My Ode to August

My Ode to August  (don’t expect any rhymes)

 

 

I love the month of August.
When summer has finally settled down to business
Winter’s bare spots in the lawn have filled in
And all around me is lush and green and ripe and in bloom.

By August the novelty of warm breezes has faded.
I take for granted that I can run outside without a jacket
Or that it’ll take a few hours after dinner to finally see the stars
And worst of all, the sun’s warmth on my bare skin no longer feels magical.

Here in Vermont August is a time for endings.
I empty the bird houses and collect the abandoned nests;
I weed my various beds for the last time
And cover them with a blanket of mulch.

But this year is different.
This year, August brings a new beginning
As I return to a profession I once loved
And left — to serve the call to Peace.

Yes, by the end of this month, I’ll have morphed back to Janet Givens, Certified Gestalt Psychotherapist. To celebrate, my posts throughout August will each have a connection to psychotherapy or theory: articles and stories that have meant a lot to me as a therapist, as a human being.

For that, to me, is what psychotherapy offers — a chance for us to be fully human. To be; fully.

Here are my plans for the month of August, my favorite month:

August 8 — I’ll honor Mariah Fenton Gladis, my mentor, colleague, and friend who died of ALS last month, 37 years after her diagnosis. You might remember I channeled her a few years ago while doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. All that she taught me continues to serve me every day. I’ll share some of what I’ve learned from her in her own words.

August 15 — I’ll introduce you to Arnold Beissner’s “The Paradoxical Theory of Change.”  I believe you’ll be glad I did.

August 22 — I’ll share with you Gestalt’s “Cycle of Experience.”  No moaning now; this is important stuff.

August 29Moving Forward: Taking a Look At Seventy.  Yup; that’s my plan.

How about you? How’s your August shaping up for you?  

37 Responses

  1. susan scott
    | Reply

    How lovely Janet! I look forward to your return to psychotherapy posts! AuGUST here in South Africa usually means gusty winds and the last of the winter leaves blown onto the ground and rooftops. August is the harbinger of spring – right now the days are warm and sunny though the nights and early mornings are cold. And September can bring totally unexpected surprises … snow even. How is my August shaping up? A few pots in the fire …too soon to say at this stage.

    Have a wonderful month!
    susan scott recently posted…International Nelson Mandela DayMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      It’s hard for me to wrap my head around northern and southern hemisphere differences. I know them cognitively, sort of, but I’m still confused by questions like, “Does it snow in their summer?” I must remember that summer and winter are relative; it’s the months that are not. It snows in both our winters, e.g.,; but mine is in December (and April and November), yours is in July. Yes? Sigh. (that was hard). I’ve spent only two weeks in the southern hemisphere. Next time I do Peace Corps (when I’m 80?) I’ll ask to go there.

      Thanks for starting us off today. And for your beautiful rendition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebration. Powerful words.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  2. Carol Taylor
    | Reply

    August for me means we are fully into our wet season…It is still warm just lots of rain which means leaky ceilings for me as Thai build homes are not known for having the best of roofs. But the slightly cooler weather is gratefully received here.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thank you Carol; I love to hear about life in other parts of our very big world.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  3. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Well, Janet, you are full of surprises! It will be interesting to see what themes evolve as you revisit your former profession. You are a different person now and so are people’s needs. As they say, you can’t step into the same water twice, which one source says is a Ukrainian saying (not sure about that).

    Floridians do not abandon summer in August. We’ll have heat and humidity here until mid-October. And more weeding!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Memoir Progress: Peaks and ValleysMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Fortunately for me (and my future clients) the therapy I do is very much in the NOW focused. So, yes indeed that river does flow, but then it always has. I was in Florida during summer once. I was five and I can still recall the humidity. But the alligator show was exciting. Do you have loose alligators in Florida or are they all accounted for?
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

      • Marian Beaman
        | Reply

        Do we have close alligators in Florida? My sister worried that an alligator lived in the lake next to our property when she visited in March. My son admitted to wheeling over an alligator on his bike once in his teens. My niece who lives in suburban Tampa found an alligator in her back yard a few months ago.

