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Simultaneously hold onto multiple views in order to get interactional and relational views. The first and second directives are from Gregory Bateson, the third from Francisco Varela, and the fourth and fifth from Heinz von Foerster. All five directives are, in fact, different ways of pointing to the same thing. They constitute the credo of being an improvisationalist, a tinkerer who works in the flow of the moment. This is feedback, an idea simple to understand, but not so easy to master as a flexible operative in everyday interaction. Being an effective agent of change has little and perhaps nothing to do with understanding the other person or group being treated.

It is best to assume that you can never understand your client and that your client will never understand himself or herself. Setting aside understanding and doing so in a culture addicted to the myth of understanding, particularly psychological explanation , leaves us with the freedom to act.

We take more responsibility for our action when we accept that what happens around us will be intimately related to how we act. Giving a client a psychological exam constructs pathology more than it identifies it. Such action needs to be judged as to whether it is the most ethical way to commune with another human being. As an alternative, acting so as to help spring forth surprise, joy, absurdity, or just plain difference, is a more responsible way of being with others. Imagine psychotherapy being contextualized in an academy of performing arts as a discipline comfortably related to theater, music, dance, and the rhetorical arts.

In this setting, therapists would speak of their craft as professional conversation, strategic rhetoric, or even as a genre of interactional theater. The therapist, like an improvisational actor, would strive to be ready to respond resourcefully to any possible situation.

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Resource focused therapy RFT is a practical approach to working with people who complain of difficulties, dilemmas, impasses, and problems. It is based on paying the least amount of attention to problems that have become pathologized. RFT strictly focuses on bringing forth the natural resources of both clients and therapists.

As I saw the therapist as less a therapist and more an improvisational performer, it became clearer that the skills necessary to help others had more to do with tinkering, experimenting, and performing. Therapist and therapy require problems, pathologies, and mental, psychological and social illnesses to exist. I made the choice to walk into another context that simply but not so simple to perform emphasized resourceful interaction with those who ask for help. I stepped into the tradition of experimental theater and performance art, writing books that prescribed absurd ways of interacting with the world.

Viewers were invited to create bizarre, ridiculous, and absurd interactions with their television set. I created these works, among others, moving toward an alternative to psychotherapy that was characterized as change without psychological understanding, intervention without taxonomic diagnosis, liberation without narrative cause, and wisdom without generalized knowledge.

Write your life story up to the present point. Allow yourself the necessary time to do this job. Do not write a psychological analysis of any part of your life experiences. Tell your story from the perspective of someone who is becoming enlightened. Assume you will be enlightened in the future and that future readers will be interested in the events in your past that may have contributed to this enlightenment. When you are caught up to the present time, make up the rest of your life story.

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Create a future specifiying the way you want to be enlightened and the difference this makes in how you live. Keeney, a, p. When I taught, my classes and workshops resembled mini-theaters of the absurd. Students were told to not read their texts. Instead, they were given surprising tasks like opening a book and reading only one sentence. Then they were asked to write a letter to the author based on their understanding of that singular statement.

Lectures and assignments became theatrical exercises in improvising with the questions at hand, showing different views that interpenetrated and gave birth to new ideas, questions, fantasy realities and reality fantasies.

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Make a personal inventory of your everyday routines and determine which ones are the least important. Do they include taking out the trash, dusting your furniture, reading junk mail, throwing your pen into the air and catching it, placing your dirty clothes in a special place, filling your car with gas, purchasing a soft drink, taking the dog for a walk, or removing lint from your clothes? When you have identified several of these routines, make some plans to tinker, experiment, and fool around with them in order to help bring forth some surprise and wonder.

If you choose the routine of taking out the trash, consider how you can alter this activity. You could change the time you do it, perhaps shifting it from being a morning task to being a late-night outing. Or you could alter the place where you keep the trash, or make a difference in how you carry it, release it, look at it, and feel about it.

What if you recited a special limerick to your trash before throwing it away or gave it a parting gift. Imagine asking your trash if it had any last request before it left your house and then free-associate on what it might say if it were able to talk. Would it ask to have another night inside the house or be fed a final meal? Keeney, b, pp.

