Dreams Versus Reality

Your Dreams

Do you dream? Oh no, I’m not talking about those things that crop up at night. I’m talking about the dreams you have for your future, your desires, what might be. How much of a hard edge do they have? Do they involve mysticism? Do they lead you into a spirit world of your own? What do they say about you and your life?

Questioning Reality

I’m a clinical psychologist and have spent a lot of time talking with people about their lives. Often we talked about what we call reality but as the decades passed I came to question the meaning of the word. Do our hopes and dreams fall outside the realm of reality? Of course not.

Fiction Choices

And when you read, what are your choices? Do you gravitate toward apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance or simply something which advances a “what if”? Are you engaged by ancient mysteries or are you looking for inspiration in how they may emerge in the here and now.

Relating to Reality

At once I have to say that the title of this blog, Cusp of Reality, reflects my core belief. I do not believe in a fixed reality. Reality is ephemeral and subject to our own interpretations. We live on a cusp and reality is often something which emerges and recedes into a mist. We take up a station of beliefs and surround ourselves with family and friends who reinforce something stable enough to be called reality.

Myth and Mysticism

And then there is what lies out there in the mist of the past. We enjoy myths and may recognize that they may offer prophesy and be visionary. Yet, we may fail to recognize that they can convey a stark and important reality of their own. And myths do not just speak to the past but also may relate to the future as it is emerging and how it may be.

Conclusions

Assuming we live on the cusp of a changing reality, then we have to wonder what we are to do with that reality. Naturally most of us take hold and fix a reality of sorts which works for us. But then there is the matter of the emerging world. That is where speculative fiction and such things as dystopian fiction, science fiction etc. come in. We can explore with them. And my considerations have led me to the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. It asks what ifs and comes out of my life experience. The trilogy relates to stewardship in a world in crisis. Women are central because it is apparent that they are emerging as a much greater force in the world. Certainly women have always been important but they are coming into power and partnership with men in new and important ways. And we have to wonder if there is a transformation of some form in our future.

A Dual Pathway

The possibilities are fascinating in a world which appears to have gone asymptotic in many ways. And so I’ve chosen to explore through this blog and through fiction in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Stay tuned.

Surely, regardless of your age, you have dreams, if not for yourself, then for someone in your life. What are those dreams and who are they for?

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

Thank You For Your Service

 

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Have you ever had a stress reaction?

Have We Defined It Incorrectly
Maybe our recent wars did not create an apocalypse for our nation, but we’re not facing some consequences of the wars. An apocalypse is ongoing for many of the residents of the Middle East but there is also significant distress among some people in our nation.

I am not a huge fan of the medical model as it relates to mental and emotional functioning because I think there are often other more useful ways to look at some of the things that happen to us. We created the concept of mental health so that we could
remove mental and emotional suffering from the hands of the church. It is no longer common to describe people as being possessed by the devil or demons. But sometimes viewing something as an illness is not useful either.

World War II Is Still With Us

Long before there was the currently popular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder we had war related stress problems but they were not diagnosed nor helped very effectively. We hear a great deal about PTSD currently. It almost sounds like it is a new problem.

I had a couple of awakenings in my practice over the years. In one instance a man came to see me about an ill-defined depression which had been nagging at him. We talked for several sessions until at last he said, “I think you need to meet my father”. His father had been a bomber pilot in World War II and had flown on both missions to destroy the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania. In each attack they lost 90% of the planes. His father had passed survivor guilt on to his son.

In another instance I was dealing with a young Jewish woman. Again, we were getting nowhere until she asked to bring her grandmother in. Her grandmother was a survivor of the Aushwitz concentration camp and had passed on this heritage within the family.

More Recent Events

It should not surprise anyone that we have similar problems for people who served in Vietnam and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. The revelations have been ongoing. From time to time I have occasion to talk with veterans. In one instance when I told a man that reactions to this stress were essentially normal there were tears in his eyes. He was grateful and said, “I thought I was mentally ill.”

Normalizing the Experience

The military is beginning to work to drop the D from PTSD because calling it a disorder is serving as a bar to seeking help. People don’t like being called mentally ill. The fact is that the types of reactions we are seeing should be characterized as normal reactions to prolonged stress. Exactly how is a person to feel when they spend every day killing people and having people trying to kill them? Since we don’t have a draft we have sent people back for multiple tours of duty which is utterly irresponsible.

Thank You For Your Service

Yes, we should thank them for their service but we are too often not giving them service in return. I used an image of a homeless serviceman for this post because it exemplifies the service we are not giving. They should not be suffering. Too often the wait times for those seeking help is much too long and there should be no veterans homeless on the street.

We are failing to step up to our obligations. Politicians are threatening more war and few are really responding to and supporting the response to real need created by past wars. The fact is that there are understandable reactions to prolonged stress and they can be dealt with.

Do you know someone with a stress reaction?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

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Peace Through Empowerment of Women

 

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Why have we failed to notice the empowerment movement?

Achieving Partnership

The empowerment of women worldwide is an underreported process of unprecedented importance. To the degree that its import is recognized, we see highly beneficial effects on relationships, families, communities and countries. While our attention is drawn to such things as what may be the beginning of a hundred years war in the Middle East and the absurdity and shame of our national politics, we may be missing the dawn of the maturity of humankind as we achieve true partnership between men and women.

Myth as Truth

For me this stunning process collided with my regard for the work of Carl Jung. Although he may be simply described as a psychiatrist, he went ever so far beyond the human mind to study the meaning of myth. What he brought back to us was the recognition that myth comprises not just interesting stories but the truth of humanity.

Weaving the Movement and Myth

In the end I found I could not overlook the opportunity to weave together the story of empowered women in a mythological context. And so was born my work of speculative fiction called the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. The first book, Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery – An Unbearable Choice has just been published and is available on Amazon as a paperback or in the Kindle edition.

Follow the Blog

Come join me in this adventure as humanity reaches what may be a denouement and possibly its transformation. You are invited to visit and follow my blog cuspofreality.com for related commentary, revelations and explorations. Posts are now scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays late morning. Just click on “follow” in the right hand column and you will receive the posts as they come out. And I would love to hear from you and what you think.

What are your thoughts about how we can support this movement?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

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The Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

 

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What in your life took hold even without a plan?

Ephemerality to Fact

It was my writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy which inspired this blog. As a psychologist I have always been impressed by how ephemeral reality can be even for people who are demonstrably stable. When the inspiration for the Majesty stories struck it quickly became clear that a lot of it had already been created back in the reaches of my mind. Granted we now have the tools to scan our brains and can see unconscious processes. But it was still amazing to me how well formed it was.

Layer upon layer it came forward and with each layer came the characters. Maybe they did not quite come up and introduce themselves but they were there. Many days after writing I found myself quite weary as if I had really been dealing with a host of beings. I have to wonder how many other people experience that or something related when they write. Our imaginations are powerful things and I suspect many writers feel the same way.

A Sequence Existed

And so the writing proceeded. I thought I was writing a book but it quickly became clear that there was more than one. The first one, Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery introduced the concept, the settings for the characters, the characters and the fundamentals of what was happening to humankind. In the second, Gaia’s Majesty: Presence, Gaia becomes ever more involved and the world descends into crisis. But being who I am as a person who may be cynical but believes everything can be salvaged, we then move into the third book, Gaia’s Majesty: Transformation.

I’ll leave the books to unfold but at this point am fascinated by the process. And now I have the first book days away from publication and two more books well advanced. What disturbs me is that I feel a fourth book is stirring deep inside and I have no idea what it is about but I can feel it.

Reality as a Living Process

What we call reality requires considerable attention. It is clearly made up of depths and when we get to reality then we have the interface with our fellow humans. The fact that it is so complex and alive is what gives us our passions and excitement. How wonderful is the process of creation in all its facets and that we have so much behind our reality!

Can you perceive something stirring deep inside you?

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The Myth Underlying the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy – Part 1

 

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What if this myth was our reality?

Exploring human history leads us back into misty origins and within those origins are fascinating events and adventures. Many of them are not recorded except perhaps as they may be revealed in mythology which often is shown to be more truth than fiction. The long ago events continue to shape our present lives and often tell who we are and foretell the future of humankind. Constructing a myth is a way to illuminate who we are and what our future may be.

In this myth our earth mother Gaia chose an experiment. There were creatures developing on Earth who were especially clever beings. But, even as they were clever, Gaia could see they could be dangerous to themselves and to her planet and that meant herself. It was clear if they were to be sufficiently dominant to pursue their endeavors that they were to be predators. Gaia was intrigued by the fact that their future would no doubt be tumultuous and the final story was not yet written or ordained. By their very nature, it seemed their potential might be of special interest, an adventure which Gaia could not resist observing. Where it would lead was beyond anything she could imagine. In her wisdom Gaia laid the groundwork to enhance and oversee the grand adventure.
Avery Corbett – Lead Protagonist
Avery thought she was alone in the world after the death of her parents. She had a job to which she was dedicated as she worked to provide micro loans to third world women. Little did she know a goddess was watching over her and designing her future. She wanted a family but the people of her new family who showed up were diverse and overwhelming. A real upside, however, was that she found a truly great guy. Together they went deep into the world of the “fishies” as she called them. As the lead protagonist Avery will join us for the entire trilogy.

The Universality of Struggle

 

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Presently, what are you struggling with?

We generally don’t pay a lot of day to day attention to the questions of reality. It is with us always and somehow, in its various forms, we learn to adapt. But when we turn our attention to thinking about our dreams or the ideas of ancient mysteries pops into our head, there is something else which reveals itself to us and that is struggle. We can view it as a burden or inspirational. Naturally it shows up in all manner of fiction. It is present in romance because the outcome of that affair or what we do when we find that one special person is never assured. Even when we achieve that wonderful marriage its continuity is not assured. And the same can be said for adventures or the explorations in science fiction, fantasy and all other forms of fiction.

And Then There Is What We Call The Real World – Oh That!
In the animal world at large we are well acquainted with the various forms of struggle. As a child I was fascinated by shows about nature. After awhile I referred to them as shows in which things eat things. So much of it was about survival through struggle.

If we expand our definition of struggle we can see it operating at a grand scale in the universe. Even galaxies struggle with each other as they draw together and collide.

It is inevitable that fiction will involve all manner of struggle. It may be personal, between two people or collectively in social collisions. It is so much a part of life. It is possible to view it as merely struggle and that it involves effort. A negative viewpoint is not productive. It may well involve considerable creativity with all that it offers. Out of it comes things new and unexpected. It is much more than merely survival.

Grand/Universal Forces
In Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I pose two important forces which are involved in the struggle. One is the Mysterium which is closest to women. This is the force we often associate with the moon and it engages our passions and sexuality with all the intensity and joy that creates. Naturally it is deeply engaged in the creativity which brings new life. Related and closer to men is the Maelstrom which is often destructive but has its own creative component. That component is exemplified as stars explode and in the explosion is created the heavier elements, or stardust ,of which humankind is born.

It is inevitable that struggle will engage us in our own lives and it is one component of writing fiction which is especially fruitful and fascinating.

Enduring Struggles
And then I have to share this. I have a very personal struggle which simply will not go away. Punctuation! You would think since I am a “scientist” (yeah, right) that I would have this down pat. No such thing. I am haunted by commas and remain totally clueless regarding colons and semicolons. For some reason, I can’t seem to understand them or even why we really need them. Maybe that’s just my problem. Am I alone in this?

An odd question. Do you have a favorite form of struggle?