“We all experience many freakish and unexpected events—you have to be open to suffering a little. The philosopher Schopenhauer talked about how out of the randomness, there is an apparent intention in the fate of an individual that can be glimpsed later on. When you are an old guy, you can look back, and maybe this rambling life has some through-line. Others can see it better sometimes. But when you glimpse it yourself, you see it more clearly than anyone.” –Viggo Mortensen
Some of you may remember that I registered for the half Ironman that will be taking place April 2nd in Oceanside. Well life being life, my training has gotten off to a slow start. I have considered throwing in the towel several times but just can't bring myself to do it. So I have decided to get serious. I have 5 months to till race day and I plan on being there on the starting line.
So if you would like to help me it would be appreciated. Want to go for a ride or a swim, let me know. Want to go for a run, I'm in. Triathlon can be an isolated endeavour, but it doesn't have to be, and I'm going to need some help from the village to get me there.
I've been doing some searching around today for narrative therapy videos online and discovered that there really is not much to be found. I'm not really sure why that is, probably various presenters protecting copyrights, or maybe indifference to putting the ideas out in a larger context. Hopefully this is an area where The Narrative Project of Orange County might be able to have an impact. Having said that, I have found a few videos that I will post. Some tend to be a little long, but helpful all the same.
First up is Harlene Anderson of the Taos Institute and the Houston Galveston Institute. I suppose Harlene would be considered one of the the founders of the Collaborative Language Systems/Collaborative Therapy approach and in this video she talks about how she uses shared inquiry or curiosity/listening when someone you are consulting with, brings to you their "story ball." Good stuff:
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and somthing else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. -Chuck Close.
The way we as a society conceive of mental illness matters…It affects our moral instincts about what it is to be human…The real dilemma is faced by our society. It is whether we will allow the seductions of the vulgarized biomedical model to overcome our own responsible commitment to a complex view of human life…whether to understand [the mentally ill] only as the detritus of a broken brain or also as people whose suffering implicates us, whose struggles are resonant with our struggles, whose complexity and depth demand that we see their suffering as engaged in the struggle to be decent, responsible people.
We are so tempted to see ourselves as fixable, perfectible brains. But the loss of our souls is a high price to pay.
T.M. Luhrmann, Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry
I'm tucked away in a Franciscan monastery in the southern California mountains somewhere, attending to my spiritual condition.
I had an amazing day today, doing the work that I always dreamed of doing, planning projects with people I'm blessed to have crossed paths with. I haven't been this excited about the future in some time.
The truth is in the meeting of opposites - Father Bede Griffiths
I discovered this video of the life of Father Bede Griffiths over at Zen Mirror. I ended up watching the whole thing. So compelling is Father Bede Griffiths story of combining the spiritual traditions of the west and the east, that immediately after watching the video I went over to Amazon and bought his biography and a book of some of his writings. I'm very curious about this man. Do yourself a favor and make some time to get a glimpse of this amazing man's life.
Bede Griffiths was a monk, a man in whom there was no guile, and was last to see the guile that may have been in any other. This monk with a universal heart was an icon of integrity and guilelessness. As John Henry Cardinal Newman once described them, Bede was one of those: who live in a way least thought of by others, the way chosen by our Savior, to make headway against all the power and wisdom of the world. It is a difficult and rare virtue, to mean what we say, to love without deceit, to think no evil, to bear no grudge, to be free from selfishness, to be innocent and straightforward... simple-hearted. They take everything in good part which happens to them, and make the best of everyone. (homily, Feast of St. Bartholomew)Such was Father Bede Griffiths, Swami Dayananda, who died May 13, 1993, barefooted and clothed in the color of the sun, in his thatched hut at Shantivanam in South India.
Passing Rockland Psych Center, saw dead dog on side of road. Wept for next 38 miles. Just when you think you’ve given up your last shred, there it is again. - Notes From a Drowning
I think I I've just had a couple of the toughest weeks of my entire life, an accumulation of a difficult year. I don't suppose anyone even knew, except Michele.
I heard once that Michel Foucault said something to the effect that the easiest way to control a person, is to make him an individual. It is when we stand alone, we are most vulnerable to the many outside forces that would blow us to the rocks.
I still remember the day I noticed my individuality. I was in the 4th grade, standing on a the playground surveying my surroundings. I was hit with dread.
I remember when I had my first spiritual experience, one of interconnectedness. It was in a jail cell, on a reservation in Arizona. The experience has never left me.
My spiritual malady is one of "isolated individual." It is a formidable opponent.
The experience of the last couple of weeks has reset me. The sun is back. My last shred? There it is again.
Today was national coming out day and those of you who read this blog know I'm involved with the wonderful non-profit Survivors' Truths. Well our executive director Dove Pressnall did a FB post that I wanted to repost here.
National Coming Out Day is bittersweet for this straight ally....so many young lives lost recently due to the hateful acts of others. If you can remember trying to figure out who you were while feeling an outsider in High School or college, imagine how it is for gay, lesbian, and trans kids. Survivors' Truthshas joine...d with CHLA's Transgender Risk Reduction program to do a special participatory media project with trans-youth. Visit www.survivorstruths.org to donate to this important work. And think about how you can reach out to an LGB-T young person in a meaningful way--like all teens they need mentors in the community.
Captures it pretty nicely I feel.
Dove and I will also be attending the Angels of Change event this Saturday night in Hollywood that will also support the CHLA's Transgender Services. If you have some free time this Saturday night, come join us.
Today was the second postmodern salon/narrative group or whatever we'll end up calling it. We were very fortunate to have Anne Arnold facilitate and it was wonderful. The Orange County community is very lucky to have Anne in our midst, willing to share her experience and support. The next event will be Nov 21st and will feature John DePaola from OC Rescue Mission and the topic will be God/Spirituality & Narrative Therapy. Mark your calendars! Here's a few pics from today's event: