Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eat, Love, Pray

Am reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love." I'm right at the end, but by 11:30p.m., I just couldn't make it through those last few pages, so one more night should do it. Anyway, it's a well-written touching book and I can see how it inspires people.

One particularly touching scene involves Liz "letting go" of her ex-husband. He turned on her in their divorce and all the venom came out. She (Liz) conjured up his image and basically talked it out with him and just let go of her anger and frustration. She wanted closure and, since she wasn't going to get it "for real," this was her attempt to sort it out.

Brought up all sorts of thoughts and feelings. First of all, when someone acts like that, angry, lashing out, humiliating you and trying to hurt you, it can only mean that the ability to act that way was there all the time -- you just didn't see it. And somehow you have to believe that the parting-of-the-ways was, in the end, a blessing, even if you didn't see it at the time.

Also, so much of these issues are control issues. The guy (and sometimes, though, I believe less, the woman) lost control of you. And he needed that. And that's cause for the serious anger issues that you see.

But the scene also spoke to how much our emotional health is dependent on the ability to close bad episodes in our lives.

While I was in my mid-20s, I worked as a supervisor at an overnight camp for 2 summers. During the first summer one of the counselors under me tried my patience. Endlessly. She ("Eileen" -- a pseudonym) challenged me and made me feel totally inadequate -- not difficult, seeing as that I have the self-image of an ant.

Anyway, during supervisor pre-camp the following summer, the psychologist who was running the sessions had us act out such a scenario as a way of preparing us for supervising a staff. We role-played the parts of the supervisor and the insolent staff member. And, bless his heart, the psychologist gave me the role of the bitchy staff member.

Well, for the next 15 minutes, I put everything that I had into it. I used all the retorts and talkbacks that Eileen had used on me. Everything that the "supervisor" tried to gain control and to put me in my place -- I threw right back, using the techniques that Eileen had used on me.

After those 15 minutes, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had closure. The psychologist, who was with me the previous year and knew what it was all about, said to me "Do you feel better Laurie?" and I just beamed.

In many ways, Rosh Hashana is about closure. Learning to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, our omissions.....oh, when I think about it, so many things! But if we can't learn to forgive each other (or at least forget the hurts) the lack of closure, in the end, only hurts us the most.

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