These musings of the cybernetic aesthetic, that is, attempts to perform interactional, recursive magic, eventually took me straight to the heart of shamanism and the work of sacred tricksters. For the shaman, the entire mythological universe is the playground, not a clinical office with fixed times and rigidified standards of professional conduct.

Shamans deal with the mythopoetic themes that therapists seldom get a hold of, helping clients existentially die and transform themselves and their relationships into rebirthed beings, dancing and dreaming underneath an infinite canopy of imaginary sky, grounded to a living earth filled with recycled dirt and waste. It strips away soul and spirit or worse, psychologizes them and limits their reach toward mystery.

Please take note that I have introduced soul and spirit into our discussion. Strange words for a cybernetic epistemologist? Not necessarily, because the cybernetic epistemology rooted to Bateson, Varela, and Von Foerster, among numerous others, easily makes itself at home with these metaphors. This is how Bateson approached the sacred and holy.

By evoking the name God, we point toward the most embracing patterns that connect. God, in this view, becomes a universal mind embodying all other orders of mind. The cybernetic epistemology which I have offered you would suggest a new approach. The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger Mind of which the individual mind is only a subsyetm.

The shaman or traditional healer of an indigenous culture seeks to address and make relationship with patterns of mental process that are more encompassing than the dyadic interactions of therapist and client. As higher orders of connectivity and pattern are brought into play, the sacred becomes more easily revealed and experienced.


I have studied the traditional healing practices of shamans and medicine people throughout the world for several decades. Armed with the premises of cybernetic epistemology, I am highly immune to the temptation to psychologize or anthropologize what they experience and perform. As a cybernetic epistemologist, I act and interact in order to know them.

To know the Bushman experiential universe, for instance, I dance all night with their traditional doctors, allowing the ecstatic interactions to vibrate and shake my body into synesthetic combined sensory experience.

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In that heightened state of awareness, one can see what is felt and hear what is touched. This connection with sacred mind is healing and transformative. This whole body knowing is relational, allowing for the other to be felt in a more intimate and expressive way. Sacred mind touches, awakens, and deepens our connection with one another and brings us inside the mind of nature. The most powerful experience shared by all Bushmen healers is the deep bond and love of relationships among all people. This ecstatic bliss arises when you throw yourself into the spirit of shaking and dancing, which opens your heart to the whole of life.

You must tell everyone about our medicine. Please teach them to dance, shake, and touch. Everyone needs to meet God through this experience. It teaches us to forgive and love everyone. Go and touch everyone as a Bushman. Go and love everyone as a Bushman. Let the dance show that we are truly one people, one family, one love.

In the context of sacred mind, the whole ecology is naturally self-corrective. You are sometimes labeled a mystery writer, but what especially delights me in the revelation of a mystery in your works is that you are a writer who will reward the detail-oriented reader. For example, you only name your narrator once.

As for Will, he does not like his name. He got away with it for quite a while. Some great forgers such as Ireland and Thomas Chatterton are actually collected in their own right. Well, the reliability or unreliability of the narrator is very similar to forging. It all has to do with imagination and making things up. But if you frame the lie in truth, people will be inclined to believe. He would have to really know the period, work with materials that are as close as possible to the period. Nibs, ink mixtures, everything has to sing authenticity.

Forgery is also in a way an act of betrayal, and betrayal is also a theme of this book. It is, I guess, an elaborate form of self-betrayal to think like that. But betrayal has a role in almost all novels. Betrayal—in politics, in love, in business, you name it—is one of those things that humans unfortunately do.

He loves going back in time and mucking with it. He adores laying claim to literary history, to biography, and bending it to his will. And if you can bend history perfectly enough, the original historical fact becomes wrinkled, complicated. History is alterable. History is finally little more than modeling clay in a very warm room. Because he was really a writer of historical fictions as much as anything.

