Thursday, September 8, 2016

THOMAS - At Seventy-Five, The Story is Still Happening

      This young guy walks into, 1978 (running, even walking too brusquely may have caused suspicion, detention, delay) and with a resolved sense of determination to become 'more involved in mankind' precipitated by a hastily-made New Year's resolution, he excitedly embarks on the execution of the answer to his fervent prayer - "God, show me what I am to make of this world.".
       Many, too many of his years had been wasted in pursuit of 'finding himself', ferreting out his personal karma.  Now, certain he had arrived and was comfortable with 'his way of being in the world', it was time to negate immersion in 'Self' for the higher, nobler purpose of helping others out of darkness into the bright light of comfort and confidence, trampling on pain and despair en route.  Thomas would embrace psychiatry , dedicate his being to the daunting clinical treatment of that suffering population of 'hapless losers' whom others avoided as a waste of their talents and time.
       I have been true friends with him for over forty years.  Mostly, we agree.  On one dominating opinion, however, we follow different drummers.  Thomas is a star in Dr. Freud's 'marching band'.  I have more of a 'Ringo-style' Dr. Carl G. Jung beat.  Over time, Thomas specialized in the treatment of adolescence.  (Of course, the standing joke, if you will, is my assertion that his choice was dominated by his personal development.)
       The admirable book he wrote on parenting, I feel, has an overall prescriptive nuance that is all too carelessly squandered elementally.  This because the reader has little or no exposure to his frame of reference.  However, it is very well-received.  What follows, then, is a tribute to Thomas' life work, writings and teachings while practicing as the finest, most-honored clinician I know.
       As is his want, (and in keeping with his astrological sign), Imam able to NEATLY divide his career/life into three areas: Adventure, Gratitude and Completion.  In his young years,I think, as John O'Donahue said, "I would love to live a lifelike a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.". Thomas' inquisitiveness and enthusiasm for 'doing', lived a life in full play, one of relished experience.  I would imagine he misses walking barefoot, toting posters decorated with bright colors, oil finger-painted 'things', gree shoes running in wheat fields, getting his baseball signed by his favorite St. Louis pitcher when that team played his hometown Giants and building shelters with treasures from his chest.
       But in 1978, aware of the closure of the Adventure part of his life, hehe concluded that one must let one's heart reveal you; you must let love uncover you.  This realization led to the conclusion that with collaboration and friendship, comes connection.  (I'm sure his relationship with his beautiful, loving wife reinforced this phenomenon.)
       His clinical methodology seems to be a simple 'show and tell'. For Thomas, beauty (healthy self-awareness and living in the present sans past negative baggage or future hopes) was too good to pass up.He also felt that good gets better - much the way as when one's tears roll down one's face during a poorly-executed aria one's performance is in effect an ensemble, and one's co-performers will carry the day or note - as good team members tend to do. In that he knew he did not exist in isolation, he was able to climb the rubbled, ruined walls like those of Rome t oday.
       Of course the Gratutude phase was born.  As he handed his sung song to those for and about whom he cared, he told them to play THEIR music.  The resulting, though at first halting, results were immensely gratifying. Of couse this process is far more complicated and precarious than it sounds.  For example, Thomas had constantly to be certain that imagery was separated from reality experience (a concept, I believe is called 'duality' in psychiatry.  For me, knowing that I am NOT the two soft-cooked eggs upon which I gaze is sufficient and find Thomas' emphasis on rhis element a tad tedious.).
       Nevertheless, I think, dear reaser, that you now know that Thomas was approaching Completion (Please stop that ebullience - out of respect for him).  But indeed, he was finally able to bring the LIVED,FOUND treasured and not forgotten knowledge to HIS life and the chapters on the pages of tho se of his patients. The response has been a thing of beauty to observe.  Thomas exudes LIFE and the fact that HE is still growing, has learned and known very extraordinary people during this time, continues to build - and with a healthier crew,has slowed down ONLY to let the entire Gestalt breathe and is ever anxious to DIVE into the new, to open, to reveal, connect and explore.
       Make what you need and find truly beautiful. This has been one - Thomas' story  It is time for yours.  
Happy B-Day, ole' man!
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, September 3, 2016

May I Ask Who's Speaking?

