Lately I have been thinking about the struggles we face on the journey of life. As a counselor I am often tasked with sitting and listening to my clients talk about their struggles. On a day-to-day basis I can see the human condition struggling to make ends meat, put food on the table, find recovery, and so on.
Today I celebrate my 28th birthday. This special day is shared with my twin sister Stephanie. Throughout the day I received kind messages of affirmation and support from people who share in my birthday celebrations.
Reflecting over my life I am poised with gratitude to see where I have ended up. My proudest moment was becoming a father to two amazing children, Aria and Angelo. They rock my world more than anything else could. Life with these two bundles of joy make the world more meaningful and important. Being a father would not have been possible were it not for Jennifer, my girl Friday, the love of my life, and soulmate. She brightens my day and I cannot imagine life without her.
Today I am grateful for the gift of being. I feel alive today. My breath reminds me that every moment is a gift to be cherished. 28 years ago I must admit that I did not think I would make it to adulthood. Life used to seem like a challenge that was difficult to win. My experience has shown me that even the bad has some good to be learned. Life has taken on new meaning and is a challenge that I embrace.
I am grateful for being sober today. Over 863 days without a drink and life cannot better than this. Through good times and bad I have learned that a drink will not change the outcome. Pain must be embraced and the lessons contained therein must be learned.
I am grateful for friends near and far who take time each day or week, depending on their schedules, to keep in contact with me. Today I feel most connected to the world around me. 28 years ago I could not imagine having long-term friendships and am awestruck to see that I have people I can rely on when life gets tough.
I am grateful for my freedoms. Living in a land where I am able to express my opinions in the open and in private without fear of retribution. I love living in a time where people are able to connect to one another despite their differences and bond through mutual experiences.
I am grateful for nature and creation that brings me closer to the G-d of my understanding. Life is my greatest teacher and has shown me that every moment is an opportunity for growth and change. I have learned over these 28 years of life that if I am not willing to change than life will continue to repeat itself until I learn my lesson.
I am grateful for teachers, mentors, and guides who have shown me the way to living a fuller life and learning to embrace my own inner wisdom.
Today my heart is filled with gratitude and I cannot help but smile. Thank you for being part of my life’s journey.
May your day be filled with peace, love, and joy. Thank you for celebrating this day with me and thank you for reading this post.
As always feel free to leave a comment or story in the section below.
Today I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with millions of other Americans across the country. I pause in reflection to take inventory of what I have going for me and my family. First and foremost I am grateful for the gift of being in relationship. Thank you Jennifer for sticking with me through thick and thin. Thank you for giving me three beautiful children. (more…)
Living life authentically is difficult for many of the people I counsel. Television, music, books, magazines, movies, and other sources of entertainment are constantly showing us that we need to be someone different.
What’s so wrong with being you? After all there is only one of you. I believe each person is unique in his or her own right. A Franciscan medieval philosopher Dunn Scotus coined the term haecceitas which loosely translated to the English as thisness. You maybe thinking to yourself what does this all mean. Let me explain. Thisness is something we all have. It is not something we had to earn. We are born with it. It is embedded deep within our DNA. I strive to live my life honoring the fact that I was made for something special and I was created different from everyone else on the planet. What I am not saying is that I am better than everyone else. Rather, what I am suggesting is that I am unique in my own right as are you and your closed loved ones and friends. No one can take this away from us. (more…)
Lately I have thought about living in the present moment. A few nights ago I was giving a workshop on mediation and relaxation. I could not help but recognize that living in the present moment is a hard task.
Like most people I live a 21st century lifestyle. I am connected to technology 24/7. Well-educated. And my brain is always on. I hunger to learn and find myself lost at times in the galaxy of information that is the worldwide web. I have noticed there are periods in my life when things do not make sense despite innovations in technology that have made finding answers to my problems easier. What I have come to realize is that i feel the most stressed and inauthentic when I do not live in the present moment.
