Recently an old friend asked me if I had to name one feature about Primal Therapy that distinguishes it from other therapies what would it be? After some thought and of course explaining that there are numerous differences between Primal and other therapies I said, “Alright, then I choose simplicity”. Later while reflecting on my answer I remembered a story Barry once told me. He had begun therapy with a young man who told him that he had come to therapy primarily because he could not maintain any relationship. He found that the friendship would begin with the best intentions, he would be filled with hope, but time after time it would somehow end in failure and despair. On top of that he wanted answers as to why it was he who seemed to be chief saboteur. This young patient had explored a variety of therapies before reading The Primal Scream and deciding he wanted to come to the Institute. By the time he met Barry however, he was feeling pretty hopeless about ever getting to the root of his problems and he certainly did not believe he could make any real or lasting change in his life. At some point Barry decided to call this man’s previous therapist for consultation, a very bright and affable psychiatrist who had worked with this patient for about a year. Barry asked this psychiatrist what was his view of the young patient and how had they been approaching his therapy in the past year? “Well,” said the psychiatrist ” On Axis I I believe he has Schizo-Affective Disorder and on Axis II I am thinking Avoidant Personality Disorder”. “Uh Huh” said Barry.  “What is your view Dr Bernfeld, what might be at the core of this patients inability to have intimacy in his life? “Barry answered without a pause,” I tend to think it probably has something to do with his mom abandoning him when he was three.” Now trust me when I tell you this next part is one hundred percent the truth. After a full minute of speechlessness the psychiatrist then says to Barry “My God that is brilliant, however did you think of that? “Barry’s simple answer “the patient told me”. That really is the point isn’t it, in Primal our answers will come from within. It is simple. Our understanding will come easily from the pain inside each of us, from our memories and our ability to feel and integrate them. I too remember a case that further illustrates this point. I worked with someone who could not say what she felt – ever. Confrontation, forget about it! She could not speak to save her life – literally. After years of trying to “figure” it out and after a decade of asking a previous therapist to explain it to her, she came to Primal. In the first session she began to cry as she told me about a lifetime of having no voice. Now I have had many years of schooling and countless years of training so I had the my most inspired psychological questions at my disposal. Reaching in to my arsenal, I knew what I needed, something both cunning and crafty with maybe just a touch of sophistication and a sprinkling of innovation and finally, with that in hand, I took a breath and asked her,”What happened?” and guess what? She told me. Simple.          Gretchen

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298 Responses to Simplicity

  1. Jack Waddington says:

    Gretchen: My absolute favorite word. I’t’s so f@#$in simple and so few seem to get it. Jack

  2. Jack Waddington says:

    Barry: Was that your Eureka moment; the revolutionary fervor you talked about earlier? It’s all simple … if only we ask the right question. Yeah! Jack

  3. Margaret says:

    simply terrific, this post!
    I love the style, love the contents, will let it seep in just wanted to give my instant reaction already, which is congratulations, right to the heart of the matter!
    Thanks, Margaret

  4. Jack Waddington says:

    For example, if we pick up a stone and drop it and then ask a child, “Why did the stone fall?” the child might simply reply, “Because you let go of it.” Later, the child in high school is doing elementary science and the teacher asks the student, “Why did the stone fall?” and the student now replies, “Because the air underneath the stone is less dense than the stone.” When that student becomes a senior and the teacher asks, “Why did the stone fall?” the student replies, “Because of the acceleration due to gravity.” Later we might ask, “why gravity?” Physicists are still battling this one out.



  6. Steve Herron says:

    Maybe this should be called “The Jack Waddington Website?”

  7. Jack Waddington says:

    Steve: I doubt the powers that be would allow that LOL Hope you are making great recovery, Steve Jack

  8. Margaret says:

    Hi steve,
    are you by any chance jealeous of Jack’s omnipresence? Just try to beat him, nice you’re here too.
    Again, I htink Gretchen is making such a good point here, the major quality of this therapy being it works from inside out,it is such a big and basic difference, in a way the therapist here helps the patient to lead the way, encourages him or her to do so, thus learning to open up those inner gates. This really is a major insight for me about how to describe what makes Primal Therapy so special, it is such a good starting point too to explain the process if wanted.
    And what a world of difference between some expert telling you what is wrong with you and how you should change your attitude or view or well, you name it…
    For me this was the best post so far, simple but so full of meaning.

  9. John Strazzanti says:

    I have been fortunate in that I have spent a lot of time around great problem solvers. When you witness what they do it seems so easy and “simple” but I have come to understand that they have a talent that they have worked long and hard at to make it seem so. There is a big difference between “easy” and “simple”. I once marveled at how easy a master performed a task and he said “it would be easy for you too if you labored hard for 40 years to perfect your craft”. So this is all about my needing to make it clear that Gretchen is great and Yes Barry too. It was simple for me all they had to do is be perfect parents for 10 years. Simple but not easy wouldn’t you agree!

    • Hey John , I think you are correct -easy and simple can be two very different things. I loved the comment the master made about it taking 40 years to make it look easy – so true! I think you put your finger on an important issue however. I have done a great deal of training and supervision over the years – looking back I would have to say that keeping it “simple” or for that matter real can be a difficult hurdle for some. There can be the temptation to “over think” vs simply trusting one’s instincts,obviously critical in Primal. So yes, simple is not always so easy. As for perfect parents – I have not met one of those yet ! Gretch

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Gretchen: As for ‘perfect” parents. Not sure that is the right word. ‘Perfection’, is another of those ‘value judgment’ words. I’d be tempted to use ‘loving’, in the Janovian sense of love.

        Sorry Steve, if I seem to be overdoing it … but then you know me well enough yeah! Jack

      • John Strazzanti says:

        Well if I want to sayyou are perfect then please allow me my rare emotional as compared to logical remark.

  10. “Simplicity” may be my favorite post so far because let’s face it,I’m the hero of the whole story! Seriously,it captures the essence of Primal Theory,a complex and revolutionary paradigm shift in clinical psychology,well,so simply! To be complicated is easy,to reduce something to it’s simple essence takes great understanding,confidence,and the skill to communicate it to others.Well done,Mrs.Bernfeld!

  11. Fiona says:

    Hi Steve

    You finally made is here I see! How are you? I hear you have had a really rough time of late.

    Jack: I found your gravity analogy funny and quite apt. I liked it.

    Leticia: W.T.F??

    Margaret: Interesting you enjoyed this blog introduction so much. What you say is true, but I enjoyed your obvious enthusiasm about it. You made me think a little about which is my favourite blog introduction, and for me, off the top of my head, it was the one Gretchen wrote about sexual abuse. That was touching, honest and very open. Quite brave in my opinion.

    Much as I love the blog, Gretchen, I was a little disappointed that it isn’t a subject that triggers people into instantaneous intense and desperate feelings, that they are compelled to write about here. A good example was Jack’s instant fury at the Chua idiot’s book in the Paper Tigers blog! Not that this subject is not important, nor that I am not interested. I guess I am just always ‘looking for something’ here…. maybe something as simple as triggers, and seeing how people respond in their individual ways.

    • Fiona , Thanks for the comments – very sweet what you said about my blog “Silence”- I figured you might not need a trigger right now – What do you think? Gretch

      • Fiona says:

        I suppose I have been ….. able to sustain my own ability to get to feelings lately! LOL!

        Saying that; I dreamt last night that my Mum kept turning her back on me…. I couldn’t get what I wanted from her. It hurt so much in the dream. She ignored me, no matter how hard I tried. I wonder if my sub-conscious brain is trying to tell me something!??! My dreams are so “in my face and blatant!” – there is no ‘subtlety’ or guesswork necessary.
        I never have to ‘search for the feeling’. Some of us are more ‘simple’ for you to coach towards better mental/emotional health than others.

    • LETICIA HUAREZ says:

      you know… TF.

  12. Margaret says:

    I just want to express my sadness and sympathy for the people in Japan, that have to go through that inconceivable horror and pain .

  13. Larry says:

    The other side of the coin is that living one’s life becomes simpler as one progresses in Primal Therapy. To live right, all we have to do is what we want; except that is scary. My understanding of other therapies is that they try to help us by looking for convoluted paths around our shape shifting fears that never go away. This therapy has us striding right to our fears, finding out what they are and seeing them vaporize. I thankfully have cleared away some of mine, but still see a lot of scary obstacles ahead. For me the therapists are like angels flitting about me on the dark scary route I’m afraid to venture on, kinda emitting an aura of light to help me see a little better into the dark, softly nudging me along should I falter, gently reassuring that if I face them the monsters will shrink to manageable size and the dark will dissolve, letting me discover for myself that the process is simple and my life is mine, and that risking living is the only satisfying way to live. It’s simple but as I see it real angels are few. 🙂

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Larry: Not sure I agree with you on several points in your comment. I agree we need to get on living our lives and accepting all the feelings and expressing them, that come up ‘willy-nilly’ in the course of living life. The real difference between Primal and all other therapies, for me, is that Primal sets-out on a ‘SIMPLER premise’ … “childhood pain,” whereas the others seem hell-bent on re-twisting our out-of-kilter-selves by some some nebulous awareness or some other-such mind bend.

      Also, I find your analogy about guys (or fairies) with wings, fixing us, to be a crazy way of looking at therapists. All they are, are other guys having done a lot of training to keep their “old pain” to themselves … IMO. BUT then what the fuck is my opinion in the general nature of things???? Jack

      • Hey Jack, Therapist’s are people who did a lot of training in keeping their old pain to themselves!? Really? I think I might have missed those classes ! Yeah but I remember now – freshman year college there was the ever popular “How to create a false persona 101” based of course on the now famous bestseller “The therapist in the plain brown wrapper” – or maybe the informative lecture “Repression, suppression and restraint – The drama of the gifted therapist” not to mention Grad school – I could have taken “The deceptive therapist – bonding with your patient while revealing absolutely nothing”- Darn I missed them all ! 🙂 Gretch

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Gretchen; Yep, I reckon you did miss that class!!!! As far as I know (but then what the fuck would I know) the collages (and universities) aren’t running classes on keeping your ‘old feelings’ to yourself That’s something you trained to do with a Primal Therapist yeah? and in your case, if I have it right, that trainer was Vivian. Keep it simple Gretch. LOL

          My feeling is that you therapist guys at the Primal Institute and Primal Center are the best there are, but that isn’t to say that you guys don’t make mistakes now and then. Certainly, from what I’ve seen of you guys, none of you have wings. Jack

          • The Ultimate Guru says:

            This exchange between Jack and Gretchen has me confused, and it’s a rare occurrence when the Ultimate Guru is confused.
            Gretchen seems to imply that even in a session she would open up completely while Jack says therapists are trained to withhold any “pain” they may have during sessions.
            I can only share what I know. A primal therapist (who I shall not name) very briefly got angry at me when I was complaining about something. Very quickly this therapist put aside this anger after a 2-3 second outburst as if cutting a feeling off in midstream purely for my own benefit since it was “my” hour. Of course, I was intrigued as to what this therapist wanted to say but I also realized at that moment why the therapist practiced restraint. I simply moved on from there and forgot about that snippet until just now.

            • Fiona says:

              For me, each of our therapists is an individual; and as a result each therapist interacts with his/her patients in their own wonderfully unique way.
              I have my favourite, of course, but I would choose a different therapist to suit different needs that I have; in fact I DO that in a small but highly significant way for me. It benefits my therapy.
              The pure fact that we have such a diverse set of personalities in our therapists is the reason we CAN connect in the very personal way that we do.
              If ‘they’ were merely doing a job, rather than sharing something with us, we would know. There would be ‘stock’ answers to questions, and ‘they’ would ALWAYS agree with each other.
              Vivre la diferance, I say! Our therapists show themselves to be people with histories of their own. Some seem to offer a little more of themselves than others. I feel safer when I share rather than just take. Other people like something else from their therapist, and that suits them.
              I just had a big feeling and I am all wonky right now – can’t think to explain .

      • Larry says:

        Jack, maybe I’m slow to grasp who you are, but then I’ve never met you, …anyway I’m sensing you see the world strictly in black and white and miss a lot of meaning in the nuances and shades of grey. Am I wrong?

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Larry: My feeling is you KNOW what I say, but that doesn’t mean you know what I feel. ‘Black & White”. is NOT how I feel about myself. I feel, sad, angry, frightened even form time to time; happy. That, by my standards, is neither black, white, blue, green or any other color. Right and/or wrong are words I try hard to keep out of my lexicon. You are seeing me from your feelings, WHICH IS VALID. However, if you are GENUINELY interested in knowing how I see the world, you need to do two things IMO. 1) Read some of my writings, specially my book. 2) The other suggestion, is that you look into yourself and take note of WHY you feel the way YOU feel (Primal Therapy; yeah?). Meeting me, I doubt would be any help. Jack

          • Larry says:

            I think meeting you Jack, should that day ever come, would help me have clearer feeling of who you are, as it would with any person either way.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:

      Los Angeles is known as the “City of Angels”. See how it all comes together as to why the Institute and Art’s Place are there?

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Jim: I did not say “withold any pain” I said ‘old pain’. It would seem to me, the therapist in question you mentioned was coming from their old pain and perhaps explains why he/she put it aside quickly. The confusion you expressed, I feel, was about whether Gretchen was acting as therapist in her comment, rather than as a fellow blogger. As a commentator on the blog Gretchen has the right to say what she feels, and did so. To me, commenting on a blog is what fellow bloggers do. For me, that would never be confusing.

        I gather Gretchen disagrees with me, BUT I feel, in the end, it’s all feelings … the rest is irrelevant. That takes the mystery out of life, for me, but adds to the magic. BUT, then that’s me. Jack

        • Hey Jack – No it was not a matter of disagreement – I was just teasing you about the concept – I was never trained to repress feelings (old or new) in college or in training at the Institute – not by Art or by Viv. I tend to agree with Fiona’s concept in that I was always encouraged in my early training to be myself and trust my feelings. More on this concept in a future blog but some of you know I believe strongly in therapist transparency which is what I think Fiona is referencing in her description of the therapists at the institute. As for Guru’s comments – I think those moments can be useful in therapy -rather than ignoring the situation it might be useful to confront it and see if what you sensed with the therapist was accurate or if in fact you might have been in some specific feeling or memory . Am I a therapist or blogger? Well both of course. Lastly, Larry’s comments were very sweet but you are right no wings to speak of – mistakes -yes, I love a good mistake! Gretch

  14. Fiona says:

    Right! Lucky me! I am off to visit family tomorrow, and that includes my perv brother! (And all the bully ones to boot!) I am stupidly convinced that he (perv) is going to do/say something that will make my blood boil. I am mad at him for making me an object of HIS desires and gratification. I HATE HATE HATE that he has full recall and memory of what he did, and I don’t. He knows what he did to me; and I only remember some of it (as yet). It feels like “he wins”.
    I want to cut out parts of his brain that contain those memories of what he did. I can’t BEAR the thought that he remembers, relishes or – for fuxsake – takes pleasure in recalling what he did. I want retaliation ! I want to cut his eyes out, and crush his dick in a vice. No – push my thumbs into his eye sockets, until they pop, and dissolve his pathetic dick in acid.
    He broke me, and want to break him back.

    Sort of sorry for the deviation off blog topic

    • Fiona , He can never “win”. Are you going alone? G.

      • Fiona says:

        No Gretchen, my “Wonderful” is coming with me – so plenty of support from her. I am so lucky to have her.

    • Larry says:

      Fiona, you are certainly striding right up to your monsters. Simple, but so scary. Sounds like right on the blog topic to me.

      • Fiona says:

        Thanks for support Larry, but right now I am SO VERY ANGRY rather than scared. I have no fear of this currently, so I wonder where you got the ‘scary’ from?

        • Larry says:

          Your writing is evocative Fiona. Your anger is clear, overriding. I am impressed how you are confronting your issues. When I am confronting mine, for me, somewhere, sometime, there is an element of fear in the confrontation, you know?…like stepping up and doing public speaking when you are shy. I feel you are brave to visit, where I imagine many would not. Yes your anger is palpable.

