Contemplative Tweets

I’ve been tweeting for a while at https://twitter.com/emptyawarealive

Feel free to follow me there or here.

Until next time,

Mark

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Hiding

This morning I was reading an article from my hometown newspaper about white-collar crime. A quote from a man who was caught embezzling money from his company had a familiar feel to it.

(Here’s a link to the full story)

“I wanted to stop, but I didn’t have the strength and courage to stop,” he said. “I still felt guilt for what I was doing to everyone around me and to the company. I was waiting to be caught and out of the dark place I was in. Getting caught, I didn’t need to hide anymore.”

This quote feels familiar—particularly the line about hiding—because of all the work that I have done with people in drug and alcohol recovery. It seems that the story of hiding one’s self—from spouses, parents, friends, co-workers, etc.—is a familiar refrain that causes quite a bit of suffering. After years of playing hide and seek—putting on one face for this person, and another for the next, and the next—the game becomes too complicated and painful to keep straight. Sometimes we begin to lose any reliable indicator of who we are anymore, which brings up seemingly inevitable questions about the merits of continuing to exist; dark material, to be sure, when the inner nihilist kicks into high gear.

In some ways, experiencing this fragmentation of the concept of the solid self could be constructive, for if we can experience that there is really no solid self to hold onto, this may free us to be anything we want to be. We could experience that we are neither this nor that, but instead both. However, in the context of drug and/or alcohol addiction, this can be a very serious, debilitating and potentially fatal experience, one that requires some grounding in the real world. It can be especially therapeutic to have an experience of finding out “who I am,” after so many years of running, hiding and avoiding that experience.

What a relief, to not have to hide anymore; to just be yourself, whatever that is or may be.

I feel we can all achieve this.

We can show up in more authentic ways with people we love. We can be more congruent in the things we feel and say. We can show up and drop into our bodies and really feel the full spectrum of what it feels like to be alive, instead of hiding in the corners of life and confirming our darkest fears about the world around us.

This is hard, but hopefully rewarding work.

Until next time,

Mark

Here We Go Blog!

I’ve decided to add a Blog to my website.

This feels so 2002, but away we go!

First off: this may be messy at first. I have not maintained a blog since at least 2004 and have not written much for the last a couple of years. I imagine that the process of loosening this muscle may take some weeks (a conservative estimate) and will bring with it some cringe-worthy entries, but I am resolved to push on fearlessly!

Second off: I hope to update here at least every other day and am employing all the new technology at my fingertips to remind me of this duty.

My intention for this space is share with anyone who happens upon it my thoughts, ideas and feelings on the world of psychotherapy, both professional and personally, in the hopes that it furthers the dialogue on the possibilities of what therapy can be. Another intention of this space is to explore for myself some of the assumptions that I have regarding working with people in a therapeutic environment, and teasing out if those assumptions are still valuable or not.

I know how much I have learned in the course of my education and clinical work, and also how much more that I have to learn about working with people therapeutically. I hope that by writing in this space I can facilitate some dialogue that furthers our collective abilities to find more connection to the world around us.

Until next time,

Mark