Thursday, March 07, 2013

Figuring It Out

"Your vulnerability in being present to what is could be triggering people's pain - pain they might not want to face. So their response to where you are at on the journey is a projection of where they are at not a reflection of where you are at. Perhaps the surgeon, too was uncomfortable with the places your truth was touching in his own life."

Such healing, hopeful words yesterday spoken to me by a therapist who I haven't seen for several years. Good to hear from her that where I am at is where I am at and nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed by. Being affirmed in where I am is doing more for me in this transition from health crisis back to 'regular life'(whatever the hell that is) than every suggestion that it is time for me to move on, get with the program, and put this experience behind me.

Last week's conversation with my long time friend was a turning point for me. I  breathed a huge sigh of relief and relaxed into acceptance of where I am at. And then my mood lifted significantly. That friend would tell me that it isn't something we need to go pay professionals for but something we used to do for others in friendship and community. I've found myself  feeling happy and then confused that I am feeling that way. I had to tell myself that feeling happy doesn't negate what I've been through and now I am on a journey of figuring out how to integrate it without feeling like I'm somehow betraying myself. My therapist told me yesterday this was totally normal and that I would figure it out.

Figuring it out is so different than having it figured out. I hope the first phrase is a life long one and the second one disappears from my vocabulary.


Robin said...

I love the first three sentences of this post. Brilliant therapist.

I am having to do a lot of that kind of thinking these days in my work situation -- trying to figure out what it is that others are projecting that has little, if anything, to do with me. It seems that the calmer I get, the more anxious they become -- not my goal, but a reflection (I think) of my comfort in my own skin and their own lack of self-awareness.

But back to BC. I have had doctors say things to me (or not say things) which I consider to be outrageous, but your therapist helps me to see that that is how they deal with their own pain. I imagine that it must be difficult to carve women's breasts out of their bodies and then be able to offer them no guarantees, and so of course they say, "You should be doing well by this time" -- because the physical damage is enough and they have no capacity to go to the place where the emotional distress is.

I have experienced their remarks as accusatory -- but maybe the accusation is subconsciously directed against themselves.

Jim said...

With no intent to critique your grammar here, some of this reminds me of repetitive verse (If a woodchuck could chuck wood...); and, yet, what is said holds so much truth. What great value there is in a friend with whom to share the journey. What wisdom in learning the mystery will never be completely solved in this life...

Heidi Renee said...

Most of all keep writing, because this journey needs to be told, so few are able to articulate the pain, grief, confusion and frustration better than you - it's some of your best writing I have read. Glad for good guides along the way.

Marla said...


I am reading through and hearing your voice so clearly. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with us.

Regarding the comment you left on Butts and Ashes; there is never anything trite about kindness. Thank you for being so kind to me.


annie said...

How wonderful this post is! I am so glad to read your words!

Peter said...

I remember the life of American poet Reynolds Price, who suffered through spinal cancer and surgery and was left paraplegic, and in chronic pain for the rest of his life.

The thing that struck me about his journey was his realization and articulation that to live his "new normal" (my words), he had to "die" to his old life (his words). Put a gentler way, he had to explore and accept his "new normal".

"Whatever the hell that is..." is a cogent thought--you are learning your new normal now and for the next while. God's Grace to you in that learning, Hope.