        • Fiona, I am so glad you have that support – Definitely your “wonderful” is someone you can count on – for that matter anyone could count on – something about her “take no prisoners” approach that is extremely comforting HA! You asked where Larry got the scary from – I thought you – Take care today ! Gretch

  15. Margaret says:

    Partly I am writing this to be part of the picture and to get some of the attention I crave, but it is also so true I like all four therapists so much, I include Eva here and hope to see her again there soon. They are all honest, caring and basically nice people, oh I should have said five, sorry vivian, you are a category apart for me, I guess I tend to feel more like you are a nice and wise mom to me than the therapist you are too of course.
    The attention and care we get are so genuine and true not liking something is bound to be some old feeling for me.
    I think it is entirely up to the therapist in a given situation to decide how much of his or herown feelings they show, and if they do I appreciate it. I miss all of you therapists and most of you patients, ha,
    Larry, Jack is kind, smart,loves attention and has beautiful eyes, I like him even with his occasional minor flaws lol

    • Larry says:

      Thanks for helping me to know more about Jack, Margaret (and who doesn’t have occasional minor flaws). 🙂

  16. Margaret says:

    The weather report just triggered a really painful feeling in me, no kidding, wish I was.
    They said in Spain it was already nice and warm, and I suddenly remembered vividly how dilightful these fresh sunny springdays there could be, so completely enjoyable, and how I could feel on top of the world so easily back then. It struck me as a baseballbat how I will never be able to feel so safe and in contol again, with that confident young hheart full of energy and confidence. With the loss of almost all my eyesight, that feeling of being in control,is replaced by a more or less present eternal feeling of unsafety, I am crying right now.
    I know i have grown on the level of human interaction and feelings, but I grieve so much for the loss of freely enjoying the beauty of a bright spring day, little waves breaking on the shore, longstemmed flowers moving in a gentle breeze. I have seen it, enjoyed it deeply, and lost it.
    That is what the weather report can do to a person, I did cry some more and in a way feel I am now learing to enjoy the autumn of my life. Some leaves have already fallen, but I still run in to well, errr… mushrooms to enjoy every now and then. My face is still wet but I am smiling too.
    Fiona says I am good at getting vack up and brushing myself off, and I think I am my mother’s daughter there. As some of you know i admire her for a lot of things, and ‘Let’s make the best of it” and her capacity to see the funny side of things is definitely in the top three.
    Yes, the Red Cross and I don’t exactly know how it is in English, but something like Medecins without frontiers can count on me, as can Greenpeace and animal protection, even if some of the money definitely won’t reach its goal, some of it will and that’s worth it. I know how it is to need help and to end up being dependent.

  17. Fiona says:

    You ARE good at getting back up Margaret. Take your time and allow for your feeling though. We spoke about this subject last week when we buddied right? The loss of your sight, although not quite total, is virtually nothing compared to your full vision. Most of us who have full vision just take ‘seeing life’s little pleasures’ for granted; but you always appreciated those little things you enjoyed.
    I told you that I think I would grieve and mourn a loss of my sight for all eternity. I can’t imagine not feeling loss and lost on a daily or hourly basis. But you, Margaret, so rarely seem to talk of it; and when you do it is so matter of fact and it seems like not such a big deal.
    So in a way – even though it is so painful for you today, I am glad that you are free to feel devastated by your loss. Spring is such a beautiful time of year… it is so sad that you can’t appreciate it the way you used to. I was lucky that you took the time to explain to me a little of what the world does look like for you now.
    Life is hard when you can’t see much at all and you can’t hear much either! This really sucks!

  18. Fiona says:

    I was surprised that nothing much happened at the family get together. I did not explode, nor have the desire to exert extreme pressures via thumbs through eye balls!
    I only felt very uncomfortable once: when my brother followed me into the kitchen and hovered over what I was doing. It was the only time I was alone with him, and I was HORRIFIED that he followed me. My pulse really raced at that point. I STILL don’t know WHY he did. I am probably imagining things where he just wanted to help me IF I needed it.

    Gretchen – the thing is I already feel he DID “win”. He took something that was mine. He broke the me that would have been; natural and un-altered by those circumstances. He made me different in a way that I hate. He has altered how my adult relationships are by what he did in the past. He can probably remember….. He TOOK FROM me; so therefore he got something from me; in this way, to me; – he “won”.

    He will NOT, however, be the final winner. At some point that will be me. ….. It seems I am still in fighting mode! LOL! Not quite sure if that is an act-out or just a phase of ‘the process’. I guess I will find out.

  19. Margaret says:

    irst I want to say to Jack: just kidding really with those minor flaws, come to think of it I think you are fine the way you are!
    to Fiona,
    my first reaction is to feel irritated and criticised, maybe that means there is some truth in what you say and I back out of a feeling to quickly, I am not entirely sure.
    I think it is also true I have grieved and adjusted over the years and come to some kind of peace with it which allows me in my daily life to feel reasonably happy some of the time. I think in a way it is a good instinct to look for the bright side so to say. On the other hand I heard what you said and will keep it in mind.I also still feel defensive enough to say remember all those times I talked about nature, and all those things i enjoyed? Not always so matter of fact. Sadlyu enough this is a longlasting feeling I deeply howled about after one year for the first time, and that lingers on the background continuously, comes up every now and then more acutely, and maybe you are right I should take as much time as possible when that happens. I will explore it, but also remember Barry’s quote:”Why scratch when it doesn’t itch?”

  20. Margaret says:

    Dear Fiona,
    I reread your comment now and notice it isn’t that critical at all. Just me being afraid coloured my perception,surprise surprise!
    I also thought maybe it is less a feeling I am likely to share than other feelings as I want people to feel free to help me, so I know they really want to if they do, and I don’t want them to feel obliged because I complained to them. It is not black and white as I do talk about it but a big part of my pain I just have to work through by myselfoften while and triggered by everyone around me having fun or admiring something visual. It seems of no use in a situation like that to be explicit about how i feel, it is obvious for the sensitive ones anyway and often there isn’t much to do about it. Again it is not black and white, I highly do appreciate that occasional extra bit of attention a friend gives me on those occasions, even if that can then set me off crying. But then I feel invited to do so and not a spoilsport, I think the main thing is I am in touch with the feeling, no need to always express it.
    I also see now that was merely your point, and it also made me reflect on how it might be useful for me to look up that safety with a friend to cry about that loss maybe a bit more. That goes for other feelings as well, I put myself under time pressure as not to be boring and rejected or worse, like happened in my childhood.
    Or what happens too, is that the urge to share more of myself when I have someone to talk to, prevails and I choose to talk instead of staying in the feeling. And yes, sometimes it is simply the pain that is less appealing than getting the hell out of it, ha!
    Love you for your honesty and companionship, Margaret ,

    • Fiona says:

      Part of me is itching to justify and explain and ‘make everything ok’ with you Margaret! But there is no need really because you did get what I meant… eventually.
      It is so important to me to feel I get support from those close to me, and I am lucky to have such support in abundance with you, as well as the others (who know who they are).

  21. Margaret says:

    I can’t believe the radiosilence that has suddenly fallen over the blog. I seem to have even Jack chased away with my compliments. Hey, I meant them!
    What is happening to everyone? Margaret

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Margaret: Your compliments didn’t chase me away. I just didn’t see or read anything that inspired me, that’s all. Don’t worry, I m not a shy guy, as you know and I too felt that everyone was hibernating. But then neither Barry nor Gretchen are particularly diligent at expressing themselves in writing, least-ways on this blog.

      I’ve been wondering how Vivian is doing, not heard or seen her in sometime either.


      • Hey Everyone, Once in a while a comment goes directly to spam for no apparent reason. I am trying to catch them but if you don’t see your post, try again or you can email me and let me know. Hey Jack, You probably didn’t notice but Barry and I actually write the blogs 🙂 ! Viv is great – we are getting together this weekend – I have actually asked her to write a blog on her visit to Summerhill at Renee’s suggestion – We’ll see! Gretch

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Good to know Vivian is doing fine. I look forward to her blog on their visit to Summerhill. Surprised to learn on Art’s blog about the fate of Danny Wilson. Is Gary Hillard still with us? Jack

          • Jack, I am not sure about Gary Hillard actually. I did want to say though that I am always touched by the nice things you say about the Institute Jack. Especially as it may be difficult or even take some courage to put that out there under those circumstances. Kind of a “Lone Voice” situation. I also have to say I am a bit perplexed by some of the propaganda I read from others, particularly,as you pointed out,those who have no first hand knowledge of the Institute . I have never understood where anyone would get the idea that we have not continued to progress ( and why the need to keep saying it?). I, for one, feel I learn something new with each patient I see. I have no doubt the process as a whole will continue to not only evolve but advance. Gretchen

            • Jack Waddington says:

              Gretchen: It’s not that I set out to say nice things about anything I just need to say what I feel about what I perceive is going on out there. If people want to make their comments about Primal Therapy or Primal Theory. I see it as up to them, but it comes across to me as merely their feelings. That perception, has helped me enormously in my journey through life and I acredit most to of that to my therapy. I got what I hoped to get, which was to be the “real me” as far as I was able. I’ve said ‘my party piece’ in groups and retreats and I am worth every penny I spent on therapy. I caught on early in therapy that it was up to me to go where I knew, deep down, I needed to go and I did have some very good act-outs to help me on the way. I am lucky that I have my friend Jim who cares and loves me and I in turn care and love him. My major message these days is to try and prevent the pain we inflict on the children of tomorrow. I’ve wracked my brain to think how this might be achieved on a mass scale, but alas I feel I am ‘whistling in the wind.’ Que lastima. I wrote my book (plug plug) and seemingly no-one is impressed. Ah well, but it would be nice to have an an intelligent response. Jack.

              • Fiona says:

                …. huh!?… Intelligent response…. rules me out then!

                I guess you might prefer me NOT to respond to the … “**** book” subject, anyway, Jack?? [Meant in good humour!]

                Epic change cannot come rapidly. However we no longer have widespread slavery; we gays and lezzies are much more accepted. Change still happens. Your desperate desire for us not to ruin our children unconsciously by our naivety and damaging norms is admirable but impossible to rectify in the short term. Yes I know you know! Your harping on does sound crazy at times. It bugs me! Parenting can’t change NOW! The parenting/nurturing overhaul is in its infancy. Things change – most people currently believe the world is round. Like you said, if you can change ONE person’s understanding, it is, and will always be worth it! At least you HAVE tried!

                • Jack Waddington says:

                  Hey Fiona; Respond all you like to the book. I don’t insist that you know anything about it to respond. Like many you probably get a sense of it from seeing my comments on this blog. That, to me, is valid. I am sure that just the very title puts many off, others just knowing me are perhaps put off. That’s providing that they know they are merely responding to their feelings. If they THINK it transcends their feelings then I’m likely to get into an altercation with them until they at least realize that is is my CONTENTION. If you, or anyone, wants an e-copy (for free) just email me at and I’ll send them an attached file of it, and feel free to say whatever you feel about it if you are able to read it, OR let me know that you find it unreadable.

                  I notice something of a trepidation in some of your replies. I don’t feel you need that or any appolgies. If you get a whole host of responses jumping on your case, only then I would I suggest you become introspective, otherwise follow your gut (or balls as the case maybe) and go with it. IMO by far the best learning tool. Jack

    • Larry says:

      The daily news of tragic events destroying people’s lives and causing so much ongoing suffering in Libya and Japan right now makes me feel self-indulgent for focusing on my problems. Then I realize I will always be able to find people whose problems seem bigger than mine, who seem to deserve attention more than me, a device I’m guilty of using to hide from mine. Finally I come around to realizing the best thing for the world is for all of us to each try to pick ourselves up from our injuries and get help and help each other where we can, not to stop healing myself because I can find someone else with a bigger problem.

      Filled with concern as I hear the daily anguished accounts of people swept up in the violence of a brutal regime or nature and technology gone awry, it feels inappropriate to share my feelings of my wife’s life destroyed in her prime by cancer, my life shattered, me stunned and staggering toward a different life than we had expected together. Last evening while driving to my choir practice, I put on a cd of some tunes we both liked. Together we gave each other strength and joy we never otherwise had. I found myself imagining that I was the one who had died and she was the one alone driving the car and trying to knit together her wounded life. My tears welled up imagining how difficult it would be for her without me, and how much she would miss me, and I opened more to the tragedy of our model of life together smashed, more to how deeply sad and hurt I feel that hers was plucked away leaving me to hobble and lurch alone again.

      Where I live, people around me find convoluted ways to escape their grief. They seem in awe of how I understand mine so well and head straight into it. They seem to think I have some kind of special insight or talent or training, when, with help to see the way, I’m simply being me accepting and feeling my painful, difficult life changing truths. I’m struck how that simple approach is foreign to them, makes me seem very different to them, because they are afraid to feel.

      My passage through grief toward a different life is what is going on with me now, but I don’t like to be always unloading it on you. I happen to be home from work with a cold today, and have time to write and participate and share and reach out.

      • Fiona says:

        Are you this apologetic in group, Larry, when you need to say something?

        Half of me is fighting a losing battle to justify or encourage you. MY feeling is that this is what I do here – I feel like I ask permission “to write” and “ASK” (without asking) for responses in return. I think I want a pat on the back for being a good girl; feeling my feelings and being the good primal patient. It is a hard habit to kick (trying to be a good girl) when you have done it for a lifetime.

        I have been guilty of writing WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE of “getting someone” to “give me” something in their responses. I am guilty of trying to manipulate you all at times.

        Since becoming aware of that aspect of myself, I have been less active here on occasion, and I have made sure that I write because I need nothing more than to write for writing’s sake; or as is more common with me, to access a feeling. I will now respond to someone because I want to; and not because I am obliged to write. I find that hard…. not responding, sometimes.

        I still sensor my replies; leaving the negative ones until I find out what it is triggering in me. Still scared of not being loved I suppose!!

        • Fiona says:

          … just feel guilty now. Bit ashamed.

        • Larry says:

          Thanks for pointing it out Fiona. I didn’t realize I was being that apologetic. Yes, at the retreats I do feel guilty when I intervene to take time for my problems which seem less important than everyone else’s. I know that it’s really an excuse to hide, so I do manage to take the time and say what I need to.

          I have an thought. Next time you feel like writing something manipulative, try announcing that intent at the beginning and see what happens. 🙂

    • Jack Waddington says:

      The stupid fucker seems to be getting all the accolades. We’re carzy.

      Getchen, I dont know where you are getting the notion that a ‘feeling-full’ world is beginning to evolve when Harvard produces such imbeciles as Amy Chua and we call it success. Elizabeth Taylor’s life was considered a success when for all the supposed ravenous beauty (I never saw it) she was as miserable as fuck and even alcohol didn’t dampen the misery. What was the point???? Success in life is measured by money, academic diplomas, sporting agility, one-up-man-ship!!!!! Gimme a break … we’re seriously deranged.

      I cry very deeply on at least a bi-weekly basis … only to come out at the end KNOWING I’m at least experiencing life on a moment by moment basis. My father, who was brought up believing the way to train horses was to ‘break their spirit’ and figured that was the way to bring up children … the stupid idiotic bastard. His wife loved him dearly but he couldn’t take it all in; until she died, then he didn’t know what the fuck hit him. What a waste.

      There is a GREAT NEEEEEEEED to understand the hear and know the simplicity and elegance of Primal Theory and the enormous implications that has on child-rearing. It’s all well and good trying to mend us damaged ex-children; but for the most part that’s a forlorn endeavor. Someone … for christsake, write a book on REAL child-rearing. All else, to my way of thinking, is dithering … whilst Rome burns. Art, Vivian, Barry, Gretchen, Nick Barton. c’mon guys. Jack

      • Jack, Well one thing I would have to say – Elizabeth Taylor – from my perspective beautiful from the inside – Did you know that she was one of the founders of AMFAR , the foundation for aids research and founded The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation as well – and this was 1985 when few spoke out against fear and homophobia – she was a true activist who in the end donated a large portion of her fortune to finding the cure. Gretch

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Gretchen: Yes, I was aware that she was instrumental in Amfar, donating and canvasing for funds; but my point was she so so miserable for all that and a difficult person to deal with. Like Bill Gates, she was able to donate millions, cos she had billions. Not sure Gretchen if you are familiar with the “widow and her mite” from the bible!!!! That’s real generosity.

