A New Moment

July 2, 2017

I have finally reached that moment where when I awoke today I could think that I had no more clients. Not for today, tomorrow, or the foreseeable future. I had a feeling of relief and joy yesterday as my last appointment came to an end. It has been a bit sad and a bit sweet to experience the conclusion of the therapy relationship with client after client. As each was so different in their therapy- their needs, thought patterns, feelings, style of learning- so have they been different in closure which had begun some time ago and ended yesterday.

I will miss those people, each of whom was so different and with each of whom I shared a unique relationship. Some I had seen for years. They were the easiest with whom to say goodby- the most ready to go, although not necessarily wanting to let go. Some I had seen for only weeks. I was a little harder to say goodby to them. While they were appreciative for what they learned in our short time, we were both aware of the potential that will be lost.

Some I expect to hear from in the future, after some time passes, to sit over a coffee or tea more like old friends. No expectations, no demands. Some I will not hear from and they will eventually fade from my memory.

There are still many tasks to be done to close my 46 year career and 37 year independent practice. Offices to close, papers to organize or trash, furniture to redistribute, professional organizations to contact and modify my memberships, shifting in budgeting concerns, modifying tax obligations, etc.

But the biggest adjustment of all will be with regard to how I use my time. This is a mystery to be solved, or at least understood, only with experience. I need time to understand my new relationship to time. I expect to no longer have the constraints of the appointment day to day schedule. I imagine that, over time, I will settle into a rhythm of activity which will be more consistent with myself and less deferent to the demands of the professional world and the management of client contacts. I think there will be days when I forget about time and just attend to whatever I am doing. And I think there will be other days when I my attention is wide and spacious and not focused on any outcome.

Many years ago, a close friend and colleague once told me that I was ambivalent about money. I rejected the idea but, upon contemplation, i discovered that I was, indeed, ambivalent about time. While I wanted to build a prosperous career, I also did not want to give up my more personal time. This realization helped me to focus my imagination on the form and construction of my career with a minimization of conflict over loss of time.

So now I have arrived at a new moment. My calendar is cleared of repeating appointments and therapy sessions. I walk into my studio/workshop feeling such a wide breadth of opportunity and possibility that I stand there in awe with no specific form to my next move and many raw possibilities gathering to be brought to form. Stay tuned. This is what I hoped for. And so it begins.

With two weeks to go until my retirement from professional practice, I held the last of a long series of groups last night. We had been meeting together for four hours a session approximately monthly for about ten years. The group was started at the suggestion of one of its members, who asked me to pick the other members and to lead it. With only a few changes, the group had a consistent membership for its entire life. It was composed of four women and myself and was based on the use of interactive deep imagery and art as a way of knowing. Although it was focused on personal growth it was statedly not a therapy group.

The ending of the group was, one would expect, a little sad and a little sweet. Everyone recognized the growth they each had experienced and how it has manifested in their lives. There was also a clear recognition of the deep bonding that developed between the participants and how significant that was for them.

 
As for me, I, too, learned and grew. As the years went by I learned I could trust the process to carry the group with my role being as an organizer the hold the parameters of the schedule, the structure, and help the members to stay focused on how the inner dialog with the imagination can address problems and questions in an organic way, learning to trust one’s intuition and use the intellect as a support. I was often surprised by the members feeling the necessity to take notes when I reflected on what was happening, as it all seemed so obvious to me. This helped me to see and accept aspects of myself which are usually below my normal awareness.

 
I prepared no final talk or goodby but, following the process, I let the flow of the four hour/ten year group come to its natural conclusion. Near the end of our time, I silently asked for an image to come to me to help me to know whatever I needed to know about this moment. My inner advisor, trusted guide, and manifestation of my own unconscious mind came and filled the space with its blue/black energy which felt, undoubtedly, like love.

  
That is what we had been doing all along for those ten years- learning how to love ourselves and each other. How to be in the flow of being and accept and support others to do so as well. No one left last night feeling all their problems were solved but everyone felt they had a better understanding of how to cope with them and how to foster continuing learning and growth.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with others in this way that served us all.

Meditation Retreat

April 23, 2014

TWR70b

A few weeks ago I attended a three day meditation retreat at the Ligmincha Institute in Virginia. The retreat was awesome and I am sharing here a link to a video which was taken during this very retreat. It is an hour long so it does go into some depth and includes some guided meditation by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and an interesting question and answer session with questions from around the world via internet. Enjoy.

Click on a link above or find the video here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/46068128

 

In a 2013 interview, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche explains his approach to teaching in the West and clarifies essential principles of Buddhism and Bon.

The Flying DrumThe Flying Drum by Bradford P. Keeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keeney is a therapist who used systems theory and cybernetics and had a national reputation with several publications in the 80’s. He was a student of Gregory Bateson and Heinz von Foerster. He has developed a radical approach to therapy which is deeply informed and shaped by shamanism.

If you are interested in this, there is an engaging podcast available that I would recommend with an interview with Keeney by Tami Simon of Sounds True. Here is a link to this podcast.

“The Flying Drum” book is a fast read. He tells his personal story of his own “professional” development and describes his way he met with shamans from all around the world, received initiations and instructions, and brings what he learned to the world. It is literally fantastic, operating in that domain of what seems unbelievable and yet here in direct experience.

While the book has similarities to New Age books like those of Lynn Andrews, etc., it feels to have more substance and is more grounded in ordinary reality while not shy of stories of the seeming impossible. It is also a bit like Carlos Casteneda’s books with many descriptions of encounters and personal experiences but without going into as much of the detail of the stories of his contact with the shamans.

I found this book to be validating and inspiring.

The Importance of Play

March 24, 2009

A pioneer in research on play, Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. From TED.com (Recorded at Serious Play in May 2008, in Pasadena, California. Duration: 26:42.)


                  http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Here’s a very good video from YouTube featuring Deepak Chopra discussing meditation and Self realization. It is part of a larger presentation that I did not see, but what is here is a good, basic overview from a theoretical standpoint. It’s less than ten minutes long. Your comments would be most welcome.