Monday, March 28, 2011

Unfinished Business

I had a good cry in my papasan chair Friday afternoon. (Best chair ever. It’s a cradleing wonder.) I cried because I was feeling stuck and I kept hearing “Stuck in a Moment” by U2 in my head:

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

‘Oh you’re sooo wrong, Mr. Bono. Later WILL be better,’ I argued.

I never thought you were a fool
But darling, look at you. Ooh.
You gotta stand up straight, carry your own weight
‘Cause tears are going nowhere baby

‘Shut up! Tears seem like a really good strategy right now because I don’t know what else to do!’

And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It’s just a moment
This time will pass

‘Wait…you mean this is just a moment? I don’t have to think about and solve every future moment right now?’

I sat with that question for a moment. I wondered how to push through the stuck without ignoring it. I remembered a book I bought months ago called “Unfinished Business.” The author, Lee Kravitz, at age 54, lost his job as editor of “Parade” magazine and spent the following year doing what Gail Sheehy said in a recent column about the book, some “emotional rehab.” Kravitz reconnected with people from his past, people he had largely forgotten or dismissed because he’d become so busy with his career. In doing so, he found compassion for himself and for others, and discovered the essential need we all have for human connectedness.

Sitting in the papasan, eyes dried, I started reading “Unfinished Business.”

“It isn’t the easy tasks that become our unfinished business; it’s the hard ones, the ones we are most afraid to face…

“The items on my list of unfinished business were linked to my deepest feelings of helplessness, disappointment and fear. It’s ironic: We consign our most essential business to the bottom of our to-do list because we lack the time and energy to do the things that matter most in our lives. It makes sense: The most important things take the most time and energy and we have only so much time and energy in a day. You let things slide. But…if one can attend to these things, great rewards will follow."

If one can attend to those things… I read that line several times and realized that one of my pieces of unfinished business is reconnecting with myself. I’ve struggled with journaling – both my food and emotional life – because I’ve been reluctant to find out what’s driving me to distraction and to examine some old habits I keep perpetuating. This “essential business,” that which would help me become a more compassionate person not only to myself but others, is what I’ve put at the bottom of my to-do list.

I remembered listening to an interview with Kravitz on Radio Times (click here to listen to it) and how he’d mentioned a toolkit he’d put together for others to address their unfinished business. I closed the book and went to the website, My Unfinished Business and found the toolkit:

“Addressing your unfinished business is a five-step process. It involves:

1. Identifying the unfinished business that gnaws at you
2. Confronting the fears at its root
3. Reaching out to the person(s) you wronged
4. Making amends
5. Reflecting on the experience

“Each of these five steps is important to the process. Unless you face your fears, it will be difficult for you to reach out to the person you’ve wronged. Unless you reach out to the person, you can’t make amends.

“It is through reflection that you learn the lessons that will help you refine your conscience and continue making a heart-felt commitment to acting in accordance with your most deeply held ideals."

I took a look at the worksheets and I think most of them can be adapted for reconnecting with myself. I’ve printed them out and starting today, I am going to focus on what’s driving me to distraction. It’s time to address those moments I feel stuck in, the ones that in time will pass, but they’ll pass with greater clarity if I take care of my unfinished business.

8 comments:

  1. Our road to self discovery never ends does, it unless we want it to ...and I never want it to. This sounds like the perfect place for you to be. Isn't it an amazing feeling when you find what you need to be doing.
    I felt a little like that my first week blogging, like a lightbulb had switched on for me and I knew where I needed to be.
    Lovely post
    Dawn

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  2. I'm sorry you are going through some tough times.

    I hope you are in a good place and exactly where you need to be, though.

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  3. Thank you for this. You have no idea how much help reading this is to me right now.

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  4. Hi Lynn,
    Hang in there. Tears are a good thing - let them flow when they need to come...scream too if that helps. I've found a lot of clarity on the other side of tears.

    It's hard to let our defenses (or distractions) go long enough to feel what we really need to feel, but the answers await. It may take a while to find them, but please be gentle with yourself in the process.

    Take good care,
    Meliss

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  5. I like your realization that you don't have to solve everything now...why do we do that to ourselves, putting so much on our proverbial plates?

    Hope you find peace with your unfinished business. Hugs!

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  6. Oh those papasan chairs are just right for a good cry! I want to get one right now!

    You'll be in my prayers and thoughts tonight Lynn.

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  7. Sorry right now is tough, but I think posts like this show you are definitely at least somewhat in touch with yourself. You'll get there. You have achieved so much, you can do anything you set your mind to. And remember it's about progress, not perfection. ;-)

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  8. Lynn, this is a beautiful post and thanks for sharing your own journey to self-discovery. Now the U2 song will be stuck in my head, inspiring me all night. :)

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