          My friend Jim being a nuclear med tech treated her in a Westwood facility and she was so so difficult and spoke through her secretary and wouldn’t speak to Jim. I’ve heard other stories about her being unnecessarily difficult on the film set.

          We give accolades to the privileged. To me she was a sad person and not particularly nice to others less endowed. I’ve worked with a a lot of these people. Jack

      • Larry says:

        Art, Vivian, Barry, Gretchen, Nick Barton, while your still on a role writing those intructions on how to parent, write a second book on how we can be happy while consuming less and being better stewards of the environment so the children have a planet worth growing up in.

        I had to say it Jack. 🙂

  22. Margaret says:

    Jack, I would like to get an e-of your book, but I fear it wouldn’t pass for being to big an item, maybe you could try and mail me chapter by chapter, not all at once,say one a week, so my mailbox doesn’t get stuck? Margaret copy

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Margaret: Hey, that might be a good exercise for me. I’ll do that. The first installment will be seven chapters cos they are very short but you’ll need to send me an email or give your email address.

      On the disability question Margaret. Stop being disabled. I carry a disabled card from the DMV, but I’m dammed if I’ll allow myself to be disabled. Just animate with what you’ve got and it could turn out you are less disabled that others I have met at retreats and group. We’re all deranged and I know I would freak, if I lost my total sight … or deaf (which Barry keeps reminding me that I’m losing it between my ears, like it is a major SIN). I’ll live with that and meantime I have to use a spy glass to read so I’m probably getting there; fuck!!!

      You know the drill Margaret. Jack

  23. Margaret says:

    Larry, I think that’s sound advice, to express your need to start with. As a matter of fact I think it is the most natural thing in the world to want something when you share your feelings or opinions, and expressing that and probably an extra old need or two certainly sounds useful to me.
    Having said this, I do regreat not having received more response to what I wrote about my feelings of unsafety triggered by the weather report and my handicap. It reingforced a fear of mine, and hurt,about the showing and sharing of those feelings. I am so scared to either drive people away or not getting more than silence, an awkward silence if I let my fear colour it, an embarassed and painful silence.
    I have reflected on how my old pre-primal self might have stayed more or less clear from a handicapped person , out of fear such a visibly ‘needy’ person would automatically be desperately clingy to whoever showed some interest, and would thus empede me to go and fullfill my own bottomless needs. I wouldn’t even give the person behind the handicap a real chance, let someone else do it…
    Now I happen to have ended up at the other side of the scale, no way to deny I do need other people to reach out to me.
    As my fear of being automatically labelled at first sight as ‘theat poor needy disabled one’, craving everything, possibly being some kind of emotional leach and oozing out pain and despair, spoiling the atmosphere for everyone, it explains a bit why I feel reluctant to show too much of my sadness in company.I constanly need to ‘undo’ this half selfinflicted, half based on reality byass view on the disabled being unable to do things, have fun, be entertaining or in for exciting sports and adventures,wild sex and deep love.
    I want to attract people, not chase them away, or have them tiptoe around me, which is really something that drives me crazy. There is one person at the retreat I am cooking up a terrible anger in this area, he is in for a major attack for among other things just passingh me by when asking everyone’s opinion. It was very explicit, as if i am not only blind, but also deaf, dumb and an idiot, and I am very angry about it.
    Ha, this was sort of a preview for the real thing, but i can feel loads of adrenaline pumping around already!!!!
    I do know I should definitely use the retreat to show my vulnerability, fear and sadness about being disabled and not being included, so I plan to give myself the treat of a really sad retreat if I need to. Usually the more I allow myself to go one way, the more the other side of the coing starts showing, so I might be in for a lot of fun,…lo?
    It is very hard to so often feel more pain when everyone is having more and more fun around me, I don’t like the idea of bursting into tears whenever evryone else cracks up with laughter, but hey, I plan to do so at the next retreat when the occasion rises, mmm, hopefully some gentleman always has tissues available, a gentle female would be welcome too, yes.
    It is hard to be so isolated to start with by my handicap, and then to fear to end up more isolated, I guess that is my point.I am scared, often sad but want to have loads of fun and tons of affection.

  24. Fiona says:

    Thanks Jack! Sound advice… again!

    Thanks Larry! Good idea too!

    Margaret – Great comment – too late for me to comment now. Interesting and open! Well done!

    Hey Jack…. YOU could write your NEXT book on child rearing, yes? Royalties would be more than $5 I bet. There is big money in child literature and artefacts, as is the case with weddings!

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Fiona: My last chapter in my book is on child-rearing and coming from a faggott that never produced a child, let alone reared one, doesn’t give me much credence. That didn’t cause a stir, so I’m guessing a whole book would just be anther effin (LOL) book that most will ignore. Jack

  25. Margaret says:

    you saying just stop being disabled really pissed me off! Haven’t you read what I was writing? You insult me by what you say, suggesting I act more disabled than necessary, how dare you, it is like you repeating over and over to me at the retreats to leave my white cane behind as if it is something I should be ashamed about. Who has the problem here?This is exactly the attitude I don’t like, “Please do anything but act disabled”, reality is I am Jack, and I try hard all day to make the best of it and people ignoring me the right to be that way won’t help. I know you mean well but I hope you can sense in which way this feels insulting to me.

  26. Margaret says:

    p.s. no, the person I want to confront at the retreat isn’t Australian!

  27. sabine says:

    Larry – I think cancer and death are very serious reasons to grieve about, no matter if there are even more horrible things in this world. And no matter what your feelings are about, they are yours and very important and you have every right of the world to express them. Also asking for enouragement or expressing discomfort sounds very appropriate to me. I am always interested what you are writing about and often touched, so just go on if you feel like it….

    Margaret – I find your plans about expressing yourself, showing your vulnerability at the retreat fantastic. Just be yourself and ask for what you need. You don´t have to be funny when you don´t feel like that and the retreat should be the place where you can be yourself, even if not everybody likes it. I am looking forward to seeing you at the retreat and I am visioning taking your arm and walking to the meals togehter and also being at the swimming pool with you.

    Jack – I can´t relate to your comment to Margaret about stop being disabled. It sounds for me like ignoring reality. And it also reminds me on many peoples attitude: you don´t have a right to cry where you have so much good things in life. Just focus on that.

  28. Margaret says:

    Larry, did you tiptoe around me too? I notice people often doing that and it isn’t pleasant, but hey, it is also true there is often no need to say anything. What made me angry was that person I mentioned asked everyone at my table one by one their opinion about a present he wanted to offer the therapists from everyone’s part, and just passed me by. And it was not an opinion about a painting or something exclusively visual, it was a text on a carpet, for heaven’s sake. Ha, maybe he knew I found it a stupid text to start with, but that shouldn’t matter, I would have been as polite as possible in advising him to offer the gift from his own initiative, which would have been the honest thing to do to sstart with. I know other peçople told him that and he just ignored their opinion and offered the gift as if everyone had agreed on it. Him passing me by to check myopinion was an active decision from someone who always prtends to be oh so nice to everyone and it adds up to a few other htings, so don’t worry, Canadians aren’t targetted in this case.
    Sabine, thanks for your support I agree with what you said to Jack.

    • Larry says:

      NO NO NO. You’re getting me wrong. I’m sorry. I should’ve added the smiley face after my Wha…. I forgot that it wasn’t obvious to you that I was laughing from your humour. The “Or Canadidan??? LOL” was very funny and I thought great sense of humour Margaret (Fiona) and I was playing along with the fun.

      I tiptoe around you Margaret inasmuch as I do any new person who I don’t know. I spent time at the retreat getting to know you, like I do any person new to me at the retreat. I’m getting to know you through the blog too, and more at ease with who you are. Initially I would’ve tiptoed around you because I sensed you had anger issues. When I pick that up in people I become wary of them for a while. Until I see they are fair in their anger. I’m more and more comfortable with you Margaret, especially the more honest you are. As for your blindness, the challenge for me was my feeling of inadequacy and worrying whether I would lead you into a post or have you trip over something or you would find me boring and be trapped with me when I was walking with you, but I soon got over that after taking a turn and enjoying leading you to the kitchen and then later back to the dorm. I think now my tiptoeing around you is about the same as around anyone else.

      • Fiona says:

        I really DID think you would ‘get’ the humour, Larry. And I guessed you did when I saw the; “Wha…’ answer. I was just concerned that I could mislead by my silly mistake. I was also a bit concerned that it made light of Margaret’s original comment; by it seeming as though SHE was the one cracking jokes. (Not that she doesn’t have a great sense of humour) I would have much preferred to be ‘me’ when I said it, that’s all.

  29. Fiona says:

    Oh! Larry! I have to apologise to you because I made the comment, “Or Canadian??? LOL!” above and NOT MARGARET as it says. I add Margaret’s comments on the blog, and therefore have to remember to change the “User and email details” accordingly. My joke NOW seems to be just cruelty. I’m sorry, you must have been concerned. I will make sure I check ‘who’ adds all comments in future…… [checked! ‘Post Comment’-click]

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi Margaret and everybody: It has been difficult for me to catch up with the blog, because I have been preparing the details (I had to fly over to another city) to have a hip operation. I had had this problem since a long time and no matter what I did, the hip did not went back to normal( however the job and the care I have being doing on it (pools exercises, physiotherapy, etc) had prevented it from going much worse) . The problems from my hip irradiated to my knee, buttock and the low back threatening my health. (I was afraid I might end up in a wheel chair. Though till the moment I had been able to walk and move around, however I can not walk longer than 30 minutes without feeling pains (it is as if I had a wooden leg.) So that stopped me from doing a normal life.
    So I understand very well Margaret problems. I understand you that it is very difficult to live like that, difficult to accept it at certain times, and difficult because there are many people who do not care do not want to help, or do not know how, or think that handicapped people are stupid or they deserve it.
    But the same way there are people like that, there are also different other people who want to help, there are angels in this life.
    I was desperate and I was going to LA have this operation , then I looked to internet looking for a reliable surgeon who were used to do hip arthroscopy , a recent technique new for the hip, not for the knee, elbow, wrist and also a human doctor and there he was. I found it. I also looked for an interne blog where people with similar problems discussed which doctor, clinic, where, how much it cost. And there she was, a woman of 36 who was almost in a wheel chair and was operated of both hips arthroscopy and now could walk onhigh-heeled shoes and practice sport. She gave me her email and telephone numbers. I contacted her and she personally helped me to get a appointment with the doctor, and she personallyencouraged me and called me several times. I talked to the doctor and in a few weeks I had the operation date and not only that I did not needed any hip implant. That woman sent me a DVD with her hip operation.
    So Margaret there are angels in there. Medicine and technology are advancing a lot and I whish you a day that maybe there will me a cure for you. I only governments did not spent so much money in f. wars and people who had money donate it for curing all kind of diseases. I know technology can do miracles.
    Meanwhile what you are doing is right and as I am handicapped also I want to help as much as I can. I was going to join a cancer organization, but my problems had prevented me from doing so. So Margaret reach out there are many demons it is true, but also many angels in this life and you are such an intelligent person you deserve to have angels around you who understand you in help you in your problem. In helping other people we are helping ourselves and we are developing our humaneness.
    In this problems I am being accompanied by my ex wife and my daughter. We will fly over. We will have one day to see the city, one day in the hospital and the third to come back.

  31. Miguel says:

    I am sorry the anonymous perso who wrote the prevous comment was Migel. I forgot to put my name

  32. Miguel says:

    I am sorry the anonymous person who wrote the prevous comment was Miguel. I forgot to put my name.

  33. Hi, Gretchen, the above is an excellent post and Barry’s story a good example of the mindlessness in the therapy world. It just amazes me that highly paid psychiatrists just do not get the fundamentals – everyone “knows” their own answers deep inside – the therapist’s job is just to help them get there, not stick a label on them! Labels do nothing except give the patient something to blame or crow about and neither is helpful in my experience – only feeling the pain of what really happened in the first place will do the job and most people are reluctant to go there until they get very desperate.
    Peter Clifford

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Peter, Thanks so much. I think your right that people have to get desperate to confront their feelings. Often the Institute is the last stop after many attempts to find relief. There does come a time when some of us feel we have no choice however. Gretchen

  34. Margaret says:

    I know you were joking, just imagined you might tiptoe from time to time, and I like the way you talk about it very much, it is both honest and funny at the same time, and I especially found your remark about fearing to be boring and me be what was the word you used, I forgot, stuck with you, that is so interesting, you are the first to say something like that, and it is a fear that is familiar for me as well, it does show a very sad past of rejetion and emotional starvation to end up regarding yourself as boring, but sadly enough I can relate to it. Better be entertaining or no attention whatsoever, I see now it was turning me into a compulsive joker who started to panick when running out of inspiration And I do hate people who need to talk all the time myself! £Thank heaven for therapy and changing for the better, even if it feels a bqit slower than I would like it to be sometimes.
    Miguel, thanks for your comment, I can hear you are sadly enough getting some first hand experience indeed and I wish you a good recovery. Thanks for your nice encouraging words. Margaret

  35. Margaret says:

    I find it hard to phrase this right, but did I read it right you said you considered joining a cancer support group?

  36. Miguel says:

    Thanks Margaret for your support. No I do not have any type of cancer . I just want to help people when I can . apart from that problem in my hip joint I have good health.

  37. Larry says:

    I’m needy tonight, ….this week. Making it worse, activities that would’ve gotten me outta the house and away from myself for a while are cancelled. I switch on the blog looking for human contact to take the edge off the emptiness, but the blog is quiet. My feelings aren’t ripened to where I would express what they might be. I’m kinda touched by this music video, and hope you don’t mind me posting it, my feeble indirect attempt to solicit attention.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Seeking attention isn’t a crime Larry. What is crazy, by my way of thinking, is trying to manipulate for attention without admitting it. Some of us are good at getting it; others are so cut off they’re hiding and hoping to fuck no-one is looking at them.

      Ask for attention all you like, but there is a chance that someone will call you on it, but so what? Manipulating for it tends to cause many to get upset, but to me, that’s nothing more than their feeling. go for it Larry.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Jack, I needed that. I’m starting to think of you less as a quirky guy on the blog and more as a friend.

        • Larry says:

          That anonymous was me, Larry.

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Larry: I’m still that quirky guy that you felt/though. I am not a friend; at best I’m just another blog buddy. It’s not that I don’t feel better being thought ‘well of’ and I sure beats being told I piss someone off, as I did Margaret a few days ago. It was that you comment inspired a response in me … that simple.

          What I like about this particular blog is the title “Simplicity” and it is my second favorite word. It was in re-living my childhood I realized the shear simplicity on being a feeling only kid. I wish I could back to that total ‘simplicity’ again. It didn’t require any deep intellectual gymnastics to figure that out. To me IT’S ALL FEELINGS, the rest is neurotic jiggery-pokery that seemingly get’s us into all sorts mind bending contortions. It was your feeling that I was quirky … not mine. It’s now your feeling I’m, more akin to friend, but that doesn’t change me.

