The Prosperous Heart: 3 Losses that Turned into Gains

The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.

It might make for uncomfortable reading.

Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women.  What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance.  While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.

There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.

1. Most recently, the Doctor Who marathon situation had multiple elements of loss becoming gain:
Loss: “No, you can’t have licensing.”
Gain: “But you can play programming we provide with full BBC approval.”

Loss: “I’m sorry, but multiple theaters simply don’t want your business/are worried about licensing, etc. etc.”
Gain: “Here’s the State of the Art media facility available at the very place you started having your meetups.”

Loss: Ego Boy.
Gain: Peace of Mind. I’m not patient with legitimate celebrities. I don’t have the energy to soothe the mood swings of someone with delusions of celebrity. Mood swings = not taking responsibility for your actions. There’s no room in my life for that shit.

2. The loss you’ve watched me struggle and vent about here: my family.

Loss: My father, and the emotional acknowledgement he was the only one to bother to offer, as limited as it was.
Gain: I have no remaining reason to interact with the people that want the most control over my life while deserving it the absolute least.  My father had already extracted a deathbed promise I’d go through with the wedding – and really, I should have waited but Mike steamrollered me on it. He then demanded I “not abandon them,” referring to his remaining family. Sorry Dad, only one deathbed promise per customer. You used up your credit limit.

3. My shifting identity.

Loss: The safety of approval, of knowing I’m “doing it right” and the smug self-acceptance that comes with conformity.
Gain: Everything. I am so much better than who I was raised to be.