Silvia Behrend's Blog (30)

Standing on the Steps then and now

                Almost four years ago, I walked up the Capitol steps in freezing rain to join other clergy and officiants to perform the first legally sanctioned same-sex weddings in Washington State.  Those of us who could legally perform a ceremony were invited to donate our services to any who chose to get married under, near, or around the Christmas tree in the…


Added by Silvia Behrend on December 19, 2016 at 4:43pm — 2 Comments

What shoes to wear now?

Say that you are going to a party, or going to the mall, or to visit your old aunt who is failing.   Say that you are going to a new place, somewhere you have never been before and you don’t know what to wear.  You put on the usual dress, the one you’ve worn so many times, perhaps it is beginning to fray a little, but never mind.  What shoes will you wear this time?

You look at all the shoes you have collected over the past ten years.  You know, the black work high heels, the…


Added by Silvia Behrend on December 19, 2016 at 4:33pm — No Comments

The Passionate Feminine



For over thirty-six years, we have gathered to celebrate the Passover, a re-telling of the Hebrew peoples’ crossing the desert into the Promised Land of milk and honey.  We read the Haggadah, we drink the wine, pass the matzo, flick the plagues off our fingers like an Italian curse gesture.  We sing Dayenu, the song that voices the wonder of any small act to be sufficient for knowing God’s abundant love and grace to us, the people who follow the law.  The…


Added by Silvia Behrend on May 4, 2016 at 2:41pm — No Comments

Will you catch me when I fall? : Living the Symbolic Life

     “Will you catch me when I fall?”  Those are the words of a refrain from a Danish song by the group Danser med Drenge (Dancing with Boys).  The image helped me recall the old trust games used in group-building back in the day.  Someone stood in the center of a group, crossed their arms across their chests…


Added by Silvia Behrend on December 22, 2015 at 8:19am — 2 Comments

When the Waves Crest


When the waves crest

In Australia

Sometimes you can see dolphins

Or other fish

Backlit by the sun

Suspended in the clarity of water.


That moment of perfect balance

Before the wave crashes

And dissipates

Leaves scant traces of shells

Which will be brought back into the…


Added by Silvia Behrend on July 10, 2015 at 1:58pm — No Comments

Trauma, Don't Paint it Pretty

I recently started a new painting, using a canvass big enough to use up some old paint.  It was to be a study of yellows, with burnt sienna, vermillion red and other odds and ends I had accumulated over the years.  So I mixed the old paint with walnut oil, hoping to…


Added by Silvia Behrend on June 25, 2015 at 4:30pm — 3 Comments

Therapy in the Ether

Therapy through the Ether


I have spent all day alone in my office

Seeing people…


Added by Silvia Behrend on March 24, 2015 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Freud and I

This is a public confession  -  since my undergraduate days when I first had to read Society and its Discontents, I gave Freud a big pass.  What I learned about his theory through a liberal education was enough for me to dismiss him.  His theories about everything being about sex, repressed sex, expressed sex, delayed sex, women envying men, all about the phallus,…


Added by Silvia Behrend on February 16, 2015 at 8:52am — 5 Comments

Hope, not Hell: Musings on Therapy

When I was actively serving in the ministry, I leaned more to the Universalist side of Unitarian Universalism. Theologically, I was more drawn to the idea that Love overruled Thought, that universal salvation, the belief that no one is condemned to hell is better than some going and some not. It seemed a more humane position to take on the human condition. Mistakes…


Added by Silvia Behrend on January 20, 2015 at 2:34pm — 2 Comments

Saved by the bell

Variation On A Theme By Rilke

by Denise Levertov

(The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1)



Added by Silvia Behrend on December 23, 2014 at 3:35pm — No Comments

The light in the darkness: a meditation on therapy/counseling

Wendell Berry: "To Know the Dark"


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,

and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.



            I have spoken these lines, penned by poet, philosopher,…


Added by Silvia Behrend on December 16, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments

TS Eliot on my time

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

           In my early twenties, I had the good fortune of finding these words by TS Eliot from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. They became the…


Added by Silvia Behrend on December 3, 2014 at 1:01pm — No Comments

Seasons of LIfe

Seasons of Our Lives: 

            Archetypal pattern analysts, depth psychologists, Jungians, Freudians, students of human development and consciousness have a lens through which they try to make sense of the world and our place in it.  Humanists, behaviorists, reductionists, all sorts of “ists” postulate, theorize and ponder the human condition as…


Added by Silvia Behrend on November 13, 2014 at 5:00pm — No Comments

In the Soup




The Chickpea


A chickpea in a pot leaps from the flame,

out from the boiling water,

Crying, "Why do you set fire to me?

You chose me, bought me, brought me home for this?"

The cook hits it with her spoon into the pot.

"No! Boil nicely,…


Added by Silvia Behrend on October 21, 2014 at 2:27pm — No Comments

In the garden

In the garden

I bury the remains of the mothers  -

The fish whose bones line the roots of my tomatoes-

That is how I pray


I kneel in the soft earth and look

Through the lattice of dark green leaves

There, yellow as buttercups in the sun,

Incipient fruit

Await the annunciation




Added by Silvia Behrend on July 15, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Mandates of the Creative Life

     I have been working in the field of creativity for over thirty years. First, as a minister in a liberal denomination, I used dance, poetry, and art in all aspects of programming. Second, my doctoral dissertation explored the transformational power of art for individuals and communities, both secular and…


Added by Silvia Behrend on June 2, 2014 at 5:01pm — No Comments

Waves of Awareness

Waves of Awareness

II recently had the good fortune of standing at the shore of the Pacific Ocean.  The water was…


Added by Silvia Behrend on April 23, 2014 at 1:49pm — No Comments

Suffering, Again!

I’d like to say that suffering has been on my mind lately, but I know better.  Suffering is always on my mind, I’m Jewish.  Inexorably drawn to it.  As a pattern analyst, I sit with people as they connect with and make meaning of pain and suffering, while at the same time, trying to interrupt the repetition that will keep them suffering the same fate.  I don’t deny their suffering or try to make it better, I cede to suffering its rightful place in the human…


Added by Silvia Behrend on November 26, 2013 at 4:17pm — 1 Comment

On Suffering

On suffering


I did it once.

Went through the dark night of the soul in a little row boat

And didn’t sink.

So I did it once.


Then again and again

I have been called to attend to separation

Suffer the stark, dark gritty agony of loneliness –

And realize

There is no cure for being human


I am almost sixty now

My hair is silver and gray

My eyes betray my years

As do the fine lines…


Added by Silvia Behrend on October 30, 2013 at 9:52am — 1 Comment

On life

On life


Opening and closing

Systole and diastole

How lucky we are!

We do not have to command our heart to beat

or control the expansion or contraction


Lungs fill, lungs empty

Organs, physical and spiritual together

We live without effort.


If only that were true when the heart is pierced by pain

Or our bellies drop with fear

When the throat parches

And the tongue sticks to the roof…


Added by Silvia Behrend on October 23, 2013 at 6:25pm — No Comments

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