          Some weeks go I discovered another blog by a Primal Support Group, but it seems to me it’s was all about giving one another consolation prizes for their various aches and pains and called “support”. That to me, contravenes the very nature of support. Real ‘support’ is letting others say what they feel. All else is ‘mushy pseudo condolences’. That was one of the features I read in the Primal Scream that made sense to me. When I started re-living my childhood and came out seeing that it was ALL FEELINGS; that simplified my life and my reasoning’s. So-fuckin-simple. Jack

  38. I agree Jack- Since when can’t we ask for what we want? G.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      With respect to asking for what we/I want, I’ve heard the response; “what’s the point?” my response to that; at least they’ll (whomever they’ll are) will know what I want, even if they aren’t willing to give it to me. The other is “I have nothing to complain about” I say, if that’s true “lucky old you” but I suspect is isn’t true most of the time. I always have tons to complain about and express it where ever I might get an ear. It doesn’t have to be a sympathetic ear so long as they’ll listen, even if that is only for a few seconds. Least-way I continue to say:- “that’s my feeling and I’m sticking to it” Jack

    • vickib5 says:

      “Since when can’t we ask for what we want? G.” Since it hurts! Since I asked for what I wanted, and was told to let myself feel how it feels not to be able to get what I wanted. Since you later told me what I want is not necessarily what I need. Since it has all made me feel there is something wrong with me, whenever I ask, something wrong with what I want or need, and I am just a needy git, acting out. Since I felt bad about it, and said you made me feel like I was being obnoxious, and you responded that I AM being obnoxious, and that’s the real me. Since it only hurts, and I find I no longer can “want”, it’s not safe to “want”, I’m just too afraid, there is something wrong with what I “want”, whatever “want” is. “Want” has become a bugaboo, something I can’t handle. So huge, I can’t even touch it, or be sure it’s what I’m feeling. Something fearful.

      I’m not asking for advice, here.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Vicki: I’m somewhat hesitant to respond to you lest I exacerbate your frustrations, but hay hoo, here goes. You and I have had our differences going back for sometime now which if I remember rightly was when you and I were designated to buddy at a retreat, way back when. Your story sounds devastating, but not impossible to get some good feelings from time to time. You are very good and able to help others in group. You are also very adept at programming DOS stuff. Sure, that’s not enough to give you a good sense of yourself, but all that was laid down real early as I know you know. I know you know that you have to go back to that time and again, but I sometimes wonder if you put it off, because of the pain; but you don’t have an alternative Time is running out in that life does not last forever. Do it Vicki, you know the drill better than many. For a time stop trying to help others, you need more help than many and the only person that is going to help you is YOU. Don’t expect Gretchen to do; she’s busy keeping her own head above water … even though she’s good at making it look as if she’s got it all figured out. Barry told her at the Christmas group; but she countered that with “I trained you Barry” Big defense by my reckoning. Jack

        • Vicki – Like so many of us you may be confusing wanting,asking, and actually getting. It is usually helpful to ask for what we want – whether the response is or was what you hoped for is always another layer. G.

        • Jack, You always make me chuckle ! I think my head is well above the water – maybe it is hard to tell from your angle 🙂 G.

      • Larry says:

        You’ve been quiet for a long time Vicki. It seems like you just today read the posts and reacted to them. Where have you been, or how have you been doing?

        • sabine says:

          Hey Vicky, it sounds terrible what are you going through here with your needs. It has been very important for me to dare to start asking for what I want /need after getting horribly rejected for being needy. It brings me in a different attitude towards people again. I would even say we can ask two, three times somebody for something till we know the person really doesn´t wanna give to us and then it would be a struggle to continue. I would be afraid if a friend asks me only once and maybe I was distracted or whatever and didn´t get it the first time. I defenitely would want the person to try it again. I also doubt about Jack´s advice trying to only help yourself, because again in my experience helping others very easily triggers what I need myself. But I think it´s important to keep that in balance. I am scared saying those things after you have written you are not asking for advice. Anyway – I wanted to express my concern for you.

          • Vicki says:

            Sabine, thanks for your concern, I appreciate it. What you say makes sense, although it may not exactly apply to me in this case, but I will certainly think about what you, and Jack, and Gretchen have said.

        • Vicki says:

          Larry, yes, that’s correct, I only just finally read this blog some hours ago. I have been totally occupied dealing with a major family issue, which is yet too sensitive to discuss here. I also have a pending but quiescent health issue, so it looks like I can postpone surgery awhile longer — but not fun to consider. However on the plus side, it helped me start losing weight again, 20 lbs. so far, which is good. I am making more of an effort to deal with the detritus of my life, i.e., get rid of stuff, in spite of everything else going on, along with my job, which eats up a lot of time. All of the above naturally contribute to a plethora of feelings, so I have no lack of things to bring into therapy. “Otherwise”, I’m ok.

          • The Ultimate Guru says:


            I (and I will use Jack’s favorite word) feel like you wrote a very intriguing set of posts while choosing not to reveal certain specifics that may have helped me to understand what you are going through better (ie. what you want, your health, and other issues). Of course, this is perfectly fine and understandable to me. Just….wishing you the best however it goes!

  39. sabine says:

    Hi Larry – I can so much relate to your last comment. It´s very hard dealing with a lot of pain and being alone at the same time. Very good for you to reach out!
    Great comment Jack!
    I am in the same state of mind the last days. I am preparing my students for an upcoming students concert for many weeks already. I have worked so often and so hard to prepare, practised on and on and get absolutely nuts when all my efforts were for nothing. I hate myself for feeling so bad about my students and not being more patient and nicer to them.
    I connected those feelings with an experience when I was probably 16 years old: Over weeks I tried to prepare everything for christmas. The whole house was always in a terrible state, so dirty and greasy and I hated it. Weeks before I started cleaning, often the half of the night. I bought the christmas tree and the food and presents, baked cookies. But it was all too much, too dirty, too much things to clean and asking my mum and my sister for help turned into a fight. On christmas I needed my brother to put the christmas tree in a cross and he shouted and shouted at me. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Nobody cared about christmas. I didn´t get help and nobody cared what I wanted. But therefore a lot of fights. I was at the end. I didn´t want to celebrate christmas any more. I was looking at my mum´s bedroom for sleeping pills. I only found plant based sleeping pills and some others which I didn´t exactly know what they were. I couldn´t bear the situation any more. I wanted to sleep for a long time – forever – I didn´t know. I locked myself into my room. I certainly will not celebrate christmas, where there is no interest, no care, no love, no chance for a good christmas anyway. Would anybody come to my funeral? Would anybody be sad about my death? Not even THEN they would love me, care about me, regret.
    Jesus Christ! That´s not a world for me. I can´t live that way.
    I am for a few days in these feelings and want to share it. I need to get hold and understood and need warmth.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you deserve to be understood and held, Sabine.

    • Larry says:

      Sabine I keep thinking about your post. I keep thinking how you were only 16 but alone took on the effort of making a nice Christmas for your whole family, so you could have a nice Christmas for once. That’s a huge undertaking even for a grown adult in a ‘normal’ family. It’s a testament to how much you saw was wrong and how much you tried to make something healthy. But then your family was so unappreciative and mean, it’s unbelievable, like something in awful psycho nightmare horror movie. It must have been so exhausting and futile, no wonder you wanted to end it. Yet you keep trying to make something healthy and you come to the only therapy that can help you, though it offers no easy solutions. There must be a powerful streak of humanity in you that keeps you going.

      • sabine says:

        Ohh Larry, I am so touched by your efforts to put yourself in my shoes. I am crying about that I so often didn´t get that in my life as well as getting it now from you ( and others). Already reaching out and asking for something helps me getting out of my feeling: I am so meaningless that nobody would even cry a single tear on my funeral. It helps me opening up to what eventually can happen. Being too long constantly in these old feelings isn´t good. I am also thinking about what you wrote about a strong streak of humanity inside me. I regularily have a great access to my feelings as a 2, 3, 4 year old girl, where I loved everybody and wanted love and peace and care for everybody. We are all born like that and that´s why I like people so much. Unfortunately it is often burried by other feelings and that´s too bad. I so much like to get over what´s keeping me away from my love to people. I am also thinking despite all my bad experiences as child, my mum must have taken me and given me something, otherwise I don´t think I wouldn´t be able to like people so much.

        • Larry says:

          It’s not such a big effort for me Sabine. My family wasn’t mean like it seems yours was, but I’m familiar with the hopelessness. Soon after I got my license to drive, one afternoon while returning home to the farm from the city, I felt what a relief it would be to accidentally lose control of the car and veer into the ditch and hit a pole and it would all be over. A few years later, when I returned home from writing my last university exam before graduating, filled with dreadful apprehension about having to enter the adult world with zero solid ground to stand on…no confidence or social ability, my only consolation came from thinking I would end my life. This assurance let me free to give life a second chance, let me give it one more day to see if it might get better, and then another day, and then weeks later still hobbling and luckily before life completely overwhelmed me, I read the Primal Scream, all about a therapy I intuitively thought had to exist and I finally discovered. I in effect felt I paid the Janov’s to research it for me (I paid them by buying my therapy).

          I like people too. Just always had an impossible time being with them. It’s much easier now, and keeps getting better, the more of my aloneness that I feel.

  40. Fiona says:

    I hate it when the blog goes quiet too, Larry. It is such a comfort to reach out to primal people. I feel quite isolated (on blog) when it is quiet – Ha! – which is almost unfair of me to say as I LIVE with a primal ‘wonderful’. I feel so lucky compared to all those of you who do not share life with a partner, nor have regular, local access to other primal people. I would really struggle with that feeling of isolation.

    I had been in this relationship for years before starting my therapy, and my partner has been primal for many years. I must have seemed so ignorant and naive to her back then! I am embarrassed to remember how I was, and how I related to myself and the world around me. [ shudder!!]

    I wonder how it is that any of you (out there) can even contemplate a relationship with a non-primal partner. It would seem like sharing without ‘sharing’.

    I didn’t really have anything important to say. Just wanted to write.

    I do appreciate ALL who share their feelings here. Such despair should NEVER go un-heard; whoever it is, or however often they need to repeat it.

    • Larry says:

      Some non-primal people share themselves more than some primal people do. Some non-primal people live life more fully than some primal people do. Some non-primal people are pretty healthy and don’t need the therapy like we do. I wouldn’t want to lose my primal friends or my non-primal ones. They all help to fill my life in different ways. I need and reach out and depend on them more when I don’t have a prime relationship, less when I do. I think there are feeling, sensitive non-primal and primal people somewhere out there who could be wonderful partners. I try to keep engaged in living and hoping that I’ll find one.

  41. The Ultimate Guru says:

    I have a question for anyone that cares to answer. (No, not an attention-seeking ploy on my part but rather a genuine thirst for other peoples’ input.):

    Art has spoken about the preciousness of life and the possibility that our consciousness is simply obliterated upon death. James Kunstler elegantly stated as such, “Maybe this is what death is like: a descent into the dark maw of simply unkowing.”

    Considering the sentence I just posed:

    –Is skydiving normal?
    –How about these terrifying amusement rides taking place 1,000 feet above the ground? (Stratosphere, Las Vegas)
    Insanity, the ride

  42. Fiona says:

    UG – even kids from an early age desire thrills and excitement. It starts with ‘hide and seek’ and games of ‘tag’. Chasing each other etc. And even the slightly scary bedtime story…. no kid wants anything tame. Goldilocks was chased by bears for heavens sake! Obviously, the thrills have to increase in intensity to continue to satisfy and cause the expulsion of the thrill hormones you wrote about. They are drugs – and you know all about humans, and their penchant for drug abuse! As with all things; there is a norm and also extremes; it is finding and keeping a balance that is in question.

    As native humans, who live and hunt for food, we would naturally have access to such thrills and excitement – ie; running away from an angry hippo! Sounds funny, but they, reportedly, are responsible for more human deaths than any other large mammal in Africa. Thrills of chasing game for dinner also would cause releases of natural ‘high’ hormones.
    Thrill seeking is normal for human development and behaviour. After all – MOST theme parks offer “safe scares” [in theory anyway!]. Their insurance quotes must be high!

    The thing is…. all this brief, but intense, point making will not make any difference at all to ——YOUR FEELING——

    What is that by the way??

    I LOVED Stratosphere! I love the odd [rarer in my old age] thrill.

    Do you watch horror movies??? It’s all the same and quite natural.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:

      I was a little freaked out about that skydiving coincidence and I’ve had a busy day, so I’m having trouble finding time for a lengthy response right now.

      However, I would like to share the notion of “projection”….

      You said:
      “The thing is….all this brief, but intense, point making will not make any difference at all to —YOUR FEELING—
      What is that by the way??
      I LOVED Stratosphere! I love the odd [rarer in my old age] thrill.”

      For some reason it make some sense too if you had said:

      “The thing is….all this brief, but intense, point making will not make any difference at all to —MY FEELING—
      What is that by the way??
      I LOVED Stratosphere! I love the odd [rarer in my old age] thrill.”

      (word “YOUR” was replaced by word “MY”)

      I like to run projection tests like this sometimes….It’s kinda like with Art himself. Rumors had it he had trouble screaming….So shouldn’t his book have been entitled “MY Primal Scream?” (not sure, just looked interesting to me)

  43. Fiona says:

    I responded to YOUR post, UG. I had no intention of writing about adrenaline junkies nor the human instinct for thrills, excitement and danger. I responded to you as it is you who ‘gets quite intense’ sometimes about cars/joy riding/death on the roads/risk taking/sky diving etc.
    You are the one posting.
    I was quite baffled by the topic at the outset of your comment that veered off a little towards the topic of your end question. (“Art has spoken about the preciousness of life and the possibility that our consciousness is simply obliterated upon death” so I was expecting a ‘death or heaven’ type topic – you know; who thinks we die and who thinks our soul floats off into…. bla bla!)
    Nonetheless, I answered. My answer was in too many words, the same as:
    Yes I do think skydiving is normal – do I think it is also EXTREME? Yes, I do.

    I asked you about your feeling as they can sometimes seem so intense. You get ‘driven’ by them. (Sorry for the use of the word ‘driven’ – no offence meant by it) You seem to be obsessive about things, as Jack would say, in my opinion.

    My feeling in all honesty is that I can’t get through to you. I can never make you understand me or my point. I feel like I want to avoid responding to you because of this. I thought I had expressed a point of view about natural thrill seeking that you may like to think about. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I mis-understand you too? I don’t know.

    I just don’t ‘get you’ at all.

    • vickib5 says:

      Fiona, I had quite a chuckle at this whole thing. I wanted to say “Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” I don’t think UG’s response is that big of a deal — altho he can certainly speak for himself. But it clearly caused you distress, so maybe talk about that.

      UG did say a few things about his feelings: “Otherwise I am doing fine except for some anxiety issues”, and “I was a little freaked out about that skydiving coincidence”, and “I like to run projection tests like this sometimes”. So it sounds like some fears, to me. Maybe that’s it, for him.

      For myself, I laughed at the hippo thing, although I had also heard your statistic. But even as a child, I was never as much in love with thrills and excitement as most other kids seemed to be — and it sounds like you were. It was too scary, for me. And horror movies were too scary — daily life was too scary, too real. Like I have said in the past, I didn’t have nightmares, I had daymares. So I could play hide-and-seek, and get some enjoyment in other “thrill” games, but was always looking to keep the fear level down. I always felt too close to the edge.

      • Larry says:

        I think Fiona’s and UG’s responses are both valid. It does seem they are both having trouble getting through to and understanding each other.

  44. Jack Waddington says:

    Larry: ‘Buddy’, that’s better. bear hug, great … do I have to come over to Canada to get it? Bear hugs … friendships! do not make. Needs more than that Larry, BUT you seem to be missing my greater point. I give bear-hugs all over the place, they’re easy. It’s feelings that are somewhat more difficult. Maybe, one day we’ll meet, meantime you might have gone through several feelings about me. I’m not the easiest person in the world to deal with;- arrogant, conceited, super intelligent, sexy for my age and to some; very irritating. Jack

    • Larry says:

      I don’t know what you mean about me having gone through several feelings about you Jack. If you mean Primals, I’ve not had any triggered by you. You are an unusual personality to be sure, a dominant feature of the blog and at first a mystery who irritated me a lot and who I spent a lot of time trying to understand, being as it’s only through the blog that I get to see who you are. Since the start of this blog in 2009, I’ve not seen you be intentionally mean to anyone. I see you are at times perceptive and helpful with good advice for people. I see you at times way off the mark in some of you assessments of people and yourself, but willing to learn. You are a difficult but basically good guy, IMHO. 🙂

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Larry: Feelings are simple, natural, not complicated. Old feelings; those going back to childhood usually constitute Primals. I have feelings about you and you have feelings about me; nothing strange about that. It’s your feeling about me that color you perception of me, as mine with you, but since we both live miles away from one anther we are merely acquaintances or at best, blog buddies.

