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.