There Is Sadness in America

 

First of all I have to clarify something about the context of this post. As a clinical psychologist it is my job to read people and how they are feeling. Most of the time I leave that door closed. It takes energy I don’t need to expend it for no particularly purpose. But presently I find feelings around me intruding.

Let me give three examples of things I have experienced recently.

A Simple Procedure 

I went in to get blood drawn recently and when I do the blood vessels in my arms go into hiding. Often it is difficult for the technician to find them. In this instance the woman did a basic evaluation, inserted the needle and got blood at once. I said, “It’s so nice to work with the A team.”

The look on her face was heart warming. A woman who had looked despondent became animated and happy. To me all I had said was a form of thank you and it seemed to have important meaning to her. I noted the discrepancy.

It Was Only Breakfast

Next incident. We had to go to the West Coast for a graduation and one morning we were in the terminal looking for something to eat. The offers were uninspiring until I found a man selling roasted chicken legs which looked meaty. They were quite good and I went up to the man who seemed to be making an effort to stay positive. When I told him how pleased I was, the joy on his face was touching. Once again, I had given a simple thank you.

No Big Deal

Third incident recently. I stopped at a small convenience store. There was a pleasant young woman who checked me out. She asked if she could offer a discount card and I declined. but I said, “Thank you for asking.” You would have thought I had given her high praise but she had been uplifted.

Paying Attention

These kind of incidents have come to be notable to me recently. At once I feel there is an indication that Americans are  being anything but inspired. In fact they seem mired and too often fundamentally joyless as if the future holds little for them and all they can do is struggle forward.

In fact, they re conveying how their lives are. We live in Trumpdom and an aura of widespread corruption. This is not the America I have known and we need to attend. There are people in Congress working for us and some are corrupt and work against us but fundamentally if we are to restore America we must all come out and vote in 2020 and bring back people with vision and dedication to our country.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

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This Is Not The America I Thought We Were

 

The World Opens

In 1945 my aunts took me to a victory parade on Fifth Avenue in New York. Masses of troops paraded down the Avenue to a cheering crowed with planes flying low above. It was an unforgettable experience

World War II had seemed distant with only an occasional intrusion such as the night I was seated in a window seat looking out at a darkened city and dim sparkles of light in the rain. There came a knock on the door. It was our block captain cautioning us about our blackout curtains being open. My father was a surgeon and had an A sticker on his car indicating he could buy gas when he needed it. My mother peeled off stickers for food. Otherwise I was an innocent.

Collectively We Rejoiced

We watched as towns sprouted to house the families created by returning troops. In 1952 we sat late into the evening before our twelve inch black and white television and cheered as we watched the election of our hero Dwight Eisenhower to the presidency. 

The early years assured I would watch events in our country and the world with great interest.

When I graduated from college at the University of Michigan my new wife and I moved to North Carolina where I was to begin my studies for my doctorate in clinical psychology.

Early Painful Revelations

It was the 1960s and the civil rights movement was growing. I was shocked at the racism I saw and, as the child of a privileged family at the discrimination I experienced because I was a “Yankee”. My interest and distress deepened as I worked to serve the impoverished people in the inner city of Baltimore.

One of the things I learned in college was about cultural flow from the impressive Leslie White, the father of cultural anthropology. What he taught stayed with  me and I could see that culture and its impact were all around us and changing constantlyl. I learned to detach it from politics which is only part of the picture.

It is About Culture. Not about Politics

Presently we are making the mistake of reducing everything to politics. What is happening now is an outgrowth of who we are and I am truly shocked to see it. I never expected to see someone like Trump elected president and do not view him as representative of a political party. The narcissism and corruption is shocking. And as someone who grew up in a Republican family I do not know who these people are who claim to be Republicans. I view them as betraying our country.

Even worse I see 40% of our country supporting Trump. I truly did not know they existed and I see them as betraying themselves and their future. I not only did not know this about our country but hope that we can salvage ourselves. 

I am especially disappointed in the men who lean more heavily into the dysfunction. It seems that our women have a much better perspective.

