INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Passion and Envy

Spent last weekend down in Palo Alto with Jill while she assisted at a workshop for couples being run by The Couples Institute--her innovative mentors in the field of marriage and family counseling. Jill says these people are transforming her abilities as a therapist and facilitator for couples.

While Jill toiled at the workshop, I hung out in The Valley. Haven't been down there in years. Avoided it like the plague in the crazy nineties. It's halfway pleasant down there now that the frenetic boom days are gone. Spent some enjoyable goofing off time at Stanford, and in the local cafes and bookstores. Had a great hike in the foothills behind the campus. Drop-dead gorgeous countryside!

Anyway, Jill reported that the primary goal of the workshop was to get each individual person among the various couples who were in attendance to focus on his/her own personal reactions to the disliked behaviors of his/her partner.

Jill says that this is the central challenge facing the couples therapist. She says that everyone who comes in for counseling is completely caught up in his or her anger and upset over the other person's alleged wrongs and shortcomings. Getting them to switch the focus to themselves and their personal reactions, and off of the partner, is the key to success every case, says Jill, and it takes a heap of patience and determination on the part of the therapist.

Jill reported that, after the workshop, she got in touch with how passionate she is about the sanctity of relationships, and how she loves being a fighter for helping couples repair their bond (when the fundamental love is there, of course. Sometimes it isn't, and the process of the therapy ultimately reveals it).

I must say, I envy her passion. The experience of passion in work is one of the holes in my life that never got filled. I helped people sell shit. It was a living. My skill set was being-easy-to-get-along-with and bullshit-spinner. It fed the stomach but not the spirit.

Despite my envy, I'm so happy for Jill--and proud--that she gets to feed her spirit to the brim. Fortunately, for me, there's the passion of blogging. As for combining livelihood and passion--well, I simply missed the boat on that one, for whatever reason (Fear, most likely). Last I looked, they weren't hiring any aging blogarians.

Rockin' and Rollin' With Dervala

Dervala Hanley totally rocks! And her blog is on a real roll.
During the past week, she's dished out the following gems:

--a fascinating look at gender attitudes in 1943, " Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees;"

--an insightful skewering of mindless software marketing;

--a penetrating look at the Boomers, including a distinction between European and American hippiedom of which most Americans, including myself, are probably unaware;

--and, finally, a breathtaking, thoroughly engrossing account of her husband's start-up saga.

How does she do a demanding job plus all this wonderful writing? Is there a doppelganger we don't know about?

In her piece about the Boomers, Dervala concludes by saying:

"For me, American boomers are embodied by Clinton. Enormously gifted, born into huge generational privileges of peace and prosperity. Fussing endlessly now about their legacy, wanting us to agree that the Sixties changed the world more than World War One or the French Revolution. I like them, but I wish they had more teach us."

This inspired me to email Dervala the following:

I was fascinated with your thoughts on my generation. Maybe
we don't have very much to teach because we were so
rejectionist toward our elders that we feel it would be hypocritical
to be didactic toward you. From our own experience, perhaps
we feel strongly that each generation has to make its own way.

Everything changes so fast now! What the hell do we have
to tell you except our own stories, as honestly as we can.
Honesty we value, and honesty is, IMHO, what we managed
to pass on. You guys are a beautiful, living example of it!
(Note: see my post, "Bill Haley and the Four Martyrs."


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