Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The other day I was musing on what it would take to have mentally healthier communities. I realised that it's the same things that make relationships so enriching that also make them so hard to form. The power of safety with another person. Trust and mutual respect. These are things we bang on about all the time in the field of therapy, however we rarely expand our thinking out to the community level. I'd love to initiate acommunity garden project in my suburb and will start working on it, however I worry about working with people who have different world views to me. I think this in a really human thing to be worried about, but I'm also a product of my context. I feel isolated where I live and crave connectedness to others despite world views. I want to be around people who are different, be aware of my judgements, yet not attached to them, fuelling my subjective feeling response. I also want the same in return. I'd like to just be with people who aren't like me and yet feel safe with closeness and distance. No outcomes in mind. No purpose. No strings. Just a process. Do I want too much? Or si ti truly as simple as I think it could be (with a new paradigm in mind for relating in community groups). Is it possible to combine community development with overt therapy techniques that focus of interactional process? I don't know but I'd love to find out. Watch this space....for a while......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ego politics

When I watch an ad on TV featuring a 'beautiful person' who makes their living being an officially licensed carrier of physical beauty I find myself getting seriously angry. I wonder as to my reaction and I come up with this:

This is an unbridled display of ego.....the ego is a delusion.....this makes wallowing in it ridiculous...no...untruthful......this should be transparent.......like knowing you're watching an actor....yet I sense the model is buying into this mirage that is their own ego.......which makes the whole exercise enragingly fake......yet there must be a mass market for this or else I wouldn't be seeing it on prime time so often......this means that many others must also be buying into it.....meaning I may be in the minority......I wish someone else could see what I see and feel what I feel right now........AAAAARGGH......

So in the end my own ego gets assaulted by the realisation that I feel isolated and wish someone could reinforce the fragile reality I feel must exist. Ironic, eh? More effective methinks in hindsight to just accept diversity realities and my own conclusions as valid in and of themselves and the feelings that I have which are painful and speak of a need to look within. Keep on looping the loop......

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I was watching TV last night and saw anad for a breakfast cereal (notice I choose not to mention the cereal brand as I'm aware of how much free advertising I could be provding with the Kanye-West like popularity of my blog). Anyhow, the ad got me thinking about the way that social norms and constructs form and are then re produced for mass consumption in inocuous forms. In this ad, there's a new guy starting at a cereal factory and he and all the other workers are dressed in super hygenic air tight suits. The newby ends up inadvertently participating in an unspoken right of passage which involved being 'irresistably' attracted to the cereal and desperately trying to shove it through the impossibly small opening in his helmet. Soon after' completely out of control he tries to pull his helmet off to no avail and ends up 'backplanting' himself onto the floor, much to the amusement of a group of onlookers who have been through this before and much to the annoyance of their supervisor. Anyhow, I'm sure you're playing guess the ad right now and have probably guessed it, however I found myself thinking that this as is very clever (whether knowingly or not). I think it highlights the power of shared experience, the unique, yet also shared experience of initiation and rites of passage, constructs of normality in workplaces and also the potency of sensory expereince in an context of majority sensory deprivation (amongst other things I'm sure). What's it like being disconnected form anything except your immediate sensory experience? LIberating, yet subsequently potentially shameful as well. Needing the approval of others to survive in context, yet dirven to survive as an individual and make the choices required to limit threat and distress? As we make the inevitable transitions that life presents us with in its ever changing way, the choices we make are designed to result in social nourishment to help validate our shifting self construct. We connect into new experiences like aliens wishing to belong and when that belonging is communicated in its wispy, non verbal way....eye contact, posture, a smile.....we are nourished....don't need
sweet cereals any more.....at least until next time.

Friday, October 22, 2010


What do you feel as you read this? Hopefully some of what I'm feeling as I write it filtered by your interpretation. Emotions are funny things. They have a way of moving from one living thing to another. Shifting form and intensity. It's interesting don't you think that we convince ourselves that we are unique, separate individuals with identities like islands completely distinct from each other yet if you were to come and talk to me when you're feeling anxious, I'd inevitably have a response to you. What a contradictory and confusing existence we're programmed to lead.......

