TODAY'S QUOTE!

"Generativity is primarily the interest in establishing and guiding the next generation, although there are people who, because of special gifts in other directions, do not apply this drive to having offspring, but to engaging in other forms of altruistic concern and creativity which may absorb their kind of "parental" responsibility. This is a stage of growth of the healthy adult personality, and where such enrichment fails, regression from generativity to an obsessive need for pseudo intimacy takes place, often with a pervading sense of stagnation and interpersonal impoverishment. The mere fact of having, or even wanting children does not itself attest to generativity."
Erik Erikson

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some idea of what we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
Steven Pressfield ("The War of Art")

THE WAVE IS BACK! WOOOO!!

Here we go again! Yep. The next Wave is upon us, gathering its forces, surging across our lives, lifting us up or slamming us down, sometimes both, and yes, I mean something much larger than the snow storm we're having at the moment.

Last year, as 2010 began, we started seeing The Wave in our personal lives and in mass events. On the one hand, people experienced crises in their relationships, careers, health - more than a few left the planet, and some in rather precipitous ways - while others fell in love, experienced positive shifts in their work/creative lives, or experienced a new vitality in their bodies. And again, some experienced both the positive and the negative, sometimes even simultaneously.

En masse last year, the proverbial shit hit the fan in natural and man-made ecological disasters, in dramatic economic turmoil and in political debacles and scandals. The year ended with the spectacular revelations of Wikileaks, exposing corruption at every level of "official" society. At the same time, teen pregnancy in America sunk to its lowest level ever, with fewer people rushing into marriages or child-bearing, and President Barack Obama, despite the most extraordinary degree of obstruction ever by a recalcitrant right wing minority in the senate, still managed to get a legislative agenda passed that among other things, included a first-ever healthcare bill, tax cuts for working class people, the repeal of official discrimination against gays in the military and a treaty to halt the spread of nuclear weapons among the nations of the world.

Now, before 2011 has even begun, I am already hearing stories of sudden deaths, relationship break-ups or financial crises, coupled with splendid bursts of new love and creative expression and prosperity.

Each of us has a surf board, folks. We were born with it, so when these waves hit, these surges of energy that we've all collectively agreed to call forth at certain times in our linear history, we aren't left without the possibility of taking a great ride.

You gotta go for it, though, and do whatever it takes to open the window to your higher self. Or not. But like I said last year, there's no remaining neutral at a time like this.

The Wave is upon us.

Happy ridin'!

REPOST: MOVING THROUGH THE LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN GROWTH AND HEALING!

Full Permission Living is a place of being. Having moved from awareness to understanding to knowing, a person at this level of their development is simply a human… being. Eva Broch, in Pathwork Guide Lecture #127, delineates the four stages of the evolution of consciousness this way: “automatic reflex, awareness, understanding and knowing.” (See Lecture #127 in this month’s reading assignment). Spinning off from that lecture, I think of the movement through the four stages of consciousness like this: awareness, understanding, knowing and being.

Awarenessand understanding come by freeing up the mind. This is accomplished first by clearly seeing what is going on in one’s inner and outer life (awareness), and then making the cause and effect connections about the events (understanding). Awareness can begin increasing right in the first session with the therapist, acting as a mirror, offering some initial reflections and assessments. Often in a first session, a patient may say in response to the therapist’s observations: “Oh! I never realized that before.” In other words, awareness has been activated.

Understanding comes somewhat afterwards as connections are made mentally between past and present events and repetitive patterns that were previously thought of as mysterious or cruelly random. Reality is now seen in a more predictable light, and hidden agendas, intentions and beliefs are accepted as personally created realities.

Knowing comes with freeing up the emotions in the body. It is only from our gut, from within our bodies, that we can ever say “I know” something with certainty. That is why we say, “I just feel it”, when we are definite about something. The person who truly feels, knows their own truth confidently. Getting to a place of knowing takes hard work and determined effort. In addition to developing awareness and understanding, one must now undertake the “breaking” of the body’s defenses and armoring, and really feel, especially, at first, the difficult feelings of sorrow, rage and fear. This is the “point of no return.” If a person breaks through here they will never “go back” to their previous levels of functioning. They are on their way to being.

Being is just living, spontaneously and naturally, and comes from letting go. Of everything! It is living without attachment. Although awareness, understanding and knowing are part of being, they are incorporated now without effort, without thinking in the usual sense. Basic trust has been firmly re-established, but now combined with the knowledge, courage and wisdom of an adult.

TO BE CONTINUED...

UNTIL DEATH DO US PART? JUST KILL ME!

This is kind of pathetic. A Rabbi named Shmuley Boteach has a piece in the Huffington Post this morning called "The Centrality of Marriage in a Cynical Age."

