Consciousness is overrated

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately. My Dad’s recent death reminded me of how rational and intellectual my upbringing was. My therapist in my thirties, who only worked with women, noted early in our work together that she had never seen a woman who lived so exclusively “in her head.” It’s called over intellectualizing in psychology, defined as:

“ignoring the emotional or psychological significance of (an action, feeling, dream, etc.) by an excessively intellectual or abstract explanation.”

This creates great distance from feeling a person or situation. It’s a lot safer that way 🙂 but I didn’t even know I was doing it until I began therapy in my thirties. I felt like I was somehow personally responsible for everything that happened around me, and even partially for what was happening in the world, but I also kept it at a distance by seeing it only intellectually.

My counseling training in my forties reinforced this awareness and yet distancing behavior. I could be highly aware of my client’s pain, and yet see myself as above them, understanding everything only on an intellectual level. This was my upbringing and training at work. I remember one time when this method completely back fired on me. I was working with an leg amputee at a rehab hospital. I found I could intellectually distance myself from the patient, but still felt his pain in my own leg.

Only recently I realized I did the same with my father as he was dying. I felt emotionally distant from the situation, just as my Dad had taught me to be. He always said, “We are only protoplasm floating through time and space.” And “It is biologically required that we die so others may live.” Pretty good distancing concepts, huh? But when I looked at his recent photo I burst into tears. This was my Dad and he is no more.

Being so aware and conscious all the time is not good for us! It has taken me quite a while to see this. We all need to relax sometimes and NOT FEEL THE BURDEN OF THE ENTIRE WORLD ON OUR SHOULDERS!!! My Dad and Mom used alcohol for that task, but I found that was not my drug of choice. Mike and our friend Rad have helped me stop being so conscious of everything all the time with a little bit of THC chocolate.

Being too aware or feeling responsible for everything all the time can be dangerous or at least very unhealthy!

So turn off the TV sometimes, stop monitoring the death count on this incredibly terrible pandemic, and find a way to relax and enjoy life! Remember, none of us gets out of this alive, but if you give up everything you like, you don’t live longer, it just seems like it!

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing


“There’s nothing sweeter than falling in love with the moment we’re given, the only one we have.”  — Marcia Smalley

I saw the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” for the first time the other night, and enjoyed it. Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey reminds me at times of my own, except I did most of my traveling in my twenties and thirties, before I settled down to a regular career in libraries. Sometimes I cannot even remember all the countries I have experienced! I count at least 10 just in Asia…

But one line struck home for me, an apparently common Italian phrase: “The sweetness of doing nothing.” In this part of the film a barber is explaining to Liz the difference between Americans and Italians. And the more I thought about that idea, the more I agreed.

In my travels in France and Italy, I was struck by how relaxed and happy most people were compared to us. I can see how Europeans might see us as too busy, too serious, always in a hurry, pressured and uptight. I remember hearing children singing together on their way home from school as they walked the narrow, cobblestone paths of Venice, an indelible glimpse into a completely different way of life.

The Spanish Peaks in the ghostly morning light!

The Spanish Peaks in the ghostly early morning light!

Only now, since we moved to a rural area and as I recover from a new brain injury, do I appreciate the simplicity and peace of doing nothing.

past better not bitterThis is something I was not raised on, and the guilt is still present with me, but I work everyday to cultivate this art. My goals are to heal my brain while also healing my past. Now I embrace every moment I can find to sit in silence and appreciate my life. I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever…  Instead of worrying about the past or demanding more of my future, I can now just be here, loving my life. Learn more about our adventure. How we ended up down here, etc. in my new memoir!