        If you genuinely want to get to know me in any depth respond to my email and I will return an e-copy of my book that should tell you more about me than perhaps you might want to know. Yes I m an odd kind of guy with lot of ideas and opinions and yep I try not to be mean about anyone, cos I know that says more about me than them.

        Your initial encounter with me was to side with Fiona and Vicki about me being first on that particular blog; my first. I knew Vicki, but had not idea who either you or Fiona were, other than what you posted on the blog. I suggested, perhaps inappropriately, that you needed to cry and cry about your loss of Noreen, not knowing what had happened but assumed she had had left you. To me, being first was just happenstance Gretchen jumped down my throat telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about which I acknowleged saying all knew was what I read of you. No Larry I am not a good guy; Good guys are boring, I’m just Jack. If I irritate you express that, if meantime you have better feelings about me that’s great; I like to be liked. Jack

        • Larry says:

          Of everyone who posts on the blog, the only person who I knew then was Vicki. My first encounter with you had nothing to do with you being first on the blog. It had to do with you pining about wanting to save the world’s children. It had to do with the convoluted way you thought and filtered your version of reality. It didn’t bother me so much when later you lectured me about how I should be grieving, because my loss is infinitely deeper than any irritation that you stirred, and because by then it was clear to me that often you didn’t know what you were talking about but you liked to think that you did. I don’t side with anyone. I react according to what I percieve, for my sake. Sometimes I’m alone in my perceptions and reactions, sometimes others are percieving and reacting the same way. I share my perceptions and reactions with others to learn about and understand ourselves and help us get to know each other. It was, as you would say, your feeling that I sided with Fiona and Vicki. You seem to prefer to think we took sides against you, rather than think we were each individually reacting the same way to you.

          Alright, if you want to quibble, there is ambiguity in what good means, so “good” was the wrong term in saying you are a good guy. Another way I could try to put it is I feel you are a decent enough fellow, who is on a rare occasion bear huggable. Whatever our differences or failure to see eye to eye, you are a part of what makes this blog, a person I would miss if you stopped posting.

          • Jack Waddington says:

            Larry: If, as I said, you were not commenting on my being first then I misunderstood. However your mention here about me “pining” about the worlds children feels you misunderstand my feelings on that matter: in light of Primal Theory there is now a way to PREVENT the damage we do in our child rearing practices IMO. Yes it is a huge concern of mine and you could say a pre-occupation. My version of reality is, (I feel), very convoluted, but simple. Ones reality is what one feels. One other factor, if you felt I was ‘lecturing you’ about how to grieve, I apologize, I was merely suggesting, from my empathy about grieving. The ambiguity of words and our meanings is something I am also pre-occupied with. We say and write thing I find without depth as a way of playing it safe. That’s not my style, I was influences by the wrings of Hermann Hesse – ‘Steppenwolf”. Jack

            • Larry says:

              Cool. I read Demian, and Steppenwolf, and some of Hesse’s other work, and some of Henry Miller’s stuff, and Kafka, and some other authors, in the summer of ’71, looking for answers. Then I read the Primal Scream in the summer of ’72, when I was pretty much running out of options.

              I’m not going to say much else of substance. Last week, in my life here in Canada, I asked, and today I found out I didn’t get. Right now the blog is a momentary distraction from my hurt and emptiness. A child can’t possibly cope with so much emptiness. I can’t all at once. No wonder we’re fucked up adults.

            • Larry says:

              Right now as I cry for Noreen, I’m touched by your apology Jack.

              Enough from me. I’m signing off for a while.

        • Larry says:

          It’s not as you say my feeling of you that colors my perception of you Jack. It’s my perception of you that shapes my feelings about you. I keep trying to hone my perception to as accurate as I’m able. Your rants and your reactions to me and others are mainly what inform my perception or intuition of who you are, since you don’t otherwise talk about yourself or share your feelings much.

  45. Steve M. says:

    Hi Gretchen, et al,
    After eaves-dropping on the comments I feel inclined to jump in. It is mostly because there are two ways that therapy has simplified my life recently. I find myself choosing to contain and observe my reactions to people and events a bit longer than I used to. The brilliant conclusion I have reached is that, after decades of therapy (lost track of the dollar amount) that has helped me to find my voice and learn to articulate my feelings, often I find the smartest things I can do is keep my mouth shut (present circumstances excluded.)

    This has been reinforced numerous times recently and has led me to a new strategy with difficult clients or problematic employees. I simply state what I feel or need, ONCE, and then live with the silence that ensues. When I resist the urge to call or provoke a response, I have discovered, instead of putting pressure on someone to comply or respond, it seems to give them newfound contempt and excuses not to. My possibly misguided interpretation is that there is much more pressure applied when I remain silent and leave them with the truth of what I need (and let go of the struggle)
    It can be painful but eye-opening to leave it be. A simpler version may be that, instead of my earlier tactic of choosing my battles carefully, I have chosen not to battle at all. Very liberating. Reminds me of the old adage – “When one door closes, another one opens — but it’s hell in the hallway.”

    • Larry says:

      I never heard that old adage before, Steve. It is so so true! Which door will open next! When! and what will be behind it! Ugghhhh!

    • vickib5 says:

      “I simply state what I feel or need, ONCE, and then live with the silence that ensues.” Yeah, I like this, Steve.

    • Steve – “hell in the hallway” Love that! Yeah I think this is a great example of having dealt with at least some of the old feelings that can motivate a struggle. It seems with your clients you are now able to differentiate what is real in the present from what is actually old unmet need. I will assume like the rest of us you may have needed to do a lot of struggling and asking for what you needed in therapy before getting to the place you are now. It is a relief isn’t it! I tend to think “the battle” is almost always old! Come visit again Steve. Gretchen

  46. Steve M. says:

    misspoke the “when I resist the urge…
    should read, “when I am unable to resist…

  47. Margaret says:

    I seem to have reached a similar point, where once you have made yourself clear and the hoped for response doesn’t come, instead of starting a struggle of some kind, I just try to observe what the reality is really like, even if that feels painful. I found it saves me a lot of enrgy, longer and more intense pain and stress from a hopeless and unsatisfying struggle. I also discovered that people know usually very well what goes on and backing away often makes them open up and even word the problem much easier than rubbbing it under their nose. That only raises all possible defense systems and even possible attacks. Also not struggling makes it easier to see what is really there to start with. People that take the initiative to reach out to me, or that respond well to me reaching out to them, are pleasant to be around with, as it feels safe. Why choose to pursue the company of people which feel like some kind of struggle ? If it doesn’t come naturally, it doesn’t come at all. It feels indeed so very liberating to not to feel obliged to ‘make’ friends with everybody, but to take it easy and to become more able to believe I am ok, and don’t need everybody’s confirmation.Don’t get me wrong, rejection can still hurt terribly, and I can still feel very insecure, but I have become more able to see it for what it is. The one achievmetn that therapy gave me to be more able to be that way, was to feel myself first, then accept myself and then even start to like myself instead of the eternal internal bashing myself on the head that had become so automatic it felt like my natural state of mind It is still an ungoing process so I can still so often feel the urge to tstart criticising myself, but now I can immediatly check with myself if that is necessary, and often, to my delight and relief, come to the constatation I am fine the way I am, I am ok. Gradually this frees of such a terrible load of fear to be uncovered as the terrible person I used to regard myself, with all that crazy fear I couldn’t sort out and that made me feel so different from all those ‘normal’ people around me.
    Ha, now soetimes the balance seems to be shifted and I regard myself as the more normal one.
    I can see the endless struggles of non primal persons around me and know I have at least left some of that behind, and work on what still needs to be worked at.
    Mmm, I just let my mind and my fingers freewheell a little here, oh well, plenty of virtual space, isn’t it?
    Margaret , ..

  48. Margaret says:

    you are working so hard in every way, and you have so much warmth inside you that I feel confident about you finding more and more nice people who will love to be your friends. I am glad I am one of them and look forward to our walks and the pool too, Margaret

  49. Jack Waddington says:

    Gretchen: Couple of things, Some of the comments seems to go off into the nether nether land.

    “I make you chuckle”!!!!! It often sounds like a giggle to me, and yep from my angle you seem to have the knack of side-stepping the response, (as you did with Barry at the Christmas group). Of course, it’s always from my angle in my universe. What other angle could it be …….. for me?


    • Jack, It may be a giggle …. but actually I think you may have misread the exchange between Barry and I, quite a bit in fact. There are reasons why that can happen as well. More importantly – what did you mean about comments in the netherland? That you are posting and your comments are not showing up? Or did you mean you felt some comments were going off track from an original topic? G.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Gretchen: What I meant with some comments going off into nether nether land was, disappearing all together. Mine seem to get posted.

        Gretchen: You know, like I know, that therapist respond from their feelings about what is going on with patients. There’s no other way … unless you have some secret formula!!!

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but the exchange between you and Barry at that group was he said:- “That’s not the way a Primal therapist should respond” and your retort was “I trained you Barry”, like YOU wouldn’t be caught DEFENDING???.

        At one retreat you guys turned up late and it was suggested I lead the group, so I did a mimic of each of you. Yours was your twitching and turning to Vivian after replying to someone like you were searching for some confirmation and often giggling. Not that, that is any great sin; but if you are trying to tell me you are way beyond defending (acting-out), that’s not the way I see you. Now there is always a chance that I’m seeing things through some other lens, but I happen to know there are others (some were therapist) that didn’t see eye to eye with you guys. Not that I would chose any of them as my therapists. You acknowledged some days ago to not wanting to use the word ‘perfect’ and yet here I see something of your denial. Just my feeling.

        Tell me, what was your take on the exchange between you and Barry?

        I’ve said before I don’t know any other group of therapist better than you guys at the Institute, but you all of you make (by my way of feeling/seeing) therapeutic mistakes. Not many … but some. To not admit it would put your integrity at risk, Jack

        • Hey Jack, I am really not clear what all this has to do with my saying I believe you misread the situation – therapists responding from feelings, perfection, mistakes ? What is the connection to what Barry did or did not say? To answer your question I think that was a very light and silly moment between Barry and I and not only is your quote inaccurate but it misses the feeling of that moment – also do you really believe Barry would choose the Xmas group to announce I was going under or losing it? Really ? Are you asking me if therapists have feelings? Who said they did not? Who said anything about perfection? Who said therapists can’t make mistakes? Where does that come from? I don’t hold any of those views so who are you speaking to?. As for therapists responding from their feelings – yes, that is true but as Art said to you recently it is a bit more complicated than that. Why does that seem to anger you and again what does any of that have to do with your comment? I think you might have an agenda that has nothing at all to do with the original comments. Why not say it? You can ask people what they feel and you will likely get an honest answer. If you are at a retreat or group and you believe there is all this underlying drama -why not bring it up ? I also wonder about your comment that there are those who did not see eye to eye with us, I always hope that is true actually – but again, relevance? There was someone who did not agree with me about something, at some point, so that is proof of what?? Why say that? Your story about doing an imitation at a retreat group does not come across as good fun but rather it strikes me as somewhat mean spirited . I can only say your description is not at all what I am experiencing at any retreat and again I would encourage you to just ask. I would have no problem telling you. Of course no one is perfect and there are always mistakes in life but I do hope you were not saying that unless I agree with you and your assessment I am therefore proving a lack of integrity. I hope that was not what you were saying. Lastly, based on your comment to Larry tonight I would encourage you to say when something has hurt your feelings. I know how sensitive you are and I do think it would help. Gretchen

          • Jack Waddington says:

            I thought I’d posted this yesterday but I don’t see it; so here goes;-

            Gretchen: Wow; there’s a lot going on here, but I appreciate you taking the time to give me a long response. I thought I made it clear what was said and asked you to correct me if I was wrong. If indeed it was a playful tactic between you and Barry, that explains it. So! I missed the feeling of the moment. Sorry.

            Interesting you quoting Art responding to me and yes I grant there are nuances but I don’t see those nuances as being secrets. I take it you feel some or all this angered me. I’ll ponder that. I was attempting to make another point that seems to have gotten lost in all this, but what the heck. The one time I was really angry on this blog I thought I made it very clear. I never thought there was all this “underlying drama” at retreats or group and for the most part I usually said my piece. There were a couple of times I missed the moment to say so and then later I had it out with my buddies.

            One last thing in all this. Blogging is not necessarily a support group and my feeling (just my little old feeling) if you care to blog with us, put on your blogging hat (what-ever that is supposed to mean) cos to me, blogging is full of ambiguities. Jack

            • Hey Jack, It was no problem for me to respond to you and I did not mind taking the time at all – I do understand you were attempting to make another point, I was just unclear as to what it was exactly – but that’s okay. As for you being surprised I would quote Art – Why? I love him and he is pretty smart don’t you think HA! But actually I was not so much quoting as pointing out this issue as a possible recurring theme. Blogging – well, I don’t know the rules but I do like the feel of our blog, however it is used – For me it has been an incredibly positive experience. I am happy for people to use it in any way they might find helpful. Gretchen

              • Jack Waddington says:

                My surprise at learning you quoting Art, was cos I didn’t know you were reading his blog. I knew you loved the family including his daughter whom I gather was a very close friend of yours. Her death must have been devastating for you too.

                Don’t think there are any hard and fast rules about blogging, but I sometime feel many try to get therapy on the cheap from it. For me blogging is a forum for expressing ones feelings about matters in question which I feel CAN be very therapeutic but there is a need IMO also to be careful. My BIG thing is PREVENTION and it is here I feel you and Barry have some important experiences. I would wish you guys would write about that. Jack

                • Hey Jack, Actually I did mention the blog just a few comments back- when I said I was touched by the sweet things you said about the Institute (How soon they forget LOL)! Not a big deal though – Gretch

  50. The Ultimate Guru says:

    MALE = chuckle, FEMALE = giggle

    The blog has given me a fair number of chuckles these past couple of days, but unfortunately the blog also underwent a Cambrian Explosion of differing tangents over the past 24 hours.

    Struggling to keep up and find a place in this sea of words….

    • The Ultimate Guru says:

      I’ve been coming up with productive insights (for myself at least, haha) over the past few weeks and I had one for blog situations like this…..

      It would be nice if any poster could elect to “Start New Topic” with a title like a message board thread and any poster could elect to make posts following that specific topic…or if s/he felt it needed a new branch or topic of discussion within the comments the poster would start a new thread.

      Quite simply, for heavily populated and used blog comment areas like the one here on the Primal Institute it feels like the best way to organize it all is through a message board format in the “comments” section.

      • UG – I am not sure how to do that or if it is possible on this site – I will ask around though – It might be a good idea – I am not sure to be honest – G.

        • Vicki says:

          Not a bad idea, but I don’t know if that functionality is possible, here. I’ll do some research, but not at all sure when.

        • The Ultimate Guru says:

          Here is an example of a message board for the uninitiated. It is about doll collecting in this case:

          The message board user can pick any user-created subject (also known as a thread) from that list and follow and/or respond to the discussion on that topic. At any time, the message board user could start a whole new “subject” (thread) with an intial post to kick things off. I purposely picked a topic that doesn’t personally interest me, so please don’t draw any other conclusions about me from the topic I selected! LOL

          I have my doubts Word Press will allow a format such as this in their blog comments section, but I can see how this would help organize things greatly overall (for ME hahaha) .

      • Larry says:

        I wish I could click on the name of the person who I want to respond to, and by clicking, all of their posts would be sorted and selected and shown all together for me, so that it would be easier for me to find the post of theirs that I want to respond to.

        • Larry, Is that like I wish I had a million dollars or I wish I could be invisible for a day or is there a way to do that? G.

          • Larry says:

            It’s wishing I had a million dollars Gretchen. I have a hundred. If you go to the top of the page, on the right hand column, under Meta, click on . Comments RSS. You get a listing of the recent comments, that can be sorted by date or topic or author. Unfortunately it only lists 10 comments. Maybe someone with more computer savvy than I can turn it into a million (dollars).

