Dear Bears and Samahria,
Thank you very much for an exceptional experience at the Option Institute. Your staff and the two of you have made a stunning impact on my life. It has only been ten days since the last class, but I already know that I’ve shifted the way I perceive the reactions I have to troubling incidents in my life.
As you know, I came to the option Institute because of the loss of my husband and through encouragement from close friends Tifani and George Wells, and our mutual friends Wally and Marilyn Olson, who attended a Happiness Option Weekend last year. They were right to encourage me. I am in general a very positive, happy person. Some tend to call me a “Pollyanna.” I lost that perspective when my dear Rick passed away: we had had an exceptionally close relationship and many looked up to us as an example of how marriage could be. That to me is interesting because Rick and I had to work hard to keep it balanced and many people think that “true love” needs very little work to be sustained. You probably got insight into that, Bears, when I blurted out that I had been married to two angry men. That was a watershed moment for me because I never acknowledged out loud that I struggled with Rick’s anger problems. The greatest issue for me I discovered during the week with you is that I still considered myself married even though Rick had died in February 2005.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve discovered how powerful the Option constructs are. I brought back with me the 12-set CD collection and the Power Dialogues book. I have been listening to the CDS as I drive and have been reading before I go to bed at night. The result is that I have tools now to deal with my moments of distress, and the dialogue tools diffuse my anxiety in very short order.
My youngest son left on August 5 for one year to live and teach in Japan. I missed his call before he boarded the plane. My first reaction was to become anxious. I asked myself what were my beliefs that caused me to feel this way. I realized two: that I thought I’d never see him again and that he needed to speak with his mother last because somehow that would give him a magic spell that would keep him safe. As I figured each of these beliefs out, I threw them “out the window.” The resulting response is that I’m happy that he is having this most exciting opportunity. This morning I spoke with him and, of course, he’s fine.
Last Thursday night as I was getting ready for bed, I found myself spiraling down into depression. I asked myself the same question. By taking each answer and noting what I’ve been doing to restructure my lifestyle, I realized that I am negotiating through this new life of mine actually very well. That assessment includes coming to the Option Institute. In less than 10 Minutes, the depression lifted and I was able to go to sleep without nightmares and without fitful interruptions.
Your discussion, Bears, about ontology and epistemology is interesting to me. When you explained that all belief is left-brained and logical, it was a “light bulb” moment for me. I never considered that. I guess I thought that at least some of belief is ontological, but it isn’t! As a visual artist, I tend to search for the essence of things and think that truth, as I know it, is innate. Well, now I realize that I choose my truths and this gives me a real sense of freedom and power.
I’ve made what I think is an interesting link. In my studies, I had latched on to Wittgenstein’s “language games” theory—specifically that people change the game in conversation and often do not let the other person know that they have. This consequently causes misinterpretation and difficulty between people. I like Wittgenstein’s view of dialogue and it seems to mesh with yours. People’s motivations are personal constructs that others cannot fully know. So, as you have said, we are our own best experts. I like that.
Samahria, your directed meditation placing us in a perfect spot for ourselves, meeting our perfect partner, and then later seeing our present partner was perhaps one of the most enlightening moments I had. It is the moment I realized that I had continued for a year and a half to consider myself married even though I wasn’t anymore, because I saw my deceased husband as my present mate. That moment felt like I had thrown cold water in my own face. An important side result of this was my decision, really, to sell my home and find my ideal space. (I have been toying with this for 6 months at least. You’re right. “Maybe” is a”no!”) I am actively looking for a smaller house with some, if not all, of the features I visualized. I realized that I don’t have to settle for something that doesn’t suit me. I thank you for that. I feel like I’ve unlocked the shackles I place on my own wrists.
All of the people who facilitated our classes helped me find another piece of my personal puzzle. I also had a most helpful dialog with Beverly. As you may know, I’ve signed up to come back next year for one of the Happiness Option Weekends and then for Exceptional Woman. I look forward to it. I will come back because I never, ever want to forget what you have taught me. The Universe is benevolent. Thank you so much for reminding me of that.
Barbara J. Hauck