A Vision of women

Searching for Meaning

 

Do you have a clear vision of and for women?

There are events and then there are the meaning of the events. The difference is something we would do well to understand. Women are assuming different positions, importance and balance. In some ways the United States may be catching up to the curve. We did not get a woman president this time. But other nations such as India, Israel, Great Britain and Germany among many others have been led by women. 

Now we are offered an unparalleled opportunity for exploration of attitudes and potential. It is not just a matter of women coming to the fore in greater numbers. What does is mean about the potential and the future of humankind?

Exploration is Needed

One of the things we must do is to examine our beliefs, our cultures and our feelings. It is easy to say “the times they are changing” and leave it at that. It is not so simple and it would be unfortunate to be dismissive because the import is highly significant.

The battle to get women the vote took almost one hundred years although in a sense it has been thousands of years. Eventually we let them drive, permitted them to have credit cards of their own among other things and these things were quite recent. Why we changed is not clear.

Matters of Power

We are seeing some of the basis of the problem in the matter of power. At least in the United States it seems that women who seek power are not to be trusted. How interesting. Men are to be trusted but women not. It comes to us unexamined but was confirmed by a study at Yale University. I have yet to hear justification for why anyone would believe this. 

I hold a different position. I do not routinely trust men with power. In so many instances they have proven themselves incapable of effectively wielding it again and again. Are we to accept it just because they have always been doing it? Effective management is much more impressive and I have seen women to be ever so effective. They are showing up in greater numbers in politics and so many are impressive. The men who are in office in larger numbers are often less so. The absence of mission and perspective is too often stunning.

Who Are We?

Is it possible that we perceive women as weaker and less able to control themselves. In general women cry more easily than men and may cry tears of anger. The reality I learned in studies and in couples therapy is that men feel just as strongly but contain the feelings inside and so do not cry. Does that make them more capable of leadership. I think not.

Like it or not, we can already see the effects of the empowerment of women and it is broadly beneficial. The largest issue before us is that we have not sufficiently examined our attitudes and cultural perspectives. Why be suspicious of woman wanting to take the reins of power? I hear silence and dim prejudice. What is it that men are afraid of? And, for that matter, what is it that women are afraid of as women take the reins of power? We need to examine these matters. 

Understanding Would be Useful

We seem to be heading toward true partnership and need to clarify what it means and why we are so afraid of it. The benefits will surely be world changing and I am raising the issue that we should be examining this process in more detail and what is holding us back. I contend there are other issues than power and it would serve us well to search for what they are.

What alternatives do you see?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health

Coming to the Cusp of Reality This Fall

 

 

The summer holidays are over and we are now in what can only be described as a momentous fall. Coming this fall and into the winter will be posts devoted to several categories of issues. 

Monthly Newsletter for the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. On the second Monday of the month I will publish the Roger B Burt – Myth and Transformation newsletter.

Feminism– It has been coming for some time but seems to be cresting presently. It deserves ongoing exploration because the potential is essential for our future and shows us that the potential of half our people is being released at last.

Author Issues – I can’t resist digging into some of the issues writers of fiction face. Obviously they are affecting me and sharing is useful. Included will be revelations about the Origins of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

Health and Mental Health – If we manage to achieve a stable, productive government we have a long overdue set of issues to affect. Mental health must be redefined and health in general needs significant attention.

Vision – There are issues that deserve our clarification and there are many issues not being spotlighted presently which require deep consideration.

Emergent Topics – Surely we cannot foresee what may demand our attention.

Let’s Begin with America in Crisis

Today we start with a topic I have generally stayed away from, the momentous crisis America finds itself in and the meaning of politics.

Beyond Politics to the Soul of Our Country

First there is an issue which is fundamental to seeking clarity. Here is a definition of politics—

“the activities, action, and policies that are used to gain and hold power in a government or to influence a government.”

This is where the cusp of reality comes in. Listening to the discussion and rants we find almost everything being said to be political. And therein lies a huge mistake. There is so much more going on and it is inappropriate to reduce it to partisan politics.

