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  1. New comment page ! G.

  2. Margaret says:


  3. Phil says:

    It’s good we got a new page, I couldn’t get some recent comments to go
    Thanks Gretchen!

  4. Sylvia says:

    Oh boy, thanks, Gretchen.

  5. Mike W. says:

    Would anyone know whether France Janov has divested all control of The Primal Center in Santa Monica? Is it even still open and operating? Anyone happen to know what’s going on over there? Thanks.

    • Sylvia says:

      You could contact them at their email address. They have answered questions for me before, like when they will make their website page with the old podcasts available. As of yet they haven’t updated access to their site but will answer questions for you via email.

  6. My view is France did wind up her part in the Janov Institute (I recall seeing documents to that effect online ) and I think someone at the JI took over the business paperwork and were named lead person as Director . They could have been helped by Patient’s Org actually – many experienced ones who might have aided the “Legacy” to serve the purposes of aiding other patients but even on the “Legacy” proceeds it was unclear what was happening with them … I think this area of “winding down” the JI or whatever is happening to it has been a lost opportunity ..

    Sadly Art never encouraged a Patient Org to aid steerage of the future either ..That’s my view ..

  7. Daniel says:

    On the night of Pentecost in May 1942, the occupying German forces raided a boarding school on the outskirts of Brussels, on suspicion it was harbouring Jewish children. The timing was no coincidence as during the holiday the children present in the school were only those who had nowhere to go. It was nighttime. The children were woken up, interrogated as to their identity, and arrested. The staff present was also interrogated, among which was a young Belgian schoolteacher named Andrée Geulen.

    Andrée Geulen was merely 20 years-old when she became a member of the surprisingly effective Belgian resistance to the German occupation during the second world war. A teacher in one of Brussel’s primary schools, she became acutely aware of the persecution of Jews when her Jewish students showed up in class wearing the yellow star used to identify Jews in the public sphere. She couldn’t bear the discrimination and ordered her entire class to wear aprons to school to cover the marking.
    There she is, during the war:

    Through a Jewish friend teaching at the same school, Geulen was introduced to and became a member in the clandestine Comité de Défense des Juifs (Committee for the Defence of Jews), where she became actively involved in saving Belgian Jews. She received the code name Claude Fournier, and acted by helping Jewish children find hideouts in Catholic schools, religious institutions and families under false names. One of those was the Athénée royal Isabelle Gatti de Gamond, a boarding school at the outskirts of Brussels whose headmistress Odile Henri-Ovart was already hiding about a dozen Jewish children, and in which Geulen was stationed as a teacher and an underground operative.

    During that raid on the boarding school Geulen was interrogated but managed to leave the school, at which point she rushed to warn all Jewish students she knew who were with Catholic families of returning to school.

    Neither the Jewish children arrested at Gatti de Gamond nor the headmistress were that lucky. Within a few weeks, all the children were deported to Auschwitz. The headmistress, Odile Henri-Ovart, her husband Remi, and their daughter Andrée were arrested. Remi was deported to first the Sachsenhausen and then the Buchenwald concentration camps, and during the death marches of April 1945, he was shot to death. Odile was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where she died of typhus on March 31, 1945.

    Such an experience would have been enough for most, but not Geulen. She went underground and doubled her efforts. For another two years, she continued to move Jewish children to Christian families and monasteries and kept on visiting them making sure their needs were met. Risking her life, until liberation she managed to find safe homes for and saved about 300 children.
    Here are couple of pages from her notebook:

    Upon liberation Andrée Geulen didn’t stop. Now she was busy finding all those children and returning them to their original families. Over the years she kept in touch with many of them. A few days ago, this remarkable woman died. She was 100 years old.

  8. Margaret says:

    last Sunday I could finally go sailing again! it was really wonderful and gave me an enormous boost, physically and also in tasting more pleasure of life.
    they will offer these sailing events now every other Sunday during summer, until mid October, to make up for lost Corona time.
    it is a great sailing club, offering all kind of assistance to people with disabilities to make the best of their sailing experiences.
    it is so great to be between warm caring people, and to be able to join the sailing in a very active way as well.
    i will subscribe myself tomorrow for every other Sunday until October!
    I could go tango dancing again too last Friday but postponed that for a week as I did not feel well enough.
    at some point I ended up feeling a bit lost on the sailing day as the volunteer that was going to do the last trip of the afternoon with me did not show up and I got tired of waiting.
    I decided not to remain in ‘the victim role’ and took initiatives to ask people around me about it, and hey, another very nice volunteer showed up and we had a great sailing trip together!
    I told him at some point about the decision not to be stuck in a victim role and to reach out, and he said that that quality was exactly what struck him so much in the participants and how much he liked it.
    it is in so many ways a healing experience…

    • Phil says:

      That’s great news that you were able to enjoy sailing again, and that you will continue with it. Did you get wet at all?

    • Daniel says:

      It’s a youtube video, Margaret, can you play it? Your comment reminded me of that song.

      • Barry M says:

        Hey Daniel,
        yeah, we all remember where we were when those special songs affected our lives. I especially remember a night when Maggie May was suddenly the best song EVER.

        BUT, did you see him at the Jubilee for the queens umpteenth year on the throne?
        The Rod needs to hang ’em up!!!

      • Barry M says:

        Bye the way, I googled Andree Geulen – an amazing woman, and that “Don’t f-ck with me” look on her face in that picture speaks volumes.

  9. Margaret says:

    as it was a nice sunny day with just enough wind for pleasant sailing, I did not get sprayed with water or anything, which by the way is fun and exciting as well haha.
    the only wet part I got was my hand when I bent overboard while sailing, easy to do as I was sitting on the side, to put my hand in the water to check the speed we were making.
    it was a lovely afternoon, sun, enough wind and nice company.
    when does your holiday start?

    • Phil says:

      My vacation starts July 2 when we go to Spain. But because we have been doing poorly I’m questioning whether I should go, but if I cancel would lose my airfare. My wife doesn’t need me there and is aware I’m considering not going, and things seem to be slowly improving between us. Maybe only because she would like me to go, but is otherwise fine with treating me like shit.
      So, we’ll see what happens. The thought of not going actually feels more relaxing. In that case I would shorten my vacation in order to save days for later in the year.

      • Barry M says:

        Hey Phil,
        Leslie and I were just over in Europe visiting our son in Switzerland, and we did a side trip to Barcelona. Such a wonderful city to explore, both on foot and by hop-on-hop-off buses. We did over 25,000 steps a day (Can be verified) and had delicious tapas ad infinitum.
        Don’t forget the good stuff, if you are tossing a coin.

        • Phil says:

          Barry, as of now neither choice feels good. My wife seems to assume I will be going, even though I warned her I might not. I don’t know why things have to be so difficult.
          I’ve been to Barcelona twice, it’s a beautiful city. We were possibly going to drive to Portugal on this trip, but if we aren’t relating well, it doesn’t seem very worthwhile.

  10. Margaret says:

    that sounds like a difficult and unpleasant situation.
    I hope somehow the air gets cleared up between you and your wife soon.
    my screenreader could not detect the link in your comment.
    is it the song ‘I am sailing? hopefully with nice images of sailing boats?

  11. Daniel says:

    This is the end of civilization as we know it

  12. Phil says:

    I had a big feeling this morning about my father. It was about not believing what happened and may have happened when I was a child. I was saying “that isn’t what happened” while crying about my father. I guess inside I’ve still felt he was a good guy, and maybe he wasn’t so good. He wasn’t helpful, but that’s not what this is about. It goes beyond that. Maybe this is a way forward with this. I’m certainly resistant, that’s what it’s about, and I’d like to remember more. It’s just hard for me to believe.

  13. I am so sad to tell you that Vivian died last night. I wish I could say more but at another time. Gretch

    • Sylvia says:

      Very sad. Thank you for letting us know.

    • Oh wow, and I’m not kidding at all when I say this, but I was just thinking of Vivian completely out of the blue yesterday after many months of her never entering my mind. I was recalling yesterday a chat we had from some years before that where you told me Viv was 90 (at the time) and clearly couldn’t stay on top of managing the Institute anymore. This weird coincidence astounds me regardless of how others may see it.
      The few times I met her were always pleasant and I could share a few small stories, but not important now.
      A nice and patient person, with a notable hint of world-weariness when I met her.
      Well I’m sorry about her sad passing, Gretchen. I know she was an icon.

    • Mike says:

      A loss to the community and the world at large. Some how, figures such as Vivian and Art seem imperishable, yet reality stalks all of us. RIP.

    • Margaret says:

      that is indeed sad news.
      i have only good memories of Vivian.
      from the time she did my intake interview until the groups she attended in La Casa, she has always been very nice and supportive to me.
      I really liked her style, her straightforwarness and honesty.
      and her sense of humor.
      and she was so very supportive to me in several groups, with just some small remarks that felt so good they are engraved in my memory and still give me emotional support on difficult moments.
      goodbye dear Vivian, and thank you so very much,

    • Phil says:

      That’s very sad and I’m very sorry to hear the news about Vivian.

    • Daniel says:

      Sad news. Like others, I have fond memories of Vivian. I guess her time came and I hope she was surrounded by the love and care she provided to so many.

  14. Chris P says:

    so sorry for your loss Gretchen, I know you must have many memories with Vivian and I know how sad you must feel at this time. I was in a number of groups with Vivian–mostly at retreats–and one in particular stands out for me and I know it had a big impact on my growth. I won’t share it here right now but I will think sweetly upon it tonight and remember the experiences I had with her in other groups. A memory of one of my long time friends in therapy and how he would imitate her brings a smile to my face. She had keen insight and was a skilled Primal therapist. May she rest in peace.

  15. Leslie says:

    So sorry Gretchen…thank you for letting us know.
    Remembering Vivian with such fondness and gratitude for who she was and all she gave.
    Sending love to you, your family and theirs.

  16. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. I really do appreciate each of your posts so much. Vivian was a truly unique person. So straight forward, never underhanded . She was completely herself. A rare quality. Like many of you I always felt she did not get enough credit for her contributions to Primal. On the other hand I don’t think she cared all that much about credit. Gretch

  17. Barry M says:

    Based on the far too few times I did speak with Vivian I would agree with you Gretchen if you are talking about credit due her from her peers in the psychology world. I think she very much cared about credit we primal patients felt towards her. Unfortunately I, for one, never verbally expressed it, and now it is too late to do so. Because of that I want to do exactly that to the two remaining deities at the Institute while I still can.
    Gretchen and Barry, you have changed my life. You have made so much possible that wouldn’t have been before therapy. My 3 years or so doing therapy in L.A., and the many wonderful retreats we’ve had over the years (and hopefully those still to come) have been highlights of my life.
    Thank you. I hope you know how much you mean to me.

    Barry M

  18. Daniel says:

    Like you Barry, I also spoke only rarely to Vivian, mostly the occasional nod. I’m not sure she was actively treating people around the time I was in therapy nor was she leading the groups or the single retreat I attended in Switzerland. However, when the institute on Pico burned down I wrote to her, thinking if it was terrible news for me (I was already home, out of the US) it must be devastating for her, especially as this fire was – if I’m not mistaken – man-made. In that letter I thanked her for making therapy possible for me and my wife, and shared an anecdote about Jean Cocteau and a fire that broke out in his house consuming many objects he loved and cared deeply about. Can you imagine seeing your life’s-work go up in flames, even if it’s only the physical aspects of it? I also remembered Vivian had already lost a child to fire (can’t think of any pain worse than that) and my heart went out to her, thinking this one must be so unbearably painful for her also because of that earlier loss.

    Vivian’s life’s-work made an important and lasting impact on my life. With her passing the world has become poorer and emptier.

  19. There were a couple times I didn’t agree with or seriously questioned what Vivian told me…a couple times in person and once from her writings, so unfortunately it wasn’t always a series of sweetly pungent, idyllic meadowlands gently laced with rivulets of milk and honey. Even so, I still kept some of her old Primal newsletter writings in storage.

    • Mike says:

      Superstarguru: I’d be interested in the point or points on which you disagreed with Vivian Janov. If you’re inclined to respond, feel free to contact me at Thanks.

      • Mike, I attempted to write a long post in response to yours, yet WordPress wouldn’t process it. I copied the text to another file and will try again tomorrow.

        • I wanted to edit a previous sentence in my earlier post as: “wasn’t always a series of sweetly fragrant, idyllic meadowlands gently laced with flowing rivulets of milk and honey.”
          If I could do it over again, I would re-phrase it as that.

  20. This is from Guru – Mike: Thanks for your personal interest, yet I must say it would take a lot of work to explain everything in detail on the three points I referenced. It’s not that I’m unwilling to share them, it’s more that I’m too emotionally exhausted to rehash the entire points all over again in complete detail from the very beginning with someone not knowledgeable. The effort involved almost seems pointless to me anymore, especially given it was a long time ago and everyone has long since moved on.
    Having said this, please don’t misunderstand my earlier post as saying I disliked Vivian or that I have any longstanding grudges with her. They were simply offhand remarks and/or writing she made that irritated me at the time and I disagreed with. She seemed oblivious to some deeper complexities related to those statements she made, that’s all.
    This does not debase her skills as a therapist in any way, and I actually PREFERRED Vivian’s approach towards a more impersonal clinical Primal setting than revolving around more of a potential ‘cult of personality’ as I feared may be the case at Art’s clinic.
    I did like Vivian overall, including a lot of what she wrote in the old newsletters, too. She was spot on in many areas.
    (As an aside, and as the years went by, I did grow to slowly appreciate more and more why it was absolutely necessary for Art to be a brash, polemic statesman to the public. On the lonely frontier of grappling with new ideas or paradigms in the face of an indifferent and apathetic public, it does take a great deal of aggressive work to execute those ideas even at a potential cost of arrogant hubris sometimes. This point in parentheses is not related to Mike’s request, only something I needed to type down before I forgot.)
    I’ll give your request some more thought, Mike. I’m not sure what I’m going to do there yet.”

  21. Thanks Barry and Daniel for your comments. So sweet and thoughtful. I really do appreciate it. Guru You are correct that when it came to Vivian “ it wasn’t always a series of sweetly pungent, idyllic meadowlands gently laced with rivulets of milk and honey. “ That may be what I appreciated most. She was very much herself. Gretchen

    • Gretchen, thanks for reposting my statement to Mike. I don’t know why WordPress often refuses my longer passages.
      You seem to place the utmost value on a person being ‘very much herself’ or ;’just being oneself’. By such logic, should I tell anyone who becomes upset by Donald Trump’s words that there is something emotionally wrong with that critical person instead since Trump is ‘just being himself’? At some point there has to be a limit to unfettered individualism run amok, I would think.

      • Sylvia says:

        In therapy being your true self means, I would think, being free of a driven behavior from past unconscious repressed hurts/pains. You are free of acting out and projecting your feelings or rage on someone else or the need to feel more important than others. I don’t think Trump has reached that stage yet. Hence, he is not his true self.

