Archives for April 2014

post

EST, The First Weekend of Personal Growth

In the years since the 1970s, when  it was widely popuWarnerlar, Erhard Seminar Training (EST) has often been cited as a hallmark example of the “human potential” movement fostered by the “me” generation that inspired Tom Wolfe’s article, mentioned earlier.

During a ten-year span, over one million people participated in EST training, including such celebrities as Diana Ross, Valerie Harper, and John Denver. I am aware that EST has been defined as nothing more than a self-indulgent, cult-like movement. I totally understand that perspective, because there were indeed many annoying aspects of the program: the four-day seminars (two weekends) did use a lot of extreme measures such as keeping participants in back-to-back sessions for hours without allowing the use of the bathroom. Such measures were used to break down a person’s ego-defenses, though, and to open us to self examination. I know that our marriage would not have lasted had it not been for how I was affected by those weekends. My exposure to the intense self-searching eventually led to what I refer to as my first conscious moment. A defining moment, indeed!

post

After Enlightenment, Self Responsibility

dawn by car 2IT  WAS IN August 1976 that Tom Wolfe, writing for  New York Magazine, first used the expression “the ‘me’ decade” to describe the new prevailing attitude of Americans towards self-awareness and the need of fairness in the conduct of human relationships.  At that time I was struggling with what I saw as a woman’s dependence on men for her sense of empowerment or worth. Feelings ranging from bitter helplessness to seething anger were elicited as I became obsessed with the need to be self-supporting. Determined to never again be dependent on a man for my financial well-being became my number one goal.

post

He Calls Me High-Pockets

DSCF2426DSCF2424As the holidays neared, I fretted over where to spend them. This was the first Christmas that my children had lived with their father, and I was torn between wanting  to be with them and with Mike. Carol, knowing that I had no family, invited me and my children to her home for Christmas. This was the beginning of Carol’s kindhearted generosity. Her goodwill would be extended to me and my children over many years to come.

post

My Best Life Choice Ever

My nervousness disappeared immediately as a beautiful woman opened the door with a hug for Mike and a most welcoming smile and an extended  hand. I knew immediately that this was Carol.  She was blond, slender, and abundantly gracious. Her fair skin and piercing blue eyes were stunning.  As Mike headed toward the bedroom to visit with Poppa, Carol said, “Come, let me fix you a drink and introduce you to my husband, Bobby. Mike very seldom brings a friend for us to meet, so you must already be special to him.”

post

My Best Life Choice

PERHAPS IT WAS because of the embarrassment brought on by my long-ago decayed teeth Mike & Dawn bahamas (5)that I was obsessive about the care of my children’s teeth.  When the twins were two and my daughter four, I brought them for their first dental checkup. Dr. Mike was recommended by my next door neighbor, and was considered one of the best dentists in the area.

Mike was forty-three when we met, divorced once, and had a ten- year-old daughter.  I was twenty-eight, and divorced twice. Several fillings later, Mike walked me to the door and said, “Would you like to go to dinner, or are you involved?” I explained that I was involved, but thanked him for his offer. He said, “You have an open invitation.”

One year later, after my breakup with Bo, I called him to see if the invitation was still open. We agreed upon a time for our first date, but it was our third date that changed my life forever.

Promptly at 6:00 p.m., Mike rang the doorbell for our date. I knew by now that he would open the door of his older but sensible car for me, which I appreciated.  I was not used to such gentlemanly behavior, and it really made me feel like a lady. The radio was playing soft music as we drove toward the interstate.  I thought back to our second date, when we’d had a flat tire during a horrific thunderstorm. Fear knotted my stomach as I waited for the customary onslaught of anger and cursing, as was the case in all three of my past significant relationships.  Instead, Mike calmly navigated the car to the side of the road, looked at me, and said, “We are so lucky to not have been on the interstate  when this happened.” He got out during a break in the rain and changed the tire. To my delight, his calm attitude under fire has remained consistent. He has always been easy on my mind.