A Parent-Child Dilemma


This interview is about family drama, something near and dear to the heart of almost everyone, but which we generally attempt to keep chained in the basement of our consciousness.  It is strange combination of practicality and abstraction.  It reframes my issue in a very successful way, in that it no longer bothers me nearly as much.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

I am dealing with one life issue right now.  I am angry at my daughter because she refuses to meet Claudia, the love of my life, or to have any involvement with my life work.   Beneath my anger is sadness, sadness that I will never feel respected and appreciated by my daughter.  It’s that I don’t want to project my expectations onto my daughter but that I do and that I want her to live up to them, because I think they are not only reasonable but good for her.  That’s my issue.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?


Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

It’s a fog bank.  I can’t see through it.  It’s unsafe to drive in.  In fact, it’s so thick it’s unsafe to walk in.  You could walk over a cliff or into traffic.

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Fog, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am hanging out.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I am cool and wet.  I bring moisture to the Earth.  I am Sky touching Earth.  Here’s this guy who wants the perspective of Sky.  He’s got it in me, since I’m a part of Sky and I’m merged with Earth.  Now he doesn’t want it. Go figure.

That’s not fair.  You’re not Sky.  You’re a form of weather that occurs within sky.  You lack the objectivity of Sky because you are only a part of it; I know that above you, beyond you, and including you, is a Sky that is much bigger than you are.

Yes, all that’s true, but I’m still a part of Sky, which means I’m more objective than you are, and you’re rejecting me.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I don’t have any weaknesses.  I can change back into clear Sky when I want to, and I will in my own sweet time.

Fog, you are in Joseph’s life experience, correct?  He created you, right? What aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

I am the unconsciousness of incubation.  When forces merge they are subjectively entertwined. This is a necessary precondition for rebirth.  You see this in sex and orgasm, you see this in the subjectivity of romantic and parental love, you see it in nationalism, you see it in dreaming and in deep sleep, and in any and all forms of identification, including your identification with me right now as you interview me.

Fog, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

No, I don’t want to change.  I want to be heard and respected for what I am. There are times for movement and there are times for staying where you are and appreciating the lack of objectivity, the lack of vision, the lack of perspective of the current reality.  It is a time to turn inward and take the perspective of the Earth instead of that of the Sky, so to speak.

Fog, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10 Nothing affects me.  You can’t cut me.  You can’t easily disperse me.  I don’t have any fear.  I can’t die because I am not born.  I don’t actually exist, yet I am very real and always exist as a very real potential and presence.

Compassion: 0/10 I don’t care about you, me, or anything.  If you drive in me and get yourself killed, oh well.  Yet by my nature I give of myself in a way that regenerates the Earth and its life.  I suppose that is pretty compassionate, in that because I have no self I am completely selfless in how I give.  So a 10.

Wisdom:   8 I know what you know because I am a part of you and am privy to all that you know.  In addition, I know what I know that you do not know.  So while that is not everything, it is more than you know.  If I knew everything I would be a 10, but I only know what I know in addition to what you know.

Acceptance: 10 What is there not to accept?

Inner Peace: 10 It is difficult for humans to experience anything in the physical realm that is much more peaceful than being enshrouded in a complete blanket of fog, if they relax into it.

Witnessing: 7 Again, I am more the witness than you are, because I witness you being enshrouded in me.  But I am not completely objective either, because I do not witness the sky that embraces and encompasses me.

Fog, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I wouldn’t exist.  I would be clear sky.  But I have a function as fog that needs to be recognized, seen, and respected. For me to change would be for me to not be heard.

How would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would be so confident in his life choices that he wouldn’t take personally that his daughter does not appreciate them or resonate with them.  He would simply see that that is about her and not about him and that would be OK.  He would be OK with not living up to other people’s ideas of what compassion is.  It would be OK with him if other people saw him as not compassionate.  He would settle for partial but improved wisdom, listening to what it has to tell him, instead of throwing out the living, present, good for the non-existant perfect.  He would be accepting and at peace.  He would be comfortable with a lack of objectivity, understanding that there are times when subjective submersion is necessary for regeneration and rebirth.  In fact, he would seek out occasions for subjectivity, like death.

If you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

I would celebrate subjectivity and my inability to be clear witness in practical ways, like his inability to see how to move forward with his daughter, or his inability to be objective when he meditates, or his inability to remember dreams, or his inability to be lucid in dreams or his inability to be conscious while deeply asleep or his inability to remember things or his inability to be empathetic, kind, and considerate.  Embrace the fogginess of life.

If you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle Joseph’s life issue differently?  If so, how?

I would either read this interview to Kira or have her read it so that she understands that this is not about her, but about his own inner struggle. That it’s about bigger issues than his relationship with her, which is just is the present signifier. Instead of getting lost in that straw man issue, focus on me, Fog, in your life and in the lives of humans.  Focus on how humans hate me, Fog, but how humans need me.  Focus on what fogginess has to teach you and all humans.

What life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Joseph’s life?

Making friends with subjectivity.  Making friends with Not Knowing as well as the perpetually Unknown.  Not to repress or fear them.  Know that they will always be there and that they are the ground for all growth and development.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would?

If he consciously strives to become me in the above mentioned situations, he will have to smile.  He will have to let go, to detach.  He will grasp the absurdity of his unconsciousness, its impermanence and relativity, and relax into it.  That will be a very, very powerful position from which to live life.

Fog, do you do drama?  If not, why not?

I don’t do drama.  I don’t rescue anyone.  I am not a victim.  I am not persecuting anyone, despite how others might perceive me.  The obscuration of unknowing is not a persecuting presence; it is a fertilizing, genitive presence.

What is your secret for staying out of drama?

I don’t waste any time trying to interact or figure out relationships.  I focus on being me, which is interaction and which is in relationship with all things.

Why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life?

To wake him up to the importance of embracing his own subjectivity and unknowing.

How is Joseph most likely to ignore what you are saying to him?

He’ll focus on his relationship with Kira instead of remembering that it is just a metaphor for a much bigger, much more substantial issue.

What would you recommend that he do about that?

When he finds himself torn or worrying about it, be me. Then he’ll smile and enjoy the fog, knowing it brings life and that it won’t last forever.

Joseph, what have you heard yourself say?

I have been missing the forest for the trees.  I am not angry or sad about Kira; I am frustrated by my own lack of objectivity and my own inability to make life turn out the way I want it to, to be able to see down the road, to be able to move ahead.  I’m realizing that I need to celebrate my stuckness.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your soul, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Enjoy the absurdity of your unavoidable and always present subjectivity.  It’s OK to not know, to enjoy not knowing and not seeing, and to relax and enjoy the opportunities that such a state represents.  Keep dealing with my daughter with humor, patience, love, and acceptance.

A conversation, two days later: Fog, I don’t understand you.  You feel so foreign and incomprehensible to me.  But I need your help.  I have two issues. The first, and most immediate, is with my daughter Kira. Things have been going very well between us on this trip.  We get along very well.  She is appreciating me and my world.  As a result, I haven’t given up hope that she might change her mind and meet Claudia tomorrow, her last day before she returns to the U.S. I don’t want to push her, and I don’t want my agenda to overrule hers, yet I haven’t given up hope that it might still happen.  It feels to me that I have to somehow get out of my own way enough for the right type of light and love to shine through, and I don’t know how to do that.

If it were me I would keep being who you are and doing what you are doing. It may not come together in time, but the important thing is that you be who you are at your best. From my perspective, I don’t block light from shining through.  If there is enough light, it melts me.  If there is not, then I bring moisture, softness, and peace to the world, conditions of germination and regeneration.  Things are germinating and regenerating in your relationship with Kira, are they not?  That’s my influence.  That’s you being me.

I would recommend that you do your best to be me with Kira today when you are with Marion, when you are traveling to Potsdam and stopping in Naumberg, and tonight on the boat trip.  It is OK to point out to her that trusting you has been a good thing for her.  It is OK to ask her to trust you again on this.  She can always say no, and if she does, you can back off and continue to be me.

OK, Fog, that is specific and practical enough for me to do.  Thank you.

Your Fog is natural and OK.  Feel the earth it is touching and regenerating.  Feel the sunshine and sky above and within.  That’s enough.  Trust me and proceed as you are feeling prompted to proceed.  It’s good.

Thank you, Fog.


I did not share this interview with Kira, feeling she might focus on the problem elements rather than the solutions, or see it about her instead of about me.  I also did not ask her to trust me.  While on the boat trip in Potsdam I gave Kira the option for her last day of staying in the country, going into Berlin, or meeting Claudia and the boys, making clear that the latter was my preference but that I was fine with whatever she decided. Then I dropped it and we ended up spending a relaxing and fun day in the country, making raspberry and blueberry jam and getting her ready for her return to Boston.

I am feeling remarkably good about it, considering how much angst and disappointment I was feeling before.  Becoming Fog seems to have reframed this whole issue for me in a way that allowed for what feels like a remarkable, real, and lasting transformation out of a difficult stuck place, for which I am very thankful.

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