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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist (tm)

June 1998, No. 2

Dear Readers,

Here is your free Stress Doc Newsletter. Twice a month I include original or favorite essays and articles from my various online and offline writings, including my weekly Humor From the Edge and AOL/Online Psych <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> columns.

The conjunction of the vernal equinox and a poignant letter from a reader inspired the theme for this newsletter. Summer is a time for exploring sensual and spiritual paths beyond the everyday; it's when "a time for waste is not a waste of time." Perhaps, it is a time for "Mountain Vision" and "The Eight 'P' Path of Mastery":

I just want to thank you for Mountain Vision. My husband is having major surgery in a couple of weeks and I find myself searching for mental escapes in all which ways. I work and have house to take care of, plus anxiety about him and his care for the next few months. Anyway, Mountain Vision gave me a Real Lift! There is magic in those words.

Also, scroll past the essays to find information on my speaking and training schedule, the library of articles on my award-winning website - www.stressdoc.com <A HREF="www.stressdoc.com">STRESSDOC HOMEPAGE</A> - and any fastbreaking developments.

Please forward this letter to interested friends, colleagues and family members, or send along their email addresses. (Also, if you don't wish to receive the newsletter, email me - stressdoc@aol.com .) If you'd like free subscriptions to Humor From the Edge (email me) and/or to "The Death and Dying" Newsletter, click here, <A HREF="http://www.death-dying.com/">Welcome To Death & Dying...Where Life Surroun...</A> (See, this newsletter will make you die laughing ;-)

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:

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,

(Chorus)

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.

(Chorus)

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

"The Stress Doc Letter" features and functions:

1. Psychohumor Writings. To provide you the best of my past and current online and offline writngs, including Humor From the Edge columns and America On Line/Online Psych special topical essays, e.g, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.docwork.1255066.562088752">The Stress Doc Interview @ Online Psych</A> and <A HREF="aol://4344:972.olpny3.1264502.565460680">Make Your Resolution A Habit With Help From Online Psych!</A>. For those not on AOL, if you'd like a copy of these popular series, just email - stressdoc@aol.com. Or check out my website - www.stressdoc.com - or my AOL/Online Psych Page - Keyword: Stress Doc, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> .

My writings now appear twice/month in Perspectives, the electronic magazine of Mental Health Net. MHN is a not-for-profit organization devoted to mental health information and education resources online. They are located at: www.cmhc.com/

2. Special Projects Updates. New or special projects that are flying around or about to be (or have been) launched:

a) Come on by for my twice a month "Shrink Rap and Group Chat" on AOL/Digital City - Washington. It's an online stress support group. We discuss your personal concerns on stress and wellness, relationship and family issues, loss and grief, career transition, creativity and psychological growth, etc., the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, from 9-10pm EDT. Next session: Monday Jun 22nd. Here's the link: <A HREF="aol://4344:363.gorkin.5732839.568857121">Chat with the Stress Doc</A>.

This group replaces the Frequent Sighers Club which never quite got off the ground. (I still like the name.)

b) Team Building Series for Aeronautical Charting and Cartography/Dept. of Commerce commenced on June 5th. A number of peer facilitated groups have been launched. This follows two highly successful Stress and Conflict Management all day workshops. For more info, call Melissa Hartman, Special Projects Manager, (202) 482-3026.

c) Overcoming Stress, Loss and Change; continuing series for Fairfax County Government, VA, Metro-Area Re-employment Project: for Displaced Federal Employees. Part I: June 18th; Part II: June 30. For more info, call: Marilyn Manno, (703) 324-7390.

d) Rebuilding the Fire: Transforming Burnout into Your Creative Career Path; On June 8th and 9th, two highly successful half day programs for the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers Annual Conference. Rumor has it I was "the star of the conference." For more info, call Ron Lambert, John Hopkins University/SAIS, (202) 663-5710.

e) These comments from David Odar, Program Chair for American Association of Healthcare Adminsitrative Mnagement on last month's Practicing Safe Stress presentation: We want to express thanks for the wonderful presentation you made to our group last month. It was obvious that you connected with the group and provided us all with some fresh perspectives and strategies for dealing with stress...We look forward to having you be an integral part of our year end meeting that will focus on strategies for "career control."

3. Stress Doc Calendar. To provide an up to date speaking and workshop calendar - what, where and when. Of course, if you know of an organization or a conference that needs a dynamic, thought-provoking and fun-filled program, my motto...Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire!

Speaking of speaking, some upcoming events:

a) On June 23rd, leading an all day Practicing Organizational Safe Stress workshop for Human Resources Center/Naval Sea Systems Command. For more info, call Chaprella Collins, (703) 607-1828.

b) On June 25th, half day Humor in the Workplace program for The Support Center of Washington, DC. For more info, call Nora Palmatier, Director of Training, (202) 833-0300.

c) And throughout July, I will be leading a variety of training classes for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

4. Online Coaching/Training. To promote my Coaching for Consultants and Entrepreneurs Program:

Special Announcement: I am starting a Multi-Media Coaching for Consultants Program: ** developing, delivering, marketing workshop programs online & offline ** humor/speech writing services and website design with the Cyber Doc ** online consultation and participation in chat group

For information on the products and instructional services, email me at Stress Doc@aol.com. With questions, call (202) 232-8662 or mail me at:

Mark Gorkin Stress Doc Enterprises 1616 18th Street, NW #312 Washington, DC 20009-2530

5. Award-Winning Website. To remind you that there is a lot more material on my award winning, USA Today Online "Hot Site" website. It's also just been acclaimed a 4 Star, top-rated site, by Mental Health Net, the largest review guide of mental health, psychology and psychiatry resources online today. Go to www.stressdoc.com or <A HREF="http://www.stressdoc.com/">STRESS DOC HOMEPAGE</A> . Also, check out my AOL/Online Psych Page, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> or Keyword: Stress Doc. Over 100 articles are arranged in 15 different categories:

Stress Doc Bio and Philosophy Stress and Burnout Managing Anger with Authority Power Struggles: Dyads-Systems Depression/Teens, Parents... Cyberaddicts Anonymous Good Grief Searching for Love Career Transition Humor: Art and Science Creativity Unbound Achieving Peak Performance Spiritual Exploration Readers' Submissions

6. Readers' Platform. Please submit questions, comments, criticisms, cutting edge information as well as stories about how you've used humor to help relieve a client's, family member's or your own stress. I will gladly print your offering and credit you completely. (And thank you for using your spellchecker.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a nationally recognized speaker, workshop leader and author on stress, reorganizational change, anger, team building, creativity and humor. He is also the internet's and the nation's leading "Psychohumorist." The Stress Doc is a columnist for the popular cyber-newsletter, Humor From The Edge . Mark is also the "Online Psychohumorist" for the major AOL mental health resource network, Online Psych and Financial Services Journal Online. And he is an offline writer for two mental health/substance abuse publications -- Treatment Today and Paradigm Magazine. His motto: Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire! Reach "The Doc" at (202) 232-8662, email: Stress Doc@aol.com, or check out his "Hot Site" website: http://www.stressdoc.com . (The site was selected as a USA Today Online "Hot Site" and designated a four-star, top-rated site by Mental Health Net.)