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.
Clamming in R I
It was a beautiful end of summer day. Kathy has the Canadian Canoe with a 9.9 engine on the back. We can row or paddle, or for long runs, Kathy uses the engine. The shallow brackish ponds curve around a landscape of the Atlantic on one side and the shoreline of southern Rhode Island on the other side. The image above depicts our family group raking for clams
The 1st of October brings my mind into the new season. Though we spent the afternoon in the water, it was really not warm enough for old bones to enjoy a swim. Though each of us were so adapted to New England, I am sure we might have had we known the day would turn out as warm as it did. My face browned with the passing of the day.
The southern migration of the popular tree swallow was in full swing and they were, we were told, on their way to Essex Cn where they converge to finish their way to the southern destination. In New England, we understand snow-birds differently than the popular version which is to fly, drive and even train to some parts of Florida. These birds were swirling and feeding off the pond all around us. A flock of cormorants also converging were mingling with sea-gulls as we canoe around the ponds and marshes of Ninigret. Native American influence is fading but still visible when you look.
We brought in enough shellfish to have appetizers with dinner, a simple Sunday evening supper as was the custom in Canadian families.
Autumn and aging are at my front door. At first, I had to adapt to the idea, then I realized the adaptations are transitions that require a new kind of deliberate intent. Clamming on a bright, sunny, autumn day with folks you love and trust is a great source of spiritual healing. I am talking about the kind of healing that comes from inhaling the rays of sun, merged with the aroma of the tides and the beauty of the colors the light provides.
Some days, with a bit of luck and a dose of determination, gratitude is in the air.
From Zen to Death and Back
Leonard Cohen died with his
Mia culpa hanging on a breath of life not
wanting to be extinguished.
Some want it darker is about as dark as it gets while still sustaining a melody, a small rhythm gnawing from the inside to make its way out into the light for one final view, one final airing. I admire his boldness of Character. A brilliant study on Human Darkness composed of life and sung as a troubadour nearly across the entire globe. He has a message that resonates to the wonderfully misfit, the magnificently imperfect humans who manage to find each other in this every expanding chaos of mind and universe.
What a gift of himself he gave to we wandering souls that catch-up here and there, staying 6 feet behind and following an echo from the past. It is a function of my generation. We were brought up to feel appreciation because they knew it could be so much worst. It had been for them and for their parents as well. Sandwiched in between two World Wars of brutal intent and consequence they wanted us to know we had it good.
Here is a listening moment from his very beginning: Suzanne
I can say that I grew up with him. Canadian from Montreal, I had to love him for his heritage. Then the liturgy of the Cadillac Church was so interwoven with the culture that he let it become the landscape from which he picked his brilliant metaphors and symbols.
I can say that I find him to be the joy of darkness, the portal to a complete zen acceptance that allows authenticities to be vulnerable appendages rather than the hanging chads of shame and secrecies.
“from 25 or 30 sounds an infinite variety of expressions, which although not having any resemblance in themselves to that which passes through our minds, nevertheless do not fail to reveal all of the secrets of the mind, and to make intelligible to others who cannot penetrate into the mind all that we conceive and all of the diverse movements of our souls.”
The infinite variety of expressions is the endless variety of narratives that we spin in our subjective mind then merge that spin with life on earth in all of its dimensions…Language Acquisition is the divide between a chimp and a human…we still have access to that languageless region. It is the well-spring of creativity. But it is best accessed from a position of still point.
Quieting the mind, quieting the ego aspect of the mind is essential to gaining the glimpse that we need to be connected to the primitive aspects of our survival. The connection with our DNA is consciousness. It has both a linguistic shade to it and a languageless shade to it.
The languageless region is often frightening because we expect to find darkness. And then complicate what we find with a story. The moth has two possibilities, flying too close to the flame or wandering too far from the warmth.
As human animals, accessing our ancient instincts needs deliberate intent because the language part of us has so advanced that the instinct part of us recedes further and further back. This makes it difficult to find our way through the jungle of neurotransmitters to where earlier survival skills were dominant. We still need these ancient survival skills. Much of modern medicine is not trained in the use of the subjective to access illness in the body.
Principles of therapeutic yoga are in line with psychoanalytic thinking. Both systems of healing are aware of the importance of the unconscious. In psychoanalysis, the unconscious is an element of consciousness “beneath the surface”. In Yoga, the unconscious is the body. The sensations that are felt are languageless messages from the body to the mind. We can stray from our desires if we have not understood the body’s message to our consciousness.
Modern humans tend to feel these ‘sensation-messages‘ then proceed immediately to creating a narrative, a story which we tell ourselves. In analysis we spend a lot of attention on the narrative. In yoga, the time is spent on understanding the sensation not as words, but as a languageless communication.
The most attractive part of this lesson on biology and evolution is the tremendous boost that we can get from our own instinct of creativity. Here is a picture that emerged from my languageless region: