A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
— Henry David Thoreau
Something about this quote by Thoreau captured my attention and reminded me of what might take place in narrative practice, if rich story development happens. How the "hint" developed in collaboration with those we work with might lead to a new act. But that's just me..
"I had a discussion with a great master in Japan, and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, "That's a waste of time. If you really understand Zen, you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because the sound of the rain needs no translation." - Alan Watts
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Michele and I are off to hide out in Las Vegas for a few days. As you can tell we're pretty traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving.
I am experiencing a good amount of gratitude these days. Lots of things coming together and lots of possibilities are in view.
This week I had my first ever teaching interview. I got hired. Looks like I'll actually start teaching Psychology undergrads in the spring or summer. Pretty cool.
The family decided this year that rather than give each other gifts we're going to pool out gift money and make several microfinance loans via KIVA.ORG in an effort to crate opportunity around the world. I'm pretty excited about that.
Like I said I'm in a good place, experiencing gratitude. I wish the same for you.
I've made a surprising discover lately regarding narrative practice and the business world. I've read two business books over the last couple of months and it seems to me that narrative ideas are beginning to bleed into corporate America in a surprising way. Now how is it that capitalist's are more accommodating to narrative ideas then our own mental health practitioners? Not sure, but a little of what I have found follows:
I would argue that you could find several of those headings or similar, in many books about narrative practice. This book still suffers from the discourse of competition and ideas about winning in business, but it was surprising all the same.
Exhibit B: REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. We all know how narrative practitioners love to put RE in front of everything, Re-author, Re-story, Re-whatever, its become code for narrative practiced here. Well now there's Re-work. The authors, not narrative folk by any means, have done a very nice job of building quit a counter story to many of the dominant discourses that have floated around business for quite some time, unexamined. Some of their headings include;
Don't Be a Hero
Reasons To Quit
Throw Less at The Problem
Make Tiny Decisions
Go To Sleep
Yes, they do still fall into several dominant ideas out there in the business world but for the most part, they work to build an effective counter story for much of the discourse that still commands corporate America.
So I'm on the look out for that next book that moves these ideas further into the business world. Maybe it could be mine. I mean, I do have some material I could start pulling together...
All therapists lack training in politics, art, history, and economics, which they vitally need today. Therapy is not a medical specialty, nor is it a branch of the social sciences. It is a field all its own, dealing with relationships between people; and as such it demands its own orientation and its own training programs which draw on the experience of all pertinent disciplines. - The Radical Therapist Collective
Last night Anne and I ran up to CSU San Bernardino to attended Narrative & Pizza hosted by Lorraine Hedtke, John Winslade and CSUSB. Lorraine presented on narrative approaches to sexual violation which, with all that's going on in the sports world these days, was a timely conversation. Narrative & Pizza, run out of the school counseling program at CSUSB is a regular (monthly/bi-monthly?) series where you can find brand new students in the counseling program, practicing MFT's, and current faculty. It was well worth the drive to San Berdo on a Friday afternoon and I plan to be a regular attendee. The next N&P is on December 9th, so if you would like to help me get in the car pool lane, I'll drive. Here's some pics from last night:
I have another post up at the OC Metro where I take on the myth of the rugged individual. Please take a look and share:
Yesterday I was with a client who is a budding entrepreneur and the subject of networking came up. She was about to leave a job where she was in the company of many people, and where opportunities to travel and expand her network were plentiful. She was going to leave all of this to begin her start-up in her apartment and was becoming aware of, and concerned about, the isolation she might face...Read More HERE
This year I'm helping to pull together the second annual AAMFT-CA Student Conference to be held at San Diego State University on February 24th. This conference's theme will be The Family in All Its Forms, and for those interested the call for abstracts went out today. We seek proposals for presentations about MFT's impacting families in all forms, addressing such questions as:
LGBT Parenting, Single Parent Families, Childless Couples, Foster Care & the Family, Blended Families, Military Families, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Empty Nesters, Cohabitating Couples, Adoption, Immigration Effects on the Family, New Approaches to Systems Theory, Religion & Family Family Health, Diversity & Inclusion, Counseling & Therapy Research.
If you are interested, or know somebody that might be interested in presenting at the conference, all the info can be found HERE. Abstracts must be submitted by Dec 15th. Please spread the word!
"If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn." - Thomas Merton
I posted this image on facebook a few days back. I thought it was a pretty humorous critique of our consumption culture. But if the truth be known, I knew all the brands, but couldn't tell you the name of one of the leaves. It kinda hurt.
I've fantasized for years about living more of my life in the outdoors. Michele has been pretty patient and supportive in my desire to get a cabin in the middle of nowhere so I would have an escape. We came the closest to actually doing something this year when a friend let us know that a place was available in Taos, NM. We didn't pull the trigger.
I bought a tent a year ago. I have not used it once. I think it's time. I'm going to learn the names of all those leaves. Who wants to go with?
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to get together for lunch with my friend Suzanne Broughton. Because of our schedules, it seems that Suz and I can only get together once every six months. For those that don't know, Suz has been the biggest influence on me with all the online/social media stuff that I do. Suz was the one that bullied me into starting Dharmabum, getting on Twitter, and hooking me up with the OC Metro writing gig. At some point yesterday our conversation turned to the influence of Twitter. Suz is a big proponent of the power of Twitter and its potential reach. I wont bore you with all of that, but she did suggest that I get a little more detailed with my Twitter profile. There's not much you can do in a 160 characters, but surprisingly it did cause me to pause and think about who I am these days. In a nutshell this is what I came up with:
Narrative Therapy/Inquiry Practitioner. Blogger for @OCMetro Magazine, Social Entrepreneur, Community Worker, Art & Poetry Enthusiast. Test Pilot & Raconteur
Now that might not seem like such a big deal to anybody, but two pieces hit me in a enlightening way.
Social Entrepreneur: Yes, I have a long entrepreneurial background, and have even spoke about social entrepreneurship at a conference, but I never identified as a social entrepreneur. Until now. It struck me that what Anne and I are doing with the Narrative Project of Orange County is establishing a social enterprise. A low/no cost community counseling clinic that will serve our community in need. I have to say, it felt good to try on this new identity.
Community Worker: But I think it felt even better to discover that I am at a place, where at times I wasn't so sure I wanted to be, working in the community giving back. As I look back now it all makes sense, all the schooling and training, the amazing people that have influenced me and my world view, the theory, the practice, the hard times, all of it has brought me to this place where I can call myself, a community worker. I'm right where I've always wanted to be.
So who knew a conversation about Twitter would lead me here, but that's what happens when you have lunch with Suz. I suppose I should also apologize to all my friends in advance, now Suz wants to me to get on Foursquare. Sorry.
It seems like the big distinction between good art and so-so art lies somewhere in the art's heart's purpose, the agenda of the consciousness behind the text. It's got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of the part of yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved." - David Foster Wallace
This Friday John Winslade will be hosting another Narrative & Pizza on the campus of CSUSB. This friday's topic will be Narrative Practice & Sexual Violation facilitated Dr. Lorraine Hedtke. Sexual violation includes, rape, molestation, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. This seminar will offer ways for counselors and other professionals to respond to these issues that is ethical, non-pathologizing, and respectful. The seminar will start at 6pm and is located in the College of Education Building, California State University San Bernardino, Room CE 120 (The Institute for Research, Assessment & Professional Development). Anne and I will be going so we hope to see you!