Rev Dr Jude

Let’s Dance!
March 21, 2012, 1:52 am
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The Dance of INTIMACY : A Woman’s Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships
By Harriet G. Lerner, PH.D 1989
In this wonderful book, Dr. Learner emphasizes the importance of making a pictorial representation of the facts of a family system for at least three generations. She asserts that these “anniversaries” in our first family have significant import in understanding ourselves and the cycles we repeat in future relationships.
I gave this book to my mom hoping we would make this genogram or family diagram together. She’s gone now and I regret that the information is lost.
I’m writing this book report at a crisis point in my 60th year of life and hope you my followers and fans will find this info helpful; it is given in love!
Fighting, blaming, silence and distance all protect us from navigating our separateness from one another. “Separateness refers to the preservation of the “I” within the “we” – the ability to acknowledge and respect differences and to achieve authenticity within the context of connectedness. How well we do this within our own kinship group largely determines our capacity for intimacy elsewhere, and influences how well we will manage other relationships throughout our lives.
“This is especially true between mothers and daughters. With our beliefs about ‘women’s place’ shifting so dramatically over the past two decades, it is no surprise that mothers, in particular, may react strongly to their daughters’; declaration of themselves as different from the generations of women who have come before.
“Laying the groundwork from intimacy is such a difficult challenge because what we do ‘naturally’ will naturally take us in the wrong direction…. Our normal and reflexive ways of managing anxiety inevitably lead us to participate in patterns, polarities, and triangles that keep us painfully stuck.
“Intimacy can happen only after we work toward a more solid self, based on a clear understanding of our part in the relationship patterns that keep us stuck.
“It is always important for us to be aware of feelings. Our feelings exist for good reason and so deserve our attention and respect. Even uncomfortable feelings that we might prefer to avoid, such as anger and depression, may serve to preserve the dignity and integrity of the self. They signal a problem, remind us that business cannot continue as usual, and ultimately speak to the necessity for change. But as I explained in The Dance of Anger, venting feelings does not necessarily solve the problem causing us pain.
“Venting our feelings may clear (or muddy) the air, and may leave us feeling better (or worse). When we live in close quarters with someone, strong emotional exchanges are just a predictable part of the picture and it’s nice to know that our relationships can survive or even be enhanced by them. But venting feelings, in and of itself, will not change the relationship dances that block real intimacy and get us into trouble. In stuck relationships, venting feelings may only rigidify old patterns, ensuring that change will not occur.
“In some instances, a passionate display of intensity is a turning point, even in a stuck relationship, because it indicates to ourselves and others that we “really mean it.” It is part of a process in which we move toward clarifying the limits of what is acceptable and what is not. But just as frequently the opposite is true; reactivity serves to ‘let off steam,’ following which things will continue as usual. Reactivity and intensity often breed more of the same. When it becomes chronic, reactivity blocks self focus, which is the only foundation on which an intimate relationship can be built.
“Every courageous act of change… requires a move toward greater selfhood or self-focus….. We need to understand, however, that self-focus does not mean self-blame. It does not mean that we view our selves as the ‘cause’ of our problems, or that we view our struggles as being isolated from the broader context of family and culture. It certainly does not mean that we remain silent in the face of discrimination, unfairness, and injustice.
“Self-focus requires more than an appreciation of the fact that we cannot change the other person and that doing so is not our job. It also requires a transformation of consciousness, a different world view from what comes naturally. I refer here to the challenge of truly appreciating how little we can know about human behavior and how impossible it is to be an expert on the other person…. We cannot know how and when another person is ready to work on something and how she or he (and others) will tolerate the consequences of change.
“Slowly moving toward more connectedness rather than more distance with members of our own kinship group is one of the best insurance policies for bringing a more solid self to other relationships.
“Paradoxically, we cannot navigate clearly within a relationship unless we can live without it. For women, this presents an obvious dilemma. Only a small minority of us have been encouraged to put our primary energy into formulating a life plan that neither requires nor excludes marriage.
“The real issue is that the role of homemaker places many women in a position of profound economic vulnerability.
“Intimate relationships cannot substitute for a life plan. But to have any meaning or viability at all, a life plan must include intimate relationships.
“Because of our condition of inequality, it is easy to feel powerless and to view women as ineffective agents of change. But, as we are learning, nothing could be further from the truth.”

2 performances 47 years apart
March 15, 2012, 11:11 pm
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