Stroop Therapie: An Introduction

Stroop Therapie

(Dutch translation = Syrup Therapy)

A new Evolutionarily series chronicling the moments that left their mark during a time of self discovery and self  renovation.

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A few weeks ago my choir’s rehearsal was the best of everything about the experience that is We Also Sing. We laughed, we cried, we surprised ourselves, we pushed ourselves to please our director, Merrilee Webb,  and I wished again that everyone I knew could have this same experience. That’s what the Spirit of God is all about. It’s that burning fire inside which cleanses, making me a different person than when I walked into rehearsal two hours earlier.

This year in choir we are singing one of my favorite songs from the movie Yentl called “This is One of Those Moments”.  The song is about coming to a moment you’ll never forget because of  1) all that it took to get you there and 2) a crystal clear understanding that this moment will forever change the course of your life.

For some time now I have had this game of Duck, Duck, Goose going on in my head. The Duck… Duck… Duck… Duck went on and on until the Duck was finally satisfied that every Duck was accounted for. The Ducks–memories, thoughts and understandings from my past—were floating around, circling, waiting for me to discover why they were swarming like vultures before they could all shout in unison, “GOOSE!” signalling that I should chase after them.

Then, as we sang “This is One of Those Moments” in rehearsal that night, the power of the song’s message struck me and the proverbial “Goose!” was resounded.  I understood what I am supposed to do with this internal commotion…

It is time to collect my “moments”.

I don’t know why I feel so strongly about harvesting these experiences in writing, except to say that when I came to this realization, it was one of those moments.

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My collection of moments will be drawn from three journals kept over a period of a year and a half. I will also include any thoughts I have had since about what was going on then because, in many cases, time has brought clarity.

My First-Evers – In December 2005 I started a new journal I titled, “My First-Evers”. It is a time capsule recounting my journey toward the end of the refiner’s fire called divorce. As part of my crawling out of a black pit, this journal includes my travels to Seattle, Hawaii and Holland.

Processing – In May 2006 I moved in with my brother and his little family for three months while I attended university (that’s how they say it in Dutch English). I wanted to see if my dream of writing was more than just a notion that would lead to nothing like I was told it would. This journal is actually my writing projects. They tell exactly what I was feeling. I processed a lot of anger and hurt along with discovering a new me.

The Renovated Life – After the semester of school was over I began a new journal I call, “The Renovated Life”. This journal begins in August 2006 and finds me “officially” starting over: new town, new apartment, new job, new hope, new love, and a new, happy kind of loneliness (a.k.a. Alan’s deployment).

It may not need explaining that what I share from my journals will only be excerpts, but just in case it’s not obvious… While I will share the poky, scratchy burlap of me, some things will be left out because they are just too personal or out of respect for other parties involved.

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My next post will begin the chronicling, but for now I will end this one with an explanation of the series title, Stroop Therapie.

A favorite treat discovered while visiting the beautiful Nederland was the stroopwafel. It’s a gooey snack made of two wafer thin waffles glued together by a thick, caramely syrup. The best way to eat one is hot off the street stand, which I did soon after arriving in Amsterdam. It looked just like this.

File:Stroopwafel fresh stand.jpg

After much debate about whether or not I should spend the money to travel (details of the debate are forthcoming), as I bit into my stroopwafel, I knew that I had made the right decision. I knew it was one of many syrupy therapeutic moments that would help me feel as I did then–that life could be good again, that I was honest-to-goodness on the path of pulling me out of the crevices created in defense of coping.

I’ve determined, all in all, that life should be about syrupy moments.

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