Yesterday a memory kept surfacing of being age 3 or 4 and being left for the weekend with a caregiver. I remember that I finished dinner (spaghetti), licked my plate clean, and...feeling very proud of myself for being so conscientious...put it away in the cupboard. The caregiver said it was not clean, it was dirty, and had to be washed. A terrible shame washed over and through me. Then I felt so sad, missing my parents terribly. I knew they were coming back, but I "couldn't bear it". To cheer me up, the caregiver pointed out the window at the railway we could see, and told me that the train they'd be coming home on would pass by us so I could see them. I stood at that window feeling so forlorn, heart-broken. Now it occurs to me that this is my first memory of grief; and it is twinned with my first memory of shame. Perhaps it was easier...more acceptable?...somehow to feel sad, like a victim, "left", abandoned, than to feel like a bad person, to feel shame? I am pondering this. Meanwhile this morning I remembered my second feeling of grief, listening to a Harry Belafonte record my father put on, at age 7 or 8 now, and when the verse: " Sad to say, I'm on my way, won't be back for many a day, my heart is down, my head is spinning around, I had to leave a little girl in Kingston Town" came on I went into the bathroom to cry. Because it was "not acceptable", I felt, to show my grief to my family. None of them cried at "sad" music. No one did! I felt it was a weakness that I couldn't control myself. Later in life, my mother used to laugh at how I cried, watching ballet (I was a budding teenage ballerina at the time) and tell her friends in a somewhat taunting and astonished tone, "Barbara cries at the ballet!". She was NEVER cruel in any other way, she was a truly excellent mother. But she told me once, "I don't have these deep feelings you do. I don't have a rich inner life." I have always felt divided...that she was "better" than me for being so "strong" and stable, emotionally...and at the same time, a kind of contempt (oh, that hurts, to say it!) b/c she did not "feel" like me, did not have that uncontrollable access to duende. I have also felt a great sorrow at the repression of sorrow! and other feelings in our culture, that people blunt themselves with alcohol and drugs and distractions because they have no "safe", i.e., culturally acceptable, outlet for feelings. No wonder we speak of having a GOOD cry. I am feeling washed clean, telling myself I love and accept and APPRECIATE myself for my duende, my soft, tender, open heart. I have felt this before, but not so deeply. The difference is I allowed myself this morning to feel all the ANGER I've repressed at my mother for "making" me stuff my feelings, and FORGAVE her. As for my physical pain, it has been coming and going as I write this, but as usual when I go deep, my body feels softer all over and I feel less or no pain. Thank you Dr. Sarno. One final thought: a musing from yesterday, and a question about finding balance: When I am in my heart, I am not beating up myself, or criticizing anyone or anything else. It is all about softness. But this journey also requires great courage, which is about finding inner steel, a steel I can actually feel when I think about being brave...my core engages. (No wonder so many people turn to exercising their core for back trouble...it works both ways, engage the core and courage arises). I am looking for the right balance of hard and soft, the inner steel with the soft heart.