Posted by: Marie | May 27, 2011

(549) Connecting with people

Post #549
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 8, 2010]

So . . . I decided to speak the truth to my mom about her gift of cash . . .

I feel much braver when I communicate via the written word, so I sent her an email after I got home from the dinner:

Hey, Mom –

Thank you so much for inviting me to dinner tonight – what a treat! I’d never been there before so I really enjoyed the experience!

And, thank you so much for the birthday/Christmas card and gift! I promise I’ll do something really fun with it – I’ll splurge, I promise.

I do want to follow up on our conversation about what you would like for me to use it for . . . I think I didn’t handle it very well. When you asked me to use it to buy a really nice outfit for my holiday performances, I got a really sick feeling in my gut . . . there are few things in this world I hate doing more than shopping for clothes. It is something I do only when my current wardrobe is literally falling apart.

I especially hate shopping for clothes now that I’m so heavy . . . there is nothing like putting on clothes and looking at the outfit with a critical eye, trying to tell myself I look “good” when I believe I don’t look good in any outfit – I come away really depressed and discouraged, especially when I’m trying to find a dressy outfit (when I’m trying to find an outfit that makes me look “really good”). It can put me into a major emotional tailspin that takes days to pull out of. So . . . that is why I backpedaled away from your suggestion – that is not something I’d do as a treat to myself.

Photo by Martin Chen

If it okay with you, I’ll put some thought into what else I might really enjoy using the money for . . . I have a pretty long wish list so it shouldn’t be too hard. The one thing I have been wanting to do that I don’t really NEED to do is to sell the piano I have and buy the next better model so I can have a full bank of pedals (all three) and so the damper pedal will work at half or full depression (my current piano has one pedal and it is either full on or full off). With all the education I’ve been gaining, I’m learning about all the combinations of effects that can be had with the pedals. I think it will cost me between $100 and $150 to upgrade, so your gift would go a long way to making that happen – and that is why that idea was the one that popped into my head as we were talking.

Anyway . . . I really appreciate your gift and I will do something fun with it . . .

I love you!

– Marie

And, here is how she responded . . .

It was a fun night, wasn’t it? Sam [one of the two current business owners] was against the idea of going there and even said not to look for him. But Tom [the other business owner] reminded Sam that “how did he know anything, he had never even been there.” Funny.

You are so welcome. Made my shopping easier. I really don’t care how you splurge!!!! Enjoy that upgrade piano.

You know what—you have your father’s genes. He hated to buy clothes (he rather buy a tool any day). I know he didn’t even know his underwear size and wore socks until they fell off his feet. If clothes felt good, that was all that matter. It had to be a MAJOR event to wear a suit and tie. Just a new pair of carpenter overalls is all he needed. So don’t feel bad about clothes. You always look nice (and smell good) lol

Love you

So . . . that worked out just fine. I’m glad I spoke up.


One of the readers of my blog, Harriet, left a comment this week:

There is a lot of validation in the way [Edward] speaks to you. That must feel good. Does he really say “ouch” that much?

Here is my response:

Hey, Harriet –

Yes, his responses are very validating. He keeps his judgments out of the discussion during the time I’m unloading the shameful, dark, painful stuff. Then, after he has made it very clear it is perfectly acceptable for me to have shared all that, he helps me sort through it and draw my own conclusions around in. Once in a while he’ll insert his opinion, but only strategically so when I need validation for my conclusion.

And, yes, he really does say “ouch” that much . . . usually he has his hand on his heart and is making a sympathetic face at the same time. The first dozen times he did that felt almost patronizing to me. But, I realized that was because I’ve received programming as a child that it is weak to look for and/or accept sympathy. When I was able to shift that programming, I was able to really appreciate (almost enjoy?) the sympathy and empathy he so authentically offers. That, in and of itself, was healing.

– Marie


And finally . . . I sent Edward my usual one-week-prior-to-session status report today:

Hi, Edward –

So, here’s my status report in preparation for next week’s session . . .

I ordered the books you suggested, so I should receive them in the next week or two. I picked up all three volumes to the “Conversations with God” book. It is my intention to start reading the books (and to capture my thoughts about what I am reading) in the four weeks between our Dec 15th and Jan 12th sessions. (I have a very relaxed schedule during those four weeks.)

Since I won’t have time to prepare anything for the Dec 15th session, maybe we can look at my letter to God again, specifically the paragraphs you wanted to revisit for further discussion.

In the wake of our last session, I had an epiphany . . .

I got to wondering why I feel the need to know what you believe in relation to spiritual matters. It is important to me that you keep your beliefs out of our discussion of my beliefs. So, wouldn’t it be preferential for your beliefs to be so absent from our discussion that I don’t even know what they are? If it is so important to me that you not involve your beliefs, why am I pushing so hard to get you to disclose them?

Here is the answer: I am used to having to defend myself against being pushed to believe a certain way. My defensive strategy is to thoroughly understand the belief structure I am resisting so I can filter and argue and dodge and weave the attempts to push my beliefs in a particular direction.

It has recently dawned on me I don’t need to do that with you. If you are slow to disclose your beliefs even when I push you to do so, I can trust you won’t insert them into our discussion when I don’t want you to insert them. So, it is a matter of trust. I am realizing you have earned my trust in this area (and in many other areas). I can relax and let the conversation be exclusively about the development of my belief structure.

And that is another new experience for me – thank you for that!

I’m looking forward to our next session!

– Marie


  1. Hurrah for your mom’s response, giving you positive reinforcement that speaking up for what you need and want is an okay thing to do. People won’t always respond positively, but when they do, it helps to build that experiential memory bank that gives you courage to ask for more and bigger things in your life. I’m really glad you took the risk.

    • Hey, David –

      That is so true . . . and it surprises me that I got that kind of positive reinforcement from my own family!

      – Marie

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