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  • Heaven

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,6,28,8,2,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 28-07-2004 15:02<noscript>July 28, 2004 08:02 AM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    Next week in Davenport I’m going to take a moment to ask, “Is this heaven?” Then I’ll wait, hoping that someone will answer.

    Increasingly I find myself using contemporary culture as an example of what therapy has become. But the culture swirls around us like an Iowa tornado that has no beginning or end. The constancy of its presence makes it difficult to see it clearly and its power is so overwhelming that we have stopped bothering to try and counter it with our own feeble expressions of unique creativity. Heck, we don’t even recognize its power to keep us in our seats when standing would greatly reduce our pain. Last week in Manhattan Carl in the front row told me his severe sciatic pain would have disappeared entirely if he had just stood for five minutes, but he “didn’t want to disrupt the learning experience for the rest of the class.” “So it’s the class’ fault you hurt?” I said. He wasn’t happy with that.

    Standing isn’t even a creative act, but we are so determined to appear “normal” by sitting quietly while in a classroom setting that we hide as best we can any expression of discomfort and strictly limit those movements that would resolve it. I see this every time I teach. Essentially, my method of managing such a problem consists of giving others permission to move in a way that reduces the deformation causing the pain. What a strange concept.

    What does the culture do to encourage stillness and physical inauthenticity? Seen any infomercials lately? As David Morris points out in “Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age,” … “(we’ve been taught) that the healthy body is the beautiful body and that the beautiful body is the healthy body.” In addition to some artificially imposed version of beauty we’ve come increasingly to honor stillness in the face of crisis and strict adherence to exercise regimens that are tightly choreographed by others. As Dr. Phil would have said to Carl in the front row, “How’s that workin’ fer ya?”

    And yet, I think the answer to our problems is expressed in the very medium that seems to perpetuate them. I see in movies and books and television shows examples of how listening to an inner voice no one else hears and acting upon its advice and direction can lead to some sort of psychic wholeness and relief. Why not relief of physical pain as well? I think we need more often to follow our instinct to move without worrying about the opinion or judgment of others. I asked Carl, “If you were a dog what would you have done?” He really loved that one. Perhaps I should have put it as the sociobiologist E.O Wilson does: “We can still be hunters in the million year dreamtime.”

    There’s a movie out there about imagination and following an inner voice and moving in a way the culture finds strange-it’s “Field of Dreams” and I suppose a few of my students next week will be familiar enough with the dialogue to answer the question I’ll ask, and they’ll answer as if they were Ray Kinsella.

    They’ll say, “No. It’s Iowa.”
    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 05:58 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein