Q - What does wave of consciousness mean to you?
Linguistically, wave of consciousness is just a play on
words. It is my adaptation of the stream of consciousness
concept that originated with William James around 1890.
For my own purposes,
consciousness means that I am always in a process of
forming thoughts and experiencing feelings. I am filtering,
analyzing, and interpreting information from the world I live in.
At the same time, I am recalling memories, gaining insight, and
transforming all this into a better future for myself and others.
The significance of
the term wave is in its imagery. Ocean waves are ever
flowing, overlapping, changing: there are no two alike. For me,
a wave represents a flow of intellectual and emotional
cohesiveness combined with artistic development. It is an inner
experience made manifest and, therefore, accessible to others.
I think we are all
capable of these waves of consciousness, these unfolding moments
in life when we see things clearly and can communicate what we
think and feel. Waves are brought forth to the shore from a deep
ocean of being. I think therapy is like a sailboat that takes us,
both therapist and patient, out into that ocean and makes mental
health an adventure.
Q - Which do
you like better: being a social worker or writing about social
A - That
would be an impossible choice because the two have been intimately
connected for me. I was a creative person before I became a
social worker, but my profession gave me a better perspective on
and expression of my self. Without my social worker's identity,
my writing skills would never have exceeded the level of a
The therapy session
and the act of writing are similar experiences for me. I like the
intensity and revelation. There is, however, the difficulty of
having enough time to do both well. Ideally, as I get older, I
would like to spend more time writing.
Q - What is your
A - I really
loved the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper
Lee in 1960. It is about a widowed working parent, and his
two children. Besides the typical struggles of growing up, the
children are also trying to understand racial inequality and the
legal system (an unfair judge and denial of a jury of peers for a
black defendant). The children's father and the black defendant
also have their own struggle: to assert true manhood under very
Q - How
would you describe your writing?
A - Regarding
my essays, I would go back to the image of the waves. Each essay
is separate, a whole unto itself, but the essays also have to be
taken all together as one unit of meaning. They all come from
the same ocean of existence, and I try to keep them rolling in
Q - Who
influenced you when you were growing up?
A - To be
honest, the first thing that comes to my mind is both the art and
the letters of Vincent van Gogh. He was a Post-Impressionist
painter who wrote numerous letters to his brother. He was Dutch,
but lived much of his life in France.
Van Gogh's life had
an enormous impact on me. He was spiritual and passionate,
original, capable of expressing himself in words and in painting.
He devoted his energy to art, but he longed for a normal family
life which he was never able to manage. His is a story of great
creativity but personal failure, and a story of how mainstream
society can treat artists as misfits. Van Gogh gave all he had to
give, and got nothing in return. His paintings show how much he
loved and needed people. I think his life taught me about
the tension between dedication to something higher than self and
By the way, now that
I am older, I do not have the same attraction to Van Gogh's
paintings. I prefer the softer palette of Monet, the grace of
the old Dutch and Italian masters, and the abstraction of Native
Q - Were you a
A - No, I
wasn't. As a youngster I made of range of grades within the
C-B-A categories, in that order. But I was a good reader and that
opened up worlds for me. I had an ability to think. Thinking was
enjoyable. My mind was logical, analytical, methodical. In school
my thinking had a tendency to roam and meander, and I did not
always pay attention in the classroom. Looking back, I can see
that was the creative side of me at work. For better or worse,
the inner workings of my own mind were often more interesting than
the classroom instruction.
Q - If you could
live in another time, what would it be?
A - I am
intrigued by the time when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish.
People were following Jesus around and I can imagine, if I were
living then, that I would have gone out to see what was happening.
Jesus had compassion on the people, healed the sick, and then fed
them all and had food left over. I think that must have been an
exciting day: to see Jesus, to have the possibility of healing,
and to be provided with free food. Jesus took care of all kinds
of problems on that day.
Q - Do you have
any regrets in your life?
A - My
regrets are the good things I could have done and did not do, and
the kind words I could have spoken and did not speak. In that
respect, I used to be a shoulda-coulda-woulda person.
Nowadays, I try to be a carpe diem person. I am only just
beginning to come out of my shell. (Written 06/21/04)
Until we meet