          That this question was asked by me of me is - if nothing else - a justification for the title of this Blog.  I was in Barnes and Noble the other day on a specific mission - buy a basic but extensive book on sewing.  I'm not doing much with my mind lately, so I had decided to revive a craftamused myself with as a newlywed.
       Money being at a minimum, I'd decided to start by taking down drapes and using the material to recover our "House-Anything-But-Beautiful" black vinyl dining room chair seats.  I learned that all chair seats are 17 inches deep, had enough material, discovered the wonders of a staple gun and the chairs looked 'WOW'.
       At the time, the Navy had assigned us to Norfolk.  Hubby had been 'star-gaze' happy because after finishing Officers' Training School, the brand new Lt. Doctor had visions of using his surgical training on the floating hospital, The Hope.  (1969)  The Navy thought otherwise, pulled The Hope and gave 'glum-chum' Lt. Doctor and his Mrs. and baby son orders to report to Norfolk prior to embarking in 3 weeks to the Indian Ocean for 11 months with a fleet of destroyers going on a 'peace-keeping' mission.
       He was assigned to the flagship, the Harold J. Ellison under the command of a Commodore. (I thought the last one was Perry).  He'd be bunking with the ship's pastor.
       The enmity between the two began on day one as the fleet was being laded with 'good will' goodies for all ports of call.  Lt. Doc laded the English complete encyclopedia into his car (destined for a non-English-speaking nation) along with a pair of slolums earmarked for non-motor boat possessed Madagascar but less wasteful for building bookshelves for new sets of encyclopedia.
       Said enmity progressed on a steady course sparked by the numerous bartered purchases from carvings to carpets accumulated by the good Lt. Doctor. 
       Back at the 'ranch' oftownhouses reserved for officers, having wanly waived a wet fairwell to her spouse, the Mrs. and 9 month-old son set about writing to Lt. Daddy every day (Philip's missives often on the wall), and redecorating - at times to mask his messages -.
       With my staple gun fast becoming my new best friend, I took advantage of a White Sale at Sears, rushing home with my heavily-discounted two sets of lime green and yellow plaid single bedspreads and matching shams, using one for his 'big boy' bed transition and stapling the other on one of the walls.  
       I planned to use the extra sham - glued to a cheap white shade - but in the interim, cut a long, blue and white gingham robe in half and 'styled' it over a rod.  Perfect length to the sill.   I didn't notice the pocket facing the street side of the window.   Three other new Navy wives did, though, and took several weeks to decide which of them would play 'point-out-the-pocket'.  By then, my respectable, co-ordinating shade was hung and I was ahead 2 to 1 in the enmity department.
            Fast-forward to 2016, Barnes and Noble, new sewing book and while hunting for a sewing magazine in the 'self-improvement' section, I was distracted (terrible ADHD.  You've noticed.) by a magazine I'd never seen  and was certain it was an ill-fated blunder.   There was "Artful Blogging" and I had to have it to be certain I haven't been writing 'white-pockets-facing-the-street' metaphorically for lo these many years.
       I found my answer on page 19.   A successful, known blogger, discussing her various ploys to avoid dry cycles when creativity eludes her (like writers block when the people in your head stop talking to each other), "takes time off from social media" because ". . .it's too easy to look at other people's work in search of that elusive spark that can re-kindle creativity".
       Whew! My literary window treatments are winners by that standard.   I can't even find my page on Facebook much less an "elusive literary spark".  
       And as for successful bloggers, I say, "Whatever Floats Your Boat".  In 1971, when the fleet returned,  the Commodore was set with every test performed by Drs. Jellyfingers, the Lt. Doctor was now First Lt. Doctor having been high-lined to another destroyer to perform a life-saving appendectomy on a seaman (apparently the Commodore wasn't so lucky and got dunked), and in 2016 I may not be a successful, well-known blogger but I'm never lackingbat least three simultaneous conversations going on in my head.
Later, Lorane. . . . .