Visit to the White House



Two of my clients were at the White House on the 4th of July, summoned by the almighty Obama, when he decided to throw a backyard party and barbeque. Nate is an internationally known musician – a bass player with a band called the Foo Fighters. His partner Jessica is a screenwriter, band manager and mother to their bright big-eyed son, Noah.

 It was evening. Malia’s birthday party was going on inside. Nate was with the band headlining the night’s activities and Jess was on the side yard of the White house watching fireflies explode into light. Noah was delighted. He reached out repeatedly to catch them but always fell short. He ran, he grabbed, and he missed. He was getting discouraged.

Then a voice came from the bushes. A man dressed in black emerged with an assault weapon strapped to his chest.

Here you go little buddy, he said, a firefly caught in his grasp. Noah was delighted.

Where did you come from? Jess asked.

Oh, we’re all around, out of sight. There are a lot of people here now. It’s our job to keep everybody safe.

Jess looked around as he motioned. Men in black appeared from nowhere like a scene in a shooting arcade, acknowledged her, then melted back into the unseen. 

As she was digesting this, Bo, Obama’s dog, came out to poop. The mess was immediately cleaned up and a yellow flag inserted in the ground where the pile had landed.  She turned to her secret service buddy:

What are the flags for?

Wherever the dog poops the lawn will be cut out and replaced. The flags tell them where to put new sod. 

Barbeque was served, ice cream, beer and wine. They filled their plates, sat on poop-free replaced grass to watch the evening fireworks and felt extremely protected.


tiger13I saw a Clint Eastwood movie last night and came away completely satisfied. What is it about these movies?  Clint is the equalizer, like Bruce Willis and Tony Soprano. They are the warriors, the ones who put things right by finding quick, immediate solutions to injustice. There is no guilt, or long involvement with the grinding gears of a glacial legal system. They take matters into their own hands and do what needs to be done.

As a therapist I admit to having revenge fantasies when I hear stories about child beatings, rape and other unimaginable cruelties. I want to call The Godfather and say, go take care of this. I don’t ever want this to happen again to anyone. Stop it now and forever, wipe it off the face of the earth. My spirit is looking for a cosmic hit man.

This part of me alarms my husband, who is one of the kindest men on earth. When Jodie Foster was sitting in the subway in, The Brave One, and saw three men approaching with knives to terrorize, rape and cut, she surprised them by pulling a gun and blowing them away. I squeezed my husbands hand during that intense scene and whispered, yes, in his ear, justice, immediate and final. He smiled a nervous smile. I loved seeing her move into her warrior self instead of becoming the victim that needs years of rehabilitation to recover a fragment of the woman she used to be. I’ve gone back with my clients to moments of original trauma. I sat with their courage when they looked at raw, open pain and wept right along with them. I now hold memories I don’t want to hold, and a knowledge of human suffering and injustice I can never release.

I understand there is no one to blame. I only wish it was that easy, but it never is, because the bad guy is usually the bad guy because of what was done to him. He is dealing with the thorn in his own heart. I look beyond him, to his tormentor, but the piercing is endless. Real life is so complicated, while movies are so wonderfully black and white.

Obama is a wonderful role model, much like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. They are the true leaders. They are warriors of the heart. The wise part of me knows this, but once in awhile, after a day of working in the trenches of life, I just want to go to the movies and watch the bad guys get blown off the planet.

Express Train

I am a quiet person. I keep my beliefs, politics and opinions tucked away and private, nobody’s business but my own.

My husband, Gib, is the opposite. He loves to broadcast these things, whether or not you want to listen. When Gib begins to talk politics he becomes someone I stand away from.

It’s as if my gentle sweet man becomes possessed by the spirit of a zealous dictator. He is convinced that others will see the world exactly as he does, if he only talks loud enough, fast enough or long enough. Gib gets bigger and bigger in his mission, then for no apparent reason, the spirit that possessed him leaves, he returns to the room, to himself and finally to me.train

Did I do it again? he asks. Did I get too loud? Did I run over them like an express train?

The waitress delivers another beer. Let’s just say, Gib, that there is no one here tonight who does not know exactly where you stand on the subject.

There is no listening when he enters these outer dimensions of himself. There is only reporting and a sincere belief that he can change anyone’s mind if he talks long enough.

He is naive in this way and determined. This is the same self who will sincerely lecture on the downfalls of sugar and carbohydrates, while going to the dessert table to refill his plate with apple pie, brownies and carrot cake.

He is a good man though. Kind and gentle beyond measure. This new president is teaching him about unity, allowing and embracing diversity, while I am learning to accept my relationship and the world as they are and not as I want them to be.

Unyielding Hope

America will be ready for a black president in 40 years. Bobby Kennedy 1968

My husband, Gib, worked on Bobby’s campaign and was waiting in the lower ballroom to meet him on June 4, 1968 when he made his fateful walk through the kitchen. How proud I imagine Bobby would have been to have witnessed last night’s election. Gib and I were in downtown Portland as the city exploded in dancing, shouting, car horns, and joy-filled tears. We followed the percussive sounds of the Lions of Batucada as they wove through city streets, everyone chanting O-B-A-M-A, with ebullient voices linked to millions around the globe.

grandmaAt last we have a gentle man with an intelligent heart who is ready and eager to lead us out of the darkest, most embarrassing political years in memory. Words from Barack’s acceptance speech linger like a healing balm on an open wound. A new dawn of leadership is at hand.. Let us summon a new spirit.. While we breathe we can hope…Yes, we can.