Therapy Without the Couch

By Jorge D.H. Prósperi, 2022

The beginning and ending of days differ for each of us. Awakening and lulling to sleep have our unique fingerprints. For some of us, days begin with a bzzzt, bzzzt, ring, ring, beep, beep — maybe even a song from a playlist — but for others, the wake-up call is internal.  It’s a matter of how our cerebrum grew up — became used to lightness and darkness — how it was trained to greet and exit each day.

My parents were born and raised on a farm and therefore did not rely on any digital alarm sounds. They had an internal clock that summoned them to chores – chores that began at sunup and ended at sundown. Nope – they never punched a clock – most days worked overtime by choice – even on weekends. The land was their office – their outdoor space throughout the day.

I may not have inherited their exhaustive work ethic, but did become heir to their internal chronometer that awakens me roughly between 5:00am and 5:30am. You can  place good money that I will be rising and shining within those 30 minutes. 

While the morning timepiece has remained steady throughout my life, the nightly chimes have increasingly been shaving minutes. Remaining awake until 11:00pm was not a problem in the past . . . but . . . 11:00pm has become 10:00pm and now wavering on 9:00pm – as I desperately try to tug against Mr. Sandman.

How we live each hour of each day between entrances and exits is also unique to each of us. What we tend to think of as ‘routine’ is not really ‘routine’ . . . is it? There seems to be always a nuance, variable and/or happenstance that tweaks ‘routinesness’.

For me, the day begins with breakfast, a cup of cafecito latino that accompanies me for roughly one or two hours of journaling – sometimes in Spanish – sometimes in English.  Journaling is my therapeutic diary of sorting out past, present and future. There are always some musical guests that provide accompaniment . . . sometimes it’s Stevie, sometimes Johann Sebastian . . . today it happens to be Eminem asking to “Lose Yourself” . . . so I will.

This is exclusive personal time when the FIRST daily therapy session takes place — not on a couch —  but in front of a computer with a screen staring back. This is the space and time when reflection washes over mind, heart and spirit — healing, rejuvenating and advocating for each of us to enhance the human condition.

But this is only therapy session number ONE — the SECOND therapy session begins around  7:00am.  That’s when Ellie, our trusted and loyal Golden, provides a few subtle yips informing me that it’s her time to partake in the therapy session as well.

I’m up dad!

By this time, Gloria, my dear partner in life, is ready to collaborate with the therapy — yup — it’s a family affair.

This SECOND dose of therapy takes place daily at Marshbank Park – a few miles from home. Marshbank sits on Cass Lake — the largest and deepest lake in Oakland County.  The park provides 100 acres of therapy.

The session begins around 7:30am . . . before approaching the entrance, Ellie knows we are there. The park never fails to amaze nor does it ever disappoint . . . but let me stop yapping and show you . . . just maybe . . . maybe our therapy session may provide a sliver of solace . . . an instance of peace . . . a semblance of grace . . . so walk with us . . . I hear group therapy works wonders . . .

Welcome all!
Time for Ellie to do what she was born to do . . . run Ellie run! . . .
Oh boy . . . a bit of a climb . . . let’s take it nice and slow . . . despacito por favor . . .
A winding road greets us . . . an invitation to explore . . .
It looks alive . . . Mother Nature’s art of climbing vines, tendrils, twigs . . .
A quiet hidden marsh . . . shhh . . . shhh .. do not disturb . . .
Well good morning! A family having breakfast . . . sorry to disturb . . .
OH MY‼️ What’s that?! . . . Not to worry Ellie . . . no orcs around here . . .
Two roads . . . decision to be made . . . is it coming or going? Does it really matter?
A space for the young to stretch and grow . . . for voices to be heard . . . sweet . . . sweet music . . .
How clever . . . how wise . . . art in the park . . . Oh Vincent 🎶 ‘how you tried to set them free’ 🎶. . .
And the wisdom continues . . . respect for all . . . steps disappear . . . rails provide some balance
A place for a short respite . . . to catch up . . . to fully exhale . . .
Oh! Look! Look! Beyond the colors . . . look beyond . . . it’s glimmering . . .
It seems that water always draws us . . . completes us . . .
No matter where we look . . . another portrait awaits . . .
“Hey mom, dad . . . is this another piece of art?!”
Is that a tepee? Wonder how many animals live inside?
The old makes way for the new . . . a legacy in circles tell a story . . . roots remain . . .
So much life blooming . . . so diverse . . . so inviting . . . so giving . . .
Time to go home Ellie . . . we know . . . we know . . . you want to stay . . . so do we . . .

Special thanks to all employees who diligently care for the 600 acres of public parklands and facilities at 12 WB locations.
We respect your expertise and dedication.

Photography by Gloria Lopata Prosperi
at Marshbank Park West Bloomfield, MI – 2022 – on Iphone 13