Chapter 44

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse By Durer from Picryl

No sooner had the Crazy Dog Lady’s dogs finished their lattes and left, than Rabbi ! rehearsed next Shabbat’s sermon. When he rose to address the patrons of the Epiphany Café, we could see it was going to be a hell and damnation doozy.

“At any given moment, God could get pissed off and destroy the whole world! He’d be justified, too! He’d just be doing whatever any good craftsman would do, getting rid of substandard product! A glassblower discards every vessel that develops a crack. A carpenter scraps wood cut wrong and starts over. A writer cuts bad sentences. If our beautiful barista was making one of her great coffee drinks, a low fat, caramel macchiato, and she found the milk was spoiled, she’d throw it out, right? She’d throw it out and start over! …


A Field Guide to Feelings

The elusive feeling that everything’s OK.

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Image by Richard Norris from Pixabay

Most feelings seem like wild carnivores that ambush you, jump out of the bushes, seize you in their jaws, carry you off, and consume you till there’s nothing left. Stillness is not like that. Stillness is like a rare flower, easily overlooked; but, if you find it, you’ll want to collect and grow it in your garden.

By stillness I mean serenity, equanimity, calmness, tranquility, peace, quiet, repose. It’s the opposite of agitation, hyperactivity, hypervigilance, spastic, crazy, hectic, chaotic, nervous, excitable, frenetic, and troubled. The Greeks called it hesychia; the Buddhists, upekkha; Hindus, samatvam, and the Arabs, aslama, related to the name of their religion, Islam. …


Chapter 43

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Porphyria of the SuicideGirls

It’s a good thing that you have me for a narrator, Dear Reader, for I have thought of everything. As soon as I knew my Author gave me human limitations, I brought a mobile Wi-Fi router into the Epiphany Café and named it, Get Your Epiphany Now. Everyone thinks the Wi-Fi belongs to the café. It requires no password. When I’ve got the patrons hooked in my network, I hack into their computers. …


America gone haywire

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Image by Marc Nozell, Wikimedia

Has our country gone mad? Has anyone examined the head of America?

Kurt Anderson has, shortly after the 2016 election; and his conclusion is yes, we have gone mad and it was bound to happen. He wrote the bestselling book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. In it, he presents an alternate history of the country as a kind of case study of America’s madness.

Anderson lays out the course of the disease, going all the way back to the Reformation, which established the ability of every individual to judge for himself what was right. Then we were settled by fevered gold seekers and separatist true believers. Soon came witch trials, Joseph Smith, quack cures, conspiracy theories, and chronic anxieties about foreigners. Add on the magic of Pentecostalism, the firmness of Fundamentalism, middle aged people thinking they’re still young, Disneyland, and the epistemological relativism of intellectuals. Things really went off the rails with reality shows, the internet, science deniers, and the gun lobby. By now, what Anderson calls the Fantasy-Industrial Complex has taken over a large part of the economy and this book was written before QAnon. …


Chapter 42

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Image by Clau M from Pixabay

It didn’t take much discussion for the Geeky Guy, the new owner of the Epiphany Café, to hire the Lisping Barista. There was a bit about wages. The Lisping Barista could name her own. There was a bit about hours. The Lisping Barista could come and go as she pleased, so long that there was someone present and qualified to make coffee. And there was a bit about how the Geeky Guy wanted the Lisping Barista to manage the place, because, really, what did he know about running a café.

There was nothing about how the Geeky Guy loved her, felt protective of the Lisping Barista, and wanted to be with her always. There was nothing about how he bought the place just to save her job, so she would stay in town. There was nothing about how the Geeky Guy wanted to finish what they had started at the concert before, somehow, the Lisping Barista’s attention had been distracted. There was nothing about any of that because there was nothing written in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sex about buying a café and hiring a girl you have a crush on. Therefore, they spoke briefly about wages, hours, and job title, and then the Lisping Barista went back to work. There was a lot of coffee to top off because everyone was staying and wanted to celebrate. …


The Reflective Eclectic

Mental Health’s blindness to mass delusions

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Carol Guzy / Zuma Wire

Recently, a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in hopes of stopping what they regarded as the stealing of the 2020 election, something they were certain of, despite the lack of evidence. This was just one of many examples of groups of people who have drunk the Kool Aid and come to believe a dangerous and erroneous idea. Therapists like me could have insight into this phenomenon and may be able to help, if only we’d allow ourselves to do so.

I saw a man for an evaluation a few years ago, sent by a judge after he applied for a pistol permit. The judge wanted to know if he was mentally stable after having had a DWI ten years before. I sometimes do these evaluations because the people of New York State don’t want handguns in the possession of crazed or drunken lunatics. …


The Reflective Eclectic

And what does it mean to be one?

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Image from Needpix

The other day, a prospective client asked if I was a Christian Counselor. There’s no short answer to that.

If I was a Christian Counselor, and I’m not saying I am, for that would be a short answer, I wouldn’t market myself as such. I wouldn’t think it would be the right thing to do. Being a Christian is supposed to be a confession, not a branding strategy.

I understand a prospective client who was Christian might want to see a counselor who respects her beliefs, won’t mock her for a profession of faith, and understands what she’s saying when she talks about sanctification. Similarly, a non-Christian client wouldn’t want me, as a mental health counselor, to proselytize him. He’d need me to respect his beliefs or his belief that he doesn’t have any beliefs. …


Chapter 41

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Image from Pxfuel

A lot happened the next day at the Epiphany Café. Not as much as before, when the Lisping Barista said yes to the Geeky Guy, but it was a close second in eventfulness. The Moodus Noises made their rumblings early that morning, waking everyone up before they were ready. This meant a lot of business at the Epiphany Café as people stopped for a jolt of caffeine. Everyone was in a bad mood when they arrived, what the people of Kenilworth called a Moodus mood; but as soon as they saw who was at the counter, they felt better.

The Lisping Barista had returned. …


The Road to Reconciliation

And letting go.

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Image from Pxhere

When talking about relationships, sometimes people have trouble grasping what it means to let go. If that’s the case, I have a metaphors. Letting go is as simple as breathing; exhaling, to be precise.

The entire breathing cycle can be seen as a metaphor of relationships. You start off in need. You have desires. You believe that if you do not have this person, you will die. That’s like inhaling. You expand yourself to take this person in. You incorporate him or her into your life. You feel full.

Once you inhale, try to hold your breath. Fresh oxygen inevitably becomes suffocating carbon dioxide. You get dizzy, confused, desperate. If you persist, you’ll pass out. …

About

Keith R Wilson

Mental Health Counselor and Writer www.keithwilsoncounseling.com

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