Why I need a candidate

In my page “Steve Woodsmall for Congress” I write about why Steve is my candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives NC District 11.  Please read on even if this isn’t your district (it’s not mine) and you won’t get to vote for Steve (I won’t).

Until the last couple of weeks, I had been thinking that this blog and my proposed three other Releasing the Force programs (described in Pages 1-3 at the top of the blog) were plenty of political commitment and that – aside from voting and maybe posting some stuff on Facebook – I might not get involved in the electoral process this time around.  I thought I might even keep this blog focused on the inner game of activism and not declare for any candidates.  Silly boy.

Actually a number of factors have coincided to get me being more political – and more openly  so.

  • Releasing the Force programs are not unfolding the way I intended.
    • This blog is the core Releasing the Force program and I remain fully committed to it.  I hear from some of its readers that it is really valuable to them – maybe even that my posts make their day.  I need to get it in front of more people, but there are tools for that like SEO (search engine optimization).
    • The first face-to-face program I have launched – four weekly meetings of the Releasing the Force Conversation Series multiple Jedi– has been poorly attended to say the least (three people, zero, one, one…for the last two meetings Kerry and I adjourned to the Jack of the Wood bar next door, which really worked great).  I need to rethink this Conversation Series option, and the following three programs which would require more commitment than this one.
  • One of the many ways that the Parkland school shooting survivors and their March for Our Lives movement
    Eloquent – and maligned – Parkland survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg

    have reached me has been their insistence that, as they reach the age of 18, they are going to vote in vast numbers and change the electoral dynamic – and their loud, clear chant of “Vote them out!”  All of this has touched and inspired me deeply and I am seeing this movement as the vanguard of our progressive agenda – so how could I, aside from voting, sit the electoral process out?  I’ve got to be in there.

  • A week from now I will – if I have successfully negotiated a payment plan – be attending a two-day workshop in a psychotherapy approach called “Internal Family Systems” (IFS).  I have some very close friends from my days back in Chicago who are advanced trainers in this stuff and one of them, Kay Gardner,
    Kay G
    Kay Gardner and little Chloe – this must have been taken right when we were first becoming friends, 15 years ago.  Lots of sweet memories.

    is now the lead IFS trainer and will be here in Asheville facilitating the workshop.  I gotta get some time with her, but she just doesn’t have any time free while she’s here – so I’m planning to go to the workshop.  There are potential snags in that plan, including the price tag and that I no longer am a psychotherapist, but maybe the biggest hazard surfaced in a different personal growth session this last Wednesday.

    Dick Schwartz
    Dick Schwartz, creator of IFS

    15 years ago, I went to the only other IFS workshop I have attended (I did see an IFS therapist for my own therapy every week for a year).  I don’t have any memories of that Saturday-Sunday workshop, besides that it was facilitated by the guy himself – Dick Schwartz, the Chicagoan who developed IFS – and included Kay and a couple others of my friends.

    And that I went home Sunday night and attempted to kill myself.  I had actually been planning this for weeks, and had stockpiled the tools for this particular approach to suffocation.  But for some reason I picked this particular moment to implement the plan – which obviously, miraculously, didn’t work.

    For some reason or reasons, in the intervening 15 years I have never – before Wednesday – asked myself “Why then?  What was it about that workshop that caused me to take this so-drastic action?”  And Wednesday morning the answer seemed pretty clear – and still does.

    I was totally desperate.  In the throes of my bipolar depression, my work had totally slipped away from me.  My organization development management consulting career had failed after a lot of success.  I was receiving no more offers for diversity consulting or outplacement career coaching – and was too depressed to go looking for any of this work.  For several of my friends, IFS was now the thing.  It seemed to get them up in the morning and to give them a sense of meaning.  Why not me too?  I was desperate.

    And it didn’t happen.  I don’t remember what did happen at the workshop, but I’m pretty sure I came away with IFS not really hitting it for me.  I don’t remember having critical judgments of that form of therapy, it just didn’t connect with me – I couldn’t picture myself being an IFS therapist.  So my hopelessness just flowed up over the top.

    I’ll be attending this IFS workshop – if it works for me to attend it – with once again a gaping hole in my work, the meaning I contribute in the world.  I just don’t know – aside from this blog – what is the future of my Releasing the Force work.  Three weeks ago I would have referred to the four programs I have outlined in the Pages of this blog as the direction of “my work”, but now I don’t know about any of that.

    So Wednesday I was asking myself, “How do I even keep myself safe at this workshop?” (I haven’t been suicidal for about six years, but still even remembering it feels scary.)  I came up with this guidance (actually along with some other threads of guidance): “Go to work on a campaign”.  It wasn’t clear what campaign – no politician came immediately to mind (Hilary is gone, Oprah has not declared, but I also need a candidate for now, this November’s election).

So why Steve Woodsmall, who isn’t even in my district?  Actually, because of the way our area has been gerrymandered by the Republicans to keep the liberal Democratic hub of Asheville from electing a representative, both of these districts have a lot of Asheville.  But I haven’t even seen or heard from the two other candidates from Steve’s District 11 or the one guy for my District 10.  So obviously this choice of Steve could change – but I don’t think so.

Steve thinks (in my head) right to me.  He was more real than polished, though he actually was also quite poised.  He did not say one thing in that hour-plus Q&A session that I didn’t like.  He was clearly smart and very up-to-date and thoughtful with the issues.  I trust him.  He connected perfectly with my dog.

Steve Woodsmall
Steve Woodsmall and my Toni.  She charms almost everybody, but he clearly knows how to be with dogs – and their masters.  “Is it OK if I pick her up?”

And two hours ago I explored his website a little and gave him $25 – that pretty well seals it.  I’ll go to the other vetting sessions, but I can’t picture changing my mind.  To read more about Steve click here.

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