Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Life these days

I just finished my second semester of school. Life is good. The end of the semester came and went without causing too much damage or taking from me too many hours of sleep. There were days that schoolwork pressure tightened the knot behind my left shoulder, but all in all i maintained equanimity, I maintained the perspective that my feelings of stress or nervousness about achievement versus failure were normal, expectable feelings that one in my position might feel. The knot has faded considerably in the last four or five days. I handed in my last final on Thursday night at proceeded directly to a friend's house, kicking off a 10-day period in which the goal is simply to feel as though i am truly "on vacation". Jordan and I went canoeing the following day, after a Parisian lunch on the pedestrian mall in Georgetown---only 8 blocks from school and work, yet a world away. The weekend and days since have been filled with sports and outdoor fun, happy hours and long, drawn-out baths. I even went "on vacation" to my parents' house for a night.
School was good. The Rorschach is some crazy stuff. There were times when i worshiped it and times when i cursed it; in the end i feel: that test sure does show a lot about an individual. It has also shown me a lot about myself. I've learned what aspects of my mental/emotional state are most distressing and what proverbial cliffs i would be most likely to fall off of.
School, and the mode of thought that accompanies the psychodynamic learning environment, in combination with psychotherapy, has been a source of intensity in my life, providing me new depths of self-understanding. Sometimes it is confusing, sometimes it solves all confusion. in general it is enlightening.
i think of my dreams often these days. i write them down a couple of times a week. they become more and more vivid as time passes. i feel as though the introspective forces of the various aspects of my life combine as multipliers or exponents, not as sums. i am becoming deeply engrossed in this world. there is no separating my education from my life, in a sense. psychology, at this point, fills not only my intellectual pursuits but my spiritual ones. psychology fills it, but it does not fulfill it. there is still room for more. i try to meditate, though i find it challenging. i go to church (yes, church) every couple of weeks, and that provides me with a semi-distanced sense of belonging to a community, a sense of belonging that, unlike my Mt. Pleasant community, values me as a human and not as a person. whereas in Mt. Pleasant i am who i am, and i am expected to 'be' or 'do' according to others' perceptions of who i am, at church i am just a human, among other humans. it is refreshing and i feel no expectations on the part of the fellow churchgoers, i feel no sense of responsibility or owing. therapy is the same way. i pay with money and therefore owe nothing else. in other relationships there is a mutual obligation based on trust, love, support, etc. these are the most important things we have, but these are also burdensome and, at times of deep introspection, oppressive.
living with seven people is good and hard. living with seven people who are among your closest friends is better and harder. we all struggle in our own way to adapt, and the house feeling ebbs and flows. we are in a flow right now. the weather is perfect and we smell the freedom of summer approaching. the sun stays out late and i arrive home after work, 8.30pm, to find friends and neighbors in the backyard. road trips and camping trips approach.
i, however, have one more semester between then and now. for seven weeks i will be busier, and more weighed down with schoolwork, than i have been so far. in mid-June i will have patients, a relationship in which the burden of responsibility and obligation fall one-sidedly on me (perhaps the true source of my feelings). i have never been so excited for something yet feared it so much; i have never felt so naturally predisposed to be skilled at a task, yet also so deeply afraid to do it. to quote Dr. Zweig/Lowenstein: "yes, yes, it's all a rich tapestry" (Groening et al., circa 1993).


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