The companion essay to Episode #7 on the Remember When...? Podcast.
Healer, heal thyself!
By Jack Elliott
Episode 7 Remember When…?
“Help yourself in the same way that you help those you are responsible for helping.”
This is the Second rule in Dr. Jordan B. Paterson’s book `12 Rules for Life.. I get it!
The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, forever changed the lives of those of us that were alive to be a witness to it. While 9/11 was hard, the days following in many cases were harder. We were in shock, and we were transcending the consequences of surviving a trauma. On 9/12, 9/13, and for the days of the next two weeks, I put my feelings aside and put my focus on caring for the employees of Artesyn Technology. I was their HR Director. I stayed out of my office and walked the floors. I checked in daily to observe how others were doing. I never noticed that I was not returning to my office for more than five minutes at a time. I failed to see my own need for human connection. I was asking the question: “Are you doing okay?” Wishing, hoping, dare I say needing someone to ask me the same question., but no one did.
Each Friday evening, during that September, I found myself driving home, pulling into the garage, stripping my clothes off, letting them fall where they may, as I made my way to the bedroom. From 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, to 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, I stayed under the covers. I didn’t eat. I didn’t call anyone. I slept. For the first time in my life, I was dealing with depression. Being who I am, once I realized what was going on, I sought help. I went to therapy. My work habits concerned me; but my Friday evening habits scared me.
In my first therapy session, Dr. Jon Owens asked me a very basic question: “What typically happens in your life, on a Friday evening? You know, before the terrorist attacks?”
There it was. The catalyst for my despair. For the previous decade, every other Friday evening (after work) would find me circling the arrival concourse at Oakland International Airport. My partner of serval years would be flying in, and I would be there to pick him up. He was a career Navy guy. However, his rank and years of seniority had him stateside for most of his career. He was never more than an hour or two away from Oakland by plane. However, now we were at war.
Because of his security clearance and his rank, he was air lifted from his current assignment to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. This ship is a nuclear aircraft carrier, and it was quickly a on its way to the Prussian Gulf. And, because of Don’t Ask, don’t Tell, our communication with one another abruptly ended.
I could not communicate with him, nor could he communicate with me. It would be six months before I would hear from him, see him, or touch him.
Dr. Owens offered: “Okay. Step one. Change the pattern.”. He advised me to avoid going directly home on a Friday evening. So, I diverted my route and headed to my favorite Barnes & Noble’s Book Store. I would arrive at 6:30 p.m., grab a couple of books or periodicals and head for their coffee shop.
This simple change altered my mood. By closing time, I was ready to go home. And while I went straight to bed, I found myself getting up early on Saturday and making it a productive day. I found that I could once again, go into my office and be there, alone, for longer periods of time. Soon, I found myself going to Barnes and Noble’s for only an hour or so, but I kept it up until he returned home.
I had to care for myself in the same way that I was caring for the employees that worked for Artesyn.
I was sharing this story with a dear friend and he reminded me of a sermon that I had given one Sunday. The sermon was called: “The Waterfall.” In that sermon I asked the congregants to remember this: to make any change, that change begins with one little step. I told them, what Dr. Owns told me: “If you want to change the direction of a water fall, all you have to do is move one rock.” - Rev. Jack
Note: During Episode #7, Kiki and I share a prayer. We encouraged listeners to print the following prayer and to read it aloud at least once a day for 21 days. Dear readers, we invite you to do the same. Once you commence this activity, notice what you notice and think about why you noticed that observation.
We encourage you to share your thoughts, questions, and feedback in the comments section below this essay.
My Life, My Way. This is My Legacy.
My Intention is to treat myself with the same love, compassion, empathy and understanding, that I bestow upon others. This is my prayer for my highest and best.
I am worthy and I deserve all good. Not some, not a little bit, but all good. I now move past all negative restricting thoughts.
I release and let go of any limitations held by my parents, my children, my ancestors, my family or friends. I love them, I bless them and I go beyond their negative opinions and limiting beliefs. I am not bound by any of the fears or prejudices of the current society I live in. I no longer identify with limitations of any kind.
I take dominion of my life, right here; right now! In my mind I have total freedom. I now move into a new space of consciousness, where I am willing to see myself differently. I am willing to create new thoughts about myself and about my life. My new thinking becomes new experiences.
I now accept and affirm that I am at one with the Prospering Power of the Universe. As such, I now prosper in a number of ways. The totality of possibilities lies before me. I deserve life, a good life. I deserve love, an abundance of love. I deserve good health. I deserve to live comfortably and to prosper. I deserve joy and happiness; I deserve freedom to be all that I can be. I deserve more than that. I deserve all good.
The Universe is more than willing to manifest my intention to live my life, my way; for my mway, is God’s way. This is my time; my calling; and my legacy. And I accept this abundant life with joy, pleasure, and gratitude, for I am deserving. I accept it; I know it to be true.
And so it is!!!
Note: The affirmative prayer above was inspired by the Deservability Prayer offered in 2022 to the congregants of Heart and Soul Center of Light. We have re-imagined this prayer to serve us in 2023 and beyond. Thank you Heart and Soul.