Why Just About Everything Is Better than Therapy

I actually heard a guy this month pathologize the love for natural beauty.  I am not kidding.  He said, “You must like the ocean to wash all that shame off.”

Give me a break.  You can’t even go in the ocean in New Hampshire unless you want to FREEZE.  And really.  I mean, it’s not that the ocean is BEAUTIFUL. That couldn’t have anything to do with it, could it?

I get that we all need healing.  I really do.  I get that we long for something better, that we crave happiness and peace, that we have no idea what we’re doing and we’re willing to knock on about any door for an answer.  But pathologizing a love for nature is just going too far.

By the way, I spent the day at the beach yesterday.  I slept on the sand, I lay and watched the seaweed move rhythmically under the water as one wave came in, then another.  I felt the sun on my skin.  I watched two very blonde young children climb up each other in order to stand.  They seemed to have a proprietary interest in me since, as is true every summer, I could not open my beach chair.  They sat while their grandmother and I wrestled with it, and they called out every time a jet passed by, afraid it would toss my umbrella over.  They called me, “Lady with the Umbrella.”  Sounds like a painting, doesn’t it?

Eventually, I rode my bike around the Newcastle loop, passing over bridges, by marinas, by the house where I used to live in another lifetime.  It was beautiful, and I was there because I wanted to be.  And yes, there is a sense of needing to be reminded that the world is beautiful and that I can know this with my pores, with the beat of my heart, that I can know beauty intimately.  Why would anyone on earth not want this?  It’s why we recycle…that, and the fact that the blonde children have a right to an earth, and a life, and everything they will know while they’re here, which isn’t all beauty.  Unfortunately.

There is is.  Buddhism.  I have a deep aversion to ugliness, especially personal ugliness.   Which is why the pathologizing of an attachment to natural beauty just BOTHERS me.

I have a need for healing.  So I am trying to figure this one out.  I am trying to get past the absurdity of paying for compassion, and how, when I first went to therapy, and I heard what I now know are the standard (read: cliched) responses to anyone from an alcoholic family (I mean, I am Irish, give me a break) and I felt so understood…and how absurd that is.  And yet, maybe necessary.

The truth is, the most healing experiences arise from life, and relationships, and loyalty, constancy, honesty, commitment.  It’s just that you can’t make those happen.  They come.  They come when needed, they come when least expected, when someone just shows up…really shows up, saying, I do this because I can.  Because I love.

Even I can’t make absurdity of that.  There isn’t any.

But if we want compassion on-demand, we have to pay and hope the therapist isn’t as crazy as everyone else…or at least hope they’re not MORE crazy than everyone else, which, frankly, is unlikely.

And don’t get me started on psychotropics and the medicating of America.  I mean, really.  DON’T GET ME STARTED!

Obviously, I need to go meditate.  Maybe while I’m watching my thoughts and aversions and cravings and knots of emotion something will come to me about healing.  I have to admit, though, most times I start thinking about tribal societies and shamans and going back to another way.

Or else I just want to go to the beach.  Because it’s summer.  And the ocean is beautiful and endless and always changing.  When I’m really watching it, just lying on a rock, looking down into the water, I feel like it’s me.  I feel at one with the motion and the rhythm and I open so wide I can take it all in.  It’s so vulnerable.  It’s so utterly perfect.  If I could live in that moment I would.

No pathologizing.  Just spirit, water, a body, a woman, a life.


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