The Private Practice: In Writing
I infrequently see angels. Although, I have at times felt startled thinking I was about to step on my little Yorkie. A more deliberate glance showed nothing there but the remains of a shadow that lives in my mind. Lyla continues to live: in my mind.
When I access my French Canadian roots, I feel enveloped by the arms and culture of my grandmother. Memere, was her name. I still see her in my minds eye much like I see little Lyla who was always underfoot.
My morality lives a different narrative in French than does my English narrative. I have know this for many years. As many year as I have know that a souls last death is when no one else on earth is alive to remember it. I keep Memere alive.
I guess I might call myself an emotional pragmatist–someone who follows nature, like another might follow football. I like knowing the nuances. And those same nuances that I see in the tall pines and the swinging birches, I see in the magnified imaginations of both my conscious and my unconscious mind.
Autumn is nearby. This year she has not given much warning about the impending transitions about to happen–in my case from a bathing suit and bare-feet to long pants and a sweater. But, that is only the start. Transitions at this time of the year demand that we pay a conscious attention to not only today, but to the inevitable death of summer tomorrow. In this case the fleeting last hours and the fleeting last flowers of summer 2018.
We can’t ignore it–at least, we can’t ignore it for long. High winds crawling across the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa will actually rip some trees out of their roots. Imagine what it might do to you, if you were unfortunate enough to be where the tree was when the winds hit the coast. And, of course, when the rain falls it will be cold, and the bones will feel the chill; just a month ago the wind was welcomed as a soft, gossamer breeze fluttering like a yellow finch or the humming birds sucking up nectar from the brightest flowers in the gardens.
Here, in my little Canada, I am fortunate enough to anticipate fall, and eventually winter. The Canadian geese are on a flight pattern that has them stopping for a lunch break on Watchaug Pond. It probably looks not much different from Les Canton d’es Est to these migrators. Except for one nuisance: in Canada they are generally satisfied, there is no perpetual motion for the next exciting bit of success and the latest gadget that complicates life while convincing Americans that this very expensive thing will make life easier. The light bulb, internal plumbing and gardens in the Townships seem to have been joyfully arrested in the clutches of 1950 sentimentality with a touch of 2018 wisdom.
It is always about the object of analysis. The object of the Analysis is the process of the analysis. All faculties of the mind/body matrix are accessed. The subjective arena in both the patient and the analyst make up the content, the narrative if you will. There is no other content other than what is brought into the room for a semi-sacred conversation that ensues.
The defense is always the resistance to knowing more. Closing the psychic door to additional facts and feelings is a form of isolation that the patient brings into the room and has used this defense in a multitude of other ways. The only way we shall take interest in the resistance defense is in how it manifests itself between the patient/analyst dyad.
Why has the patient suddenly stopped coming forward? What internal diversion caused the conversation to shift and what has it shifted to? There is a kind of detective work to analysis, a search for clues that widen the pursuit of self-truth and self-knowledge.
Since all conflict is within and since most patients come in trying to avoid conflict, the task is huge, not insurmountable but big. The nature of trust is an aspect of the relationship that can take the longest to produce fruit. Condemnation is feared.
It Would Not Matter Tomorrow
At least that is how he chose to bear and grin the anger, and the sadness that was exposed on his face. Everything took time to heal and somethings never healed at all. Snapped bones and disease he knew about, but the fragmented emotions they receded to a location that his ancestors called the soul. And to Caleb that was still mysterious.
All we know now about these emotions is that they hide in the body until they can not hide. In time they become a disease that language recognizes, and from the beginning, they are a story, a narrative that forms what we call life–the force of being alive.
Maybe the genome for feelings will be discovered. Freud had hoped that chemistry would dismantle our need for neurosis, but neither Westinghouse, nor General Electric has provided much to go on.
One hundred and thirty years ago these dreams-things were the promise of charlatans. I am not sure much has changed. The more I can live with death the more I can live out my consciousness to its fullest.
Darkness is not sweet. You can not pretty-up a red-winged hawk flying away with a five pound Yorkie in its claws. But, shit happens. And when you are through watching that gruesome image fly away, a dear friend calls to say she is beginning treatment for lung cancer. And, did you know the boy that is maimed for life when his motorcycle slid off the road. He hit a patch of salt and sanding from winter. “No”, “he was not wearing a helmet.”
Where does healing come in? What exactly can be healed? Is it ever the mind and not the body, or ever the body and not the mind?