  51. Margaret says:

    I agree with what you say about not only saying things just one time, to avoid any misunderstandings, and sometimes I also think in a friendship it is important to be flexible and accept your friends not to be perfect, otherwise the friendship wouldn’t feel safe. This can go together with also being able to say things, when necessary, and that last part of the sentence is important,I think friends should be as gentle as possible with each other. This should be obvious, so why do I feel like saying it? This doesn’t apply to you at all Sabine, you are basically gentle, but some people in my opinion seem to feel compelled to be honest at all cost,even if it would hurt the socalled friend, and I feel in those cases so often it shows some underlying old denied pain.That ‘honesty’ to me feels more like a concealed attack to try to undo that pain in those cases. One of my points certainly is I need to feel safe with my friends, don’t want to have to fear they will hurt me unexpectedly or for no reason. Any friend of mine can say anything if needed, if done gently and in a constructive way. If hurt would arise,it would have to be part of a healing process, not by destructive anger. Anger will unavoidably arise every now and then, due to frustration or miscomunication, but should always be brief and quickly sorted out in true friendships, in my experience.
    Why am I saying htis, I wonder. I just feel open and vulnerable,I guess, but overall it is a good feeling.
    I liked your answer to Jack very much, Gretchen, and would like to hear why Jack feels the need to look for weak spots in therapists and if he htinks he finds one, to poke in them. What do you want Jack? What pain of yours , if any,causes you to do so?

  52. Margaret says:

    Why complicate things by creating different branches of comments following one post? I read the comments as I get them mailed in a chronological order, and it doesn’t seem to complicated to follow a few discussions going on simultaneously. Maybe the goal for some might be to get more attention for the topics they bring up?I don’t know if splitting up the conversations would help, I think it might be better in that case just to say what you need or want or to bring up your issues again. I feel more conversations might get lost for more people if they are split up, but of course I am not at all an expert on the blog. I just like as many people as possible to read what I write, to be honest, and preferably to comment about it.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:


      I can only say that even within a topic (thread) format, the posts in that thread regarding a user-created topic would still be in chronological order.
      Also, please keep in mind that you are dealing with this blog in an entirely different fashion than most of the participants (I hope you understand what I mean when I say this.)

      • The Ultimate Guru says:

        By the way, there is no law stopping anyone from reading every single message in every single thread if they wanted to. Some of the more advanced message boards even have a notification system showing how many messages you have not read yet from that user-created topic.
        Everything can still be read as before, but it would be nice to keep things more organized.

        • UG – There just might be a law about that – not so sure – Did you know in Seattle that goldfish can ride the city buses in bowls but only if they keep still ! G. P.S. I also read you can’t kill a squirrel with a gun in any courtroom in Mississippi – and don’t even think about peeling an orange in your hotel room in California! G.

  53. The Ultimate Guru says:

    I am pacing around the room a bit, and jotting this down before I go on to other things:

    Margaret brought up concerns about some topics being ignored while others would get more attention. Many, if not most, message boards show the number of posts responding to that particular user-created thread along with how many “views” a thread has received.

    I do agree that people tend to “pile on” to heavily responded to and viewed threads in a message boards. The user sees a big number of posts and views on certain topics and can tend to ignore the more scarcely-visited topics. I have a little experience in seeing this phenomenon in the past. The best way to combat this problem, I believe, is to actually HIDE this information (number of response posts and number of views) from the message board’s statistics.

    I’ve babbled on too long about this wild idea. It would probably be a lot of hard work for Vicki anyway, so if nothing comes to fruition I understand.

    I just hate wading through this messy blog after a while though.

  54. Fiona says:

    So much going on, here. I just spent a whole year catching up reading it all!! OMG!

    Simple solution to blog:

    Always add our comments at the bottom

    ( – never use the greyed out “reply” link, but use the “Leave A Reply” at the end of the page. Then we can all read on from where we left off)

    Obviously need to add WHO you respond to.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:


      The problem with everyone posting at the end is twofold:

      a) You (and lol) have to rely on everyone knowing to post at the bottom, even newcomers or rare visitors to the blog. On top of that most replies in message boards are immediately placed at the bottom of the topic.
      b) Even if you are a regular visitor you still have to slog back through 20-40 posts to see what was said earlier each and every time a visit is made. With message boards organized by topics with collapsible folders it becomes much easier to go quickly and directly to what was said on a certain topic earlier. It’s a bit like defragmenting a hard drive for the human mind itself in a way.

  55. Margaret says:

    Steve, are you Steve Mo or Steve Mi? It might be easy to specify that when you comment, so we know who’s talking. Margaret

    • Vicki says:

      Margaret, Steve can answer, but I had no doubt it was Steve Mi…, I think the other Steve uses his whole last name.

  56. Gretchen,
    At last someone has found an eloquent way of answering this pesky, but legitimate question about primal therapy. You hit this one out of the park, which must have taken quite a bit of batting practice:>
    Speaking of Simplicity, as you know, I have been trying to boil the Charlie Sheen debacle down to its’ most simple ingredient: his troublesome approach to relationships.
    Would love to hear the thoughts and comments of anyone from the (very evolved!) PI community about my take on this tragic train wreck:
    You can read it and comment at
    Thanks for all your comments on my blog Gretchen and once again, great job and keeping what matters SIMPLE!

    • Primal Institute says:

      Hey Nadja, I really have enjoyed reading all three of the articles on your blog – very interesting! I can’t wait to read your next post, you do have a unique way of looking at these situations and getting right to the heart of the matter. I too will be curious to read the feedback you receive from the Primal community – they are a particularly insightful and supportive group in my view ! Thanks for your feedback on “Simplicity” I do appreciate it! Gretch

    • Larry says:

      Nadja, because you asked, I wanted to do you the courtesy and I read the articles that you linked to. But I don’t want to take any more time than that on comtemplating his sad life. I hear and see the news headlines, but other than that I don’t pursue any of the lurid details of his bizarre behaviour and the breakdown of his life. Clearly he is a damaged individual, sadly not sane enough to seek help. For me the fascinating question is what does it reveal about a public willilng to invest so much of its time voyeuristically entertained in following his spiral downward. Disturbing to me is that some people even see him as a rebel hero bucking all codes of normal (healthy, responsible) behaviour. What has happened in our relationship to him that we can feed on his troubles, like gawkers drawn to an accident scene straining to see blood and gore and death, as if he is not one of us? Why are we so fascinated by celebrities?

      • The Ultimate Guru says:

        I want a Lindsay Lohan article, please.

      • Joanna says:

        I admit to being attracted to reading about celebrities/people’s lives, but also disastrous events. While I am empathic, it makes me feel ‘that might have been me’ and I feel ‘safer’ or some relief.

        • Joanna says:

          I realise that historically the diaster has already happened, so maybe hence the relief.

          • Hi Jo, (in regards to both your comments)
            I think that is a really interesting point (and insightful) and since you were kind enough to leave this comment also on my blog, I will respond more in depth there (Oh yeah, totally trying to poach people to my own blog…but I have Gretchen’s blessings:>)
            Good to hear from you!
            Nadja aka Eye of the Storm

        • Larry says:

          I only know one Joanna. Are you the one?

        • Larry says:

          It’s good to hear from you Joanna. It’s so rare to see a post from you. What you said about celebrities and disastrous events is interesting. You said watching disastrous events makes you feel safer. I keep wondering, safer from what. Do you care to share more?

          • Joanna says:

            Hi Larry,
            Just to clarify, I don’t make a point of ‘watching’ disastrous events!
            I maybe should have said ‘unsafe’ with regard to traffic accidents and tsunamis. The latter has been a fairly frequent recurring nightmare, and that has a historical origin. I also tend to watch medical dramas (which include emergencey services) and I believe this stems back to my early hospital experiences, and is coupled with abandonment. Maybe I am re-creating and getting some relief??!
            With regard to blogging in general, I check the P.I. page frequently, but I often get overwhelmed by long wordy comments.

          • Larry says:

            Joanna, it feels good to be knowing you a little better. Thanks for replying. I seem to need to understand you. So are you saying you have a history of feeling unsafe, stemming from an accident, a bad hospital experience, and abandonment all in your childhood?

            You mention getting overwhelmed by long wordy comments. Does that happen in the rest of your life too? Do you often get overwhelmend at the retreats in group?

            • Joanna says:

              Larry, forgive me if I take a break for answering more questions right now. 🙂

              • Larry says:

                Ahhh. I see how I might be coming across as grilling you. So sorry. Just curious. You don’t need to answer any questions to anyone ever. 🙂

  57. Fiona says:

    I love getting my therapy ‘on the cheap here’. Thanks.

  58. Hi Larry,
    First of all, thank you for reading my articles! You’re right this is a very sad story. And I agree that some of the ways in which the media handles this is absolutely disturbing. There seems to be a lot of “Schadenfreude” going on and, Gretchen and I even talked about it being reminiscent of Romans giving the thumbs up or down to gladiators to decide on their death. Gretchen suggested I explore this topic further and I think I will in my next post. However, I also believe that many people are fascinated and interested, because it is so easy to assume that someone that rich and successful “has it all,” but turns out to be so alone that he cannot let one person in his life help him. I hope that makes sense.
    I hope you are well and thanks again for responding.

    • Nadja, I personally think it makes a lot of sense. I think about this issue often – how we never really know the truth of someone’s life and how easy it is to think what people “have” is the whole story. The party guy with no one to call -pretty sad – Wasn’t it Thoreau who said “Most men live lives of quiet desperation” – I think that fits- G.

      • Oh Gretchen!!! Stop giving me more topics to write about..LOL. I absolutely love the Thoreau quote..or whoever said that “most men live lives of quiet desperation,” and yes, it fits perfectly, even though Sheen is certainly NOT being quiet in his desperation. Yet, in a way he is, because he rambles on about tiger blood and winning instead of the pain of his divorces, custody battles and whatever else is “really” going on with him.
        The good news is that we (as in the primal community) are not suffering quietly and that is a huge gift.
        FYI, I responded to your comments about my article also on my post, so feel free to respond there…(subtle hint, subtle hint, subtle hint).
        Nadja aka Eye of the Storm

    • Larry says:

      I’m well thanks Nadja. Thank you for entertaining this discussion, and I apologize for sidetracking from your original posting. I am more cynical than you or Gretchen. I think the more hollow we are, devoid of real community, the more we want to prop up and idolize celebrities who seem to have the perfect life that we could have too if we could be discovered. I feel that knowing deep inside that we can’t be like them engenders jealousy that turns to glee when they fall and we can poke a stick in their squirming. I wish I didn’t see it so darkly, but that’s where I am.

      • Hi Larry,
        no apologies necessary! I’d have to agree that emptiness in our own lives is more likely to lead to looking to other people’s lives for meaning. And, that jealousy is related to “Schadenfreude.” I have tried to use my own jealousy as a guide to what is missing in my life and how to pursue it.
        I’m glad to hear that you are well.

  59. To UG,
    I don’t know who you are, so excuse me if I’m being thick, but I’m assuming the Lindsay Lohan comment was a joke. In any event, no article on Lindsay Lohan article is forthcoming:> Believe it or not writing about a celebrity is a LOT of work because there is so much info that I need to digest before I can develop my own point of view.
    Also, there are so many other topics to explore …like Schadenfreude!

  60. To Fiona,
    LOL…couldn’t agree more:>

  61. The Ultimate Guru says:


    All kidding aside, I did have a chance to read what you wrote today and I just wanted to say your articles were very good in their own field of expertise.

    I know my analysis sounded very generalistic there, but I was really touched by this sentence you wrote:
    “But, when we emotionally invest in another person to love and want us, our deepest insecurities get kicked to the surface.”

    I thought it was a brilliant sentence and it certainly brought up a few feelings of rejection from my own past.

    • Hi UG (how long must I be in the dark about who you are:>?)
      Thanks for reading my post and the very kind words.
      And believe you me, the sentence you responded to very much came from my own experience with love, fear and rejection.
      Nadja aka Eye of the Storm:>

  62. Jack Waddington says:

    No reply button left to your last comment to me.

    Gretchen: It feels good to know you were ‘touched’ by some of the ‘sweet’ things I said about the Institute on Art’s blog. I responded to the other commentators from my FEELINGS about the Institute. “Sweet” is not the word I would have used (too sugary; LOL) “touched” is another I would tend to keep away from. In my book (plug plug) I explain it SIMPLY with;- ‘I like’ OR ‘I don’t like. It’s sort of (to me) more direct. But as I have said before, you have said lots of things ‘I liked’. Jack

    • Jack – I wonder why no reply button and why you have had things that did not post. At some point we will see if Vicki can figure it out. It is strange! G.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Gretchen; the reason for no reply button, I suspect, is that like My-Space, you can only go so deep, then it terminates. I personally have not lost a response, but felt, some that got posted in my email failed to turn upon the blog. Could be thati didn’t go far enough backward to search for it. Jack

      • Vicki says:

        Jack was right. But when I set things up, I increased the levels from 3 (the default, I think) to 8, imagining that 6 would probably be plenty! You two went to 8 levels of dialogue. I have just increased the available levels to 10, which is the WordPress maximum. Enjoy.

        • Larry says:

          Vicki, I found a way to not have to muddle through all of the old comments to find the one I want to respond to. Near the top of the page is space that lists the posts, archives, the Institute’s email address, a calendar, etc., and .comments RSS. When I click on .comments RSS I get a listing of the 10 latest comments. There is an option to choose whether to sort them by date, title, or author. If one of the comments is one I want to respond to, I click on it and am taken directly to that comment where it is in the blog. Are you able to set the .comments RSS to list more than 10?

          • Vicki says:

            Hey, that’s great Larry! I had not tried that link, it’s very useful, instead of hunting. I have changed the setting to 20, from 10 — but the help seems to say that it may not be effective until there’s a new Blog post, and it doesn’t say if the setting affects Online RSS use, as well as emailed feeds. So we’ll see. But thanks.

          • Vicki says:

            Yes, there are 20 posts in the RSS now. Let me know if that works well, or not.

  63. Margaret says:

    Hi Nadia,
    I tried to find the articles on the website but lost my way there so would it be possible to send me a copy of the articles as a word doc?

  64. Margaret says:

    Fiona, you are such a real sweetie, your comment about my software struggles to Nadia put such a big happy smile on my face, it feels so nice to have you spontaneously jump to my help, that is just a great feeling, I loved it. I have been able to send Nadia an e-mail, so that should work out fine.


    I’d like to fit in a small comment here about ‘helping the handicapped’, as it is a topic that comes up regularly with different persons.I know some disabled people are very touchy about people offering help when it is not necessary, and even snap at those persons. That shows to me they haven’t come to terms with their situation and struggle to prove how independent they still are . but as if it is not enough that there are so many scared or simply indifferent people all around, they do chase away with that atitude the people who are still willing to help, even if sometimes they might do so in a clumsy way. I love it when people offer their help to me, it is very welcome if useful or needed, and otherwise it feels nice to just smile and say “thanks, I can manage!” So specially for a poorly sighted person, theere can never be any harm done by offering help, as even if no help is needed, it does still open a possible option for some conversation if both parts would be interested. I have known even people who know me well to get offended I don’t greet them, it is all too easy to forget sometimes a blind person can’t see who is standing beside him or her, even if noticing someones presence. I also like it when people just let me know who they are when they pass by, so I know who I can say hi to, as I keep answering hi to a lot of unknowns as sometimes it is too tedious to bother to ask…
    xx Margaret

    • Larry says:

      This is good to know about you Margaret. Being a shy person, I find it difficult to approach people. I feel like I am a burden to them. I am getting over that. It is not so bad as it used to be but I still look for reassurance. Being near you makes me more conscious of MY handicap, my self-doubt of being wanted or capable of helping.

  65. Margaret says:

    I completely agree with what you say on primal or non primal people, luckily I do know quite a number of fascinating and sensitive,nice nonprimal people too, and so often I find it is just me that needs to reach out and open up and mostly it was my own fear keeping people at bay. I still have to learn a lot but I feel more able to start to interact more with people I don’t know well, it is not always easy, but there is little to lose and a lot to win, isn’t it?
    It sounds like yuo are doing everything you need to do, good on you!

