My Boston

This one hit really close to me. I was born in Boston, lived in the city for the first 5 or 6 years of my life, grew up in the suburbs around it, and lived in the city again in my 20s. I love Boston. It is close to my heart. Hundreds and hundreds of times I walked in the exact spot where the bombs went off. In fact, my cousin was watching the Marathon close to where the bombs went off. Apparently his place of work had a Red Sox game/Marathon outing yesterday. He said to my sister, “We were all close by, some so close that they saw a lot of things that will haunt them.” Luckily all 48 of them came up safe. But what about the others who lost lives or limbs or family or friends or who will have to suffer with so much pain or whose lives will be changed forever? Devastation and horror.

There is simply too much of this! Even one is too much. It’s got to stop, but how?

I’ve been through just about every emotion there is to go through about this. Every time my thinking shifts, whatever emotion is attached follows.  Each one feels extremely real. Yet each one is inadvertently made up by me. Which one is the true one? All of them. Or none. Right now there are a few people who are actually happy this happened. At this moment I’d like to break their skulls (but I won’t, of course, because my thinking would never let me).

And that’s the most astonishing thing of all about this. Whoever the perpetrator or perpetrators are of this horror believe their thinking is reality. They really believe they had to do this! If they only understood enough about how “reality” is created, they’d never be able to believe or trust or follow their thinking enough to go through with something like this, because they would know it’s not really reality at all. It’s the only reason anything like this ever happens.

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New Three Principles Chapter in Well-Respected Book

A new three principles article (actually, a chapter) appears in the Sixth Edition of the book, The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice, edited by Dennis Saleeby. Authored by Drs. Diane McMillen of Washburn University and Jack Pransky, chapter 13 is titled, “Exploring the True Nature of Internal Resilience: A View from the Inside-Out.” This is a very well-respected and widely read book in the social work field and we are honored to be part of it and have the opportunity to spread the word about the power of the three principles, especially in a field that makes a huge difference in people’s lives.
Here is an excerpt:

“…consider this: Might the outside-in, strengths-building approach also inadvertently carry with it the subtle message that people lack something that they need to gain from outside themselves? For example, if we assume people need life skills to make it in the world, are we also saying, subtly, that they presently lack something that we need to give them to succeed?  Or, if a child grows up in an unhealthy environment, are we saying, subtly, that they won’t make it unless that environment improves or they find a supportive mentor who can guide them? At the very least this is food for thought…

“Looking at strengths from the inside-out offers a very different perspective. Here we begin with the premise, or knowing, that everyone at their core, at their essence, within their soul, is pure “health,” pure love, has pure peace of mind and pure wisdom. In other words, at their essence people already are everything they are looking for. Everyone has the strength or natural capacity innately, built into the very fabric of their being, to rise above unhealthy circumstances and transcend their problems.

“If true, why do so many people walk around looking like they don’t have this state of “health?” What if the only reason is because they use their own thinking, inadvertently, to obscure this essence, to cover it up, so it appears hidden (Pransky, 2003)?

“How do we know this? Because when people’s minds calm down or their heads clear their mental health and wisdom is revealed. All we have to do is ask ourselves where we are or what we’re doing when we get our best ideas, and invariably we find it is when we are doing something where our mind relaxes. In other words, our essence is always present within us, but it becomes hidden when our own thinking obscures it. Yet, when our typical thinking loosens its grip, this natural capacity for health and well-being, with all its built-in traits, automatically and naturally rises to the surface, because it never went anywhere in the first place!…

“We assert that what people already have inside them is their greatest strength. People are capable of realizing this and seeing what gets in its way. To see people this way offers automatic hope for all. When people gain this understanding they become free from the prison of their own minds and their well-being and wisdom are unveiled and begin to guide them through life. With this realization an individual’s strength becomes illuminated and seems to magnify. It begins to affect others around him or her. It ripples out to affect family and friends, then ripples further to affect organizations and communities. Hence, change happens from the inside-out. When practitioners in the fields of social work, human services, prevention and resiliency come to understand what it truly means to see and work from the inside-out, limitless potential arises. The possibilities for individual, community and societal change rise to a higher level…”

