Monday, May 21, 2012

International Live Readers' Society Update (It's been a while, I know, but we've grown): Self-Therapy, by Jay Earley

Dear Kindred,

It has been a delightful day. I've showered, shaken my hair dry, cleaned out the closets (!), baked oat bran muffins with the girls, laughed with my therapist and learned that one of my poems has been accepted for publication by a feminist literary journal. I received a rejection from the journal last week, but I guess it changed its mind because one of my poems is slated to appear in the summer edition of the journal. I will send more info. along as it presents itself. The best part about the ACCEPTANCE is that I actually felt it. I did not minimize its significance, I did not act as though I am not thrilled about it. I jumped up and down and squealed about the news to my wife-partner - who was happy and joyful WITH me.

I am joyful now, but I was rather joyful before I received the e-news. I was rather joyful because I am rather content. I am on a Joylightenment path. I am reading a book as part of the IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapy that I am in the midst of exploring. I am seeing a really lovely counselor and am discovering all sorts of things about myself. For instance, it is possible for me to lie on the deck, under a tree filled with birds and surrounded by traveling wasps, and to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze. It is possible for me to just BE and be okay just being. Not producing. Not rushing around in a cloud of stress. Not thinking frantically of the next creative project on my list. It's fine for me to just BE sometimes - and not only is it fine, but I also enjoy it. I always THOUGHT having to sit still and "do nothing" was torture, but turns out my TRUE self likes it quite a bit.

As I was resting alone on the deck yesterday, I thought about a time when I was younger and I used to visit Chautauqua Lake with my family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, the guy my grandma just met at the pool). I remember being at Chautauqua Lake (Estates...before the tornado hit) in the summer, reading a Jane Austen novel and writing in my journal out on one of the plastic Adirondack chairs or on top of the nautical-striped down comforter in the twin bedroom. I was not worrying about anything, I was just enjoying being myself...reading and writing. Joy! EnJOYing. I felt like I used to feel in Chautauqua when I was on the deck yesterday. I have been so bogged down in my own inner chaos and misery that I did not think such a thing could be possible. In fact, I forgot all about the days when I could enjoy MY SELF. Something is helping me to remember: Jay Earley's Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy (2009).

Whoa, long title. Don't let that deter you. And don't let the whole Inner Child thing deter you, either. I was uncomfortable with it, too. If you're anything like me (a GUARDED analytic and intellectualizing person who resists with all her psychological might the idea of feel-good, oooeygooey, pop psychology vulnerability and inner child fluff), you might be a little skeptical about IFS. If you are stuck in a rut, like I have been, then consider opening the book despite yourself. Actually, not despite yourself - despite your parts. Even if you feel humiliated at times, you'll be able to love yourself and your humiliated part right through the humiliation. And then all you will be left with is your graceful, confident self. IFS is one way of approaching HEALING. Try it on, try it out, try it in - and see if it helps you in some way. It's helping me.

I believe your self will love the fact that you are reading this book. Your self desperately wants you to read this book and do the inner work so you can connect with her, find her, let her be the wonderful leader of your parts that she is. I want you to read this and get in touch with your self. I am at the beginning stages of learning about my self, and I feel so good. I want that for you. I want you to read this book WITH me. You don't have to tell me you're reading it, you don't have to sit and talk over tea with me about it. But, my precious friend, please read it in your own time and in your own way. I am happy for me, and I am so glad for you if you read this. It does require that you set some of your judgments aside in order to access your self, but it's worth it. I cannot tell you how EMPOWERED I feel by this. My self is a joyful self. Sometimes I feel sorrowful and I hide from it and fight it, but I believe my center self is joyful and at peace. I am so relieved. I was starting to think my center was a center of sorrow.

All of my exiles have brought me down and my protectors are trying to protect me. But what about myself? It's there, waiting for me to access it and be led by it. I am totally buying into this, for the moment. I don't care what anyone thinks, right now I'm a believer! My therapist shares in my joy, it's great. I haven't yet begun Chapter 3, I plan to take some time on the first two chapters - thinking about, writing about and exploring my exiles, protectors and (best of all) self. So you still have time to get your book and start reading if you want to read alongside me. Read at your own pace, I stress this. It's not your average book. It's not really reading material, in fact. It's emotional-spiritual work. If you buy this book, think of the process of reading AS therapy. Don't think of it as summer reading, think of it as nutrition (soup, if ya like soup - and I do) for your soul.

I love you and I have every expectation that this will help you bring out your joyful self and improve your life. THIS is the ripple effect. I am passing along a gift that I have been passed. Let's find our selves together. Let's read and find joy. Let's. I will share some of my journey with you on here. Most of it will happen with me, my SELF and I. Most of what I am experiencing during this summer journey will happen privately. I have started journaling. It's been hugely healing just to start. I LOVED writing love letters and journaling in high school but two exiling experiences happened that interrupted that joy - my mother read my journals and punished me severely for what I wrote AND someone I love (someone I am currently in exile from) destroyed my journals. It's been ten years since I have journaled from a place of love, romance, joy, freedom and self-acceptance. 2012 is the year of return.

I just wanted to share with you my good news because you and I are so very good and deserving of joyfulness and joyfulnews. This, whatever this is, is life-transforming. I have hope. I thought it was impossible for me to feel joy even in the midst of terrible circumstances. But now I have hope that it might be possible for me to be okay, for me to maintain my loving and stable self regardless of the circumstances I am in or the circumstances surrounding me. Happy almost-summer! I am not awaiting return, I am returning. EnJOY your night, and talk to you soon.



Kristin Davis said...

Wow, Jess!! I really like this direction you are going in, it's awesome. I'm glad that you are finally seeing how awesome you are. So very glad.

Anonymous said...

love it!
love you!