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Teleconference: Step into the Unknown, Step into LIFE

Next Teleconference

THIS SATURDAY!!

Just a reminder, my next teleconference is:

November 8th 

3:00 – 4:00 PM EST

If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the form on the contact page.  Once I get your email I’ll send you the phone number and access code you’ll need to join in the conversation.  After you have done this once, you’ll automatically be informed of all future calls.

There is no charge for the teleconference, except what your long distance carrier charges for a call.

The Call

The conference call is set up in an informal format.  I will introduce the topic and then the rest of the call is open to question and answers. 

During Saturday’s conversation we’ll be addressing

Life is mostly about getting comfortable with the unknown.  How do we do this though?  We will talk about ways to get used to, and thrive in, the unknown.

 

Our NEED to Know

In life there are a lot of lines we have to learn to straddle. There’s the line between acceptance and hope. This is essentially what I’ve been talking about in previous posts. There’s another line however the one I’m addressing here, the line between the known and the unknowable.

I’ve been derailed by the election this last week, and more assuredly I will be today. So instead of fighting it, I’m going to lean in and talk about this waiting and wondering that’s been going on for the last TWO years.

 

 

So as a nation STANDS in LINES waiting to exercise the right to vote, lets talk about this line between the known and unknowable.

 

It is in our nature to want KNOW. I think this need for us to come up with solutions to all that is unanswered has something to do with our big evolved brains. If you feed any healthy adult brain a question it will work on computing an answer, often relentlessly, until it has something that satisfies it.

 

I think this is why I’ve recently been drawn to sports (I know this seems strange, especially for me) for this very specific reason of wanting an answer. With so much uncertainty in my life and in the world, sports offers something unique that every day life does not. An answer. Not only an answer, but an answer in a finite amount of time. At the end of a game, there is a winner and a loser, period, game over. There is a satisfaction to that.

 

Jokes also give us this “here’s a question and here’s your answer” kind of satisfaction. Why do you suppose we love puzzles? It’s brain candy right? Our brain digs a question it can work on answering.

 

We will chew and chew and chew on an unanswerable until we find something that satisfies our brain enough so we can move on. I think we have developed religion in part for this very reason. There is something called “God of the Gaps” that talks about this. This is the idea that religion provides answers for the unanswerable. So what do we do with something we can’t answer or the answer is a long time coming? We have to learn to be comfortable with the unknown. Because most of life is spent in the unknown. Because most of life is not the Steelers vs. the Raiders.

 

We have had two years of sorting and sifting through candidates, talking, watching, speculating, thinking, arguing, campaigning and finally we have come to the day of the decision. By the end of today we will know who the president of the United States is. Then, of course, as soon as that question is answered, new ones will surely be asked. How will he do in his new post? Who will he chose as his cabinet members? Will he be able to solve any of the many problems the last president dished up for a nation? You see, the questions don’t end with today’s president elect. They simply shift.

 

Aside from sports, puzzles and jokes, that’s exactly how life is. Life is mostly filled with questions. The ones that are hard to answer, exciting or painful to wait for, only yield to still more questions.

 

We need to straddle the line between a desire to know and being comfortable with the understanding that we spend almost all our time involved in the unknown.

“After Shock” the Teleconference

Next Teleconference

THIS SATURDAY!!

Just a reminder, my next teleconference is:

October 25th 

3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT

If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the form on the contact page.  Once I get your email I’ll send you the phone number and access code you’ll need to join in the conversation.  After you have done this once, you’ll automatically be informed of all future calls.

There is no charge for the teleconference, except what your long distance carrier charges for a call.

The Call

The conference call is set up in an informal format.  I will introduce the topic and then the rest of the call is open to question and answers. 

During Saturday’s conversation we’ll be addressing

3 things to think about and expect to experience after a major life shake- up.  With much of our focus on the 2nd and 3rd principals.  

1) When you are handed an unexpected blow, a challenge you are forced to face, you need to also know that your live has forever changed.  

2) Accepting these changes are likely to be painful.  You almost certainly will need to grieve.   

3) If we you ask a bit of your shattered selves, ask that you have awareness. Keep a soft eye open for a specialness so tender in the aftermath of a trauma that it may awe you to our core.  Strangely, this little, tiny sprig of hope is often best seen in the darkest hour.   

 

 

Abduction of Innocence

 

...When the second tower was hit I knew that our nation had been forever changed.

 

In this post, I look at the first of the three points in the “After Shock.”

1) When you are handed an unexpected blow, a challenge you are forced to face, you need to also know that your life has forever changed.

