Sunday, February 28, 2010

The real story

My favorite part of Quaker meeting is women's group. There was at one time a men's group as well, but it fizzled. Women's group is going strong for any woman who wants to spend 90 minutes listening and talking.

The time is divided between the number of people who show up, and you each get a turn to speak about whatever is going on in your life. If you want, other people give you feedback.

I'm usually the youngest at 24, and I believe the oldest is in her seventies. It means that whatever stage you, your job, your children, your relationship, or your parents are going through, there's probably someone else who's been through it before.

"I'm addicted to computer games."

"I'm doing great."

"Oh shit, my daughter isn't like I thought she was going to be."

"Sometimes you want to say, 'Do you have to chew like that?'"

"I'm fine as long as I get my 30 mg of Celexa a day."

"If it helps, eleven was the hardest year with my daughter. I would have sold her for a nickel."

"I married my wild oat."

It's such a relief to be able to speak the truth and hear other people's truths. I talk to lots of people every day, do many exchanges of "How are you?" with no real answers. You can't answer "How are you?" with "I'm trying to decide if I should apply to grad school," or "I just read the most amazing poem," or "Fighting back tears, thanks."

How could we do this more widely? How could we make spaces where people can talk about what is really going on with them? I think psychotherapy has its place, but I want something different from that.

No comments: