Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting raw, my real deal

It's a ritual. And this is year number five for our Positive Psychology program at UPenn. At the end of the year, we have a Quaker Dinner. This is a dinner where, when the spirit moves you, you get up and share a few words.

These were mine. Reflecting, refracting, and reliving.

I'm incredibly grateful for all the beautiful people in MAPP who helped get me through this year, and those four minutes. A special shout out to my girl, Zuzana Zilkova, who literally held me up on stage.

One of my questions for Positive Psychology was what's the most positive way to suffer? How does one positively lose? So far, what I've discovered, is that you must feel the pain in order to heal. It's inevitably messy and damn uncomfortable - especially for control/achiever freaks like moi. One of the best books I've read on this is Elizabeth Lesser's Broken Open. Elizabeth describes this as the Phoenix Process.

In Elizabeth's book she shares not only her own story, but those of others. She demonstrates the universality of loss. And she goes on to describe while shit happens to ALL of us - we try to hide it from one another, like it's a secret. Quick, get over it, move on, DO. But by hiding the secret of being human - to oneself and to the world, by trying to sweep the pain away, one can miss the most beautiful part of being alive...and that's letting a piece of you die, so that the rest of you can flourish.

After saying my few words, several classmates approached me and thanked me. Wow. For what? I was surprised. But then I realized. This talk was not for me...but maybe for others. Maybe, just maybe, by sharing my secret, I might be helping others live through theirs. And for that chance, I share this magnificently messy moment with you.

Here's to life.

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