Posted: June 5, 2020 in: Personal Empowerment, Pain-2-Power

A Message from My Own Therapist

Back in 1992, I had the privilege of working with a truly gifted psychiatrist.  Dr. James Mann was already in his 80s at the time and has since passed away.  But his words still resonate with me to this day.

We were talking one day about my writing.  I hadn’t published a novel yet, largely because I hadn’t put in the needed effort and taken the needed time to learn to write one competently.  It was a simple as that.  That explained all the rejection letters I had received.  And when Dr. Mann and I explored the reasons I still seemed unsure about investing the time to learn my craft and give it what it needed to flourish, I admitted that spending even more time pursuing it made me worry about sustaining my income.  There was no guarantee the next novel I tried to create would be published.  There was no guarantee (and far from it) that a published novel would earn any significant money.  There was no guarantee that other novels would follow it.

That’s when James Mann offered me words of wisdom I have shared with many of my clients and am grateful to be able to share with you.  He fixed me in his piercing gaze and, in a direct, yet kind tone, said,

“The last place you want to find yourself is in a first-class seat on a plane going someplace you don’t want to go.” 

These words have never left me.  Now that you have read them, they might never leave you.

Too many of us find ourselves in first class seats on planes going places we don’t want to go.  We  trade too much of ourSELVES out of fear—fear that we will fall behind financially, fear that we will have invested in a pipe dream, fear that we will learn we won’t ever truly be the creative writers, painters, entrepreneurs, musicians, teachers or, for that matter, parents we quietly believe we can become.  Yes, entrepreneurs, teachers and parents are efforting the creation of art, too, whether bringing worthy ideas or worthy people to life.

Are you headed where you truly want to go in life—where your core talents and passions and purpose will be in play?  If you’re not, or you’re not sure, ask yourself these three questions:

1- Am I afraid of not succeeding at my true life’s work or am I afraid that, if I succeed, it will consume me? Lots of people resist their true calling because they worry it could take over their more structured, planned, predictable lives.  It could, but it wouldn’t be your ruination; it would be your salvation.

2- Are you trying to jump into the deep end, instead of taking the stairs into the pool of your passion? You don’t have to quit your job and write poetry full-time to move toward becoming a poet.  Start with a book on writing poetry.  Start with one seminar.  Start with one beautiful journal you begin to fill with your work.  Don’t let total immersion be the enemy of getting started.

3- Do I secretly think I am immortal? Well, you aren’t.  I’m not.  No one is.  We all have limited time on the planet.  We never know how much time.  Dreams deferred can end up without pages of our life stories left on which to write them.  Get started.

It’s time to have a seat on the flight going where you truly want to go in life.  It’s your authentic ticket.  It will never fail to bring you “home.”



Dr. Keith Ablow


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