        • This is an extremely deep topic demanding MUCH more energy than I can possibly provide at this time. Reams upon reams of discussion text would be generated. We would have to begin by questioning what does the ‘true self’ even mean? If I had to hunt in the forest in pre-historic times with a spear against potentially dangerous wild animals for food and survival every single day, would I be closer to my true, grouchier self than if I had a battalion of servants catering to my every culinary whim as I travel the globe using modern air and ground transportation? (I’m not specifically pointing at Vivian when I say this, only showing where such questions would have to begin in this area.)
          I’m much too tired for that, I think.

  22. Daniel says:

    Yesterday and today mark the 80th anniversary for one of Paris’ (France) darkest moments. Beginning at 4:00 AM on July 16th, 1942, the French police arrested in their homes some 13,000 Jews, including 4,000 children, and detained most of them in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, an indoor cycling track on rue Nélaton close to the Eifel Tower. It is known as the Vél d’Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver).

    The detainees remained in the Vél d’Hiv for five to eight days in terrible conditions and mounting desperation. There was little room and zero privacy. The roof was shut, the windows sealed, and the heat was excruciating. The lights were on the entire day and night and loudspeakers were broadcasting orders constantly. sleep was next to impossible. The French never bothered about food or water and people were hungry and thirsty. The only water available was from a single fire hydrant pumping unclean water form the Seine, and the only food served was soup poured directly into the cupped hands of the detainees by some Red Cross volunteers.

    Disease broke out almost immediately and hundreds came down with scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. And dysentery, which was particularly humiliating as of the ten lavatories in the arena, five were sealed because they had windows through which people could escape, and five were simply blocked. The entire population of detainees in the velodrome had no choice but to urinate and defecate in public, so on top of the humiliation they were living in unbearable stench and filth.

    People screamed and cried all hours. They attacked each other with frenzied fear and hopelessness. Some took their own lives, throwing themselves from the top bleachers onto the floor. The few that did try to escape were shot to death by the French.

    After five days, the police began to clear the Vél d’Hiv. In cattle trucks they transported the detainees to transit camps outside Paris. There they forcefully separated the children from their parents. There are heart-wrenching reports of how the French police beat the screaming mothers with rifle butts as they were trying to protect and hold on to their children without success.
    All the parents were sent to Auschwitz. The children were sent there a few weeks later. Only a handful survived.

    It took fifty years for the French to acknowledge their participation and complicity in the Vél d’Hiv roundup in particular and the persecution and deportation of Jews from France in general. On July 16, 1995, the then French President Jacques Chirac publicly acknowledged the role of the French police and accepted responsibility of the French state for what happened:

    “France, land of the Enlightenment and of Human Rights, land of hospitality and asylum, France, on that day, committed an irreparable act. It failed to keep its word and delivered those under its protection to their executioners.”

    The book and the film Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah), starring Kristin Scott Thomas, opens with a scene of that roundup. The film is in my opinion one of the few that are honest in depicting the holocaust. By honest I do not mean factually correct but rather not being exploitative, which is extremely hard when it comes to such a huge calamity.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks, Daniel, I did not yet know about that tragedy. With such stories, I am always reminded that there is really no limit to what people will do to others, to service their fear, and regardless of conflicting truth whacking them in the face. Denial seems to have no bottom. I have been reading books on McCarthyism, and what is also striking is how much the beliefs motivating that insanity are still pervasive in right-wingism today.

      • Daniel says:

        Hi Vicki, I agree with everything you say here except for calling it a “tragedy”. In tragedy the hero has an important part in his or her downfall – which is why it’s “tragic”. This one was just brutality, cruelty and murder.

        • I absolutely hate it when I spend 15 or more minutes sitting here struggling to decide whether I should respond to Daniel, carefully weighing all the ramifications and whether it’s really worth it or not.
          In the end, I decided to just post how frustrated this makes me.

          • Sylvia says:

            I don’t think he bites…

            • I might do it for $1,000-$1,500 or so maybe, in order to balance out the emotional risk/reward spectrum. Otherwise, I just wanted to share that I was frustrated at being frustrated. Not saying anything at all would be the ultimate self-destructive frustration, so it’s better to peel off one layer of the onion only as a compromise.
              I run into these situations fairly often, and from now on I think it would be helpful for me to explain such conundrums so I can move on.

          • Phil says:

            In those 15 minutes struggling to decide you could have already written something. Whether it’s worth it or not? Either you have something to say or you don’t, it seems to me.
            To me, about what Daniel wrote, it’s a reminder that history is complicated as is and how we view or understand it. Not all the Nazis were in Germany, as we might tend to think. What a terrible story.

            • Daniel says:

              Phil, My guess is, Guru’s mind went racing not over the French tale but rather over my “tragedy” comment.

              On another matter, and only if ok with you, what do you think is the matter with your relationship with your wife, and what do you think prevents you from working it out?

              • Phil says:

                I checked out that discussion again and agree, tragedies are not intentional, in my mind.

                There’s no easy answer to your question about my relationship with my wife. We had a big disagreement sometime in May and things between us have been poor since then.
                I feel like this rupture was her fault, but I don’t want to go into all the details. What I will say is she was discouraged about my cooperation with household duties, things which are important to her. This is nothing new. We have had this issue for years, so I didn’t understand why it reached crisis levels for her now. A question for me is what prevents me from cooperating more. It seems to relate to some of my primal issues.

                We had a joint primal session where I found out how angry she really is. It felt like nonstop attacks, criticisms, and complaints directed towards me, which was hard to take.
                What prevents us from working it out? I guess how we are feeling about each other at the moment. When we do stuff together that seems to help. We have another trip planned next month. We’ll be driving north from here to visit some parks and beaches, unless that gets cancelled. We’ll see what happens.

  23. Phil says:

    I’m back from a two week vacation to Spain with my wife, visiting her family, and we also drove to Portugal for a few days. Portugal is really impressive. Sintra where we were staying, has some major tourist attractions; historic palaces with beautiful gardens. It was also a lot of fun exploring Lisbon, and it was great seeing family members in Spain. We spent a day at the beach near Sintra, and it was nice, but not at all as good as beaches on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. It was very windy and the ocean water cold, which apparently is usually the case there.
    I was, however, continuously triggered because our marital relationship seems to be at a low point. I did well in that no incidents took place between us, and I tried to be agreeable, with some success. I don’t want it to take years for our relationship to get back to a decent level.
    Since getting back on Sunday I’ve connected with some big feelings, relating to major deprivations from my mother, and my father didn’t help or understand, so not much from him either.
    I’m getting more clarity with all of this.

    • Sylvia says:

      It sounds like a scenically wonderful time, Phil. Good that you are progressing with your feelings of clarity about your mom and dad. Welcome back to the U.S. of A.
      S 🐱

      • Phil says:

        Thanks Sylvia. I’m glad to be back in the good ole USA, land of guns, but I miss not still being on vacation in Spain with people I probably won’t see until next year.

        • Sylvia says:

          I can imagine it’s a bit of a let down coming home from vacation. It must be hard for your wife too to leave her older relatives.

          • Phil says:

            Sylvia, my wife is staying there another three weeks. Right now at home with my older son we’re enjoying the freedom to make as many messes as we want. A freedom we don’t usually have. In September he’s expecting to move to LA to live with his girlfriend. So, after this we’re not likely to see him that often.

  24. Sylvia says:

    Guru, wouldn’t that make this a primal gigolo blog if your heart wasn’t in it and it was just for the money?

    • Au contraire, Sylvia. As I said earlier the money serves as a tool to ameliorate the potential emotional downsides so that respond to Daniel with a homeostatic risk/reward profile. It’s not strictly even a matter of whether my words are worth $3,000, because I know they would be worthless to many. Think of it as insurance money against personal emotional risks; my heart would definitely be in the fray, only I may not be able to exit in good order.

      • (correction) *potential emotional downsides so that I would respond to Daniel with a homeostatic risk/reward profile

        • Sylvia says:

          You’d have to give out some freebies for a while to see if you have any takers for the good stuff. I’d put in your offer that no one can argue with you afterwards either so the discussion can be brought to a conclusion quickly. I’m out of money for these things so I’m out. Good luck. Do you take bitcoin?

  25. David says:

    a 7.5 cm aneurysm and a stage 4 cancer spells my end times. what fucking luck, eh; the news unfolded over the past 18 days; seems unreal; the hospitals and my Internist misfiled test results for 18 months.. then I started calling…

    Barry, thank you; finally figured out why I never fit in; I’m wounded but not dysfunctional… Gretchen, good heart, competent intelligence, folks were lucky to have you.

    David Hardy

    • Sylvia says:

      Wow, David, what shattering news and that you found out so late without intervening help. I hope they can do something and prioritize some treatment for you if that is what you want.

      Do take care. Will be thinking of you.

    • Daniel says:

      David, In the past news of your imminant demise proved premature. I hope this one will prove to be the same. Most aneurysms can be successfully treated when caught in time, and there are new treatments for cancer that may be short of compete cure but still prolong life. If available treatments don’t seem to help then depending on the exact type of cancer you have, your best bet might be to get into an ongoing research program where the newest methods are tested. Good luck.

    • Phil says:

      David, that’s terrible news. I hope it’s not as bad as it sounds and that it can be treated.

  26. David, That is horrible. I am thinking of you as well and hoping you are getting the help you need. Gretch

    • David says:

      Thank you. Weird place I’m in. Not always sure what my tears are about. Sometimes it fseems like it’s hurt/sadness about dying never having lived. First time I’ve observed life from this vantage point; see people feeling then distancing… knew that happens academically but it creates a new level of loneliness. Professionals,’ read,’ Elizabeth Kubler Ross, mistake her intentions and use the principles to systematically usher ,’ patients,’ along the corridor to the exit, briefly touching each guide post; in part perhaps, to avoid lingering on their personal discomforts. I remember when our little daughter died, for a couple of days hoping it was a bad dream and I’d wake up.. a bit of that with this. The one way I didn’t want to die, strangling for breath, forces me have to choose,’ MAID.’
      My Internist says somehow my test results over a period of a year,
      ‘ fell to the bottom of the pile.’ Had I not started phoning on June 16/22, they would never, in my lifetime, have been revealed.

  27. I have put up a new blog post dedicated to Vivian. Thanks again to Vicki and Daniel for suggesting this and sending me the interviews and articles. I will post the link or you can go to the blogs main page. Gretch

  28. Margaret says:

    wow, what a great article from Vivian talking to Bill!
    it touched me so much I started and continued crying listening to it.
    will listen to the next posts later on, now about to go visit my mom.

  29. Phil says:

    This is a great interview with Vivian which I enjoyed reading. I look forward to more articles about her. Very sadly, because I started therapy in New York years ago, I never met her unfortunately. By the time I started going to retreats she was already retired. I was hoping that In retirement she’d make an appearance again at a retreat. I’ve only ever really heard good things about her.


    • David says:

      did Vivian pass ? nothing in the press to indicate that. She did my admission interview and was a cotherapist in a mixed group I attended. I thought she was great; took me through feeling like my needs could be met/approval, then, to abandonment. that insight came as a retrospective; in real time the feelings were intense, moreso the abandonment. She provided some relief commenting on whee she thought I was at in the feeling, or rather, the defense against the feeling of abandonment.

  30. I’m purposely leaving this post away from the Vivian interview page since this is a different topic. I go out and happened to buy a 48 ounce container of mint chocolate chip ice cream a mere nine hours ago. That container is now empty. Why? Oh why am I such a ravenous addict when it comes to absolute junk like potato chips and ice cream, scarfing everything down in short order? I take some healthier foods home, but invariably I eat up the junk first, all of it, like a serious drug addict. I’m lucky I’m not a diabetic or this would be an even more dangerous problem.

  31. David says:

    Maybe change your punctuation from a period to a question mark ?

  32. Sylvia says:

    This you tube video by Marjan Tosic, a former patient at the Primal Center and therapist in Serbia now. He gives a good view of THE therapy for the uninitiated or for anyone really. I will paste below. I thought it was interesting.

  33. Margaret says:

    I have had several weeks of intense stress and anxiety.
    I live right next to a very orthodox school, and one of the directors there is also my landlord, as the house I rent an apartment in, is right next to the school and belongs to their property.
    the school is being renovated, which caused increasing problems, falling rubble, construction materials and asbestos containing stuff, all over my terrace and its half roof and the joining veranda roof of the downstairs neighbors.
    some days literally thousands of tiny isolation pellets blowing onto my terrace, sticking in the cats fur etc., not to speak of the dust and rocky bits of the rubble.
    but the worst thing was they were about to start taking off the roof of my terrace and the neighbors veranda roof to build a huge construction against the side wall of the school, which would block my terrace for months in a row.
    that terrace, apart from being used as a passageway between the back and front part of my place, is also full of my stuff, plants , litter boxes etc.
    so I would have to store as much as possible indoors and lock the cats into the front part, and lord knows what hassles with the construction and filth to come…
    I called the landlord, sent messages, sometimes good communication, but lately no clear answers and the workers seeming about to start the work on my side, very stressful and unclear situation, causing me to take more medication against high blood pressure .
    I refrained from calling when angry, remembering I want to stay in that place and prefer no fight with my landlord, and just kept sending honest messages from time to time, explaining my concerns.
    and hey, finally I got a call from him, letting me know they had sat together and changed the entire planning for the works,.
    they would finish the back part of the (huge) school first, then the roof, then the front part, and finally, in October probably, start on my side, and keep it as brief as possible, maybe just a few days!
    and he added they would let me know two weeks in advance.
    I was so happy with this call, told him so as well.
    not only the scary situation changed, but also the fact he had listened to my messages, and had cared enough to change the work team’s plans.
    after difficult or no communication, this felt like such an enormous relief and reassurance!
    I am glad and feel good about myself as well, to have insisted in a polite but clear way and to have reached this huge change.
    there will still be noise, dust and occasional rubble, but it already feels differently, now that goodwill has been expressed.
    just wanted to share this.
    a long story which might have to be sliced into parts for the blog, but I wanted to share it, as it was really getting to me in a bad way lately…
    now it feels better, so far, anyway, which is also noticed by my cats who seem also less anxious and scared.

    • Sylvia says:

      That must be so relieving for you, Margaret. That is great that your calm communication and persistence paid off with them changing their plans and not inconveniencing you so much. “Good job!” as the kids say nowadays.

    • Daniel says:

      Margaret, That’s pretty unusual and therefore impressive that a developer or a constructing company will change their plans in consideration of a single woman. Makes you have faith in the human race doesn’t it? Way to go!

    • Phil says:

      That’s an amazing outcome you achieved about your apartment, congratulations!

