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Wisdom comes from many sources. Including, I'll boldly suggest, "Star Trek." The episode I write about below shows that one of our culture's most enduring sci-fi staples...has more to do with mindfulness and psycho-spiritual growth than you may have thought.
In addition to my take on the adventures of Captain Picard and Commander Data, this issue also features wisdom from Mark Twain, a poem that tells why "sleeping together" may be the key to world peace, a magazine that will open up new perspectives for you on topics ranging from movies to american politics, plus achingly good music from two very different sources--a woman who lives on an isolated island in Canada, and four gifted singers performing live on Norwegian TV.
I hope you'll find something here that helps you live a richer, happier, more soulful life. Because THAT...is the "final frontier." Enjoy!
Quotes for Inspiration and Action
"My life has been a series of disasters, most of which never happened."
"Three things cannot long be hidden--the Sun, the Moon, and the truth."
"God bless the whole world. No exceptions"
(bumper sticker on the car in front of me, 12/3/09)
"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is."
3 Good Poems
In this edition of "3 Good Poems": Why "sleeping together" may be the only way to heal the world...the advantages of being in a place (literally and metaphorically) where you're not going anywhere...and a permission slip (with explanations) to do all the stuff you were once told you shouldn't do.
Click on the titles below to be taken to online versions of the poems; if for any reason the links don't work, just Google the titles yourself--you'll be glad you did.
- "Sleeping" (Daniel Sisco)
- "Things To Do In The Belly Of The Whale" (Dan Albergotti)
- "Reconsider The Seven" (Peter Pereira)
Resources for a Richer Life
Bringing you music, movies, books, magazines, web sites, events, and more that will stir your soul, and awaken the deepest, most alive parts of you.
(music/CD) "Water In The Ground"
(Catherine MacLellan). Watch MacLellan perform her song "Something Gold
" on YouTube and you'll understand why she's one of my new favorites. "Water In The Ground" is her latest CD, and it comes packaged with a re-release of her earlier album "Dark Dream Midnight--two CDs for price of one. You can order them through her web site
(video) "Mark Twain Tonight!
" (Hal Holbrook). For more than 40 years, Hal Holbrook has been doing a one man show drawing on the works of Mark Twain. The show is at once funny, inspiring, and thought-provoking. Each night Holbrook walks out on stage and spontaneously chooses from among hours and hours of material he knows by heart. He doesn't just quote
Twain, he embodies
Twain, brings him to life. PBS filmed this performance back in 1967; the Chicago Tribune called it "Ninety of the best minutes of entertainment television has ever offered." One morning, more than 20 years ago, as I stood in line at a Burger King in South Bend, Indiana, I realized that the man in front of me...was Holbrook, who had done this show in town the night before!...Rent it from Netflix, buy it on Amazon
--just watch it!
(Kurt Nilsen, Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes). I first encountered Leonard Cohen's classic song "Hallelujah" when I heard Jeff Buckley's
haunting version artfully woven into the story line of a episode of "The West Wing"...This version
features four singers exercising a near-perfect balance of virtuosity and restraint, trading verses and lines, coming together in remarkable harmonies, all backed by a single, spare, acoustic guitar.
(periodical) "Spring Journal
." In the words of one of its recent contributors, this fine publication, by applying Jungian psychology to that place where everyday life meets the wider world, "helps me put events and people into a larger context and increases both my appreciation and understanding of them." Each issue contains articles by a number of different authors organized around a theme--two of my recent favorites were the issues devoted to "Cinema and Psyche" and "Politics and the American Soul." Upcoming issues will be devoted to the themes "On Home And The Wanderer" and "Native American Culture and the Western Psyche." Each issue also includes book and movie reviews. For more info, click here
Reflections: "Captain--drop the shields!"
In a past edition of this newsletter, I quoted Michael McClure, who once wrote "We are the hurdles we leap to be ourselves." McClure's words came back to me recently while I was watching a rerun of "Star Trek--The Next Generation" on TV.
In the episode, the starship Enterprise is hurling through space looking for its next adventure when it encounters a series of "energy ribbons." Sensing that they pose a threat, Captain Picard tells the weapons office to "raise the shields!" With shields at "maximum" the Enterprise hits the first ribbon--the ship is violently rocked, crew members go flying over railings, and the weapons office cries out "shields are down to 73 percent!" And so the ship's chief enginner frantically searches for ways to channel more power to the shields, only to have the ship hit another ribbon, with further damage to the shields.
This sequence repeats itself until the shields are down to "8 percent," (that's sci-fi code for "Have you made out your will?") and it's clear that one more hit will destroy the Enterprise. With the next energy ribbon growing ever-closer on the ship's main viewscreen, everyone gets ready to meet their doom.
Suddenly, Commander Data--the android who is the storytelling embodiment of both rational thinking and its shortcomings--gets the emotionless equivalent of an "Aha!" look on his face, turns to Picard and says "Captain--drop the shields!"
For a split second, everyone looks at Data in disbelief, certain that the walking computer has suddenly begun to badly malfuntion. But Captain Picard keeps his wits about him--there's no time for debate or explanation: he either trusts his officer or he doesn't. He turns to the weapons office and transforms Data's seeming madness...into a command: "Drop the shields!" The weapons office presses a button on his console, just as the next energy ribbon approaches the ship. Everyone braces for impact...
Only there is no impact--the ship gently sways, the energy ribbon passes harmlessly by...and each member of the bridge crew gets a "What the hell?..." look on their face.
"What happened?" Picard asks. "I realized," replies Data, "that the energy ribbons were getting their power FROM our shields." By putting more power into defending itself, the Enterprise was giving its supposed foe more power with which to react.
Where have you raised your
shields? In doing so, how are you contributing to the very dynamics you're defending yourself against--at work, with friends, with your partner or spouse? What might happen if you could be bold enough to drop those "shields"? What would this look like?
When you're ready, psychotherapy can help address these kinds of questions. In the mean time, pay more attention to "Star Trek"--or any other well-crafted work of art: music, movies, literature, photography, poetry, painting, comic books, YouTube videos...any of which might have the capacity to awaken you, to help you "drop the shields" and boldly go where you've never gone before.
Upcoming workshops/lectures by Dan Keusal
November 19, 2010."Psyche And Sky--An Introduction to Astrology for Therapists."
Seattle Counselors Association
1.5 CEUs available for therapists.
For more information, visit the SCA web site
or visit Dan Keusal's web site
* * *
I offer lectures and workshops on a wide range of subjects, varying in length from brief talks appropriate for a breakfast or lunch meeting, to evening-long presentations, to day-long or weekend workshops.
You can view a list of the organizations
that have invited me to speak, and list of my recent workshops
, by visiting my web site.
If you'd like me to come speak to your group, call me at (206) 523-1340, or email
Counseling & Astrology Services
I offer professional counseling and astrology services for individuals and couples. Whether you come to me with a problem (like depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues) or simply the sense that it's time for a change, I help you look at how that starting point is calling you to grow, and how you can respond with creativity, vitality, and hope.
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That's it for this issue of "Living With Purpose and Passion." As always, I welcome your comments & suggestions. You can send me an email or you can call me at (206) 523-1340.To share this newsletter with friends, click on the "Forward Email" link, below.
Dan Keusal, M.S., LMFT
Web site: www.DanKeusal.com