    • Larry says:

      You are so right Margaret, little to lose and a lot to win. I’m glad you are sensing that. But it takes effort and isn’t easy, correct? It’s like you said in earlier comments, sometimes I want to come home and hide and stay safe, but it’s little Larry in me who’s not able to face the world alone and who’s holding me back and keeping me from trying to get what I need. I’m impressed by the courage of some of the people in my bereavement group here who force themselves to get out and socialize though they don’t feel like it without their deceased partner. I feel sad for them that they have to do it without the insight and access to feelings and emotional healing that this therapy gives us.

      Good on both of us Margaret! 🙂

  66. Fiona says:

    Glad to help, Margaret. Even ‘gladder’ that you were happy with me butting in. I am happy that the new blog lets you access the comments more quickly. Even though, at times, I am not able to add your comment here instantly (because you have to email them to me first).

    Thanks Nadja.

  67. sabine says:

    Hi Margaret – I love it that it is so easy helping you with your handicap! You are handling it so great, that it is very pleasant. I felt it needs indeed a bit of figuring out how to support you and it needs a bit of practise and you have always been so patient and humourous about it. I remember me once at a walk being quite fascinated by a flower and thinking how I can share that. I took you to the flower and let you touch and smell it and at the end it was a wonderful experience for me to share that with you, richer as if I would have only talked about it. It´s a great achievement of you to make it so easy for others, it tells me how much you have grieved and shows me your acceptance of your situation.

  68. Margaret says:

    I am so glad with this blog, thanks to everyone for making it work!
    And thanks sabine and Larry and of course Fiona, well, all of you bloggers, for showing those fine true colours that each of you have in your own unique and special ways, Margaret

  69. Margaret says:

    your article was well written, even though I didn’t know anything about the Charlie Sheen story before I started reading, you gave a very good mixture of information and evaluations and observations. I liked the style too, both dynamic and with lots of contents.
    Good job!
    There is another phrase that struck me . Some comments ago you and Larry were discussing why people can be fascinated by reading about celebrities.At some point you said something, sorry for not remembering your exact words, like that when you feel jealeous, it is a useful way into exploring your feelings. Again, you didn’t exactly say that, but as I was recently investigating that feeling for myself, that is how I interpreted what you said, correct me if I am wrong. I was immediately struck by how you openly admitted you do feel jealeous occasionally, and I liked that, as I always feel so bad when I feel jealeous and would do anything to deny that feeling for myself, if I could. I was brought up with a lot of disapproval for that kind of feeling, I should be ashamed to feel jealeous, it was a bad thing showing I had a wrong atitude. So it was refreshing to hear you mention so ‘casually’, or openly is a better word, feeling the occasional jealeousy. I am curious, do you ever feel jealeous of somebody in a primal setting? Of course I ask because I do, and to be honest you have triggered that feeling in me a couple of times in the past.
    I am exploring my underlying feelings recently, and they are very interesting.Lots of fear and need of course, but as opposed to the initial reaction of seemingly completely disliking a person I feel jealeious about, I am now discovering more and more I tend to feel more envious of persons I seem to have more in common with than I originally thought. I can learn so much of looking in my heart to what I am really afraid from, which is mostly entirely my own pain. So I do agree very much with you that jealeousy opens a great path for exploration.

    Again my excuses for not quoting you literally, but it would take me over an hour to read over all the commetns again.
    I like the fresh impulse the blog is getting now and hope it encourages still more people to participate.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for the kind words about my post and the specific feedback about what you liked. I really appreciated it!
      I agree with you that jealousy is a difficult feeling to face and admit to. I am not sure why that is, but it might be as you say, a lot of us get shamed by our parents. The truth is that jealousy is probably quite normal and, it doesn’t have to be a destructive force. Look at how quickly it dissipates in children with the right kind of support.
      I found it interesting that you’ve come to realize that the people you are jealous of are people you have things in common with. That is very interesting, but I don’t know what it means. I hope you will find out soon as it seems an important realization for you.
      In terms of my own jealousies: over the years, I have developed a reflex in myself that when I feel jealous, I instantly ask myself “What do I need here and feel like I’m not getting or, what is this person getting that I want?” That approach immediately puts the focus back on me instead of whoever I am jealous of at that particular moment. And yes of course, it has come up in primal settings. I have spent so much time in that setting!:>
      In terms of you feeling sometimes jealous of me, what can I say? It’s very honest of you to admit.
      I also liked what you said about fear and how often it is at the core of what is going on.
      It’s good to hear you continue to explore and grow.
      All the best,

  70. Margaret says:

    you can go ahead and send me part three of your book whenever you feel lkke it. I just finished part two, and it is clear you put a lot of work in it. You made me feel curious about the next chapters, Margaret

  71. Irena says:

    Hi Margaret and Nadja
    It’s interesting to read both your comments on jealousy, since it’s precicely that what got me into PT. I had such immense jealousy issues within partnerships. Eventually one of my partners gave me Janov’s Feeling Child to read in order to ‘save’ our relationship. That’s when I started therapy. My life was ruled by the fire in my belly which we call jealousy. I foud out that jealousy is a compound word for several feelings knotted together. At the beginning I thought it was just one thing that was really wrong with me and I’d get quickly healed and then get on with life and perfect partnerships.
    Now a million and some years later and still un-knotting the fireball, I am left with mostly feelings of intense worthlessness. Of being inadequate and unwanted to the deepest degree. But like you, Nadja, I had also developed a way of not transfering my struggle and asking myself what do I feel right now or what do I need right now.
    I don’t feel jelousy outside of a partner relationship, I don’t much envy others, but then again I feel whatever shit flies my way, that I deserve it somehow and it’s therefore justyfied.

    • Hi Irena,
      I have had a similar problem with feeling jealous and insecure in relationships and it’s a challenge. And boy, can I relate to your last statement that whatever happens you feel you deserve! I have felt this way so much in my life. But something has really changed in the last 6 months and after all this time in therapy, it feels like a miracle. When something bad happens, I feel bad and like I deserve it really briefly and intensely and then, it just moves into “I don’t deserve this and I deserve better.” It’s happened spontaneously and it’s made a huge difference for me and how I handle mistreatment.
      So keep going…it will get better!

  72. Margaret says:

    that sounds like a horrible feeling to be in. It is good you write about it, I hope you can find more ways to express this and deal with it, I just hate imagining you feeling that way and would like to be able to solve it. Yeah, I know, just talking as a friend, not being therapeutic here. Luckily you are very smart and honest and have a very nice and very smart and superhonest precious by your side. You are a very strong person, but maybe it is time to allow yourself not to be strong when you are at a retreat, well surrounded with so many people that love you. I may be out of line here but I care enough to take the risk to give you my humble opinion, I know from experience how it is when you have been tough and strong and independent and fighting all your life, you are strong enough to allow yourself now to be vulnerable; Sorry if I say maybe some unnecessary things that you probably know all too well, I am sure you won’t hold it against me.

  73. Margaret says:

    Hi Nadja,
    I’ll try to zwplain a bit what I mean when I say I am finding out i am more likely to feel jealous of people I feel having somehting in common with.
    When I start looking into the feelings of rivalry triggered in moments of jealousy, my real fear is of not being good enough and therefor not getting the appreciation I crave. But more and more i am finding out the solution doesn’t lay in engaging in a struggle, not even in a virtualmental one inside my brain, to prove I am equally good or better at something, but in looking my fears in the eye and in accepting myself for who I am and learn to feel more confident and to like myself, which seems to become easier and easier. If I can let go of the need to prove myself to the outside world, suddenly the threat disappears of someone else being good at somethingwhich is still a new experience I am exploring.
    I think my fear and need to be the best sprouts in having a very competitive and ambitious mother that used to be my teacher in nursery school.She kept repeating over and over how extremely intelligent I was, how high I scored at I.Q. tests, and how i could achieve anything in life, from being a surgeon to being a nuclear physicist or an astronaut, I am not joking. I was about four when I was in her class, and only on one occasion she did say about one other girl that she was extraordinarily inelligent too, maybe even more than me… Of course I emmediately started disliking that girl. I started my first real scholyear one year too early, and alrady moved to the next class after a couple of months, so i ended up being two years younger than the rest of my class during my whole schoollife.As there was so much emotional pressure from my mother to perform well, I felt very good as long as I was learining new things and could feel I was a fast learner, but as soon as there was some class that didn’t turn out to be that easy, as mathematics in highschool, and needed more effort, panic of failure struck and feelings of hopelessness, so I can see now how during my life I tended to start up so many things that I usually gave up as soon as I lost hope to become thé best at it. This is a real shame of course, as I still was driven by my first unrealistic dreams to choose veterinary studies, though I was bad at exact sciences. Even when i changed towards philosophy late on, I didn’t study, as my other needs and the struggle to find love took up all my attention and energy.It was such a small step for me from enthousiasm to study to fear to fail, it was very predictable I would drop out.
    Some things kept coming naturally, like languages or being a good sales person, but only in my forties did I obtain my first real achievement for which I had to struggle, literally, my black belt judo. Right after that I decided to finally take the step of starting therapy.
    The bottom line of this long explanation is that that one early feeling of “I need to be outstanding or it will not be good enough”, “Only the best will do”,sabotaged so much of my life as I all too easily started feeling I would become a failure.
    Only now can I start to see there is no need to start competiting as there is no need to prove I am ‘better’. When i look at the variety of reasons why I like people, their honesty and openness comes first, their sense of humour, gentleness, shared interests, no need whatsoever they should be the best at anything. Maybe even on the contrary sometimes, it can be endearing and disarming to spot the vulnerability of someone and to see how they just keep working to move forward.
    A long explanation, I know, sorry if I bore anyone, but I am exploring this for myself here as well.
    I would love to hear other people’s viewpoints on jealousy, rivalry or fear to ‘fail’, and where these feeolings come from in a primal sense.

  74. sabine says:

    Irena – I am sorry what you are going through. It sounds like you are making progress and I am glad you express it here.

    Margaret – wau this subject keeps you moving and discovering so much of yourself! I am struck that you were two years younger at school – I didn´t know that. Thinking how children´s brain develope and that it all takes time, it must have been an enormous pressure on you all day long. It´s also horrible when everything you were doing were driven by the feeling how can I be best, how can I get loved for doing that. So what were you really missing?

    I rarely feel jealous, although I very often and intensly feel stupid, not knowing anything like an alien, feeling horrible about my missing language abilities and having such a bad memory. One thing I feel is you need to have success in terms of getting seen, appreciated, admired, loved….when you are doing something very well to develope feelings of jealousy. From my experience where I didn´t get what I wanted no matter what I did or not did, how well I was doing at school or music or anything, I didn´t develope jealousy very much. Achievement was useless for me.

    I am again going through my: I am a monster feeling. I feel so guilty about my existence, still being alive where everybody would be better off if I would not be here, making everybody unhappy, always needing something. My parents lives weren´t hardly manageable before my birth. But with my appearance, the appartment became too small and they had to build a house. That took up all their energy and their time and they had that horrible struggle with money all the time. My mother always blamed my father for making her pregnant. She had already a few abortions and I guess she couldn´t stand another one. So I came and on the top of their unhappy personalities and marriage I was there: screaming and constantly needing something and later being very difficult. Looking in their eyes tells me it´s everything wrong about me. I can´t resolve into nothing. I can´t be any different.

  75. Irena says:

    Margaret and Sabine, thanks for your suporting words.
    Margaret, you must never worry to tell me what you think. It comes across like your’e a bit aprehencive. Hey, I’m cool with whatever you throw my way.
    Sabine, I feel so sorry about how you are left to feel much of your life. It is so very unfair!

  76. Margaret says:

    I know, you cool cat, I know…
    It is just that part of me that still likes criticizing myself that said:”Who do I think I am giving advice?”
    Then some other little voice goes:”I care enough to take the risk and that’s all that matters”

  77. The Ultimate Guru says:

    For some reason this song makes me want to joyously run through the carefree sawgrass fields that were around my maternal grandparents’ house when I was young:

    • The Ultimate Guru says:

      Should have said “Switchgrass”…freely striding through “Sawgrass” could leave one a little bloody. I thought it was a great song, anyway..

    • Vicki says:

      I agree, Guru, I liked this one a lot, from the minute I first heard it! I still do, even though they eventually “didn’t make it”.

      • The Ultimate Guru says:

        Thanks Vicki,

        Yes that Shania Twain song brought up words such as: “ebullient”, “bountiful”, “sprawling”, “carefree”, and “idyllic” on top of my being a bit touched by it.

        All those words above apply to my mom’s parents’ house during my earliest years, and that’s what I sadly miss. I can still smell the faint imaginary whiffs of cedar wood and evergreen trees even today..

  78. The Ultimate Guru says:

    On another note I wanted to talk about something that happened in my past. I could describe the scene very well and point out just how helplessly out of control everything felt.

    I just…wish this was a password-protected blog with limited access when these times come up, so it’s not personally against anyone who writes here. Otherwise I would talk about it more.

    • Vicki says:

      Do you mean you don’t feel safe, even behind an anonymous moniker, Guru? Not safe from us (some of whom may know you), or from strangers? You are better hidden than most, here.

      • The Ultimate Guru says:


        I meant mostly from strangers. Didn’t Gretchen say the Smart People podcast interview with Barry had over 100,000 hits? Imagine the possibilities over here!

        Therapy in a fishbowl indeed…..

        • Larry says:

          UG, I don’t see that the fish in the bowl care much that we’re watching. In fact, waiting for nourishment, they seem to want us around. Except maybe a really really really shy scared one might hide behind a plant or rock trying not to be seen.

          • The Ultimate Guru says:

            That sounds like a very fishy response Larry.

            • Larry says:

              Perhaps so. 🙂 Nevertheless, I appreciate your sharing of your memories of your grandparents house, UG. I get some sense of the loss you feel.

            • Vicki says:

              Yeah, Guru’s not taking the bait, Larry. But I thought it was very good bait.

              • Larry says:

                It was just an observation Vicki. I suspect that most people who visit this site come mainly to read Gretchen and Barry’s blog. I doubt that many people take the time to read all of these comments or care who we are. I feel it’s mainly those of us who live away from LA but want to feel connected to a Primal Community who comment and respond to each other and try to understand and help each other here. As I write a comment, I’m thinking of 10 of you who will read it. I might freeze if I thought 100,000 people read it, although if they don’t know me what does it matter what I write, and if they do know me then we are friends so what does it matter what I write. For instance, if anyone from my workplace or any of my family or my friends is visiting this site, it is probably because they need help and want Primal Therapy, and I hope they find it. I don’t think anyone would waste their time reading all this stuff unless they were interested in PT. I personally haven’t met malicious people in PT… a struggle and angry with each other yes, but not malicious.

                • The Ultimate Guru says:


                  I will leave your comment as it stands on its own merit. However, I wanted to say that your last sentence may not be indicative of others not having met malicious people in “PT”. Just wanted to point that out.

  79. Irena says:

    Thanks Nadja,
    I only just found your comment. I ponder what you say and immediately it feels like this won’t ever happen to me. I am having a huge problem at work which triggers feelings of inade(hierkommtLangenscheidsTaschenwoerterbuch…)quacy and worthlessness. I might be made redundant and am so overcome with the ‘I deserve-this’-feeling among a forest of others. Reading your comment gives me hope one second, only to be snatched away the next by the force of paralasis and hopelessnes. Isn’t the world suposed to be coming to an end in 2012??? Roll on next year. I am so tired.

    • Larry says:

      Irena, I need to say I’m saddened to hear that you might be made redundant. You play such a pivotal role in the successful running of your workplace, I can’t see how they can do without you. I’m saddened that you are so weighted down with negative feelings that you feel you deserve everything bad that comes your way. It is unfair how difficult it must be for you to reach out for anything good that might come your way.

