Monday, April 7, 2008

The Show Must Go On

I'll admit it from the get go, I've always loved Julie Andrews. I found her, in Terry Gross' interview on Fresh Air today, completely captivating. You can listen at:

Ms. Andrews has a most amazing speaking voice. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for accents. But I can't imagine anyone listening to her and not hearing the beauty of the voice. There's also an incredible warmth in her interactions with the interviewer.

Truly remarkable is her attitude. You can hear her acceptance and optimism as she speaks about negotiating her difficult childhood ("no wallowing" were her words). Not a child of privilege by most standards, she still talks about her childhood as relatively happy and privileged in its own way.

Then there was her surgery in 2005. After a period of denial, Ms. Andrews accepted the hard truth; she could no longer sing. She recognizes she could have gotten up to "crawl away," but instead has kept busy acting, writing and speaking. She actually said she is "extremely grateful" for her life post-surgery.

If we could all aspire to that attitude, wouldn't it be loverly?

Her attitude reminds me of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Here the idea is to learn to accept our pain, not try to get rid of it. And we can live life in a meaningful way instead of living a a life in which our primary object is to identify with our pain. Check out Steven C. Hayes' Get Out of your Mind and Into Your life for more on ACT.

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