Kanyon Kiernan of Watervliet, Michigan was randomly chosen last week’s $25 winner with the correct answer to the question: While Bill made tracks toward the baths, what did Terry do? Ans: Took a nap.
SO THERE WE WERE, Terry and me at Esalen in Big Sur, California, about to witness a Gestalt therapy demonstration.
Fritz Perls, the renowned chain-smoking psychiatrist and founder of Gestalt psychotherapy, stood before our group with lively eyebrows and a thick German accent.
“Who vud like to zit vith me?” Fritz said, pointing to an empty chair.
Uh-oh! The hot seat that the garden lady had talked about.
“Ah, a pretty young lady,” Fritz said. “Come and zit. Vhat is your name?”
“Terry,” she said, having no idea what she was in for.
Fritz removed a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket, shook one out, lit it with the one he’d been smoking, then dropped that one on the floor and crushed it with his foot.
Fritz: “You’re smiling. What are you happy about?”
Terry: “Nothing special. I thought I’d—”
Fritz: “Nothing special. But something.”
Terry: She giggled and shifted in her chair. “I’m not happy, and I’m not unhappy.”
Fritz: “Say that again.”
Terry: “I’m not happy, and I’m not unhappy.”
Terry: Firmly, “I’m not happy, and I’m not unhappy.”
Fritz: “Then what are you?”
Terry: She thought a moment, then laughed. “I—”
Fritz: “You’re laughing. What’s going on right now?”
Terry: “What do you mean?”
Fritz: He took a lethal drag on his cigarette. “What are you feeling?”
Terry: “I don’t understand what you’re doing.”
Fritz: He smoked and said nothing. An ash fell onto his shirt.
Terry: “I’m feeling frustrated.”
Fritz: “What else?”
Terry: Her jaw tightened. “Okay, I’m mad.”
Fritz: “Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. You’ve stopped being phony.”
Terry: She clenched her fists. “I resent that. I’m not phony.”
Fritz: “Not now. Now you’re authentic. Before, you giggled and shifted in your chair and covered up your feelings.” He sucked in more fumes.
I’m watching this, wondering what the hell’s going to happen next. And then …
Terry: “I have a problem with my boyfriend, Bill.”
Terry: “Maybe not a problem. More an issue. He works at a movie studio and gets off work around noon. When I come home—I’m a teacher—he’s either lying on the couch reading, or off having fun with his friends.”
Fritz: “What’s wrong with that?”
Terry: “It’s not fair. He should—”
Fritz: “Hold on.” He got up and presented her with the hot seat. “Tell Bill.”
Terry: She pointed at me sweating bullets in the front row. “Bill’s right there.”
Get me outta here!
Fritz: “We don’t need Bill. This is about you. Pretend he’s in the chair.”
There is a God!
Terry, addressing the empty chair: “It’s not fair that you have so much time to goof off.”
Fritz: “And it makes me mad because … go ahead.”
Terry: “It makes me mad because … because you could help more around the house.”
Fritz: “Switch chairs and be Bill talking to Terry.”
Terry as Bill: “I do lots of stuff around the house. You’re just jealous because I get more time off than you.”
Fritz: “Switch chairs.”
Terry: “That’s not true! I cook, clean, grocery shop. What do you do? Take out the trash and sometimes help with the dishes.”
She forgot that she liked to cook and shop, hated the way I cleaned, and was afraid I’d break her precious China dishes by putting them in the dishwasher.
Fritz: “Switch chairs.”
Terry as Bill: “Okay. Fine. Give me a job. Any job.”
Fritz: “Switch chairs and tell me what Terry’s feeling.”
Terry: “I’m jealous.”
Fritz: “Because …”
Terry: “Because he gets to … to play more than I do.”
Fritz: “With more time, we could explore your jealousy. But for now is there anything Bill could do that would help you feel better?”
Terry: After thinking a long time, said, “Dust. He could dust the house.”
I smiled. I’d get a feather duster … but not for the house. (Reference to blog 7, Tantra: The Art of Mind-Blowing Sex.)
Next Week: The Cross-Dress Party
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