Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Julie Andrews Had It Right

So, we all can sing along to the annoying song.  To many of us, it sounds trite, saccharine-sweet, and a bit oversimplistic in the idea that thinking of whiskers on kittens and warm apple strudel can make everything in life better.

Then again, warm apple strudel...

No, food is not the answer.  (Or at least, not the only answer.)  But the concept of thinking of, and connecting with our favorite things, does have merit.

When we've been disconnected with our own souls, after a crazy relationship or a horrible job experience or terrible trauma, how do we rebuild those bridges, and rediscover the inner person we used to be?  Of course whatever we've gone through has changed us forever, but we are more than victims, more than survivors.

Our True Selves are a mix of the current person who's emotionally bruised and shell-shocked, the person we used to be, and of the dreams for our future we perhaps assumed were dead, but were only deeply asleep.  We can be whole, thriving, integrated and vital human beings once again.  And if we never were before, we can still become those people.

"My Favorite Things" suggests reaffirming a physical, sensual, tactile connection with things we once loved.  Haven't we spent enough time thinking and re-thinking and re-enacting every painful moment in our heads?  Playing the "what-if" game in which we invariably judge that we could have/should have done something different?  We can spend the rest of our lives churning things over in our heads, and still not figure it all out.

Maybe we need to spend some time watching kittens or puppies play, or to cuddle them and let their whiskers and rough tongues brush against our cheek.  To catch our breaths in wonder as we watch geese fly in a moonlit sky, or to enjoy the suspense of guessing what might be in a "brown paper package tied up with string."

I know for those who've been involved with OCPD, lists may seem dangerous.  But just for the fun of it,  see if you can list at least five things for each of the five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) that make you feel happy, contented, and connected to the world in a good way.

There might be crossover sensations - that warm apple strudel wafts the enticing odor of apples, cinnamon, pastry into the room; the heat of it in your mouth is a touch sensation, and the delicious taste on your tongue yet another.  Or an expert massage, which combines the sensuality of being touched, of tension leaving tight muscles, with relaxing background music, and the spicy or soothing scent of the massage oil.

And then there's the things you like to do.  Do you like to curl up in a warm blanket in a window nook on a stormy afternoon, watching the rain and sipping tea?  Sit at your computer and design iPhone applications into the wee hours?  Lace up your running shoes and go for a brisk jog on frosty mornings?  Prop your feet on the coffee table, and sing along to The Sound of Music for the umpteenth time, with a box of Kleenex by your side?

No matter how poor or sick or hurt you are, you can still smell the roses - or jasmine, if you prefer.  (If your smeller's broken, you can still enjoy the sight of them.) Or check out a book from the library.  You don't need money to have a good time, though spending money on a fun activity has its place, too.

You can't cram everything you like to do into one day, one month, or even a year.  But what you can do, mindfully, is do at least one thing every day, that you have chosen to do, for yourself, that you enjoy.  Something that is just for you.  Friends and family are all very well in their place, but this is about your journey back to yourself.

Ideally, choose something that connects you with the physical: something you listen to, look at, inhale, feel, taste.  One of your favorite things.  (Just beware of that apple strudel, it can be addictive!)