Saturday, March 15, 2008

Salon columnist tells reader, "Get grounded"

On the Salon site, columnist Cary Tennis, answers a question from a young married graduate student who recently returned to the United States: "I'm brilliant but I can't settle down. I can't keep a job. What's wrong with me? I get panic attacks. I go from thing to thing. Do I need some kind of help?"

In his response, Tennis talks about some of his own challenges, and includes,
"My therapist said to me, 'You cannot think your way through it.' Yikes. I thought I could. Yikes.

I was sitting on the floor at Borders the other day in the psychology section looking at Thomas Moore's new book, A Life at Work. He's a pretty good writer. In the introduction he talks about alchemy. He talks about finding your life's work, and what a long strange trip it is.

You have to get grounded. Getting grounded is spiritual but it is also physiological. It involves fresh air. Do some gardening. Clean your house. Drink tea in the afternoon. Slow down. Wait for it. It will come. A lively understandable spirit once entertained you...

What frightens me is the aridness of a life sitting in front of a computer. I have three bags of forest mulch outside the window. One is open and sitting in a garden cart. I can go out there when the time comes and spread some over the garden. I can mix it into the back stretch. That's what I do.
I'm saying get grounded."
He recommends concrete ways the woman can get grounded, and concludes with, "I envy you. You're not in trouble. You're sitting on top of the world. But you need to get grounded. It's too heady up there. The air is too thin. We think our aesthetic passion will sustain us. It won't. You have to find a Russian bakery and sit with the old ladies. You have to change the channel. You have to find a longer wavelength."

Barque visitors may enjoy reading comments responding to this column.

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