Extracurricular activities are both highly valued and devalued in our society. For now, I am restricting the meaning to school activities beyond the three R’s. Admission to the most exclusive universities hinges on both the student’s academic record and also extracurriculars. Many top boarding schools require the student’s involvement in a sport and also an art form. On the other hand, most public schools in the country relegate the arts to a secondary, or more like tertiary and even non-existent status. Physical education is increasingly given short shrift. Public funding of the arts is continually threatened from more than just political winds. The high value placed on work and more work coupled with corporate silent messages and actual policy restrictions on time-off reflect our societies’ priorities.
My formal education and training and thus perspective has been richly fortified and furthered “offsite-” extracurricularly. A significant influence is a handful of psychedelic experiences from the use of LSD and Mescaline. Although experienced many years ago, the effect is long-lasting and prominent in my actions and belief system. The impact of the experience is strongly due to the dissolution of boundaries and with it an overriding sense of connectedness. For me, psychedelics heightened the sense of connection with nature, people, myself and music. In connectedness, the world becomes more vibrant, alive, and rich. Each moment is expanded and becomes fuller, imbued with meaning and meaningfulness. The “tripping” person literally and figuratively becomes wide-eyed. One automatically lives in the present, rather than the very common focus on the past (regret, nostalgia, aggrievement…) or future (apprehension, hopes….) Sense-itivities also increase, hence the fitting 60’s term, “vibe,” something felt strongly yet unseen by the naked eye.
In the 60’s, through this as someone once said, “8th Wonder of the World” experience, significant changes took place in both individual and collective outlook and behavior. Examples include a rise in communes, “back to nature” interest, the centrality of music due to the ease of merging with it, and interest in Eastern philosophy with that emphasis on turning inward and away from a dualistic perspective.
In the passage of time, what was once, “weird” or “outside” or to use a more multiple meaning term of those times, “far out” is now mainstream. The present day Whole Foods were small, “health food” stores with open bins of grains, beans and flour, perhaps run by a Birkenstockian vegan. And, vegetarianism was another strange practice at the time as well as other approaches to food counter to established thinking. Now offered in all health clubs is yoga, historically seen as an odd activity for odd people. Somewhat similarly viewed was meditation, whereas now apps are available to help a wide range of people meditate any time and any place. Alternative therapies are now not only commonplace, but also eagerly sought out because of the limitations of conventional medicine (thinking) to treat a host of persistent MBE’s (mindbody experiences). Such therapies include: Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Reiki, Chiropractics, Quigong….Diet is now much more seriously considered as significant in both health and also dis-ease.
These practices were and many still are viewed by some as invalid due to the absence of scientific proof of effectiveness and/or written off as, “crazy stuff” or “woo-woo.” The tide though is clearly turning as seen in the described cultural shifts and also in attitudes directly about psychedelic drugs. Microdosing of LSD is openly done and promulgated by some in corporate settings, most notably in Silicon Valley. After many years of restriction, medical research on the therapeutic value of psychedelics is active. Oregon is the first state to legalize the use of psychedelics. https://www.statnews.com/2022/03/10/oregon-wrestles-with-offering-psychedelic-therapy-outside-health-care-system/. Many believe the movement towards psychedelic legalization will repeat what occurred in the process of pot legalization, including companies primed to capitalize.
Reality Questioned – Authority Challenged
The psychedelic experience is an alteration of our existing reality. The world looks and feels radically different. As a result, norms or the “partly line” are upended. The 60’s were seen as a time of tumult, “radical” thinking, and even revolution. The term, “generation gap” first came into use in the 60’s. The need for the term indicated a more pronounced difference in perspective than historically seen between youth and elder. An argument could be made that the drivers of those shifts in the US emanated from collective response to civil rights injustice and invasion of a sovereign country, televised in living color. I believe the “movement” in the many senses of the word in our society was made possible through the response to psychedelics.
Yes, much was to be questionned concerning the actions of the authorities and questionning certainly occurred. Also under scrutiny were societal values. Does one have to get a haircut or wear certain clothes to be respectable? What about the, “American Dream?” Was it really a good dream. Are these small matters in comparison to the socio-political elements of those times? In the end, all of these elements are inextricably connected. The point here is questionning of reality in which reality is partly determined by…………..Whom? What?