If we do not win this battle against this turn of culture we will not only damage our future but the future of the world as well. instability is growing across Europe and we are seeing corrupt regimes which are damaging much other relations.

We will see shortly but I clearly believe that our future will be created in the election of 2020. If we rise to the occasion we can turn our destiny back toward who we thought we were or descend deeper into something we thought unimaginable.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.)

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

 

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

(Available now on Amazon)

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Men! Who Are We?

 

 

I’ve written several posts exploring the empowerment of women and supporting the changes. It is now time to begin to explore men, who they really are, and what is driving them.

Time to Challenge Our View of Men and View of Ourselves

Some might say we already know all about men. As a psychologist I have to challenge that assumption. I don’t think we know a great deal because what drives and defines men is deep in their physiology, their personalities, peer relationships, their culture, the overall culture and on and on.

Empowerment Is Merely a Beginning

Women have opened the way for us and it is time. As I thought about this post I saw a deep challenge. I found I could not even begin to raise a comprehensive view or ask all the needed questions.  Extensive exploration is required, and research, as we rush into our future at a faster and faster pace.

A Few Issues

Let me raise a few issues which came  to mind.

Men – Male Culture

What is the shape, form and detailing of what we might call male culture?

Power – Often we see men as being dominated by the quest for power. I doubt it is so simple. Seeking power can be compensatory, fear induced, have specific goals about which the man may not be clear at all. Etc.

Sexuality – Certainly there is a drive but what is it related to? There is a great deal of complexity there.

Sports tyranny – I was never into competitive sports. Above all I have been dedicated to exploring the “what if”. The pressure to be dedicated to sports among boys was always intense. One day when I was nine two boys were fighting over whether one was out or safe. I got fed up, walked off the ball field for good and rode away on my bike into wonder.

Suppression of women – At the forefront right now is the issue of the suppression of women. It is often led by men but there are also some women who support it as well. Surely men are central but when we look at it, it goes beyond men into the larger culture of our societies. 

Men – Self Image

How does a man define himself? What does that man expect of himself?

Too often the image of what it means to be a man is assumed to be global. It is not. There should be room for breadth and diversity but especially in adolescence there is little room.

Men Versus women

Certainly men seek love and sex and weave women into their desires to build a  future with them. But when we delve a little deeper we get into a stunning complexity. Men are expected to take the initiative which also leaves them open to rejection and problems of self esteem. Can he please her, engage her, respond sexually and on and on. Adolescence is a time of challenge and change. It can leave deep scars which impact women as well. And one thing I hear little of is men’s reaction to their women giving birth. Women are the ultimate creator of human life. Men make a brief contribution and do support her but the baby is her special wonder. How men truly handle it remains a secret. 

The Meaning of Partnership 

The research – Certainly there is research out there but what I am suggesting is greater nuance and exploration. I don’t think we know as much as we think we do. We see wonderful marriages and partnerships but we also see many underlying issues which get in the way of fulfillment and partnership. And what of our personal exploration. A very challenging topic.

There! I Opened the Encyclopedia

This post was difficult because I found so many pathways opening. This is nothing but a totally inadequate probing of a whole field of study. Some might say it has been extensively studied. I do not agree.

Let me hear from you and I will, over time, seek to continue the exploration.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Echoes From The Past

 

Life’s Promise

Somehow we have a dream that a stable and glorious future will open before us. It is unlikely. Our lives are not ours alone because we share it with family and intimates, but also must share it with the world at large which is not under our control. But the past has a way of reaching out to us which is not necessarily a bad thing. It may tell us about how the world is and such things as the variability of opportunity. 

From My Past

In 1967 (yikes that’s a long time ago) I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore. I was one of the first people hired in one of the first community mental health programs in the country. I was just leaving Duke with my doctorate in hand and I was definitely ready to depart academia. The whole idea of community mental health was to bring mental health services to the public using a public health model. It was a marvelous idea.

Wait a Minute!

But there was not just one problem. Communities are different, and because of that the whole idea of applying the medical model to our inner lives was flawed and established practice is not so easily changed.

