Why watch In Treatment?

in-treatment-hbo-canadaI started watching In Treatment a year ago when my cousin Fran told me about it.  It was the end of the season and hard to jump in, so we rented it on DVD and watched it with dinner (what’s the French for that?) .  I was also hooked (at a deep, identity level) by the fact that it was based on the Israeli series “B’Tipul” from the year before.  Extra good.  Now I’m watching Season 2.    For those of you who aren’t watching it, I’ll summarize here quickly.  If you already watch it – and even if you don’t – just click on Read More now (those who already watch can jump down to the 2nd paragraph below).

Still reading?  Great!

Picture this.  A therapists office.   Mia comes on Mondays, April on Tuesdays, Oliver on Wednesdays, Walter on Thursdays, and on Fridays the therapist goes to see his own shrink Gina.  You sit in on all of the sessions as an unseen observer.  Weird huh?  

We came back from California two days ago (I wrote this one a while before posting)  and I didn’t feel very well a few hours after we got home.  Sore throat.   Cough.  Stomach ache.  Everything ache.  Fever.  Yeah …. and 24-hour news about Swine Flu — oops, I mean H1N1 Influenza A (no offense to pigs meant of course).swine-flu   As I felt worse and worse last night I started to actually get a little bit concerned and before going to sleep I told David that if I woke up during the night feeling still worse I’d see that as time to go to emerg.  He was ready to go whenever I felt I needed to.  It took me a long time to fall asleep because I felt so awful but finally I did and this morning I woke up still coughing but other than that felt much better.  

I wanted to do some grocery shopping this morning (just-got-home stuff), go to the bank, go to the hardware store, and spend some time just sitting in a cafe reading Kelly Corrigan’s novel The Middle Place.    I also needed to give myself writing time of course.  And I wanted to make a big pot of soup (here’s a great recipe for a red lentil soup) so that David and I would have pre-made lunches for the week … other than on those days that lunch out with a colleague or friend is awfully nice.  I had my second Bar Mitzvah student starting at 4 p.m.  

At 5 p.m., things that I wanted to get done during the day having gotten done, I sat down to watch In Treatment and relax (it’s on 5 days/week,  so there’s about 4 hours to catch up on) and I started to wonder to myself:  Why am I watching this basically pretty depressing show?  Why am I so drawn to listening in on these sessions?  And yet … I was mesmerized and kept watching.  Just click on this In Treatment link if you want to see some episodes yourself.

And then … it happened.  The “Ah-ha” moments I live for.  I heard the dialogue and like a flash – really … like a flash – I saw words floating by.  Something in the show had triggered this chain of thoughts (refined lessons):

1.  Let go of expectations.  (This is linked for me, now, to reading about the principles of buddhism — not as a religion, but as a way of being in the world.  More about that another time.)  I’ve been thinking around this one pretty consistently.  Funny … this coming from an educator who has had to work within a system that was built on expectations (hhmm … kernel of another keynote here with the metaphor being The House that Mike Built) . 

2.  Live in the moment.  I can only do that if I can let myself experience the moment rather than judge the moment, which leads directly to …

3.  Experience the moment without judgement.  Just experience it.

Otherwise, I’m stuck in this thing of having expectations and then judging – with all of the destructive things that means – moment by moment – based on how close the experience (indicator) is coming to my expectation.  The focus is on the gap between experience and expectation.  

What I want to be able to do – what I am truly now free to do – is to just experience each moment without comparing the experience to any other moment or to some idea in my mind about what the moment should be.

Now that’s a goal worth working towards.

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4 responses to “Why watch In Treatment?

  1. Jeannie in PA

    Let go of expectations!

    This was like a magic message that I needed to hear, the answer to my inner grumblings. Thank you Sylvia!

    A book for you: The Outlander, a new book by Gil Adamson. Set in Canada. A slow start, then I was engulfed.

    • Sylvia Bereskin

      It’s still a fairly new one for me to take in as you can tell. But oh … doesn’t it just ring out with freedom (sorry for ‘lame’ the metaphor but I did just return from Philadelphia). Keep us posted Jeannie on how this goes for you. I’m finding it pretty hard work but absolutely worthwhile.

      Thanks for the book suggestion; I’ll get it toute de suite!

  2. ah…you are on the path to enlightenment! or so they tell me. this practice is hard to do, but when you are able to ‘live in the moment’, ‘let go of expectations’ and ‘experience the moment without judgement’…that is the moment when you become truly free. don’t you think?

    • Sylvia Bereskin

      Oh yes … this is the place that I’ve too seldom experienced but – once felt – just draws me back. Which brings me to stop and think about the whole experience I was living at those moments. Might just find something there? I’m guessing there will be a posting about this. It’s the kind of moment I cherish and the beauty is you can be in the midst of “doing” almost anything and still experience that moment.

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