An illustrative example can be seen in how the federal government classifies drugs, known as drug scheduling. In 1970, Congress passed The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, more commonly called the Controlled Substance Act. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act. Drugs are classified on the combination of abuse potential, medical value, safety and risk of addiction. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have high abuse potential, no known medical value, unsafe to use and high addiction potential. All psychedelic drugs are schedule 1 as are Pot and Heroin. These drugs were also the most criminalized.. Oxycodone and amphetamines are Schedule 2 drugs due to having purported medical value. Drugs like Valium and Xanax are Schedule 4.
Many people have taken psychedelic drugs and most have had, “safe passage.” Potential for abuse is low and addiction is essentially non-existent. Valium and Xanax have much higher abuse and addiction potential. As well, unlike Heroin, withdrawal from these frequently prescribed tranquilizers can be life-threatening. After all these years, Pot remains a Schedule 1 drug. One wonders why tobacco and alcohol escaped scheduling.
What is the reasoning behind this classification system? Who was making and is continuing to enforce these rules? Without going deeper into this particular manifestation of “reality,” perhaps you can see why this version of reality can be questionned. This example is but one manifestation of the many, conventional and more or less accepted ways of thinking and doing in the never-ending service of problem solving. If you believe individuals separately and as a group act consistently, the consistency is due to a specific perspective or world view. The belief system informing one decision or action is the perspective informing a host of decisions and actions. In due time, “standard operating procedure” is more or less thoughtlessly accepted. That being the case, we can find myriad examples of “drug scheduling” equally lacking in what we could call, Consciousness; the absence of which manifests as, rigidity, reactivity, overriding need to control, intolerance, short-sightedness, moralism……….To continue on the theme, a short time after passage of this Act, Nixon declared the, “War on Drugs,” citing drugs as, “Public Enemy Number One.”
A well known slogan of the 60’s was, “Make Love Not War.” Of course, the statement partly comes from the so-called sexual revolution also occuring at that time. Beyond that is the general state of consciousness the psychedelic experience can easily bring. Who wants to fight when in a state of connectedness with the world. Who wants to fight when feeling so good and so for all practical purposes, “in love?” And by the way, also classified as Schedule I drugs are two drugs closely related chemically called on the street, The Love Drug and Ecstasy. What to do with all this sex, love and ecstasy. Perhaps, one’s perspective on the world alters – less dog-eat-dog. Antagonism recedes. Possibilities come into view. New ways are entertained.
In the conventional auto-immune description of events, the “indiscriminate” immune system is now the enemy and it must be disarmed. This new enemy replaces the postulated, initial enemy, namely the dis-eased’s own cells. Medication (and often dramatically relieving to the sufferer) is given to block or fight the immune response. The battle continues. One act of aggression necessitates another aggression. Now the sufferer is immuno-compromised and susceptible to attack from the usual suspects like bacterial invasion. What a precarious and unsafe world does the auto-immuner inhabit.
Can we approach this without the attack model? We can begin with playing with some ideas. How about if we start thinking more generally? Of the auto-immune sufferer, might we say, their system is discombobulated. Something is off. Like a car, delicate timing needs readjustment. How about the person’s system is out of synch or out of balance leading to a case of mistaken identity? The system, or is it the person is overwhelmed causing a confusional state. Are my characterizations useful? Do the conjectures have, a word I have come to like, heurisitic value? By heuristic I mean an explanation or a line of reasoning lacking absolute truth yet providing a pathway for getting closer to the truth. What could happen if the war metaphor is removed? Might other metaphors be more useful?
What we do know is the thyroid or the joints are being destroyed. What is the ultimate cause? To say our immune system is attacking our organs or more generally, our own cells is a description of something happening. Why is the immune system “attacking?” Conjecture some more. Because the immune system “misidentifies” friend from foe? What is causing the mis-identification? Because the immune system is indiscriminate? Because the immune system is lacking development and sophistication. It never learned. It jumps to conclusions. It is overly reactive. It is trigger sensitive. It acts before it thinks. As you see, I am imbuing the system with human characteristics. Am I making a ridiculous leap?
Are you or I separate from our immune system? Can our immune system be thought of as behaving in accordance with our overall way of operating in the world? Or, is our immune system, just that, a system – mechanical in nature – devoid of humanity, operating independent of who we are? Compared to our immune system, are we more connected with our legs, or genitals or face? Could we become more “involved” with and connected to our immune system? Is it too, “far out” to think of having a relationship with our immune system – to get to know “it?” And is “it” really just ourselves?
