This week’s share is something that came up for me this week watching the Netflix Series, Virgin River. Virgin River is about a big city nurse, Mel, recently widowed, who leaves her home town of Los Angelas to become a mid wife for a small town in the redwoods of northern California. She’s escaping the pain from her past where she meets Jack, another person who’s also plagued with past demons, along with some other great characters.
Similar to This Is Us, Virgin River always has a way of tugging at my emotional heart strings. Today’s share is a conversation between Mel and Jack that really affected me.
If you’re interested in watching this scene it’s Season 2: Episode 6 38:00 minutes in.
Let’s set the background.
Jack is struggling with the guilt he holds by losing a member of his platoon during the war. He was in command and the fact that he wasn’t able to bring everyone back continues to haunt him. As the pain inside him becomes overwhelming, he plans to release that negative energy by taking a kayak down some treacherous rapids. One of his friends tries to change his mind and when he finds he can’t do it, calls Mel. Mel hurries to Jack and instead of arguing with him, decides, she will go with him instead. Her reasoning, if it’s safe for him, it’s safe for her. She holds her ground that she’s going when he says no and gives him the option to either let her go or not go himself. He chooses the later.
The scene is the two of them sitting in silence before he finally opens up and becomes vulnerable with what he’s been struggling with.
Mel: “You know, when Mark died and I lost my baby, I didn’t care if I lived or died. I’m sorry. I wish I knew how to help you.”
Jack: “Someone was missing from the reunion. He didn’t make it back. And it was my fault. It was my job to make sure my guys came back alive.”
Mel: “Jack, you know that’s an impossible standard to hold yourself too. People die in war.”
Jack: “Mel if I can’t keep a grown man safe, then how am I supposed to protect a helpless infant? No I’m sorry. Make that two helpless infants?”
Mel: “You are the strongest, most responsible man I know. I mean look at how you devoted yourself to taking care of this town. If anyone is fit to be a father, it’s you.”
Jack: “I don’t trust myself.”
Mel: “You know down there I was going to go with you. I was completely willing to trust you with my life.”
Jack: “Oh please. You know I’d never put you in danger.”
Mel: “I know. You just made my point.”
Weirdness Journal/Consciously Awakening
In my 8 Week Awakening course with Tommy Rosen one of our Love Missions (assignments) was to stay consciously aware throughout the day and to find connections between what happens to us. The reason being, is when when we open our consciousness to what’s around us, we see things the universe wants us to see. So, once again, bear with my round about thinking as I explain the weirdness with this scene in Virgin River and what’s happened to me the last couple of days.
On Monday I was driving home from work listening to a webinar with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroscientist who suffered a brain hemorrhage and stroke who, after 8 years of recovery, gave a TedTalk about her experience and wrote a book titled My Stroke of Insight. I had talked about her work and my personal experience four years ago in my blog Joy, Enlightenment, and a Spiritual Awakening.
I was quite excited when received the email on Monday with a link to listen to her webinar. I hadn’t heard much about her and was curious to find out if she’d done more research on the brain. Yes she did! She has a new book coming out next month, Whole Brain Living, which is an extension on her research about how the brain works.
I’m looking forward to reading the book and can give you a general synapsis of what it’s about. In Jill’s first book, she describes that we have two hemispheres in our brain. There’s the Left Hemisphere and the Right Hemisphere. The left side is the side that deals with logical thought and also houses our past experiences and how we react to them. It’s the rational part of our brain. The Right Hemisphere is where creative thought occurs and is houses our emotional side.
However, Jill has found that it goes deeper than that. She’s discovered there are four distinct characters that make up who we are. Each hemisphere of the brain has a thinking part and an emotional part. Here are those characters:
- Character 1 – Left Thinking
- Character 2 – Left Emotion
- Character 3 – Right Emotion
- Character 4 – Right Thinking
At any given time, one of these characters is dominant in our brain; the one that’s in control. What’s important, is for us to understand each character so we can be aware which one is “running the show.” She also explains we can control which Character is “in charge”. We can allow ourselves to consciously decide which Character we need for the different situations that life ends up dishing out to us.
Once we become more aware of ourselves, we then understand what Character other people are acting out of. This allows us to better navigate our interactions with people and have more empathy and compassion for them.
Jump to my Grateful Sunday a couple of days ago. I told you this was all random…or weird.
I mentioned how I was excited that my daughter saw all the Star Wars movies with her boyfriend. I know that now’s not the time to discuss with her the deep meanings about Dark and Light sides of The Force, let alone go into detail how George Lucas worked with Joseph Campbell and how Star Wars coincides with The Hero’s Journey. My girls are not too enthused about Dad who hands out “life lessons”.
I remembered I had written a blog titled Just Say No to the Dark Side four years ago. This morning, I decided to re-read that post.
