A Midsummer Night's Brainstorm

It is a sticky, muggy evening.  Late night, in fact.  I am one of those characters who enjoys the late nights, for it is during the late night hours where we can wander in our thoughts for hours, uninterrupted.  I simply enjoy a few hours of quiet time at the end of the day.  This is where I digest my days.

I got mostly knocked out of the Urbanmonks orbit for a month there as I went to up to Cornell to help teach Green Cities.  While this difficult course compressed into three weeks became a bit more all-comsuming than I expected, it was worth it.  I recorded all the lectures and hope to produce some nice audio files and a few street books based on the class.  Green Cities, the course designed by Dr. Rob Young, has been going strong for fifteen or twenty years, traveling with Rob around the country, from Cornell, to U of Oregon, to U of Texas.  Half of the students were from various parts of the United States and half the students were from various parts of China.  This mix made for outstanding dialogue on the urban design response to our environmental challenges. 

I am currently finishing up editing and layout for this year's new books from Urbanmonks Press.

Here is an excerpt from the Urbanmonks Handbook, Part I, where I describe an epiphany I had in the waiting room early on in my challenges with anxiety.


In the beginning of counseling, it was my anxiety I was dealing with.  It was solely my own problem. In the midst of this intense struggle, this loneliness, this isolation of me dealing with my struggles seemed to amplify all my troubles.  One quickly grows insane fighting a battle that only exists inside one’s head.

Then one day as I sat in the waiting room for fifteen minutes or so before my therapy session, I looked around and felt this overwhelming solidarity with the other folks in the room - those who were coming, those who were going, a seven-year-old and his mother, an older bearded guy, a teen-age girl.  We may not have been there to have the same conversation, we may not have been struggling in the same way, but we were all in there, humbling ourselves, admitting that our minds were unhealthy, that our current mental states were unsustainable.

That waiting room provided the space for a shared refuge of humility, where an unspoken common-ness of cause buoyed my spirits.  The waiting room supported me and in that refuge I began to receive the first hints of the wide scope of this anxiety, this depression, this mental discomfort, and I realized that this struggle may not be solely my own.