Warning: Where this conversation is trending could evoke reactions of defense and offense in relation to the belief I am, “victim blaming,” finding fault in the sufferer, placing undo burden on the afflicted……….Consider what I am doing is experimenting, improvising or playing around for the purpose of arriving at new and more useful perspectives.
John is verbally attacking Joe; a description rather than an explanation. We don’t know the cause (the why or what’s the ultimate reason) of John’s attack. Also, the description itself is an interpretation, a way of understanding events, similar to how we interpret a movie. Maybe Joe is inclined to think people are critical of him. Or, the outside interpreter looking on through his unique lens translates John’s passionate expression as a dressing down. Is there a correct way of preceiving the movie, perceiving the world? Rather than correct, might there be more useful ways of looking-interpreting-understanding?
Organic Versus Conventional Farming
I think of organic farming versus conventional farming or large industrial farming. I see organic farming approaching/understanding the problem of crop growing as an interconnected system, requiring conducting a full orchestra with all the instruments necessary and contributing. Conventional farming calls for removal of the french horns and oboes. Get rid of the enemies, the noise makers. Kill! The organic farmer appreciates and makes efforts to work with the delicate balance. Yes, threats do exist. A dog-eat-dog or more correctly, dog-eat-rabbit world is a reality. Or, as is said, “keep it real,” predators do exist. (In that regard, perhaps we are stuck with the adversarial nature of the universe, the ever-present reality of attack.) Can threats to the integrity of the plant be undermined through attention to the delicate balance or artful mixing of colors. I think of the gifted teacher who somehow incorporates the “disruptive” student into the lesson of the day. Finally, a characteristic of the organic model, and certainly au courant is inclusiveness in contrast to the keep out, “exclusiveness” element in conventional farming or is it conventional thinking.
The Effects of Our Environment
Regarding sensitivity, as is typical when we don’t know ultimate causes of dis-ease, the usual postulated offenders are diet, more generally lifestyle, genetics and the environment. We tend to think of environmental causes as chemicals touched, ingested, inhaled – polluted water supply, industrial substances, prescribed and street drugs. The chemicals could cause for example, neuro-toxicity, nephro-toxicity, hepato-toxocity (nervous system, kidney, liver).
Another environmental toxicity enters our system seemingly extrasensorally. The toxin is Electromagnetic radiation, EMR, a simply penetrating force. An x-ray is an example. Some believe EMR associated with proximity to power lines and cell phone use are toxic. As of now, according to the majority of scientific authorities or just, “the party line,” definitive proof of toxicity is absent. EMR from various sources continually enters us, the true effect, save for exposure to for examples, sunlight and x-rays is unknown. You might say these other sources fall beneath the radar – no alarms set off.
The environment can also be said to include something along the lines of ambient lighting or ambient music or the weather; ongoing exposure to all that is there. Imagine a steady diet of listening to loud music, seeing strobe lighting, or feeling a biting wind. Of course such exposures will have much impact on us. Somehow we would adapt but at what price? More generally, to what are we being exposed living in this world and exposed without really knowing what the toxic “substance” is?
When I consider bacteria, I think of something discreet and easily identifiable. We can take a throat or urinary culture and find the “subversive” agent. And, our immune system, or is it just each of us can find the bacteria. What if the environmental offender is unseen, falls under the radar? What if it is so pervasive, it is neither here nor there but everywhere? What if it floods the “system?” Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Although environmental “toxins” are considered to be possible causative agents in auto-immune dis-orders, no known substances have been identified.
The word, “toxic” as applied to a whole host of entities has become an increasingly familiar adjective in our culture over the past, say forty years. The Oxford Dictionary deemed it word of the year in 2018 https://languages.oup.com/word-of-the-year/2018/. The sixth most common adjectival use of toxic was toxic relationship. Might some of us have relationships as battering to our selves as continually blaring sounds? Might some of us have relationships as disorganizing and disorienting as continual exposure to strobe lighting? Or relationships as cutting to circulation, or being “frozen out” as unprotected exposure to bitter cold? Or relationships as scalding and incendiary to the endless “skin” of our insides as the relentless burning from naked exposure to the Sahara sun? Might we benefit from looking at the nature of and reactions to our relationship experiences and I might add the pervasive presense of relationships in our life?
