Christmas is all about looking back, at our memories, and Halle Berry just did a CNN interview (aired Christmas Eve) about her abusive household and how "abuse runs in my family" as she told the interviewer. It's important to her to let women know that if you are in an abusive relationship "get out, just go. anywhere, to a neighbor or friend, to a shelter, anywhere" and so she helps out at a women's shelter and shows up unnanounced to volunteer with the kids and the women to give them hope and strength. And of course she talked about her own need to be strong, that she is still "healing" from these memories and that much of her current life is a reaction to these memories.
In The Nine Rooms we call such memories "screen memories' since Freud found his patients would screen or filter their entire life's events through the childhood traumas and pain that were unforgettable, and we think they are like movie memories playing in technicolor in the screen of the brain. Catherine would tell patients that it's important to revisit them, the way Halle is "healing" through her work for the shelter and other women, and that this is called "re-metabolizing" the memories or processing them anew, from a mature standpoint and understanding that perhaps things could be different now if you choose not to participate in the dynamic of the relationship that is causing you harm. It's a choice and she is urging women to choose to leave. The point is that once you make such a decision, you pack those memories away in the basement and return to the rest of your emotional house and live your life today. Now is it, we'd offer as our "takeaway" pearl and if you carry the past as baggage with you it can weigh you down. So get back to the house and enjoy life today. Which brings us to the future, or the New Year.
In the week between Christmas and NEw Year it's a wrenching time of expectations and hoping to please the right person with the just the right gift and then you have to turn a corner and launch into the brand new year, with the hopes and dreams of your future one step away from happening. You literally wake up and it's tomorrow and you failed to think about what it is you want and expect and hope to accomplish (no, a drunken resolution at 11:35 the night of New Years Eve doesn't count).
I'd toast women who are reinventing themselves in this moment: Sandra Bullock, from married to a jerk , to a mommy with a production company and new love in her life (who is about three feet tall and adorably cuddly). Also Gwyneth Paltrow, who emerged from the aloof recesses of a sequestered star life into the limelight, singing and dancing on Glee and putting herself out there as a double threat in COuntry Strong. No porcelain breakable diva here, she is literally having the time of her life, and 2011 will see the publication of her first cookbook and more movies and music to come.
The key process in this room, of moving ahead and finding meaning in your work and your relationships and your life is something we call: Not to decide is to decide. Meaning if you are unhappy in any part of your life, move ahead, be fearless, and take the leap. If you don't your decision is, to stay. To be stuck and then we would warn you that you are indeed deciding to like it rather than lump it. The takeaway here is a little pearl we call: Go or grow. Meaning go along with the status quo (job sucks, relationship unfulfilling, life kind of blah) or grow and become the person you want to be. If Gwyneth can sing, we would ask, what can you do? And what are you waiting for? Make 2011 the year you find out.