Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.

Psychology:  We project onto others what we reject in ourselves.  Some call it a Shadow.  Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing. 

Zen:  There is no separate self.  When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.  

We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.   


Entries in Feelings (13)

Sunday
Jun182017

Fountains and Falling

Three days after the play, I fell.

I was on my way to Feldenkrais class, the perfect place to re-connect with my exhausted body.  I was on time for a change, but the train was delayed.  ...running, running, waiting for traffic, grrr, hate that subway, gotta get there so I can relax, there’s the elevator, oh I missed it, lurch for the button...

My sandal caught the lip of the elevator and I lost my balance. My nose smashed into the door frame as I twisted, and then there was floor, lots of blood and pain, the ankles of the men helping me.

Falling is part of my history. I fell on my knees as a disabled kid, fell down stairs in graduate school, fell through a love affair. And falling is part of my legacy. My mother has fallen, and my grandmother, an uber accomplisher, would fall routinely and calamitously, putting an end to whatever overreaching was going on. Naturally, each time I fell, I cursed and vowed to learn my lesson.

This time was different. I didn’t need to vow because my opportunity was right there on the floor. I looked up, saw the kindness of the rescuers who took me upstairs for more kindness, ice and a private room to lie down. ...breathe, apply ice, shift positions, breathe, note critical disappointed thoughts and predictions, breathe, mop up blood, breathe, apply ice, thank people…  A city cab appeared as soon as I walked out the door.  The driver didn’t mind that I lay on the back seat as he drove me all the way uptown, the city wooshing by, holding my pain and gratitude.

I bled for five hours and when it was done, I noted that I was envisioning what kind of cosmetics would enable me to go to work without notice. In the next breath, the oddity of that line of thought for a psychologist struck me almost as hard as the floor...but no, I could do it...I’ve managed more...but I don’t have to...

I don’t have to. I can commit to healing, to ease, to taking my time so that when I return to work I am available to myself as well as my clients.  When something big happens, it requires the whole life to transform. The whole life falls.  The Fountain falls, and the water rises.

Monday
Aug012016

The Main Point, or, a Few Ignoble Truths

You may have noticed that I've been gone a while.  I've been busy doing nothing.  What happened is that I had a pretty good idea and I started to write, but then it went sideways and I had a hundred more ideas, and they led to a hundred more, so I started jotting everything down, and it was all connected, so I couldn't finish it, or, rather, them.  I suffered. 

So I decided to step back and remember the main point.  

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Tuesday
Jun022015

Yes, Doctor. May I see your computer?

It started out well enough.  The pain specialist in the spine department--let's call him Dim--was friendly and respectful, and did a quick and gentle exam of my neck.  Then he brought me into his office, offered a seat while he communicated with his computer as he complained that electronic medical records were ruining his practice.  I sympathized; he continued on about how this keeps him up at night, then asked me many questions that had nothing to do with my neck, presumably required by the machine he was facing.

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Thursday
Jan152015

Zen Retreat Redux: Sit. Stay.  

I didn't see it coming.  

Unlike the high drama and torture of last year, this zen retreat was relatively uneventful, which is to say it was a veritable cauldron of long-forgotten demons, physical pain, boredom, and large helpings of bliss.   Nothing special.  So, when I came home I was surprised to discover vast swaths of freedom in my life where previously there were tiny little congested closets.

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Saturday
May312014

Even the Good Stuff

Sit with it, psychology supervisors would say in grad school.  She needs to sit with her sadness, guilt, dilemma, etc.  In practice, I learned that most clients interpret this as submitting to their inner attacker until it hurts a lot, really really enough, and then, having done their duty, getting back to what’s actually fun and lively.  Fortunately, as I sat in my own meditation, I was able to clarify the process and then guide clients through it.  Sitting with it means that we allow the connection between thoughts and feelings to dissolve.  When they stop reinforcing each other,  we are freed from repetitive loops and we can actually move on, not just push through.  

But here’s the thing:  When stuff feels awful, we work pretty hard at this.  We get good at identifying our inner critical introjects and naming them as thoughts and not obeying them and returning to our sensation and All That.  Because we want to feel better, right?  But then we do.  We feel better.  And then we’re done, we think.  No more pain.  I graduated.  But…  then… alas.   It slips away.   What happened to that good feeling?  

That’s the question in the air, along with

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Wednesday
Jun272012

Feeling Thought Loops

It  goes like this:  You have a feeling, say anxiety, and a thought comes with it, say: I gotta get outa here!  It's more like a command, isn't it?  So you obey, right?  You try to get out.  But maybe you can't, so you get more anxious; as you get more anxious, your mind develops the thought, embellishing the fantasy of disaster if you fail to escape.  More anxiety.  Shall I go on?  Have you been there?

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Tuesday
Jun262012

Get your feelings out! 

Not so fast!   If you feel like murdering someone, kicking your dog, running from challenge, eating til you can't breathe....do you do it?

No.  right?  you don't, right?  

Feelings are not facts, but they make our beliefs seem like facts.

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Monday
Jun252012

Take Anger, for example

The problem with anger is that not only are we really not allowed to murder people, but we've been told since day 1 (ok, maybe 121, but still, pretty early) that if we are angry, we are bad and wrong and...crazy...also ugly....and...well, maybe it's just me but it's a rare duck that really surfs with anger.   With all those nasty descriptions, it would certainly seem like a better idea to not get angry.  But we do anyway, right?  So we try to hold it in.

So, then when we were 20something maybe we got the idea that we should let it all out.  We went around telling people the truth about the way I feel.

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Thursday
Jun072012

Crips on the Subway

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:33PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

My hips were already hurting as I was standing on the platform.   I could almost feel the relief of the seat as I waited for the train…and waited…and… the desire intensified with the growing awareness of the delay, the imagined relief intensifying the pain.  

By the time the train pulled in, a crowd had gathered and I was terrified of the competition for seats.   Naturally, there was exactly one seat in the car and the woman who pushed her way past me got it.    In agony, I pondered:  Was she disabled?  My hips don't have a big sign on them and I'm not carrying any supports like crutches.  Do I say something?  What if she is mentally disabled and doesn't understand the subway protocol?   If she gets angry and accuses me, do I understand her as limited or mean?  What's the difference?  Who deserves what?

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Saturday
Jun022012

It's All Worthy

If you've read What's the Rush?, you already know how my mind complicates the effort to walk a simple line from here to there. What I learned is that I need to surrender to my mind's need to wander, and book myself some play time, some empty time to do and think whatever I want.  Oh yes, it solves everything, except that I have to rush like crazy to get to my scheduled play time.  

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