Recently I had a somewhat traumatic experience where a dog jumped in front of my car. The event happened so quickly that I was lost and numb at the same time. This poor animal suffered because the owners were negligent and very obviously intoxicated.
My children were in the car and also my girlfriend. I was fortunate that my children are not old enough to understand what just happened. I have to admit that I was scare for my life and my family’s life too. We were ok one moment and in the next instant tragedy happened.
Life is fickle like that.
Father Hunger is the name.
I come from a long line of men whose fathers were lost and could not speak.
I was born in a time when men were not invested in raising their children.
I am cold
My child that hunger you feel deep within you comes from me. You want to fill the hunger but it is impossible.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of change. Sounds cliché that as a therapist change is what’s on my mind but that it is. We are always in a state of change. You and I are different in this moment than we were in the preceding one. Life is a constant sea of ups and downs. Three years ago I came across this quote about change that spoke to the depths within me. It says:
“Mediocrity does not change the world. People who live their life far away from the cliff don’t do things that change the world. People who change the world are people who take chances. Imbedded in impulsivity is creativity.” (Taken from the movie A.D.D. & Loving it?!)
It has been some time since I have posted anything to this blog. There is a tendency within that I have noticed where I start something and do not finish. The name for this trait is perfectionism. Sometimes the idea of being perfect gets in the way and prevents me from doing what I need to do, like creating more content for this blog among other things. When perfectionism shows up I often question where does it come from.
There is a tendency within that I have noticed where I start something and do not finish. The name for this trait is perfectionism. Sometimes the idea of being perfect gets in the way and prevents me from doing what I need to do, like creating more content for this blog among other things. When perfectionism shows up I often question where does it come from. Who says I needed to be perfect? The answer to that question rests solely in my head. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to mind warfare. Therefore, I am making a commitment (Yes, gentlemen we can commit, haha) to post to this blog on a weekly basis. The content that you will find on this blog is a combination of lessons taught to former and current clients in the practice of psychotherapy. Additionally, you will find many more lessons current and former clients have taught me that the world needs to know. The hope is that you will find this enterprise inspiring and edifying.
My work with people and their pain has been my greatest teacher to date. Therefore, I draw on the many lessons learned from these individuals. Names and identities have been protected to keep their confidentiality sacred and secure. It is my sincerest hope that you relate to these stories and lessons contained within this blog. Your comments and thoughts are welcomed. If you would like to submit a post or thought to blog for publication, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading!
Michael J. Gargano
We have all heard at one time or another “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” What does this phrase mean? I often take this expression to mean that before I judge someone else I should take his or her perspective and understand how he or she sees the issue at hand. The basic meaning of this phrase is empathy. Before we proceed it is important to define the term empathy. (more…)
Emotions are a complicated subject and often difficult to define. Academics and practitioners have proposed a wide array of theories to explain emotions often leaving the reader confused about the subject. Each of us has felt the effects of emotions within our personal lives. Paul MacLean, a leading neuroscientist and researcher, proposed a theory called the Triune Brain. The basic concept is that there are three separate systems in the brain that affect how an individual makes decisions and acts. The oldest, most basic system according to the theory is the Reptilian Brain, also called the Amygdala, which is responsible for the survival instinct and basic life needs. The next highest brain the Mammalian Brain, also called the Limbic System, is responsible for emotions and feelings. And the newest brain system the Monkey Brain, also called the Neocortex, which is responsible for language, higher order thinking, and rational thinking to name a few of its capacities. What follows is a pratical way to effectively manage the emotional mind. We will examine the contributions of Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a means to soothe the emotional reactive mind. (more…)
Welcome to Psycho Babel, a blog where psychological concepts and principles become accessible to everyone. The goal of this site is to translate current research in psychology and associated fields to everyday experiences and needs.
My name is Michael J. Gargano, MSEd, CASAC-T, LMHC-LP. Academically I trained as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor at St. Bonaventure University and am pursuing additional PhD level studies in Clinical Psychology at Saybrook University. I hold degrees in religion, philosophy, and counseling. As you will come to find out my interests are interdisciplinary at their core.