Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Fight, Flight or Freeze? Clearly, I Freeze Under Stress

April 5, 2016

 

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“There is nothing to fear.” ~ A Course in Miracles

Calligraphy by my sister, Amy.

 

I could be wrong, but I believe I may be emerging from the longest most frozen freeze response I have experienced in my life to date.

Yes, that’s a lot of hedging, but I am not sure and I don’t want to make grandiose statements and promises about this. I’ve been really stuck for a long, long time.  At least, 2 years, if not more.

In that time, I’ve been single and dating no one for the longest span of time to date. I left a job. I moved to the dry desert & brown adobe world of Santa Fe, NM.  (Right thing to do at the time. Wrong place for me long term.) I have spent most of my days at home. I go out some, to coffee shops & Meet Ups, but not a lot. I am not on the phone much.  Me?  Not on the phone?

Instead, I hang out on Facebook.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s been great for me. I am the most active admin on a very good group for doing the practice called, “The Work of Byron Katie.” I chat and relate to people from China to India to Australia to Canada – and nearly every state in the Union.

I get to communicate!  And yes, that’s still pretty much what I live for – and to serve.

I take online classes.

That has been a whole new form of education for me. I deeply miss the in-person classroom, sitting at the front and raising my hand to answer all the questions.  No doubt about it – I prefer in-person classes.  Still, I did a lot of my master’s in psychology and almost all of my doctoral work in education online.

So, it’s not like I’m doing absolutely nothing.  I do stuff. I just do it from my couch online.

Still, it has been a form of the freeze response.

“Freeze” was added to the “fight or flight” idea decades ago. More recently added are “fidget” and “faint.”

Well, I tend to freeze.

I seem to have something like fibromyalgia (which tells us nothing – it means pain in the tendons – it is merely a description). I believe that the pain in my tendons and joints is a result of consistent lifetime freezing.

I was first aware of it around the age of 11. When I walked to school, only a mile away, my calves cramped severely. I told Mother about it, and she said, “You’ll get used to it.” I’m sure she thought it was just muscles working out the way they should.  It was not.

I’m 56 now. That was 45 years ago. Except for a few months about 10 years ago when I did work up to walking in the mountains about 45 minutes a day, it hasn’t gone away.  Rather, I have pain like that in every part of my body.

And please, don’t try to tell me I should just work out. Doing that can put me in bed for 3 days, unable to move, with pain that ibuprofen and aspirin cannot touch.

But not always, that’s true.

I have no idea when it does and when it doesn’t. It has something to do with how acidic my diet is. And how much caffeine, vinegar, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, wheat, milk products, and so many other trigger foods I have eaten.

It also has to do with fear & childhood trauma.

I froze.

I’ve been relentlessly pursuing ways to thaw since at least 1985, when I was 25 years old. They have all helped.

Now, I’m learning TRE, Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercise. Find information on that here:  http://traumaprevention.com/

It’s a way to get the body to shake, the way an animal shakes, to release fear chemicals. It is not known exactly how it works. But it seems to help.

I couldn’t say for certain whether my recent feeling of thawing is attributable to TRE, hot baths, breathwork, The Work of Byron Katie, Mars & Pluto stationing retrograde or simply Spring.

I don’t really care which it is – except that if it’s some of those things I’m doing, I will want to keep doing it. I think TRE, being the newer thing, is somewhat responsible for the change.

I do know that this is my first blog in about 2 years. Blogs are fun. I like writing them. If you liked reading it, please Comment.

I like to co-mmunicate – that means “with.”  With you!

Much love,

Stacy

Oh, if you want to learn some of these things from me, particularly The Work, let me know. I’d love to help.

 

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Teaching and Effective Learning: The Work of Byron Katie

March 5, 2013

Someone emailed me today and asked why I stopped writing.  I was pleasantly surprised that anyone cared.  In fact, I have been writing at least a paper a week or more.  I’m working on a doctorate.  Below is one of my papers and you’ll see the general direction I’m heading. Thanks for reading!

