Sunday, June 4, 2017

Put down the ice cream

It wasn’t until I was forty-two years old that I came to ask myself, What’s wrong with me? The ride had stopped. I had left my eleven-year first marriage in cowardly fashion – leaving work early before my wife got home from her job, packing some clothes, six hundred dollars, my electric razor and my mini-Schnauzer, and scramming. ‘Where do I know no one?’ was the impetus that sent me from gulf coast Florida to Ohio. After a couple months situated, taking temp jobs, living in “Uzi Alley” (a bad part of town), dealing with loneliness by hanging out nightly at a quaint bookstore-café, I found myself face-to-face with the extreme cavity of my life. I sat down, with coffee, and proceeded to write my self. When you do that the very helpful way, you are casting the clouded light of intellect into your depth, your past. I found truths that were always there yet covered over by decades of repression. A main insight was knowledge the way a still-healthy child experiences it: a full-body epiphany that makes everything different. If not for that descent into my core, I would assuredly, now, be a sixty-five-year-old typist, only a terrible nighttime walk-taking emptiness too wan to even coalesce into a question, a thing that had never grasped his lifelong death, and too ignorant to make it final.

So I appreciate the work of psychology.

There were at least three earlier occasions when my feeling might have brought me to therapy. A brief breakdown, just a moment or two, at age thirteen, when my mother asked me if something was wrong. I remember being around twenty and telling my new brother-in-law that I would never care to learn to play chess, because it wasn’t “the real world.” And freshman year of college, the most uncharacteristic thought and entirely out of the blue, that I would “need a tragedy” to dislodge me from whatever unnameable momentum I was captive within. But as is true for most people, the pull of now always had hegemony. What psychology shows us is that “now” is the wrong way created by our then. “Now” is looking at something and feeling the past, and not realizing it. “Now” is running away from our problems.

You will never get better by clasping the now. You may feel better for a short while. But age, in our human nature, seems to inexorably pull us to find our self, which has a child’s face.

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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.