Things that go bump in the night:
This may come as an obvious “a-ha” moment if you take a second to think about the religious history of my name. Joseph and the Technicolor dreamcoat, sold into slavery, interpreting dreams, even for his supposed enemy, the pharaoh of the time, and eventually becoming his number two – the vizier. Perhaps this is coincidental, perhaps fortuitous, but all I know is that it is an important part of my identity and my being, so I figured I should start off this blog with one of my first remembered dreams. Well, not a dream actually – a nightmare.
I was in kindergarten at the time at a Jewish day school. My memories, for the most part, must be constructed, but I can remember the long hallway of the first floor, a stairway down to the basement where my classroom was, and a playground outside with the traditional metal slide, swingset, and sandpit. I walk past that from the outside and onto the first floor of the school. I turn left because I know that’s where the first graders are, and they have the best toys. I walk into their room, filled with all kinds of blocks, legos, action figures and this pink playskool plastic oven where I’d cooked many a imaginary meal.
Before I can settle on what to play, this oven suddenly comes alive, the stove coils becoming glaring red eyes, the oven hatch growing sharp-pointed teeth. The monster oven breathed fire, threatening to burn me to a crisp. I ran, of course, from this terrifying and evil pink oven. Who wouldn’t? Back down the halls, I looked behind myself to find the monster licking at my heels, the hallway too long, and me too slow. The dream ends before it can end; before I am gobbled up by that plastic fire-spewing playskool oven.
I had the same nightmare a few days later, and a few days after that. The same pink oven monster chasing me down the same hallway, night after night. Until one night, something strange happened. Even my kindergarten mind at the time became wary of the oven’s tricks, and after a few iterations of this recurring nightmare, I suddenly had this realization that I was in a dream.
“Back ye evil Oven!” I yelled defiantly, “You are not real, and so you cannot hurt me!” I distinctly remember everything going white then; the foundations of the nightmare shaken to their core. The oven disappeared, but in its place was Ivan Ooze, the purple villain from the original Power Rangers movie. Shaken and confused by the sudden shift, I was once again afraid, and almost forgot this was a dream. Ooze laughed at me, making all kinds of threats, and suddenly there were thousands of evil pink ovens shooting fire and chomping at the air to eat me whole. Somehow I managed to keep my head in all of this confusion, and decided that if this was a dream, surely I could fly.
So I flew high above the scene where the ovens’ and Ooze could not reach me. Now, Ivan Ooze did not become the Power Ranger’s greatest foe by being outdone by a six year old, so he multiplied himself a thousand times over, each new Ooze standing atop the one that came before it, until they were collectively tall enough to swat at me in the air. They threw purple boogers and goo at me, they tried to scratch at me with their long fingernails, and I narrowly evaded each attack.
With all the movement, I noticed how the monolith they had created together was growing unstable, like trying to balance a thousand pumpkins on top of one another while trying to run from one side of the room to the other. I swooped down, knocking one of the bottom Ooze’s as hard as I could, and the rest came toppling down in a cascade of purply evil.
I never had that nightmare again.
Down the Rabbit hole:
I would like to go on a journey with you. To explore the world through my eyes. My story above is meant to give you a look into my subconscious, and how I have come to communicate with it. This is not a self-help blog. I am not looking to change you in any way, or expound clever virtues that will supposedly change your life. There’s a whole industry for that, and I can suggest quite a few books that are actually pretty great. The point of this is to give you some insight into how I think.
I know, I know. Who cares about me? Who am I? I hope you see that those are the exact questions I would like to answer. They are important questions, maybe the most important questions. The difficulty is that to answer them you really have to take a step up to the mirror, and give a good hard look at yourself. An honest look. This is the mirror of self-awareness, and no two mirrors are the same. Some are dusty, some are straight out of a carnival, distorting your image in beautiful, comical, or tragic ways. The mirror is never perfect, because the mirror is dependent on how we interact with the world. I rather like interacting with the world because, in a way, I am interacting with myself. There is a sense of wonder and discovery - even in our worst nightmares.
My goal is is twofold. First, I want to show you how I think. Then I want to think about thought. I want to facilitate a conversation between you and yourself, by presenting ideas that I have found quite useful in developing probably the most fundamental aspect of my consciousness: Self-Awareness.
A friend who used to see a therapist once told me, “You know when therapy really clicked for me? It was when I started asking myself the right questions. I realized that’s what my therapist was doing. He was teaching me how to ask myself the right questions.” There is a lot more to therapy, and no two experiences are the same, but there is wisdom in my friend’s epiphany. That is what I want to explore in this blog. How do we ask the right questions? Not “right” in the binary sense. There is no prescribed list of questions to answer that will lead you where you want to go. I want to be curious with you about yourself. I want to play with some ideas, that I believe you will enjoy playing with beside me. I say play, because I want this to be fun. This is art, this is exploration. We’re Indiana Jones or Lara Croft on a treasure hunt through undiscovered lands, and perilous ruins.
I will be your guide, and as the guide I think it best if we start with a look at the map. We will explore the concept of revolution and how it will frame the larger questions. Next we get a little dry with a quick lesson on how to more effectively ask questions that will get you richer answers, which lead to deeper discoveries. Then we will move into some thoughts, personal cycles and the games our subconscious likes to play. Framing next, trying on some different lenses to see what brings the most clarity. With an understanding of frames, we can discuss conversational mapping. Once we have a good bearing on these concepts, we can move into systemic patterns of human interaction to better understand how these complexities interact on a larger scale, and within yourself.
So allow me to be your vizier - helping you to illuminate that which is often blurry and misunderstood. Allow me to guide you down a new path that will give you the opportunity and confidence to think differently. Enjoy the ride!