Teaching and Effective Learning

 The Work of Byron Katie

            What is teaching?  We are teaching all the time whether we know it or not.  This is part of what “to teach is to demonstrate” means (Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992).  Whatever we are demonstrating to those around us, we are teaching.  It is said that we are either teaching love or fear (1992).   Kahlil Gibran pointed out that we cannot really teach anyone anything other than that which is already inside them (1923).  We forget this, or maybe we never knew it, but it is very obvious.  We cannot teach a human being to sprout gills and breathe underwater.  Anything we can teach a human being is within their capacity.  The same applies to individual talents and inclinations.  No matter how hard we try to teach a student to be a basketball star, if that just isn’t in their skill set, nor their genetic makeup, and it is definitely not something that student is likely to be inclined to pursue.  So when we begin to teach, we must teach to the student’s inclination and strengths if we wish to be successful and most importantly, if we wish for the student to be successful.  It is a corollary of the fact that no one can be all things to all people.

With this in mind, we look at the question of happiness or well-being.  Can we teach it?  Is it within every human being’s make up to be able to be happy or to enjoy well-being?  This author believes that it is.  In her class presentation, Jessica gave an excellent example – autistic children.  We may think they need to learn social skills or that they are missing something by not going out with their peers, but according to Jessica, the autistic child is perfectly content to be alone, reading or playing.  She mentioned a time when two autistic children tried to go out to socialize.  One of them reported that they had nothing to say to each other.  That wouldn’t be the case for you or me, but apparently it is true for them.  Are they happy this way?  Can they enjoy well-being?  It appears so.  The point is that happiness and well-being are not the same for everyone.  Each person enjoys different things.

Our national standard of using the Gross National Product as our measure of success makes it somewhat inevitable that we teach and learn in a context of whether or not we are producing.  This has the very unfortunate consequence of ignoring what might actually contribute to our individual and collective well-being because our happiness is not the measurement; productivity is.  Therefore, a car wreck increases the GNP because the driver has to buy a new car and because of the time spent in the hospital due to injuries, but the car wreck did nothing to improve on the happiness of the driver.  Same with a divorce, a disaster, a war (Seligman, 2011).  The United States and many other member countries of the United Nations are looking into using measures of Gross National Happiness as a new standard for measuring a country’s success (San Francisco Chronicle, 2012).

Remember, human beings are notoriously bad at guessing what will make us happy and we tend to believe everything we think (Gilbert, 2006; Gazzaniga, 1998; Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  And there is science that shows that we may not have the kind of free will that we believe we do, that we have it only in small ways, not in the bigger picture (Norretranders, 1992; Harris, 2012).  So, where does that leave us when we try to find out what will make us happy and add to our well-being?

Positive Psychology discussed in Martin Seligman’s latest book, Flourish:  A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, gives us a taste of the future in a world where happiness is measured, valued and used in productive ways to guide individuals, institutions and governments (2011).  This is a very necessary piece of the well-being and happiness puzzle, but this author maintains that often (though not always) Positive Psychology is still a swing to just one side of the pendulum.  We all know that life has a dual nature – or does it?  Could it be that through our evolution we simply came to that idea in order to survive and run from tigers?  Is it possible that a more whole view of life is now possible due to our mastery of the basics of food, clothing and shelter?  If so, what else is there?

Nearly every religious tradition I have studied, from Hinduism to Buddhism to Judaism to Christianity to Native American practices and more, alludes to a way of being that is beyond being pushed and pulled by the duality we seem to see around us.  Hindu terminology is useful here.  Hindus refer to “satori,” which is an “aha” moment, a glimpse into our oneness, beyond duality of good/bad, love/hate, right/wrong.  This concept exists in Judaism, as well.  An excellent work on this is Kabbalistic Healing by Jason Shulman (2004).   There is a place akin to the fulcrum of the pendulum that never moves, the observer within that simply watches the dance of life go back and forth.  Shulman calls it “briah” or “briatic consciousness.”  Someone who has seen and maintained this viewpoint is said to be “enlightened,” or to have experienced “Samadhi,” in Hindu terms.

To those who have not had this experience, it must seem that someone in this state must have “all good, all the time,” but this is not so.  They have simply changed their perspective about duality and are no longer victims of the illusions that things are “bad” or “good.”  Someone with this perspective is an embodiment of the illustration given by the yin/yang symbol.  The yin/yang symbol is actually three-dimensional.  It is two tear-drop shapes interpenetrating one another at the tip of the teardrop.  When it is rendered in a two-dimensional cross section, we see a spot of white in the black and a spot of black in the white to represent the “whole.”  The message is the whole, not the black or white alone.  They require each other.  My teacher, Steven, referred to this as “coinness.”  Each side of the coin requires the other to exist.  They cannot be separated.

What if we taught this to children in school?  What if there was a method or methods for showing students how to question the black/white thinking that perpetrates a sense of victimization (which is probably the cause of random acts of violence such as the various shootings our nation has experienced)?  What if we started with the solution to the sense of suffering and then learned to be productive, creative contributing members of societ?  What kind of difference might that make?

This is completely possible.  The methods exist.  (And not just Katie’s.)

Using videos and personal experience of classes in The Work of Byron Katie, as my field experience in this one possible method, some answers on how to learn to see beyond the perception of fear and suffering evolved.  Katie’s Work is very similar, as Jessica pointed out in class, to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  So, in a sense, both schools of thought on teaching given in our text are useful (Bigge and Thermis, 2004).  The Work or “inquiry” uses thoughts as the starting point, questions those thoughts and the awareness that comes from questioning our thoughts leads to natural changes in behavior.  It is just like learning a magic trick.  Once we see how it works, it can no longer fool us.  All that is required is that we notice and question the thoughts that underlie our beliefs and behaviors (Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  Katie says that she simply “knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t,” (2012).  So, while no learning theory is discussed in the course of doing The Work of Byron Katie, it is easy to see that there are both cognitive and behavioral components.  We question our thoughts and we notice that certain thoughts and behaviors hurt.  The questioning process benefits from an understanding of the logical fallacies from the Socratic Method tradition.  When we see our logical fallacies, when we see where the pain comes from, we tend to choose differently because we can no longer lie to ourselves and believe that our lies are working in our favor (2002, Web site for The Work, 2012).

The Work of Byron Katie has broad applications.  In her book, Loving What Is, co-authored with her husband, Stephen Mitchell, who has translated many famous philosophical and spiritual texts from various world traditions, Katie goes through chapters on relationships, work, money, self-judgments, children, underlying beliefs, the body, addictions, and includes a chapter on generalizing the process to any situation that is causing us pain (2002).  Relationships are covered in more detail in her second book, I Need Your Love:  Is That True? (2005).

Technology in teaching is useful here, as well.  There are teleconferences, webinars, You Tube videos, and many more avenues for accessing and learning this method.  It made this field research possible, when local classes were cancelled.  And while technology may bring us much that we have never had access to before, there is still a place for live, in-person learning.  It is this author’s theory that what is gained from in-person learning may not be currently measurable, the way we cannot measure the energy we get from food other than the rudimentary counting of calories.  Our proprioceptive sense receives more than just words and pictures from live instructors. There is far more to be modeled than the form of what is said in a class.

This field experience summary is a broad overview of the potential of effectively teaching and learning a way of being that demonstrates the truth, demonstrates love, demonstrates well-being and happiness.  Again, what if this was the starting point of education?  Grounded in well-being and happiness, what clarity and creativity is possible?

References

Argosy Student Portal for the class, (2012).

Bigge, M. L. and Shermis, S. S.  (2004).   Learning Theories for Teachers.  Boston, MA:Pearson Education, Inc.

Gagne, R.; Wager W.; Golas, K.;  and Keller, J. (2005).   Principles of Instructional Design.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Gazzaniga, M.  (1998). The mind’s past.  Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA:University of California Press.

Gilbert, D.  (2006). Stumbling on happiness. New York, NY:Random House.

Harris, S.  (2012).  Free will.  New York, NY:Simon & Schuster.

Katie, B. and Mitchell, S.  (2002). Loving what is:  Four questions that can change your life.  New York, NY: Random House.

