Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Hello, Again

December 21, 2011

Being the winter’s solstice, it seems a propitious day to offer up my “good-enough” parenting book, Privilege of Parenting, and to unveil my new blog home with much thanks to Sarah Fite (and for the book cover design as well).

One of my favorite psychologists, D.W. Winnicott, coined the term “good-enough mother,” intuitively arguing against the possibility, or efficacy, of perfection in parenting—assuring us that “good-enough” will help kids grow and thrive just fine.  This is probably true for all of life, the value of the middle path—trying our best for excellence, but not perfection.

While I wish I could offer up a better book, a magical book that could mean all things to all people and magically transform parenting into song and dance and sugar the way Mary Poppins rolls, I hope my book shall suffice to serve as a “hello” to anyone who sincerely wants to talk about parenting and work together for the good of all our collective children.

I also wish the book were shorter, but I simply couldn’t find the time to make it any more concise.

So, in a spirit of love and gratitude, I wish all who come across these words good cheer, encouragement through dark nights of the soul and fellowship in neurosis—in the service of all our kids.  If it takes a village, let’s be the village people.

Namaste, BD

Walking

December 7, 2011

Andy and I are walking up Fryman canyon.  It’s a splendid morning, the mountains are clearly wrinkled across the verdant valley, echoing our own slowly aging faces.  This is Sunday in the park sans George in my LA circa 2011.

“This is a perfect moment,” I say, stopping to appreciate the view.  “Our kids haven’t yet left and my parents are still alive, I’m halfway up this hill with you…”

“It is a perfect moment,” she says as we walk on together.  I grow a tiny bit sad, “But it’s not your perfect moment—your parents have already passed and…”

“For me, every moment is a perfect moment,” Andy says, simply.  I take this in.

“Then you’re happy and this truly is a perfect moment.  And I’ve nothing to say.”

(except, perhaps, Namaste)

Maybe it’s all about love

November 16, 2011

“What are you, Johnny Appleseed?” Peter said, with what felt like mocking contempt.  He was teaching me to be a psychologist, a certain kind of psychologist.

Navy blazer, grey slacks, leather chairs, the austerity of analytic psychology itself a gardened hedge against the chaos of badly wounded psyches and the mayhem of human behavior.

Who am I to plant seeds?  And besides, perhaps it’s the tree itself, and not the snake much less God 2.0, that has played us:  “Hey kids, whatever you do, do not eat that fruit.”  It’s not only bears that shit in the forest.  Really love your peaches, but your tree shakes me.

It was a woman’s hundredth birthday party when I saw Peter in a lovely, albeit cool and drizzly, garden.  Over twenty years his blue eyes had grown soft and his graying beard was soft too.  His leather jacket was soft and his velvet handshake as good as a hug.  Looking into my eyes he said, about therapy, but probably about everything:  “It’s all about love.”

Lizards: waving, drowning, smiling, frowning

August 10, 2011

A few weeks ago two lizards appeared in our yard.  They seemed to be fast friends, even though one looked like Rango and the other like the typical lizards one finds in the gardens of LA.  The standard lizard did his customary push-ups while the escaped day of the iguana or rogue karmic chameleon with upward curled tail demonstrated her distinctive walk:  a funky rolling gait in which she seemed to ride an invisible wave.  Regular lizard, in contrast, snaked side-to-side as he cut dusty trails or climbed the walls.

Sadly, a couple of weeks ago, I found the fish-out-of-water lizard dead in the pool, imitating William Holden at the beginning of Sunset Boulevard.  Unlike Gloria Swanson, however, I didn’t call the mortuary, but rather buried it, with spirit but without much ceremony in the sacred ground where also rest three guinea pigs, a goldfish and assorted birds and mammals who met their demise within the confines of the land I tend, but do not pretend to “own” (no matter how banks, mortgages, property taxes and departments of water, power and trash might weigh, cash or trash-in on the matter).

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Eat, Poop, Be On Our Way: Diarrhea at Delphi

June 22, 2011

Maybe it was a bad piece of goat, in fact I’m pretty sure it was some bad goat… but who the hell eats goat in the first place?  Especially from some sketchy food cart on a filthy Athens side street.  But we were young and hungry and the tour-bus was about to depart on a three-hour ride to the mysterious Oracle at Delphi; and whatever was roasting there on the cart smelled, more or less, good… and looked, more or less, like Gyros… which was something we were used to from Greek joints in Chicago.