The soul of our country, in all its complexity, is being displayed at last. We refer to America as the “Shining City on the Hill”. It seems not presently and what we have to face is that what is happening to us is not purely a function of an unstable, severely pathological, narcissistic sociopath. We have to own what is happening to our country and what we are displaying about ourselves. Who we are deep down and our failings are not a matter of politics although it may feed into politics.

Waves In the World

But there is another process to which we must attend. World affairs are often conditioned by waves of change or, perhaps a better description is, eruptions of change. It was not so long ago that we saw a hopeful world and now we see manifestations of authoritarianism to be very common across the globe and very much here at home.

At home there was the dreadful “error” (or was it just ideological) by the Supreme Court with Citizens United. Now we are exposed to the revelations indicating deep money corruption affecting our government. That’s not politics, it is pure corruption which has eaten away at a major party.

Essential Vision

And now comes another favorite theme of mine—vision. We are so caught up in the eruption of authoritarianism we are utterly failing to attend to some of the things I have been touching on in this blog such as the rise of feminism, attention to jobs of the future and health issues among others.

We can only hope that this fall may be a turning point for us domestically. Even if we achieve that turning we still must face what we have learned about our citizens. What facing it means is a design for problem solving issues that deeply affect those citizens. Confrontation will at times be necessary but it will not turn the tide of their future. 

And above all we must remain hopeful and dedicated to vision so we may solve our problems in constructive ways.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health

The Ephemeral Curse of Lyme Disease

Coming to Terms With Reality

Many of us are naive enough to believe that an infection is something which yields an illness of a specific duration. Colds and flus pass through our lives with a fairly specific duration. We understand there are things which are chronic but generally we expect them to come to an end. Such was the case when I receive a visit from Lyme Disease and the spirochetes which cause it.

An Erratic Course of Diverse Symptoms

Diverse symptoms confused the picture. I thought I was getting old. Well, I was but that was not the primary issue. Finally my wife told me I had most of the symptoms suffered by her friends who had Lyme Disease. The blood test I took was negative. Later I learned the blood test is completely unreliable but practitioners were too often relying on it anyway. I never had the bullseye rash and evidently most people don’t. We were told we got it from ticks and now they have decided mosquitos also convey it. Finally I tried a course of antibiotics anyway and suddenly was getting my life back. It was clear I had Lyme Disease and got better. My course was a year without major symptoms and then a year of barely perceptible steady decline.

What I didn’t expect was that I would then suffer a seemingly free year and then a decline again. That pattern repeated again and my denial was finally broken when the fourth episode made it clear to me that I had a chronic disease.

Unfortunate Revelations

I was very disappointed. Over ten years I learned that not only did we have an unreliable blood test but that there was no vaccine for humans. There was a vaccine for dogs but pharmaceutical companies didn’t think it was profitable enough for humans. And while the epidemic infection raged on there was denial in the medical profession.

Endless List off Symptoms

No, there are not consistent symptoms. The spirochetes can attack anywhere in the body with unpredictable durations. My toes curled up and the damage was serious enough to require multiple surgeries. And now that I’m having it fought with a wide range of medications I suffer changing symptoms each day. Yes, there is fatigue, sudden joint swelling, aches and pains, brain fog and on and on. And I’ve learned that the little beasts can adapt so they are resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. In one course the antibiotic suddenly stopped working. These creatures can put up a shell which protects them. But there is a way to pierce the shell if the physician is knowledgeable about it.

Go online and Google Lyme Disease. It is an eye opening experience.

An Uncertain Future

Quite frankly i feel had and can’t project my outcome. But this should not have happened and the epidemic should have  been contained early on. It is clearly time to improve our health care system and deal with a pharmaceutical industry which needs firm regulation. People are being victimized by out of control costs and poor attention to realistic needs.

It Feels Like An Infestation (Which It Is)

What is distinct about this disease process is that I can feel the reaction and resistance of the spirochetes. It feels like they are fighting back but with a variable arsenal of resistance. We tend to see an invading organism as being somewhat passive and that it can be overwhelmed. But in this instance they are not passive and have a variety of tactics. It is almost like there is an intelligence with an arsenal. And we, as humans, are far behind them. It is like living in a science fiction story.

