May 17th, 2009 7:37 AM by Lehel Szucs
Remembering a True 'Enchanted Self'
By Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Over my lifetime I have never tired of watching Lucille Ball in action. Oh, what ecstasy in my childhood to finish a dreary Monday by watching Lucy come to grips with her life in hysterical ways! She gave me courage to believe as a little girl that one could overcome adversity, have a life worth living, fill that life with positive emotions and fun, and stay happy even when faced with momentary distress. No one in the world could eat as many chocolates as fast as Lucy, working on an assembly line, bake a loaf of bread so large it overtook the kitchen, or carry a smelly cheese onto an international flight, wrapped up as baby! No one could make me laugh so hard!
Lucy has held the key to my humor heart at any time of day or night! Ah, I wish I could find her any time I need her -- after a bad day, after bad news, after too big a dinner -- after almost any occasion that could be buffered by a good laugh, and a comforting sense of the familiar.
What was her magic? How has she managed to take me to my Enchanted Self since I was a 10-year-old child, watching her in Fairfield, Connecticut on Monday nights? How has she engendered positive states of being again and again?
First of all, for most of us over 25, Lucy has become part of our history. She was always there, on a snow day, a day of illness, a late night when one couldn't sleep. If you were lucky and flicked enough stations, there she was. Her smile was infectious, and her ineptness made us all feel comfortable. It was as if she revealed our most embarrassing moments for us. We never had to feel the shame or humiliation of tripping down the stairs with a giant showgirl hat on our heads or try to catch up with the real superman on the ledge to our apartment! Lucy did it for us. Yet, inside of each of us was the youngster that would have given anything to be in a show or looking for superman!
Secondly, she gave us the 'real' family that had a lot going for it, which not all of us had. They really seemed to love each other, they had good friends, they always made up when they fought, and nothing happened that was truly devastating. Silly mistakes were just that, and grudges were not held! They got to travel and meet famous people and eat in fancy restaurants! And, they had a baby and everyone was happy and loved the baby and no one was jealous. Lastly, they got to move up in life when they finally moved to the suburbs into a big house with lots of land and funny happenings. They even raised chickens!
What a beautiful world Lucy and her gang recreated for us. It was our country, our way of life, but on top of the familiar were humor, love, and always recovery from problems or embarrassments.
In essence, she made the familiar the best it could be! She helped us live in our imaginations for a while, yet kept us earthbound at the same time. Yes, we were in states of well-being, again and again -- which is what THE ENCHANTED SELF is all about.
I realize now that she was one of my most important mentors. She actually assisted me through every gate of Enchantment. This is how she did it:
FIRST GATEWAY, Self-Esteem: If Lucy could be embarrassed and yet triumph, so could I!
SECOND GATEWAY, Learning to Meet My Needs: If Lucy could get on TV, travel, meet famous people, etc. so could I!
THIRD GATEWAY, Bringing in Pleasure to One's Life: Lucy gave me pleasure and showed me how to get more! She had fun and good times even though she made mistakes and was even ridiculous at times. Therefore so could I!
FOURTH GATEWAY, Becoming the Heroine of One's Life Story: If Lucy could be a heroine, receive recognition, and save the day so many times, with all her mistakes and foibles, so could I!
FIFTH GATEWAY, Finding Tribes to Belong To: Lucy let me belong to her world without hesitation. Not only did this gift give me an extra family, but it gave me confidence that I could find others.
SIXTH GATEWAY, Finding Mentors: Lucy was a great mentor for me. She taught me humor and how to recover from shame and embarrassment and how to keep trying even with disappointments and delays. Again, if she could keep on trying, so could I!
SEVENTH GATEWAY, Living a Life of Positive Action: Every week Lucy gave me hope that even with mistakes I could live a life of meaning, feel loved, and have a good time! What a great combination!
Lucy's amazing gift to me was that by allowing me to identify with her very failings and embarrassments, I was also able to uplift myself at the same time! Like the ancient Moses, who had a severe speech impediment -- which everyone was aware of, and trembled every time God asked him to lead his people -- Lucy had modern-day shortcomings. She was foolish. She wanted to show off. She wanted to be in pictures! Yet, like Moses, she led a generation or two in positive paths anyway.
Thank you Lucy Ricardo, and of course, Lucille Ball for giving me so much enchantment! How delightful to hold your inspiration again in my mind's eye!