about therapy, for me, for you, for them, for us, within/without

the weekend

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  Two women wise and fine get in a canoe on a crispy Sunday morning. Many moons have risen yet they live  the present. One is edgy, the other full of mirth and together these old college friends, on a Sunday morning, crisp, bright, get in a canoe. The lake is as if home, they know it well, its Summer quietness and countless blueberries, its exuberant coastal Autumn foliage, the wintry snow, and Spring. The many shades of green on the shores of the lake, reborn and full of life, again. The women know every twist and turn, the geology and the history. They’ve been friends, also with the lake. The lake is as if home. I too, was on that canoe, and I too am learning to befriend this lake that is as if home to the wise women full of edge and mirth. One day, I too want to be edgy or mirthful and ride off in a canoe on a Sunday crisp and cool and be in the present with many  a moon risen.

Life’s little twists and ugly results

No details necessary about the twists life springs on me. They have more that I wish to recall and could ever count on any number of fingers. Twists are surprises, unexpected and yet, intuited at. There is a distant feeling, similar to the approaching season of Fall. I find that no other season announces itself in such a pronounced way as Fall. Its smells bring forth sensations of warmth, of interiority, of baked hot dishes to be savored around a kitchen full of friends and family. Winter will soon come along and with it, blankets of snow, blankets of ice and a city that becomes a canyon running with wintry chills and where no layers can stave off the dreaded bone searing stark cold of a cold truly cold snap.

Perhaps, not familiar with the vicissitudes of a true New England or New York winter, those people from the South that have been chosen to represent some of us, a few, the few that can go South to St Bard or The Polynesian Islands, those gentleman, for they are all men, have in their infinite coldness of heart, chosen to shut the government down. Oh, I spoke not of it at the time, my anger keeping me from my pen, or keyboard as is the case. But now, that their gesticulations and their articulations and their prowess in the insularized debating team that most people call the House of Representatives (what they represent, we ‘ve always known as is obvious from the Greek/plantation facades, the drawls of those who have all the time in the world and whose bellies never grunt from hunger or anger) now, it is time to speak of the cowardice, it is time to speak of the zeitgeist, or spirit f the times as it were, where most of the masses have cowered down and shut up beholden to the greater fear, the fear of a faceless government that will come in the night and take their children away. American guns were in the hands of those who took such actions in the Argentinian nights, in the Chilean stadiums where breaking musician hands was a sport and a display of power.  American drones have come home I hear, and American gunmen are shooting again at its children. More than 4 white dead in Ohio, it is a Gulag of dark skinned undesirables feeding a hungry capitalist machine where a man’s voice to his children is worth more than he makes in a month and where he is willing to pay, and where it is him and not the monsters who profit from his calls that have the publics condemnation. Too much blood in too many hands. When will it stop?

Food for the soul and for the stomach

It is the way to a person’s heart, they say about a well confectioned meal. I would like to think that any undertaking that is done with love, time and good ingredients will reach someone’s heart, be it a lasagna or a therapeutic session. Life really is like a recipe. You have the basics ingredients, but you can add more salt, more pepper, make healthy with whole grains or decadent with many rich cheeses and meats, lean and adequate, or medium of the road and with some good fat cheeses.

The heart that fine piece of machinery that some still insist on calling a muscle.

the heart bloody, stubborn,

the heart beats a beat

the mother to all music

sings a song we sing along

with the mother  in the womb

a heart stops and another breaks

hearts in/sonance rhyming and ling and dying.

So there it was my lasagna, vegetarian, with all the cheeses, little sauce, some pasta and some spinach. A meal for the week and a meal for the strong. My lasagna is a great recipe but I tweak it always, a pinch here and a pinch there, but the code is in my head. Not in my heart. In my heart are other food of my infancy, foods hard to match and harder yet to cook. I’ll get there! I’m learning always and I wish no more than to feed my way to my loved one’s hearts.

