I am reading Irvin Yalom’s book Love’s Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy. In the prologue, Yalom writes of the experiential group exercise where strangers are asked to pair up and take turns in asking each other “What do you want?” This question is asked repeatedly until the one answering gets to the core of what exactly they are pining for. This is typically evidenced by the person dissolving into tears or jubilant smiles but usually tears. As Yalom writes, this is a powerful exercise; one that I have participated in and experienced at least once and maybe twice many years ago. I recall the exercise. What I cannot seem to recall are my answers, then or now.
What do I want?
Top layer answers ~ earn my doctoral degree, get healthier (let go of some dissertation poundage, exercise more, regain some physical flexibility), find and secure a great place to live, stay cig free (after 16 years, I still don’t take this for granted), have my memoir essays about my experiences as a Korean adoptee published and for the book to be well received, spend more time with my family, to live in the country.
Second layer answers ~ to find my place in this world, to recognize my place when I find it, if I am already in my place embrace it, to feel really feel a sense of belonging, to know my origins or if that is impossible to let go of the yearning, to see my omma’s face and not forget it again. [okay, so right about here I would be getting to the core cuz I can feel the tears begin to sting]
and now I want to stop this exercise because it’s not really supposed to be done alone. remember the original exercise has another person asking the question so that the answer-er is not alone when they reach their middle ground. and today, I am alone ~ very much alone.