Some names have been changed not to protect anybody-Volume 1.
Recently, Stagg and I found ourselves laying low on a Saturday evening and with a bottle of wine. We wondered whatshould we do tonight, go out, work in the sutdio, watch a movie? We kind of just said, let's sit here and talk. Okay. We opened the wine and I don't know...both of us talk a lot. MIster Anchovy's dad used to say to me, "Candy, you could talk to a tombstone." It's true and same for Stagg. Anyhow, we found ourselves covering many topics. Sometimes, when I get going and am having trouble figuring out what I what to express I have been known to employ a diagram. I once drew a diagram of where the spirit, khrishna, humans, buddha, the earth were in an intricate diagram. Maybe I'll post it here sometime. Not now. Instead take note of the above diagram produced one Saturday evening with a bottle of wine. Good thing I went to art school, huh?
Stagg and I have both been in group therapy at various times in our life and occassionally we compare notes so to speak. Well, this one Saturday we started discussing the dynamics and weird peculiar special feeling of being in a room with several other people who are sharing their emotions and/or life stories.
You know, there is the stereotype lesson one gets from group therapy. Someone else always has a much worse story or childhood or problem. The realization that someone else had it way worse than you is humbling and sometimes it can even shake off a depression or a bad negative self-attitude. It really can. There is always someone else out there with a worse history than yours so shut the fuck up with your self pity.
You get it, right?
Well, there is also somethign else than one might learn in group therapy. And I decided to draw Stagg a diagram. It's that...It's Not A Fucking Olympics Of Therapy. No one gets a gold star for having the worse end of childhood.
I drew a diagram of one such group therapy perspective. There were about ten of us in this therapy session and we had to write notes and recall our end of childhood. The end of childhood can be different for different people, it can happen at different ages...maybe it was someone's first prom, maybe they were ten, maybe they were 14 or 16. Maybe it was when someone moved out of the house and went to college.
The end of childhood is recognizable asbeing that very first time you realized "the party is over".
The purpose of our individual and group realization of when our end of childhood occurred was so that we could analyse what events surrounded the situation and what adults or ourselves did and to see if we have any residue habits of behaviour that we are using as devices as adults to "cope" that may be counter productive. For example if a person's end of childhood was at college and they were lonely and they made friends with party kids and were able to reconcile their loneliness...but now are addicted to alcohol and drugs as a way to feel connected...well stuff like that.
What I wanted to share with Stagg was that not only can one be humbled by finding out someone's story is more tragic than one's own...is that another story is much more seemingly mundane than one's own.
In this one sessions several people had decribed their end of childhood and some of these memories could tear your heart out. Childhood family rape. Bullies in the schoolyard. Verbally abusive parents.
Then one woman described how she had really wanted this one special favourite bike. and her parents didn't give it to her. She was crying like a baby. She even blurted out how embarrassed she was that her story wasn't as tragic or violent as others in the group and she felt guilty about this but this memory was her end of childhood and her parents had acted cruel over this one particular bike.
I'm not doing a good job of describing this story at all, I know. But the point was...there isn't a scale of suffering. Yes, someone had been raped, someone else had been beaten...and they were as upset with the memory as this woman whose parents had betrayed her with a bike. To every child...pain and especially emotional pain is all the same. I remember seeing and feeling this realization with a huge passion in group that day.
No one is getting a gold star. It's not the fucking Olympics of Therapy.
No one here gets out alive.
When we feel sorry for ourselves above compassion for others we are preventing ourselves from healing and from having a good life...and it is in our hands how we approach living. It is up to us if we are happy people...if we are sore losers or good sports in the game of life.
And the ego even wants there to be a status bestowed upon suffering and tragedy...but that is not how it works. From the most tragic story, to the most seemingly mundane memory...the end of childhood is as painful for every individual as is any trama or challenge and they are not an excuse to not feel sorry for ourselves or use our history as an excuse to be depressed.
You know, actually, later during that "end of childhood" session that day...we all ended up having an incredible laugh. Even though we had all been terribly sad during moments in the therapy and discussions...it all of a sudden seemed humbling to have had someone with a so-called mundane end of childhood memory teach us all humility. Humility in the idea of ranking suffering.
You know, I think most of life's greatest pleasures are in sharing feelings and ideas with other people.
Here's a toast to spending time talking with our loved ones, neighbours and others in our towns and cities...we always have much to learn from each other....
And remember, don't get on your high horse about how hard done by or suffering your life has been...help someone else...