Designing A Life - We Each Get The ChanceWritten by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
The Enchanted Self is all about living and then telling and retelling stories of our lives to get most positive juice from them. This often means taking pain and misfortune and turning it into meaning and even eventually a metamorphosis of pleasure. One example of designing a fulfilling life comes to mind. This is story of a part of our French cousin's life. A retired doctor living outside of Paris, Jean Manuel, has often told us story of his years living hidden in a farmhouse in a French Province. When he was five, his parents were warned that they had to leave Paris. He vividly remembers how terribly upset his parents were. Somehow they found a farmer and his wife who agreed to take in as many of family members as could get there. His family and some cousins lived several years on this farm. Others chose not to leave Paris and were never heard of again.
Jean Manuel told us about how his family went back after war to look for their missing relatives, only to find possessions and an uneaten birthday cake celebrating nephew's first birthday still on table, at one of their cousin's homes. The family, however, was gone forever. He remembers his parent's despair, yet also how life resumed for all of them. He also shared with us how his father was once picked up by French Police and loaded onto a train. Fortunately train was moving slowly enough that his father could jump and escape, living for a while in woods until he could return to his little family. One might at first wonder -- how could someone come to terms with so much loss and seeing his family go through so much pain? I don't know Jean Manuel terribly well but I have clearly seen a friendly, joyful person every time we've been together. I have a hunch of several ways he has processed this story of his life and life of his family. I believe that one of major ways that he has processed his own life and turned it into a meaningful, joyful experience is by giving back. The farmer and his wife who took them in didn't have any children of their own. Jean Manuel and everyone else that had been hidden by family never forgot them.
Enchantment in a 5 and 10-Cent StoreWritten by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
The other night as my mind was wandering, at perhaps 3:00 AM, I had a lovely encounter with past. I was remembering some wanderings of late childhood. I was about ten or eleven and magic journey was a bus that took me downtown Bridgeport.
The first part of magic journey was just waiting for bus all by myself. I felt very grown-up and by today's standards I was! I would lock house, put my key on a string around my neck, hide it, and walk two blocks to wait by telephone pole for bus. When public bus came I got on, said "Hello" to driver--who I recognized from lots of trips--paid and sat down. I always sat up front, liking to be near him, just in case I needed help. Then I would read. Usually I had a great book with me, maybe Little House on Prairie or Nancy Drew. Whatever it was, time flew and before I knew it, I was stepping off bus on Main Street.
The downtown streets of Bridgeport seemed so busy and crowded! I was not afraid though. I knew my destination. Inside of my pocket I clutched my few dollars and made straight for my enchanted castle. There it was--the 5 and 10-cent store in all of its glory! A perfect palace! I had a wonderful food counter with stools that swirled around if I was hungry. I could just hop up and order anything I wanted--an ice cream soda or a hamburger. I had a bathroom so I didn't need to feel desperate, and I had this whole glorious store to walk around. The endless aisles with glass counters just full of items to touch and dream about! There was a make-up aisle and I could imagine ahead a few years. I loved to look at colors of make-up and especially lipsticks. How would I look all dolled up--beautiful, yes? Then there was pocketbook and wallet aisle. That was fun, and candy aisle and even house-wares was interesting.