpose, to act in response to our values, and create that change first from within, then spreading into ever widening circles. 

Ultimate Goal of Recovery and Logotherapy
When we consider our purpose, those on the path of recovery (from grief, loss, addiction and existential crisis), we often understand the goal of our work asking, "How can I love fully and be of maximum service to others?", which forms part of our life purpose. However, each person does so in unique ways that only they are capable of, based upon their life experience and values. Some reflection and coaching/guidance from another may be useful in doing so. I have found I'm never disappointed by the results; as a logotherapist, in my coaching, running, teaching and family life.  I would love to share this with you...

If you'd like to learn more, please navigate to my Insight Timer Teacher Page, where I have a 3-part course on logotherapy, recovery meditations, and several short Guided Meditations for Runners.

I also invite you to join our Recovery Camino fellowship online weekly (WhatsApp and Zoom meetups)
To schedule a 1:1 consult and talk more with me about discerning and living with purpose, just click on the button below. 

Happy Running & Look forward to seeing you soon along "the way"!

- Mark Lane-Holbert, PhD(c), Educational Psychology
Book Logotherapy Appointment Now

Recent articles published about Recovery Camino-
1) I'm excited to announce that we were featured in "Like the Wind" Magazine: Why we Run, in issue #34- Winter 2022 edition.

2) Also featured in the Winter 2022 APOC, and cover photo with fellow pilgrims:
Link to "La Concha" American Pilgrims of the Camino Winter Edition