Recommendations

My recommendations include not assuming the blood test is reliable, if you don’t see the bullseye rash don’t assume you haven’t been infected. Understand that medication may suddenly stop working. Know that symptoms may change very slowly and a return of Lyme may take months before you understand it is back. Understand that there are no typical symptoms and any sudden changes may reflect the disease. Above all, don’t be passive. If you have any hints of infection, study it on line and be vigilant. It is not immediately lethal but can cloak your life in fatigue and serious ongoing consequences. May the force of resistance be with you. And let’s hope our understanding and response improves.

What to do? Seek treatment at once. Study the latest information on line. Be vigilant. Stay with treatment beyond the basic period. Response is still developing so stay on it and continue to seek information.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Being a Tourist in the Caribbean – Part 2

 

View From Ladera Resort

View from Anse Chastanet Resort

An Extraordinary Opportunity

I think that is how I would characterize the tropical islands of the Caribbean. The choices offered are many.

Cruises:

There are different ways to see the islands. One way people choose is cruises. We saw the reality of cruises whenever we stopped in a capital city. In those major ports the cruise ships arrived and disgorged passengers. The tour operators waiting on the dock were often aggressive and we knew there were others who were gentler. And often we saw the passengers make their way through the duty free shops over and over again. It seemed rather pointless. There was generally a failure to touch the soul of the island and its people. 

Romance and Mystery – More Than a Vacation

We had researched the islands before committing to build but the adventure of actually staying at resorts just happened. We accepted it as an opportunity and a gift. Two resorts utterly intrigued us beyond the small cozy resort in the north where we stayed when we were building our home.

In fact, by seeing the different resorts, we experienced St. Lucia in depth. One evening when we were traveling with our builder, Wayne, he took us to dinner at Anse Chastanet. It is in the southern part of the island and was built up a hill with a stunning view of the pitons. Sunset comes early in the Caribbean—every day all year, because it is relatively close to the equator. And that evening we had a delightful dinner in romantic dim light with a group of people Wayne assembled. They were from all over the world and generally were there on some kind of business. The conversation was truly interesting. The feel that evening is hard to convey. Cozy, warm and so much more.

Another special favorite was Ladera Resort which is nestled between the pitons. The view is truly enchanting and there are no walls on the room on the ocean side. It is a form of rustic. Without a wall on the front there is a special intimacy with the pitons and the larger tropical environment. The quiet is enchanting and the experience enhances companionship. The staff was warm, it was quiet and felt so pleasing. Such resorts are rare and need to be sought.

And then there are the day to day experiences being out and about. One year we were on the island for New Years Eve. The party was fun and, I should say, the local people, even the expats living on the island were unrestrained. At midnight the bartenders jumped out of the bar opening it to the guests. I had been standing by the water and looked down into a boat featuring a couple making love. It was a rich evening.

Doing Research:

Even though our initial experience on St. Lucia engaged us, we did research before we committed. At the time there was a monthly newsletter covering each island in turn. I finally called to talk to one of the authors. The information I received led to confirmation of St. Lucia. Now, of course, it is possible to do research on line. But, above all, we still recommend people get into the richness of island life. It need not be complex but requires seeking environments beyond what largest resort chains offer. But also its best not to be naive. Balance is best. There are many inviting options.

Reality of Island Life

It all requires common sense and often a sense of humor. At the time we often traveled on Air Jamaica. The landings were flawless and one time I commented on the one just experienced to the Jamaican man sitting next to me. He responded, “Yes, they do much better now that they are not drinking.” He was, of course, teasing me. 

On another flight to Montego Bay they passed out a newspaper with the headline, “Eight Hour Gun Battle in Montego Bay.” Of course it had ended before we arrived. Naturally such a thing is not a common event and we have gun battles in the States as well.

Getting out into island life does, however, require not being naive. Simple caution and being realistic is indicated. But isn’t that a fact of life?

Since our experience led us across the Caribbean, in a later post I’ll share the view we gained of other islands.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Being a Tourist in the Caribbean – Part 1

 

Asking What’s the Point

Maybe this is an idiosyncratic viewpoint, but perhaps it is good to think about why one is traveling and where one is traveling. Is this a vacation designed to sit by the pool and read or are you interested in really getting to know the location? Asking those questions opens not just the purpose but possibly the world.