  34. Margaret says:

    thanks Sulvia and Daniel,
    ha, at times I was not so calm, not even on the phone…
    and I guess it helped the person having hired the constructor was also my landlord.
    and I did mention the Ukrainian refugees and their little kids living on the ground floor who would also suffer a lot from the way the works were planned initially.
    it took me a lot of stress and insistence and anxiety but I am so very glad it worked out well!
    and yes, some people inspire some confidence in humankind not being entirely hopeless…
    but the story is not over yet, let’s hope it all goes well,
    M and cats

    • Mike says:

      While it’s nice to receive positive-sounding replies that boost your feeling of well being, I’d like to inject a dose of reality here. After all, cold, hard reality’s what we’re after, and we all have to faced it, ultimately. I lived in an area in which the residents were extremely irresponsible. Coming home from work was akin to entering a prison yard. You never knew what threat or calamity was in store for you. The only certainty was that you’d have to either endure or deal directly with some impingement on normal living. In more extreme circumstance, I might have to call police, but they could only do so much, and after a while, they stopped responding.

      In your case, you simply got lucky. But, the possibility of more upheaval remains. The solution is begin taking small but purposeful steps to either remove all further threats, or to extricate yourself from the environment and relocate to more stable surroundings.

      The lesson I took from my experience is that the feeling of being out of control of your life – because life around you really is out of control – may be fine for a Primal three week intensive – but it’s not way to live.

      • Mike, heh I think I just might know who you are already, even without having sent you my email as you asked about earlier. I certainly won’t give out surnames if that’s what you want, but I do remember a certain surname and location from the past, too.
        Always a chance I could be mistaken here, though.

        • Mike says:

          Superstar – whomever you may be thinking of, I can assure you that I’m not that person.

          • Mike, well…may I ask whether the name you’re using here is your actual first name? It’s just to satiate my curiosity so I can draw some better inferences for myself; I won’t take it any further than that.

            • Mke says:

              Yes, Mike is my actual first name. I was a patient at Art’s center when it was on Abbot Kinney Road in Venice.

  35. Margaret says:

    for me reality remains a dynamic concept.
    in my case here I feel continuing communication and openness eventually paid off.
    I feel things changed for the better for all participants and the feeling of being heard and respected does leave a better ground even for future interactions, with the landlord, the constructor and the work team.
    I am happy to be able to stay in this place as I really like it despite it being old, it has a lot of charm and beauty as well.
    your reality sounds different, so moving out might have been the best solution in your case.
    but anyway, I feel i actually managed to increase the level of reality in my relation with my landlord and the construction tea.

  36. Margaret says:

    I feel primal Therapy and groups helped me to deal with the problem.
    I was being consumed with anxiety and stress and worry, mostly about the cats, and the best option to make myself feel less tense was to take action, and reach out by calling or sending text messages or leaving voice mails.
    the hardest days were when there were no replies for days in a row.
    then I also contacted the Russian guy that does most jobs for the landlord concerning the rental apartments.
    he could only do so much but it helped to talk to him and I am sure he also talked with the landlord.
    I also kept cleaning up as much as I could and a big step forwards was when a workman came over with a big industrial blower to blow isolation pellets and dust and rubble away from my terrace.
    that sign of goodwill helped and I feel pretty sure that also Gregor the Russian man had pulled some strings then.
    and finally after a a while the liberating decision and change of plans arrived, hurray.
    so communicating in an open way, avoiding to call when too angry as to not end in some kind of power struggle, and forcing myself to have some patience and wait at times did help to feel less overwhelmed and come to this agreement, and I am grateful to Primal for this, thanks Barry and Gretchen and all fellow patients and friends for helping in the process.
    not to feel alone so much diminishes the size of any kind of problem in my experience.

  37. Sylvia says:

    More of Marjan Tosic’s views on primal. A couple topics he touches on is “the real self” and also talks about abreaction.

  38. Margaret says:

    I have just had what felt like a very important insight.
    yesterday on a visit to my mom I had been talking to my half-sister about how i regretted not having kids of my own, let alone grandkids.
    I said I also felt bad about it for my mother, and actually I have always felt I failed and wasted my life on this matter.
    but now, reading a book in which a woman suddenly feels delighted about meeting a 4 year old grandson she did not even know she had, it triggered me.
    while crying some pieces fell together, at last.
    I think somehow me, and maybe even my brother, have always sensed our mom was on some level still a vulnerable child we tried to take care of.
    our mom has had really awful experiences as a baby and then as a little girl, and once when I was growing up she told me about the most terrible event when she was about 11, and how right after it happened she felt the world had turned into a very ugly place all of a sudden.
    she added right then she had consciously decided not to let the event take her childhood away from her.
    I feel now that saved her, and no one is to blame, not me or my brother for not having started our own family, not her for whom she was.
    she was a loving and caring mom despite her past, and despite some primal feelings I had to process about how she was.
    there were actually no feelings to be ashamed about, as the bottom line is caring and love, and early inflicted trauma she had no control over.
    even while all of this is still seeping in, I feel how liberating it already is, as I can stop to feel bad about myself .
    it does remain sad but we all simply did our best.
    I am so glad I can start feeling this now while she is still around.
    and I can start to accept and forgive myself for mistakes I made in the past , or still make, ha…
    meaning well and caring was despite some flaws a big part of our family life for which I am grateful.

  39. Margaret says:

    more tears, more insight…
    focusing on my painful longing I realized myself I feel the need for feeling mom is happy.
    I know she knows I love her, every time I say I do she replies with ‘I know, I love you too, you know that too don’t you’, in a very sweet way.
    then I imagined someone feeling the same way about me, needing me to feel happy.
    then I knew that is an unreal wish, we all need the freedom to feel sad and lonely at times as well.
    I also feel my mom is actually a very feeling person already,, just yesterday when I arrived in her ward and she saw me, she stood still, looked at me, close to tears, and said ‘I am all alone…’
    what makes it heartbreaking is her condition, no short term memory so she is all the time confused about where she is and why, not remembering my phone calls or visits, at least not consciously.
    luckily, giving her a good hug and telling her she is not alone,, everyone loves her, I am here, how would you feel about a walk and then an ice cream?’ immediately makes her light up and radiate with pleasure.
    she loves to be out in nature, plants, flowers, trees, birds, she keeps pointing at any kind of beauty striking her.
    and when we joke, she can really laugh in a way that makes me smile just thinking of it.
    and she is always concerned about anyone around her, if they are ok, if they need anything, if she can do anything to help.
    I feel so scared and sad at the idea to lose her some day, I want to enjoy every moment with her, but of course that is not always possible either.
    still, the important fact is I love her and know that now, I was not sure at the start of my therapy, was too confused then, and I know she loves me, and it gets easier to see and accept love for and from others as well, which enriches my life.
    accepting my feelings of sadness and desperation when they come up, make me feel more peaceful bit by little bit.

  40. Margaret says:

    you are right, it felt confusing and painful while I still had to sort out the feelings and how they had influenced me and my life.
    the breakthrough now is that finally I can get some resolvment and feel no one is to blame and now my mom is more my mom than ever before.
    it has been a long way to come to this point but I feel at peace.

  41. Barry and I want to thank all of you for the sweet and thoughtful condolence cards, emails, blog posts and phone calls. I know that Vivian would have been touched as well. There was a small memorial for a small group closest to Vivian, that is what she wanted. Thank you again for all your kindness. Gretch

    • David says:

      Memorable. Warm, kind, accurate. To you, her personal, friends, though you’re richer for the friendship, I do not believe that blunts the hurt of loss.

  42. Leslie says:

    Thank you Margaret for sharing as you have all your wonderful insights, past struggles and ongoing
    vulnerability & strengths. It is so good and heart warming to read, and truly what I think brings out
    the best in this blog.
    ox L

  43. Leslie says:

    Gretchen & Barry – I am glad to hear that Vivian is getting the attention and love she deserves.
    Knowing she had you, your family and hers along with friends and grateful Primal people there for her and with her while she was alive is a comfort.

  44. Margaret says:

    thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot to me,
    Xo M

  45. Margaret says:

    are you there?
    one day too late, but congratulations with your birthday!

  46. Larry says:

    I’ve always loved the rock band “Crosby, Stills and Nash”. Their first album came out almost 50 years ago. We don’t hear much from them nowadays of course, being as they are in their 70s I imagine. At this latter stage of their lives I wonder what their songs would be about, so it was a nice surprise to discover they DO have a new album out. I’m pasting a link to one of their songs on it. It’s not a new song, but singing it at this later stage of their lives seems to imbue it with a lot more sad yearning than when they were young. To me the song feels like a melancholy longing to find something (like Primal Therapy) to finally heal and set their souls free, near the end of their lives sadly still yearning. I think the song stirs a deep sadness in me because I’ve arrived at a much better place in my life thanks to PT, and my eyes keep opening, but the more I see the more deeply I feel sad that it’s taken me 7 decades to arrive where I am finally in a less fearful, more wholesome life, when I should have been able to be me since day 1.

    I just feel like sharing.

    • Daniel says:

      Thanks Larry for sharing that. To my mind you’re making a very important point – that although we did not get the best of what parenting/circumstances/luck had to offer, it is never too late to make things better, even if precious time was lost.

      By the way, have you seen “David Crosby: remember my name”, a recent documentary about the name? There are a lot of musical documentaries these days, most of which are rubbish but some, like this one, are IMO quite good. I also liked ‘Once were brothers’ about Robbie Robertson and the Band, “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart”, HBO’s “Tina” about Tina Turner, and several others.

      I saw CSN in LA in 1977. They were wonderful. I’m kind of wary about old geezers putting our new songs or concert tours. I’m afraid it would ruin my memories and past experience of them.

      • Larry says:

        No I’ve not seen it Daniel. Even though he has, from what I gather, made somewhat of a mess of his life, unlike those musicians who escape into religion as a solution to their angst and as a result often their creativity suffers in my opinion, he still puts an honest, searching vulnerability in his music, which I admire, so I’m interested to take a look at that documentary about him. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  47. Sylvia says:

    Thank you for sharing, Larry. It is a moving song I feel does speak of their life experience and something missed and missing and a sadness.

    I’m glad you are where you want to be. You deserve the less fearful and a good wholesome life, having known you from just the few years I’ve been a fellow blogger.

    I also relate to the time missed. For me it was of things that could have been enjoyed and achieved all along were it not for being stuck in my maze of unconsciousness. Welcome to the seventies, Larry.

  48. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    margaret, that must be the other otto. i am winter guy. but thanks. or as my brother and i say–who the f wants to think about bdays at this point in life. 2 sad old boys we be.

  49. Phil says:

    My younger son tore the ACL in his knee playing basketball, I just found out today. I feel really bad about this, he won’t be able to play basketball again any time soon, and it was his main thing lately. He needs surgery. It was really hard listening to him about this, as I can’t fix it. He was just so negative, justifiably I guess. He says he’s “done”, like he can never do sports again. Some of my reaction was to try counter his negativity about it. It is pretty bad though. He won’t be able to work for many weeks, and hopefully be able to go on disability. He also said he and his girlfriend don’t like the apartment we helped them find. They just moved in two months ago, and signed a two year lease. Neighbors complained about noise, and they had to give up a dog they wanted. There’s no nice park nearby they can walk to, according to him. Everything so negative, so hard to take. It ended up triggering my old sad feelings. The same ones everything seems to trigger. I would like everything perfect for my son but I can’t make it that way. Phil .

    • MIKE says:

      Questions: when you’re triggered as you’ve described, do you have the opportunity to go somewhere and feel? Do you have access to a box? Do you think that you’ve come any closer to resolving that core of sadness that’s triggered in you?

      • Phil says:

        Mike, I had some feelings just before I posted this last night. I think I’m moving closer to resolving my core issues, but still have a long ways to go.

    • Sylvia says:

      Bummer for your son. Phil. I hope the surgery will improve his knee and he will be able to play sports again. He does sound ‘down in the dumps,’ I guess you internalize his situation and are triggered. Another feeling to feel for you. Take care. 🐱🌷

      • Phil says:

        Sylvia, I guess I’m identifying too closely with what goes on with my son, but that’s how it is for me. Luckily I have primal to help me deal with it.

    • Daniel says:

      Phill, I wish your son a full recovery. From time to time even professional athletes get these severe injuries but later, with proper treatment, return to their former abilities. I’d like to ask you, why would you like everything perfect for your son? I mean, I understand you would like him to be reasonably happy. However, from a feeling perspective embarking upon such a doomed-to-fail endeavour as having “everything perfect” for whatever does not only guarantee disappointment, but also takes hold of your actions and intentions, and not necessarily for the better. In my own life I found, that whenever I was opting for “perfect” I was actually acting out, or in other ways interacting with, some early deprivation and hidden pain, and giving up “perfect” always proved to be painful in itself because it opened the door to those deprivations.

      • Phil says:

        Daniel, I was trying to describe my feeling, I haven’t embarked on an endeavor of having everything perfect for my son. The feeling no doubt has something to do with how things weren’t perfect for me, very far from it, and wanting it to be better for my sons.

  50. Hi Phil, I am sorry to hear about your sons injury. It sounds as though he is feeling understandably bad about what happened and the upcoming surgery. Sometimes when we are feeling that badly about a situation we tend to see everything in our lives through that same lens. My guess is that he just needs you to listen at the moment. I can certainly understand how all of this might trigger you. There is an old saying “ we are only as happy as our saddest child”. I guess it can certainly feel that way. Please keep us posted on how he is. Gretch

    • Daniel says:

      “We are only as happy as our saddest child”.
      How true.

      • Barry says:

        So very true.
        I am a father to two amazing men. One lives in Zurich, has his Masters in International Law, and works with two Math Fields Medal winners. The other went blue collar and is an HVAC technician, loves his work, and makes more in a year than Les and I ever made together.
        Yes, I am never-endingly proud, but why do I sit in wait for something to happen that I will have to take care of? Why do I wake up to that 6:30 am phone call hoping that it’s another scare about the security of my Visa account, and dreading that something bad has happened to one of my sons. They are 30 and 33 years old this year, past the age of youthful testosterone induced transgressions, but still I can’t relax.
        I can’t trust that all will be well, nor that I won’t be called upon to fix it, nor that at 69 I could.
        BUT, I still love having had kids.
        Barry M

        • Daniel says:

          Barry, My own worries about my children are yet to be as full blown as yours (there’s always something to look forward too). We’re not there yet. My daughter is 21, living at home, and is still to grapple with adult life and its challenges. Although she lacks some important social skills somehow I trust she will find her way.

          My 16 year old son’s future, on the other hand, is much less clear. We know he will need some kind of support for the rest of his life and so much is still unknown – will he be able to support himself? Will he have a family of his own? Will he be socially isolated? Still, in the meantime I do not find myself anxious about it on a daily basis – perhaps because I still feel able to protect the both of them.

          You were asking why you are dreading phone rings, why can’t you trust all will be well with your kids or that you won’t be called upon to fix something bad that will happen. May I suggest a semi-Janovian answer? What you are afraid of has already happened, you’re just placing it in the future and with your children.

          • Barry M says:

            Hey Daniel, I saw your response a little while ago. Thank you.
            You made me think about it, and it led my wife and I to have some interesting discussions.
            You’re right. I am placing what happened to me in the future, and both of my sons are far better equipped to handle something similar than I would be to fix it.
            I don’t worry about them all the time though. Just when I’m awake!

