John Foster Elliott: Psychotherapy, Music and Writings
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I’m a psychotherapist, a writer and a musician. I believe in the power of love and acceptance, the power of change, the power of art, the power of accountability, the power of action. 

I am a passionate mass of contradictions. Soft and hard and black and white in colors and sounds and tastes and touches.. Hot. Cold, Warm.

I am against capital punishment, yet if someone hurts my family and friends I will reserve the right to kill them myself.

I am pro-choice. I may have problems believing in the sanctity of life, bit not in the sanctity of living. And count on the fact that I would defend your right to disagree with me, to be different from me, -more than I would bother defending or justifying whatever I was debating.

I am proud, but there is a fine line between arrogance and pride, and I donít plan on being arrogant about my humility or on being all that humble about what I have to offer. Itís pretty good stuff thatís taken me at least a lifetime to learn -if not longer.

In general, we are all equal in our worth and value. In specific, my wife will always be a better musician than me. (She puts in the practice.) Those of us who measure ourselves by comparison can use this to drive ourselves, to achieve more, to win. This is an important aspect of life. Itís valuable. However, if this is the only way we have to gain esteem, we can drive ourselves into an early grave through our continual dissatisfaction. Someone will always be better than you sometimes at somethings. Another way to value yourself isnít accomplished by comparison. It really isnít about accomplishment at all. Itís about acceptance. There is an absolutely brilliant statement of these two ways of being that comes from something called the ďSerenity PrayerĒ that my friends from Program (thatís AA, NA, Alanon, -a whole lot of Aís there) know so well. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. What an elegant way of putting it. Hopefully, my book, Directionís in Life for the Occasionally Confused contains some small amount of this wisdom. Now, I donít know if we really find ideas or if they find us. Perhaps they are looking for receptacles that are at least partially empty, -like my own head.

I know from experience that those of us who are too full of themselves up there, hardly ever have new ideas and are rarely receptive to them. Perhaps to discover anything new we have to have room for confusion or uncertainty. Colombus didnít discover anything, -he was another damn lost fool. Perhaps, to make something new, we have to be willing to be fools as well. And there is magic in this confusion, in this uncertainty, in this foolishness.

We all want to believe in magic in some way. Magic is another word for the power of faith, of there being something greater than what we can understand or consistently control that just might watch out for us, that can guide us, that can protect us.I think families are magic in this way, and commitments and friendship.

And faith in these things and in our ideals. Sometimes itís faith alone that pulls us through. The acceptance that things are exactly as they ought to be. Even if they suck. Sometimes itís the steadfast belief in justice, compassion, principles integrity, respect and fairness that fuels our actions to fight and take a stand. Not just for others but for yourself as well. Now, let me clue you inÖ

Books are a kind of magic too, because they open the doors of possibility. Both the possibility of preserving whatís worth keeping the same and changing what needs to become different. A mood, a feeling, a thought, a way of seeing, a skill. We can learn to build, make, do, make do, see, listen, detect, believe, imagineÖ Books are really telepathic devices that allow us to read anotherís thoughts, anotherís mind. They are ways to learn, to experience, to grow and to transport ourselves to realms we may not have ever imagined. They can comfort and intrigue and clarify and excite andÖ You can tell I like to read.

This store, the libraries, our schools, all of the other places that have books are filled with this magic. All you have to do is pick them up, read them and turn that knowledge into action. Magic is simple, but just because somethingís simple doesnít mean itís easy to do. All of you who are trying to save gas can put your cars into neutral and push them home. Simple. But a difficult task none the less.

So Iíve written a book and here I am.I have my family and friends here whom I love and treasure and cherish. People that have given me the great privilege of their trust and respect for which I am truly and deeply honored far more than words could ever convey. Because the greatest honor you bestow on another human being isnít about awards or medals. Itís trust.

I am so lucky in my life. I get to feel important everyday. I get to see the world through everyoneís eyes. Through the eyes of men and women, of parents and teenagers and children of all ages. Through the eyes of doctors and mechanics and janitors and therapists and lawyers and scientists and construction workers and athletes and priests and rabbis and actors and producers and police and musicians, the people that clean your teeth and the folks that write the TV shows and businessmen and that guy who picks up your garbage. And all of them are worth a book. And all of you are in here, because you have inspired me. We are more the same than we are different, and in my thirty years of work I still love my job of helping people help themselves. I am proud of all of us.

I believe that our perceptions and definitions of human “weakness” often obscure the potential strength of these same qualities. I believe that our perceptions and definitions of human “strengths” equally obscure their potential vulnerability.

I believe that we can find and make solutions for individual, social and political change.

I believe that laws provide the opportunity for justice and that we all need to develop our own moral and ethical imperatives regardless.

I believe that if there are exceptions to every rule, we better still make rules for how we make exceptions.

I believe that love conquers nothing because love is never about conquering. Love is the action of acceptance and the most important thing in the world to give and receive.

I believe that the greatest equalizer is not a gun, but laughter and the opportunity to acquire knowledge and resources.
Here in these pages you will see some of my ideas on psychology, growth and change. You’ll hear some of my music, read some of my fiction and get a chance to link up with some other folks I respect and enjoy.

If you want to, you can purchase my book, Directions in Life for the Occasionally Confused in written or audio form as well as any of my tunes. I have some brief descriptions of screenplays and my novel is here, free for you to read and/or download.
If you like, you can post comments about the site or any of my work
I’ll be updating on a regular basis.

Thanks for coming by.

Above all…take good care of yourself and each other.
John F. Elliott, MA, MFT