The citing is:
Pransky, J. & McMillen, D.P. (2013). “Exploring the true nature of internal resilience: A view from the inside-out” in Saleeby, D. [Ed.].The strengths perspective in social work practice, sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. (235-254).
A further note: I also just received the proof for an article by Dr. Tom Kelley and myself accepted for publication in the Journal for Traumatic Stress Disorders and Treatment, titled, “Principles for Realizing Resilience: A New View of Trauma and Inner Resilience.” Special thanks to Kathy Marshall for her important suggestions. I will keep you posted when it officially becomes published.

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Wisdom of the Week

There is nothing else but thought, except in those moments of no thought.

People tell me I need to clarify this, so I’ll try. The only thing that can ever give us an experience is our own thinking. But what exists in the seconds or microseconds in between thoughts? I would say it’s pure consciousness–consciousness uncontaminated by our thinking. It’s the formless energy of Mind becoming One with our consciousness in the purest form we can experience it. It’s pure peace of mind, pure love, the incubation space for pure wisdom to come through, and the ability to have thought waiting to happen. Yes, we can only have an experience of the “pure”t through Thought, but that is already contaminating it somewhat. However,  in those moments when our mind does shut down and our thoughts clear, what is left? Something way bigger than thought.

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One More Tragedy of the Newtown Tragedy

Well, the world didn’t end today as some predicted, displaying once again the incredible power of thought. Clearly, we can’t speak to whether thought actually makes things happen “out there” (in this case it didn’t); but we can certainly speak to the fact that for people who believed their own thinking about it, the fact of the world ending was absolutely real to them. My guess is they’re having different thoughts in this hour that have become their new reality.

But that’s not what I wanted to address–it’s just that the world not ending is giving me an opportunity to address it. Watching all the heartbreaking activity around the families burying their own children and burying those adult educator heroes, I kept thinking of how senseless and unnecessary this entire tragic event was. I addressed why it was senseless and unnecessary in the last piece I wrote. But beyond all that there’s an extra tragedy going on behind the scenes. Watching the government go into action around guns and mental illness, I am struck by the almost guaranteed probability that Three Principles understanding will not even be at the table. What could be exceptionally helpful to the field of mental health will very likely not even be invited to participate, no matter how many letters are written requesting it. Why? There is no place for a new paradigm at the table. As if the old paradigm has really worked to prevent these kinds of events from happening. The perpetrator, Adam, was in fact being treated by the prevailing system, the prevailing paradigm, was he not? He was already on medication, was he not? Obviously something was missing. Obviously something didn’t work all the way. What if he were helped beforehand to call his “reality” into question? We’ll never know if that would have made the difference–in his case. But it sure wouldn’t have hurt. And, for others who are right now out there contemplating the same kinds of things, it might just make some difference. If it only made a difference in one of these people not carrying out what their “reality” is compelling them to do, would it not be worth it?

But until we have scientifically accepted double-blind studies that compare Three Principles therapy (and prevention) with other therapies (and prevention) and we can show we make at least as much of a difference, why would anyone pay attention? Because we have so many anecdotes of how many lives have changed? It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. But one would have thought by this time all the anecdotes would have at least piqued the curiosity of the powers-that-be (whoever they are), as in “Hmm, maybe something promising is going on here that we need to formally study.” It takes a lot of money to do a scientific study like that. But when volumes of psychological journals and entire university systems and textbooks are geared to the old paradigm, no one really wants to hear, “Oh maybe we’ve been approaching psychology in not the best way. Wait a minute, we’ve been doing things backwards?” That’s not something a lot of people want to hear, especially when they have a vested interest in keeping the system exactly as it is.

But it’s only  a matter of time before they catch on. I’m guessing only about 70 more years. Unfortunately, in the meantime, an awful lot of lives will have been lost in the process. But I actually am hopeful. What other way is there to be?