“How have you been this week?”

“Okay I guess.”

“Your books still selling?”


“And how does that make you feel?”

I knew he’d ask that.

It’s the question all therapists ask; how do you feel about things? And now it’s about my book sales.

Sure. I’m happy about that. But selling books is like chasing hotties. All you think about is how super it’s gonna be getting Love Goddess under the sheets. And when it happens, guess what? Reality never quite plays out as great as it does in your mind.

You get the prize and then you think, that’s nice. Now what? I never asked that question about Dana.

“Irving?” I hear from across the room. My eyes shift from the ceiling back to my therapist sitting next to his desk. “Care to answer the question?”

“You mean, am I overwhelming ecstatic about becoming a popular writer?”

“Are you?”

“Absolutely! I’m so excited I can’t sleep!”

“Terrific. With honesty this time.”

“That obvious?”

“If you were satisfied with winning, you wouldn’t need therapy.”

He’s right. I can’t seem to get happy. And now I’m sad without Dana. I turn back to him. “I’m damaged, right?”

My doc answers with a shake of his head, then writes a note. Why he writes anything I cannot fathom. We always talk about the same thing – ME. And I’m not that complicated. Except now I’m talking to a dead person – my wife. Dana passed ten months ago. Last week Doc said I should try to feel her presence, ‘cause I miss her so much.

“If the pay-off is so fleeting,” my shrink continues, “what does that mean?”

“I don’t know.” My stare returns to the ceiling.

“What’s bothering you, Irv?”

“Isn’t it your job to know?”

“With you there’s fifty possibilities. What is it this week?”

I sigh. “After last session I tried talking to Dana…”


“Can I use the restroom?”

“First, your story. How did you talk to Dana? Tell me the process.”

The process… Is it worth describing? It was four steps. All I did was cozy up on the couch, close my eyes and listen to records we both loved. I visualized Dana the way I remember her, eyes smiling with that look of hers, telling me, ‘It’ll all work out.’

Then I started our mental meet-up, feeling dumb but doing it anyway, filling in Dana’s side of our talk. I kept that up ‘til I got restful and calm.

“That’s right,” my Doc affirms. “That’s the startup.”

“Yeah…” I answer, focusing more on the details. “My head started feeling like a helium balloon. Then my body turned light and airy too. But also heavy, as if I were hovering and getting pulled down into the pillows at the same time. And everything felt tranquil. Very strange…”

“Then what happened?”

“Then Dana started talking without me first thinking her words. I just listened.”

“What did she say?”

“She reminded me that I’m never satisfied with what I have, that I always want something else.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“Because what I do, what I am, is never good enough.”

“And why is that?”

“I think my parents made me feel that way.”

“If they did, that was a long time ago. Why are you choosing to keep that idea?”

“I’m not choosing it. It’s just there.”

“Is that what Dana said?”


“What did Dana say?”

This is nuts. I’m telling my shrink my dead wife is giving me advice. Don’t serial killers hear voices like that?


I turn back at my shrink.

“Did Dana have some thoughts about your not being good enough?”

“Yeah. She always talked to me about that.”

“What did she tell you this time?”

“She said that she loves me. That many people do. And that looking for validation, the kind I want, is a distraction from what’s really going on.”

“And that would be?”

“…that I am connected to all I want, and to lots of people. But they’re not telling me that in the way I want them to.”

“As in, being hugely famous?”

“A little famous would be nice.”

“And now that that’s happening, it’s still not enough?”

“Guess not.”


“Can I go to the bathroom?”


Wow. Sometimes releasing a full bladder is better than sex.

When you have to empty out, like really deflate, and you do it with total abandon, it always feels good.

Why can’t life be that simple? Maybe it is for cats.


I’m back on the couch, listening to the question again.

“Why Irv, can’t you get a sense of fulfillment from accomplishing your goals?”

“Because I never do. They’re always further than I can reach. But maybe that’s good. If I were satisfied, I wouldn’t want to improve.”

“Not true. Your nature pushes you to learn and create everyday. I’m asking you why you’re not satisfied with results? Why aren’t your in-progress achievements good enough for you?”

“Because bigger is better.”

“As in, more appreciation and respect – for you?”

“Too much to ask for?”

“Why does the whole world have to love you, Irv?”

“I don’t know. You tell me.”

“I have, every week. You seek more love because the one person you need it from the most won’t give it to you.”


“That’s right. And do you know why?”

“No.” I just lied.

“Maybe you should ask Dana.”

I don’t have to. When I’m with her, now in spirit, I DO love myself. Getting into that space connects me to All-There-Is, including myself. And in ways I don’t fully comprehend I intuitively know that everything IS, as it should be. This knowingness is soothing and reassuring telling me there is nothing I have to prove. I am complete. We all are.

But I’m lazy. I don’t meditate enough…or at all, actually, even though I know it brings me reassurance. And it gets me to understand where I fit in, and that I AM making a difference in important but subtle ways.

I know all this. I know that connecting to Dana’s soul is more real than stopping at a red light or ordering sushi. Because when the play is over and we’ve shed our skins, all truth is unveiled.

And the truth is, that everything about life is a choice. Happiness is a choice, more than we think. Being a victim is a choice. Even getting hit by a bus is a choice…made in the place of bliss where Souls decide life’s lessons.

All this I know. I know that Dana’s death was a choice we made together long before we were born. I know physical ‘life’ and ‘death’ are simply pulses in an infinite Universe of which we are all a part and live in forever, changing form as we evolve.

And I know we have all agreed to forget that. We have also agreed to pretend we are separate beings so that knowledge sparks from contrast and contradictions. Every time we reinvent the wheel, it improves. And yet, the same mistakes are also made time and time again. Why? Because every generation needs to learn it anew. Direct experience always tops hearsay. Dana told me that.

And so we recycle our lessons, sometimes as a group, sometimes individually. Even learning though pain and suffering is a choice, as horrible as it can be for human beings. But within Soul Consciousness, there is no pain, only perception and the knowing that in the grand scheme of things there is a reason for everything and no experience is wasted, even with the death of a baby.

Remember? A Soul can’t die.

I know that I know that, and yet I’m choosing to forget. Why?

So that my questions continue – for me and for you. And you must ask YOUR questions – for you and for me.

Each time we learn, we see the world in a different way, upon which, we agree to again forget, asking more questions for more answers as we pretend it’s all real, and grow the Universe while we sleep.


“Irv… Irv, wake up!”


“You drifted again,” states my analyst. “And we were just about to have a break-through.”

“Really? Could use one of those.”

“You certainly could. But time’s up. You’ll be back next week?”

I will, seeking answers behind the answers.


cat photo by Phil Luckhurst


This post was originally published on Curiosityquills.com.



  1. Jerry's Cousin says:

    Poor Irv. I rather think he enjoys his time with his shrink. Someone to talk to that understands him, since Dana is gone. He certainly gets relaxed there. After reading about his visits with his doctor, I’m feeling better about myself and I’m not paying!

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Dear JC,

      You said, “I’m feeling better about myself and I’m not paying!”

      Great! That’s the point!

      Irv worries so you don’t have to. It’s his cross to bear.

      (Any resemblance between Irving Podolsky and the other JC, who accepted the World’s pain and suffered with it, is purely coincidental.)

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