Welcome to the middle path

My photo
Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Ok, this is going to be a little late for most of you-- since it's usually a ritual for before the new year begins.  And yes, tomorrow starts the official 31 Day Challenge.  If you don't get to this one before 2012, see if you can do it in the first week of it.  It's a sweet way to clear the slate for some new beginnings.

Make a list of what you'd like to let go from 2011.  Be specific, general, wildly optimistic, whatever.  These are intentions, not contracts.

Give some loving respect and compassion for all that you are ready to leave behind.  Then burn that sucker up.  You can be as serious or lighthearted as you choose.  Throw it in the fireplace, or torch it in a nice ceramic bowl.  Let it go, let it go.  Get ready to move on to what you need to learn and how you want to grow/

The page turns to a new day.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Get Ready to Occupy Your Own Creative Self, 2012

COUNTDOWN to January's 31 days of poet games and creative challenges.  In preparation for take-off, please unloosen those seat belts, sharpen your pencils and call out the muse.
Here's a community invitation to just that courtesy of the luminous Peggy Fitzsimmons.  You might remember her as the encouragement for last January's capstone vision board finale'.
Enjoy and please pass it on.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gearing Up for The New Year

Mac Forest, Corvallis
Yep, I know, it's been quiet here.  Keep stopping by.  In a few days we'll start the annual daily January Challenge blogs.  I'll be alternating poet games and creativity prompts with Tiny Resolutions.  Hope to hear from some of you who take up the gauntlet.  I'm pretty sure you can post anonymously if you want, but if you can't figure it out, send submissions via the Contact Me button and I'll add it for you.

Last year's challenges can be found (reverse order) here:   http://www.janasvoboda.org/2011_01_01_archive.html

Meanwhile, here's some great tips on happiness.  Thanks to Keith Abhrams for the link.http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently/
Wishing you restorative, loving and warm holidays,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home for the Holidaze

Yep, it's a rerun, kiddos. What can I say-- the muse is on the back porch, smoking cigs and being a jerk.  Plus I really do love that Robert Earl Keen song-- so familiar--
Will try to post something new and upbeat before the new year--  Meanwhile, Tis The Season To Be Challenged.

 "Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your head"-- Martin  Mull

Christmas and Hanukkah are boom times for therapists.  What is it about holidays that cause so much trouble?  There's the  obvious:   the extra activities to cram in too already crazy busy lives, the financial strains, the booze and sugar hangovers.

And there's  the poignant and sometimes painful difference between the Hallmark commercials of ideal family communion and reality of messy humans coming together with their messy selves.

We spend the latter years of our family-of-origin time struggling to develop identities that resonate with our souls.  Part of that journey means turning away from the very sources of our safety and nurturing-- to be able to find enough differences between ourselves and our parents that we can leave them.

And then the holidays come.  And with it, questions unconscious or not.

Can I be different and still belong?  Can I be true to me and still be loved by you?

Visiting home, or reuniting with relatives, we bump into our younger selves.  Dependent, less competent, locked into family or community roles we may have long since left.   Oftentimes these self portraits aren't held so much by others as projected by us.  Boundaries shift, alliances conflict, and sometimes we fall apart.
We may also struggle to see others as they see themselves without us, and call them back into roles that no longer fit.

Reunions seem to work best when we notice our thoughts and judgments, and remind ourselves they are just that-- impressions and projections, not facts.  I read in a book on some subject seemingly unrelated to therapy-- I think it was economics-- that people are all looking through their own very narrow aluminum tubes, and thinking they are seeing the same thing that others see, looking at different points through their tubes.  When we can rise above ourselves take an eagle eye view, we gain understanding and compassion.  We get that in any given moment in time, we are acting with the limitations with us right then-- just like everyone else.  Sometimes we are being very limited.  We snap and complain, out of tiredness or just confusion from being out of our element or stretched past our resources.  We overfunction, out of hopes we will be shown the love we need.  We isolate, out of fear we don't belong.  And yet we still want acceptance, or at least recognition of our validity.  As do those we love, acting out of their own limitations of the moment.

If you find yourself with loved ones trying hard to conjure up some love, see if you can show them the same acceptance for who they are as you are hoping them to show you.  Even or especially if you disagree with their choices.  In between reminiscing in the sweetness or horror of how things used to be, remember to be curious about how things are now for them, and who they are becoming.  Relinquish your internalized limitations for them and maybe they can do the same for you.  If worse comes to worst, try the OLA strategy.

As hard as you try, no one can escape the horror of Christmas, so you may as well be with your own family."—Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

May the holidays and the new year find your heart ever expanding,

Friday, December 2, 2011

funny little bug--

post isn't showing up on blog page unless you access it from facebook.
here's a back door.