Sunday, March 23, 2014


It is minus 28 degrees with a 13 mile per hour wind.  Though I’d rather be busking than woolgathering (again), I must express what is right now on my cloistered and meshuggener mindset.

Everyone has a story to tellMake a friendAll behavior is based on the need for love, power, freedom, or funWe do what we choose to do.  These are some heuristics of REALITY THERAPY (RT).  

Admittedly, I’m an old school Reality Therapist.  When I studied RT there were but four basic needs: Love, Power, Freedom, and Fun.  And now there is a fifth, Survival.  

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who had not really studied CHOICE THEORY, probably because of that corny car metaphor the good Doctor Glasser employed.  (I still chuckle when I think of it – and that metaphor is still employed in his teachings!) 

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who loved his POSITIVE ADDICTION, a book with a strong premise inspired by weak research -- I loved it I think because I am a long-distance runner and the contents praised such endurance.   

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who loathed his CONTROL THEORY IN THE CLASSROOM, a book filled with nonsense -- I hated it I think because I am a classroom teacher and the contents condemned the style of my classroom management.

William Glasser (author of both mentioned books) is neither a runner nor a school teacher, yet he purports to be an authority on both.  Even so, for whatever crazy reasons (Glasser does not believe in crazy), I quite like most of his notions.

Make a friend.  This is rule number one for a counselor of Reality Therapy.  The conversation between counselor and client ought to seem very fluid and informal, as if the client is chatting with a friend.  It is incumbent upon the counselor to create a counseling atmosphere of ease and candidness, so the sessional discourse is emotional and truthful, so seemingly and seamlessly as a conversation between two buddies.

Everyone has a story to tell.  We are gregarious story-telling creatures and the stories we tell one another are really the projected themes of who we are and what we consider to be important.  We can pretty much determine peoples’ interests according to their oratory themes.  Some people always boast of their past heroics (attempting to re-create a situation that is at present not so positive).  Some people exaggerate about their children’s accomplishments (as if somehow the listener should attribute the credit to the speaker).  Some people brag about their mates (at the expense of their personal insecurities being obvious).

Alfred Adler (founder of Adlerian Psychotherapy) suggested all behavior is purposeful. William Glasser (founder of Reality Therapy) believes all behaviors express the need for love, power, freedom, or fun.  The love factor is simply the need to love and the need to feel loved.  Power, in the Reality Therapy sense, references the need to perfect a study or skill of whatever sorts, be it academic or pragmatic.  Freedom and fun are the needs each of us have for free choice and the ability, then, to enjoy our lives according to these choices.

This particular blog entry is about the fat of Reality Therapy (freedom of choice) and the skinny of Zen (to live is to suffer).  Combine the two and we must realize that most of our suffering through interpersonal relationships is likely the direct result of the choices we have made.

According to Zen, as long as we live, we shall be suffering something.  According to Reality Therapy, we control only ourselves, and our past is important only as a source to reveal our patterns of behavior to date.  According to both Zen and Reality Therapy, the only way for anyone to realize a positive life change is by making certain choices.   

Jean-Paul Sartre insisted we are condemned to be free, and therefore we must admit ownership for all the choices we make or do not make. 

No matter our belief system, all of us know that the consequence for our freedom of choice is either flush with joy or replete with heartache.

We choose, choose, choose.

We choose to be the person we want to become.  And the person we become is the person we present to others. We choose our careers and avocations. We choose to be blue collar or white collar, pencil-pusher or action figure. We choose where we live. We choose to be urban or campestral. We choose how we live. We choose to smoke or not; we choose to drink or not; we choose to exercise or not. We choose to be démodé or bon vivant.  We choose to be congenial.  We choose to be celibate; we choose to be promiscuous.  We choose to be bellicose.  We choose to praise.  We choose to besmirch.  We choose to be capricious.  We choose to be cockalorum.  We choose to be humble. We choose our friends.  We choose our lovers.

We choose to be chin-up.  We choose to be chopfallen

We choose, choose, choose.

Sooner or later we realize that everyone has a gift to offer others, an acquired skill that is unique to that individual.  Sooner or later we realize that we need not be passionate about our chosen profession or work station.  Sooner or later we realize that giving provides more joy than taking.  Sooner or later we realize there will always be clarity to what is at present confusing.  Sooner or later we realize that our interests will be many and varied as we age. Sooner or later we realize that health and relationships are more valuable than money.    

All of us try to imagine purpose for our lives.  All of us acquire, through personal endeavor, unique gifts and skills to help us achieve that imagined purpose.   

We are all blessed and accursed ... as we all shall continually thrive and suffer throughout all the days our lives ... especially when it comes to love ... and in this regard we have no choice at all.


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