        Other than that, they are all accounted for!
        Marian Beaman recently posted…Memoir Progress: Peaks and ValleysMy Profile

  4. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    How wonderful to be able to return to doing something you love. I look forward to your insights and to reading anything you care to share here. August is my least favorite month of the year, being allergic to everything in the air right about now. Any way in which I can learn something new and distract myself from what could be incessant complaining about August, will be appreciated.
    Ally Bean recently posted…One Grocery Shopping Trip, Three Unexpected ObservationsMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Ally, for your words of support. Allergies, oh yes. When I lived in Ohio our family doctor told me that they were how Ohio doctors paid their mortgages (or bought their big boats). One of my Ohio-based sons has pollen allergies; they are a bear. I steadfastly pull out my goldenrod here in Vermont in eager anticipation of his visits. I’m happy to help out in the distraction of the moment category.

      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  5. Merril Smith
    | Reply

    Here’s to new beginnings, Janet! Good luck on your return to doing something you have loved doing.
    Merril Smith recently posted…Silence Comes on Morning FogMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Merril. I’m certainly not used to doing the marketing that a practice up here in rural Vermont involves. Philadelphia was a snap in comparison.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  6. GAEL MUELLER
    | Reply

    I can’t wait! This sounds like fun stuff to me. In all my years in the courtroom the things that helped my clients the most were the psychological theories and counseling. I really want to read your articles!
    GAEL MUELLER recently posted…Field in FogMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I’m so glad. Thanks, Gael. Interesting insight into the value of counseling in the courtroom. I recall getting into “excuses vs. justifications” literature during my Political Science years and thinking attorneys should know this stuff during jury selection.

      My reference point in the therapy I do is out of social psychology — the impact of culture, forces out of our awareness, etc. All good; all important. The different fields are starting to talk to each other.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  7. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — I’m so excited for your return to psychotherapy. If you could see me, you’d know I’m giving you a STANDING OVATION.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Banana Belt In the Pacific NorthwestMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thank you, Laurie. So noted. You might sit down now please; your ovation is causing a bit of a ruckus. All good. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  8. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    Here’s to new beginnings all around. I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts and following your new adventures.

    I remember August in Vermont and that in September we always took the screens down and put up the storm windows. We also made sure the woodpile was adequately full of warmth for the coming season. It’s very different here in Virginia. I won’t begin to smell woodsmoke in the evening until November and I’ll be feeding bluebirds all winter long. I miss Vermont, but not the winters!
    Joan Z. Rough recently posted…Retirement Anyone?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I love the change of seasons up here, Joan. And taking out the screens is certainly one sign of them. Moving the summer furniture into the barn, another. Woody works on firewood all summer long. June is when we stack (in the basement) for this winter; July, he bucks and splits for the next winter; and August, he takes down for the winter after that. We’re in the flow. We actually love the winters here. Though they could be a tad shorter. Gets quite old come April when everyone else is showing FB photos of their daffodils and lilacs.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  9. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Happy August, Janet. I like the idea of August being about new beginnings, and wish you well with yours. In Boise, August is very much the “dog days” of summer. Dry earth, burnt grass, oppressive heat, and (more so every year, it seems), wild fires. Yet, it’s also the month that transitions kids back to school and begins the slow descent into Fall. It’s a good time to spend time in the mountains or to head for the coast, which I’ll be doing later this week. If I miss you next week, it’ll be because I’ll be on an island off NW Washington, trying to soak up some cool breezes. Best, T

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Sounds delightful, Tim. I’ve been toying with a blog post on “vacations” — the cultural, psychological, economic, physical aspects of it. Give it some thought while you are on yours please. You could guest post here. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

