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  1. Read your first book and about to start the second. You clearly get what most don’t. Sorry about that. What follows is similar to a cat leaving a half-eaten vole on your front doorstep to tell you she wants to share it with you. Only mine comes without fur or blood, both of which I feel certain you have had more than you need. Cheers, Richard

    The Big List of Pleasurable Activities
    Well this will be one of the oddest blogs I have written. Last week at my weekly counseling/therapy session my therapist decided it might be helpful to share with me a long two-page list that she had copied from a book called BASIC DISTRESS TOLERANCE SKILLS. The title of the list was “The Big List of Pleasurable Activities”. At the top of the page, it simply says, “Check the ones you are willing to do,and add any activities you can think of.”

    At a stoplight on the way home I started reading this “Big List of Pleasurable Activities”… was all interesting and then I came to “__Call a crisis or suicide hotline and talk to someone”……….it struck me as very funny…This is supposed to be a “pleasurable activity.? Can you imagine,

    “Hello, Suicide Hotline. How may I help you?”

    “Well, I got this Big List of Pleasurable Activities from my therapist, Christina at JFS and one of the suggestions was that it might be pleasurable to call y’all.”

    “Are you thinking of suicide? Are you depressed? Are you in the midst of a crisis?”

    “No, not actually, I just wanted to do something pleasurable and this seemed like a good place to start.”

    “OH…we have been getting a number of calls like this lately. Here is what I suggest you do. Turn the paper over and look about halfway down the right column……do you see the one that says “____Masturbate?” Why don’t you try that and call us back if you still want to talk afterwards……”

    I have been doing therapy with patients for 37 years now, and I swear I hope I have NEVER told or given a patient advice like this! Unfortunately, anyone can write a psychology or “self-help” book. That does not mean that the person is either a) qualified, b) understands the audience for which the work is intended, or c) has proof read the manuscript to determine whether or not what it has to say is worth saying.

    Now there IS a lesson I took from this list. The lesson is simple. NO ONE ELSE HAS ANY ANSWERS, and really the therapy process is not unlike mental masturbation. You have to do it yourself. You may or may not get temporary ‘relief” from feelings of frustration/ conflict. Any real improvement is going to take place through one’s actions and attitudes in their daily life. I think I am only going to these sessions so that I have a real, live person with whom to discuss my feelings. And I did learn that I DO NOT NEED a ” Big List of Pleasurable Activities”!


    I created a world inside of a jar
    A very small place so I could not go far
    And then filled it with things that don’t take up much space
    Like the smell of the lilac, and the space between lace
    A heartland of wonder
    A mountain of mirth
    Kindness abiding
    So far beyond worth
    Memories from childhood
    To make my mind small
    So much so, in fact
    I can’t be there at all.
    Yet I AM there
    Most fully aware
    So I work the details
    With artist-like care
    A rainbow, a blush, a smile and a stare
    And millions of dreams I ‘ve left everywhere.
    Leaving the lid off this place where I hid
    To let everything in
    From the places I’ve been
    One day if you like
    I’ll show you my place
    Its tiny, but real
    You will smile at its grace
    Somehow I did what just could not be
    Created a world
    As tiny as me.

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