The post starts out with some simple facts, which caught my interest. Here's the Rabbi:

"So forty percent of Americans in a Pew Research and Time magazine poll think that marriage is caput. And who can blame them? Marriage in our time is such a bore that eighty percent of married couples use their one date night a week, usually a Saturday, to go to a movie. Here they have an evening to finally get to know each other again as man and woman rather than Mom and Dad and the silence is so deafening that they require Hollywood noise to fill the empty spaces."

Keep going, Shmuley. You seem to be on some kind of track:

"Then there's marital sex, which has become so pathetic that, as I reported in my book 'The Kosher Sutra,' one out of three American married couples are entirely platonic while the remaining seventy percent have sex once a week for seven minutes at a time, which includes the time he spends begging. Passion in marriage is plummeting while divorce is skyrocketing. Visit the average American master bedroom and you'll see a giant, cathedral-like TV. Husband and wives have exchanged erotic desire for HBO because at least the people on the screen are doing it."

I know. I know. Obviously the Rabbi's old school perspectives come screaming through - by taking it for granted that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and who have kids, and that the set-up is that the man has to "beg for it."

But let him ask this question, anyway, before I jump in:

"Does it matter that marriage is dying? Isn't it enough for people just to commit and love each other outside the framework of any institution?"

Okay, that's my kind of question, but unfortunately, after that question, Shmuley really goes off the rails into some antiquated ideas about "what women want," and why the solution to the death of marriage... is marriage! Yep. No joke. You can read about it here if you want, but don't expect much enlightenment.

So, let's get real and let's get down to it.

Most people I know who are married, and most people I know who aren't married but know people who are married, all speak to the facts at the beginning of this piece.

Marriage. for most married people, sucks!

Say it. Look at it, because if you don't, one day you'll be looking in a mirror asking: "WTF happened to my life?!" (Oh, and as far as the kids you're supposedly staying together for as your excuse? Well, let me put it even more bluntly - For most kids, parents suck! But that's another article.)

Now, lest you think I'm just being overly negative for some unresolved reason in myself, I again refer you to the facts above. Happily married people are so rare that none of us really know any, or at least certainly not many. And for definition's sake, by "happily married" I mean passionately, joyfully, erotically so in love with someone that you so deeply desire to be with that HBO could never come between you.

You see, unlike the Rabbi, I don't think we are living in a "cynical age." I think we are waking up. We are beginning to search for the real things in life, rather than facsimiles of the real things. Just as we are more and more choosing to eat fresh, whole foods instead of processed, fake "fast foods," and we're more and more looking for creative work that fulfills our souls and not just our wallets, we are also more and more looking for genuine human connections that lift us up and make our hearts soar.

I know that love, Eros and sex when combined bring us closer to experiencing the true nature of spiritual existence while still in a physical body than almost any other experience we can have. So much of my writing and my work as an holistic psychotherapist is about how to help people open up to the capacity for Eros, and to take the delicious, powerful ride that its wave offers. Do a search on this blog for the word "Eros," and you will find many entries by me on this subject. Being in love is one of the highest highs human beings can know.

And marriage has nothing to do with it.

Marriage is an "institution," and as such, it was created for a societal purpose. It didn't develop organically out of human nature. Marriage, and the nuclear family, came about to serve the masters of sexual repression and economic consumption. Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx both wrote about this at the turn of the last century. (I won't go into it here; you can look it up.) Marriage for love is historically a relatively recent phenomenon, and that is why it is falling apart - because you don't need to get married for love to thrive. In fact, many of the societal proscriptions around marriage are the very things that cause the demise of Eros in a marriage.

"In sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until death do us part?!"

Do you get what those vows actually mean? Try saying them this way:

"Even if we are no longer in love, even if there is no passion between us, even if I refuse to love myself and stay healthy and take care of my body, you have to stay with me!"

Yeah, who wouldn't want that deal? Pour me a scotch, will ya?!

Anyway, in closing, folks, let me implore you: pursue your joy, follow your passion, seek out Eros, and you and all in your life will benefit enormously. It doesn't matter if you get married or not when you're pursuing those things. You will blossom. You will grow. And so will your kids. I'm not against marriage. What I know, though, is that what most people use marriage for undermines love. And in this age, when we are collectively working to raise our vibrations to a 4th dimension level, we cannot afford to diminish love.

Have a great weekend!

YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO!

Here's a great little story from the HUFFINGTON POST, exactly as it was written:

Once in a while, every parent needs to get away from the kids and have a little alone time.

That's exactly what Vicki Myers, a 44-year-old Texas woman, was looking for last Friday night, as she left her three kids in her room at a Naperville, Illinois Red Roof Inn and headed out to her van in the parking lot.