I underscore pervasive as it is partly associated with undifferentiated and therefore undetected. It escapes our individual and collective awareness. Necessary to open our eyes to see what is unseen. And, do our eyes only see what is outside of us? Do we have eyes seeing what is inside? Scanners – surveyors – night patrollers….The idea of antigen and antibody indicates a system of vigilance and action. What if the stimulus is overwhelming – everywhere and yet nowhere. The system is flooded. We are flooded. We flail, turn to the front and to the side and back. Overtaxed and overworked, firing our guns in the night to something and nothing – indiscriminate in an effort to subdue the threat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f96p-IhcZhQ In the chaos, the destruction of self, loss of life through “friendly fire.”
A final thought for now relates to the familiar to this blog reader, symptoms. I have previously suggested the symptom as a messenger, an important one at that, alerting us to something about our whole system. Consider, certain dis-eases to be a message to us about our immediate and personal environment and also a “comment” on the larger environment which includes culture. May the auto-immuner be more sensitive than the next person to the ambient conditions. Perhaps those “afflicted” are telling us something important about us, about the environment in which we live. These “sensitive” types like the other sensitive types – artists – have something to say about what they, unlike many of us, can both feel and also translate into compelling communication.
The Music of Our lives
I am playing with ideas, “fiddling around,” or “messing” with convention. I am doing so because the conventional is unsuitable for understanding, experiencing and communicating more widely and deeply. Music took on greater significance in the 60’s, so much so an entire generation was called, based on the famous outdoor music festival, The Woodstock Generation. As mentioned, the greater significance of music in those times had something to do with the psychedelics-induced greater ease of merging with music as well as the nature of music. By the latter I mean, the power of music to go where words can’t – to hit something very deep and meaningful. And the psychedelic experience more or less defies verbal description. How to actually capture this dramatic breakout or breakthrough of consciousness.
More than just music, the psychedelic 60’s saw a new type of music, new at least for the dominant white youth culture and its’ most popular music form – Rock and Roll. The pioneering, most enduring and emblematic, so-called, acid-rock group was The Grateful Dead. Their longevity and popularity was, if not largely, certainly strongly due to the centrality of psychedelics to the music and to the listener-group experience. I refer to the effects of psychedelics on reception of music and equally if not more impactful, the cultural impact. The communal elements of the “Deadhead” experience are immense, including the traveling band of commun-i-ty “parking lot” entrepreneurs doing their own show. Freedom of personal expression is everywhere in the concerts. The sharing, egalitarian and non-hierarchical element is seen in traditionally lower ticket prices and a space set aside for anyone to tape the performances. The Deadhead experience is joyful, peaceful, connected and for many, a real lovefest. Peace and Love with a gentle rather than devouring capitalism in the scene.
The key and new for the form musical characteristic of the group was extended improvisation. Rather than the usual 4 minute song, a song, and maybe not even a song, from which 20 minutes or more of an improvisation was common. That signature element has led to a type of popular band, known as a Jam Band, the most well known, and Grateful Dead tradition continuing, Phish. Jam or jamming are words from the jazz culture where improvisation is the key element. Improvisation is antidotal to existing order, structure, rule and form. Long before the Sixties, jazz was all about improvising. Many believe this extended 1965 song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvWvOwLCWGg was the beginning of what was to come in Rock. The explanation given for this unprecedented, rock musical form was the guitarist, a blues player named Michael Bloomfield had an LSD experience profoundly effecting his musical approach.
In this time of music, I had a desire to be on the other side of the speakers. Due to early interest in jazz, I began learning jazz. I have been playing piano ever since and music plays an integral role in my perspective and actions as pertains to my practice as physician-psychotherapist. Key elements of jazz/music/piano are improvisation, listening, accompanying-supporting, reframing, developing a voice/point of view – creating/expressing – collaborating – tuning in – exploring. As a psychotherapist I listen so as to help you tune in to yourself, facilitate the expression of what is inside – collaborate in articulating and reframing your story-song, accompany you in an exploration and without clear plan; regarding the process or structure of therapy, to in effect, “see where it goes,” e.g., a “jam.”