I was given an office and told to give service. But there was no one there except for a woman social worker. She led me out into the city and steadily the staff grew. Young professionals learned about the community and what it needed. It was tumultuous and fascinating.

Wait Another Minute!

But in some ways the least of our problem was adapting services to a poverty environment in chaos. An even larger problem proved to be the conservatism of the mental health establishment. All they wanted was the grant money and the glory of having landed funding for a “glamorous” enterprise. They had been providing services by psychiatric residents and medical students on six week rotations. We dug in our heels. The people of that community needed reliable ongoing services, not a series of inexperienced people passing out medication. Granted, our group of twenty somethings were inexperienced, but we were dedicated as a group to learning fast and meeting real needs. 

What We Concluded

What we found was a need for life management  in a form of partnership. Many “mental health” problems were an outgrowth of the dynamics of the poverty environment more than anything else. Of course, it was much more complicated than that but that is a rough outline. But we had found that a highly beneficial set of services and programs could have been focused.

In the End

At last though, those in power are in power after all. In time the bright eyed, groundbreaking young people moved on and the higher powers invoked a retrenchment. The community based clinics were closed, staff was withdrawn to a central building and business as usual restored.

Across the country the reform movement of that era was coming to an end.  And with its end came the end of community mental health. I tell the whole story in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health.

Now the Lesson

Yes, community mental health came too soon and its time is still not yet at least until we get through our present upheaval when a younger generation with vision may take power.

But, looking back we can see something. On the street we learned a huge amount about such communities, but all the data was kept in our heads and used to formulate a highly focused, problem solving service system. If a system with managers of more vision were to be devised now, the information technology at our fingertips could help us sift, store, integrate and develop data for a viable system. And it could be adapted to fit the community at hand—whatever its form. Then we would truly have a community mental health system, but probably with a more refined name. And if we had had information technology we could have documented and built.

Coming back to one of my original points, I can see that something from the past can be brought forward to a much more adapted use at a future time when new tools and vision are available.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Men! It’s Time!

 

Time to Explore

It is clear this is when women are to become empowered. Do we stand on the sidelines and wish them well or oppose what must come?

There is a third alternative. Seize the moment to look at ourselves so that we may have perspective on who we are in history and who we are to become. I’m finding our silence stunning. Certainly some of us are embedded in one of the other two alternatives but I hear precious little about who we are to become. In fact, I hear little discussion of who and what we are.

Beyond Alternatives

Perhaps the most compelling possibility right now is not whether we support or oppose the women’s movement. I would suggest it is time for us to decide about our identity and the future we might choose.

As I’ve explored thoughts about what is happening I find I am sifting issues about politics and power. In our current climate I find almost everything these days is reduced to politics and I find that narrow. At the same time I see a lot which seems related to power. Not just power among men in our government but whether our response to the women’s movement is about our view of our power—over women.

Why Power?

It is so curious that we are having this crisis. Yes, it is a crisis because, like or not, the outcome of the empowerment of women is a world changing process. If what men are fighting is about power then we have an issue which badly needs attention. Why the hell do we need to have power over women?

Are we so insecure that we think we must have control over women. If we have fallen in love with her, are we afraid she will leave us? Does that mean we hold ourselves in such low regard? Certainly relationships and marriages break up. Do we fear the process of life so much that we have to maintain a grip over women and for what reasons? Or do we have such a low understanding of what is being demanded of us that we fear any change?

More Questions 

This whole issue about men in the era of women’s empowerment is driving me down a path with many more questions than answers. At base It is my feeling that men badly need to examine themselves. One way to put it is that it is almost as if men need to be empowered. And that is not about having power over women but about the possibility of our own insecurity and fear of inadequacy.

Answers

Surely there are answers but I caution us against an easy dismissal. We really need to look at ourselves. The pictures of the freshman class in the House of Representatives was stunning. On the one hand was the picture of white Republican men in dark suits. On the other was a picture of Democrats with a large contingent of women in multiple colors. Was it past and future?

When I started writing this post I thought i had a focus. But when I began to explore I found I had no focus because I think men need to explore what has not been explored. And I feel we cannot accept easy answers and dismissals.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead.