Posted on October 14, 2014
“I want to be better than I am.”
DG: When a child says these words, it is often a matter-of-fact statement explaining why they’re working so hard at whatever they’re getting better at. Oftentimes when grown-ups say this, it seems to me that the words are attached to an old injury, to an old belief that we are damaged in some fundamental way that will preclude us from achieving our hearts’ desires be they spiritual or material.
I would like to offer you this: Schedule a date at home, by yourself, during a time when you can leave your electronics off, put on your favorite music and give yourself good things to eat and drink. Once comfortable, think back on times that you achieved something after working hard toward your goal. Maybe you were a kid and finally figured out how to whistle with your fingers. Maybe you felt great about planning and executing your first major trip. Once you have a few items listed, choose the one that makes you shake your head and smile. Though It may feel strange, get reacquainted with that self. Check in. Look at your smiling, content previous self and ask that self, “What did you do to overcome doubt and persevere?” Ask that self anything. Give that self the floor and ban judgment. Be conscious of any voices that sound off any discouraging or hurtful things. Quiet them and proceed. See if your previous self can muster the initial impetus for taking on the challenge – the dream. Watch the whole movie – hear the whole story. Now, what did that previous self do in spite of challenges? How did that self solve the problem/s? Once you have your answers, hold fast and know that those actions will work for you again to achieve your current dream. You will “be better” than you were by loving yourself through the hard parts.
Token: Please use this wool-wrapped pen to help you take notes.
“Wrist hurts after drawing to the point I can’t hold things?”
DG: How wonderful that you are working! Perhaps this particular work is something that must come now, no matter the cost? If so, I suppose it will. Things are born when it’s time.
If there is a different kind of imbalance, however; if the work is draining you and injurious to your body and not feeding you significantly, perhaps it’s more a distraction from something you’re avoiding rather than art.
I would like to offer you this: Every day, for the next 30 days, go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. Wear clean, comfy pajamas and climb into clean, good smelling sheets. Put on soothing music or sounds and massage yourself, starting with your feet. Feel each toe, every bone, the texture of your skin and hair. Thank each part of you for the exceptional service and skill your body gives you. Give your wrists and hands extra special love and care.
Token: Here is a stone for your pocket to remind you to do these loving things for yourself. At the end of 30 days, pass the stone on to someone else who needs some healing.
Posted on October 12, 2014
“I want to heal from a bad relationship and be open to loving someone new. It’s so hard to let in goodness.”
DG: Grief sure takes its own sweet time, huh? I offer you this: How about meditating on shifting the idea that your previous relationship was “bad” into simply that your previous relationship “was.” It sounds like it was a difficult and painful experience, but it’s over now. If you are having difficulty “letting in goodness,” how about letting it out for awhile?The most powerful shift from loneliness and misery, for me, is to find someone to help out. Somehow, through doing kind things for others when I feel most blue, I become available to witness ridiculous amounts of beauty and emotional bounty again.
Every day for the next 30 days, connect with someone in a deeply thoughtful way. Make a difficult apology, help pull weeds, take a pot of soup to someone with a cold. Maybe help an elderly neighbor change all her lightbulbs. Anonymously pay for the person behind you’s coffee. See what happens…
Token: Here is a pen wrapped in cozy wool to help you make a list of sweet ideas.
“My parents are Evangelical Fundamentalists. My mom is chronically depressed, and I think I’m co-dependent.”
DG: It sounds like you are in pain because your mother is and you feel you aren’t able to help her. You are definitely not alone in feeling that way! It is utterly human to want to assuage other’s difficult emotions, particularly those of people we love and may feel obligated to help such as parents. Have you considered finding support and tools in a group setting? There are many such groups in most communities.
I would like to offer you this: It is my opinion that when it comes to emotional well being, we are wholly responsible for ourselves and cannot be for others. They are responsible for their own. To nurture your own sense of well-being, for the next 90 days, take yourself on a daily 15 minute walk no matter the weather. While on these walks collect a stone. Contain your stones in a clear, glass jar next to where you sleep. Allow the growing weight and abundance of the stones to ground you and remind you that you are taking good care of yourself. At the end of 90 days, continue the walks but return the stones thus lightening the load of responsibilities that weren’t yours to begin with.
Token: Here is your first stone.
Posted on September 20, 2014
“I’m scared that my temper will one day hurt someone I love.”