———-

 There is no more contemporary and universal example of this truth than that of September 11th. I’m going to use, however, the Greek myth The Abduction of Persephone to help me illustrate my point. Because we are very much like a Persephone in the time that follows a shattering experience. We’re like her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest too but we’ll talk about her in the next post.

 

      

Artwork by Rachel Z. Cornell

Artwork by Rachel Z. Cornell

In this piece of art a parallel between the myth and symbolism of Persephone and the zeitgeist of a nation after a trauma is drawn. According to Greek Mythology, Persephone lived a carefree and protected youth, until the earth opened and Hades, god of the underworld, abducted her. Zeus, Persephone’s father, and Demeter, her mother, eventually negotiated their daughter’s return. Persephone, however, once having experienced the horrors of her abduction, was forever changed.

 

There’s a mirror in the top portion of this work of art because like Persephone, we as a nation, lost our carefree and protected youth. Our innocence lay in the dust, emotional rubble and confusion of September 11th. There was no way that we could rebuild what had been brought down.

 

 Why is this important? Why do I keep drilling this point?  Because once something has been broken, it can not be rebuilt.  If you use all your energy working to rebuild, you are working on an imposable task and you will remain stuck and being stuck hurts really bad. That’s why this is important. 

 

I don’t want you to stay stuck.  Stuck can look like PTSD.  It can look like hyper doing, addiction and/or depression. 

Is there reason why some people are determined to rebuild and in so doing remain stuck? Yes, because they are afraid to grieve, the important second step in the “After Shock.” 

 Staying stuck is “constipated grief” 

 

After Shock

3 things to think about and expect to experience after a major life shake- up.

1) When you are handed an unexpected blow, a challenge you are forced to face, you need to also know that your live has forever changed.  

2) Accepting these changes are likely to be painful.  You almost certainly will need to grieve.   

3) If we you ask a bit of your shattered selves, ask that you have awareness. Keep a soft eye open for a specialness so tender in the aftermath of a trauma that it may awe you to our core.  Strangely, this little, tiny sprig of hope is often best seen in the darkest hour.   

I will be addressing these three points in the days to come.  I’m a slow poster as you know, but most of the following posts have been stewing for a while so expect them in quick succession.

 

 

Winston Churchill said: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

The night before my apartment burned down, I was lying in my bed weeping and praying for a less chaotic life. My life was adrift and I was collecting bad habits as I moved aimlessly through it. I was smoking and drinking to excess and was in a bad, on-again, off-again, relationship with a boyfriend. I was so sad and so lost. I prayed and I cried.

 

The night after the fire I was propped up in a hotel room bed with a cat and a dog, both injured but alive. I gulped a tear filled laugh, as I thought about my desperate prayers from the night before. ….Had I gotten the less chaotic life I asked for?

 

I had less stuff, that was for sure.

 

The time following the fire was character building to say the least. Starting with the dreaded phone call to my father, also known as Lt. C. K. Zamek of the Waterford Township Fire Department.

 

The fire was considered “suspicious” so there was an investigation. A water main had broken and destroyed the uninsured woman’s apartment below mine so there was a lawsuit. The dog, which I was not suppose to have in the apartment, and belonged to the exish-boyfriend, had gotten severely burned and was in need of around the clock care. It seemed everything had gotten even worse.

 

The exish-boyfriend had become a suspect. The investigation DID prove he was likely responsible for the fire (totally unintentional I need to add in his defense). It was at this point that he had decided to tell me that he was seeing someone else.

 

…So, at least now I knew what it felt like to hit bottom….

 

At this point you might think I’m going to tell you to be “careful what you pray for.” But I’m not going to do that, I might suggest you “brace for it,” but not to be careful. You see, after being “liberated” from my home, my belongings, and an unhealthy relationship things started to become clear to me and the first principal for dealing with life’s major upsets began to emerge.

 

Principal #1

You don’t pick-up the pieces and get on with your life. Oh no. When your life is shattered, it’s not going back to what it was before the fracture. A fire teaches this principal really well. Once the photo album, cross country skies, and antique bedroom-set turns into so much soot, they do not, they can not, turn back into the items you once knew them as. Similarly once a life goes through a monumental shift it can no longer return to what it once was. After a life has “fallen apart” it needs to become a new life, with new parameters.

That’s all for tonight. Please feel free to comments if you would like and  come back for more of this conversation.  In my up coming post, I want to review of what I mean by “new parameters” and then talk about the next step in “How to Move Through Hell”.

Rachel

(Click to follow my updates on twitter)

 

 

(ps: I’ve been getting comments, emails and sweet tweets wishing me the best to recover from the fire.  I see that in my story I did not make it clear when the fire was.  This is not a recent event in my life but it was an important one.  Life today is rich and full with good people and a great husband in it, I live a clean and sober and healthy life these days.)