Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Life Reviewed

For many years, I've wondered how my parent's generation, and the one before them were/are going to deal emotionally with living so long. This is a new thing, so many living well past the age of 80. These two generations have lived such emotionally stoic lives there's a lot of emotional baggage weighing heavily on their backs.

Some professionals in the geriatric field believe many of the unpleasant,"behaviors" we are experiencing from our long-lived old-old elders is directily correlated to whether they have resolved issues from their past. There have been studies done, innumerable studies, on offering empathy,and listening to their stories. Findings lead most to believe it is very beneficial to listen empathetically to the depressed, the disaffected, the disoriented, the demented. By offering an unbiased loving ear (and touch) to these maloriented, unhappy old people, by having their life story listened too, and accepted without judgement or recrimination, they may finally learn to deal with, validate, or, at least understand, their feelings in a way they never have before.

The listener's role during the process is to help guide the old-old toward resolution, and self-acceptance via reviewing/remembering the story of their life. This is accomplished by listening, giving empathy, encouragement, and on occasion, suggesting a new way of looking at a memory or incident from the past.

What I find most fascinating?

Studies have shown how important the listener is. It seems, this process is not very successful if there is no person to person, face to face, eye to eye contact. This isn't something that can be accomplished by writing in a journal, or talking over the phone. For resolution to take place, the physical presence of the listener, their responses, their understanding, and empathy has to be felt by the teller, and, the talking it all out, telling their story is what promotes healing, resolution, and peace.

I am intrigued by these theories. . .

I'm trying to find my place in all of this. I have one, I know I do, I just need to find the beginning point.

I've had several recent meeting with an old-old life-integrated gentleman client of mine. One of whom I've written before.
One recent Friday, he reiterated things he had said to me during one of our first face to face meetings. Although this time he seemed to mainly focus on my left eye, instead of my left hand, as he did at our first meeting. He kept telling me, he could "see things" in my left eye.
I couldn't help thinking about how different my left eye is to my right, and how my left eye will sometimes feel as if it's twitching when I'm very stressed (no outward sign of it--just that internal nervy-jumpy thing), then thinking, "What is it with the left side of the body?"
Anyway, he once again, in an ambiguous sorta way, hit the nail square on the head regarding my own emotional health. He told me I was changing the course of my career and it would be a healing change...

And, just like at the end of our first meeting, he once again, in a soft and loving voice said to me,

"Everything is going to be alright, you're going to be alright."


I seem to be moving forward without knowing I'm do so.


My story isn't over, but when it is over, I want it to end with me knowing I did the best I could. I think we all want that. Some people need a little help getting there.

Life, is what it is. We make it so...


Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

Ain't that the truth! Good to see you Sunny! I love knowing that I'm not the only one seeking. I want to be a listener. xo Always.

plan0 said...

It's amazing how many times we move forward and don't even notice it - often it takes either an outside view or retrospect to see it.

Jonas said...

Yes: "Everything is going to be alright, you're going to be alright."

I know it, too.