The Caribbean for Us

My wife and I had spent many years going to the Maryland shore in the summer to be at the beach with our four children. When at last they were grown, we had a broader set of possibilities. Yes, we had done things like taking them on a really neat vacation in Northern Ireland, but now we could travel and design adventures just for ourselves.

But what happened was not quite on our plan. I had been in a catastrophic accident when someone drove his SUV in my driver’s door which sent me into years of surgery. At last came the ability to travel. We had business in California and went on to beautiful Hawaii. It was terribly far from the East Coast and we thought about seeking tropical options closer to home. We had friends who were considering a location for their boat in the Caribbean. We joined them when they went to look for land to build a home base. That took us to the island of St. Lucia in the Windward (eastern) Islands.

What did we know about St. Lucia? Nothing. Why were we going? For an adventure with friends. And so we were trekking into the back of the back as well as developed areas. It was an eye-opening experience. St. Lucia at the time was developed, but not highly. And, we could get in touch with the island people who were quite friendly.

Recognizing Potential

On the first trip we went to a mid-size resort our friends had chosen. We thought there would be night life. There was none. A band played but no one showed up. A day gamboling in the sun robs you of energy and if you are there on a honeymoon or in a passionate affair then evenings afford other pleasures.

Over time we experienced many different kinds of resorts. We saw large resorts and cozy inns. Either we stayed or we found it desirable to see what we might advise people about. Why was that? Because our friends didn’t buy land, we did and then we built a house. As described in another post, we ended up renting the house we built when we weren’t there and that led to a rental business including several islands. We needed to be able to advise people.

We much preferred the cozy inns and cottages or villa rentals. They came with the opportunity to know the local people better and to experience the depth of island living. Of the larger and better known resorts only two intrigued us.

Diversity of Resorts:

Some of the larger resorts are those of well advertised large chains. On occasion we had reason to stay in the northern part of the island since that was where we were building our house. Sandals has three resorts at the top off the island. Being waterfront they have next to no views except of a flat ocean. The glorious mountain views were elsewhere. We were told they discouraged people from leaving the resort. What a terrible shame! They advertised drinks available at all times. What that means was they circulated with water and soda which decreased demand for beer and wine.

The small inn in the north, where we stayed, was cozy, engaging and close to wonderful restaurants. Happy hour was a treat. One evening I became attentive to the music they were playing and was told it was the music of the French islands. The name of the music became the name of our villa. There were so many opportunities.

As to tours, we recommend taking a day tour of the island. The cheaper alternative is a minibus with 16 people inside. Clearly getting your own driver for a personal tour would be our preference. Yes, it is more expensive.

A Rich Environment:

I’ll leave it there for this week. Part 2 will be posted next week.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Life As a Journey of Discovery

 

What periods of discovery have you had?

We Begin With “How It Is”

First for us in life comes family. From there our world expands. There were my parents and my brother and then my mother’s two sisters. They lived together and would have been called maiden aunts. There was so much more.

Families can be secretive for reasons that are never clear. It was decades later that I found who one of my aunts was. My maternal grandfather was a milkman in the silk stocking district of Manhattan. That was in the early 1900s. The family lived in Hell’s Kitchen. It was said to be the home of the Irish Mob but census records show a highly diverse population. But in all regards it was a tumultuous immigrant community. 

Our Families Unfold

As my grandfather made his rounds both in Hell’s Kitchen and in the upper East Side of Manhattan he watched for abandoned children. He saw to it that they were taken somewhere safe. I had always wondered why my aunt Agnes loved to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It turned out that Agnes had found refuge in my grandparents’ home and she was not a blood relative. She was joyous and Irish through and through.

Agnes and her sister Ruth saw to it that my brother and myself saw New York. Often you can live in a city and never see it. But my brother and I were their children as well and we toured New York. The most special day was New Years Eve. My first such fest was when I was five. It became a tradition to go to Radio City Music hall for the movie and the show. Then we went out to Times Square. That was long ago and far away and we loved it. And after the ball fell we went to arcades and played games until the wee hours. Yes, I was a night person and delighted in the festivities.