So yet another important source in and for my work is music. Although I like many genres, the music I play has been focused mostly on Jazz. How this most directly informs my work is the element of improvisation. Every psychotherapy session is new. Where it will go remains to be seen. I and the person I am seeing have to get comfortable allowing the process to unfold – to go here and there in the moment. The jazz musician is always in the process of discovering. Whereas commercially popular bands playing commercially popular music are more or less obligated to play the song the same way each time, doing so would be an impossibility in jazz. Much would be missed in the attempt to replicate a sound. Spontaneity would be lost along with vibrancy and the potential for, “laying down new tracks.”
The jazz musician makes every song his own, essentially rewriting in the improvisation, or as the case may be rearranging the song. In talking about my training and practice, I am describing something akin to remixing. You will “hear” in my work, a unique way of putting together various sounds, themes and textures. I have to be myself. I have to make it my own. This commitment, this aesthetic, this value also strongly informs my work. An overriding goal is helping …………..Time to figure out a word or the most fitting chord. Who or what should I call the collective you who sits across from me? Patient, client, partner, collaborator, seeker, sufferer? For now, simply you.
An overriding goal is helping you be who you are, to help frame who you are, to bring out all you are. And what helps me to do this work is to be true to myself and try to understand all I am. Perhaps this goes back to biblical verse, “Physician, heal thy self.” Actually, more than helping me do this work, I must be committed to this value. Years of playing and continuing to play and write music is an indication of my ongoing commitment.
Yet another ramification of musicality in my work is the emphasis on emotion. Unlike words, music penetrates to our emotional self instantaneously, the difference between taking medication by mouth or intravenously. A movie without a soundtrack would be missing considerable emotional quality. Activating and engaging emotion is central to psychotherapy and more importantly, to a richer life. Although many people wish it to be, we can’t curate our emotion – chose the “good” ones and reject the “bad” ones. Another reason for my interest in jazz is ability to express the range of emotion. Unlike most popular music, more chords are used in jazz and the chords have more texture, density, complexity and colors. The palette is simply greater. Also when improvising, all notes on a scale are playable. Whereas words in popular music can express a range of emotion, the music is limited in doing so, The chords are simpler and certain notes on the scale would sound too dissonant – too much tension.
Doing & Moving
Finally, and as a transition to another aspect of my perspective, music and all types of music hit us deeply at the emotional-visceral level. It can shake us at the core. It “moves” us. And, we love it, evidence being the number of people who can fill a stadium to hear their favorite band. Strongly related to music and also filling stadiums is sports. Before I ever played music, I played sports. Being an athlete has and continues to be a central part of my engagement in the world, a way of being in the world, who I am. One way this impacts my work is the interest in action. The Nike slogan, “Just Do It” is genius marketing as it so captures the action of sports. The early black and white, stark and to the point ads also depicted and celebrated those iconic few who could really “do it.” Perhaps less apparent in the slogan are the obstacles to just doing it. Something holds us back from taking flight, taking a swing, making a move, going for it, going and getting it or “getting it done.”
We can hide behind or in words. We can deceive with words. The body can’t lie. The body reveals. Sports reveal. As mentioned in a previous blog and worth repeating, a Freud quote: “He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.”
A psychotherapy that fails to engage the “body” will have limited impact. All talk and no action. More specifically, and at the root of athleticism is movement. Because some people insist they are not athletic and will turn off to anything smacking of sports or athletics, the idea of movement is more accessible and an undeniable fact of life. We are born to move and the child who is inhibited from moving around will be stunted in learning about the world and themself. Holding, crawling, throwing, just touching or putting objects in the mouth is learning. In moving we develop a feel for balance, the application of force, space, as well as kinesthesia, e.g., a sense of joint and muscle movement. Our emerging self, our awareness of self is experienced through movement – our bodymind and especially so before words. The continual emergence of our self also means movement in some form or fashion.
So, if we want to “go deep,” the “body” has to participate. A common complaint about the effect of psychotherapy is nothing is moving or no movement or at a “standstill.” We might say a goal of psychotherapy beyond symptom reduction is to get something going – moving – unstuck. How to move and move in more effective ways has both literal and also figurative implications. From the “practice” of sports and also music, I know, “in my bones” behavioral changes are possible. Movement and more effective movement can occur. I know how the process works and how to draw on our innate drive and need to move. Part of knowing how it works is knowing what interferes with movement, and overall moving-doing in the most effective-coordinated way.