    • Phil says:

      Hi Gretchen, yea, I guess he is feeling down in general after this, and venting. I’ll be talking to him later today to get updated. There are a lot of things to be worried about besides basketball.

  51. Margaret says:

    it must have been difficult to listen to your son and all the problems he faces without being able to make them disappear.
    still it must have been helpful for him, even in a small way, to be able to share them with you and to know you are there and you will always try to help when possible.

  52. Barry M says:

    Hey Phil, I’m sorry to hear that about your son. Was sports something that he was hoping to base his future on? I remember dreaming for about a year and a half of being a professional soccer player’s father when my youngest was about ten years old. He was awesome, but then he developed Osgood Schlatter in his knees, and while eventually OK, never got the coaching that was necessary. C’est la vie.
    On a parental level though, yes I get that you ache for him, you always will, but from what you say it sounds like you did as much as you could when he was growing up.
    You can supply the tools, but how he uses them is up to him. – my advice though, keep the critiquing to a minimum.

    • Phil says:

      My son developed a strong interest in basketball the last few years. He was playing a lot of pick-up games in NYC parks, and also is a big fan of the Knicks. He wasn’t basing he future on sports, but it has been his primary interest. Before basketball it was skateboarding. Now when he sees his friends where we live he won’t be able to skateboard either.
      He hasn’t told me this but my wife feels this injury was intentionally caused by other players. She heard from his girlfriend that they were kicking him because they resented a white guy joining in. It eventually developed into an ACL tear. I don’t know whether to believe this or not, and at this point it doesn’t matter, but my wife is mad because she thinks this could have been avoided. When you do sports there is a risk. I’ve been injured many times but never anything so serious.

  53. Not to selfishly wrest the conversation away from children and sports, but at this juncture I don’t have many options otherwise. I’ve been nurturing a small suite, or platform, of packable ideas for the better part of a decade. The moment of truth as to whether my cherished ideas are gold or garbage is close at hand; my work is almost finished. The remaining steps before submitting to the acid test of reality are relatively simple and straightforward. A fearless, emotionally unencumbered programmer could finish the job in about a week.
    I’m a nervous wreck. My drinking has increased exponentially these past few weeks. It’s do or die. It’s an extremely high stakes determination for me and I can’t handle the stress. If my suite of ideas turn out to be junk, I will be completely devastated, so I don’t know how to deal with that right now.

  54. I began my schooling in a completely different, less urban & affluent, school district than my mother had originally intended. The idea of my having children was never even a remote consideration for me from the start; too many other problems to deal with and try to sort out bit by bit. It was like, “Children? Are you kidding? Seriously? HA! What a crazy concept.”

  55. I did explain the precarious situation of my mother’s side of my family tree to some of my mother’s cousins, whom I didn’t know personally and they were shocked at my literal existence. I explained to them that if I die without children my entire maternal family tree will go completely extinct all the way back to our mutually shared great-grandparents. Many of of these cousins are in the medical profession and, upon introducing all the things my mother did during her short life, these cousins collectively bore three more children of their own not long after I revealed my existence to them. Assuming I played any background role in their decisions, that was probably the best I could do in terms of bearing ‘children’ I think.

    • Phil says:

      the way things are going, in the future all our family lines may die out, if that makes you feel any better.


      • Phil, I don’t think that makes me feel any better, no. My attitude is not really ‘me against the world’, only ‘me against some of the world’.
        Moreover, if our civilization dies out before reaching a posthuman stage it also slightly lowers the odds of our being in a simulation, at least according to point number 1 in Nick Bostrom’s seminal paper on the topic.

        • Phil says:

          What would be a post human stage? We all become virtual? Things do seem to be moving in the direction. Are we real if we only exist on Zoom and related platforms like WordPress?

          • We’d have to look back to when we evolved from bonobos for better clues? There are plenty of sites discussing “What will humans look like in X number of years?” Far more knowledgeable minds than mine are working on it.
            It’s not something I worry about too much.

  56. MIKE says:

    “My drinking has increased exponentially…”

    And, that right there is wha t Primal Therapy detractors can and do point to as evidence that the therapy really doesn’t work. Primal Therapy’s supposed to remove the underlying pain that drives the rest of non-Primaled humanity to act out by self-medicating with alchohol, drugs, destructive behavior, etc., etc.

    A post-primal person should’nt need to smoke cigarettes, consume alchohol, indulge in sweets, chase after unrealistic goals – whatever – in order to get through life, before dropping dead into a grave, having never experienced a true self, unencumbered by the underlying pain driving all of those behaviors.

    That’s the theory.

    • Larry says:

      The thing is, most of us are mid-primal, working our way closer to post-primal or stalled on the way as life happens and we choose directions to go.

  57. Mike, I suspect you already know it’s not black and white, cut-and-dried like that. Even my three-week intensive therapist explained it’s a continuum of neurosis (though I really don’t fancy that word).
    I did seriously ask myself why I wanted to buy some alcohol before I did so, and I simply wanted a cheap, convenient vacation for a few hours from reality and the constant pressures therein. To be honest as possible, I would have preferred a small dose of recreational opioids, instead, if it weren’t for the legal problems possessing them. I told Daniel in the past that alcohol is simply a garbage opioid alternative for me, only consumed because it’s legal.
    Art might have brashly promoted Primal in such a way that led a lot of people to the wrong conclusions on how it should work. It’s generally a very subtle and gradual process rather than depicting miraculous ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios. Sometimes certain pains can be too damn difficult to deal with at all, thus no progress in those areas.

    • Mike, this reminds me of another belief I carry around: I don’t think it should be illegal to consume small amounts of recreational opioids. Yes, I know it’s a highly controversial opinion, and I fully appreciate the huge dangers of overdoses and addiction potential, especially with the ultra-powerful fentanyl prevalent these past few years.
      Art also said in his New Primal Scream book that therapy is akin to taking naloxone, a direct opioid agonist. Sometimes, though, I just need a break from pain pain pain, more assaultings by pain, and the little human in me wouldn’t mind a small opioid vacation.
      I would have gladly thrown out those six beers I drank for 20mg morphine and a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows so I could just zone out and enjoy everything for a few hours.
      If dosages are CAREFULLY regulated and one is always mindful of when a possible addiction may be forming, then I don’t see a problem with recreational usage. It’s probably among my more controversial opinions.

  58. It strikes me as the ultimate “ catch 22” ! Gretch

  59. Phil says:

    I can’t find the comment where someone said “my drinking has increased exponentially”. By Guru’s reactions, maybe it was him.
    Hardly anyone reaches “post primal” nirvana, it’s just a continuous process of reducing our loads of pain, little by little.
    I had some significant feelings this week in my journey. They involved remembering just a little more what it was like having a mother. It’s something I very much want to remember, so that’s satisfying, but painful, as she was lost in a terrible way. Discouraging too, because all I remembered was a small tidbit.

    • Phil, yeah that was me. I usually drink roughly six beers per month, but when I reviewed my electronic purchase records dating back to the last week of July, I recorded a total of 24 beers consumed since then. A fourfold increase over normal.
      Again, I’d throw most or all of that out the garbage bin if recreational opioids were legal. Being legally forced into complete abstinence permanently for everyone is a bit of a childish and paternalistic overreach (see Dr. Carl Hart “Drug Use for Grown Ups”).

      • Before I started trying Primal, I had already had a small amount of experience with opioids such as Tylox and Vicodin through doc prescriptions when I was young. I remembered feeling, “Wow, this is nice. A moderate euphoria AND I still have my executive decision making faculties intact unlike alcohol.” For a few hours life felt more like an engaging, joyful adventure of sorts.
        It actually gave me a glimpse into an idealized state of being or feeling for therapy, an end goal so to speak. I started to have a glimpse of what it might feel like in ‘post-primal nirvana’.
        Alcohol is a crap drug, and it really feels Draconian that it’s the only legal alternative out there.

  60. Personally I think Dr Hart is a guy who created a philosophy that would justify his heroin addiction. I am also not so certain how grown up he really is. Gretch

  61. Gretchen, my immediate response to your comment was a good, hearty laugh. There’s an awful lot to unpack here, though, on many different fronts. I will say that British Columbia, Canada and Oregon, US has already decriminalized most street drugs regardless of what Dr. Hart had to say.
    I also wondered if your comment was a terse response to my earlier one saying, “Being legally forced into complete abstinence permanently for everyone is a bit of a childish and paternalistic overreach (see Dr. Carl Hart “Drug Use for Grown Ups”).”
    Art Janov once said that the post-Primaller wouldn’t be interested in politics because s/he’s not interested in controlling anyone else’s life but his or her own, so I take the legally forcing complete abstinence on others as a childish overreach.
    I look at this laundry list of drugs just for myself:
    Cocaine – kinda fun, too risky for the heart, avoid (terrible chemicals used in production)
    Methamphetamine – corrosive, brain damage likely,avoid (also terrible chemicals used in production)
    Alcohol – definitely corrosive to the entire body, avoid…but if nothing else available legally how do I take a break from unresolved misery from what could take 40 more years of Primalling to resolve?
    Marijuana/psilocybin – kinda fun, rather benign, but a bit too psychoactive and could leave behind mental health issues all their own, might be useful for creativity if needed
    LSD- too psychoactive, too dangerous for sanity

    which leaves….
    opioids – Probably the ‘most perfect’ drug for me. An actual ‘test drive’ into a possible ‘post-Primal’ world without decades of miserable work trying to crawl though childhood rubble.. No hangovers, watch out for possible addiction, tolerance building, and overdoses. Strangely enough, opioids are not immediately corrosive to the body, rather the main dangers lie with overdoses and possible addiction. Some unconfirmed reports that it can exacerbate the growth of already existant cancers.

    Also, I should mention with the fentanyl (50-100 times as strong as morphine) scourge currently taking place, legalization/decriminalization may have to be a necessary action to standardize and/or administer dosages in a safer environment, anyway.

    Meh, I’d still want to just ditch the alcohol and replace with occasional opioid to renew my sense of hope and resolve towards the ‘post-Primal nirvana’.

  62. A follow-up to my last post: I may be remembering this wrong, but I think I once read in Janov’s original Primal Scream that a post-Primal patient wouldn’t feel any effect from opioids. I found this very interesting at the time, for it would imply that any subjective euphoric feeling or pleasantry from a given dose of opioids would reveal the existence of emotional pain within the body being blocked.
    Probably not a socially acceptable way to measure how much pain one carries around, though interesting nonetheless. A researcher would have to control for starting tolerance levels and ensure no interference from overtly physical maladies, as well.

  63. Guru, Maybe you misunderstand decriminalizing drugs. I believe Oregon was the first state in the US to do that but others have followed. The message is not that drugs are AOK but rather that the money used to jail people could be used to create recovery centers. I am all for that. But that is not what Dr Hart is saying, not at all. I’m not clear what made you laugh but his is a sad situation in my view. He is a heroin addict. I don’t think your memory of Art’s comments about opioids is accurate . You would need to show me the quote. The other thing I want to mention is your use of the term Nirvana. I don’t believe in Nirvana and I don’t think it can be found in drugs, alcohol, therapy or anywhere in this life. Lastly Dr Harts concerns about the paternalistic overreach. I don’t think that is a huge concern. You can’t stop an addict with words or rules. It matters not what is legal or illegal. Gretch

    • Gretchen, I can’t address nearly all the items you’re covering right this minute, but I did want to say I was laughing when you said you weren’t sure how grown up Dr. Hart is. Somehow your reflection, your bouncing back, of the ‘grown up’ phrase from his book title did it. Also, saying you’re not sure a PhD is ‘grown up’ contributed slightly. (In other words a childish PhD seemed a humorous image).
      I’m not laughing at peoples’ sadness at all. Kind of interesting and weird his book has an average of 4.5 stars from 1,300 reviews on Amazon.
      This doesn’t necessarily invalidate your view, but rather the crowd of glowing reviewers being a wave of stunted children all their own? I don’t know.
      I will look into trying to find that passage about opioids in Art’s original book. I’m pretty sure it’s in there somewhere.

      • By the way, where Oregon and British Columbia are concerned, they decriminalized hard drugs in addition to legalizing marijuana. The 20 or so other US states with legal recreational marijuana did not take that additional step.

  64. Guru, I believe Colorado has similar laws to the one that passed in Oregon. Basically you can have a small amount of the drugs mentioned without being charged with a felony as in the past. I did not say the reviewers of Dr Harts book were stunted children. Where did that come from ? I also think you can appreciate a writer without agreeing with all he says. He is an extremely bright guy. I just don’t agree with his premise or his assessment of his own drug use. Gretch

    • Gretchen, there are some one and two-star reviews of that book, albeit a small minority, who do agree with what you said 100% so I might as well mention that. I tried to find a copy of Janov’s Primal Scream book, but came up empty. Maybe an online library would be a viable next step. I do remember Art talking about heroin in his book and something along the lines that a post-Primaller would feel no effect from taking the drug. I just don’t know what exact page such a passage would be located.
      When you said you weren’t sure Dr. Hart was emotionally grown up, and I pointed out the many glowing reviews of this man who may not be grown up, then it seemed reasonable to infer that the glowing reviewers are also suffering from emotional deficiencies since they couldn’t detect and call out Dr. Hart’s deficiencies, as you did.

  65. Margaret says:

    P.s. Guru,
    I relate to what you feel about opioids, but I think you underestimate the addictive seduction they possess
    I have mentioned here in past years about how I had painkillers containing codeine, and I lost count of the times I renewed my prescription wit what felt like the conviction I would that time be able to have more control about how often I would use them.
    but every single evening it was the same struggle of wanting to not take them, and then giving in anyway, at the start first tossing and turning first for a while, but soon just knowing I would give in and use them every evening.
    now since I finally was able to kick the habit for a long period, first it was just 1 month or 2 months, and this time it must be about an entire year, I find after all it is more peaceful, and actually I hardly have sleeping issues, and no struggle about yes or no, taking it or not.
    and like you do, at times when I am really tired and stressed out I do drink a beer, which actually more or less does the same trick in a less dangerous way, it relaxes without being too addictive.

    • Margaret, since you quit taking the codeine a year ago, do you have any extra tablets laying around you don’t need? How about your medicine cabinet, anything left over in there? I can keep your apartment nice and organized, free of such clutter if you like.
      Seriously, though, reading your post brought forth about fifty different random thoughts for me which I’m not prepared to organize into a coherently structured posting. Allow me a chance to ruminate on your experiences and I will write again after a while. I just have a lot of different things I have to do over the next couple days, on top of being slightly worn down after my exchanges with Gretchen.
      Thanks for writing and letting me know the experiences you’ve had, though.

  66. Margaret says:

    how is your son doing?
    did he already have surgery?

    • Phil says:

      My son didn’t even get a date yet for his surgery. First he has to get three weeks of physical therapy on his knee, which he started last week. After that they’ll check and see if he’s ready for surgery. It’s going to be a long process.
      In the meantime he just moved into a new place where the rent is on the high side, so it’s pretty stressful.
      I’ll be surprised if he can go back to work before this coming January.


