Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cheap Therapy

I finished Laura Munson's This Is Not The Story You Think It Is the other day and I'm still thinking about it.  The after affect proves that I was both touched and inspired by so much in this memoir despite the myriad of differences between my life and her life.  There are similarities too, and it is the things that we share that gripped me right away. 
We are peers, and I'd like to think we'd be friends if I lived in Montana.  And the thing is, I have this erstwhile secret dream to live in Montana despite my deep, firmly planted Midwestern roots.  I have for years now despite the fact that I've never been there.  I guess that's why I have kept this longing to myself.  How can I justify longing for a place I've never been?  What is the rationalization for this desire to move clear across the country?  I can only say it's an organic, physical desire not an intellectual, practical one.  Not one I can logically explain. 
Our marital relationships are the same age.  I too have known my husband for about twenty years.  We also met in college.  My children are the same ages as her children, so we are at similar intersections on the vastly different roads we've traveled.    My marriage is not in trouble, but I recognize that there are always ways it can be stronger, better.  I can relate to the way dynamics, definitions and dreams change in a partnership.  It's what happens in any long-term relationship if the participants are growing and evolving.  That's a good thing albeit uncomfortable and frightening and frustrating at times too.
And probably the thing that I find most compelling we share is the loss of a parent.  That's happened to many of us I know, and some day it will likely happen to all of us, but I lost my Mom and she lost her Dad at about the same points in our lives.  Pivotal points.  Poignant losses.  

Her messages about choosing happiness, personal responsibility and embracing what we have are the same I strive to live by every day...some better than others.  Presence and ownership are powerful threads in my life.  I agree with one of the reviewers who wrote that anyone in a relationship should read this book, but in case you wrongly choose not to, here are a couple tidbits for you to chew on.
We all have our purposefully unfulfilled dreams…Italy, then had become a symbol of arm’s-length-kept happiness.  A practice, if you will, of self-deprivation.  I didn’t see it this way, of course.  There are times when we’ll do almost everything we can think of to keep our carrots out in front of us and not in our bellies…I began to see how I’d chosen to suffer as a practice that had its payoff: I got to feel like shit.  Moreover, I got to feel sorry for myself.  And victimized by forces outside myself.  In other words, I didn’t have to take responsibility for my happiness.  Happiness was an entity that would come in on the wind, when I so deserved it.

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing we are undeserving.  I believe we need to act the way we want to feel, and also that we teach people how to treat us.
…and I thought this is what they are all talking about – what my therapist calls deliberate living, and what the Buddhists call Right Action, and maybe what the Christians call Divine Intervention.  When you send love, and surrender the rest.

I share these words and surrender the rest.

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