From a very recent email exchange:
In a message dated 4/29/2010 12:42:47 P.M. Central Daylight Time firstname.lastname@example.org writes:Hey, Dad,I was thinking yesterday about the sadness I have felt recently about you being in Viet Nam for a year when I was ten. I thought it was curious that it would come up 40 years later. And when I thought about you being a FAC pilot I often felt more tears come, which I didn't understand until yesterday. I took a deeper look at the sadness (or tears... maybe it was fear) that has or have come up when I tell people my father was a pilot in the Forward Air Control in Viet Nam for a year, or when I simply thought about that fact. Yesterday, I looked at it more closely and it came to me that it was simple. I was afraid you were going to die when I was 10; and I never embraced that fear. So the fear that you were going to die in Viet Nam waited patiently...
I am glad you didn't die. (To say the least.)
I love you.
I am proud of you.
You are a good man... and that is putting it mildly.
Thank you for your service to our country, too.
Your Grateful Son
On Tue, 4/27/10, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
You're a 19 year old kid.
You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam.
It's November 11, 1967.
LZ (landing zone) X-ray.
Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out.
Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look up to see a Huey coming in. But... It doesn't seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.
He's not MedEvac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.
Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety.
And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!!
Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.
He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho.
May God Bless and Rest His Soul.
I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we've sure seen a whole bunch about Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods.
Medal of Honor Winner, Captain Ed Freeman
Shame on the American media!!!
Now... YOU pass this along to YOUR mailing list. Honor this real American.
I debated about whether or not to share this with my father. And I debated whether to share it here. But what better way to demonstrate what I'm talking about? This is walking the talk.
And it is also the perfect situation to share some Stephen Levine wisdom. My take on something powerful I'll always have from Stephen Levine from the moment I was exposed to it: Most people ask, "Why do I feel this way?" This is not a helpful question. It is not skillful means. This question is worth less than nothing. Understanding is the booby prize.
I recall first experiencing sadness about my father being in Vietnam about two years ago. I'd given a talk for a group of physicians the night before. I talked about Dr. Sarno and I had mentioned Col. Nathan Jessup, Commander of the U.S. Marine Ground Forces at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (I gave a copy of "A Few Good Men" to Dr. Sarno because oddly it is the story of the psychology of TMS!) I was thinking about Jessup and my thoughts went to my father who flew sorties in and around Vietnam. Suddenly I felt sadness. My intellect was intrigued. As a scientist and a psychiatrist I let the tears come. I thought it was interesting sadness should surface 38 years later. I subsequently used it as a teaching piece. But I found that when I told people that my father was a Forward Air Control (FAC) pilot in Nam and flew armed, low-level, photo-reconnaissance missions over enemy territory, tears would head for the surface. I found that confusing and embarrassing. (Confusion is not understanding plus thinking that you should understand.) But again, understanding is the booby prize. Maybe this understanding and insight into that confusing flow of emotion (that it was the 40-year-old, unfaced, unembraced, undigested fear that my father was going to die and I was never going to see him again) hits the nail on the head. Maybe not. Nevertheless, I have to feel it to heal it.
Which brings me to the other half of Stephen Levine's wisdom: a better question is, "What is this?" This question isn't asked to get an answer or arrive at an understanding. It is asked with genuine, innocent (unknowing) curiosity. And not to process some emotion and get rid of it (resistance gives persistence.) You are curiously and genuinely embracing it, simply because it is your present experience. What the soul can embrace, the soul can release. It is just energy that wants to move.
That's why Eckhart Tolle's saying "yes" to what is works. And that's why Forrest Gump's life worked. That's what was special about Forrest. He never said, "This shouldn't be." Even more accurately, Forrest never was "This shouldn't be." And perhaps the filmmakers made Forrest "special" because no normal person would accept everything that happens to them.
And finally, in an attempt to weaken the goal of normal's grip on you...
Normal means approximately average. Not a powerful goal, I submit.
If you want clarification and elaboration on resolving inner emotional discomfort (as opposed to going for relief (The Road More Traveled)) I recommend you listen to the short show immediately below this blog or click this link:
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