Austin, TX 2017

Water inspires me.

I think all the times I have been driven to the keyboard to write, either on a work project or a personal piece, water has been involved. I don’t write in the water (cause, soggy), but I do find there is something about a shower, lazy river at a water park, swimming laps, a bath, hottub or floating about in a pool or lake. It frees my mind some to wander. Water has always been this refuge for me in some way. This cleansing baptism that resets things and gives me some increased clarity. Maybe there is something in my Aries fire sign that craves this water balance. Ying and Yang and all of that.

So, the blog and the 108 defilements. I’m going to keep doing them, but move a little more private I think. As I started writing, they began to feel a little self-congratulatory on one hand, and a little too vulnerable to other’s criticisms on another. So, no harm, no foul– but I’m taking this exploration into my sins behind closed doors for now.

Back to the water. I’m traveling and up early. This sometimes happens on the road when time zones get involved and after a good hour of tossing and turning I figured it was time to wake up. I’m heavy into writing A Staff Guide to Disruptive and Dangerous Behavior for an April 1 due date, so I’m sure those racing creative thoughts I’ve been pouring into the book aren’t helping my sleep schedule any either.

I’ve been thinking some about friendship lately and decided to write about it. Just gonna wander here for a bit with my thoughts.

I think when I stopped being a therapist, something changed in my life. Maybe other therapists can relate to the abrupt move from talking intimately to 15-20 people a week for fifteen years and then going pretty much cold turkey. I don’t regret walking away from it, it was time for me and while I was/am really good at it, the therapy was starting to create a kind of burden on my soul. Maybe there was only so much I could take in, like some karmic/cosmic “don’t fill past here” line on the coffee maker.

I wrestle with this question about with friends. It relates some to a sense of evenness or balance. I was in New Orleans the other day getting a tarot reading from a friend and the wheel of fortune came up inverted. It came up several times. We talked some about the idea of making sure you get back what you put into things. This idea of a troubling cycle. He suggested that friendships should have some balance to them. That you get back what you give.

And this is what I wrestle with lately. Should relationships always have the equality to them? I mean, of course, you don’t want to be in a relationship that is one-sided and you are being used. But my question is subtler than that. Are friendships about what you put into them or what you take from them? And how does my past as a therapist mess with my mind some since so much of that was about putting my own needs behind me and focusing on the needs of others.

Not to imply I play therapist to my friends. I don’t. I’ve always been sensitive in more intimate relationship and friendships to avoid the therapy thing. Some early experiences in my studies being accused of ‘psychoanalyzing everyone’ and a more selfish desire to not be on the clock when I am talking with my friends and the people that I love. I can, and have, dropped into therapist role when asked or if the need presented, but it isn’t my natural state. I let my guard down more around friends and partners. I try not to censor my thoughts as much and like that feeling when the sharing is more even, more intimate—very different from the constructs of therapy.

But this desire to be known—and seeking to know others in deeper ways still haunts me some. Clearly a desire as I write a blog post to share out into the world. The irony isn’t lost on me

I think the combination of so much travel for work along with growing older has made me think more intentionally about what kind of friend I am to others and what kind of things I look for in return. Making friends has always come easy for me. Maybe some of that therapy stuff, mostly I just really like people and have an interest in how others see the world. I crave that feeling of seeing things from another’s perspective. I think this is also a driving force to why I like writing so much. This mixture of having your own perspective, taking in other people’s perspectives and blending them. This idea of balance again.

I’ve been struggling lately with this pervasive feeling of loneliness. Those who know me well, have listened to me talk about it more and know it even crosses over some into depression at times. I think, to some extent, it comes from this feeling of not really being known or understood. And maybe this is something everyone feels. I’m not everyone else, so I don’t really know. But there is this desire in me to be known. To feel special and unique to others. Maybe even a desire to not feel as common. That feels like a very human thing. I don’t like feeling disposable. Like one in the crowd.

One of my favorite poems I first read in college is by Browning, My last Duchess. It’s one of those things that resonates and confounds me, kind of like seeing something beautiful, very human or tragic. I don’t know if I connect more to the Duchess, the Duke or the observer getting the tour. But there is something about the poem that relates to these comments on friendship and relationships. The idea of intimacy being more unique and limited to a select audience. The frustration at feeling as if you aren’t special, but just another in a long line of sunsets and white mules.

So, just some early morning thoughts. Maybe the realization it was Tuesday at 4:40 am inspired me some. One of my favorite Counting Crows songs.

Oh yes, my flask. Its full of Peychaud’s aromatic cocktail bitters. I met this bartender Zach at a Tiki bar in New Orleans who dashed them in my club soda when I mentioned my stomach was upset. It was a delicious concoction and I became addicted. It’s been a sad revelation that Delta doesn’t carry bitters on its domestic flights, so I improvised.

I don’t know what I’ll write about next. Just see where the waters take me, I suppose.