  67. Margaret says:

    I am not sure whether my former comment about the friend I see on the sailing Sundays appeared on the blog, as I did not get any reactions, but then again, there were other topics going on here then.
    the friendship is still developing, in a very nice way, and I noticed today it triggers feelings, of hope, and of fear.
    while it is still in a playful friendship stage, and might remain there, it also seems to hold the potential of maybe developing more and more.
    right now it is great to enjoy the pleasure of liking and be liked, and of feeling attracted and attractive..
    but of course at our age, I 65 and he 75, there is a lot of past and present issues to learn about, with the attached fear of disappointment.
    but well, I enjoy the increasing affection and the process of letting things take a natural course.
    it takes patience, as so far the sailing events are the only times we get together, and I don’t feel like pushing anything at all.
    it is kind of new to me and it feels good.

    • Sylvia says:

      I didn’t see your former comment, Margaret. That’s great you are developing a new promising friendship.

      Hello to your kitties. There’s a new litter of two in my neighbor’s yard I’m trying to feed under the fence. It’s the third litter this feral mom has had that I will be trying to tame. I hope to trap her in a couple of months for a trip to the vet for spaying.

      It’s been so hot here, yesterday my six-year-old cat started out the door and backed up right back in. 115 degrees in Northern California. Sailing sounds very cooling about now. Enjoy your Sunday sailings, Margaret.

    • Larry says:

      That’s wonderful Margaret!

    • Phil says:

      That’s great news Margaret!
      I didn’t see any other comment about this, maybe it didn’t come through.


  68. MIKE says:

    “opioids – Probably the ‘most perfect’ drug for me”

    Yeah. You’e addicted. Unless PT clears things up for you, a lifetime of nagging, lurking, craving lies ahead, and there’ll never be enough to fill that black, bottomless void.

    Didn’t take much, did it? “I had already had a small amount of experience with opioids…”.

    Robert Downey Jr., himself famously opiate stricken, said “Even when you’re not thinking about it – you’re thinking about it”.

    Gretchen may’ve elicited mirth in you, but ironically funny’s your textbook addiction behavior, as when you attempt to rationalize your addiction by citing the addiction rationalizations of other addicts.

    But I hope things work out differently for you.

    • Mike, well if you’re going to pull out the verbal shame-based brass knuckles over this maybe I should discontinue discussing this topic, even with Margaret and Gretchen, etc. It’s been three or four years since I last ingested any form of opioid, and I’ve only had positive experiences from them personally.
      My real addiction I can’t shake is vaping nicotine, though I’ve whittled that down in strength substantially over the years.

  69. Margaret says:

    Phil, Larry, Sylvia,
    thanks for your replies…
    it always feels great when I am together with him, even while we are just friends at this point, but it is so playful and affectionate that I feel very relaxed and self-confident, so far anyway.
    but of course my hope that it will evolve into more than friendship is scary and exciting at the same time.
    the good part is it feels simply healing to meet someone I like and who seems to like me a lot as well.
    So well, I will try to stay in the moment and enjoy that..
    Sylvia, it is great you care so much about those cats! Purr purr from this side.
    Guru, thanks for your reply, some beers now and then seem fine to me, hope you manage some day to quit the cigarettes though.
    good luck with your actual enterprise, hopoe it works out well.

    • Margaret, thanks for your well wishes and I hope you find some joy & excitement with your new sailing boyfriend.
      I still think opioids can be a very useful tool, at least temporarily, when emotional pain is too debilitating to deal with and can’t be ‘Primalled’ away.
      They have helped me a lot when I needed extra help in the past.
      Alcohol generally makes me go, “Ugh, rather useless garbage.”
      I could say much more, but I won’t prattle on and be a bore.

      • The potentially slippery slope to addiction is a hugely important topic too, Margaret, particularly with the opioids as you talked about earlier with your unlimited prescription refills. You did make me reconsider my opinion on whether wholesale recreational availability would be wise or not. Very long discussion topic here, though, in hashing out all the pertinent details.

  70. Hello,

    I’m Paul. I was on this blog years ago, then left for a while. Probably because I was in so much pain and in such a turmoil I couldn’t bear the conflict between my sorry state and the ‘apparent success’ of other people’s therapy here. I think that’s called ‘projective indentification’ – and yes, maybe I’ve had too much conventional therapy. I have no Primal therapist and probably never will. But I have been getting these feelings coming up for years, they’ve changed over time with unexpected results. Primal Theory is the only thing which explains these feelings and the unexpected results.
    Despite appearing to have made little progress recently, through Lockdown etc, something else has happened which has allowed me to regain what some call ‘confidence’ and rejoin this blog with something definite to say.
    Anyway, I’ve read much of these last three months comments (June/ July/ August/ September ) and it’s as if I could have written many of them myself. How very synchronous. A question:
    -Is it possible for us to write a new post with a title and everyone lese comment on it (if they want)?

    All best to you all


    • Paul, I’ve suggested for quite some time to have a vBulletin forum where each person has their own thread which anyone can respond to. It would be as though each person had their own ‘cyber room’ so to speak.
      At the same time, I can appreciate why Gretchen or anyone helping her wouldn’t want to bother with such a setup, as it’s a pain to re-adjust everything on top of paying substantial hosting fees. WordPress as it is now, is a rather crappy setup….but the price is the best in the world…

      You’re welcome to write anything you want here in the meantime, though.
      We love the fresh, succulent, juicy meat of newcomers.

      • One other option more suited to WordPress:

        You could write an actual article and see if Gretchen approves of it. Maybe she’ll start a new page with your article on top, and we can respond to that?

  71. Sylvia says:

    Welcome back, Paul. Worry not, we aren’t predators. We just sometimes give our honest perspectives and want to help and support mostly. Glad you are here.

    • Hi Sylvia and all. I can see the complications and hassle of individual pages for individual commentators; so I’ll just start here:

      Choose my words carefully may not work out. M life has become so complicated it is the consequences of those complexities which are more important and interesting than the content of my life. It would take a book, a trilogy to lay out the background. My ‘backstory’ is like a long incarceration in an open prison and I defo have the Ganser Syndrome (Google ‘On Being Approximate’ by Mady Shutzman). So, this WILL be approximate and as we say in the carpentry trades: “Sketchy”. Also, I’m through with confessions. At last the catholic in me needs no priest. Something has changed; I can carry a wardrobe with a skeleton as if it were merely a pocket knife. But ofcourse skeletons like pocket knives have become illegal.
      It is as if a skeleton has become a deadly weapon and mentioning it is ‘intent to harm’.

      Gotta keep those skeletons locked in right? God forbid we dwell on the past right?

      Essentially things got far worse as a consequence of my attempting to promote Primal as a solution to my families’ problems. After all, the authorities had already spent £1million on our family in Legal fees (umpteen court hearings) – due to the crazy disordered mothers’ manipulations. Till she died in 2006 leaving a trail of destruction and 7 children by 4 fathers; me No3. The authorities have been involved since forever. Well 40, or more years on and off. Sylvia knows a little bit about it all, court hearings many times. Children in care; two of the three put into a forced adoption leaving me holding the third as a single parent traumatised with an even more traumatised and methadone poisoned 4 year. . . He now 31 with a son. My Grandson now 12 doing ok I hope and pray (cusp of adolescence). Also gotta 19yr old (different mother) with serious birth trauma since he mother was pregnant whilst we were all being terrorised by the court system / crazy other mother during the pregnancy. Proper Corporate Abuse.

      Interesting that Sylvia mentions predators. . .

      But seriously, after 25 years these estranged twins contact me wanting to know why? One of them bloody angry.
      What am I supposed to say? But I did say I was stitched up by my solicitor (yeah, everyone says that don’t they)? I didn’t have the heart to say ‘he made me an offer I coudn’t refuse’ – which was that I’d lose all three if I didn’t part with the twins. A fucking plea bargain? A ‘Cost Lead Decision’? But that didn’t tally 25 years later when I mentioned Primal. Why Primal? Because the third one went psychotic as the result of abuse he received at the hand of various crazies including his alienating mother. Something to do with him being a Methadone Baby and his ex being a vicious narc who attacked him endlessly. Like his mother who alienated him from me, then died. Christ! And psychologists say we ‘choose’ our partners because they’re like our parents. Which one? How DOES that work?

      No sooner did I mention Primal than various alarm bells rang and suddenly I became the abuser for preventing the authorities for treating him with CBT. You couldn’t make it up. Apparently, Primal or even the idea of Primal prevents people from considering CBT. Therefore Primal IS abusive and I am an abuser because of that. I think I got that right, though the syntax in the shrinks’ report is somewhat approximate aswell; surprise surprise. – Perhaps the prison of the psychologists’ mind has caused it? (Joke). So, let me get this right: In UK Primal is an abusive form of therapy BECAUSE it reveals repressed content which might (and in my sons’ case defo did send him psychotic – not my opinion but the authorities opinion) – nothing to do with the abuse from other people, such as his mother giving him bongs of hash and crack cocaine at age 7 on contact visits. Then, as if as an afterthought, the shrink in her report went on to say that I am likely the abusive parent of my psychotic son (& therefore the cause of his psychosis) because I was trying to cover up the (alleged) abuse I did on him when he was little. Ah yes that old chestnut pulled out of the hat – never happened, but then I would deny that wouldn’t I? Aaaand I would ‘Use’ Primal as the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ to do it. That would also completely explain why the authorities had his brothers adopted and left me holding him as a baby (well a four yr old) alone as a single parent. It all makes perfect sense doesn’t it? So, if you didn’t quite get all that, in a chesnutshell: CBT would be far better and cure him had I not mentioned Primal; because Primal is a devise to ‘cover up’ abuse because we ‘repress and forget’ so CBT is better right? I’m repeating myself. Is this a mantra?

      Where is this going? You may well ask. – People ask me why Primal has not caught on. “Why”, they ask “does Primal seem so obscure and remain unavailable? “Why” people ask me, “would anyone want to do Primal in the first place”?

      I have read most of Arts’ books and as I said I have been getting a lot of feelings coming up over the years. I have been in and studied conventional therapy. Trained as a counsellor – oh strangely that explains why I am strictly only self diagnosed with cPTSD and manipulative because I only trained as a counsellor to avoid my responsibilities as a parent – it’s all in the shrinks’ report – to the courts. Then (apparently) I persuaded my doctor to say I have cPTSD because really I am a narcissist machevellian manipulator with a bitter grudge against the authorities. And that would be nothing or everything to do with having my family split up due to a ‘Cost Lead Decision’? Yes it’s all there in the authorities’ report; well they would know best wouldn’t they? Backing both horses so to speak. So, really, it’s MY behaviour which is the cause of my imagined mental health problems. Or in simple terms “you’re mad because you’re mad because you’re bad”. The fact the doctors think otherwise and diagnosed me with cPTSD because of ther shock of the forced adoption is besides the point. That is irrelevant because the authorities don’t believe me nor do they need to. Primal is unpopular and thus features only as a distraction from the nitty gritty of ‘getting better’ with CBT.

      Several years later, I read a short article on Fb posted by Bruse Wilson which effectively pointed out that CBT is gaslighting. Well EUREKA! Fuck me! – If I hadn’t joined up the dots before, – I surely did join ’em up immediately that concept entered my tiny manipulative machevellian brain. It was as if a pair of giant LOGS had been removed from my eyes and I could finally see the fucking light!

      Ok enough of the whinging; the lady doth protest too much.

      The answer my friends is blowin in the wind: People are in denial. I am in denial. Only the psychologists and authorities are NOT in denial. That is the answer to why Primal is NOT popular. From both sides of the argument.

      If anyone would care to help me ‘debrief’ from this Secret Family Court Special Ops Cover Up by asking me pertinent questions about any of this, I am sure I can offer more detail where required and unburdon myself to boot – has gotta be helpful to me. I need ‘de briefing’ and here is as good or better than anywhere else. Also should any of you help me in this way I might also be able to get into the feelings and sensations I need to without the ‘Bullying / War Zone / Abreaction’ effect. I mean, life circumstances may be a good trigger for Primal when the patient is in a supportive work / family / friends situation but under this torture? I can assure you guys all this shit has been going on for thirty years on and off; I can not remember a time when I was not hyper vigilent and controlled by other people and their grudges and ostracising bullshit. I am a Jew in Nazi Germany without being a Jew or vlack and without the actual Nazis. So, I am saying Narcissistic Abuse is a real thing and no place for Primal. Abreaction a Plenty – no work, no friends, total stigma, shoulda moved to a different city and changed my name, abandoned what was left of my family to look after No 1. Was advised to do same. Couldn’t do it, love my kids / grandson too much. etc etc.

      That leads me onto the conclusion / subject which is that Primal is not a recent invention. Nor do ‘life experiences necessarily provide useful triggers’. Plently of interrogators and torturers can and do, have already reduced their ‘victims’ to Primal Jelly using psychological torture; the mild version of which has not been helping my Primal Journey or has it? Conspiracy theories aside, I just don’t believe the various authorities don’t know about Primal, in ALL it’s detail. I mean inside the Primal movement there’s been a lot of talk about bad therpists and the disatrous results. Bad Primal under a different name – ‘Torture’. I am repeating myself; but thanks for the space to ‘let go’.

      • Sylvia says:

        Hi, Paul. Yes, it is good to talk about these things and be heard and/or get input.

        Paul and I were friends on Art’s blog for a few years until Art’s passing and the blog ended. It seems all commenters there scattered then and I saw Paul on facebook and invited him to come join us here on the PI blog many, many months ago. I’m sure there was an email somewhere in there to catch up on everything too. Art’s blog was full of those of us wanting therapy or waiting for it and like Paul and I, trying to have a few feelings on our own.

        I remember, Paul, you trying to get good care for your son, and hoping to provide some stability for your grandson and your daughter while wrestling with the attitudes of their respective mothers. I also recall the anguish you talked about of having to give up your twins for adoption and wanting somehow to reconnect with them.

        It sounds disastrous how you trying to get good therapy for your son cascaded into the courts blackballing you in some way. It sounds like you were up against an institution that could not provide an effective feeling therapy for him. I’m not sure on how they gave you an awful time and what the manifestations were of that.

        I do recall you saying that you were dealing with the trauma of being sent away to boarding school as a boy too. A case of overload with all the adult problems in queue it looks like.

        Again, Paul, talk about what you want and be kind to yourself and take your time. We can listen. I liked the “Frasier” tv program where he always told his radio audience, “I’m listening.”

      • Phil says:

        Hi Paul,

        Welcome back to the blog. That’s a lot you’ve been through,
        thanks for sharing.


      • Paul, I’m now appreciating why you were asking about personal threaded forums earlier. You seem to have a massive array of issues to personally confront, and others may come along in this same space with their own complex issues. It creates a competitive, messy, chaotic jungle free-for-all for the reader’s attention.
        Kudos to you for seeing this potential problem right away, for it does show you are sensitive to others.
        In the meantime I will try to keep up with you when I can and grow more familiar with you. Sylvia seems better able to stay with you at this time than I am, so I’m going to watch how it goes for a little while.