Katie, B. and Katz, M.  (2005).  I need your love:  Is that true?  New York, NY:  Random House.

No Significant Difference web site (2012).  Retrieved from http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/.

Norretranders, Tor.  (1998).  The user illusion:  Cutting consciousness down to size. New York, NY:Penguin Putnam, Inc.

San Francisco Chronicle (April 2, 2012).  U.N. discusses creation of gross national happiness.  (Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/04/02/international/i173603D40.DTL#ixzz1r5T9a0I3).

Shulman, J.  (2004).  Kabbalistic healing:  A path to an awakened soul. Rochester, VT:Inner Traditions.

 Seligman, M. E. P.  (2011).  Flourish:  A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being.  New York, NY:Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster.

 University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology web pages (2012).  Retrieved from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/index.html.

(Most of these books have extensive reference sections with the necessary peer-reviewed journal articles.  It proved too time consuming to trace each discussion above to the proper references in each book, though the dissertation will probably require this.)

Appendix

 4 Worlds from

Jason Shulman’s Kabbalistic Healing

 4          Atzilut                              Beyond even Oneness. Even Oneness is too much

3          Briah                                 Things are not One and not Two

Same stuff, but not the same.

Who would you be w/o your story?

All roads lead to Briah

2          Emotion                           Things that have relationships to one another.

Yetzirah                             Food you like, food you don’t like.

Related, food, liking/disliking.

Me, when I’m complaining.

The Worksheet of Byron Katie.

1          Action                                 Newtonian      Stuff is separate.

Assiyah                               Cups different than tea

Wouldn’t even do inner work around the problem

Always in all of them. Can’t prefer one over the other.

Just a little about my week

May 9, 2009

So far this week:

I have been talking with and sometimes seeing an ex-lover who is seriously considering suicide. He says if he makes it through the weekend, he will try to talk to someone and get help. He is seriously sleep-deprived and has promised not to do anything until he has slept. Of course, no animal sleeps when it thinks its life is threatened. It stays awake and alert till the danger passes. This might work for him.

I worked 40+ at the new job which keeps me so busy that both lunch and 5 pm come and go without my noticing. I am the Traffic Director (read: receptionist) at a mental health clinic. Many of the clients are certified. Most are on serious meds. This pays my bills so I can do my work with people whose worst problem is a relationship or a job or lack of inner peace in my spare time.   

I have “rescued” a new lover after a flat tire twice… one on his pick up truck, one on his bike. Can hardly wait to see him tonight! That story will land on another page at another time, perhaps.

I am having Chocolate Nirvana with a girlfriend around 11 am for her birthday.

I am still plugging away at getting all the info filled in on 55 Coffee Shops in the Boulder Area for my Guide.  I need help with setting it up as an ebook and selling it both online and in hard copy of some kind. Anyone?

I video chatted with an old lover who now lives in Savannah, Georgia. He has a 3-year old. Single dad. Just joined a couple of double lettered organizations in the last year:  AA and UU. 

I finally found a lover from high school that I have wondered about for years!  I LOVE Facebook.

I’m still looking for a couple more.  I never put real names in this blog, but I’m SO tempted to make an exception. There are still about a few people in this world I would absolutely love to catch up with.

Heck, one of them has a name so common I will never find him if I don’t ask diligently… Anthony Lynn Smith… from Paschal High School.  Anyone gots any ideas what happened to him? There are several others, men and women. Maybe some day they will join Facebook.

I am amazed that Joy was just here a week ago.  I have lived so much life since then.

I’d better get bathed and get ready for the Birthday Girl’s Chocolate Nirvana.

Love,

Stacy

Help me help a friend

April 14, 2009

My friend, Steven Sashen, writes:

I’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks with the most unlightened beings I’ve never met, studying his faux-losophy.

His name is Bob Tzu, and he’s the long-lost American cousin of the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu founded Taoism. Bob Tzu teaches Duhism.

Bob says of the impractical wisdumb of Duhism: “The Duh cannot be understood by those who think.”