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keep it coming

Ever not wanted a feeling state to end? Like you're exhalting in freedom of consciousness and terrified of its loss and how you'll feel stuck and like a failure again. I'm in the place, right here, right now. Change in the only constant in life yet when it feels light, airy, fresh and raw with sticky goodness, stasis is the preference. As I sit her my mind turns to times gone and times to come. I can feel it slipping....hold on I CAN get it back again. I try to grip my thoughts like fingers to grains of sand. Nothing adheres. A thankless task. I want help yet know none can of will be forthcoming. Sitting with it is all there is. Acceptance in all I can do. Anything else is life energy directed.....where?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Suffering vs pain

Thanks heaps Bookbird for the great comment. Your point about the noble truths of Buddhism is a valuable one I think. Suffering of our own making. I've heard it said that Pain + acceptance = pain and Pain + non-acceptance = suffering. I reckon that mindful acceptance is an amazing thing to behold. Really hard to do though in the face of the ego and our tendency to get attached to our judgements each moment. Especially when it comes to the human need to attribute meaning to things and not just let them be things.I think it's perfectly understandable that we wish to overlay meaning on our experiences to give our lives weight. I do it all the time. Just today I said to my daughter that she was a 'good girl' for eating her dinner. Would she be a 'bad girl' if she refused. She might not be hungry afrter all. She might just reckon that the food isn't her thing. It makes me feel like a 'good' 'competent' and 'valid' parent if she does eat the food though and this drives my thoughtless evaluation of her behaviour. I did give it a second thought though. I reckon that second thoughts aren't real unless they are part of a configuration or 'gestalt' that I have insight into and that makes my relationship with the world a self aware and compassionate one.

Existentialism posits that we create meaning through choice and action moment by moment. It speaks of isolation, meaninglessness and pain as being central to common existence, however freedom going hand in hand with these truths. Compassionate and loving thoughts and actions come I think from an awareness that although there may not be some grand narrative, there can be your own narrative crafted moment to moment like a windblown crag exposed to the ceaseless comings and goings of the roaring wind and sea. This vista can seem cold, stark and brutal one moment, and the next fresh and luminous, while ever changing and relational. I reckon reading the section of Alan Watts' 'The Book' where he muses on relativity and relational configurations and patterns vs the 'newtonian billiards' view of the world is like having a veil of delusion lifted from your eyes momentarily only to have it gradually come back to rest. Until that is the next moment of clarity. Speaking of which....onward and ........onward.

Cheers big ears'!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Pain makes life real. We don't want pain, yet without it there is no gravity to lived experience. We wish more than anything to hold on to life for ourselves and the others that make our life what it is. When there is loss of life we feel the weight, the tragic loss. Yet death is as inevitable as the sun setting and life cannot exist without it. I wonder what is this construct of emotion.....of experience that fosters attachment as the only road to meaning? Is it the fear that if we don't grab hold and cling on then we will be exposed to the truth that there is nothing , a void, no self, no concrete significance and meaning?

This attachment leads us to grief, loss and pain so intense that we proceed to privelege the one over the other....life over death, emotion over rationality, fantasy over reality, (or vice versa; one side over the other). No actual privelege exists in any absolute sense except in out subjective and collective mind states. Take the example of the millionaire who convinces himself that he deserves his unequal share. Ego state or reality?

How to find meaning amidst stark reality? That there is actually no separate self, no ego to feed and nuture, no separateness at all and therefore no inherent worthiness or unworthiness. What will guide us to a meaningful life, a fair and just life? Answering this question provides my life purpose. The thing that all else flows from. Please join me in the discussion. Ask questions, make comments. After all, life's not MEANT to be all serious. If it's a joke, then lets embrace the humour and laugh it up. Can we truly realise our freedom to choose moment by moment while still accounting for constraints and challenges (e.g. trauma, poverty, inquality)? Let's rumble!