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Random thoughts . . . or are they?

I have random thoughts running through my mind. They are scattered like debris after a huge party. I feel full from them.

Yesterday my wife and I spent the day with a book. We started in the morning reading 'Shout It From The Rooftops', the autobiographical account of the early career of Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). I never was a real fan of CBN, the 700 Club, or anything that came across that network.

We each got some tea and our blankets, and we moved to the sitting room where one of the cats crawled up next to my wife and another skipped around the room, sometimes on the shelf next to me, but at other times on the back of the chair and behind my head.

Linda read. She turned the pages and the story unfolded. In spite of myself, I found it captivating. Once I spontaneously reacted and said “Right!” At another time I said, “THERE! That is what I have a problem with in that kind of Christianity.”

She reminded me that this was a story about people starting from immaturity as Christians to a more seasoned approach to dealing with spiritual matters. I took her counsel and pulled the blankets up a bit to snuggle more deeply into the chair, and I continued listening.

After a little bit we decided to take a break and go for breakfast at Amici's in Dockyard. We spent a couple of hours talking, and then we drove back to our house to continue with the book.

I pulled the blanket over my leather jacket and settled into my chair. She reclined on the love seat, pulled her throw over her, and the black cat, “Doodle”, crawled up on her lap. She turned one page after another as she read, and the story of CBN unfolded.

I could not keep from seeing a pattern in what I was hearing. A man with high energy, bent on achievement, repeatedly (and self-admittedly) ran ahead of God in what he was doing. His mind could think several steps ahead of the current situation, and he often found himself putting together plans and solving problems in ways that he later had to undo or from which he suffered loss. Then he would admit his mistake and yield again to God. Over and over it happened.

I suppose that if God had to wait for any of us to have it all together before He worked through us, then nothing would get done. I marvelled at what was done through the life of Pat Robertson agree or not with his politics, the man has lived by faith.

Sixties' music another random thought. Cathy West is having a book launch for her book, 'Yesterday's Tomorrow', and we are supposed to dress like the 60s. Where is an Army-Navy Store when you really need one?! So, I was looking through music I remember from that period (yes, I can remember that period). Boy does that ever bring back a few memories like playing Zen Darts with a member of Country Joe and the Fish (if you don't know who they were, what can I tell you? Watch “Woodstock”). Like watching the anti-war rallies in Berkeley. Like going to the Avalon Ballroom to see Big Brother and the Holding Company, whose lead singer was Janis Joplin. Bukka White. Like going out to the dual-stage venue of the Family Dog on Highway One just out of San Francisco to see people like Taj Mahal and Paul Butterfield. Like going to the Fillmore West to see Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, It's a Beautiful Day, Jethro Tull, John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Like pop festivals.

And then, yes, there was that part about working with combat traumatised men coming straight back from Vietnam; I often did an ambulance run up to Travis Air Force Base to pick someone up and take him back to our psych wards.

Psychology in the 60s. Now there's a random thought. There are still people who believe that gestalt therapy is a quacky relic of the days of flower power. For instance, Eric Mataxas, in his biography of William Wilberforce, equated gestalt therapy with EST and V-8 colonics. Give me a break, Eric! Of course, no service was done by the video showing Fritz Perls working with a client named “Gloria” (which traditionally gets shown to all psychology 101 students for a good laugh). That was not actually the way gestalt therapists practised then and certainly not now. It was a demonstration by a performer, for Perls had a dramatic background and worked in the theatre in Germany in his early days. By contrast, many of gestalt therapy's innovations have made it into the common vernacular of psychotherapeutic practice today.

In October of this year I hope to lead a symposium at the Psychology of the Other Conference, taking place in Cambridge, Massachusetts where gestalt therapists will dialogue with colleagues from the worlds of existential-phenomenological psychotherapy and relational psychoanalysis to discuss some of the most contemporary perspectives in current psychotherapeutic practice.

More random thoughts: does anybody today eat Hamburger Helper? I wonder if I cut my life short on that stuff. And what is the big deal about macaroni and cheese? I suppose if you make it with an aged and sharp cheddar, maybe it would be great. Hmm. Now that's a thought. I'm starting to feel hungry.

Random thoughts. Random means without method or conscious decision. Really? Well, I deliberately chose to share with you my random thoughts, and my method for this column was to let whatever came into my mind, in a random fashion, flow out onto the page. So, if I made a conscious decision and had a method, are these actually random thoughts? Which came first, the random thoughts or the decision and method of randomness? The chicken or the egg?

That reminds me. Eggs were once thought to be great food, and then people said they were bad for your health because of the cholesterol in the yolks, but now people say that maybe eggs are not as bad as believed. Good. Bad. Then okay again. See what I mean? Random.

Singing star of the 1960s Janis Joplin

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Published March 01, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 01, 2011 at 7:57 am)

Random thoughts . . . or are they?

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