You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2012.



Education for whom and for what?  Part One

Education for whom and for what?  Part Two

Education for whom and for what?  Part Three

Corporate attack on education

Noam Chomsky

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished: Yet that will be the beginning.–Louis L’Amour

It happened and I didn’t foresee it or really even plan it.  But looking back now, I can see the outline of my transformation in reverse perspective.

I have spent many hours in serious thought about my life options over the last two years.   When my husband unexpectedly died I was beset with constant fear and loneliness.  Despite having been self-supporting and independent at seventeen, now in my sixties I doubted my ability to ever feel secure or whole again.

Through more than two decades of private therapy practice my husband had always been at my side, assisting with billing issues, sometimes taking a turn at the front desk, always ensuring that supplies were where they needed to be when we needed them, handling and organizing our accounts and always being friendly and helpful to patients and their family members.

Ten years ago he left salaried work himself and we quickly evolved to a shared joint practice relationship:  what I came to call our  “mom and pop shop.”

Then he died unexpectedly three years ago on Memorial Day.

Every nook and cranny of our office seemed to remind me of him.  I could barely enter the room where he did his work.  In many important ways I stopped minding the company store and left it to others to do what each of us had done.  Loyal staff made up some of the difference and my contractual colleagues continued to support the practice and kept it going these three years at a half-time level.

My life was forever changed and I felt too broken and lost to form a new identity for myself as a widowed, single woman.  Through the months of grief the quicksand of sadness and loss would easily overwhelm me.  To avoid the uncertainty and pain and I plunged myself further into my contractual professional work.  I quickly turned much of my attention away from the practice and my home life to my duties at the Air Force eventually becoming a full time salaried employee serving mental health needs of military members and their families.     I could express my feelings safely within my squadron support group but preferred to focus on  care  delivery as much as I was able.   I was able to keep up the pace and forged ahead until this  spring when I learned that the professional contract with the military would expire mid-May and renewal was very uncertain.

I began to see my situation from a new vantage point and recognize that I was filling too many of my hours with the demands of work and I had restricted by time for relaxation, quiet and activities I had enjoyed before my heart became so broken by grief.  I had put my camera on a shelf along with many other customary pleasures.  I was suffering from what many therapists refer to as “burn out.”

It soon became clear to me that I must let go of the very work that had been giving me so much comfort and a semblance of self-control through my grief.  I had to let go.

Weighing my options, I decided to return to my community-based private practice rather than seek other full time employment or wait for the contract to be funded.   Despite learning from my colleagues that the contract did move to pending status, I moved forward with my plan to return to private practice.   I missed the flexibility of setting my own hours and being able to schedule time away from the office to take care of personal needs and have time to enjoy other parts of my life.

There are new assurances in my life that I can identify:   I notice that I now feel more lasting positive emotions and my spontaneity has reappeared.  I can enjoy occasional quiet times.  A handful of deep friendships have regrown themselves and now flourish.  I see that I can enjoy my life again.

Another bright spot I can identify is that I return back to the community with additional skills I strengthened, honed and reinforced in my work within the strong mental health group at Andrews Air Force Base.   I have built additional skill in working with traumatic stress, sleep disorders, and applying innovative cutting edge and carefully researched treatment strategies to help a variety of patient needs.

So I have made my exit, said my goodbyes and expressed my deep gratitude to amazing work colleagues and leaders who have supported me these four years…

While I had cut back the community practice the office location has deteriorated–the roof leaks when it rains hard and the heating and air conditioning systems are inadequate and costly.   Lewis and I were considering a move when he died, but the idea of moving without him to an new office was overwhelming to me.   So I didn’t and my tolerant colleagues and I “made do” at the undesirable location.

Fortunately over the course of the last year I did some initial homework and identified another suitable office suite across the main road and nearer other medical and legal offices and the new town hall in our town center.

After a trip to the doctor to check out my “vital parts” in mid-April I offered a lease to the landlord and within just hours I began to press forward with the move. Day be day, book by book, shelf by shelf, trash heap by growing trash heap, a beautiful new office took shape.

The two part time consultants were eager to move with me and the office manager and I managed to begin scheduling patients there within just two weeks.

I have been away from the Air Force for three weeks now and am relieved to find that patient referrals have rapidly expanded and have come from many directions.  Some part of me is not completely surprised:   the same thing happened when I first started the practice.   Then as now, I just needed to trust myself and finally believe that I could succeed and thrive on my own.