When police officers shined a light into the van window, they found Myers in quite a compromised position: naked from the waist up, with a loaded pistol and a handful of sex toys in the van with her.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

"She originally told officers she was changing," Naperville police Sgt. Gregg Bell said, but later changed her story to say that she went into the van to pleasure herself. "She had some sexual devices in the van."
She wasn't charged with leaving her children alone in the room, because they were old enough to be alone legally, Bell told the Sun-Times. But Myers faces gun charges for not having a valid registration card; she told police she thought it was legal to have the gun in her van, as it is in Texas.

You go, Mama!!

BAD EGGS?!

A murder was committed recently in my neighborhood of Brooklyn. A son killed his mother, tried to kill his father and then tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a subway train. All on a pretty upscale block in Windsor Terrace. The event's tragedy speaks for itself, but even more tragic is this column, written by Louise Crawford for PARK SLOPE PATCH, entitled: "Matricide in a Neighborhood of Mothers."

Here are a couple of excerpts:

"How could this happen in an area known for its happy children and dedicated parents?"

"What if a child is a "bad egg" with serious mental and emotional issues?"

"Is a parent always responsible for the sins of the child?"

And here's the worst one:

"There are plenty of great parents whose children do bad things. Sadly, even good parenting can't prevent what may be hidden in a child's DNA."

WHAT?!!?

In 2010, an intelligent person could actually ask this:

"How could this happen in an area known for its happy children and dedicated parents?"

And THIS: "What if a child is a 'bad egg?"

Woah, Louise! You are really taking the abdication of parental responsibility to new heights.

BAD EGGS?!!?

Sociopaths aren't born (or hatched!), they are made, and very often by over-involved "dedicated" parents whose ego needs are so huge that the child never develops empathy or a stable sense of self. Is your dedication to protecting parents so great that you'll toss damaged kids off like... bad eggs?!

TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR... FOR NOW!

Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg!


BUT WAIT 'TILL NEXT YEAR!!

WORKAROUNDS!

"What can I do that would make a difference in my life that requires no one's permission other than my own?"

According to Russell Bishop in his blog post, "Workarounds: One Simple Key to Greatness," that's the key question to creating a feeling of success in your life.

"How you frame the problem is the problem," Russell goes on to say.

I agree.

If you want to read the rest, it is HERE.

MORE ON NARCISSISM: "ALEXITHYMIA!"

THIS is the latest from Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, from a piece entitled: "Relationship Epidemic: Shutting Out Body Wisdom."

I guess now that the nefarious psychiatric profession is declaring that narcissistic personality disorder no longer exists, we have to give the dysfunction a new name. The Hendricks seem to have found a good one: "Alexithymia."

Their post follows below:


Is alexithymia wreaking havoc in your close relationships?

Most of us struggle at one time or another with an inability to feel what's going on inside us at the level of emotion and energy flow. The technical term for this problem is "alexithymia." If you look it up in a medical dictionary, you'll find some very interesting clues to why relationship conflicts recycle without resolution. The word alexithymia comes from the ancient Greek language and literally means "without words for feelings."

If you're alexithymic, you suffer from three main traits:

You have difficulty identifying your own feelings, emotions and body sensations.

You have difficulty describing your feelings to other people.

You have difficulty hearing or understanding the feelings of others.
We've learned a lot about alexithymia over the past several decades, first in the laboratory of our own relationship and later in working with others. We entered our own relationship 30 years ago with full-blown symptoms of alexithymia. Slowly, and with a lot of careful attention, we gradually became skilled at identifying our feelings, expressing them clearly to each other and listening to each other on the emotional level. As we gained those skills, we began teaching them to others. Now, based on sessions with more than 4,000 couples, as well as a million-and-a-half frequent flyer miles teaching seminars around the world, we can tell you that alexithymia is not only a hindrance to relationship intimacy, but a rampant, out-of-control epidemic.

The epidemic of alexithymia has spread because of two factors:

Almost none of us get any useful instructions in how to be aware of our feelings and what to do to express those feelings effectively. Few of us ever learn how to recognize the signs of feelings in others and how to respond to those feelings effectively. In other words, most of us are desperately ill-trained for one of the most important aspects of life.
Almost all of us have been in situations in which the emotions we felt were so strong and unpleasant that we invented some way to tune them out. We gritted our teeth and squeezed them out of our awareness. Then we ate or smoked or drank or shopped until we distracted ourselves from the painful, overwhelming sensation. Whatever the mechanism of distraction, it can easily become locked in as a habit and eventually even a lifestyle. In other words, if you eat to distract yourself from anger, loneliness or any other feeling that you don't know how to feel, you can quickly become mired in a lifestyle based on handling your obesity.
Alexithymia is a very costly epidemic, but its true cost cannot be tallied because of its pervasiveness. In close relationships, alexithymia keeps you from knowing who you really are, and it keeps you from really knowing your partner. That's only one of the costs, though. It's the underlying issue in many problem areas, including those in politics and business. Multiply the problem times the six billion of us who live here, and you have a planet full of people who are not allowing themselves to resonate in harmony with each other - purely because they've forgotten how to resonate with themselves.