Meet him (and his family) yourself at www.duhism.com

(then go to www.duhism.com/help for my special plea… which, you may
get again later when I tell everyone I know about Bob and The Duh)

Oh, and PASS IT ON!

Twitter it. Facebook it. MySpace it. Blog it.

Any and all of the above.

Thanks!

Stacy

The WHAT of the WHO???

November 17, 2008

Some body hand me a trash can – quick!!!  I think I’m going to barf.

I cannot tell you how revolting I find it when someone goes off on this idealization of the “feminine” or the “goddess” or WHATEVER this is all supposed to be.

I got an email from someone I know on a list who was attempting to share a video that she says has something to do with Joe Biden having something to do with some absurd and mythical thing she called “the emergence of the goddess.”

I never got into that sort of thing – even when I was trying to learn something about tantra and so-called “sacred sexuality”  and trying to teach such things. As you recall, I got so annoyed with the whole idea and the people who were making such folderol about sex that I abandoned the entire thing – just about the time a book came out with my name on it called “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Sex Goddess.”

Someone recently suggested I write a parody called “The Sex Goddess’ Guide to Being a Complete Idiot.”  Well, that would not be hard to do. I have plenty of examples right here in Boulder City.

Here is how you do it:

1.  Wear funny clothes and weird make-up that supposedly expresses your Inner Feminine – boys get to play dress-up, too. Nothing is sacred.  Try anything, especially if it is pink or purple.

2.  Prance around, preferably in a circle, and ascribe deep and serious meaning to each movement you must make in this ritual.

3.  Chant meaningless syllables.

4.  Burn incense & candles.

5.  Get so wrapped up in all this drama that you are so busy putting on a show that you couldn’t possibly be attractive to the opposite sex.

6.  Start conversations that begin with sure-fire idiocy like “Well, my teacher says . . . ” or “Have you ever had an extended orgasm?” or “Have you taken (tantra workshop, pseudo-American Indian sex workshop, fake Hindu ceremony class, etc.) ?”

7.  Next, stare deeply into the eyes of a total stranger and ask them to breathe in and out with you. The pushier you are, the better.

8.  Be sure to part by putting your hands together prayer-style and bow, saying “namaste.” Kind of puts a real inauthentic ring to the whole charade.

 

I’m not that good at parodies. This is Dawn’s forte, but this will do.

There. Got some of that out of my system. Feel much better.

You?

Stacy

Stacy’s New Rules for Dating

November 13, 2008

 

1.  No Republicans

2.  No one who voted for McCain

3.  No one who is rude or disparaging about Obama and the tough job ahead.

4.  No one who didn’t vote and is complaining.

5.  Only those who overall feel safe in the world.

6.  Only those who regularly take full responsibilty for themselves without blaming others and who, upon getting trapped into blame, know how to get out of the trap.

 

Love,

Stacy

Quote o’ the Day – John Lennon – Watching the Wheels Go Round

October 1, 2008

People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely your not happy now you no longer play the game,

People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I’m doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don’t you miss the big time boy you’re no longer on the ball?

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go,

People asking questions lost in confusion,
Well I tell them there’s no problem,
Only solutions,
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind,
I tell them there’s no hurry…
I’m just sitting here doing time,

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go.

Differences

September 30, 2008

Differences.

Do they trigger you like they do me sometimes?

Of course they do. You’re an ape-descended bipedal carbon-based human being, right?  (Unless, of course, Ford Prefect is reading this blog now.)

Well, why? Why do differences trigger us so much?

We falsely believe that the way to be safe is for everything to be just like us. We try to control and manipulate people and situations until they give in to us.

How’s it working for you?

If you have done even one Re-Pairing or any kind of meditation or The Work of Byron Katie, you have at least begun to see that seeming “problems” are something to look forward to. Not only do they point out the peaceful blissful reality that is all around us in a way that we can experience it firsthand, they also help to keep us out of icky picky details that aren’t all that important.

Paul and I have a lot of differences:  musical taste, style of dress, furnishings, attitudes, etc. Lots. I mean – lots! 

My best summation is that it’s as if he grew up in the 40’s and I grew up in the 60’s. 

Many of our differences fit that pattern.

So? 

Well, so what?

Yes, I want my home decorated in Celtic style forest green, brown, black and cream colors, and yes, I find multi-colored decor with too many knick-knacks disturbing and unsettling. 

Yes, I find crooners and top 40 distasteful pollution of my ear space.

Yes, plaid shirts have been out since my grandfather’s day.

The man loves me.  I love him.

There are things more important than our different generational approaches to things.

Can we find the Still Point? 

Can we find the Peaceful Place?

The place that never moves?

I think we can and I want to try.

Love,

Stacy

“Peace in our minds and in our lives is a cause-effect relationship.”

                                  – Me

Letting Go

August 3, 2008

Hi,

This post is partly to test and see if y’all are getting the feeds that I put out a new blog.  If you get this, would you write and let me know? Thank you!

So, for the last several years, I’ve felt like I was letting go and letting go and letting go.  I moved and let go of homes and roommates and even once in a while, my favorite place to live. I sold a car to go to Ireland and another thinking I was going to Berkeley.  I work temp jobs and let go of each one. Blah blah. You’ve heard about that.

The unexpected parts are things like letting go of new agey ideas, letting go of thinking astrology means anything, letting go of thinking the world needs to be changed or that I need to “improve” myself.

I still have dusty places to clean up with many of these things, and God (whoever that is) knows what I will let go of next, but I am nowhere near in the same place as I was even a few months ago. I notice this when listening to others. A friend I’ve known for some years started telling me about how Monday is Barak Obama’s birthday. That’s nice. And he is a Leo and something about Venus trining Pluto. My friend turns to me and says, “Stacy, you know what *that* means.”  And I just cracked up laughing and said, “Yes. Nothing.”

I could do that with him and not have him take it personally. He said, “Oh. Right, I know, but I still have fun with it.” OK, and I still find it hilarious that anyone thinks it means anything.

There was some discussion of other things that mean nothing. I enjoyed it.

Later in the conversation a new guy at the table said, “Well, that’s just an addiction.” And Steven replied, “I don’t even know what that is.” And I went, “Oh my, another one.” What does it mean that there is no such thing as an addiction? I hardly know how to tell you now that its’s so obvious.

It’s like the way humans survived by separating things we saw or heard from the background. It does us no good to miss the lion that stands out from the field. We had *better* notice that or die.

But what that led us to, was to thinking that these random and rare events, like lions, were a “pattern.” They’re not. The grass is more of a pattern.

Now think about addictions. Isn’t it true that one is not “engaging in the addiction” far more often than one is? Wow. What a freeing thought!

A junkie doesn’t sit there high all the time or a cigarette addict isn’t lighting up all the time. It happens once in a while. Sure, maybe 8 or 10 times a day, but what about the *rest* of the time!?  *That’s* the more common event – when they are *not* shooting up, lighting up or whatever.

I just marvel. I wish I had thought of these things myself and many, many years ago.

Oh. And another one. My friend, Pablo, called me, all excited, “Stacy, I just made $1000 on a $2500 investment.” That is the worst thing that could have happened. It makes him think he knows something about investing. It will cause him to *lose* far more money than he ever “wins.” I can almost guarantee it. I suggested he read “Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets” by Taleb. 

He asked if I had read it. Not yet, but I have it in a stack of similar books that I am reading to educate myself on how to think straight. Probably he will dismiss the book because I haven’t read it. Oh well. It might save him hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, but that is truly none of my business. It’s his to lose.

Me?  I’m going to read the book. Just as soon as I finish “How We Know What Isn’t So,” by Thomas Gilovich.  Oh, and “Smoke and Mirrors,” by Neil Gaiman. That one is fantasy – and labeled as such.

It’s the ideas that aren’t labeled as fantasy, we might want to learn to recognize.

Love,

Stacy

Garage Band Teacher? I Don’t *Think* So!

January 14, 2008

Alright, Tribe,

I’ve been writing my personal friends list about my latest foray into education. Some of them get it, but some of them write back with “Why do you need another degree?”

In the back of my mind, I hear echoes of pre-pubescent teenagers whining, “Mom, do I have to go to school?” every morning at the breakfast table in some 60’s sitcom. You know, Beaver Cleaver or Eddie on the Munsters.

Do you know how hard it is to grow up LOVING SCHOOL?

Think about it:  what’s “your thing?”

Do you paint? Play music? Fiddle with electronics? Swim?

Yeah, those were electives! Almost nobody was forced to take those subjects. I don’t do any of those things. I sing. In choir. At church. Which is a whole ‘nother story.

But everybody was forced to go to school 5 days a week, 9 months a year for about 12 years!

Many of you hated it. Some of you were neutral about it. A very precious few of us LOVED IT.

Remember? We sat in the front of the classroom. You called us Teacher’s Pet. We answered all the questions and chatted with the teacher like we cared. WE DO CARE.

I can’t help it that you were made to do what I love to do. You have my sympathy.

But when I tell you I’m going on with my plans to get a doctorate, it’s like I’m practicing for the World Series, the Thingamy Cup, the London Symphony. You know? 

I make A’s like falling off a log. I’m a student. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. I would love to be a teacher, too. Yes, I’ve been a teacher in many ways. I’ve taken more new age psychology meditation you-name-its than you can shake a stick at. I’ve hoped to work into teaching BreathWork, NLP, ISP, tantra and many other things. Did any of those work out of me? No. For whatever reason, no, they did not.

I am reminded of my dear friend, Peter, who in high school was well on his way to becoming a famous violinist. Peter once asked me, “Stacy, why is it that I really love the British rock bands, but I just can’t seem to get into the American bands?”

I hardly had to think twice about it. “Peter, the British mommies made their little boys take music lessons. They are grounded in the classics and it shows in their music. Listen to the Moody Blues, and you’ll see what I mean. American bands are made up of guys who bought a guitar out of their Coke money and set up in the garage to play with their friends.”

There’s nothing wrong with American garage bands. There often is something unique and fresh about artists who are self-taught.

Hell, Ian Anderson, musical genius of my favorite (yes, British) rock & roll band, didn’t take flute lessons until long after he became famous for playing it. I heard that one day in a radio interview. His daughter took flute lessons and one day she came in and said, “Daddy, you’re holding it all wrong!” Out of the mouths of babes, and all of that, but he said her information corrected fingering problems he’d been having for years. Imagine that.

Well, I’ve been holding the flute all wrong, apparently. Wisdom University just wasn’t doing it for me. I’d like to get my own foundation in the classics of my field. I want to research. I want to write. Right now, I’m hoping to write a dissertation on mysticism and religious experience. I’m investigating a few different programs, but I’m primarily interested in Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In the process, I’ve found that Rice in Houston, and The University of Kent at Canterbury (yes, England)  actually have programs in mysticism. I dont’ know why, but neither of them sings to me the wqy GTU does.  The first place I heard of it was in Rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s author bio in the back of Kabbalah: A Love Story.  (Amazing book on many levels.)

I’ve been asking friends, and receiving the catalog and finding out where and when to take the GRE.

I am going to need to learn two new languages.

I can hear the *gasps* from my readers.

Pipe down out there!

I love language and while Spanish is the only one I can claim fluency in, I think it will be a relatively do-able thing to learn French, German, Hebrew, Latin, even Aramaic, if that suits my course of study. I can do this. It’s my thing.

I’d like to stand before a group of college students and look out on the sea of faces (even if some of them are asleep) and say, “My name is Stacy Clark, and I’m the new Professor of Mysticism. I’d like to get to know you.”

Do you have a tissue?

It’s a lifetime dream. I want this. And I’m willing and eager to take the steps to build a firm foundation in those teachers and writers who went before me. This is my passion. I’d like to do my best.

I was 5 years old when I first marched my little self into my mother’s bedroom, and stood in the doorway to tell her, “Mommy, I want to be a teacher.”

I’m 48 years old. I’ve done a *lot* in my life. I want to do this now.

Love,

Stacy