I’m reading two challenging books by the late British psychologist, David Smail. Ironically, he was dubious about the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Particularly when it does account for the oppressive impact of hidden societal “interests” on the quality of our individual lives. Why, he asks, do we always direct the client inward, as though something … Read more
Boredom. Tolstoy defined it as a “desire for desires”. You want to do something, anything, but nothing is compelling. And then there’s the awful restlessness. If you could be simply bored and sit there with equanimity you’d be a guru. But you’re not. The emptiness/restlessness combo is maddening. Lars Svendson, in his book, A … Read more
I was shocked to discover that approximately 100,000 lobotomies were performed throughout the world, starting in the early 20th century and continuing right up until the 70’s. The heyday was the 1940’s. The procedure might seem both bizarre and gruesome. And it was both. But it was consistent with a burgeoning belief, still prevalent today, … Read more
I just re-watched Breaking Bad. It’s a character study of a brilliant high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who discovers that he has lung cancer, evoking a critical reckoning. Who am I? What have I accomplished? What is my legacy? It turns out the answers to these questions respectively for Walt are: I don’t have … Read more
We’re our own worst critics. It’s a cliche but it became so by being true. Yes, a minority of humans have the opposite problem. They let themselves off the hook too easily. These folks have zero capacity to objectively assess their own behaviour, show remorse when they’ve wronged somebody, or hear any critical feedback without … Read more
I recently hit the road, destination Winnipeg, Manitoba, the city I grew up in and which I left at the age of 18 swearing I’d never return. Never did, at least not to live. I left because it’s so goddamned cold. Then, after the interminable cold summer would arrive. Green worms hung menacingly from dying … Read more
Most of the time I’ve spent on my healing journey (ongoing) was about breaking through denial. Or more accurately having my ego broken. A working definition of the ego is that it is denial in the form of a personality. We build it so that we don’t have to see and feel things as … Read more
Flannery O’Connor’s short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, plays with the idea of goodness as conventionally understood. A family sets out on a holiday with grandmother in tow. Grandmother, although of good Christian stock, is manipulative and willful. En route, they hear that a murderer named the “Misfit” has escaped from prison, … Read more
The roots of narcissism may not be what you think. Typically we equate the narcissistic personality with somebody who is “full of himself”. The truth is the opposite. There is a vacuum where a self used to be. Therefore everything a narcissist does is motivated by filling the vacuum. Everything and everybody is recruited to … Read more
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Dismantled: How Love and Psychedelics Broke a Clergyman Apart and Put Him Back Together
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