Month: July 2012

Sweet Sorrow

by Jonathan Hart, LPC

Living in this world means living in the tension between good and evil, love and sorrow, joy and pain.  It is to experience the pleasant comfort of cuddling with your spouse on the couch and to ache with the beauty of the moment, while knowing that the moment must inevitably end.  It is to experience the trauma of loss and death and to know that growth and wisdom often come through pain.  Juliet loves the sweetness of Romeo’s affection as they say “good night” and yet must release him for a time to do without it.

To deny or diminish either of the parts is to live out of balance.  To pretend there is no pain is to smother and  invalidate your genuine and legitimate grief.  To live in the pessimism that says “good is always crushed” is to smother real and life-giving joy.  We can exist in either of these out-of-balance ways, but we cannot truly live.

To love is to risk loss, and the more we love, the more pain we experience in the loss.  Intimacy requires vulnerability, and the more open and emotionally naked we become with the other, the greater the closeness and experience of connection.  We live in a world of friction, and yet within the friction there is heat and light and life itself.

If you are protecting yourself from either of these elements, consider that a full, rich experience of life in this world is only possible when we acknowledge the truth of sorrow and loss while holding on to solid hope that there is good and light in the world at the same time.

What the staff is reading these days…

The other day in staff meeting we discussed what each counselor’s top book pick is these days, and here is the list:

1.  Book:  Why Does He Do That?
Author:  Lundy Bancroft.
Courtney says, “This book gives insight into the way angry and controlling men operate in relationships.”

2.  Book:  Gifts of Imperfections:  Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
Author:  Brene Brown
Anna says, “This book is about taking risks, being vulnerable, and learning to live wholeheartedly.”

3.  Book:  When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough
Author:  Steve Brown
Jonathan says, “This book is for the Spiritual over-achiever in all of us.”

4.  Book:  Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction
Author:  Mark Laaser
Andy says, “This book is about finding freedom for your sexual addiction.”

5.  Book:  The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques
Author:  Margaret Wehrenberg
Lianne says, “This book is all about anxiety – learning to manage it – learning to help others who struggle with it – learning about why we are anxious people.”

Hope you enjoyed our list!

-Lianne

Busy, Busy, Busy

by: Courtney Hollingsworth, PLPC


The ‘Busy’ Trap


Ringing with truth and clarity, when I came across this article in the New York Times about busyness I knew I wanted to share author Tim Kreider’s ideas here with you. I agreed, resonated, and felt convicted by his look at how busyness is a trap we have created and accepted in our mainstream culture, that we then in turn create and accept in our lives. While I didn’t necessarily nod along to every point he made in the article, his overall thesis that we perpetuate busy lives to create importance to our days and therefore significance to our lives, is one I see and feel all around me as well as in me.


Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.


Rather than view idleness as the enemy, or evidence of emptiness, he posits idleness as an important factor to fullness in life. “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” 


I often discover when sitting with people in the counseling room, allowing ourselves  space is a battle. Space time-wise, physically, and even mentally. The battle can be external in the pressures and requirements of the day, but often it is more internal. Allowing for some quiet inside ourselves, some space between the stimulus and the response, and some stillness to sort through, process, reflect upon that which is bouncing around inside of us. 

Here is a link to the article. I recommend taking a break from your busyness to read it 

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?smid=pl-share



What Preoccupies Your Mind?

By:  Lianne Johnson, LPC

What are you continuously thinking about?  What preoccupies your thought-life?  It is likely whatever is preoccupying your thought-life, is also the very thing that motivates you to act in the various ways that you do.  The term the world uses to describe the preoccupation I am speaking of is: obsession.  However, the bible would call these preoccupations that motivate our actions and life as: idols. 
Obsessions can blind us.  They derail us from the ability to see clearly.  Our options in life seem narrow.  Truth is lost.  All we are able to focus on is acquiring the very thing we are obsessed with – at all costs. 
Last night I watched the movie The Prestige.  It is about two men who are obsessed with being the best magician of their time.  Their obsession robs them of love, life, joy, relationships, and they live their lives without truth.  All they perceive they need is to be the best magician of their time.  The cost:  everything.  The gain:  emptiness. 
What are you obsessed with in your life?  What is robbing you of life?  And ultimately, what are you going to do about whatever you have named as your obsession before it costs you everything and you are left empty? 
Oh, and yes, I would recommend the movie!