Opportunity In Crises

I am deeply honored and thrilled that after so many years of writing, my words are finding readers. First in the “New York Times,” then in “The Week,” and now on “Oprah online.” I’m hard at work on finalizing the book which inspired the essay that many of you have read. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html

The book is due to come out in April, 2010 (Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin/Putnam). While I’m in this editing process, I’m not able to personally respond to your comments, but please feel free to inspire each other, and know that I read every comment and that they help inform the book.

So many of you have asked me for advice. As I’ve written, I’m not a therapist nor a spiritual teacher. I’m glad that my story is touching you and that it may in some cases, even be helping you. To that end: The “Oprah Online” people have made it possible for you to comment on my essay. I believe that Oprah’s organization has wonderful integrity, and that while I can’t help individuals outside of what I do on the page, there is great available help on her website and in the teachers and professionals she endorses. So I point you there:
According to the website, there is an opportunity to be on a future Oprah show through the comments you might choose to share. It would be great if her organization could provide some relief for people in crises through the help of a professional therapist, especially regarding issues of marriage and specific to my essay/book. If any of you is interested in using that possible opportunity to help in your process, again, I direct you there.

Today, I’d like to offer this:
A Different Respose to Crises:
We’ve been trained in our society to respond to crises with state-of-emergency moxie. To immediately react. To meet fire with fire.

Or to run away.

When we’re meeting fire with fire, we’re in control mode. When we’re running away, we’re in sedation mode. I’ve done all of the above. And after many years living in these modes, I decided I was sick of it. I was suffering and I decided to get really clear with myself about where the suffering was in my life. It took awhile. But I trained my senses and began to live with a commitment to ending my suffering. I’m not always good at it. But when it works, it’s such a powerful way to live. There’s so much relief there.

I got to practice this in spades the summer my husband went through his marital dis-affection. I like that word, “dis-affection.” It’s easier not to take personally. It’s easier to process and to land in a place of non-suffering.

I want to be perfectly clear about something that keeps coming up in the comments on my blog, other people’s blogs, the comments in the “New York Times” and the many that have come into my email box:

If my marriage had ended after that rough season…I would still have considered that season a personal success. The reason why it was such a powerful time for me, and the reason why I’ve written about it, has everything to do with what it was like, especially in such a hard time, to live and not suffer. To not translate crises into state-of-emergency. To not control and sedate. To simply, deliberately, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath…detach from outcome. This was my journey. It was one of the soul.

That’s my message, and why I am willing to share my personal story. While I wrote about this way of living in the context of marriage, it’s not really about marriage or my husband or my family. Of course, if my being responsible for my own well-being rubbed off on them somehow, then that only makes it more of a success story.

Many people have made the assumption that I practiced living like that “to save my marriage.” That is not the case. I lived like that because it was my commitment to live outside suffering. If my marriage was “saved,” then I can only see that as a possible bi-product, but still not one that is necessary to try to prove or define.

There is so much pain in the world. All of us feel pain every day. Sometimes many many times a day. What if we started to translate pain as opportunity? Opportunity to practice not suffering. Where would that have us land? Who would we be then? Would we be victims? Would we be somehow…dare I say it: free?

Thank you for reading.


Filed under "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear", My Posts

4 Responses to Opportunity In Crises

  1. Hi Laura. As always, I love your words and your wisdom. And again, I drink them in and savor them and appreciate the calm they provide me as I help my mother through her Alzheimer’s and old age.

    I love people that speak from their hearts and from their life experience the way that you do. Your books are going to be tremendous.

    My best,

  2. Lisa Williamson

    This post is an excellent follow-up to the plethora of heartfelt comments generated by your “These Aren’t Fighting Words” article. Your empathy is admirable, and I’m sure that your empirical wisdom and clear sense of personal boundaries will take you far.

    Best of luck navigating – and enjoying – your burgeoning renown, Laura!

  3. Dear Laura

    Thank you so much for your article ‘Boxing Clever’/'Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear’. I read it today in Sydney newspaper, The Sun Herald. It is so refreshing to hear about people taking responsibility for their lives and outcomes. As a wife of only seven years, I’ve felt bombarded by the common perception of ‘if it’s meant to be, it’ll work out’, instead of being encouraged to make a commitment and stand by your spouse and your decisions, no matter what. To have the strength to be able to create a good environment for your family while going through such extraordinary pain shows amazing tenacity.

    Your writing is beautiful to read and your perceptions refreshingly honest. I can’t wait for the book to come out!

    I hope you don’t mind but I have featured your article on my blog (http://pro-filed.blogspot.com)- I want my friends to have the opportunity to read about your amazing testimony.

    Thanks and hip hip hooray from us out there on the same path!

    Joni (Australia)

  4. Dana

    It sounds like you’ve read either Eckhart Tolle or the like to have come to such a enlightened decision and response (instead of REACTION) to your husband’s painful words. After going through a tremendously hard period in my own marriage I would like to recommend the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. It has a slightly religious slant but his theory is true and groundbreaking nonetheless. You will find that his ideas are very much in line with your own thinking and the way that you have worked through this situation. Thanks for your brave honesty and sharing. Hope you can continue to find peace and happiness in your life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>