Mind Matters—A free fall For April Fools

While pondering what I would write for April Fools’
Day, there came an email from a friend/colleague. The missive was simple: a
quote from the writer-philosopher-mythologist, Joseph Campbell:

“We are in a free fall into the future. We don’t know where we’re going.
Things are changing so fast. And always when you’re going through a long
tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into
a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s all a very
interesting shift of perspective … joyfully participate in the sorrows of the
world and everything changes.”

Who does not feel like they are in freefall into
the future? This is no April Fool. Things are changing rapidly. We are besieged
by political polarities, crumbling religious institutions, horrific natural
disasters, nuclear crises, oil catastrophes, uprisings and revolutions against
authoritarian regimes. The Chinese character for crisis is composed of two
symbols, one meaning “danger” and the other “opportunity” (although linguists,
as reported in Wikipedia tend to debunk this). But perhaps Joseph Campbell’s
invitation to consider our freefall as a voluntary act is also saying
“transform crisis into opportunity.”

There are cries among us to change back. Change back
is an expected, if not healthy, response to system shifts. Even when an
individual starts to make changes for the good (eating healthier, starting
exercise, for example), old unhealthy patterns persist. It takes motivation to
overcome the old ways. Change in couples and families doesn’t come easy either.
When an individual chooses to become differentiated from unhealthy behaviors in
a couple or family, the system pushes back, desiring a return to the status
quo.

Likewise, societal systems push for change back.
But change back to what I wonder. To the “halcyon” days of yore where the evil
of slavery was denied or where Galileo was condemned for pointing out that the
sun doesn’t revolve around us? Then, the monk Copernicus clarified our
revolution: indeed we are not the egocentric center of the solar system.
Perhaps we are due for another moment of truth, that, as the Sage Jesus said,
“the Meek shall inherit the earth.” Maybe the bottom line is not the bottom
line we think it is—the bottom line is not power, control, possessions,
domination of the earth or all its
resources. Maybe the bottom line is to “joyfully participate in the sorrows of
the world.”

And, I would add, we participate in the sorrows
when we, in humility, understand we are all in the same boat. A boat where we
all experience storms of sorrow and can also experience aliveness and joy. It
is the boat of humanity that has the same destination for all. None of us will
get out of life alive, but meanwhile we can live life, as Zorba the Greek would
say, as the Full Catastrophe!

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is
in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at
MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or (610)388-2888. Past columns are posted
to
www.drgajdos.com.

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About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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