From my Post Road Window / Nick Trolio
Published 10:15 am, Thursday, December 30, 2010
In the 1970's, a time when moustaches were fashionable, Burt Reynolds posed in the buff for Cosmopolitan magazine, Barbara Streisand was popular, John Travolta ushered in the disco movement and the nation dissolved from the Camelot of JFK, my wife and I were anxious to be involved in new age behavior. We didn't follow the traditional ways of our peer group.
Instead, we became involved in a group called Marriage Encounter. Marriage Encounter was built on the premise that relationships are based not on individual thought but on shared of feelings. Three things stuck with me about that ten year experience.
First was the idea that feelings are amoral. While ideas and actions can be judged, an individual's feelings are simply an expression of themselves. A feeling can't be judged. It just needs to be understood.
It is important to make the distinct between thought and feeling. That was the second idea that has stuck with me - how to differentiate between feelings and thoughts. "I feel that I am being mistreated" isn't an expression of a feeling. To express a feeling the word "am" must be able to take the place of "feel." I feel angry/I am angry is a correct expression.
The third idea that has remained with me these past 35 years or so occurred at an international convention of "encountered" couple at St. John's University. It was a long weekend of introspection and the weekend ended with the celebration of the Roman Catholic mass. During the Catholic mass there is a ritual when the celebrant invites those attending to wish each other a sign of peace. On that particular day, the celebrant did something unusual.
He suggested that before we reach over to our spouses to wish them peace we consider the thing in our relationship that each spouse most resents. Then he said, "Now lean over and whisper into each other's ear that resentment." The idea was that you can't begin to build peace when your harbor an ill thought towards one another.
Wow. That was hard to do. But it worked. We unloaded a festering hurt, forgave it in a moment, and moved on. And there was never a need to do that again. The experience opened our relationship to honest and trusting expressions. It eliminated festering hurts. Peace.
And that's my goal for 2011 -- peace in all my relationships. I need to whisper a few things first.
Could the lady who drives the Lexus LS holding her rather ugly little dog in her lap while talking on her cell phone -- not hands free -- and trying to make a left turn onto Corbin Drive from the Post Road lean over? I want to whisper in your ear and make peace with that.
Could Brian Cashman lean over? I just want to whisper that Derek Jeter is the best symbol of a professional athlete in sports today and you need to treat him with more respect. And it was ridiculous for the editors of The Stamford Advocate to run a headline and picture of you repelling down the Landmark building trumping Santa Claus. Peace Brian.
Could John Mara lean over? The new Meadowlands Stadium is a fugly, scrofulous architectural embarrassment and you should start paying me to attend games there. Do you know how many mocking tweets I got hit with after the Giant's loss to the Eagles? And that's not to mention the loss to the Bears. Peace, John. Send me a check if you want me at a game again.
Could the circulation manager of The New York Times lean over? Psst. Yesterday's news is yesterday's news. If you can not deliver my Monday paper on Monday because of a snow storm, don't deliver Monday's paper with Tuesday's. Give me a credit to my account. Peace, bro.
Could the lady who insisted that she can't drink wine only champagne lean over? Duh! Peace. I won't tell that story again.
So there we are. Now if I could be that honest with all my personal relationships, I could make my peace with 2010 and be ready for 2011 -- a year for making peace.