Essentially there are two elements that might concern us: one is light and the other is darkness. They are analogous to being awake and being asleep, to being conscious and being unconscious.
Someplace between these two polarities, we practice something called “falling ill” and “becoming well”. We exist on a plane between these extremities. The healing arts and sciences attempt to move energy along this loading line. When you fall ill you struggle to pick yourself up–this is the process of healing.
If I can help you with this process I am attempting to practice a healing scheme. I am going to use my emotions, whatever they are to understand you. And in the process of attempting to understand you, we might make a connection, a transference of energy between us. This fusion of energy might be just the additional guide that you need to discover your way back from the darkness and toward the light.
Nothing might change. But the transference of energy is felt and recognizable as a process. Guidance does not come from another’s knowing. Guidance is simply additional energy to light the way.
Good friends know this as Love
We get to a certain age and the question that sometimes get tossed around, especially among very close friends, becomes: which one of us will go first. It is not party conversation and often it is not the person you are the most intimate with that will participate in that conversation.
Life gets to a point where much of what was very important becomes less important and, in fact, at times, it seems pointless.
But the pointlessness is not a cynical position it is rather, a deeply reflective position that requires we to come to terms with ourselves. “Hummmm, I am helpless.” This is not a
defeated kind of position, it is more of a position that has become adopted from wisdom, our accumulated trials, and errors. The gateway to surrender is not crying, uncle.
It is achieved through remembering that healing takes time. And it is also facilitated by remembering we need only a glimpse of light to guide us to the way out of the ice-cold, blue darkness.
We, humans, get caught up in the conflict of moral surrender if it feels like defeat we might want to fight the injustice to the point of exacting revenge. Homicides and suicides are the consequence of following this maxim too far. But to quit too soon does nothing for one self- confidence.
Time as a factor of healing is evident when we suffer from an ugly virus or a broken leg. It seems less evident, though equally true, that emotional injuries require time to heal as do physical injuries.
Human contentment is acquired in small increments. It happens the way a leaf detaches from a tree in the wind. Suddenly after a lifetime of being the tip of a branch, one realizes they are in flight from one destination to another. You are still part of life the cosmos, just no longer attached to the tree.
You have come to a transition, a new season. Much will change but you will still be you-you in flight instead of you attached. Like a trapeze artist who has let go of one bar and swings blindly and backward releases the bar, turns mid-air and hopes and prays the other bar is there to grab onto.
In the final performance, there is no safety net.
Life is practicing to die All the courage we used to face those silly little fears, and all the courage we used to face the atrocities of war, they come in handy when we are alone with our most intense and terrifying fears.
Because only then do we see the extent of our strength. We, screaming, as loud as a fisher cat in the woods brings only silence in return. Can you tolerate the feeling? It no longer matters because the feeling you feel is you.
Al Dussault Charlestown, RI
st augustine has been a mixed blessing this year, but then again what has not been a mixed blessing as i ramble through my memories. i might be leaving this place soon and i find myself not ready. the winter has been chilly, the moon is waning and lyla died.
loss and letting-go is bearing down on me. i feel it as exaggerated gravity. a kind of electrically exaggerated gravity. something that is both weighty and profound. let me illustrate it with a few images:
as well as the pressure and the heightened sensitivity, there is a growing awareness that this 3rd phase of life will make the bumpy past seem smooth in comparison. i could be wrong and i would gladly be wrong but it does seem to me that tragedy prevails at the end. even if it was a comic ride for most of life, the end might be a relief–at best.
in any event, it has been a ghostly season.
it feels like mardi gras with no ash-wednesday. don’t take this wrong–i like dark. to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”
to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”
February 2nd, 2018
writing with light and psychoanalytic conversation have this in common: both are enhanced by the polarities of existence. both are engaged in what is present and what is missing. each case is informed by the extremities in a system of energy.
darkness is as revealing as light, shadows are as important as highlights. balance and beauty and truth converge into a singularity leading to the illusion of oneness.
my artwork has evolved from impressionism to expressionism. this new method of working in the world of abstraction has expanded my vision. it is the unconscious made conscious by free-association. here meaning and reason have less to do with outcome; and. process is once again central. it has always been for me.
i find beauty in the subjective, that is to say, i find beauty in the creation of sensation through a steady alertness to evolution. everything, including the universe, is always and only moving forward through the spectrum of light and energy. all photography is capturing a single moment in time and space.
the process is meditative.