“Living With Purpose and Passion”
The Dan Keusal Email Newsletter
Hello! Many of you receive my occasional “Reflections” postcards in the mail. I appreciate the comments you’ve sent about the ways they’ve spoken to you. In addition to those postcards, I’ll now be sending out this e-newsletter, with information on helpful resources (books, movies, music, web sites, and more), inspirational quotes, reflections from my work as a counselor & astrologer, and news about my work, including upcoming lectures, workshops, and other events.
Here we go…
In this email:
Upcoming workshops & lectures
Resources for a richer life
Quotes for inspiration & action*
Essay: “Everyday Rituals”
About Dan Keusal’s Counseling & Astrology services
Closing message: send your feedback
Upcoming Workshops & Lectures by Dan Keusal:
“They Followed A Star: Astrology & Christianity As Allies On The Journey.” A three-week class I’ll be teaching at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Seattle (December 3, 10, and 17, 2007 from 7:00 – 8:30 each night). I see many disciplines—psychology, spirituality, astrology, and the arts, to name just a few—as “cousins in soul-making” that have become alienated down through history. This class is part of my attempt to facilitate the “family reunion,“ to find common ground—in this case between astrology and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here’s the class description: “Just as the Magi followed a star to find Jesus, we can look to the stars for help in discerning Spirit’s plan for us. Drawing on biblical theology, psychology, music, poetry, and more, we’ll explore the connections between astrology & Christianity, and look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and woman seeking meaning and purpose in our lives.” For more info visit www.dankeusal.com and click on “Workshops,” or call me at (206) 523-1340.
“The Northwest Astrological Conference” (NORWAC), April 4-7, 2008. I’ll be giving one lecture this coming year at NORWAC, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious astrology conferences, with faculty and participants from all over the world. I’ll send details on my lecture as soon as the schedule is set. I was also on the NORWAC faculty in 2003 and 2004, and enjoyed sharing ideas with both beginning students of astrology and other professionals. If you’d like to get a brochure or have questions about registration, call Laura Nalbandian, Conference Director, at (206) 930-7613; please mention my name when you register—it’s part of how those of us on the NORWAC faculty earn our wages!
Resources for a richer life:
MOVIE: “Strange Relations.” Successful New York psychiatrist Jerry Lipman (Paul Reiser, from “Mad About You”) seems to have the perfect life—until he’s diagnosed with Leukemia. When his mother (Olympia Dukakis) tells him he’s adopted, he goes to Liverpool in search of birth siblings who might provide bone marrow. In the encounters with his working class origins, he finds that “everything I thought I was, I’m not.” This begins a series of meetings that are moving, funny, and ultimately life-changing, offering an intriguing glimpse at the possibilities of love and family life. The final scene with Jerry, his birth mother (Julie Walters), and his adoptive mother…is remarkable. NOTE: this film was also available under the alternate title “My Beautiful Son.”
MUSIC: “Water’s Edge” by Larry Murante. This CD showcases Murante’s soaring vocals, his innovative and energetic guitar playing, and songwriting that poignantly and powerfully brings to life scenes ranging from the Seattle Police Department’s stand-off with a samurai-sword wielding homeless man (“Streets of Seattle”), to the challenges of moving from adolescence through young adulthood to mid-life (“I Got Used To It”), to the title cut’s tender portrayal of mentoring disguised as fishing. As good as this CD is, award-winning Seattle-based Murante is even better LIVE. For more info, including his concert schedule, visit www.larrymurante.com.
BOOK: “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader” by Anne Fadiman. I’ve often maintained that we can be enriched by reading ANY good book, not just the latest “self-help” or “spiritual” best-sellers. Fadiman’s slim (162 pages) volume of essays about books and reading is a perfect example. What to learn about “relationships”? Read “Marrying Libraries,” where Fadiman asserts she considered herself truly married only when she and her husband had merged their book collections, or “Never Do That To A Book,” where she lays out the difference between “courtly” and “carnal” love—of books! Infused with humor and grace, “Ex Libris” is not just about books, it’s about life.
RETREAT PROGAM: Washington Courage & Renewal is a personal and professional renewal program that offers a variety of evening, day-long, weekend, and quarterly retreat programs aimed at “reconnecting who you are with what you do.” I’ve been a participant myself in this year’s programs and highly recommend all of Courage & Renewal’s offerings both as a source of renewal and of deeply-shared community. For more info, visit www.wacouragerenewal.org, or call Sue Paro, Executive Director, at (206) 633-2888.