Social work is compatible with food I say. You feed your way into a soul, into a heart into a mind. Food is love and food is compassion.

to willfully take away food from a child’s mouth is a truly evil act. To know someone goes hungry is demonic. To do it knowing that food is the building block of a human being is to willfully make that person less human. It is to willingly take away the dignity, the possibility, the energy, the thought capacity, the very essence of what it is that makes us human. And yet, ideologies without thought and religions without heart, are at the core of this new attempt to SNAP the basic necessity out of so many mouths, to snap the branches that have not yet fully formed, to snap a soul into madness, into desperation. If only They would only SNAP out of it and reach into their hearts into their consciences and think that all the riches in the world are not worth the pain of a child’s hunger. If only…

Lasagna...picture by Salome

Lasagna…picture by Salome

L’Shana Tovah! May this New Year bring new challenges, new learning and growth for those in my life and for the world. I will shed a little skin and a few old bad habits and acquire new passions and new enteprises. It will be a busy year, a New York year. May G-d/Shehinah be with me and with those with whom I travel along this road called life!

a resilience tree

ImageI am no longer a willow curving with the forces of the wind. Nor do I feel like an olive tree able to withstand the forces of nature by its capacity to reinvent itself into a younger offspring with the old one attached. Not an oak, never was. A pine won’t do either ”cause a bird cannot build a nest on it. I no longer know what tree I am or what tree I have become. I do know that it’s not flexible like the willow, resistant as the olive, strong and majestic as an oak, evergreen but barren like the pine. Maybe I’m just a struggling shrub, because if I was a tree I would have snapped. And, I have not, yet

I am no longer a willow curving with the forces of the wind. Nor do I feel like an olive tree able to withstand the forces of nature by its capacity to reinvent itself into a younger offspring with the old one attached. Not an oak, never was. A pine won’t do either ”cause a bird cannot build a nest on it. I no longer know what tree I am or what tree I have become. I do know that it’s not flexible like the willow, resistant as the olive, strong and majestic as an oak, evergreen but barren like the pine. Maybe I’m just a struggling shrub, because if I was a tree I would have snapped. And, I have not, yet

Daughters

Saturday of job application filling and attempting to make sense of the relationship I have with my 20 year old daughter. What happened? What happened to that sweet shy being, who jumped in my arms, who made me feel whole and the best person in the world. I know what happened! She grew, she became a different person and as she told me today, mom, we cannot possibly grow exactly alike. You have to recognize that we are different and accept me as I am. Wise words that stung! But I will share some art of hers. She is a great artist and is more and more committed to a life that will involve that special talent. Indeed she is different than me. I have no talent at all!  The sketch was unfinished as is our ongoing relationship!

New Paltz

Why can’t a social worker get a job in California?

California has me in a knot, but it sure is pretty!

As the Woody Guthrie song so well says, It you don’t have the dough, California is not pretty. I can’t seem to find a job, although I am qualified to do a variety of things, have a Masters in Social work and have worked in more settings than I have fingers to count. Jobs to which I apply I’m either over qualified, or not qualified enough. I either have too much education or for the singular state of California, not enough. I still get regular job offers from the state of Maryland, but here I am willing to drive 100 miles and nothing zip…Oh this is so hard on a person’s psyche. To feel that I am maybe too old to qualify, not pretty enough, don’t speak the required languages and on and on….I should have been shot or broken both legs when I got in my car to move out here. There I have it said.

I know I have counseled people who have not been able to get work and have been paid to do it. And now, I am in need of those services because I can’t continue to live like this day after day without it destroying my psyche , my deep inner workings, the well spring of my mental health. I keep busy with blogs and hobbies and exercise and still feel as if I’m going mad. Just to send in another application makes my stomach knot up in a ball. Compassionate curiosity was when I sat with a client and asked them how they were dealing with the feelings that being unemployed brought up. How did it make them feel? Were they volunteering and exposing themselves to other people, attending classes, learning a new skill, learning a language,  my list went on and on as it is indeed what I do. I follow my own advice but it isn’t getting me a job!! Now how will I face a client (when and where I find a job, if I have to return to New York or Maryland, so be it) and think back on these moments. How will I be able to keep from projecting my utter sense of impotence, my shame and feelings of worthlessness. It is hard to face the fact that society does not find you useful for anything. I can’t serve my country because the skills I have are not needed. But yes they are. I just don’t have that inside thread, that connection, that name to drop. I’m alone, isolated and lack the social network that would have worked for me. I have to go masticate this and see if there is any revelation that can be had from the desperation felt within me and unloaded on those that to me are closest. hard times are here and I am scared.

 

 


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