The Pleasure of Play
Sports and music share another important and perhaps less appreciated feature for the athlete and musician. Both are played. Yes, some sports are not commonly referred to as played – wrestling-gymnastics-cycling-swmimming. It seems sports play is associated with either a ball and or other people. Does the fact we play some sports and not others distinguish something important in how we experience these two categories of sport. I think so though how so would be something to explore at another time. For now simply consider the experience of play. Where does it figure in your life? Do you consider play important? What comes to your mind when thinking of the word play?
For a number of reasons, I place high value on play. Most notable is the pleasure associated with play. And the field of play is endless, extending far beyond sports and music – horse play, card play, make believe play, foreplay……Some forms of play engage us more completely, deeply, intensely. These forms engage us at the sensory/emotional level. We could say some forms of play are just more “full-bodied.” Our biological push towards pleasure insures and is an absolute necessity for the survival of humankind, or we might say the health of the species. On an individual level, when the pleasure pathway is blocked, health and well-being will be less accessible. Learning how to play, or as the case may be, relearning how to play is powerful medicine. More to the point and for various reasons and paradoxically so, the natural human drive towards pleasure is a “touchy” subject for many. The mere word can evoke defense. This conflict can be most easily seen in obstacles many experience in the cultivation of sexuality and therefore the actual “doing” of sex.
The Vast Frontier of the Discoverable Unknown
For now, a final connection between sports, music and the psychedelic experience: All involve an alteration of our consciousness where rationality, thinking, planning and conscious intent give way to the senses, emotion, spontaneity, novelty in behavior/thought and entrance to the “zone,” or a place where new and often remarkable connections emerge. These transformative experiences are largely due to access to the unconscious, a limitless reservoir of possibility. To make yet another connection to something perhaps more familiar and accessible, consider comedy. The comic is able to see just beyond what most of us can see, making novel connections which we then recognize through our laughter. The comic has access to the unconscious. She is open to something from which, to pull it all together now, leads to a side splitting, “convulsive”, laugh until I cried, on the floor, out of my mind, hysterical, cracking me up…………………experience. Note that the athlete really doing it is described as playing, “out of their mind,” and the music takes us to “another place.”
Once we start “playing” in the unconscious, connections are infinite, just waiting to be discovered. So I will end, or at least try to end, once again, for now with another association. By association I mean a connection arrived at through what you may of heard somewhere, e.g., free association. This term comes straight from Freudian Psychoanalysis. The “patient” is instructed to just say what comes to mind, to freely associate as in, “What comes to mind when you think of birds?” Or, if a dream is reported and a bathtub is part of the dream, the question is asked, “What are your associations to bathtub.” From embarking on that kind of “play,” the person could end up anywhere talking about something never to be imagined when constrained by our everyday consciousness. Which is to say, this type of discovery process has to be encouraged, facilitated and practiced. We typically don’t do it naturally as we are more comfortable or inclined to limit our imagination, our inner viewing and our outward expression of our personal self.
And why do we place such limits on ourselves? Consider a phrase from a younger generation – “out of control.” I have heard these words in the context of exceptional performance. The performing artist, typically a musician or comic, described as, “out of control.” Is being out of control a good thing? In our usual frame of reference or consciousness, out of control is threatening and unwanted. (Similarly threatening is words previously associated with comedy experience – convulsive, out of my mind, hysterical, I’m cracking up…) Yet, in this new meaning, we see it as something remarkable, exceptional, ground breaking, or again, another new idiom, simply, “Beyond.”
So what does it require to move forward, take it to another level, go beyond the familiar, to alter the problematic, repetitive and persistent, “same old, same old.” As much as we say we want to “change,” from this final association is seen but one of many perceived dangers. Do we want to stand pat or make a go, venture out, work the process, take a leap, open the door………………? I suppose like a psychedelic trip, or doing a flip off a high dive, or singing in public, what awaits could be scary yet also astoundingly, beautifully and even ecstatically alive. Yes, something out of our usual control. Less dramatically, consider having that new experience you have desired but from which you have held yourself back. Or, picking up the literal or figurative phone and making a “pitch.” Or, simply open your mouth and self-reveal to another person. To do or not to do. That is the question.