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“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.” ~ M. Scott Peck, M.D., The Road Less Traveled”
“Tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”
You may not have heard of M. Scott Peck, or his phenomenal book, The Road Less Traveled, which was on the New York Times best seller list for over 10 years. It was first published in 1978, but I didn’t become aware of it until somewhere around my 30th birthday. I had been struggling with life, as many 20 somethings do. And a friend at church suggested this book to me. It changed my perspective completely. When I read the first line above, “Life is difficult,” I remember sighing deeply and saying to myself, “Life is difficult, and I thought something was wrong with me because mine isn’t easy.” To me everyone around me was living a stress free life while I was the exception.
I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but around the time I found and read The Road Less Traveled, I quit my office job, which was killing my spirit. And I enrolled at Portland State University to get my Master of Arts in Theater Arts. This book was the beginning for me of intense reading and spiritual exploration, of which theatre was a huge part because studying plays helped me understand the human condition. I am forever grateful to the person who put the book in my hands because I began to see that every obstacle and seemingly problematic, or even tragic situation I experienced, was an opportunity to deal with old wounds and to grow.
I know that we humans don’t like to deal with our problems. We’d rather stuff them in a dark corner of our mind and try not to think about them. We hope they will go away. But honestly, do they go away? Not in my experience. Nope those pesky problems resurface in a bigger and messier way.
I get it. We think that if we actually allow ourselves to feel our dark emotions, they will overtake us and we’ll be stuck in the dark. But emotions are energy in motion. I wish I could remember who said that, but it’s true. Think about it. How many different emotions do you feel in one day? Yet, the fear remains. No one wants to be stuck in dark emotions for a long time. Yet, that’s what happens when we try to stuff them. Eventually we sink into depression, or some other terrible mental state, and we have a most difficult time climbing out.
The only solution I’ve found to avoid sinking into those really dark places is to face the emotions evoked when the incident first happens. When I do that, I’m on the road to healing. Don’t get me wrong, the emotions surface again, and again but each time they do, they are much less intense if I embrace and realize they are my friends. They are helping me face and heal aspects of myself that are obstacles to a happy life.
This week, Barry and I watched a show that perfectly illustrates what I’m trying to say here. The show is Shrinking, on Apple +, created by Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel. It’s about Jimmy, a therapist, played by Jason Segel, who is at first, not dealing with the death of his wife. Sitting and listening to the problems of his clients pushes him to begin telling them, and everyone else, exactly what he thinks. Up until that point, he’d been numbing with alcohol and other substances. He’d been ignoring his teenage daughter and his friends. He finally begins to realize his life is a mess, which is the beginning of his healing process.
Jimmy’s boss, played by Harrison Ford, and his co-worker, played by Jessica Williams, try to help, but their lives are not perfect either. In fact, almost all of the characters have problems they are dealing with. And as crazy as it sounds, that makes the show extremely funny. Jimmy’s brutal honesty wears off on those around him. His clients, colleagues, and friends are also finally facing their demons and putting their lives back in order. This makes the end of the first season hopeful. If these characters, as examples, are able to address and heal their wounds, maybe we can too.
One of the best things to remember is that there are people out there who care about you and will support you as you go through whatever dark things are happening to you. Sometimes I forget that and want to make my life look like everything is great. But during the above mentioned time, I discovered it is much better to share my feelings. Sometimes I was just sharing in my journal, but that often gave me the courage to talk with my friends who were more than happy to help.
I hope you enjoy the changing seasons wherever you are and remember that nothing stays the same forever.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2023
Saving the World One Story at a Time
The world is in such chaos right now that sometimes we need to get a perspective on what’s happening. I designed this course on Ûdemy for people who are looking for a way to get a better understanding about what we’re going through, and what it means to be a human being. Stories are one great way to walk in the shoes of the characters, connect with them emotionally for a short time but not have to live there. Not to mention it’s a pleasant way to learn. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, I hope to see you in class.
I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.