Tag Archive: Psychotherapy


A Bit of Biography, Part 2

When I was 29, I got divorced. It was becoming clear that I had some learning and growing to do if I wanted to be in healthy, satisfying personal relationships. Physical exercise and meditation had positive effects in this area. I was more centered, patient, and resilient, which definitely helped. Still, it wasn’t enough. A couple years later I entered graduate school to study counseling psychology. I got into therapy. I did quite a bit of work healing old emotional wounds. This kind of work, working with relationships, communication, emotions: this became another spoke of The Wheel. Thanks to this kind of work my relationships became deeper, more satisfying, and healthier. When, I was 35 I got married. This time I was in a far healthier and far more mature relationship. 10 years later we are going strong with two kids, 4 and 7.

In spite of all this goodness, there was one big area of my life I was neglecting: my vitality. When I was 43, I was completely exhausted. I’d been in a good, solid relationship for 9 years. We had two beautiful, happy kids. But, middle age had arrived with a vengeance. Over the past 5 years I’d racked up some serious sleep deprivation. A heckaton of my vital energy was being poured into the kids, and not really being replentished. I felt like they were healthy plants. I was the soil, and I was just about depleted.

I went to an acupuncturist. He said my physical body was in good shape (thanks to continuing physical exercise) but my Chi tank was just about empty. My “pulses” were weak. My adrenals were shot.

As a new parent, the centeredness and presence I had developed through mediation had served me very well. I still managed to work out a few times a week and was in okay shape. My work in therapy and Graduate School and with my wife definitely helped me to negotiate the interpersonal stresses of parenthood and marriage with some grace.  I was about to say that Meditation, exercise, and emotional relational work combined to make me a much better husband and father. But, the truth is: without all that work, I couldn’t have done it at all. I would not have had this wonderful family.

And yet, I was done. Out of gas. Something had to give. Working with my acupuncturist was a start. I began to be more sensitive to my life energy, my “Chi”, my vitality. I began to consciously cultivate it, and it slowly began to return.

To be continued . . .

 

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In the last post I wrote about how one of Joss Whedon’s favorite narratives is that of a scrappy band working together to avert an Apocalypse. I said that I wished he would venture forth beyond the Apocalypse and imagine adventures on the other side.

It occurred to me that Firefly started in that direction.  It was set 500 years in the future. We are told the Earth was “used up” and humans had moved out into the galaxy.

When it first aired, I dug it. It had lots of potential. And I knew that Joss’s shows need time to really get going, so I was looking forward to it becoming even better. That said, I was also disappointed. What was awesome were Joss’s usual interesting, quirky characters, the almost poetic dialogue, and the masterful storytelling. The setting, however, I found less believable than Buffy or Angel. It seemed like a tired old vision of the Future. I am seriously bugged by Sci Fi which is basically just the 20th Century with flying cars, space ships, laser guns , and robots. At the end of the first and only (half) season and in the film, “Serenity” the “future” started to get interesting. Alas.

I believe it was Daniel Quinn, author of “Ishmael,” who said, “I’ve only made one prediction about the future, and that is if humans are still around 100 years from now, they will live very differently and think very differently than we do now.”

The “think very differently” part is what is so hard to imagine. Just like a medieval person couldn’t really imagine the way a modern person thinks and sees the world, its impossible from our level of consciousness to imagine the future consciousness. (Unless we have had some peak experiences, spiritual experiences, or psychedelic experiences.) The characters in Firefly were really just contemporary folks projected 500 years into the future.

I think that Joss got it partially right. He focused on the existential freedom on the other side of The Big Birth. His vision of outer space with infinite worlds to explore is an image of nearly limitless freedom and opportunity for creativity and exploration. But, there is more than bigger freedom on the other side. There is a a much bigger way of thinking, of seeing, and loving. Basically, what would the global community be like if a billion people were as evolved as the Dalai Lama? What if that kind of consciousness, that kind of compassion was the norm? Think of all those scientists, businessmen, leaders, teachers, engineers, parents, etc., operating from that level of consciousness? That’s the Sci Fi series I want to see.

I’ve been getting to urge to revisit Joss Whedon’s work. Recently, I watched the season 6 finale to Buffy, a few Firefly episodes, and last night: “Epitaph.” Epitaph was the episode of Dollhouse that Joss and Company made when the cancellation of Season One seemed certain. It’s about the Apocalypse.

If you’re a fan of Joss, you know the Apocalypse is a frequent theme of his.  I suspect that his upcoming blockbuster, “The Avengers,” will contain apocalyptic elements as well. His favorite narrative seems to be: a band of flawed, but decent friends work together to overcome impossible odds, and to defeat some form of “The Big Bad” in order to avert an immanent Apocalypse.

It strikes me that this is also the narrative of The Lord of The Rings. It is also the narrative of World War II. Maybe it is the narrative of our times. Who or What is The Big Bad? If you look at Joss’s work, it is typically narcissism run amok, and all the usual suspects: fear, hatred, greed, and lust for power. That seems about right.

Interestingly, in Joss’s work, once the current Apocalypse is averted, it’s mostly back to business as usual until the next one slouches forth. “Epitaph” (which is excellent by the way) is exceptional in that it is post-Apocalyptic. Everything has collapsed. Humans appear to be doomed. Yet, there is hope. There is the possibility of a New Beginning. A a scrappy band of survivors fights for the Future, for the possibility of “Safe Haven.”

I would love to see Joss continue in this direction. It’s time for him to turn his bright mind and imagination to life after the Big Shift that is happening. There are the slightest indications of such a vision in “Epitaph.” There are hints that “Save Haven” is a more wise and loving community of humans than the pre-Apocalypse folks. This is basically what needs to be imagined: a global, all-inclusive community of humans who are much wiser and more loving; living,working, and playing together harmoniously. What would that look like?

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