You can read the entire piece HERE.

IT WAS THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY: DECEMBER 8, 1980!

"It's funny how one insect can damage so much grain."

That is a line from Elton John's song of grief, "Empty Garden," written about the murder of Elton's friend, John Lennon, thirty years ago this December 8.

Last year, on 12/8/09, the pilot script of my TV series, "CITY ROCK," was performed live at the Cherry Lane Theatre, directed by Paul Michael Glaser. John Lennon's death plays prominently in the story of "Frank Cello" and his team of misfit warriors, named after the street teen who died on Frank's watch on the streets of Times Square in 1981. I hadn't consciously realized until the night of the performance last year that I had scheduled it to be on the anniversary of Lennon's death.

I just finished reading a great new book today about that death and that day, entitled simply "December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died," by Keith Elliot Greenberg. The book dramatically follows the utterly different paths of John Lennon and Mark David Chapman, John's assassin, paths that somehow brought them together on that fateful night 30 years ago to shock the entire world. It is quite gripping to experience the trajectories of these two souls as they arrive to an incredible endpoint in their starkly unique lives, in front of the Dakota that December night.

Just as I can still remember what I was doing, as a fourth grader, on the day John F. Kennedy was killed, and where I was and who I was with on the morning of September 11, 2001, I remember distinctly the details of the night of December 8, 1980.

I was riding a bus home from the evening shift at Covenant House, the then famous shelter for runaway teens in Times Square, when it was still a seedy Mecca for nefarious characters and lost souls from all over the country. I worked there per diem as a social worker, supplementing the income from my full-time day job at another social service agency. On Thanksgiving of that particular year, just 2 weeks before John's murder, I worked the evening shift at the shelter serving a sumptuous dinner to the kids that had been donated to Covenant House by John and Yoko. Each place setting had a card with artwork from John decorating it and a greeting from John, Yoko and Sean Lennon.

On that bus on December 8, around midnight, I was pretty much alone, lost in thought when the bus driver addressed me: "Did you hear what happened?" He asked. I just kind of mumbled, not really wanting to engage him. "They shot Lennon," he said. I thought to myself, "Oh boy, this guy's crazy," because I thought he was talking about Lenin, the communist leader who died almost sixty years earlier. The driver persisted, rocking my world. "Yep. They shot John Lennon."

I could feel the blood drain out of my face.

Impossible.

"They shot John Lennon?!"

What?! Who?! Why?!!?


Interesting, isn't it, that the bus driver used the pronoun "they?" It's not an uncommon usage, but who are "they?" Chapman clearly killed John and acted alone in doing so, but yet, when the driver said "They," it seemed somehow appropriate. On 9/11/01, the person who first told me about the attack also said "They flew planes into the World Trade Center," even though it was not yet known who actually did it.

Who are "they?"

Well, "they" are "us."

As John Lennon himself once wrote:

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

John at least came to understand something in his short time on Earth about the true oneness that exists in All That Is. Many of his lyrics, during and after the Beatle era, reflect some of that understanding, although his life - and death - was one of dualistic turmoil.

Reading Greenberg's book and other chronicles of John Lennon's life reveals a human being with a great deal of unresolved pain and anger and fear, a history of brilliance and incredible accomplishments combined with great sadness, violence, jealousy and substance abuse. By choosing a lifetime in which he would be so monumentally famous, and die so infamously, you might say that John "volunteered" to play out the dualistic drama for us in his physical and emotional life, even as he sang about the true nature of our oneness and the synchronicity of everything that occurs:

"Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be."

Nothing truly, irrevocably tragic occurs, folks. We desire as souls to experience everything that we can conceive of, to know everything there is to know. In this "experiment" - three-dimensional physical reality in a linear time continuum - we are exploring how love, the essence of All That Is, can be expressed. It is intense. And perhaps, we are almost done with this particular experiment, which may be why so many feel ready to move on from the experience of separateness.

Maybe that's what John was asking us to imagine - no Heaven, no hell, no religion, no country, no possessions... in other words, a world without duality.

"All you need is love."

TODAY'S BONUS QUOTE!

"The work done by the therapist is directed towards bringing the patient from a state of not being able to play into a state of being able to play."
Mark Epstein (from "Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart")

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"Any given set of circumstances can be used to create something good, to move into your own greatness, or to simply be endured. It really just comes down to how you choose to perceive what's present."
Russell Bishop (Life Coach)
 

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