Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Molecular mess #4*

This is another light self-observation. Presently my life is different: I have, for family caretaking reasons, removed one of my five workdays and now have a three-day weekend – Saturday, Sunday, Monday. My small Saturday cash practice ended. This means that all three days are at my disposal. My wife, a hospital nurse, does three 12’s that coincide with my time off. So not only can I be quite indolent; I have especial alone-time freedom from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. three days in succession.

The result has been a lesson in the psychology of a peculiar dysthymic person – or maybe of many persons. Depression, strange happiness, boredom, much questioning of myself, some anxiety, are all at play and mitigated by my personal philosophy of acceptance. I find that in an entire evening, the only ambition I have is to write an article. But that has to wait for an idea, and an idea usually has to wait for new experiences in sessions. So, like a meditator, or a tree that sees its landscape day and night but doesn’t move – not like an animal as I don’t excessively sleep or have strong instincts – I do little but exist in the world. Pretty much, in my apartment. All those moods stir. I come home from work; my wife has already left; and I have a delicious feeling to be alone with the full evening ahead of me. During which I will do almost nothing. (I know that if I had no wife, there would be no delicious feeling. I can be very dependent from a distance.) Ive discovered, surfing, that I no longer like science fiction movies unless they’re recent and deal with interstellar travel, no monsters, or future time-travel. I would rather read a hundred cereal boxes than watch movies about drug cartels, the hood, and international espionage. Most dramas are depressing to me, because the people are psychologically botched yet this is presented as interesting and deep.

I wonder about meaning. I’m reminded of Slomo (see New York Times video), the early-retired psychiatrist who finds great meaning in the momentum of roller-blading day and night and conjuring fantasies (what he calls a “personal delusional system”). To me that’s all fake. Yes, movement can give you a sense of purpose or meaning. Yes, fantasies can feel good. But it’s all temporary, contrived.

Is there any meaning and purpose for adults that is not temporary, contrived, delusional?

I admit that in a very rare moment I imagine being magicked: being given a meaning by the recondite turnings of inner nature, or by the arrival of aliens in a big, beautiful spaceship. Mostly, though, I wonder what is left to those of us who do not have the wild hair of happiness or drive. My assumption is that there are the few among us, such as writer Ray Bradbury, whose original fuel packet of joy was never buried or poisoned. But the rest of us are also part of nature’s blueprint. There must be something right about it.

No matter how lousy, or nothing I feel, when I step out the door at dark and feel the breeze or stillness, see the far-off lights (yes, it’s The Strip and Vegas and Summerlin) and the regular dots of small planes over Henderson, see the moonlight on the path, and walk, I am good. But I know that were I to come out at, say, 4 a.m., and stay ’til the dawn and a bright day, the ‘good’ would evaporate and something else would have to engage. The day: too real, too demanding of action. That’s when I’d probably Slomo in some way or another. But before long, I will have my four days to see clients. Good, nice, engaging moments. Always meaning. I will wonder, though: What do they do in their hours between struggling?

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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.