This was thirty-one years ago as I write, a twentieth birthday had in a cheap pensionne in Rome and a summer solstice sunset dropped softly into the Aegean in Corfu… and now a trip to the center of the ancient Greek world—of which I knew absolutely nothing—a couple of Jewish college boys blithely slouching toward pagan central.  Yet I never think of the summer solstice without thinking of the bittersweet birth of darkness—the longest day a birth (six months later) of darkest night; just as the darkest day in December births the light.

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Dr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

April 13, 2011

I met Carl Rogers in a bookshop in Paris.  Well, I guess I didn’t actually “meet” him, but I did encounter him, by way of one of his books, “On Becoming a Person.”

I was on my honeymoon, having been accepted into a doctoral program in psychology, knowing that my days working thanklessly at a movie studio were numbered, and living a free man in Paris feeling through a magical string of lovely September days, when I wandered into a charming bookstore with an open heart.

When it comes to ideas, I love a vast and wild tangle of possibilities, but when it comes to shopping, I hate malls and too many choices all lined up by focus-group-driven statistics to guess my behavior, exploit my fear-gripped psychology and divest me of my capital (be it time, money or spirit).  Thus when it comes to shopping, I love small places that are run by curators of things—shoe-sellers with soul, booksellers who pick a few gems.

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Do drop in

March 16, 2011

You and I have spoken all these words
but for the way we have to go,
words are no preparation.
I have one small drop of knowing in my soul.
Let it dissolve in your ocean.
Rumi

A simple smile will do

March 9, 2011

All too often we feel lost, gloomy, unimportant and afraid.  As my intention is to join with your intention, whatever it may be, so that together we might participate and connect—that we might allow the obstacles of fear, alienation and meaninglessness to drop softly away like a child’s cheek relinquishing a tear, that we might cultivate simultaneous freedom and nourishing relationship… I will confine my words today to those that precede this simple…

Namaste, BD

Thanks for giving

November 24, 2010

Okay, so now that we’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot… and then put a farmers market on top of that (and called it macaroni), where are we, really, this Thanksgiving?  Was this land really made for you and me?  And if so, why?

Sure the ghosts of Native Americans haunt and hover around our feast-laden tables and around the strip malls and tract homes that may have once been sacred lands, but where do we go from here if we are to live free of fear, guilt, shame and desire?  What might we learn from the spirits that surround us and inform our country’s karma, spirits which may well be our country’s karma?

In the context of impermanence, who can really be said to “own” a land?  Druids, Saxons, Gauls, Brits, Germans, Yanks, Indians, Native Peoples?  And what about when the icy fingers of glaciers tighten their grip once again upon a land truly owned by no human being?  We may, for all we know, ourselves be the spiritual descendents of vanished beings who have returned to inhabit confused western bodies and minds, to inherit the wind of this place and time.  Perhaps this might help account for our country’s general state of stuckness and malaise.

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Full Circle Solstice

June 21, 2010

Well, happy summer solstice, again.

Hello, again.  Good-bye, again.

Go. Dog. Go, again.

How can I begin to say what I really mean?

How can I convey the love I feel for you, and for us and for our world?

I may have failed to tame my ego, heal my narcissism and more fully place my self in proper service to the Self and our collective SELF (although I like to think I’ve made a little progress this year), I have certainly failed to become any sort of perfect parent (not that this was ever the goal).

But I have treasured a year; and in working hard, I have made a difference—to myself.  I do know that I have also made a difference to some others, and I choose to not be coy and pretend I am unaware of this and the many kind and encouraging comments I have deeply appreciated along the way.

I have sought to give, but I have received much in the bargain—age-old wisdom proving true personally and viscerally that it is good to give, that it is through what we give that we find connection, relationship and happiness (and that “giving” can be attention, presence, affection, patience, even just thoughts).

I have apportioned time to blogging, time disconnected from Andy and Nate and Will (thanks to you guys for weathering my self-imposed year of blogging mindfully, too often at your expense).  So, now it is time to follow Kristen’s example and “buffer.”

Only connect.  This is what I have learned from Forster via Andy, and what I have striven to write and live (the challenge about connecting proves to be:  how much and with who?).  Moving forward I hope to continue to only connect, but in balance, connecting virtually, actually and internally with the spirits and the muses.

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