Quotes for Inspiration and Action:*
“To know and not to do…is to not yet know” (Chinese proverb)
“Not all who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien)
“What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination, but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive.” (Barbara Kingsolver)
“It is not good to be too nervous, but I think it’s essential to be a little nervous: one ought to care that much.” (Madeline L’Engle)
“The fates lead those who will. Those who won’t, they drag.” (bumper sticker)
[* NOTE: I took the title for this section right from the e-newsletter of my colleagues at The Reid Group; I tried to re-word it, but they got it SO right that I couldn’t bear to change it. Think of it as an “homage.” For more on the good work of The Reid Group, visit www.TheReidGroup.biz.]
Essay: “Everyday Rituals”:
This summer I’ve been doing a lot of pre-marriage counseling—helping couples to explore topics that strengthen their relationship as they prepare to make a commitment to each other. As part of this process, we often get around to talking about “rituals”—words or actions that carry important symbolic meanings.
I spoke with one bride-to-be whose father died a few years ago about the possibility of placing a photo of her dad on the seat where he would have sat during the ceremony. She honestly replied that such a symbol might be TOO powerful—“I’d cry through the entire wedding”—but her reaction brought home the power of rituals, and how important it will be for her to find SOME way to make her father’s absence…present! (“The fates lead those who will; those who won’t, they drag”).
Rituals have the power to support, prepare, challenge, remind, anchor.
One man who comes to see me for counseling at the same time each week has developed a ritual of spending half an hour at a nearby coffee shop before each session, “just to gather my thoughts.” A woman who comes for counseling every other week has spoken eloquently about her morning ritual—sipping two cups of coffee on her balcony while taking a few minutes to read a poem or other meaningful worlds: “Before I head out into the fray,” she once told me, “I like to get my bearings!”
Those who parent know about the importance of nighttime rituals for children—brushing your teeth, washing your hands & face, a bedtime story, a kiss goodnight: these are more than just tasks to be done, they are rituals that help children transition from the bustling activity of the day to the calmer, more restful realm of the dream time. In fact, I often counsel my ADULT clients to develop similar evening rituals: imagine what a difference it might make if each night someone read YOU a bedtime story and kissed you goodnight just before your head hit the pillow!
William Blake once passionately promised his employer hard work by writing “My fingers emit sparks of fire with expectation of my future labours!” Imagine standing in your “cubicle” at the beginning of each work day and saying those words—out loud :-)
One of MY favorite workplace rituals helps me to prepare for seeing clients, and then to release them with love when we’re finished. Before each cluster of sessions (I never do more than 2-3 hours in a row), I light a small candle on the table next to where my clients and I sit in my office; while doing this, I take a moment to call to mind those who are about to enter my office. During sessions, that flame serves as a reminder that while I need to bring all my compassion, skill, training, and experience to bear on our time together, something/someone larger than me is present during sessions. When I’m done with that cluster of sessions, I blow out the candle, and as the smoke from the extinguished wick rises, I give my clients back over to that larger presence.
Rituals don’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming, nor do they apply only to “spiritual” situations. Every time I swipe my debit card to make a purchase, I say quietly to myself “I bless this money…” That’s it—a simple, profound, meaningful reminder of the circle of life.
Think about the rituals you ALREADY do, and then do them more consciously from now on. AND…reflect on places where you could use support—or a nudge…and then create a ritual to help you on your way. Experiment—and enjoy!
About Dan Keusal’s counseling & astrology services:
I offer professional counseling services for both individuals and couples; I also offer professional astrological consultations. Whether you come to me with a problem (depression, stress, relationship issues, trauma, work concerns) or simply a desire for change, I help you look at how that starting point is calling you to grow, and help you respond to that call with creativity, vitality, and hope. You’ll learn new skills and develop new perspectives that will help you find your purpose, heal the pain that gets in the way of that purpose, and live with a greater sense of passion and meaning. If you or someone you know would like to schedule an appointment, or if you have questions, please call me at (206) 523-1340, or visit my web site, www.dankeusal.com.
Closing message—send your feedback:
So there it is—the inaugural edition of my email newsletter. Send me your feedback—what you enjoyed, what you found helpful, what made a difference in your life!
For more information, or to make an appointment for a counseling or astrology session, contact:
Dan Keusal, M.S., LMFT
“Find Your Purpose, Heal Your Pain, Live With Passion.”
Web site: www.dankeusal.com.
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