One of the things about doing the morning pages is that by making myself fill three sheets of paper, I'm digging deeper than usual. By the time I complain about my current job, review my To-Do list, describe the weather, and recount the story about the annoying women in the post office, I still usually have at least a page and a half to fill. So then, unless I want to produce utter drivel for the next 15 minutes, I have to start recording my worries, my fears, my self-criticisms, etc.
Now, having had approximately seven years of therapy over the course of my life, I thought I'd uncovered all the buried negative messages there were to uncover. I was wrong. The other day, as I was nearing the end of my morning pages, a negative statement popped out that stopped me cold.
I was describing my theory about why I tend to be over-responsible. As I've mentioned before, my mother is a woman with a lot of hurt, a lot of damage. And from an early age, I felt that it was my job to make all of that pain better . . . but of course, that would be impossible for anyone to accomplish, let alone a young child. Since I couldn't begin to ease her emotional pain, I decided to do what I could to ease the external circumstances. I became a straight-A student in school and did a lot to help at home. I decided that whenever something wasn't being taken care of, it was my job to see if I could do it.
After I described those feelings, the sentence that popped out was "That's all you're good for."
Let me hasten to explain that neither of my parents ever, ever said such a thing to me. It was my own harsh judgment about myself. The thinking went along the following lines: "I can't make Mom happy, so I'm a failure, and nothing will ever change that. I'll do all this other stuff instead. That's all I'm good for."
The good news is that the minute I wrote that sentence in my journal, I instantly recognized it as a lie and a blasphemy . . . a blasphemy in that we are all made in the image of God and thus have some of the sacred within us. No human should ever be limited by That's all you're good for because we were created for God's own pleasure.
So I continue to be astonished by where The Artist's Way is taking me. Astonished and grateful.