Sunday, April 2, 2017


I lived in a non-serious place in my late twenties and thirties. Most things were bad in my life in that time. I was decapitatedly neurotic. I was married to a Borderline personality (this was before I could tell psychology from Dear Abby). I was “father” to two stepdaughters while I was still a child myself. We were just above poor and dead-in-the-water irresponsible (our psyche said “immediate gratification” as it contained no future sense). But I lived in subtropical Sarasota, Florida with palm trees and blue skies and sunny breezy days with pelicans and seagulls flying here and there, and the bay and the Gulf of Mexico right there. The Sandbar had steel drum music at the outdoor patio, where patrons applauded the sun as it sank into the Gulf. Anna Maria Island, remote but just down the road, had Fast Eddie’s (slogan: “Warm beer and lousy food”) at the end of a planky wooden pier. On weekends, the family would shuffle into the bayou up to our waists and pick up sand dollars with our toes, as perfect as the ones in the souvenir shops.

But all these things were just the pretty shells on a spiritual beach, which was: Life is a vacation. That was the feeling I could never escape, even on dismal days with a born-aggressive wife or with debt problems or parenting incompetence. My life was a vacation. What’s hard to explain is how this wasn’t a dream I had conjured. It was, I believe, a sense produced by the fusion of some paradisiacal template in me, from birth, with the subtropical setting of Sarasota and Lido Beach and Siesta Key and Marina Jack’s and the always-moving and musical water.

So . . . I lived a non-serious life, though I worked every day, built a small business, paid bills. I believed I was happy, which kept me there for eleven years before running away from the terrible marriage.

Twenty-five years on, and I won’t be going back to Florida ever again, I’m sure. My wife and I are here in the glamorous part of the desert; I can’t get licensed in Florida (would have to return to college); and probably would never have enough money to move and retire in my very old age.

But I know it calls to me – the one still place despite everything in the molecular mess* of my history that means ease and lightness and brightness, that means dessert, and an OKness to be a person with simple natural thoughts, no adult posture, quirky reactions, beer, beach, sun burning the toxins out.

I wonder – Do others have this childhood beach in them?

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* Molecular mess– an idea of mine described in different (searchable) blog posts.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.