Yesterday, George — my EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist — and I discussed (among other things) the games of life you have to play if you’re working for a big bureaucracy, like a teaching hospital in Boston.
Immediately before that therapy session, I had snapped a few photos of the games I saw in the waiting room outside of George’s office:
I particularly noted the building block game Jenga, since George uses Jenga as a metaphor for how EMDR works: picking out old traumatic memories until an unhelpful, outdated, and intricate system of beliefs about oneself and the world …. collapses.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game of Jenga, here is the cast of the film musical “Annie” playing with a giant Jenga set on The Ellen DeGeneres Show:
For the past month, George and I have been trying to remove the building block of a particularly traumatic memory — a doctor calling me a spoiled brat at age 10 when I requested relief for excruciating pain I had after surgery and then leaving me alone, with my pain, in a hospital room.
Last week, I wrote a blog post about George’s suggestion of transforming the effects of that old memory by bringing in a group of helpful, supportive people (including WordPress readers) to revisit that long-ago hospital room and encounter that doctor in new ways.
This transformation, which we worked on yesterday, included:
- The mother from Terms of Endearment (played by Shirley MacLaine) yelling at the doctor about the pain I was in,
- Jackie Chan grabbing an I.V. pole in the hospital room, twirling it around, and bashing the doctor in the stomach, and
- My current cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, telling the doctor he’d better believe me about the pain and take care of things STAT, or his career as a pediatrician was over.
When it came time, yesterday, to forgive that doctor for what he did to me 52 years ago, I had to bring in some big guns, including
They all helped me hear and take in that doctor’s long overdue apology.
Here‘s jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, with a song from the wonderful album School Days:
I recommend playing “Life is Just a Game ” as a musical accompaniment to some other images I game-fully captured, yesterday — before and after George, I, and a supporting cast of dozens schooled and otherwise re-encountered that doctor from long ago:
What games of life are standing out for you? Feel free to play with me, here and now, in a comment below.
Game-of-life-changing thanks to George, Ellen, Shirley, Jackie, Dr. Salem, Val, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Gandhi, Stanley Clarke, people who heal in groups, and everybody else who helped me revisit that old hospital room, yesterday. And special thanks to you — of course! — for playing the Game of Life as best you can, today.