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Cross Country 8-Orbit

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  • Cross Country 8-Orbit

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,8,19,9,3,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 19-09-2004 16:03<noscript>September 19, 2004 09:03 AM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    Exactly a year ago I was teaching a workshop in Alaska. On Tuesday I flew into Rhode Island to teach another. Looking west from my seat on the plane I was surprised to see large stretches of forest. Until then I had imagined our smallest state to be densely populated. Like India. Guess I was wrong. I remember looking out the window as we approached Anchorage last year and seeing much the same thing though I will admit the terrain was a good deal more forbidding. Nobody seemed to be living there either, but I wasn’t surprised that time.

    Last night the weather guy on CNN was displaying a map that tracked the path of hurricane Ivan. Only a couple of major cities were indicated until the computer image focused closer to the earth. Suddenly the names of smaller cities appeared. This reminded me of a passage from a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin: People who live in artificially complicated situations call a life such as mine ‘simple,’ but everything looks simple when you leave out the details, the way a planet looks smooth, from orbit. None of this is simple, though it’s easy enough, when you know how to do it, when you are aware of the details.”

    I spoke to a total of 122 therapists on the last trip, and I find with numbers this large the details of each contact begin to blur until I can no longer remember where I said what to whom much less what they said to me. I actually remember more about the few students in Alaska last year than the ones I met last week. I suppose this should bother me but I must admit it doesn’t especially. Still, there’s something to be said for personal contacts that go beyond the superficial. Sometimes I descend from that orbit of my mind and see others in a way that reveals the complexity of their life. When they allow me to actually touch them I often gain a sense very rapidly of how desperate they are to move in ways that no other therapy has permitted. I worked with a man in Hartford who appeared effortlessly affable and comfortably fit until given manual permission to move instinctively. This is what Simple Contact does. As I became aware of the details of his physical existence his restricted mobility and severe pain rose to the surface in my vision though I’m pretty sure they were there before I touched him.

    As it happens, I had met this therapist the last time I was in Connecticut but that was years ago. We corresponded briefly afterward and, that being remarkably unusual, I remembered him. As he changed in response to my care I heard someone say, “I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble for so long.” It was me. Believe me, an empathetic and solicitous comment like that doesn’t usually show up during any part of my care. Someone in the class actually expressed surprise and I could hardly blame them. I’m still wondering about it-obviously.

    Maybe I need to descend from my orbit around the students and those I treat a bit more often. Perhaps what I imagine to be true is, well, just a product of my imagination-like the population of Rhode Island, for instance. Perhaps knowing more will help me understand something important about care or teaching that I’m missing.

    I’m just a bit worried about what price I might have to pay for this.
    <hr> Posted by gary s (Member # 1098) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,8,19,20,2,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 20-09-2004 03:02<noscript>September 19, 2004 08:02 PM</noscript>:

    Old age catching up!
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,8,19,21,55,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 20-09-2004 04:55<noscript>September 19, 2004 09:55 PM</noscript>:

    A quote from William James that I found in the book, Status Anxiety (Alain de Botton) alludes to "the price":

    "To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them gratified. There is a strange lightness in the heart when one's nothingness in a particular area is accepted in good faith."

    Interesting book by the way.

    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 05:54 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