From a song he’d once sung

November 3, 2016 psychologyWriting  No comments

SPOILER ALERT: from this point on, I will be examining Running to Stand Still in-depth. If you haven’t read it yet, and don’t want it spoiled for you, stop reading now.

“Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into the deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Charlie has been looking back at that note on the table for the past nine years. And just like Jamie, everything he does, everything he is, is marked by that moment. It is his most defining characteristic.

Now, being left by your wife and the mother of your children may or may not constitute a legitimate traumatic event. But it is the moment that has defined his life ever since she left. And so, just as people stay stuck in trauma, he is stuck in the past.


Imagination is absolutely critical to the quality of our lives… Without imagination there is no hope, no chance to envision a better future, no place to go, no goal to reach.

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Emotional withdrawal had the most profound and long-lasting impact.

Charlie’s withdrawal from his children was just as damaging to his children as Amy leaving was. When they needed him the most, he turned away. And while his emotional distance has always been his way of being in the world, it became this insurmountable, monolithic mountain after Amy left. It fractured the family in such deep, insidious ways that no one knows how to overcome it. The distance, the fracture, just is.

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But, where there is life, there is hope. And where there is music, there is renewal and connection and healing.

I loved that the thing that brought Amy and Charlie together (his music) is what saves him again. Throughout the story, it was a lot of fun to play with how Nate and Jamie inherit their parents’ traits and characteristics in different ways. And I love how Nate goes to Nashville (music city) to find his mom because she’s a musician, and instead, picks up a guitar and starts playing. Music naturally weaves him and Charlie together in a way they’ve never managed to connect to each other before.

Since time immemorial human beings have used communal rituals to cope with their most powerful and terrifying feelings.

Collective movement and music create a larger context for our lives, a meaning beyond our individual fate.

Music binds together people who might individually be terrified but who collectively become powerful advocates for themselves and others. Along with language, dancing, marching, and singing are uniquely human ways to install a sense of hope and courage.

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All italicized quotes are direct from The Body Keeps the Score.
pgs. 17, 120, 332, 333, 333


Until next time, farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity. 

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