So here I am and it is a new day and I am moving on best as I can….:-)

Here is one of my favorite songs about losing one’s love in life:


Melissa Manchester
Dusty Springfield

I wake up and see
The light of the day shining on me
Make my own time, it’s mine to spend
Think to myself: my own best friend

It’s not so bad all alone
Coming home to myself again.

Now I understand
Whatever I feel is whoever I am
Watching my life and how it’s grown
Looking on back to things I’ve known

And it’s not so bad all alone
Comin’ home to myself again.

It’s not so bad to get lost in my tears
And to laugh and to cry for the years gone by
Oh my, oh my

Now somehow I know
I’ve come a long way, got a long way to go
But something inside is making me strong
And in the bad times I’ll get along

‘Cause, it’s not so bad all alone
Comin’ home to myself again
I’m comin’ home.

and here is a you tube video that captures the melody quite well:


Come and take a walk with me thru this green and growing land
Walk thru the meadows and the mountains and the sand
Walk thru the valleys and the rivers and the plains
Walk thru the sun and walk thru the rain

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all)

From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
Texas and Ohio and the California shore
Tell me, who could ask for more?

Yet she’s only as rich as the poorest of her poor
Only as free as the padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand

But our land is still troubled by men who have to hate
They twist away our freedom & they twist away our fate
Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry
We can stop them if we try

Millionaires and paupers walk the hungry streets
Rich and poor companions of the restless beat
Strangers in a foreign land
Strike a match with trembling hand
Learn too much to ever understand
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

Lover’s quarrel, snarl away their happiness
Kisses crumble in a web of loneliness
Written by the poison pen
Voices break before they bend
The door is slammed
It’s over, once again
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

Poets agonize, they cannot find the words
And the stone stares at the sculptor asks “are you absurd?”
The painter paints his brushes back
Through the canvas runs a crack
Portrait of the pain never answers back
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

Soldiers, disillusioned, come home from the war
Sarcastic students tell them not to fight no more
And they argue through the night
Black is black and white is white
Walk away both knowing they are right
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

Smoke dreams of escaping souls are drifting by
Dull the pain of living as they slowly die
Smiles change into a sneer
washed away by whiskey tears
In the quicksand of their mind they disappear
Still nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

Feeble, aged, people almost to their knees
Complain about the present using memories
Never found their pot of gold
Wrinkled hands pound weary holes
Each line screams out you’re old, you’re old, you’re old
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

And the flower lady hobbles home without a sale
Tattered shreds of petals leave a fading trail
Not a pause to hold a rose
Even she no longer knows
The lamp goes out the evening now is closed
And nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady


And the ship sets the sail
They’ve lived the tale
To carry to the shore
Straining at the oars
Or staring from the rail
And the sea bids farewell
She waves in swells
And sends them on their way
Time has been her pay
And time will have to tell
Oh, soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

And the anchor hits the sand
The hungry hands
Have tied them to the port
The hour will be short
For leisure on the land
And the girls scent the air
They seem so fair
With paint on their face
Soft is their embrace
to lead them up the stairs
Oh soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

In the room dark and dim
Touch of skin
He asks her of her name
She answers with no shame
And not a sense of sin
Until the fingers draw the blinds
Sip of wine
The cigarette of doubt
The candle is blown out
The darkness is so kind
Oh, soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

And the shadows frame the light
Same old sight
Thrill has blown away
Now all alone they lay
Two strangers in the night
Till his heart skips a beat
He’s on his feet
To shipmates he must join
She’s counting up the coins
He’s swallowed by the street
Oh soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

In the bar hangs a cloud
The whiskey’s loud
There’s laughter in their eyes
The lonely in disguse
Are clinging to the crowd
And the bottle fills the glass
The haze is fast
He’s trembling for the taste
Of passion gone to waste
In memories of the past
Oh, soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

In the alley, red with rain
Cry of pain
For love was but a smile
Teasing all the while
Now dancing down the drain
‘Till the boys reach the dock
They gently mock
Lift him on their backs
Lay him on his rack
And leave beneath the light
Oh, soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

And the ship sets the sail
They’ve lived the tale
To carry from the shore
Straining at the oars
Or staring from the rail
And the sea bids farewell
She waves in swells
And sends them on their way
Time has been her pay
And time will have to tell
Oh, soon your sailing will be over
Come and take the pleasures of the harbor

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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May 2012



On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory