I’ve committed a grievous sin against book and book-lover. Forgive me!
This book is only one week old and already, it’s marked up, highlighted, and has colorful post-it arrows sticking out the top.
Oh, woe is me!
I don’t like marking up my books. It makes them look old, used and trashy.
Or … maybe I should change my mindset to… read, loved and learned-from. Not good English but it makes good sense! lol
Also, I’m gushing about it to anyone who will listen. In fact, a day after I started reading, I wrote about it here. I promised I’d come back and write about the book… and here I am!
Today, I had actually planned on writing about something else… but dang… I couldn’t do it. I MUST write about this book! Today!
Back in Control by David Hanscom MD is another of my mother’s recommendations. She’s such a smartypants, that mother o’ mine.
As I so often do, I shall digress for a moment to tell you about someone and something that happened several months ago… because it ties in beautifully.
The “someone” is named Katherine. We’ve known each other for years but were not close friends. She actually knew my husband before she knew me.
Late last summer, we met for a chat in my living room, just the two of us. We met a few times after that, as well. We talked about all kinds of stuff… life and love and all that jazz. In the course of our conversation, I told her about my comfort book and another notebook… one I don’t share with many people. Strike that. I’ve never shared it with anyone besides my husband. The fact that I would bring it out to show her was quite unusual, even for me, Miss Blabby-Spill-Yer-Guts. I now believe that it happened for a reason. Well, duh, you’re thinking. Quite right! lol
The notebook held everything that could be written about my life. No, seriously.
With the help of therapists and self-help books, I had written out every memory… some in chronological order… some in graphs and charts… some in journal form.
I had bullet points (no kidding!) of what I remembered from the early years of my first marriage to the end, twenty years later. I’d made forms to fill out after each therapy visit… and for several years, filled those darned things out. I had questionnaires from magazines. I had dreams and plans and goals for years … and years … in there.
When I say everything, I mean EVERYthing.
It was very important (to me) that I document my life. And so I did. In graphic detail.
I showed the notebook to Katherine. I still don’t know why I did it. Looking back… serendipity, I think.
She looked thoughtful. And then she said, “Why do you keep it?”
And I was like… in shock… because… this notebook is something special, right? It’s my whole life! It’s THAT important. Right? Right?
Her face was kind, her eyes warm… and there was no judgement.
She said, “You don’t need to answer me. Just think about it.”
Which is what I did… for about three weeks.
And then I ceremoniously shredded the contents of that notebook. And let me tell you what happened.
I felt like I had let go of a heavy burden. I felt lighter. I FELT FREE.
I wrote to Katherine and told her about it… and she was happy for me.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. My mom told me about this book. She was gushing, like I am to you. She mentioned only one specific thing… it’s the MOST IMPORTANT exercise in the book:
You write things… and then rip them up and put them into the garbage immediately.
I was horrified. Rip them up? Garbage? Are you kidding? Why?
A few moments later, I thought of Katherine. And suddenly, her wise question and this book written by a doctor were inextricably tied.
So, why rip the pages up and throw them away? Ah, friends, therein lies the magic.
It is about letting go. Glorious, life-changing LETTING GO.
There is a time and place for journals and art and poems and things. When it comes to my healing – this is not that time.
This is the time for me to let go of the weights that drag me down – figuratively and literally.
There is so much more to the book, of course. I haven’t even told you it’s about finding your way out of chronic pain. It almost doesn’t matter what it’s about… because this process of writing and then letting it go can work for anything that ails you. I already know it works. Katherine taught me that.