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Re: behind the After-School Special 2 » Daisym

Posted by badhaircut on June 10, 2005, at 13:25:22

In reply to behind the After-School Special » Daisym, posted by badhaircut on June 9, 2005, at 23:27:05

(I'm back awake now.)

I'm attracted to the new therapy I mentioned because it says there may be a different way of dealing with my burdens & regrets & shame besides simply trying to lighten them or get rid of them or work them through or cure them. And toughing them out hasn't exactly provided a great life, either. The suggestion is that we can have our pain – experience it more-or-less "fully" – but have it in such a way that it's separate from us. The horror won't control us, but the catch is that we don't try to control the horror, either. It's a mindfulness approach, and when applied to actual life I think it's scary.

For me regret often starts deep in my abdomen and rises like water in a giant pipe; I feel it go all the way to the top of my scalp. If I "have" the regret, if I let it alone, it feels awful, but if I'm not struggling against it, there's some other, less-noticable relief from the usual situation. The regret then is something I contact from my scalp to my gut, but it's not something that says "I'm crushing you."

It helps me a little to see the regret as "mine." When it occurs, it's mine. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just mine. It won't obey me, I don't understand it, it might make sense or not make sense, it comes & goes on its own, but it is *mine*. Otherwise I may see the regret as actually being me, or I see myself as Crippled-by-Regret-Guy. But a mindful, willing, observational stance allowing regret to occur ironically takes power away from it. Mindfulness does NOT make the pain of regret go away; regret can be a major presence. But separating "me" from my regret while still allowing it to freely occur... this transfers its enormous power to other things in my life, to external things that are important to me, things I want to "go for."

For feelings of regret, I can do this. But for my scarier demons, like the fear of certain types of rejection, I'm just talking. But this new therapy (ACT) says that as long as talk is directed toward actually experiencing that fear, it's helpful. But if my talk is directed toward "understanding" the fear, or finding its origins, or weakening it, the talk is a prison. This is a prison I sneak into all the time.

Thanks again to anyone who read this whole message. (I'm not sure I did.) <ironic shrug, sigh>





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