        • Thanks Superstarguru,

          another reason why people won’t seek therapy (or even consult a doctor) is because most of us don’t want to make a fuss. Many reasons, fear of rejection, fear of exposure, fear of ridicule. Thus problems pile up over time until the need to ‘dump’ becomes overwhelming. I apologise to all for dumping here; and that includes to the moderators who are faced with my repetitions.
          I also understand better how the levers and cogs work on this blog.

  72. Meanwhile back to feelings thank goodness. Each time I wrote what I wrote just then, I got through to feelings. The boarding school stuff gives way to earlier betrayals and abandonments from my Mum. She’s still alive, 92 Alzheimers, haven’t seen her since March, prior to that 2 years. Had to go back to bed for deep crying for my mum about being bullied at school. Then a weird dream about a boy being stitched up after an operation (me ofcourse). Being stitched up by my Mum – a double ententre? I had a hernia aged 5/ 6 which was very painful after the operation, couldn’t move my tummy, lying incapacitated in bed for weeks, abandoned. I’ve had re living experiences of that before: “Mummy Mummy ! It hurts”! with serious discomfort and pain where the scar is, underneath the skin IN the muscle tissue – it’s hurting and sensitive now, where the hara is, as I write. I do calisthenics (sit ups as well to strengthen my tummy) and military style route marching up and down Avon Gorge where I live nearby (Bristol UK) to keep fit. That seems to have increased the healing. Occasionally I get strange rythmical muscle spasms as if I’m trying to automatically swim dolphin stroke. It’s as if the operation scar cut through some nerve tissue and it’s finally mending 55 years later, allowing access to birth sensations; how else can I explain this? The dream is telling me isn’t it? I’ve had intense 1st line baby screaming, dry crying too. Feeling like I’m all alone in a stainless steel pan whimpering after a long unconscious birth. Fetal position, automatic breathing, receeded cognition, followed by temperature drop, slowed pulse and deep relaxation. There’s defo been a sequence to it. Or rather it feels in my body as if something is trying to ‘connect’ in the right order having literally been severed and put ‘out of order’.
    But all this shit going on OUTSIDE has interfered with my process. I’ve had to use opiates and other things to cope. and my so called friends have utterly NO idea what’s going on; many of them ‘new age therapists’ – Smug bastards the lot of them! -“Paul’s just playing the victim (again)”. . . -“Oh it’s your Karma Paul” (Smirk, Smirk). – “Why don’t you try this that and the other (Re birthing works Paul)”-. . .
    To think I could easily have become unfeeling and spiteful like they say I am when it’s their total lack of sensation, their weird beliefs that have cut them off from their own pain. I’ve had such an argument with one old ‘associate’ who seems incapable of anything other than ‘Literalism’. Anything I say is taken as ‘literal’, then reduced down to yet another argument about who I am. Cherry picking what they need to ‘condemn’ into their own reduced framwork. Art used to bang on about reductionism and I for one know exactly what he was frusted about. God, I could have become like that. I WAS becoming like that. Saved by my feelings from a life of literal hypocricy. A walking talking Oxymoron.
    One improvement in me has certainly been way improved cognition and emotional sensitivity. Better Empathy BUT with a caveat: I simply have NO time for certain types who seem stuck in their heads – conscending intellectuals. I used to be really attracted to those types because they appeared to ‘listening’ but I discovered so many of them are essentially just information gathering whilst sitting on the fence. In another life I could become an effective advocate. But I’ll just stick to carpentry for now.
    I am more robust in the face of adversity; braver and more couragous despite the suicidal ideation which other people can easily trigger in me. Thus I am also more cautious when my bullshit detector rings. It’s all becoming SO predictable. And most of all the continued collapse of my former need for clever ideas and belief systems. I don’t know if that’s age or the biproduct of connection but I’m far ‘smarter’ and perceptive than I was and far less inclined to wax lyrical about certain old beliefs and interesting ideas.
    It’s so hard to measure ‘Improvement’ isn’t it? Particularly IF there’s serious 1st line trauma, which in my case I really think there is in me. If my Mum is to be believed.
    Thanks, Paul.

    • Sylvia says:

      It sounds like you are getting there, Paul. You are seeing improvements, and that makes it all worthwhile and is a motivation to keep going and feeling those pains as they happen to come up. I know that it was for me rewarding to see improvements and insights at each stage. The scales do fall from your eyes doing primal feelings, I think, and you can see things more clearly. That’s great being able to connect to your operation pains. It must have been traumatic for a child. Take care, Paul.

    • Paul, you brought up so many different items for us to pick from and respond to, but allow me to start with a simple favorite of mine about coincidences.
      You’re from the UK, it seems. And you arrived bursting at the seams after a long buildup of silence right when Queen Elizabeth appoints a new prime minister, not to mention Her Majesty passing on yesterday.
      Sure it could be coincidence, but if there are any hidden meaningful synchronicities involved this could make you a much more powerful carpenter than any of us realize.

      • Even if the recent royal and leadership events in the UK have no connection to Paul whatsoever, it’s still feels a tad bit interesting Paul started to unleash his own feelings right when the masses in the UK were ready to release theirs. I become unduly captivated by such coincidences.

  73. Phil says:

    Guru, Margaret and I both coincidentally commented on this.

  74. Phil, nice to read at least one person responding, so thanks for that.
    I hope Paul realizes I was kinda joking here, right? Noteworthy coincidence, though.
    I’m way, way past my prime weed using days, so no I didn’t do that at all.
    There doesn’t seem to be much of a point in using such a drug, anyway, for I mainly
    used it to enhance creativity and/or gain new insights. I have all the creativity I need for the moment.
    Opioids would be much more useful to temporarily remove painful blockages so I can finish up my project faster and without so much fear and dreadful apprehension. I’m really grinding gears without any help from such a medication, like an engine without oil.
    It feels as though I must imagine myself having an exoskeleton made of unyielding titanium to finish the coding. That’s really all that matters in the end.
    Having a bunch of good ideas without executing anything is nothing more than staring at a dazzling dumpster fire.

    • I have all the skills necessary to finish the job with relative ease intellectually at this point. My emotional resistance to finishing it is ultra-fierce & I’m my own worst enemy procrastinating on this. So much fear and apprehension, such a fierce battle trying to convince myself to plow through this reasonably quickly.

  75. Guru asked me to post ….Since there’s a lull in the blog I want to take a moment to jot down some brief comments for Gretchen and Margaret.
    Mostly for Gretchen: I took some time to search through a copy of the original Primal Scream for any possibility of Art writing that heroin doesn’t affect post-Primal patients. I couldn’t find this passage after an hour of searching, so I give up for now. I did find other interesting comments about heroin towards the end of the book (p. 340 or so), namely the drug being a patient’s only defense and withdrawal leading immediately to a Primal, making patient straightforward and efficient to treat, etc.
    Assuming I didn’t misremember what I thought Art once wrote somewhere, I thought it was an interesting avenue of possible research into quantifying how much pain someone is carrying around since it can be so hard to grasp and measure.
    Mostly for Margaret: After much thought on the matter, I now see how foolish and risky it would be to allow unrestricted recreational access to opioids for adults. I rescind and modify my opinion to something more restricted than that, yet I think there should be more opioid access to those suffering unusually severe or functionally debilitating emotional devastation with the understanding it’s only a temporary treatment. Something similar to the current US practice of Sudafed/ephedrine over-the-counter sales being restricted with a national database of buyers being kept sounds like an interesting idea, if extended to opioids.
    For both: Gretchen said earlier there is no nirvana, both in drugs and therapy or anything else. I’m wondering at this point whether the moderate euphoria I felt with opioids was simply a euphoric relief at a load of painful baggage that I was so used to unknowingly carrying around being suddenly and totally, unconditionally lifted. The awestruck euphoric relief is at its highest, utmost quality the first time the heroin user discovers it….and ‘chases the dragon’ for that first-time discovery forever after, never able to fully replicate that delightful revelation that relief is truly possible.” (end)


    • Sylvia says:

      In regard to the statement, ” …more opioid access to those suffering with unusually severe or functionally debilitating emotionally devastation with the understanding it’s only a temporary treatment.” Like the Suda-fed behind the counter method? I think a person in that condition should be seeing at least a physician who can prescribe some medication that will help and stay in touch and monitor the patient/client.

      I think that doctors do write a lot of prescriptions of the benzodiazepine type drugs like valium for anxieties.

      • How about alcohol? I can walk into any liquor store, even plain old Wal-Mart, buy a case of beer or an entire fifth of whiskey no questions asked. If any drug needed a doctor’s supervision I would volunteer that one.
        I would also consider putting benzo’s behind the counter as well with a buying database kept.
        Benzo’s and opioids don’t turn people into deadly drunk drivers or violent crazies as alcohol would, though I do admit those drugs carry their own risks and should be used prudently.

        • Sylvia says:

          I don’t ever recall being written an Rx for alcohol.

          Maybe you should go to the doctor and get something for anxiety if you have that. I think opioids are for physical pain, but they seem to blot out entirely for a while emotional pain too and are easily addictive. I hear there’s a psychological therapy for emotional pain that doesn’t cause physical dependence or life-threatening withdrawal. You know what that therapy is?

          But then there are lots of rehabs for the addiction problems. They say it only takes 8 times of going for it to work. Must be costly, though.

          • It appeared to me you’re becoming emotionally invested in struggling with me just for the sake of struggling with me, so that’s why I wanted to back away from this. It’s not that I didn’t have a response in itself.

  76. Sylvia says:

    Here’s Marjan Tosic’s 3rd talk about primal therapy.

    • Sylvia says:

      I agree that what Marjan says about digesting the pain and accepting it changes you. I know because I have let the old pain in, I can accept other things, such as disappointments which become easier to handle. No need to throw a tizzy anymore–hah. I just say, okay I didn’t get what I wanted. No fuss about it.

  77. Phil says:

    I’m reading a book on Billie Holiday, one of my favorite artists of all time. The book has interviews with people who knew her from various times in her life. It adds details to what I already knew. She had a terrible childhood and died from cirrhosis of the liver at age 44, caused by long time alcohol and drug abuse. I just thought it was relevant to some recent discussions here.

    • Phil says:

      When you’re famous and have a lot of money fooling around with drugs
      often doesn’t end up well.
      I’m not even sure legalizing marijuana is such a good idea, although it’s popular. My understanding is it can cause mental health problems, and smoking it obviously isn’t healthy.


  78. MIKE says:


    1970 – Dr. Arthur and Vivian Janov introduce a new therapy – known as Primal Therapy – to the world.

    2022 – Primal Therapy has degenerated into Primal Stoner Therapy.


    • Primal is an incredibly labor-intensive therapy requiring potentially hundreds, if not thousands of hours’ time and energy on each client. This is not a Wall Street-friendly approach emphasizing the sales of pills to millions of people who are generally regarded as disposable consumers, boosting corporate profitability in an infinitely more efficient manner.

  79. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    good dream…haven’t had one in such a long time. and very clear, until the constipated cat woke me up with her useless scratching in the cat box. me, in the big house on the hill. big room with barry and some other doctors. they seem to be talking about how i could live there with them, with promises of pie and steak. barry says, well are you the son of doctors, as if that would allow me to stay there, like the student loan forgivenees since i am public service applicant. as an aside–the student loan i took out millions of years ago to get primal therapy.

  80. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    yes good dream. no, i start to say, i am not the son of doctors. barry brainstorming with other doctor, as to how i can stay there in the big house. barry, before this, coming out of the other room, with his placard of ways to stay there, much like v’s impossible list, for me, of how to be a good primal person. . i say not son, but father of two, actually of one, and then came in the cat to wake me up. the doctor son who finds out today what his sentence will be for doing stupid things. stupid addict father, therefore stupid son. not like barry, who i overheard once with his d, right before group telling her she had to stay in his office, in a firm but kind way. ok i go do stupid insane job till the day i drop dead or have a stroke, such a victim. ha.

  81. OTTO CODINGIAN says:


  82. Larry says:

    In the midst of my recent months-long whirlwind of busy-ness, yesterday I was brought down by a mild illness, not COVID the RAPID tests suggest, that forced me to push “Pause”, slow down, and realize too late that I’ve taken little time to notice summer as it passed by, which where I live is too short and now nearly over; that I’ve taken little time to appreciate that at my age there are fewer and fewer of them left.

    In that mood I allowed myself the lazy luxury this morning of meandering down the digital newsletter and Google rabbit hole, listening to Willie Nelson.

    He sure hits the right chord sometimes.

    Despite my running out of summers, I feel exceedingly fortunate that I’ve lived most of mine in the era that I did, not in the one ahead that looks to be a nightmarish unfolding of the consequences of our ignorant disregard and destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.

    I’ve always held on to a sliver hope and a belief, in a corner of my brain, that I might find a way through the worst and the toughest times of my life that looked like would overwhelm me. The key that I found, decades ago and very luckily time for me, was Primal Therapy.

    I hold on to a glimmer of hope that humanity, like I did, will find a way to avert what looks to be an apocalyptic future. The insights in the Primal Scream when I first read it felt like an intense beam of light illuminating the way to a better, more meaningful quality of life for all. I was very discouraged that the mental health community at the time for the most part did not see the light. I hoped that eventually it would.

    In the rabbit hole this morning I stumbled upon a book that excites me by the promise of its contents, a book which reassures me of the evolution in the mental health community’s and humanity’s deepening understanding of human psychology and emotional life. Perhaps the evolution in understanding was accelerated by the ripple effect of insights from Primal Theory. The wisdom shown in this book I freshly discovered feeds my hope that humankind is capable and might find a way of averting the worst of what looks to be an oncoming horrible apocalypse. I need to keep some hope.

    Though I haven’t read the book yet, I wish to share my find. Here’s an excerpt from it. Sorry for the long post.


    A General Theory of Love
    Random House
    Read the Review
    What is love, and why are some people unable to find it? What is loneliness, and why does it hurt? What are relationships, and how and why do they work the way they do?

    Answering these questions, laying bare the heart’s deepest secrets, is this book’s aim. Since the dawn of our species, human beings in every time and place have contended with an unruly emotional core that behaves in unpredicted and confusing ways. Science has been unable to help them. The Western world’s first physician, Hippocrates, proposed in 450 B.C. that emotions emanate from the brain. He was right-but for the next twenty-five hundred years, medicine could offer nothing further about the details of emotional life. Matters of the heart were matters only for the arts-literature, song, poetry, painting, sculpture, dance. Until now.

    The past decade has seen an explosion of scientific discoveries about the brain, the leading edge of a revolution that promises to change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, our children, and our society. Science can at last turn its penetrating gaze on humanity’s oldest questions. Its revelations stand poised to shatter more than a few modern assumptions about the inner workings of love.

