I am full of fear about my new life. I am planning, with my friend Fred Timm, to start a not-for-profit organization called Conscious Community — a hub, online and also in-person, for people interested in and dedicated to becoming more conscious. This is the first time I have spoken publicly about this group. We have been working hard on formulating its principles for some time and it’s almost ready to go. I don’t want to say much more about it right now, beyond that its ideas are in synch with the values I have been espousing for the last ten or so years.
In framing this essay, I’d like to ask myself some questions about my fear. Sometimes I find interviewing myself to be quite helpful. So here goes. Continue reading
1) Feel excitement over new creative inspiration
2) Feel passion as I dive in and create first draft
3) Feel shame that draft is not good enough
4) Feel nothing as I self-protectively dissociate and forget about draft Continue reading
Twenty years ago this month I graduated from Swarthmore College with a liberal arts degree in biology. I’d been well-trained to do everything and nothing: everything because four years of Swarthmore convinced me that I could learn most anything successfully, and nothing because past that I really hadn’t learned much of practical value. After leaving Swarthmore I entered the world with high confidence and major insecurity. I had some wonderful and very rough years ahead. Had Swarthmore prepared me for a balanced life as it so roundly promised or had it failed me? Reflecting on those formative years of two decades back, I wish to study my college experience, in good Swarthmore fashion, logically. Continue reading
For the past seven years I have been making films on recovery without medication from extreme mental states called psychosis or schizophrenia. For the past four years, since I ended my therapy practice, this has been my full-time work—and my passion. I have made four films and have mailed DVDs of them to all corners of the English-speaking world, and I have felt honored to watch their message spread: to mental health consumers, psychiatric survivors, mental health professionals, teachers, family members, journalists, libraries, and universities.
In 2013, thanks to a grant from The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, I came out with new DVD versions of my first three films—each translated into more than 16 languages. My business quickly became far more international, yet I noticed a trend: Continue reading
I was recently going through some old essays of mine and found this one from 2002, written two years before I had a website. I forgot that I even wrote it. I didn’t expect to like it much, but instead found the opposite: I really liked it. It expresses some concepts that I didn’t even realize I was thinking about at that time, and in some ways I find that they may even be more advanced than that which I think about now. Also, at the end of the essay I will discuss a couple of points this essay brought up for me. But for now I’ll leave the essay to you…
••• ••• ••• •••
I grew up in Upstate New York on what was once Cayuga Indian land. To me it is the most beautiful country in the world: rolling hills, crisp, cold streams, cascading waterfalls, Continue reading
I’ve known for a while that I’m rather lost. Not totally lost — but still, kind of lost. I’m not sure exactly where I’m going or what path I’m on. I would say that I have been kind of lost for about three-and-a-half years. It’s a stage of my life.
Recently I have come to think of my conscious life as having been in four stages so far.
The first stage of my conscious life was from about age three or four to age twenty. In a nutshell I guess you could call that stage my conscious childhood. Continue reading
[Written in March, 2013.]
I wrote my Frieda Fromm-Reichmann essay back in the Fall of 2005. Since then it’s had quite a profound effect on my life. For starters, I wrote it before I’d ever met anyone who had met or even knew anything about Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. I was working as a private practice therapist back at that time. I was fascinated with the subject of psychosis, Continue reading
[I wrote this essay in July of 2011.]
For several years I have been studying people in deep, long-term friendships and couples in happy, long-term, committed relationships, in order to determine what makes the relationship function. What keeps them together? What keeps them “happy” in their relationship? The general answer I have found is simple, and is neither a good nor a bad thing: it is common values. The reason I say it is not necessarily good is that I have seen many happy, functioning couples or friends who share values I find disturbed or offensive, such as fundamentalist religiosity, mutual denial of their abusiveness toward their children, xenophobia, hypochondria, overlapping areas of sexual acting out, shared love of the same drug, and love of living in a bubble of comfort, to name but a few.
My reason for writing this essay, however, arose when I got down to brass tacks and asked myself about my own values, and thus, in turn, about the types of people I am most likely to gravitate toward.
What do I value most in this world? Continue reading