Joseph Eliezer, author of Simply Spirit: A Personal Guide to Spiritual Clarity, One Insight at a Time, has kindly consented to be our very first guest blogger.
I met Joseph a few weeks ago at a library event called Read Dating. Thirty different authors sat at tables and had 8-10 minutes with a score of librarians who moved from table to table to chat with the writers. It was an exhausting but exhilirating event. I hadn’t met Joseph before but I was intrigued by the idea of his book and asked him if he’d like to guest blog with us. And so here he is.
We asked him some questions and his answers truly did inspire me. I hope he’ll do the same for you.
What is your day like?
My day usually begins with either exercise or breakfast. I like to work out before I start my day, and I like to have my morning rituals (shower, food) completed so I can begin the work day by 9.
On a good working day?
On a good working day, I experience myself giving clear and concise messages to others and have a reciprocal experience with them.
On a bad working day?
I experience the opposite of a good day. Bad days are usually filled with miscommunications, misunderstandings and lack of yoga.
And how do you cope with the bad ones?
I allow myself to feel whatever I feel in the moment with the understanding that these feelings will pass. No matter how intense the emotions are at any given moment, I find that giving both them and me space to breathe is paramount to getting into the next day, moment, minute, etc.
Tell us a little bit about your workspace.
I have two workspaces. The one that I do my writing in looks like – well, it is, actually, a bedroom. It’s on the top floor of a two-level home and through my window I can see both the coastal mountains and a sandwich shop….not sure which visual impacts me more deeply. My office, where I practice counselling and psychotherapy, looks a little like a small living room.
If you had a perfect day, what would it be?
The perfect day begins at 5:30 am. I’m awake; I feel vibrant, and I’m ready to hit the yoga studio. I’m showered and back home by 8, fed and am ready to greet the work day by 9. My work hours would be filled with healthy interactions with others, and I help people process their thoughts and emotions until lunch time. Once fed for a second time, I complete emails, meet deadlines and have downtime in the afternoon. The evening is filled with good food and intimacy.
What turns you on creatively?
In order for me to create, I need to feel….something. I find that my emotions can become quite stirred when I hear a good story, or I listen to a good piece of music, especially if it is performed both live and well. Watching a good movie or having an engaging conversation can evoke a strong emotional response from me as well, but my current fixation and source of inspiration is psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Nothing stimulates me more these days than discovering art in the field of mental health.
Who do you most admire in your field (or in general) and why?
I’m a big fan of Wilfred Bion, a soldier who won the medal of Distinguished Service in the British army in WW1. After the war, he became a psychiatrist and developed his own unique approaches for treating war veterans in a group setting. His methods for helping people were not well received by his peers initially. He was ridiculed and ostracized for his originality and was fired from his position as group psychiatrist 16 weeks after he was hired. Eventually, Dr. Bion earned the respect he deserved. His methods and theories are now seen as cutting edge and are widely studied within the scientific community. Today he is considered to be the greatest psychoanalytic thinker since Sigmund Freud.
If you weren’t a psychotherapist/author, what would you be?
I would be an actor, musician or mad scientist.
Tell us a little about your working process.
My working process varies from day to day. When it comes to writing, I have to feel a spark or intuitive flash; otherwise, the words don’t seem to come as easily. I read fervently, and I like to read material that expands my understanding of me and my interests. I lean on my intuition when it comes to working with others and receiving direction as to what projects need my attention at any given moment.
What is one thing you want to do before you die?
I want to live before I die. I want to experience life as authentically as humanly possible. I believe that this is the key to experiencing both external and internal bliss… and I wouldn’t mind going scuba diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
What is your favorite saying?
My favorite saying today is: A self is co-created. You can’t achieve your very best without the help, love and support from others. And if you don’t have that in your life now, go find it.
What’s the one thing that drives you crazy? At work? At home? In general?
The one thing that drives me crazy is a person who is unable to accept responsibility for his/her own actions. Next to that is a person who is unable or unwilling to engage in self-reflection. Very little drives me crazy at work. At home, I like to have a lot of quiet. I thrive in quiet environments. TV noise tends to drive me nuts at home.
What’s your favorite book? Movie? Painting? Musician? Album?
My favorite books tend to change as I do. One title that has been on my list for a long time is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I also like The Gift of Therapy by Irvin Yalom.
I dread having to name my favorite movie because I’ve seen so many good ones. I LOVE movies! Some of the ones that come to mind are: Field of Dreams, A Hard Day’s Night, Rocky, Phantom of the Paradise, The Cove, Casablanca and anything directed by David Cronenberg.
My favorite paintings are: Lake and Mountain and Mt. Robson by Lawren Harris and anything by Roz Spivak.
Today, my favorite musician is Leonard Cohen.
Like movies, a lot of titles come to mind when I think of my favorite albums. Here is a list, and it is by no means complete:
Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys
Music from the Elder by KISS
Sgt Pepper by The Beatles
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan
Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens
12 Songs by Neil Diamond
Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the Alan Parsons Project and, of course,
The Rutles – soundtrack.
Where’s your favorite place in the world? Why?
My favorite place in the world is my home because I live, breathe and work there. I also love the drive-in theater because even in the age of 3D technology and IMAX sensations, nothing compares to watching a movie under the stars while sitting in the great wide open.