    Traditional versions of the mind hold that Passion is a troublesome remnant from humanity’s savage past, and the intellectual subjugation of emotion is civilization’s triumph. Logical but dubious derivations follow: emotional maturity is synonymous with emotional restraint. Schools can teach children missing emotional skills just as they impart the facts of geometry or history. To feel better, outthink your stubborn and recalcitrant heart. So says convention.

    In this book, we demonstrate that where intellect and emotion clash, the heart often has the greater wisdom. In a pleasing turnabout, science-Reason’s right hand-is proving this so. The brain’s ancient emotional architecture is not a bothersome animal encumbrance. Instead, it is nothing less than the key to our lives. We live immersed in unseen forces and silent messages that shape our destinies. As individuals and as a culture, our chance for happiness depends on our ability to decipher a hidden world that revolves-invisibly, improbably, inexorably-around love.

    From birth to death, love is not just the focus of human experience but also the life force of the mind, determining our moods, stabilizing our bodily rhythms, and changing the structure of our brains. The body’s physiology ensures that relationships determine and fix our identities. Love makes us who we are, and who we can become. In these pages, we explain how and why this is so.

    During the long centuries when science slumbered, humanity relied on the arts to chronicle the heart’s mysterious ways. That accumulated wisdom is not to be disdained. This book, while traveling deep into the realm of science, keeps close at hand the humanism that renders such a journey meaningful. The thoughts of researchers and empiricists join those of poets, philosophers, and kings. Their respective starting points may be disparate in space, time, and temperament, but the voices in this volume rise and converge toward a common goal.

    Every book, if it is anything at all, is an argument: an articulate arrow of words, fledged and notched and newly anointed with sharpened stone, speeding through paragraphs to its shimmering target. This book-as it elucidates the shaping power of parental devotion, the biological reality of romance, the healing force of communal connection-argues for love. Turn the page, and the arrow is loosed. The heart it seeks is your own.

    (C) 2000 Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., and Richard Lannon, M.D. All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-375-50389-7

  83. Larry, I have to ask: What sort of nightmarish apocalypse to the Earth’s ecosystems is most concerning to you? Yes, I know this question is broad and is plucked from a few sentences you wrote in passing against a larger backdrop about love….but still you seem worried about it a great deal. What is the most pressing emergency, specifically?

    • Larry says:

      Since I was young I’ve had an interest in Nature. The more I learned about ecology, the more I appreciated that society as a whole behaves as though ignorant that a healthy ecosystem is essential to human survival and comfort, and the more that I felt that as a species we are like a cancer spreading eventually over the entire planet, consuming and destroying by our sheer numbers everything in our environment that nurtures us and provides us with an easy, comfortable life. Anyone seriously pondering the tea leaves could appreciate their inference that likely ecosystem and social collapse is racing toward us at a frighteningly accelerating rate unless we change our way of life. Why the interest guru?

      • Well some people look to climate change itself, with some looking towards methane instead of carbon emissions. Others look towards the depletion of bee populations, still others look towards depletion of yearly salmon runs.
        Maybe the smaller items take their roots from climate change, thus addressing any problematic outgrowths from that would only serve as a band-aid.
        I was curious to know what specific area is of greatest concern.

      • Larry says:

        I think it’s myopic to look at and address only any one of those. The fact that they are all happening and including the demise in size and number of insect species, bird species, wild plant species and in the ocean fish, mammalian and shark species all are indicative of the bigger picture, the accelerating collapse of the entire ecosystem that has nurtured our species for 10s of 1000s of years.

  84. Larry says:

    Sure enough, a primal feeling for me was a deep source powering me to write the comment that I posted here yesterday, so thank you Gretchen for giving us the blog to which to write whatever we want, and thank you to Guru and the blog community for being a witness to what I write.

    My participation on the blog yesterday in part helped me open to a cry today. The bare bones of the feeling is that I see and feel the weight of the world’s problems, that are too big for me to solve. I’ve had echoes of the feeling since I was at least 2, by when it was clear to me, though I kept myself unconscious of it, that my parents wouldn’t be there for me, that I was nobody’s, that I belonged to no one, that ultimately I had to make my way in the world alone but I was too small and the world too big and scary a place for me to carry that weight of being alone in it. I might have sort of known those connections in my head since starting therapy decades ago, but this morning is the first time I felt them so deeply and thoroughly.

    Thank you again, my blog community.

    • Phil says:

      Larry, I can relate to this, as I have similar feelings about nature and the environment, since I was a child. For me maybe it’s that I see nature as unspoiled and helpless against the onslaught of mankind. It’s being irreversibly ruined. It has value and beauty apart from us, it should be preserved for that reason, but I don’t think it will be.

  85. Phil says:

    This is one of my favorite videos on YouTube, I watched it several times today. Besides Billie Holiday all the instrumentalists were stars including Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster on saxophones, and Roy Eldridge on trumpet among others. It’s the song that first got me interested in jazz. This version was on a used Billie Holiday record I bought many years ago on an impulse. Well not quite an impulse, I was guessing I was going to like it.
    It’s full of feelings. The last verse in it:

    “Love’s just like a faucet
    It turns off and on
    Love is like a faucet
    It turns off and on
    Sometimes when you think it’s on, baby
    It has turned off and gone”

    I’m hoping that isn’t what’s happening in my marriage, we’re having a lot of problems.

  86. Margaret says:

    that is interesting, specially as just a few days ago I suddenly got a feeling/insight of how essential love is.
    to have love for someone and also to feel love from someone.
    and in my own experience recently it feels like the love from a (possible) partner is even more important. to me the consequent flow of affection and attention that comes from a man I also like a lot seems to kind of make me feel more like whole, the happy me at its best, more easygoing and patient and friendly with other persons, happier too in general, at least for several days until missing the contact makes me feel more of the emptiness of being on my own, and more of the fear of things possibly not going to work out, for example when I tell him about my HIV status.
    I know that does not need to be an untakeable hurdle but it still is scary to think of what could happen at that point.
    medically speaking with my medication I am not even considered as contagious anymore, and my doctor would gladly inform someone in a private talk, but well, I imagine some persons might just shut down when I would inform them.
    so far I had ok experiences with that but still…
    but the point being that without love at all a person does not really live life fully somehow, like imagine a bitter person hating everyone, that must be such an awful way to live…
    love is what makes life worthwhile in my view, to love and care and to be loved, which includes people, animals, plants and the world in general.
    love stands also for respect and care and sincerity, the last one depending also of the circumstances es, not all truths must be rubbed in necessarily.
    i felt recently how even getting a regular good dose of affection from someone with seemingly the qualities of a possible pleasant partner, gets me out of a slight feeling of depression I am so used to it seemed natural already.
    to feel happy and smiling , hopeful and optimistic for days in a row showed me again how it can also be.
    luckily my cats and other people I love make me feel ok usually, but a possible partner seems yet a better level still, specially after all these years on my own.
    so well, to be continued one way or another…

    • Larry says:

      Yes it sure is essential in shaping the quality of our lives.

    • Larry says:

      Five years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’ve received treatments for it, but that doesn’t mean I’m out of the woods. My PSA score is monitored regularly. It’s not behaving in a way that leaves me unconcerned that the cancer will return as a threat to my life some day. I told my partner about it very early in our relationship when it became clear to both of us that we were seriously drawn to each other. I wanted her to have the information early on as she made her decision how much to get her life involved in mine. Now two years later I think one of the hallmarks of the strength and depth of the bond between us is our open, honest communication and our trust in each other. I sent her the following song today that I discovered this morning. We are both touched by it.

      • Sylvia says:

        Thank you for the song, Larry. It is touching. Rose Cousins wrote it about her father. I can so relate. My dad made it well into his seventies and I was so thankful he did not go before that because I needed his wisdom and stability even though I was well into my forties.

        Another good artist find, Larry.

        • Larry says:

          You’re welcome Sylvia.

          Your comment pulled me up short. I started my 70s. I’m glad your Dad lived well into his 70s for your sake, but then from my perspective, well into my 70s doesn’t seem far away. I don’t think of 70s as old, but maybe I’m kidding myself. So many don’t even make it this far.

          • Sylvia says:

            Yes, I thought that too that 70 isn’t old. I’m 72 and I don’t feel old. But in my 40’s, it seemed old, and I was glad he had made it till then (78) as he had been having health problems in his last few yrs of life. And I knew of many men, extended family and friends, who, as you say, didn’t make it that far.

            I think at any advanced age of a parent feels too soon, even 100, because they are a part of us.

  87. Margaret says:

    thanks for sharing that.
    I had already thought about it, it must have been scary as well to bring it up, and it is inspiring to hear how well it worked out.
    I am so glad for you.
    I would like to hear the song, also Phil’s one from Billie Holiday, but as the links were both invisible on the blog for my screen reader, would you please mail me the link, you and Phil when you have the time?

  88. Phil says:

    I should say this here as I already said it in other places, my wife told me she wants to leave me, that we’re finished. This, after major issues we’ve been having since last spring, and thirty three years of marriage. She said this like two weeks ago and I’m still hoping she’ll reconsider. I don’t feel that what happened is enough reason to justify this, but that’s how she feels. She’s not physically going anywhere yet, and maybe won’t anytime soon, which is good, but also bad, as it’s continuously triggering.
    This situation is bringing up all kinds of feelings, immense sadness that our relationship is over, hurt and rejection. It’s opening up those very same or similar feelings about my mother. It seems major things in life have to happen unfortunately to bring out these feelings. I don’t know where I’d be if I couldn’t connect with deep feelings, all thanks to primal and wonderful therapists.

    • Sylvia says:

      Gosh, Phil, sorry this is happening. It must be hard to go through this. Do take care.

      Will be thinking of you.


    • Sorry to hear, Phil. I can feel for what you’re going through and how tense it must continuously be. Hoping you’ll find some sort of positive breakthrough in the midst of the current darkness. My own life still feels substantially degraded after dad’s passing, so I can imagine why you’d be in a troubling place at this time.

      • Phil says:

        Thanks Guru, that’s what I’m hoping for.

        • Phil, if you think buddying again with me is worth a try I wouldn’t mind giving it another go. I’m not sure how much help I could be for you since I don’t have a family and facing significant challenges of my own which would distract from yours.

          Anyway, it’s an option for you if you just want to chat and ever-so-slightly dip the left pinky toe tip into the furiously boiling cauldron of feelings.

          • Phil says:

            Guru, we could give it a try.

            • Phil, just send your email and phone with Gretchen, if she doesn’t mind. I’ll just pick it up from her and I’ll try to work something out.
              I think it would be best if we both commence with very low expectations, since you and I are facing vastly different problems (yours being more family oriented while mine are personal survival and prosperity oriented) making it harder to connect on many different topics. This would not be a reflection of you or I being adequate/inadequate, good/bad, etc.
              The good news is we didn’t have any serious personality clashes when we buddied previously, so that’s a plus.

              • Overall I think those who raised their own families tend to connect best with others in the same situation, while single and/or married with no children tend to connect best among themselves as well.
                Not a hard and fast rule, but I’ve noticed this rough pattern throughout my life. Someone having children of his own talking about his kids to a child-free person is pretty much akin to someone walking up to a guy in a wheelchair with both legs amputated and asking him, “How’s the running legs treating you?” (shrug, how the hell would I know??)

              • Phil says:

                Guru, I used to have your email address but I can’t find it. I asked Gretchen to send you mine.

    • Larry says:

      I feel very sad for what is happening in your marriage Phil. It is heartbreaking.

    • Daniel says:

      Phil, Sorry to hear of your marital troubles. I hope things will turn for the better and that you will find meaning in all this.

  89. Paul Garland says:

    My Primal journney began after getting ‘dumped’. I couldn’t stop deep crying, when it came up as it did, very often at first. Some say we ‘choose’ life situations or we ‘bring about’ these situations. Maybe hinting at ‘karma’. I’m suspicious of this way of theorising. It can entrench a sense of guilt and self blaming. What’s helped me is the Primal theory of ‘resonance down’. It’s simple really; no false attributions, no blaming. I hope you can find the space and time to feel. Paul.

    • Paul, some weeks ago you wrote a long post right after Queen Elizabeth’s death, replying to my semi-joking of how you must be a powerful carpenter no one knows about (even I didn’t pick up on my own subtle Jesus Christ reference at the time).
      Anyhow, I saw that your post made it through subscriber emails, yet it didn’t show up here for some reason. This surely has something to do with WordPress, and I don’t understand what software bugs might be causing these strange glitches.

      • Paul Garland says:

        Thanks for asking superstarguru. I expect the ‘switchboard’ gor things muddled up again. I mean the one in my head too. P

  90. Jo says:

    Phil, I’m shocked and very sorry for you that your marriage has reached this point. Very hurtful for you, and bound to resonate with earlier feelings.

  91. Phil says:

    The latest news is still bad. I had felt a little optimism that my wife could change her mind, but she shot that down. She said this decision is making her feel happy. But no one is moving out of the house yet. It’s giving me a lot of stress. Next month Thanksgiving will be coming and we have a big family reunion every year. I’m not looking forward to that. We would have to celebrate while keeping the secret about our impending breakup.

    • Phil says:

      I don’t like secrets. During my childhood how badly my mother treated my seemed to be a secret. Certainly no one understood, was talking about it or helping.

      • Phil says:

        In childhood I couldn’t express much, I held it all in. At least now I have the ability to let it all out, including the back log from childhood, a little at a time.

      • Paul Garland says:

        Hi Phil, this resonates with me, I remember the stress and loss, the relief at finally ‘knowing for sure’ combined with dread and the unreality; the not knowing how things will be, focussing down to the here and now but worrying for the future. It’s terrifying. I hope you’ve got some people near you who can support you; have you any friends you can lean on? It seems our modern societies are either too good at keeping secrets and putting on a brave face or spreading secrets far too fast and widely through social media.

      • Larry says:

        If your wife is that certain about breaking up with you, then now is the time for the two of you to tell your adult children. It’s the responsible thing to do by them, time to confront reality. Otherwise why the secret!

        • Larry, I’m going to take a stab at answering this on my own. Even though I don’t have kids, can you imagine the hurt this would pile on to the kids breaking such news to them? Maybe there’s still the hope things will turn around and the tremendously hurtful news doesn’t need to be said. Who wants to hurt their kids? I can see the urge towards protecting kids from hurt by keeping the secret, especially if the hope still lives that things can go on as they were in some way.
          I can sense why Phil would feel awful in this situation.

  92. Margaret says:

    it does not seem fair to you you would have to keep this secret, specially to your sons, for all this time if she says she won’t change her mind.
    that would only for her make things easier seemingly.
    of course it is a very big thing to share with your kids, but maybe they would prefer to know than to be taken by surprise.
    you know best and have all the right to follow your feelings with your decisions, any way or another.
    I am very sorry you are in this difficult position, it must be very painful.

  93. Paul Garland says:

    Good question Larry, but it takes time for the reality to sink in, for both ex partners. All the more so if one has been ‘planning it’ for some time; which is what it looks like. Potential supporters cannot help much when the news is sudden. Too many unkowns, too many questions. Just because grown up kids are grown up, they will have divided loyalties as much as if they were little. They’ll need their parents to demonstrate they’ll not make those divisions worse. It takes time.

