Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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What We Can Learn From Ruthie

I didn’t understand it. I rode the subway/el and bus two hours a day to get to and from college, was always cold, and was disgusted by the dirt and perverts in the city. As I walked up or down the steps from the underground I noticed the loogies spit out by people. Everywhere were unsmiling harried travelers. The sky was gray and the weather predictably bad.

Now there was Ruthie. She went to the same college, lived in the same neighborhood, rode the same noisy dirty screeching subways, traveled the same two hours and was surrounded by the same agitated people. She worked in the school store and was always so friendly and perky that I wanted to give her Desponex every time I crossed her path.

When she greeted me with her wide smile I was barely responsive, hoping she’d just go away, but she persisted and eventually won me over to at least talk with her. As I slowly let her into my life, I discovered that she had a devilish sense of humor. Pretty soon we were hanging out together. Wherever we went, whether shopping for some needed item in the downtown stores, or taking infantilizing classes in the education department, she had me laughing and conversing with strangers.

The subway ticket taker was someone to chat with. The passenger sitting next to us in the train had some interesting bit of knowledge. The bus driver shared jokes with us. We were living the same life–going to the same school, taking the same classes, riding the same dirty subway, walking under the same gray sky. But she was happy and I wasn’t. So I started imitating her. It turned out to be easy because being curious about people and wanting contact with them was actually part of my own nature. I just hadn’t a clue how to give expression to that side of myself.

Years later, when I had a stressful job as director of a social service agency I would worry the whole hour it took me to drive there and, again, the hour it took to go home. I tried everything I could to not worry—music, prayer, radio. Nothing kept my attention. I would always drift back to worry until I discovered recorded books. Listening to them eliminated two hours of worry five days a week. It became a model for my behavior just as Ruthie had by changing the balance of how I occupied myself.

As a therapist, I often see clients whose main complaint is depression. Many times their situations are complex, a number events they cannot control converge upon them, such as a death in the family, the loss of a job, and having to care for a disabled child. Those circumstances usually need time more than anything else, a listening ear, and someone to brainstorm with while they invent ways to cope.

However, there are also people who have been overwhelmed by bad examples of “coping” learned from a limited or abusive background. For them, ineffectual habits define too much of their way of being. There are impatient attitudes, lack of accepting others, not trying to clarify when they think they understand someone’s negative behavior, acting on revenge, needing to prove oneself to those who refuse to approve, or the ever present wanting to make another person behave differently. These people need tenderness and more information.

They need to be reminded of how much practice it took to learn how to walk or talk, that they have a right to friendships/work relationships with people who are kind and who recognize their abilities, and that they can learn ways to live up to their own ideals. They need to be encouraged to pay attention to what it feels like inside when they hurt, to notice how it feels when they enjoy something wholesome, and to choose more activities that create the good feeling. Add something constructive to their life (which can sometimes require struggle with oneself) rather than engage in struggling with others.

PRACTICE: Instead of trying to fight negative influences in your life, add something positive and evolve your life one gentle activity at a time.

CONTACT. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact me for a free 20-minute consultation and we’ll find a place for you to begin.


3 Responses to “What We Can Learn From Ruthie”

  1. What happened to Ruthie?

    Posted by Marjorie Thelen | ,
    • Ruthie married her high school sweetheart. They have 3 grown children, all of whom are married and have kids. I’m still friends with her, however, she lives halfway across the country and i see her when i go there. We often stay with her and her husband for a couple of days AND she still has a devilish sense of humor. Like most people, she’s had life throw some difficulties at her and she works through them. Thanks for asking.

      Posted by BJ Appelgren | ,


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