      Sabine and Margaret, I’ve been wanting to react to your recent posts, but between work and having a cold, I am too tired lately. Thanks for sharing your insights. They are helpful.

    • Irena – What happened?! This sounds just horrible – let me know if I can help. Gretch P.S. You could never be redundant as far as I am concerned!

    • Hi Irena,
      I just saw your note and know you have already gotten a flurry of supportive comments (good!). I’m sorry to hear about your job. That is really scary, particularly in this economy. When will you know for sure?
      I also concur with Gretchen: this is not an old feeling! It’s a crisis in the present and whatever you feel is not representative of a lack of progress etc. I hope this makes sense.
      I loved that you said this might turn out to be a blessing in disguise (you used different words). That’s a great attitude to have! You strike me as a fighter and I’ve heard you talk about your job being very draining at retreats, so yes maybe, this could turn out to be an unwelcome push for a welcome change.
      Good luck!

  80. sabine says:

    Irena – I am saddened, too about what you are going through. I am thinking about what might be helpful to you and I think there are a few things which you need togehter: Unfortunately I think there is some horrible old pain inside you, which appears in several issues. I think it would be very good for you if you could manage somehow not to panic when something is coming up. Having to stay with a feeling is in a long term harder than allowing it. You can always ask for support! Your chronical exhaustion worries me and I know too good how feelings can exhaust. I don´t know how it is in England, but I am surprised how cheap you can go on a short vacation here , when you look for special offers. How is your sleep?

  81. Irena says:

    Thanks Gretchen, Sabine and Larry. Encourageing comments. Sleeping is bad, but that’s nothing new. Sabine, I don’t know about the panic. When something like redundancy is lurking AT MY AGE, then it feels life threatening to me. Not just life changing. I immediately panic and everything is suddenly disasterous. I cannot hang back and wait to see how things develop, whether I keep my job or whether a feeling appears at the doorstep, politely askig to be felt, so I can be more level-headed. I have to find a solution NOW. I can’t bear ‘what if’s’. I NEED to KNOW. I’m left in the dark at work, not being told anything about the up coming changes. So I cannot act. I cannot improve the situation. My job is by far too stressful for me and a change might be what I need, healthwise, if the change is a good one. I don’t have a problem with change. But I worry so very, very much that I end up having to earn money, only to survive and hating what I do. Day after day, for years. Now at least I love what I do. I have to be creative. I have to be challenged. Feels like I cannot exist any other way. I am a mercurial being. Mindless repetition will kill me. If I had some cash at least it would buy me time.
    You know how crappy it is for me, feeling wise. I talk about things and buddy as much as I can. You are right, I do need little NICE things in life or small breaks. And I also actually try that too. Still, I am overwhelmed at most times, not feeling. Anyway. A large part of these feelings is the one of powerlessnes and that I’m not prepared. I think hard of what I feel, of what I ‘need to do now’. When to give up a struggle, when to start one. Not to act out. Like you say, Sabine, trying not to carry a feeling around for ages but to find a way to feel it. Believe me I do. Something stops me from letting go. Every now and then I feel.

    • Irena, I actually think there are some very real feelings in the present here. This is a frightening situation for anyone I believe. Being in this position and receiving so little information about your future has to be difficult. Not to mention losing a job that you love. It is clear that this is triggering old feelings as well. You seem to be doing all you can to feel what is old but I can imagine it is hard when you have these very real issues to confront now. I do believe if this does end for you there will be something better ahead and it is also true that the current situation has created a great deal of stress at times. Maybe you will find a new direction that brings you more happiness and less stress. I know for sure you will find a situation that is creative because that is who you are. In other words, it is you that brings the creativity to any setting you are in – you will make a dull job interesting! I wonder if there is anyone you can go to who might have more information for you about your current job – someone must know what is happening I would think? Also it would be helpful to reach out to anyone who has been through something similar – this is a time to get as much support as you possibly can. Please let me know if I can help. Gretchen

  82. sabine says:

    Irena – I am sorry I didn´t understand languagewise that you are in a danger of losing your job (I hate this language problems-grrrrr)! It´s horrible and your reactions are very understandable. The panic I was refering to was the panic you often get when a feeling comes up, not refering to your situation you are in right now.
    Nevertheless I would try to relax as good as you can till you know what is gonna happen. I do the same thing. Next school year there will be safed 25% of the costs for the music schools and nobody knows what that will mean yet. I don´t think that it is likely that I will completely loose my job, though, so I am in a different situation.

  83. Irena says:

    Thank you all for your input. I have tried to get the attention of the HR manager but she has not yet respondet. I want to talk with someone other than my boss and most of all, I want to see their face. Not e mail, not phone.
    So much change is happening everywhere around me….weird.
    It’s good to know I have people like you guys out there who sympathise and I need to learn to reach out and accept the help.
    I really need you guys.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:


      I read about your troubles of losing your job and the longer I don’t write, the more I might feel like I’m just a bastard that doesn’t care. I just felt that there was not much I could do to help in this situation. My words feel cheap here.

      I’d give you tonight’s winning Powerball numbers if you wanted….but I simply cannot do so until tomorrow….(A bit of a metaphor for my helplessness to change what you’re going through.)

      • Guru, I think that’s very sweet – actually it is the perfect thing to say! G.

        • The Ultimate Guru says:

          Excellent! So this means I’m cured now? Bye everyone! It’s been nice knowing you and I’m wishing you the best in life! (UG waves and walks away from the blog into the sunset.)

          • Vicki says:

            LoL! (Quietly, as I’m at work).

          • Irena says:

            That was a nice comment. There is a man behind the title. I’m touched. Thank you.
            As for the powerball numbers…..anytime please.
            Must rush now; breads to be baked, eggs to be laid…
            Hoppy Easter to all.

  84. Margaret says:

    dear Irena,
    sounds like you do what you need to do, I know what a major and useeful step it turned out to be for me to admit to myself I needed people’s helpand what a relief it turned out to be too, not only finding out I got so much nice suport, but also how I did regain a true and important part of myself.
    I don’t know you well enough, you may be past that stage for years already , I just want to let you know i am on your side.

  85. Fiona says:

    Long comment – so those who hate long winded comments “scroll” down quickly.

    I really YEARN for making “that SPECIAL” connection. A true union that no-one can break apart or come between. I want something so intense and undeniably permanent that I never need worry that it will ever go. I used to believe that I would ‘find’ that in a partner. I used to dream about that ‘bond’ when others my age were dreaming of kissing John Travolta (or in my case, kissing Olivia!) I would crave that so much.

    I am lucky enough to have a partner now, who tried to give me all that I wanted and needed (much to her detriment). She gave and gave, and I took and took and TOOK! I was not doing my therapy then. Now I know what I did to her, and I am saddened by the horror of my mistakes. It is still painful to think about it, thoughts I try to avoid (Ooops! Shouldn’t admit to that here, of all places.) I have said sorry to her about these pains I caused…. but it seems like nothing! Too little too late. It feels totally useless.

    I know that what I want is so old within me. Such an ancient unmet need. I can never find someone to fill that chasm of want that is ‘me’ – because the original ‘she’ is gone. My original ‘she’ gave birth and separated us. She tore us apart and left me. She cared less and less. She didn’t touch me any more. There was no special link. Nothing special; I was nothing special. I am nothing special. I am nothing without her.

    The links or bonds that are evident in the film Avatar are big triggers for me. The film brings up the urgency of my need for my one special connection The obvious ‘link’ in the form of the neural interface between creatures on the planet is one concept I am captivated by. I want that! The other is the link between everything on the planet; the ecology forms a vast neural network, spanning the entire planetary surface, and there is the option for the people to ‘tap into’ that. I want that too! I really want that.

    Maybe everyone is like me….. wanting the same thing… after all, the film is the biggest box office hit ever, right? Second to Titanic – a love-bond story, too.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Fiona: This comment of yours seems clear to me your know what the problem is for you and that you have connected to it. That was very inspiring and is a sad reflection of where things have been for you. A great comment Fiona. Jack.

    • Vicki says:

      This is good, Fiona. It really is.

  86. Irena says:

    Yes, good. Down to the core! Sniff!

  87. Fiona says:

    Thanks Jack. I liked what you just wrote to me VERY much!

    Thanks Vicki. I liked what you wrote too!

    Thanks Irena… oh wait – I already said that to you! LOL!

  88. Margaret says:

    I am still thinking of what you wrote and how you described me Avatar during our buddy session. You know it immediately and strongly touched a chord deep inside me, I started crying almost as soon as you described the idea of the movie. I am still feeling so surprised by the intensity of my feelings that I still find it difficult to believe only the failing connection with my mom and family lies at the core. I say failing as it wasn’t totally missing, there was just too much pain mixed into it.
    I remember having mentioned before how to me when I imagine going back ‘home’ what comes closest to me in the present are always pictures of me being somewhere in nature, a flowery field, a quiet beach,and still being able to see it. I feel tears ounting as I write.
    Of course I can feel how the need for true connecting with mommy and family is deeply entetwined with my need to turn to consolation in nature, I remember already as a child some of my happiest moments being gazing at huge brightcoloured dahlias in the garden, or crawling through summery fields full of high dry grass and wild flowers, or being up in a tree with only the leaves, the wind and the sky around me. All of these experiences, now that i look at them, are me being on my own but finding some fullfillment in my surroundings.
    In my early twenties I moved to Spain, and there, being suddenly back in nature after years of city life, I suddenly felt how I regained something I hadn’t even been aware of having lost, that bond with nature, the richness of letting it in.
    What i want to say is that even if maybe my old feelings may be all or at least big part of this feeling, I do have such a strong almost homesick feeling about… I am hesitating,it is hard to put my finger on it, it has to do with unspoilt nature, no noises of traffic or radios or even people, animals being able to have a free life with all the dignity they deserve,I am crying all the time while writing.
    I feel our planet could be so beautiful if we would treat it with respect and I hurt for the way it is treated and wildlife threatens to disappear alltogether.
    This feels so basic to me, if we can’t reat animals with respect and yes, empathy, we may be digging our own graves in many ways. I feel sick about bio-industry,oil spills, nuclear pollution. Where is humanity’s sens’e of care and respect for those pure and innocent fellow creatures we share the earth with?I feel pain, it is that vulnerability and innocence they have I desperately want to protect from pain and abuse. Some of it old feeling, clearly, but some of it so real and genuine.
    It is the lack of sensitivity and care that gets to me big time, as opposed to the connection empathy and respect.
    I do feel sad and quite hopeless, also feel I might stay alone for the rest of my days.
    Still crying.

  89. Margaret says:

    I did cry some more after writing my last comment. Part of the feeling in the sadness seems to be being on my own, not even wanting to call for my mom, just adjusting to finding peace in being in touch with the naturlal world around me. That goes way back to when I was still a small kid, I was so lucky to have plenty of beautiful nature around to roam in. I specially loved some big trees and last year had a dream in which I strongly hugged a huge and gorgeous one. I feel specially privileged every time I have a dream full of beautiful landscapes, mountains,waterfalls, starry skies, my mind makes up for my lost eyesight occasionally by treating me with splendid and unforgettable dreams. Ha, and my brain also fabrics a whole range of romantic encounters with so many different types of men, some of them old acquaintances, some of them brand new. Sadly enough my dreamlife tends to become more interesting than my waking life, but hey, I am not complaining,I love to go to bed. I even fabric dream groups, really, no kidding, and they are interesting too!
    One thing about my love for animals is probably their openness and straightness. I like their sensitivity and simple honesty. When they aren’t interested they won’t pretend, and only by gaining their trust you can get close to most of them. Respect seems to be the key word here. Sitting on a rock, with a companion by my side, a human one, looking out over the hills in peaceful admiration, that is what true happiness would be to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Margaret, nature had a similar importance for me. I grew up on a farm. When immersed in nature I could escape from my problems for a while and be at peace and feel like I belonged and it was everyone else that was crazy, not me. I was lonely. When I discovered naturalists and environmentalists, I felt finally here were people I had a kinship with. But I was so so very shy. As I’ve become less shy and more interested in people, I am less intensely attached to natural things. They are important to me, but I also see how I use and pollute the environment to give me my lifestyle. I am saddened at how the natural world is being killed off by our want of an easy, comfortable lifestyle and the sheer numbers of people there are. Probably some of the occasions still when I feel most content is when I am in a beautiful natural setting and am sharing the experience with someone close to me. I wish everyone could be more respectful of the natural world, yet I don’t want to give up my car or my computer or my comforts that come from using nature to my advantage. I am conflicted.

      • Larry says:

        Anonymous was me. I wasn’t on my home computer when I sent my April 24 response to Margaret. Seems like I become anonymous when I’m away from my home computer.

    • Larry says:

      This music and the video captures for me some of the deeply satisfying feeling found in nature and loving companionship and how precious the gift of life, yet how alone and pained I feel that my wife is not alive to share it with me.

  90. Margaret says:

    Such a good film to reach you in that way – even though you have never seen it! I am glad you are exploring what it means to you, and sharing it here. Sounds painful in many ways. Those links you have to nature are interesting…

  91. Vicki says:

    I like this Ecological concept, what an idea! Not sure how practical, but somebody’s trying.

    More than 70 French towns have already gone back to the future by introducing horse-drawn carriages to replace petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles for local tasks such as collecting rubbish, street-cleaning and taking children to school. And at least 30 more are set to join the revolution next year.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:


      I know that seems useful to reduce greenhouse gases, but it may actually become a necessity for a much more serious reason if Peak Oil theorists are right and we go back to a “World Made by Hand”:

      When it takes 11 years of full-time human manual labor to equate the energy in a single barrel of oil, how will America cope with its need to consume 20+ million barrels every day in an era of scarcer oil resources?

      Art Janov likes to talk about peoples’ hard feelings….Believe me there would be plenty of these hard feelings to go around if we have to revert to a bifurcated economy with a few rich people hoarding oil and the rest of us are agrarian slaves trying to make up for all the energy in cheap oil that’s now long gone…..

    • Vicki says:

      And, since that link was from 2007, I went looking for an update, and found a 2010 article, with more specific info on how the French experiment has been working out:

  92. Margaret says:

    Vicki, thanks for sending me a copy of the article. I specially liked what it said about bringing more humanity back into our mechanical world. And the last paragraph ollustrates the whole point of what i was actually writing about, that precious interacting with a living being. I agree so much with how it decreases stress levels in an immediate way, I have proof of it walking around my home. Caressing my cat unvariably calms me down when I feel tense, and when I feel hopeless and lonely and she suddenly pops up it is as if the sun breaks through the clouds again.
    Learning our kids to love and appreciate nature and to treat animals gently and respectfully, is in my opinion a gift that will enrich their whole life.
    It may sound as if I am very much into ecology movements but that isn’t the case really, apart from the occasional donation to jgreeenpeace and eating almost no meat anymore.
    It is that feeling of connection and coming home I get that keeps feeling overwhelming and that far too mahy people never even get a chance to experience anymore. I think I would gladly settle for a greener world with a bit less luxury.
    I wondered too if being put in an institute for several weeks at the age of two, my mother being in hospital, also left me with a deeply engraved feeling of being lost, surrounded by strangers, no hope to be able to cope or connect, and then finding out later on I could connect with animals in a more direct and noncomplicated way, just using my sensitivity. Animals don’t play games or hurt you just for no apparent reason, and I guess what counts most for me is I dare to be open to them without that feeling of intimidation and terror I was left with being on my own suddenly at the age of two. That is my own particular primal part of the feeling, which doesn’t undo the values mentioned in the article. People with pets live longer, and more happily too.
    I feel a strong need to connect and be understood as this is also strongly linked to me feeling lonely and scared, so if you relate, please say so, pretty please…?
    I had another nightmare about a gieant crocodile lurking in my bedroom waiting for a chance to eat me, and another one about a huge black spider, so well, I don’t idealize the animal world either. But even then, I’d rather be eaten by a tiger than by a croc!
    Margaret and cat.

  93. Margaret says:

    p.s. I realised myself my begging for response is me trying to undo that feeling of not being able to connect, just ignore it…

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