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. . . .