Recovery

Dialetical Behavior Therapy fun with Pink Floyd

I never talk much about dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), but it is the modality that probably best help me learn how to face what I don’t want to acknowledge, deal with injustice I can’t fix and ultimately learn the practice of radical acceptance. I only had a half-dozen sessions learning the technique at inpatient rehab and will admit that I only read half the workbook and barely filled anything in, but I learn by doing.

If you want to learn everything about it, I urge you to go read THIS article. It gives the basic outline, but I’ll tell you what it did for me. In moments of heightened emotion, good or bad, it gave me skills to bring myself down and not go off the deep end for a prolonged period of time.

It taught me how to pause, look introspectively, and let my mind be present in the moment, wherever that took me.

I drank alcohol and I used pornography as coping tools to handle the rest of my day. Now, DBT is not only a great coping tool for the rest of my day, but helps me to center myself in the closest way I’ll ever get to meditating.

But enough about me babbling how it helps me keep my shit together, let’s try an exercise…

 

This is going to take about 7-8 minutes. If you don’t have the time, don’t start. If you do have the time, I promise you that you’ll be in a different mindset by the end of it. Come back and try later if you can’t do this now.

 

I want you to play the following Pink Floyd song, High Hopes. It was off  of their final studio album, 1994’s The Division Bell.

When the music starts, close your eyes and begin to listen to the lyrics. Try figuring out what the song is about. If you feel like a fool closing your eyes, you can just read the lyrics as I’ve included them. Again, start by trying to figure out what the song is about.

When your mind starts to wonder, let it. Let it go wherever it’s going to take you. Don’t fight it, don’t manipulate it, don’t avoid where your thoughts take you.

By the time the guitar solo kicks in at the end of the song, almost exactly the 5-minute mark, I want you to go to the comments section and write what you were thinking about at that moment. Where did 5 minutes of your thoughts take you? It’s not about deciphering the meaning of the song. It doesn’t matter what somebody commented before or after, or if you’re the first. After 5 minutes, what were you thinking about? Stop writing when the song finishes, at exactly the 7-minute mark. I’ll do this as well, after at least one person shares their thoughts.

 

Here are the lyrics if you prefer to read them instead of closing your eyes:

High Hopes by Pink Floyd

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun

Along the Long Road and on down the Causeway
Do they still meet there by the Cut

There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps
Running before time took our dreams away
Leaving the myriad small creatures trying to tie us to the ground
To a life consumed by slow decay

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The nights of wonder

Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide

At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed of world

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There’s a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we’ve been so many times

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter

The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river
Forever and ever

 

5 comments

  1. I’d try but, being a lifelong guitar player, I can’t stop admiring Gilmour’s amazing virtuosity long enough to pay attention to anything else on that song! I’m a huge fan of his. Just had to say that. I hope that doesn’t stop anyone from doing what you suggested. Sounds like a great exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought about my aunt. She was my best friend when I was a kid. She loved Pink Floyd. I miss her very much. It makes me sad. I doubted if should write this down. Am I too open? Will it make me too vulnerable? Then I felt calm, just breathing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I started with the line about friends surrounded and nights of wonder and it made me think back to around the year 2000 when I was a single guy living in Portland Maine and had made a whole new bunch of friends. I think it made me think of that because I’m seeing one for the first time in about 15 years tomorrow. And then my mind wandered to the sound the guitar and I have no idea why but it reminded me of a herb Alpert song with his trumpet. Then I remembered about how he started a record company and for some reason that made me jump to thinking about Southern California, specifically Hollywood in the late 70s and early 80s. Despite it being a hedonistic time it sure looked like a lot of fun or at least the game shows and love boat I grew up on made it seem that way. And then I thought about the match game and I wondered what Charles Nelson Reilly was like in real life and if he ever resented having to adhere to the gay game show stereotype. Then I thought about wanting to live in Southern California and how that will never happen unless I get rich because I would make the same bad money in freelance writing there that I do here and that was about it

    Like

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