To view back issues
of this newsletter,
or to learn more about my work as a Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Workshop Leader,
visit my web site, DanKeusal.com,
by clicking here.
Ever have a dream that felt bigger than just you? Jung observed that sometimes a dream carries a message not just for the individual who dreamed it, but for the larger community as well. My "Reflections" essay in this newsletter begins with a dream I had in early December--a dream that left me wondering not just about where I
am headed in this New Year, but where "we"
are headed. I invite you to read about it, reflect on it and consider what meaning it might hold for you
. This edition also includes details about a new workshop I've dreamed of doing for some time: "The Art Of Outgrowing Your Problems,"
whose jumping off point is also a quote from Jung: "The greatest and most important problems in life can never be solved, only outgrown." You will, of course, find new versions of my usual features: "3 Good Poems," "Quotes For Inspiration And Action," and "Resources For A Richer Life," which in this issue features 23 movies, 4 short stories, a concert, and something unexpected from 70s comedian Steve Martin--all intended to help awaken the deepest, most alive parts of you. There's also news of two more workshops I'll be doing in the coming months, including one on "Restoring Hope At Work In Difficult Times."
The holidays may seem, as one colleague wrote me last week, "a distant memory," but make no mistake--their spirit is still alive, and the year...is still new. May you find something below that offers you inspiration (a word that means "to breathe into") as you continue your journey into 2011.
Reflections: "A Midwinter Night's Dream"
One night back in early December, I had a dream. In the dream, I'd come into my office one morning and found that it had been vastly expanded and remodeled. The warm, personal, two-office/one waiting-room suite I currently share with two colleagues was now big enough to accommodate 20 or 30 clinicians plus a large support staff, while my individual office had been reduced in size by about a third. The entire suite had been repainted and re-carpeted in a drab, uniform olive and brown color scheme, intended to give it a more "medical" feel. Great effort had been taken to minimize or eliminate variations from room to room, in the halls, and in the common areas. And all of this had been done overnight by our landlords in violation of our lease and without our permission.
Jung observed that some dreams are meant both for the individual and for the collective, and I wonder if this was one of those dreams.
Many people I talk with these days--clients, family members, friends, colleagues--feel the same way I did at the end of the dream: dismayed at what has been forced upon us under cover of darkness, and anxious about how to respond. It's as if all traces of idiosyncratic vision and individual experience are being squeezed out, each person's allotment of individuality cut by a third. The "landlords" of the world, the larger forces that feel beyond our control (the economy, politicians, corporations, schools, even some of those entrusted with the care and feeding of our healing professions and our sacred traditions) rather than being stewards, co-creators, and partners, enforce a kind of "factory" mentality, a "one-size fits all" approach in the name of productivity, efficiency, and even "health."
In the face of such things, there are still reasons to be hopeful. Because just when the powers that be seem to be getting too good at herding us into uniformly remodeled "offices," the soul brings us Georgia O'Keefe, "Field of Dreams," The Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Potter, Pema Chodron, "Whale Rider": reminders that the soul is alive and well--quirky, defiant, quiet, creative, subversive, visionary, unpredictable, comforting, empowering, evocative.
Psychotherapy at its best helps us cultivate life at this level--not the level of "famous examples of great achievements," but the level that dares to defy the distorting outer forces, and turns instead to draw vision and strength from the wellspring of resilience and creativity rising up from within each of us. While helping us find short-term solutions to the acute problems that sometimes befall us, the best therapy goes beyond that, provides us with a container, a safe space and time where we can ask "Who am I? What gives my life meaning? Where does my everyday life merge with the deeper currents of the soul, and flow out in contribution to the great ocean of Life?"
Over the holidays, one of my office mates gave me a hand-made gift, a quote from Jung cross-stitched into a piece of cloth and simply framed. The quote reads: "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens."
I've hung her gift on the wall of my office, right next to the door, in the hopes that each person who passes through that portal will be reminded of their own value, and that the portal will be one into and out of an office that remains warm and personal, a worthy home for the soul's musings.
As this New Year continues to unfold, I invite you to look inside, to treasure the glorious, idiosyncratic mess that you find there, and to awaken!
Quotes For Inspiration And Action
"When nothing is sure, everything is possible."
"Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them."
