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.