DG: You have been courageous in carrying this injury for so long – the broken heart that I sense is so often behind rage. Now, right here and now, there is healing available to you. Just in acknowledgment you have shined a bright light on the thing that lurks in your dark parts waiting patiently to spring when given opportunity. In your greater community you can find others who are learning strategies to manage the physicality of rage. Find them. I am no trained professional, but because I have personal experience with terrifying rage, I can offer you this: Make a commitment to a 15 minute meditation every day for 90 days. When you begin, make certain you are alone and have some water and and tissues near by. Open yourself with deep breaths then begin to reflect on times when you felt let down – did not get what you needed. If you feel rage – just sit with it. Let it be what it is. Acknowledge it and call on your courage to stay with it until it is finished. This is a way we comfort children who are lost in a tantrum. We sit with them and let it be until something cracks and they can come back. Be a child in the moment knowing full well that you already have everything you need to comfort yourself when you come back. When the rage shifts it often comes in tears. Let them wash over you until you are finished. Thank your rage for the ways it has helped you survive then give it permission to go. Tell it you don’t need its services any longer.
At the end of 90 days, treat yourself to something very special and begin again.
Token: Here is a stone for your pocket. This stone is imbued with the peace and quiet of Smoke Farm. Let it serve as a reminder that you are loved.
“Creativity and follow through. Blockage, frustration and doubt.”
How encouraging it is for me to know that I am not alone in these feelings. We are connected, as is everyone, through our fears. Unfortunately, we do not value wholeness. We seek exemption from insecurity and pain instead of honoring the connective opportunity these provide. We do not want to burden or be burdened by messy pain, but when we courageously give ourselves to vulnerability and true service, we connect deeply. Funny humans. I offer that you take yourself on a 15 minute walk every day for 90 days, no matter the weather. While on these walks, collect a stone. Store these stones in clear, glass jar in a place where you will see light shine through the glass. Let the weight and number of the stones ground you and remind you of your commitment to self nurturing. At the end of 90 days, select the most interesting of the stones and write a poem about it. Return the the other 89, one walk at a time, to the earth as blessings.
Token: Here is your first stone.
Posted on September 14, 2014
Dear Participants (and Anyone Else Who Cares to Read Them),
Following are “prescriptions” to ailments/burdens that were left with me in my ad hoc apothecary at Smoke Farm on September 6 – 7, 2014. My ambition in offering these prescriptions was (and remains) to connect with people who were willing to become vulnerable with a complete stranger – to be witnessed and figuratively held by someone who cares deeply.
Please know that I am not a trained counselor or healer. I am an artist. I created a space and circumstances that I hoped would elicit an exchange of trust and connection between strangers thus creating a significant relationship, an “us”, if only for a moment. I found that a majority of participants were willing to be incredibly forthcoming in sharing pain. In my own experiences and in the feedback I have received so far, it appears that this experiment was successful. Connections were made.
I was not able to fill all the prescriptions I received during “office hours”, therefore, I brought the project online. While I did not write prescriptions in numerical order at the festival, I will do so here until they are all filled. You may note that many numbers are missing and that there is a pair of identical numbers (1). The missing numbers represent prescriptions that were picked up during the festival. In the prescriptions offered at the Farm, I gave a token “remedy” to be used in the prescription. I am happy to offer tokens to anyone who wants them. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to receive one.
Thank you participants. It is a joy to connect.
(aka Dr. Good – “DG)
“My heart is being smothered by my head. I need to be able to reach it.”
DG: Your heart is a magic, sacred place. It holds the truth. Your head wants to protect your heart. It despises pain and all things it doesn’t understand. Fear often masquerades as Protection. See the truth. Courageously take the reins from the fear. Take this [a] feather to the [a] river, hold it in your right hand and recite, “Fear – thank you for your energy. Your services are no longer required.” Release the feather (fear) into the river.
“I am feeling left behind. Friends are marrying and moving away.”
DG: Now is a wonderful time to reconnect with yourself – to relearn what you enjoy and want to learn. Think back to a time when you experienced great joy when you were alone. What were you doing? Seeing? Tasting? Schedule a date with just you and try that thing again. Also, schedule a daily 15 minute walk with yourself. Do this for 90 days no matter the weather. While on your walk select and pocket a special rock you find along the way. Collect these rocks in a jar that you keep next to where you sleep. Let the weight of the stones help ground you and remind you of your commitment to befriending yourself.