Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Acceptance Boot Camp

Life just keeps throwing me curves.  And you know what?  I don't think it's just me.

I was listening to musical artist Pezzettino today on the radio, describing the personal significance of her soon-to-be-released album entitled Pedestrian Drama.  I was particularly struck by her embrace of the adjective "pedestrian," in recognition that troubles and "drama" are common to the human condition.  We are not so special in our pain and confusion.  Or in our stress.  Or in our inability to stay any course without being blown off by unanticipated events.

And the whole curve thing makes me think of a workshop I attended recently, on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, where the main presentation was entitled "From Tolerance to Empathy."  Drs. Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey, Co-Directors of the World in Conversation Project at Penn State, sketched a framework for moving into conversation that can bridge differences.   Participants practiced specific skills to facilitate such interaction.  

The highest level skill we dealt with on that occasion, in a mixed gathering of 300 Muslims, Jews, Christians, and "Others" like myself, was one they referred to as "steering into the curve."  The metaphor was taken from the advice to drivers negotiating slippery surfaces.  The idea is to go toward the  difficulty, instead of trying to jerk one's steering wheel in the opposite direction and risk making the situation worse.

So as new circumstances amend my plans and schedules in major ways--as at present with the serious health problems of one of my children--it seems like advice I can use;  steering into, not the health issues, but the chaos engendered by the changing needs for my support and care.  Kind of like riding the waves of labor contractions, instead of fighting for control.

Something I'll be working on for the next several weeks. . .

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