The World Opened

And then when I was ten my father took us to Europe. It was just five years after the end of World War II. London was a pile of rubble still. Some interesting things were left standing but the sight of war and its consequences came home to me. Then we crossed the channel and met the French. To this day I do not understand why the British and French continue to have reservations about each other. Yes, they competed in the past but I found both peoples different but lovely in their own right. At the time the French seemed a little crusty. But as I visited them over the coming decades I saw them relax. Later I understood.

How Curious Is Memory

Something unexpected happened. Recently I read a novel about the experiences of three women during the time of the Nazi occupation of France. And then I remembered the face of a woman in a shop outside of Paris when I was ten. It haunted me. She seemed to be in a bad mood and suddenly stopped and stared off into space with a look of terror on her face. I was only ten and the Nazi occupation had ended just five years before. As a ten year old I could not understand. Now I could believe she was being hit by terrible recollections. Depth in my life was unfolding.

From France we went by train to Switzerland. To Americans there were odd shortages. We ate in the dining car on the train and as a ten year old I would have been drinking soda or water except the train had neither. So I had the choice of wine or beer. I tried the beer. It was an interesting trip to Switzerland for me.

Building a View of Life 

What’s the point? Our country appears to be on the cusp of major changes. In those changes we will see and discover much about our country and ourselves. In it we will see that our lives are journey’s of discovery. It doesn’t matter how far ranging the discovery is, it is there if we will attend to it. And it may be in the books we read, the friends we make or world events. It is precious and not to be missed. And we each attend to our personal reality.

What have been your turning points?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Health Care Alternatives and Reality – Series – Pt. 5

 

The Myth of Mental Illness

The above is the title of an important book by Thomas Szasz. Mental illness still dominates a significant portion of our health care system and it still has major conceptual problems. Of course, as a clinical psychologist, I was schooled in it. I actually came to love Carl Jung’s work a lot more than Sigmund Freud’s but his work still dominates.

Alternative Realities

And so we again return to where we live on the cusp. Over the decades I found nonphysical problems related to mental and cognitive issues to be far removed from “illness” and often nuanced. And when we move away from the dominant model, we find suitable alternatives. Unfortunately the insurance industry dominates the field and therefore may dictate treatment or at least what it is called. What it is called will often influence what is done. Substantial reform is needed.

Some of the Issues

When my wife and I personally confronted issues for remarried families (aka stepfamilies) we learned important lessons. An important initial lesson was that the process is a matter of adjustment, not psychopathology. Certainly there were some people with substantial disturbance from other causes but we learned to begin with our model of adjustment. The  couple was focused on initially. Too often the mother or stepmother was put in therapy as if they were the problem although they may have shown the greatest distress initially. And we were resistant to putting children in therapy because adjusting to a new family was not pathological in almost all cases. Because of our approach we could structure an information system and found that generally the family could take over adjustment and handle their own future after very few sessions. See our book Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership by Mala S. Burt, M.S.W. and Roger B. Burt, Ph.D.

Another major issue is what is termed post traumatic distress disorder or PTSD. The military is wrestling with removing the word disorder because it proves to be a bar to veterans getting help with their adjustment. Does anyone really believe that someone should go to war and kill people daily or risk being killed daily while suffering stress and not need to cope with management and an enduring reaction. I shared my perception with some friends who were veterans and found them in tears when I suggested they were not “sick” although there were still issues decades after their war experience. 

Enduring and Broad Issues

Those are just two examples of the reality of a world far more nuanced than what is described as mental illness. We can go on between things like personality diversity, numerous personal management needs as we pass through stages of our life. When I first came into the field the predominant viewpoint was that our development was finished in early adulthood. Absurd.

Management of life experience continues throughout life and it would be best if we approached our lives in that fashion. Take an area of life experience and we see that there is change, stress and adaptation. It would help if we defined a type of insurance that was appropriate and took these issues out of the hands of insurance companies focused exclusively on profit.

Life on the Cusp

Yes, here is that cusp again. Each of us is different with a raft of different experiences. We work for stability and commonality and often success. But it would help if we understood the richness of our diversity in the sense that much of the issues are not pathological and that our views from the cusp feed creativity, diversity and innovation. And life can be difficult, even jarring. From time to time we need to seek expertise and guidance but we generally do not need to cast it all into psychopathology. There are problems out there with profound biological origins where the person needs substantive help but very often management and guidance are what is needed.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt