The last 18 months of my life have been particularly memorable in that I’ve been going through amazing emotional challenges and jumping head first into what I call the abyss. The hope is always that loving hands will catch you before you hit concrete. Yet either way, it’s an interesting reality shock and a lesson in hubris. When you have a personality that needs to control everything, and you discover you have little control over most external things, it’s a very hard and painful lesson. Upon reflection, what is really interesting is how the universe will literally throw in your path the things you need to learn. And it isn’t always easy. But the good news is this: You will survive in spite of yourself if you are honest with your feelings, and continue to look in the mirror. You’ll discover underneath all the fear and chaos a wonderful, warm and loving person resides. Yes, in spite of what you might think of yourself, you are one of a kind and that makes you not only unique, but also special. You’ll also discover the dark ugly parts that have been suppressed – which some call the shadow self. This part of you will be filled with a vast array of emotions, many uncomfortable, and will likely include anger, sadness and maybe regrets. When you give all of who you are permission to be expressed, you have a greater chance of becoming whole. Hopefully, the ugly part that might surface is mostly contained in thoughts or words and not actions. Journaling is a great way to experience all the parts of your personality. And, if you are lucky, you’ll have people around you who are patient, loving and understand what you are going through, and give you space and support to express your deep, dark fears and craziness. Of course, there is always therapy. You also might discover throughout this journey an amazing burst of creative energy. For me, it showed up in writing, especially songs.
The mind is a very complex and fascinating jewel. One of the things I’ve noticed is how many more people now seem to be living in what is referred to as the “monkey mind” — which manifests itself in never being satisfied, hopping from one situation to another, one relationship to another, and is in constant need of new stimulation. Maybe the intense and pervasive exposure we are continually bombarded with in social networking, TV, etc., gives us too many choices; hence we can’t concentrate and enjoy the gifts that are right in front of us. You know, the grass is always greener syndrome. Maybe the lesson to learn is to just stop, take a deep breath, and enjoy what’s right in front of you as it might disappear if you keep looking everywhere else for what you think is missing. With that in mind, I hope all of you look deeper into your own hearts and discover your greatest gift — you — and enjoy your journey through self-discovery and at the same time learn to share your experience in whatever form it takes. It’s a magical and wonderful ride. And guess what I finally did? I joined Facebook! Yes, I finally stopped resisting and decided to go for it. A good opportunity to learn about what some of you are up to.
Speaking of magical experiences, don’t miss the local premiere of Tarzan, which is this year’s Dos Pueblos High School annual musical production. Along with the lead roles of Tarzan and Jane, who grace this month’s cover, you’ll discover the amazing talent of some of the best and the brightest in Santa Barbara’s school theater programs. Read more about Tarzan in this month’s cover feature article.
MA Clinical Psychology