      • Tim Fearnside
        | Reply

        I’ll try to give it some thought while I’m peddling/paddling, etc. It would be fun to guest-blog on your site 🙂

        • Janet Givens
          | Reply

          I’m thrilled. Hope it works out. I got thinking about it when I realized Woody and I haven’t taken a vacation since before Peace Corps. And we feel no desire to. What has changed? What was the pull to take a vacation that is no longer there? Rhetorically, at the moment. Enjoy your peddling-paddling. Sounds like fun.
          Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  10. Cathy M. Monaghan
    | Reply

    Oh, Janet. I’m glad SOMEONE is enjoying August! I have to admit, the only time I enjoy August is when I’m on a beach, and it looks like that isn’t going to happen this year. 🙁 Living in the deserts of Arizona, August is NOT a good month. But again, I’m glad you and other northern folks are enjoying it. xx

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I remember two Virginia summers we lived through. But that wasn’t during an extended heat wave in a state with a water crisis. I wish you well. I hope you take some pleasure in the fact that yours is probably “a dry heat.” Drink more water. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  11. Bette Stevens
    | Reply

    Happy August, Janet! 🙂 I’m taking a long delayed break in August and spending time with family… xo

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Family makes for great breaks. Enjoy your change of pace, Bette. As the old song says, “See you in September.”
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  12. Linda Hoye
    | Reply

    A return to something you love—how exciting! August is typically our hottest month. That said, I am already seeing subtle signs of a season that will soon change. It’s dark earlier, and spider webs have started showing up. It won’t be long before I start to feel something different in the morning air. For now though, summer still reigns!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, spider webs; I hadn’t thought of that one. And caterpillar tents are starting up; that’s a late summer thing too. I saw my first one today. Thanks for stopping by Linda. Good to have you.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  13. Ellen Best
    | Reply

    Looking at seventy is something I wish not to do for a while, though I will look forward to reading your look. August this year will be different and different is good. The grass is not green the flowers unused to the heat have withered and gone. There is a but, the landscape reminds me of Tuscany with gold instead of green underfoot. What will eventually will pop up its head when the rain does fall? Exciting things to come surprises in our gardens. We must have our glasses half full look for the posatives be greatfull for being here in Englands green and pleasant land, all be it a temporary different shade.

  14. Sharon Lippincott
    | Reply

    Super to hear of your return to a former passion. I do believe you can step in the same river many times, each time a wiser person for the experiences and sagacity you acquired from intervening experience. I’m convinced that the river runs not in circles, but in a spiral, getting wider and deeper as it goes.

    Your announcement radiates eager enthusiasm, and I feel energized myself thereby. Can’t wait to read those posts.
    Sharon Lippincott recently posted…Points to Ponder Before Tarnishing MemoriesMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Sharon. Welcome back; I’ve missed you. I love your river metaphor. Those metaphorical rivers can be so useful! You’ll not be surprised to know I felt a physical shift once I made the decision to get back in practice; energized, yes; but I labeled it feeling young again. Same thing?
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  15. Terry Bryan
    | Reply

    August still means back to school to my mind…I still love to buy school supplies, so these days children I don’t know get to enjoy them.
    There is concern for two friends suffering with cancer, one we’ll be visiting mid-month. I remain optimistic. I like seeing the world through rose-colored glasses as long as I know the glasses are there.
    And I shall hope you enjoy your return to your chosen profession.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      What a lovely gesture that is, and I imagine it makes a huge difference in someone’s life. Do they know it’s you or do you do it anonymously? Remain optimistic, why not. Hope springs eternal and all that. And, I like to believe that no matter what happens, all will be OK. It’s become a mantra for me lately.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  16. John rieber
    | Reply

    Looking forward to these posts!
    John rieber recently posted…“Hitch Hiking” #4! A 196 Block Hike Through New York’s Central Park! Peering Through Hitchcock’s “Rear Window!”My Profile

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