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boundary experiences, Part 1

December 16, 2010

boundary: the line or plane indicating the limit or extent of something.

Most of us won’t admit that we are control freaks.  That is, we won’t admit it until something significant has been taken from us.  We all have calenders and systems of organizing things.  All is cool as long as things stay cool.  The thing is, things don’t always stay cool.  Life sways from positive to negative with seeming impartiality.   Despair deflates dreams and death steals life.  Its in the moments of the tragic, negative sway that we burst out to hold on to something, anything.

Death is the ultimate uncontrollable factor.  As mere humans we can’t control when it happens and we can’t reverse it’s consequences.  For many, death brings us to a place of lonely mystery- a place well beyond the designated boundaries.  To not feel the weight, the grief of a loved one’s death is unnatural.  What is fascinating is that guilt is often attached to our grief. Whether its something we did or something we could have done, most of us hold on to something.

Soldiers coming back from Iraq with survivor’s guilt, ER doctors feeling like they could have done more, a grandson attending his grandmother’s funeral and realizing he always pitied her.  We latch on to something to make us feel like we could have done something.  That maybe life wouldn’t be so tragic if a different path was chosen.

“The sentiment that ‘one should have done something more’ reflects, it seems to me, an underlying wish to control the uncontrollable.  After all, if on is guilty about not having done something that one should have done, then it follows that there is something that could have been done- a comforting thought that decoys us from our pathetic helplessness in the face of death.”

In what ways do you deal with significant loss that rattles your core?.  It doesn’t have to be a death, it might be a shattered dream or an intimate betrayal.  In what ways have you positively and negatively handled the situation?  How have you tried to take back the control in such an uncontrollable matter?

Quote taken from Loves Executioner by Dr. Yalom (pg 149)

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