"Money's a chaser,
Pain is a tool,
My head's a prison,
My heart's a fool."
"Matter is psyche moving slowly enough to be seen."
(Teilhard de Chardin)
3 Good Poems
In this edition of "3 Good Poems": Sharon Olds on a life-giving, incurable diagnosis...W.S. Merwin on pleasure...and Rilke on the relationship between "miracles" and "clear achievement"....
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.
- "Diagnosis" (Sharon Olds)
- "One of the Butterflies" (W.S. Merwin)
- "Just As The Winged Energy Of Delight" (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Resources for a Richer Life
More than just "self-help," Resources For A Richer Life is meant to bring you music, movies, books, magazines, web sites, events, and more that will stir your soul, and awaken the deepest, most alive parts of you.
(short stories): Light Action In The Caribbean (Barry Lopez). This collection includes four stories that have become nearly sacred to me, stories that are part of the cannon that sustains my own psycho-spiritual growth, stories I go back to over and over again: "The Mappist," "Mornings In Quarain," "The Letters Of Heaven," and "Emory Bear Hands' Birds." The book version of Light Action is still in print, but for an even richer experience, track down the recording of Lopez reading these stories himself. Originally published as a "book on tape," the only editions that now seem to be available are MP3 downloads from HighBridge Audio, Amazon.com, or Audible.com. If you don't know how to download MP3s, get someone to help you--hearing these stories in the author's own voice...will be worth the effort.
(concert): Peter Mayer in concert
at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Saturday, March 26, 2011
. I featured Mayer's new CD "Heaven Below" in the Spring 2010
edition of this newsletter, and his song "Japanese Bowl" figured into my essay "That's How The Light Gets In" in the Summer 2010
edition. Now Mayer is traveling from his home in Minnesota to play a concert here in Seattle. For details, visit the "Shows
" page on Mayer's web site, or contact Westside Unitarian Universalist
(movies): "The Best Feature Films of 2010"
(Roger Ebert). Rather than just highlighting one movie in this newsletter, I thought I'd point you toward Roger Ebert's Top 10 of 2010
list, which not only lists his 10 favorite films of the year, but also three "Special Jury Prize Winners," and a list of "the second ten best films." There were several choices among these 23 films that I had not seen, and, based on Ebert's recommendation, went to see, and was glad I did.
(music): Steve Martin & Sarah Jarosz on "Austin City Limits."
I'm fascinated by people like Steve Martin--people who, having learned one "dialect" of the language of the soul...seem able to then move from that dialect to another, and another, and another...with ease. Martin
is well-known as a comedian and an actor, but he's also an accomplished playwright (I saw his play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" in Seattle two years ago) and novelist (Shopgirl
and An Object of Beauty
). He's also, it turns out, a virtuoso banjo player--his first CD of original music, "The Crow--New Songs For The Five-String Banjo" won the 2009 Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Album. While flipping channels late one Saturday night, I caught Martin performing on the PBS show "Austin City Limits." In the vein of "one good thing leads to another," the second half of the hour-long show featured a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Texas named Sarah Jarosz
, whose lyrical depth, vocal nuance, and instrumental excellence were astonishing, especially considering she's only 19 years old. Click here
to watch their performance on Austin City Limits (or go to video.pbs.org and type "Steve Martin" into the search box).
Upcoming workshops/lectures by Dan Keusal
Click on the date for details.2/25/11
: "Restoring Hope At Work In Difficult Times"
: "The Art of Outgrowing Your Problems"
(at Dan Keusal's office conference center)4/9/11
: "Caring For Patients, Caring For Self--Mental Health Issues For Dental Professionals"
(Oregon Dental Conference)
* * *
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 a 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
Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples
I offer Jungian-oriented psychotherapy 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.
To learn more, visit my web site by clicking here
To schedule an appointment,
or if you have questions,
call me at (206) 523-1340.
This newsletter is one of the ways that I share helpful reflections and resources, and keep interested people informed about my work.
I sincerely do not want to bother you with unwanted email, so if you no longer wish to receive my e-newsletters, simply click on the "Safe Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email.
I never give or sell my mailing list to anyone for any reason, period. I use Constant Contact to manage my email list because they support my commitment to providing you with excellent content while keeping your contact information private.
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