Posted by: Marie | June 12, 2012

(647) Things are changing

Post #647
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 1, 2011]

In the days since my last therapy session, I have experienced wave after wave of . . . well, I think it is grief . . . it’s more than sadness, I think it is grief . . . but what would I be grieving? Opportunities missed? Happiness missed? I don’t know.

I do know it has something to do with the last few minutes of the session when Edward made it clear there was as much space as I need for healing and that he is here for the long haul. But, that’s a positive thing . . . something that caused me to feel very connected with and honored by him. So, why are the waves of emotion more about grief?

I don’t know.


Last week, I published a guest post by Jane Rowan. She has written a book that captures her journey of healing from incest – the book was published the end of last year (December 2010).

Going White by Martin Chen

In the excepts from her book that are included on her book’s website, and in her blog, Jane talks about how it took so many years for her to travel her journey of healing. She never meant for it to overwhelm every aspect of her life for such a long time, but it did.

She talks about how her therapist created space for her to remember and feel and cry . . . that much of her session time was spent just sitting and crying. Her therapist was skilled enough to know that Jane needed time for that – time where they were not working to fix or change anything. Jane had never before been given the space and time to do that and it was one of the vital parts of her healing journey.

That allows me to feel better about using so much of my session time to complain and cry . . . maybe that is why Edward often lets me just cry and spew out all the negative thoughts.

In Jane’s guest post (the one published in my blog), Jane also talks about how she experienced both love and abuse from her parents. The existence of the abuse does not take away the value of the love. That really hit home for me . . . especially how difficult it is to separate out those components and love one part and hate the other – discard one part and retain the other.


Once again, I’m pondering the topic of being triggered by exercise . . .

I’m playing with the idea of sustainable change . . . that instead of making dramatic change, I could implement new habits with idea of sustainable change.

I’m realizing I’ve had an all-or-nothing approach . . . I’m either making healthy eating choices or I’m on a binge . . . I’m either exercising four times a week or I’m totally disconnected from the possibility of getting some exercise . . . I’m either doing “well” or I’m doing “badly” (whatever those words mean) . . . and then I have to “start all over again at the beginning” and “do it right”.

What would happen if I allowed myself to keep a foot in each realm? What if I ate well and then allowed myself to binge at bedtime? What if I used the treadmill on Monday but then used my exercise time to lie in bed and watch TV on Tuesday? What if I flossed my teeth but didn’t brush them? Is that okay?

I’m learning that, if I exercise and then don’t allow myself the relief of ice cream afterwards as a way to buffer the intensity of processing the somatic memories that often arise during exercise, it doesn’t work for me. I can stick with that rigidity for a few days – maybe a week or two – then I crash and go on a pure sugar three-week binge where I spend most of my free time under the covers and I struggle to be even minimally functional.

That is not sustainable change.

I think the changes I make could be more sustainable if I allowed myself a checkered compliance with my plan for healthier living. If I burn 200 calories on the treadmill, then consume 1300 calories of ice cream later the same day, the math says I’ll gain weight. But, so what? Even if I gain twenty more pounds before I start seeing results (weight loss), I can let that be okay because it feels like incorporating regular exercise into my daily life would be change that is sustainable.

I might be onto something here . . .


Later this afternoon, my mom and I are driving to southern Colorado – one of my second cousins is getting married tomorrow morning down there. My mom is the only surviving sibling of her family, so it is important to her to attend milestone events in the lives of the grandchildren of her two now-deceased brothers.

I really don’t know my second cousins that well, but it will be an enjoyable trip and I’ll get to see my first cousins at the wedding. And, because we are spending the night with some family members from my dad’s side (my mom and my dad grew up in the same neighborhood and they and their siblings have known each other and have been close since childhood), I’ll get to see some aunts, uncles and cousins from my dad’s side.


Today, my studio’s landlady asked me if I knew of anyone who would like a free acoustic piano — a Wurlitzer upright. Someone gave her a baby grand so she didn’t feel right selling her existing piano. She felt she should give it away (as in “paying it forward”). I told her that I would love to have it, if she felt it was appropriate for me to have it . . .

My new piano

I have two digital keyboards, which have served me well, but an acoustic piano would make my studio a “legitimate” studio . . . I really do need an acoustic piano, but have not had the funds to buy one.

She said it would be perfectly appropriate for me to have it, and she said she is happy that it will get used and loved and cared for. Awesome!!!

I made some phone calls this morning and found out that a professional piano mover (#1 in the area – does all the piano moves for the local university) will move it from her house to the studio – then up the 12-foot flight of stairs and into my studio for $200. That’s a heck of a deal!

So, I’ve scheduled the move for September 9th.

Now, that means I’ll need a bit more space upstairs . . . so I offered to pay another $100/month in rent if the landlady would let me put one of the digital pianos (or maybe my bookcases) out in the big open room. She was happy with that – and it’s still an awesome deal, even at $250/month for rent.

I’m really excited!

And, by the way . . . I’ve calculated that the maximum number of active students I can handle in my teaching schedule is 48 – and I currently have 44 signed up for this fall. That is so amazing . . . my teaching schedule has never been this full before!


  1. I’m interested in your plan for exercise – I also get triggered by exercise and haven’t been able to work with it much. In my case I don’t binge, but I dissociate and need to go to bed for sometimes the rest of the day. It’s a problem. I like the idea of ‘checkered compliance’. Being kind to yourself and soothing yourself as best you can is the way to go I believe. Instead of swinging back and forth between ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

    Interesting how what you really want (a piano) suddenly appears in your life, as if by magic….

    • Hey, Ellen –

      It seems there are so many different things that affect my/our ability to take care of my/our physical body/ies . . . I guess we are pretty complicated creatures!

      I’m really grateful for the piano . . . that was quite a nice gift!

      – Marie

  2. Great to hear your teaching is going well.

    I really like the sound of sustainable change.

    Re mourning. Sometimes we need to mourn old ways of doing things even if they weren’t terribly good for us. They were a big part of our lives and it isn’t easy to let them go. Another possibility that occurred to me was that tears of relief were in there too.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I guess what you are saying about the mourning has to do with the fact we only do something if it “works” for us . . . only if we are getting something out of it. So, it makes sense to mourn the part that worked . . . the part that brought “safety”.

      Thanks for the insight!

      – Marie

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