  94. Phil says:

    Larry and Margaret,
    I wouldn’t want to use my sons to try to stop this from happening. Of course, they would want us to stay together. But, I might have to tell them soon otherwise they could find out from other sources. My wife has told some of her friends in the community and the word might get around.
    Besides what I’ve shared, I still have some doubts that the breakup will really happen. I might just be fooling myself.

    • Paul Garland says:

      You will have to tell them. But, you’ll need to be sure where you stand so you can make clear comments and answer questions. I know this takes time. Part of you will be hanging on to hopes which won’t carry your weight anymore.

      And it’s perfectly reasonable for you to have held out in hope for the relationship working, that’s quite normal. But as one mate said to me:
      -“In my experience Paul, once a woman has made up her mind, she rarely changes it”-.
      Perhaps you need to start planning ahead. That can take the pressure off overload, something to do, something with a bit of hope for the future.


  95. Phil says:

    Another thing, my wife won’t like it if I decide on my own to tell our sons independently, without consulting her. But her and I really aren’t discussing any of our issues, only in sessions.

    • Paul Garland says:

      Sounds like damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Been there, got the T shirt. Demand a session asap and tell her why. Any resistence, tell ’em yourself.
      If you try not to play “Why don’t you / yes but”, neither will I.

      Take Care


    • Larry says:

      That’s what I mean. If your wife told you there is no doubt in her mind that the relationship is over and she feels good about that decision, that is the reality you both have to deal with now, and I feel then she needs to get together with you to decide how and when to tell the kds. …Unless maybe she really isn’t so sure it’s over, or unless she prefers to wash her hands of all that messiness and leave it entirely up to you to tell them.

  96. Larry says:

    The blog seems quiet so I’ll take this opportunity to share this song with you. I heard it for the first time only recently. It seems appropriate to what we talk about a lot here.

  97. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    hey was it wrong of me to say could you stop throwing the silverware away? on the day closest enough to the full moon? the ARIES full moon? i learned how to shut my mouth early on, but stupidly i can’t help myself. i’m tired of taking trash out, cleaning out cat boxes, hoping there is a nice big turd in that box from the cat who has gobbled up my retirement money. taking my loved one who has had a bad back for a few weeks to the chiropractor, e.r. accupuncturist, regular doctor whose nurse cant ever call in a prescription right. to the dentist, to the mri. worrying about the neighbors, the lawn, my death, my health. the latino families get to go the the park and celebrate like no hold barred. our tiny joy is to drive through the park for 5 minutes and see them having the time of their lives. i can complain and every day i realize more and more what a psychotic bitch i have always been and will be. happy native american day. at least the kids are hanging in there, knock on my wooden head. the workload tomorrow at my job will be crushing but goodly distracting. almost frigging christmas. not an inferno so much in the valley now but still gets hot enough. like last year and many years before. armageddoin, fucking russian asshole telling the entire world what to do because he has h-bombs. ha ha

  98. Paul Garland says:

    Well I love the song posted by Larry and I agree with the sentiment of Otto but my laptop and wordpress just seem not to marry.
    Here’s a song that made me cry, don’t ask why, it would take too long.


  99. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    it was too cold to cry when i woke up alone…not me. i cried

  100. Larry says:

    I discovered this song by The National only recently, just around the time that my partner and I had another misunderstanding between us that caused some distance, coldness and difficult words between us for a while. I feel frightened, small, alone and helpless (all the way back to 1 1/2 years old and abandoned) when that happens. So far we’ve been able to overall communicate in a healthy way with each other through the argument, thank goodness, leading to primals, better understanding and a closer, deeper relationship. For me the song captures some of that lost, frightened, helpless feeling. Slowly, slowly, slowly, now in my 7th decade, I’m coming to understand and move on from what that abandonment did to the entire rest of my life.

    • Phil says:

      Larry, the song is unavailable for me, unfortunately. I’m glad you and your partner are communicating well. That’s something that’s missing for us here, but I still have hope things will improve. Phil

      • Larry says:

        Phil, I go through scary times when it feels like our relationship has made an unhappy turn and we’re headed for the end of it, but so far primalling and talking, or in the reverse order, dissolves whatever at first seemed to be a growing big problem between us. I feel sad at how scary and painful it must be at this time in your long relationship of much happiness together for you to be unexpectedly now in grave doubt about your future together.

      • Larry says:

        Regarding the song, if interested, search YouTube or Spotify for “Somebody Desperate” by The National.

  101. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    What a beautiful day! Well, I mean ‘good enough day’. Better day than most. No, I didn’t have sex. That shit is gone for me forever. but no more torrential heat like its been for 8months. I did catch the ending of Jurassic park 3, with its happy FAMILY ENDING. We did get to go to bobs big boy in Burbank, haven’t been there in 30 years. We did get to go drive around and look at Halloween houses, in the daytime. We did finally got up the courage to use the pet ema I bought on the ever-straining cat and we saved her butt and our money. This time. A real thrill to see 9 inches of poop come out within minutes. We tried the bryonia the nat mur the lactulose miralax and the kitchen sink before that. I got my pslf app in, so maybe my student loan will get nixed. Got 2 of the cats flea=treated. On the way to see the halloween houses , we drove through our 1994 hood, where so many tragedies befell us, even to a year ago when our last dog sophie died. I did eat too many reeses. Ok we alive and that’s about it. Kids ok. For this minute. Monster life will take us all, in the blink of putins and scump’s eyes. Barb is a compassionate soul with those kids. Me not so much. Beautiful song zombie first heard with kids in the 90’s driving to work and them to school, didn’t know what it meant then. sad. anyway, dirtbag repugs will win, so what happens next

  102. CODY OTTOGIAN says:


  103. Phil says:

    I had some big feelings today triggered partly by what’s going on with my wife, nothing’s changed with that, but I still have hope it could. My feelings today jumped all over. Mostly very sad feelings about losing my mother, so there must have been something good about her. She wasn’t a monster. I needed her badly, and I felt some of that too.
    It was so terrible for me to witness as a child what happened to her because of illness. She wasted away in a nursing home until she died. When I connect with that it’s a very low down feeling, like as low as I can go. There was no one to understand and help me. The place smelled terrible and I could see the plastic tubing leading from her to a bag of urine. She almost never saw, noticed or remembered me. She couldn’t get out of bed. Everyone else there seemed ancient and senile. My mother was in her early 40´s.
    My father was unhelpful to me with any of that. An insight I had today was he really just wanted me as someone to bond with, a friend, he didn’t know how to be a father to me. It was good to have that kind of bonding with him, but a whole lot was missing that I needed, and I felt some of that today too.
    I was also feeling the love for my mother despite all the bad things I experienced, abandonment, punishment etc. I just thought it’s good to communicate this stuff somewhere and this is a good place.

    • Sylvia says:

      Very sad, Phil. Though it is good that you can connect to your need for your mom and feel love for her. I agree with you about this forum; it’s a good and safe place to talk about our feelings and communicate and connect with the group. Sort of a cleansing feeling and opening up to more. Good to witness this, Phil.

    • Daniel says:

      It’s sad that you have to go through all this, Phil. On a brighter side, I agree with Sylvia that connecting to some feelings of love to your mother may prove to be very important in dealing with all you’re going through. I would even dare to say they might be curative. They were for me after a very long time I was angry at my mother (and even more at my father). I would even say they played a crucial role in my ability to have loving relationships.

  104. Paul Garland says:

    Thanks for that Phil,
    similar life events with my folks too. My mum still in a dementia care home aged 92 120 miles away, hardly see her. I could repeat the exact words you use to describe your childhood relationship with your Mum. So much pain in the world. Feelings seems the only solution.
    Take Care, Paul.

  105. Margaret says:

    for a week I have the shingles and I think it might be partly caused by too much stress the weeks before that.
    luckily it is rather a mild case, and since the diagnosis I have been making sure I get enough rest and take care of it as well as possible.
    i want to feel fit again as soon as possible, as it is depressing to have to be even more on my own than usual.
    still, I feel lucky the case is not too bad….

  106. Margaret says:

    my heart goes out to you.
    it must have been so overwhelmingly scary and lonely to be in your situation as a kid.
    I hope so much your present situation will start getting better soon.
    the feelings you describe sound like major breakthroughs.
    take good care, M.

  107. Margaret says:

    thanks, sorry for the delay
    I rest a lot and that feels useful, but I also try to stay active as much as possible.

  108. Larry says:

    While recently reading the very interesting new book The Dawn of Everything, A New History of Humanity, I came across the following text, in quotes, originally written down in 1649 by Father Ragueneau in a Jesuit Relation, 250 years before the publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). It is about a concept that the Huron Indians called Ondinnonk, a secret desire of the soul manifested by a dream:

    “Hurons believe that our souls have other desires, which are, as it were, inborn and concealed….They believe that our souls make these natural desires known by means of dreams, which are its language. Accordingly, when these desires are accomplished, it is satisfied; but, on the contrary, if it be not granted what it desires, it becomes angry, and not only does not give the body the good and happiness that it wished to procure for it, but often it revolts against the body, causing various diseases, and even death.”

    The author goes on to write that, in dreams, such secret desires are communicated in a kind of indirect, symbolic language, difficult to understand, and that the Hurons therefore spend a great deal of time trying to decipher the meaning of one another’s dreams, or consulting specialists.

    The information impresses me that indigenous people had intuition about the workings of our unconscious hundreds of years before Freud came upon the scene in the evolution of modern thought.

    • Paul Garland says:

      Hi Larry,
      do you think there may have been assumptions made in our so called ‘modern progressive’ world about our distant ancestors and what they knew or understood?
      There have been several backlashes to modernism with many people turning to the past ‘wisdom’, seeking answers. The result has been a bit of a ‘pea soup’. Every now and again a nugget of gold surfaces and your discovery is one of them.
      Carl Jung also did a lot of research into Native American culture, working with well known ‘dreamers’. very interesting stuff, well worth reading up.

      One issue is whether or not dreams are entirely about the dreamer. The Behaviourists say so. Or can a dream tell us something about someone or something else? The feeling in the dream seems as important as the image. Maybe it’s the feeling in the dream which is our part, after all, it’s us feeling it. Where the boundary is between us as individuals and everything and everyone else ‘out there’ seems like the main issue in human affairs. Maybe dreams help indicate where that boundary is (or is NOT). Certainly they draw attention to boundaries.
      I once dreamt that I was following myself down a flight of steps into a large square (agora). I think I may have dreamt once meeting myself, face to face.
      If I think too much and rationalise too much about it all I get lost.
      All best. P

      • Larry says:

        For me definitely the meaning of the dream is the feeling of it. Sounds creepy to meet yourself face to face. What does that feel like, I wonder.

    • David says:


      “The Dawn of Everything” has been one of my recent reads also. A great book that has been creating quite a buzz since it came out last year. So much fascinating and revelatory information to absorb! Key take-aways for me so far have been how our ancestors were much more creative, flexible and sophisticated in the creation and development of the societies than they’re given credit. One notable example being a culture that was both authoritarian and egalitarian depending on which season it was. And that Native American criticism of European society was an instrumental (and up till now uncredited) factor in sparking the Enlightenment.

      • Larry says:

        That’s cool, David. You’re the only other person who I know has read it. I’ll have to read it a second time to let more of the insights sink in.

        One disturbing insight the impressed me from reading it is how much violence there was in pre-history. Even if a society made the conscious choice to organize around egalitarianism and reject authoritarianism, it was eventually ravaged by a more militaristic, authoritarian neighbour (as in Ukraine vs Russia today, as in the colonization of indigenous peoples by Europeans, as in ancient peaceful Minoan society eventually destroyed by Mycenean warlords). Maintaining an authoritarian regime was made easier by invoking a connection to the Gods (ie. instilling the belief in their subjects that the elites were supremely superior to the commoners) and involved a liberal display and practice of violence.

        In his fascinating book “The Mind In the Cave”, David Lewis Williams presents evidence that a peculiarity of the neurochemistry of our brains predisposed early humans to believe that those in their midst who experienced trances or epileptic fits were shamen who had access to the spirit world. This kind of belief led to the rise of a religious elite who claimed to have secret knowledge and access to the spirit world.

        Reading “The Dawn of Everything” made more clear to me that the establishment of an elite group in society involves a deft use of smoke and mirrors to convince the population that the elite are supreme, and the liberal use of violence to instill terror and convince the people of the elite’s power. For their effort the elites enjoyed great luxury which again helped convince the people of the elite’s superiority.

  109. Larry says:

    So I’m at home sick, with a cold I presume. Results of self-testing for COVID are negative so far. Being very tired and bored, looking for something worthwhile to watch on Netflix, I discovered this haunting gem of a movie, “Before Tomorrow” (on Netflix Canada), produced by Isuma TV. Here is a trailer, from YouTube:

    Even more haunting, for me, is the song “Why Must We Die” by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, that opens and closes the movie. Now in my 7th decade, I find I’m gradually have to accept more and more that there is less and less future for me, and I want to be less fearful and able to better optimize the life I have left, even as I get older and weaker.

    • Sylvia says:

      Take care, Larry. Hope you feel better soon.

      I was heartened by my neighbor’s telling me about her and her sister-in-law’s monthly high school class reunion luncheon at the local cafe’s big dining room. She said there were two couples in their mid-80’s there who were newlyweds. Good for them, I thought; that’s really something great.

      Thank you for the movie trailer and song, Larry. The song has a plaintive and foreboding feeling about it coupled with its earthy lyrics.

    • Paul Garland says:

      Hi Larry,
      This touched me. Very unusual lyrics. Introducing ‘modern’ science concepts into traditional lyrics must be about as difficult as art gets.
      People remind me I’m still young in my 6th decade but I feel like you do about ‘optimising what little time I have left’.
      My unconscious life until about age 50 simply suppressed any perception of an end. I could always put the difficult things off until later.
      Funny how that changes at a certain point. Possibly men experience this sharp change more than women. I don’t know. Maybe we men are so obessed with ‘Doing’ as if experience is a commodity, that we must ‘gather up’ as much for survival sake before we die. Our ‘bucket list’. I mean, look at the number of men who konk out soon after retirement.
      I don’t want to retire but circumstances have rather put my business out of reach. No one employs old gits like me.
      I don’t know if you have kids but I spend far too much of my emotional energy worrying about my kids. They didn’t get their needs met when they most needed it and frankly they’re sick because of it. Recently I rented up a workshop so I can at the very least make them bunk beds and storage units etc. Also, try to help them with redecorating, finding somewhere to live and ensuring their lives don’t go as astray as mine did. A very traditional thing to want to do. What else can I put on my bucket list?
      Take Care. P

  110. Larry says:

    That’s great that you’re helping out your adult kids, Paul.

    What optimizing the remainder of my life means to me is to work through and resolve much more of the fear that I’ve been dragging around with me since early childhood.

  111. I have added a new page , comments page 8 !

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