Most of my clients know it. All my friends know it. Most anyone who talks with
me for more than ten minutes comes to know it. Two of my greatest passions are baseball and movies. This newsletter draws
on a movie about baseball that is also a movie about the pain of men in our culture,and about the illusion of perfection,
and about the possibilities opened up by grief, vulnerability, and longing.
long for the day when my beloved Mariners will finally play in a World Series, I hope these summer days find you well, and
that you find something in this newsletter to enrich your journey.
|Reflections: "Baseball and the pain of
Critics were not kind to the Kevin Costner
film "For Love Of The Game," and in many ways, they were right. Overall, this is not a great
movie. But there's a scene near the end that is a moving portrayal of the ways that men have been wounded by the very
patriarchy that has instilled in them a sense of entitlement and privilege, and of the hidden grief they carry as a
Costner plays "Billy Chapel," a Hall of
Fame caliber major league baseball player at the end of his career, pitching on the last day of the season against the
fabled New York Yankees in their legendary home, Yankee Stadium. The film moves back and forth between the present and the
past, between play-by-play coverage of the game and the back story, the context, in which the game takes place. This back
story shows how Chapel, a good-hearted but insulated bachelor, had entered into a relationship with a single mother, "Jane
Aubrey" (played by Kelly Preston) and her teen daughter "Heather" (played by Jenna Malone).
Over time, Chapel is opened by these
relationships to dimensions of life that have nothing to do with baseball, which up to that point had been his first and
only love. At a critical moment in the story, a vulnerable moment when Chapel is faced with an injury that threatens to end
his career, he closes up, gets angry, and pushes Jane and Heather away.
It is in this context that the present-day
story unfolds: with each passing inning of the game, Chapel, knowing that Jane has left him and is on a plane to London to
start a new life without him, is inching closer and closer to pitching a "perfect game," a feat so rare that in the history
of baseball, which spans 135 years and more than 300,000 games, it has been done only 23 times.
The game ends with a dramatic, final play:
Chapel completes the "perfecto." The crowd goes wild. The movie's play-by-play announcer (played by actual Hall of Fame
announcer Vin Scully), exclaims, as Chapel falls to his knees, "The Cathedral that is Yankee Stadium belongs to a Chapel!"
Jubilant teammates rush onto the field to celebrate, then hoist Chapel onto their shoulders and carry him off the field in
a triumphant procession.
After the post-game celebration, Chapel
returns, alone, to his luxury hotel suite, which is dark, engulfed in shadows from the outside street lights filtering in
through the windows. He turns on the lamp on the night table next to his bed, reaches for the phone, and dials--he is
hoping against hope that Jane has called...He hears through the phone a bright, chirpy, automated female voice say "Hello!
You've reached the hotel message center. There are no new messages. Thank you for using the hotel message center!"
Sitting on the right side of the bed, he
hangs up the phone...hangs his head...and begins weeping...quietly at first...then falling forward, his head in his hands,
crying out "Oh, God..." as the camera moves in close and you catch a glimpse of his tear-stained face...
"Billy" (Chapel's first name) should be on
top of the world. He is rich, famous, good-looking, and has just reached the absolute pinnacle for his profession, an
accomplishment that assures he will be remembered not just in the next day's sports pages, but in the annals of history.
And yet he sits alone, weeping. He's gone
from the heights of the pitcher's mound to the depths of his own emptiness, from the spotlights of the stadium to the
shadows of his hotel room, from the roar the crowd to the silence of his own loneliness.
The film's writer and director add one
more scene--Billy and Jane (who skipped her flight to England when she saw, on a TV in the airport bar, Billy's unfolding
perfect game) run into each other at the airport the next day, she catching her "make-up" flight, he on her way to pursue
her in England...They profess their love for each other, and end the film in each others' embrace.
It makes for "a happy ending"...but I've
always thought it would have been more honest, more poignant, and more true-to-life, for the film to end with Chapel
weeping in his hotel room, torn open by his grief, feeling uncertain, and aching for something more. In that moment, Chapel
is on the verge of realizing that perfection isn't perfect, but imperfection, openness, vulnerability, grief, longing:
these are often the portals into life's deeper, richer realms, if we can stay present to them.
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|Quotes for inspiration and action...
"The small man builds cages for everyone he knows, while the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low,
keeps dropping keys all night long, for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners."
"Between the pen and the paperwork,
there must be passion in the language.
Between the muscle and the brainwork,
there must be feeling in the pipeline."
(Suzanne Vega, "Big Space")
"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the
person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can
change your life."
"To become wise, you must learn to listen to the wild dogs barking in your cellar."
"I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man
floating down canal.
It doesn't use numbers or moving hands,
it always just says 'now.'
Now you may be thinking that I was had,
but this watch is never wrong.
And if I have trouble the warranty says
'Breathe in, breathe out, move on.'"
|Resources For A Richer
(online video): "Leading With Lollipops." (Drew Dudley). A brief, inspiring video, with a story that will remind you
that even the smallest, silliest, everyday thing you might do...can be life-changing for someone else.
More than just
"self-help," Resources For A Richer Life is meant to bring you music, movies, books, articles, web sites, events, videos,
and more that will touch the depths of your soul and awaken the most alive parts of you.
(music video): "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (Bernie Williams). It's easy to characterize today's professional athletes
as over-paid, soul-less, and one-dimensional, but Williams, who had a distinguished career as center-fielder for the New
York Yankees...is also an accomplished classical guitar player. Here his soul shines through in a beautiful, original
arrangement and performance of an American classic that bridges baseball and music.
(movie/DVD): " About Time." When I first saw the trailers for this film, and
learned its premise (a young man whose father tells him that the men in their family can travel back in time and re-do any
moment they want), I wrote it off as an excuse for sophomoric, boys-will-do-whatever-they-can-to-"get the girl"
hijinks. But when a friend (whose taste in movies usually parallels my own) spoke about how deeply the film had touched
him, I gave it a try...and found a funny and poignant reflection on life and death, fathers and sons, and
ultimately...making the most of each present moment. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, who also wrote and
directed "Love Actually," and wrote one of my favorite movies in recent years, "The Girl In The Cafe," this film features
warm, funny, heartfelt performances by Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, and Domhnall Gleeson, and an excellent supporting
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|3 Good Poems
|Jungian Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples.
|"The greatest and most important
problems in life
can never be solved, only outgrown."
offer Jungian-oriented psychotherapy for individuals and couples. Whether you come to me with a problem 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 to
that call 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)
|Upcoming Lectures & Workshops.
|I have a number of new lectures and workshops
planned for this Fall and into the Winter; watch future editions of this e-newsletter for details.
If you would
like me to come speak to your group, please call me at (206) 523-1340, or email
On my web site, you can view a list of other organizations that have invited me to speak.
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