Monday, January 23, 2006

Weeding the Garden

In his book, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Thich Nhat Hanhsays that within each of us is a garden. "Maybe in the past, you left it untended for a long time. You should know exactly what is going on in your own garden, and try to put everything in order. Restore the beauty; restore the harmony in your garden. Many people will enjoy your garden, if it is well tended."

Reading this paragraph, I had a flash of my own inner garden: all spindly and dry and overrun with weeds. It makes me weep to recognize how neglectful I've become of my own fulfillment, how much time I've spent tending to A~ and the dream of family to the exclusion of myself. But when I finish crying, for the time being anyway, all I want to do is get to work on me. I want to roll up my sleeves and start digging, start making repairs to the fences, planting new seeds. I'm very optomistic that there is something to salvage here, something beautiful. But in the meantime, I have weeds to pull.

How to do this? So much is obvious: the work, the phone calls, the reaching out and celebrating my changes for the better and building up the friendships I've been neglecting. But there is also grief and anger I must allow and encourage to pass from my body.

Another thing Hanh says is that it's natural to share joy and good feelings. "But you also have to let the other person know when you suffer, when you are angry with him or her. You have to express what you feel. You have the right. This is true love."

I picture sitting down in silence with A~ and K~, someplace private, somewhere neutral. It would be awkward and difficult for all of us. I'm sure I'd sweat and tremble. I'd probably cry, and they'd feel uncomfortable, but I think that's a good thing. I might be tempted to say something hurtful, but I'd resist this urge. Instead I'd listen, and talk honestly about how I'm feeling, ask all my questions, express my concerns for the future, because it's not about revenge or punishment, it's about healing.

So I told A~ my fantasy. "For my own health and well-being," I explained, "I need to forgive you both. To do this, I must face the reality of K~. And it seems only right that she face me, and that you face the fact that you've brought her into a very significant position in my life without my consent. Besides, she owes me an apology too." Of course, he didn't like this idea one bit. "Please ask her," I said.

Lo and behold, they have agreed to do it. It's just a matter of setting a time, choosing a place. In the meantime, I'll make a list of things I want to say, things I want to ask, and also, I'll line someone up whom I can run to afterwards for hugs and tissues and unconditional listening. And then dear and loyal readers, I'll blog all about it. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be good.


Emily said...

I've read that in cases like this, it isn't always wise to ask (and gets answers for) all our questions. One suggestion I've heard is to write down all those questions...every one...and give that to your therapist for two months, and review it at the end of that time to see which questions you still want answers for.

Of course, if you want to talk to A & K before two months are up, that wouldn't work.

I'm so sorry that you've been on the receiving end of such a significant betrayal. You know this already, but you didn't deserve it and it's not your fault.

Amy said...

thanks for your kindness and concern, emily,

believe it or not, it doesn't come easily for me to know that I didn't deserve it or that it's not my fault. So thanks for writing those words. I needed to hear it.


sistergirl-3rd grade said...

Dear Amy;
I agree with Emily. I would hate to see you put yourself in a position for more bombing at such a fragile state. I like the running it by your therapist idea. First things stuff...where is it? Is your environment clear and ready to protect you? The attacks or suggestions or viewpoints maybe directed towards what they think about your character ??..and is this the time to hear it or will it ever be?
I understand when you express here; the feeling of not believing easily what you have done to deserve such a fate;(of course, nothing) but by God...don't bring yourself into their trenches.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

I think Emily has a good suggestion. I know that I remember somewhere in my education that was a real philosophy - but I can't actually remember where.

You are very fragile now, and rightfully so, you had the rug pulled out from under you. Another thing to keep in mind is that A & K may not be honest and tell you the truth, they may just tell you what they think you want to hear. Talk to your therapist and find out what their suggestion is for you regarding this.

Your doing such a good job of acknowledging that you need to take care of yourself. I believe its the best thing for you - not everyone would see to do that. YOU didn't deserve this, you are a worthwhile and wonderful person.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Reading the last two posts it has really struck me that this Thich Nhat Hanh person is really on the money. I don't think I'll have the chance to meet up and forgive all the people who have done me wrong (and in some ways, it might be admitting to them that they hurt me), but having a good clear-out of the garden inside us, and nurturing something good is a really positive step.

It takes a huge amount of bravery to be grown-up with your feelings, and to know what to do with the negative - heaven knows most of the time I'm clueless - but having a big sort out is just what I could do with too. I do realise that there is a need, both psychologically and personally to find "closure", to be able to feel it, live it and let it go. To put a full stop at the end of that chapter in life. And I think that by meeting A&K you'll achieve this.

Thanks for sharing this, I hope your meeting with A&K goes well - and I hope you get your closure. :)

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