Not only had I forgotten all the wisdom I pulled from the movies and how they related to my personal struggles at the time (really cool to see what I created when I look back on it – yes I’m tooting my own horn), yet at the very beginning of my post, I discussed Jill Bolte Taylor’s research about the right and left hemisphere’s of the brain.
Wow! Full circle from a random email that got me to listen to an hour webinar. Pretty cool huh?
What in the world are you talking about Phoenix? You sure are weird!
Let me tell you….
After watching the scene from Virgin River and the dialogue between Mel and Jack, I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion. Tears rolled down my cheeks, a knot formed in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t stop from crying. The pain from my past struck me right to the core.
This is because I had those deep feelings of self-doubt. I felt the same way. I could totally relate to the fear, guilt, and anguish that Jack had in that scene (did I say the two of them did an amazing job acting it out too?). It was so real to where I have been so many times in my life, especially right before I was going to be a father. Just read I’m Going to Be a Dad to see how extreme those wounds were.
How could I parent a helpless infant when, due to my past actions with my ex, I didn’t believe I was good enough to be a father? While watching the series, as an observer, we know that Jack is one of the most loving, thoughtful, and considerate men in the small town. He is highly qualified to be the parent of twins and we know he will be an incredible father.
Yet, he doesn’t see it in himself. He’s so focused on the Dark Side, the negative self that leans on guilt and shame to control his thinking, that he’s blind to the Light that’s within him.
During periods of my separation and my divorce, there were times I too wanted to jump into the rapids and let whatever happen, happen. When I started blogging four years ago, I believed my divorce was validation to the fears I felt when my ex was pregnant with our first child. I was unworthy as a person. I was unloveable. I will always be abandoned.
I succumbed to the Dark Side of my brain and many times I felt as if the rapids had taken me downstream.
But I fought those thoughts. My blogging to my Fledglings helped me. Continuing to dig deeper and learn more about my thought process helped me. Learning about the pain my actions caused my ex helped me to forgive and accept her decision, and also have empathy and compassion over what I had put her through. Reaching out to my peers in program and close friends was necessary for my healing, in addition to allowing them to challenge my thinking. And later, learning to incorporate yoga and meditation into my life has helped me to dispel the negative energy that gets stuck in the cellular part of my body.
I’m learning that maybe we can’t dispel all negative energy. That at times, the past will still creep into the present and we have to experience the pain once again. As Jill Bolte Taylor explains, after 90 seconds, remaining in the pain is our choice.
I wanted so many times to give up. That seemed so much easier. And yet I knew I couldn’t.
There were two reasons.
I have two beautiful girls who need their father. I was not going to give up on them like my father did on me. I know cognitively that was his issue, not mine. And yet, those wounds from him running away from his pain and deserting me, is what created one of the biggest wounds in my heart and thought process that, 45 years later, I’m still working on healing.
I don’t know how many friends I had who were like Mel, constantly telling me how good of a person I was or how great of a father I was to my girls. Years ago, I couldn’t hear them. The Dark Side of the Force was too strong in me and I found I could not pull myself away from that temptation.
The sadness I feel today is for that man 20 years ago, that man 18 years ago, that man 13 years ago, that man 11 years ago, that man 6 years ago, that man 4 years ago, that man coming up in March just 1 year ago. It’s how quickly I can still drop back into those faulty beliefs from my childhood if I don’t stay aware.
I’m grateful to see how far I’ve come. I’m grateful for Tommy’s Weirdness Love Mission that’s helped me stay aware and conscious with the world around me. And I’m so grateful with the writing I’ve done that allows me to go back and accept where I was at each point in my life.
Speaking of acceptance, that’s what’s most important. Accept the pain. The pain is real.
Accept our struggles and challenges.
The challenge becomes letting go of those negative thought patterns that keeps us frozen in the throes of our misery. (Ohhh…I like that Disney analogy – “letting go of frozen” – sorry, brain went off in a different direction).
Remember, we have the capacity to heal.
We can Rise from the Ashes of our pain.
We can Soar With Eagles.
Together We Can Heal.
PS: I haven’t seen this interview yet, however, if you want to watch more on Jill Bolte Taylor, this could be quite insightful.
Brainwave Impermanence: The Science of Miracles
~ Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor & Dr. Jeffery Rediger
PPS: Weirdness Journal Again!!
So I go outside today, the afternoon of Wednesday Feb 24, 2021, to do some yard work pulling those pesky weeds that pop up right after the winter rains. I decide to listen to one of the videos located in my email inbox. I’m can’t decide what I want to listen to. I randomly pick one of Kyle Cease’s emails without even reading what the topic was about. This is what I land on…
Something “every man needs to see” and “meeting the dark voices inside.”
Weird I’m telling you. Weird!
Off to listen to this and pull those weeds. Hmm…I see an analogy there about cleaning out the weeds of the garden in our brain. Thank you William P. Young for the visual from The Shack.
Exposing Dark Shame, Humiliation, Guilt & Trauma
~ Kyle Cease