Once people armed with imagination and predisposition witness anything, it morphs. So yeah, to be sure, one of the themes of this book is to look at the idea of what is real and what is illusion, what is authentic and what is a fabrication meant to trick the eye into believing it is authentic. Which implies something intrepid about art. The Forgers is asking, in a way, what is the role of imagination in the world?

Imagination is what we use to get through the day. It funds and nourishes us. You can imagine that there is a god you will worship that is your main reason for living and breathing. There are a multitude of things that shape an individual life, but imagination has to be at that top of that chain. Protagonists in your books tend to behave badly in order to protect something beautiful or special or good. Will, for example, rationalizes making forgeries in a variety of ways, one of which is convincing himself that he does it in order to create a good life with Meghan — and their life together is indeed kind of lovely.

I thought in a weird way that might be what art does — keeps things that are beautiful and precious and strange, and protects them for us, but sometimes at a price. I love Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, but that book is just golden in terms of the truth page by page. Does this relate to your more recent tendency to write in the mystery genre?

When you think about it, everything is steeped in mystery. Many novels are crime novels in the sense that they explore the human capacity for subversive behavior, harmful behavior that goes full-bore against the grain of societal mores. A lot of fiction investigates subtle criminalities that occur in everyday life. Not necessarily robbing a bank or shooting a bodega clerk, but the moral equivalent of such rotten, even evil behavior, is often at play in the narrative arc of much fiction.

Nursery rhymes, fables, and fairy tales often portray some of the most diabolical, violent, and deplorable acts humanity is capable of. As for your own process, it sounds as if you tend to write quickly? Sometimes I write very slowly. But The Forgers was white heat fast, written in a matter of months. This could be so powerful and helpful, too.

May this time of springtime, rebirth and resurrection mark the positive breakthrough you have been looking and waiting for. May you be blessed with great love, joy, happiness, peace, abundance, creativity, family, relationships and community May you have an awakening to the truth of who you truly are and may you more fully tap into your inner and outer beauty - and your magnificence May truth, peace, respect, light and love fill your heart, bless this planet and fill the hearts of all!

Today, for the first time this year, I saw my first hummingbird of the season, plus two butterflies. I sure hope and trust the spring is here to stay and that the cold weather has ended — at least till the October. Time to celebrate, have fun, go to the beach, go to the mountains and to reconnect with nature.

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I really appreciate the flowers blooming and saying hello to us. What are your plans for this spring and summer? How are you going to celebrate this beautiful warm sunny weather? When you have a crab basket with only one crab in it, the crab can easily crawl out. However, if you have three or more crabs in the same basket, whenever one of the crabs starts to climb out, the other crabs in the basket will pull it back down. As a result, none of the crabs will ever be able to escape from the basket.

This is often true with people also. Notice how many people want to see you remain small, limited and dysfunctional, as opposed to cheering you on to achieving your greatest potential and your full magnificence. Hanging out with people who act like crabs is not honoring or respecting your soul! My soul commitment and heartfelt desire is to spread the information, tools, techniques and knowledge contained in this book - so that it will help more people to understand their human journey and how to thrive here on the earth plane.

This offer is good for both the paperback and the Kindle version.

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  7. The only requirement to receive this celebration gratitude gift is that the person must leave a review on Amazon. Thankfully, the reviews given so far have been a perfect score of 5. I have never in my life ever discounted my sessions! I am also offering a substantial discount off of my coaching programs.

    This one-time special offer only applies for the first books purchased and reviewed. May I ask your help and support? Would you be kind enough to help me to get the word out? I invite you to tell all of your friends and I also ask you to please post this message on all of your social media sites - and to send this to all of your connections. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life and your community.

    It is an honor to know you and to serve you.


    I pray for your health, healing, joy, happiness, success, prosperity, ease and grace. Jump to. Sections of this page. Accessibility Help. Email or Phone Password Forgot account? See more of Michael Bradford on Facebook. Log In. Forgot account? Not Now. Visitor Posts. Jane Hammond. Michael Edward Bradford. See More. Katie Lachter. Information about Page Insights Data. Michael See More. Now I have more time to reach out and to connect with the native people and the land. Continue Reading.