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The Stress Doc Newsletter
Notes from the Online Psychohumorist™



DEC 2009, No. I, Sec. I

Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!

 


Table of Contents


Section I:
Shrink Rap I:  School Supplies for Iraqi Children
Readers' Poetry & Letter:  DREAMCATCHER, The Face of Depression; Intro to Mountain Vision
Shrink Rap II:  
Mountain Vision and Eight "P" Path of Mastery
----------------------

Section II
Main Essay I:  Gospel of a Country Road
Main Essay II:  Holiday "Fast Food for Thought"
Testimonials:  Daytona State College, Assn. of Legal Administrators, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry
Offerings:  Books, CDs, Training/Marketing Kit:  Email stressdoc@aol.com or go to www.stressdoc.com for more info.
 



Overview:

1.  Shrink Rap I.  School Supplies for Iraqi Children.  Another installment of "Pay It Forward."

2.  Readers' Poetry & Letter:  DREAMCATCHER, The Face of Depression; Intro to Mountain Vision.  Two poems exploring the interface of inner and outer worlds.  And, for me personally, a truly touching letter.

3.  Shrink Rap II
Mountain Vision.   After showing a friend a poetry sketch, he challenged me to grapple with a more complex and, ultimately, more meaningful creative problem:  the parallels between climbing a mountain and building a loving bond. "Mountain Vision" was and is the answer.  And,

Eight "P" Path of Mastery.  The  "Path of Mastery" is illuminated through powerful "P" concepts.  The "body as temple," "mind as canvas," and "spirit as cosmos" are key.

4.  Main Essay I.  Gospel of a Country Road.  The Stress Doc captures the colorful sights, animated and soothing sounds and profound silences as one travels down a mountain country road. Once again, he must escape the big city to nurture fully all his senses and tune in to the big picture.

5.  Main Essay II:  Holiday "Fast Food for Thought."   Here's some serious shtick on "Practicing Safe Stress for the Holidays."  Consider this some holiday "fast food for thought" from the Stress Doc.  Hopefully you will find these morsels quick and easy to consume, tasty and nutritious.
 



Shrink Rap I:

A final "Pay It Forward" update:

Subject:  Section 5 School Supplies for Iraqi Children
Date:   11/30/2009

Dear Colonel Phelps,

You should receive a package with supplies for elementary school children soon from 80 of Harvard Law School’s first year law students (Section 5).  Please keep in touch and perhaps we can help you out again next year.  I sent your original e-mail to the seven first year sections at HLS and the young woman who took this project on is Jenna LaPrade  from Section 5.  Jenna’s fiancée is in the military and is currently stationed in Okinawa.  He has friends stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Colonel Phelps, please let your soldiers know that I pray every day for God’s blessings for all of them and for their safe return home.  Thank you and your soldiers for all that you do to make this world a better place.  Dawn

Dawn L. Warner

1L Program

Harvard Law School
Pound Hall 320
Cambridge, MA 02138

dwarner@law.harvard.edu
617-384-7534
--------------------------------


Readers' Submissions:

DREAMCATCHER

By Ashley Blake
blake.ashley@sbcglobal.net
--------------

[Col. Phelps, Commander, 15th Sustainment Brigade, stationed in Iraq, introduced me to Ms. Blake, a Native American and a soldier in Iraq, along with her poignant poetry.]

To be embraced by the arms of the wind                  
Smiled upon by stars
Small in contrast to skies deep and vast
Rivers knowing and still
Currents cutting and fast
Leaving my simple reasoning in awe...
Without a single flaw despite
Human law
So I plead you forgive mortal greed
My mind is in need to know the story of your seed
And footsteps that tread hear before mine
The Indians, Romans, the African and Greek
The wise royal sick young the blind and weak
Guarded by the mothering of your hand
Patient and kind
Your beauty soothing to body
Flooring to the mind
Replenish what it is I think I know
Marveled at your mysteries
The roar of your skin rippling through mid-air
I fancied riding the chill of your breath Imagined
The sky your stare
The trees dance not by chance
Music is all I can hear
Moving my soul to the rhythm of your aura
My heart sways to shores on your skirt hem
The moon forms pathways on your oceans
I have yet
To walk across
We focus more on physical than mental
Ignorance the expensive cost
Your wrath whistles through the spirits of mankind
I just see it as you reclaiming yourself
Cleansing your aura with rapids of wind fire and water
Tsunamis hurricanes and such
Things like this would be less surprising if we
Had stayed spiritually in touch
So I lay close in hope that I'll hear your song whispers through
Dancing leaves
I fancy myself a stone in your veins
For they are streams
Polished by the wisdom of what they have seen
Grazed your bosoms in spirit
Shared conversations with clouds
I am thankful to be part of you
We are one and I am proud
Are flowers your laughter?
I know that you are more than a resource
A part of a universe abroad
The sun wanted you far enough so you wouldn't see him marvel
At the beauty of your harmony but close enough to bask in the warmth
Of his fingertips
The stars render you a spectacle watching you mature
Jupiter protecting you from meteor sores
I can appreciate the beauty I've witnessed in this dimension
And the stories you've inspired
Saga to explain the curve of your breasts
Racing sunrise to see the dew in your hair
Standing still to ride the chill of your breathe
I wish to know your story
So I listen...
 



