You can probably tell I am not an overly religious person. For me, my faith is largely about tradition, family connectedness, guiding principles of mitzvahs that encourage us to leave the world just a bit better than we found it, and preserving a culture that too much of the world would like to see destroyed. G-d is there, a part of it, but I’m not certain exactly in what form G-d exists. I struggle with this question.
I say this because even with this struggle, there is one thing that stuck with me from our counseling time with Phil. He once told me that I was carrying such huge burdens on my shoulders, burdens that I cannot carry any more. He asked me to envision taking those burdens off of my shoulders, laying them at me feet and saying to G-d, “I cannot carry these burdens any longer, I lay them here at my feet releasing them from my shoulders and giving them over to you.” Somehow the imagery of doing this has been helpful, certainly not always successful, but one of many mental strategies to help.
With Counselor Troi it was sitting my pain down, imagining my pain embodied in cartoon character form sitting across from me and asking it “what do you want from me?” “What is your purpose here?” And, one day, telling it, “I don’t need you any more, you can go away now.”
With B, she helped me create an image of a beautiful, safe, warm place that I can go to in my mind. When I start going down the rabbit hole, when “stinking thinking” (as she likes to call it) starts getting in the way of me living life, she wants me to imagine this place and use it to help find some peace.
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that reads “let go or be dragged” to remind me that I do not have to let the pain control me. And, in fact, allowing the pain to drag me through the mud is only hurting me.
I think all of these words, thoughts, beliefs get at the same fundamental issue. When we hold onto great pain, it drags us down. Yet, I think we do it as a form of protection.
I am not exactly sure where to go with all of this, but just that I think we must find ways to release the pain, even if it is only for short moments at first, with those moments growing in length and in frequency over the years to come.