Monday, July 09, 2007

Radical Acceptance - the book

I got the book from the library, by Tara Brach, the author of the YJ article I mentioned the other day about fear. I started reading it last night, and like the article, just about every sentence is hitting home. It is amazing, I finally found something that SPEAKS to me again. And wouldn’t you know, it’s Buddhism, again. The author brings Buddhist acceptance to our crazy, sick, Western lives. I am looking forward to reading more, and perhaps learning some techniques that will help me experience real acceptance. Because lately I’ve been trying to do it, but it’s not getting any farther than my head. I can say it in my head, but I don’t feel it somatically. And really it has been amounting to a little bit of flailing about, a little directionlessness, a little lack of self-discipline, which is actually creating some anxiety and fear (you know, of being out of control). Brach talks about finding ways to connect with your inner goodness, and once I do that, I can live from that place, and I won’t want to be doing all these harmful things that I’m doing to myself right now, like eating crap and wasting time fiddling around.

But there’s a paradox here I’m struggling with – she’s saying that our feelings of not being good enough stem from our culture of always having to acheive, to get approval, to improve, to be better (than we are, than other people). And here I am, working on a list of GOALS. Here I’ve written out, plain as day, things I don’t like about my life and myself and want to change. How to reconcile that with loving myself as I am?

And the whole idea of loving myself is another complicated thing – especially because I’m still learning what love really is. I try to imagine feeling about myself the way I feel about those kids I babysit, and, well, I can’t imagine it. I have a hard time even feeling that unconditional about my best friends! That difficulty has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with my insecurities, I know that. It is hard to really want the best for someone when you are jealous of them. And since I have let go of my jealousy of those kids, I really can love them better. It is a process. Perhaps my friends are next. As for loving myself, well, i want to learn. Maybe this book will help me begin to imagine it.

I emailed 2 therapists today.

Both were out of Toronto. I found them on psychology today’s website.
It’s actually a great directory because each therapist is listed with their own description of what they do, what their specialties are, usually a picture, fees, insurance coverage, type of therapy etc. Basically everything you would want to know before you called them.

the first one I emailed was a group practice. I figured they’d be flexible enough to find me what I needed, which is always different than your standard therapy.

The second one was a very interesting woman, with a kind-looking picture, who is influenced by Buddhism and Integral Theory, among other things. Basically she sounds like she is exactly what I need, she’s going to understand what the heck I am talking about when I say my difficulties are my spiritual journey. She’d be able to help me use Buddhism even more to improve my experiences in life. She’s also very focused on shame and feelings of unworthiness, and well, so am I! So I really hope she gets back to me, and that I can work something out with her. She’s not a clinical psychologist, so she probably won’t be covered by ODSP, but she’s got a sliding scale, and I’ll probably be able to arrange at least some meetings with her on the days that I see Dr. Saul in Toronto, so some of the transporation costs will be covered. Finding her may just be one of those great turning points. I have high hopes!

I made the call

I called the community mental health clinic regional eating disorders program to refer myself for help. I just got an answering machine so I left my name and number. That’s two steps done (i.e. admitting I have a problem and asking for help.) I also emailed two therapists in Toronto to discuss getting therapy from them, for my other “issues” as well. Yay me.

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