The Face of Depression
by BRyan@edward.org

I am your daughter, sister, brother, parent, son, uncle, aunt
I mistake suggestions as berating
I am defensive
My inner voice tells me that I am a burden
My inner voice tells me that I have little to offer
My inner voice takes a well intentioned compliment as I turn to see if you are talking to someone else
They say to feel better I should exercise….but when…which exercise is the best…should I walk, run, do weights…I can't decide
Should I get out of bed…have breakfast….toast, or maybe eggs, or maybe just cereal to be healthy, or maybe …. I think I'll just sleep a little longer
Should I get out of bed…take a shower….what should I wear….the t-shirt and shorts, or the jeans, or maybe…I'll just sleep a little longer
I need to pay the bills and clean up…what first…the dusting or vacuuming….sort through the clutter, or clean the bathroom…..I think I'll just sleep a little longer
I should go out and meet people....if I go who will I talk to,
I meld into the floor
I blend into the walls
I fuse with the environment….just let me lie here a little bit longer
I am invisible
Un-ness
-------------------------

[Ed. Note:  This spiritual/seasonal edition of the StressDoc Newsletter, including two of my poetic pieces, was inspired both by the poignant poetry above and by the following introspective and exuberant email, slightly shortened.]

Hello, Mark!

A long-lost, long-distance, gratis counselee from uber-eons ago at the keyboards right now.  It may be tricky to recall, but the year was 1998, and the wino was exceptionally fine that year...oops, wrong 1998 story....um, ok, cutting to the chase, about 10 years ago, I was seriously stuck in 'Corpse America' and just itching to execute my escape plan, and you walked me through the preliminaries and a whoooooole lot more, and I want to thank you so very much for that!  Seriously, you were quite often my only link to sanity in those days, so heavy were the rigors of work which I just tried to make the best of as I supported five struggling-yet-succeeding kids.

Fast forward 10-11 years later, and I'm happily living in nature (my dream!) in a town called Valley Center, CA (northeast of San Diego) on a 6-acre portion of wild hill that features unbelievable native foliage and fruit trees, plus 50+ types of birds, and all manner of truuuue wildlife, including my pals Mr. Scorpion (ewwww...he was in my kitchen and luckily I had slippers on when I discovered his presence by a crunchy-squoosh sound!) or a humongous tarantula my cat was playing with in the living room (I gently brought our Halloween spider outside, but not before taking a photo op with him!) and two nights ago when sweeping the porch, I accidentally swept a little rattlesnake in oblivion that had inadvertently gotten underfoot my broom (it was kind of dark and I didn't even see him...Note to self: no more after-dark forays outdoors when barefoot unless my inner-Shaman is feeling verrrrry brave!)...

I was drawn to your site tonight to find "Mountain Vision" as I wanted to share it with a friend.  Hands down, that is one of my very favorite pieces of significant poetry...I get kind of choked up each time I read it, and though I'm sure you must get tired of accolades, I just want you to know  how much I appreciate your artistry with that piece.  And your writing in general is exceptionally entertaining and just sooooo put together in the most unique of ways.  You really have a special thing going on there, Mark! ;-D

Well, once more, thanks for being such a supportive presence and so generous with your time and energy back then...you were more of a lifeline than you can even begin to conceive.  I hope your life has continued to move beautifully onward & upward, above & beyond, and if so, I'm sure I'll see you in the astral realm! ;-p

Until then, take grrrreat care!

Sheila R.
 



[Author/Editor Note:  Here's the poem mentioned by Ms. R.]

Mountain Vision

by Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc"

A few months after a hiking vacation in the Smoky Mountains, I began to write an inner visualization/poetic lyric about my spiritual connection with mountains. I had a few lines, mostly capturing a physical presence -- sculpted peaks (actually, more The Matterhorn and The Grand Tetons than The Smokys) green valleys, ice blue streams, etc. I decided to show the initial sketch to a friend who dabbled in songwriting. He liked what he read but bluntly suggested, "Throw in a relationship." "A relationship?," I cried out. "This is my ode to nature, to the purity of spirit, to the great mystery." I didn't want to sully the work's essence with something as mundane as a relationship!

Of course, I was being defensive. (Can't remember if I was in a relationship at the time.) Gradually, his challenge crawled under my mental block and started gnawing at my heart and mind. While initially disoriented, his remark actually motivated me to grapple with a more complex and, ultimately, more meaningful creative problem:  the parallels between climbing a mountain and building a loving bond. "Mountain Vision" was and is the answer:

Mountain Vision


Close your eyes for a journey
A deep breath to unwind
Now contemplate a mountain
The mountain of your mind.

