A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Denver, Colorado: Lifetime Achievement Award - March, 2010

I am proud of the fact that I just received this award based upon the totality of my work as a psycho-therapist over four decades. I don't presume you will have much interest in this, but if you do you can find out more on my professional website: http://denverpsychotherapy.com/.  Contrary to what might be implied by such an award: my career is not at its end. I'm not retiring in the forseeable future.

It fits the theme of this blog in the sense that one's work life can also be a "grand adventure". If that was not the case I couldn't have done it for so many years without burning out.

I must confess: in my thirties I did burn out. Listening every day to the problems of other people, I felt like a teddy bear with all the fuzz rubbed off. I turned my energies to professional photography for about five years. I soon came back to psychotherapy as the AIDS epidemic hit. Ironically, I was re-energized by confronting life and death matters with many men facing the reality of their lives ending. I still see clients with HIV, but as a much smaller part of my caseload. What has helped me avoid burn out a second time is now I am more focused on how people overcome adversity. Its not where we've been its who we are now, and how far we've come. I have never grown tired of the stories of people's lives: everyone is interesting and unique. I have just started interviewing victims of torture who are applying for political asylum. This is just a continuation of my work with people who experience trauma. I have experienced, in my own lifetime losses, adversities and set-backs. However, sitting with people who are trauma survivors such as abuse, natural disasters and war, leaves me feeling very fortunate.  The "grand adventure" of life is a lucky luxury not afforded to all of humankind. But neither can I accept the notion that we are all doomed to lives of quiet desperation. Its not what happens to us in our lives that counts: its our response.