I’ve not been an avid television viewer, mostly I like Oprah’s Soulful Sundays, a movie now and again, and the old time programs that take me back to my childhood like The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, and I love Lucy. I am swept back decades as I am in the embrace of mommy and daddy land and all things simple. I sit and watch as the characters are basic, no complicated plots, no bad language, no horror, just a theme of goodness.
Zoom forward–I have been watching the entire HBO series of The Sopranos. What a contrast. The Godfather and all things Italian have forever fascinated me and I have watched and read quite a bit, Chicago girl that I am having grown up with the stories and vivid local realities of Al Capone and the Biograph Theatre incident. The Soprano story is rich and unconventional. I was glad to have a beloved beside me to guide me through–especially the graphic horror scenes–graphic to this girl.
However, the component that I am most invested in centers on Tony Soprano, maybe it is this way for everyone. He is The Boss. He is big and powerful, mean and tender, hateful and yet a complete love all in one body. He enters into a long-term therapeutic relationship with Dr. Malfy. She is smart, strategic, completely human and a bit more sexy than what is typically seen. She is exquisite.
Every now and again, Tony shows up and chides her for the time she has taken him away from his life to do this therapy and he proclaims he is ready to quit, that it has done nothing to change his reality. He delivers a powerful and often threatening message but with a tone of conflict and gentility at the core of it. In a recent episode, he was particularly annoyed about the way in which he feels so insulted at having to look at his own life history, defended to the max! He blasts her for the focus and dialogue and then laments it all–every bit of it. He pours forth with a defensive regret and sadness about who he came into the world to, what his life has been, the path he found himself placed onto and now living. He sees zero in the way of options. And then he minds nothing at all, not one step of what they have been working to achieve–but again defended.
There is a reality for each one of us herein. Our life gifts have indeed been handed to us or shoveled onto our path. Some of it is bright and shiny, soft and tender, and other portions feel like burning hot coals that have come to scorch and ruin us–straight from hell. I get it. I have had these feelings and the bewilderment and anger and loss of hope that accompanies such emotion–it can be halting but what I then come to recognize is that my experience, no matter how dark or sad or awful for me is but an invitation for me to feel the connection to others because, in fact, agony is a thread between us all. While I do not endorse the thinking that misery loves company, there is truth to the practice of compassion and having genuine empathy for one another because each of us has suffered–from something and some point in time, caused by someone…..some person we have trusted.
In our every connection, each and relationship whether it is casual or intimate, business or personal, platonic or romantic, we step into the history of that other person we meet. We look at their successes and shortcomings, their happiness and their sorrow. It becomes our choice to decide to love them through each portion of the history that resides within them. The more years of experience we have, the longer the history. It is my belief and commitment that we can rewrite our story so as to find the grace in every single event that has been our life journey and make it a tool for empowerment. If we allow disappointment to take the lead or allow it to be the lead in another, it compromises our ability to connect deeply and safely and happily.
I find that those I love so deeply come with their scars just as I do. It is important for me to know their stories, to wrap my loving arms around their wounds, and to try and do so somewhat discretely and always with honor and respect for their dignity and the realization that frailties, all of which need to be approached with gentility. With love, we can invite one another to Build the Strength Within and find our best self–and share it.
Let love and comfort inside of every love connection prevail….touch your own heart right now and feel the beat of it. You are alive, you are breathing and feeling and you have capacity…..allow yourself the time and space to get completely healthy in this core part of your life experience. Embrace your history, place a positive and loving perspective into it. Taking these steps is all about Building the Strength that is, indeed, Within you……..