Sculpted peaks, green valleys
The rush of ice blue streams
Sway to the cosmic ebb and flow
The rhythm of your dreams.

You're not a solo traveller
This is a trip for two
Can you climb together?
Will you make it through?

Higher and higher
Can you aspire?
Lighter and lighter
Spirit afire
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire?
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire.

Put aside all questions
Let your mind be free.
Just step into the mirror
Let go...and follow me.

We begin in the forest
Enchanted beyond time.
Its dance of light and shadow
Primeval and sublime.

The forest as the artist
Trees willowy and bold
The brushstrokes of the branches
Leaves afire red and gold.

And then God-like fingers
Stream down from above
Solar rays caress you both
A touch of nature's love.

Higher and higher
Can you aspire?
Lighter and lighter
Spirit afire
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire?
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire.

Have you found your Eden?
Or have you lost your will?
To build a loving lasting bond
You must go higher still?

So head upstream, the gentle stream
The babbling soothes your brain
A crystal clear reflection
To find yourself again.

Suddenly, black moody sky
The winds shakes trees and roars
The rain and thunder crashing down
The wolf is at the door.

A fearful growl: "Go back!
Or beware this tempest
Adjust to the plateau life
Give up your childish quest."

Old pain begins to erupt
Your soulful streams pour forth
To blend as soular fusion
Igniting light and faith.

You radiate an aura
The storm soon starts to ease
A howling psyche transformed
Now two phoenix on the rise.

Higher and higher
Can you aspire?
Lighter and lighter
Spirit afire
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire?
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire.

Soar above the tree line...Look
A serpentine waterfall
With mist soaked pastel rock-face
Rainbow rock-face...magical.

Onward past the snowline
To the windswept peak
A swirl of endless flurries
As if homage to your feat.

An oh so splendid silence
Defies the spoken word
A moment of transcendence
A oneness with the world.

So two alone together
Now embrace the humbling view:
To envision higher power
Both within and outside you.

Higher and higher
You can aspire
Lighter and lighter
Spirit afire
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire
Deeper and deeper
Beyond desire.

Just remember...Practice Safe Stress!
-----------------------------


The Eight "P" Path of Mastery


by Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc"

The elusive path of mastery
The one all would like to find
Eight "P"s illume the mystery
Fusing spirit, body and mind.

The inital "P" is plain to see
You can't close your eyes and pray
But must crawl and fall through infancy
To practice the night away.

Mastery, mastery
The body is a temple
Do you agree?
Mastery, mastery
The body is a temple
Do you agree?

Now practice nurtures progress
Unless driven to impress
Upon the fate of old Bjorn Bored
Beware shooting star success.

For the learning arc will go flat
What direction do you go?
The pass in the impasse, where it's at
So don't jump off that plateau.

Mastery, mastery
Our mind is the canvas
So let it be.
Mastery, mastery
Our mind is the canvas
So let it be.

Let the tension challenge assumption
Light a candle amidst the fog
Grapple with form and function
Find a humble pedagogue.

A mind to expand your horizons
To cultivate prismatic eyes
For life's web of subtle relations
Partialize to synthesize.

Repetition now yields connection
The big picture starts making sense
Forsake illusions of perfection
Grasp the mantra of persistence.

Yet know the wisdom of letting go
A time for waste ain't a waste of time.
Maybe not an infinite virtue, but
Patience
brings forth the sublime.

Mastery, mastery
The spirit is the cosmos
That must be free.
Mastery, mastery
The spirit is the cosmos
That must be free.

The serenity of mastery
Reveals the depths
Of inner space.
And with mastery of serenity
The payoff is amazing grace.

So mastery stays a mystery
A rising and setting sun
"The Eight 'P' Path" is an Odyssey
To be chosen again and again.

Mastery, mastery
The body is a sanctum
Do you agree?
Our mind is the canvas
So let it be
The spirit is the cosmos
That must be free.

Mastery, mastery
The more you know
It's a mystery
The more you know
It's a mystery.

(c) Mark Gorkin 1998

Shrink Rap Productions

 



Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is an acclaimed keynote and kickoff speaker and "Motivational Humorist" known for his interactive, inspiring and FUN speaking and workshop programs.  In addition, the "Doc" is a team building and organizational development consultant for a variety of govt. agencies, corporations and non-profits.  Mark is an Adjunct Professor, No. VA (NOVA) Community College and currently he is leading "Stress, Team Building and Humor" programs for the 1st Cavalry and 4th Infantry Divisions, Ft. Hood, Texas and Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  He is also delivering webcasts for the national Institute for Paralegal Education.  A former Stress and Conflict Consultant for the US Postal Service, the Stress Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress and of The Four Faces of Anger.  See his award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" -- www.stressdoc.com -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  For more info on the Doc's "Practice Safe Stress" programs or to receive his free e-newsletter, email stressdoc@aol.com or call 301-875-2567.

(c)  Mark Gorkin  2009

Shrink Rap™ Productions