I am joining Kate Motaung and others who are writing every day in October. My intention is to record my reactions and feelings about Brené Brown's newest book, "Rising Strong". You can find the other posts I have written here.
The office where we were all gathered was very small. My father-in-law was sitting doing the typing. I was guiding him through genealogy software that was new to him. New information about his ancestors was available online and I was asking him to enter that data onto my personal file. Knowing how frustrating computer instructions can be I was being very patient giving short, detailed commands. Things were going smoothly until his wife entered the room. The mood changed drastically. He tensed at every new direction. She was not directly behind him but I was aware that he saw her out of the corner of his eye. There was a pile of hurt, unexpressed, regarding his abilities on the computer between my mother-in-law and him. I knew that from my husband. It all started when his mother called him stupid as a boy. From then on when a woman judged his intellect he felt small and inadequate. These emotions were stockpiled by a man who was an honored math teacher. These feelings never erupted in front of me, or anyone really. They just simmered, becoming more richly flavored.
" Stockpiling starts like chandeliering, with us firmly packing down the pain, but here we just continue to amass hurt until the wisest part of us, our bodies, decides that enough is enough."
These last barriers of integrating emotion are lethal. They take residence in the cells of the body.
I was holding the hand of a lovely woman who got high centered in a discussion between four friends. She came seething with emotion. For an hour she denied having anything to share. But then the rest of us stopped the charade and plead with her to let the emotion out. I'll never forget the fear in her eyes. When the tears started they were hot and bitter. Her statements seemed illogical and out of context . Having just read the chapter called "The Reckoning" in Rising Strong, I recognized the situation. I wish I could say we healed the wound. We didn't. We couldn't. We gave her space to be undone. I held her hand tightly, whispering that she was safe.
"If I recognize my hurt or fear or anger, I'll get stuck. Once I engage even a little, I won't be able to move backward and pretend that it doesn't matter, but moving forward might open a floodgate of emotion I can't control. I'll be stuck, helpless."
Tomorrow I want to broach the subject of how we integrate these emotions before they eat us alive. I have many questions and few answers. I do know there is healing in prayer. I would never presume that Dr. Brown has healing power. That lies firmly in the hands of my savior. She has words to describe. And words start the conversation, in our heads and between each other.