Viktor Frankl

PHD Update: Research Proposal Approved

PHD Research proposal approved by the Psychology Department Ethics Committee of University of South Africa, (UNISA)! My thanks to my supervisor Professor Teria Shantall for inspiring me in the first place and for her patience and invaluable advice and to the Department of Psychology for all their help, support and incredibly quick responses. So next year looks like it might be a GO.

“From frozen space to meaning: A psycho-educational intervention among a group of PTSD and/or trauma sufferers based on mindfulness and the work of Viktor Frankl.”

My journey in all ways is towards uncovering/discovering the “great perhaps”. I wrote about aspects of my personal journey here:

https://meaningunfolding.wordpress.com/…/shaking-up-and-gi…/

See also here: https://meaningunfolding.wordpress.com/…/i-go-to-seek-a-gr…/

In the words of Viktor Frankl meaning is unique to you: “…meaning must be found and cannot be given.” It waits for you to unfold it.

#ViktorFrankl #PHD #Trauma #PTSD #Mindfulness #Meaning #Existential #Western Cape #SouthAfrica #Logotherapy #Psycho-Education #UNISA #Psychology

sunrise one morning

Is Meaninglessness a Malaise of our Times?

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, often we discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

About The Program – Calming the Storm

This program offers daily ways for you to overcome difficult situations, to help you to find the WHY that will energize and animate your life. In finding your own WHY, in discovering your meaning and your purpose, your pain will be lessened. You will discover ways to unfold meaning, as well as a personal calling through tasks that you can fulfill, relationships that you can strengthen and enrich, and attitudes that you can develop and cultivate.

This practical, inspiring, and potentially life-changing program will take you step by step through a process towards a more fulfilled and enriched working and personal life.

Suffering Ceases to be Suffering – Viktor Frankl

Renewed Purpose (2)“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
Viktor Frankl

See the online course: Calming the Storm to discover your own personal meaning.

The Existential Vacuum – Are we the Hollow Men?

In the poem by T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men, he has this to say:

“We are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men,

Leaning together,

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralyzed force, gesture without motion…”

From an existentialist point of view, contemporary man has alienated himself/herself from others and from him/herself. The world has become a kind of theatre of the absurd, unreal and meaningless. Does our meaning in life depend too much on what we do and what we have rather than on who we are?

Viktor Frankl described the human condition as an “existential vacuum”, where man is bored and frustrated because of the failure to discover and live a meaningful existence.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons

Feeling Down? Focus on Something you can Do, a Project or a Task that you can Accomplish

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When feeling down, depressed or blue, something that characterizes these feelings, is that nothing seems meaningful, life seems colourless and bleak. According to Viktor Frankl, one way to get out of this mind set, or to change these feelings, is to focus on creative things that you can do, uncovering meaning through tasks that you can fulfill. By thinking of a project or task that you can accomplish, you orient yourself towards the future and have something to look forward to doing. If you happen to be feeling down or depressed, try to think of something that you can do, no matter how small. Then throw yourself into action to do it.

Photo by Carol Knox of the valley taken from Trappieskop, Kalk Bay, Cape Town.

There’s More to Life than Happiness

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“…The wisdom that Frankl derived from his experiences there, [added…in the concentration camps] in the middle of unimaginable human suffering, is just as relevant now as it was then: ‘Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.’ …”

Read more: The Atlantic

Image from free downloads at Creative Market

“I Go to Seek a Great Perhaps” – Attributed to François Rabelais

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This quote resonates with me and the words are said to be the last words of Franciois Rabelais, although there is some controversy about this. It encapsulates my journey outlined in my previous posts: Cross Country Ramblings I and Cross Country Ramblings II. I also mentioned this in the post Shaking Up and Giving Up. My journey in all ways is towards uncovering/discovering the “great perhaps”. My wish especially for those who really need it, who are suffering or in pain in some way, is for them in the new year, to discover their “great perhaps”, which in the words of Viktor Frankl is unique to you: “…meaning must be found and cannot be given.”  (1975, p. 112).

Here is a lovely piece in the Huffington Post, written by a young girl, Shanzeh-khurram where she says:

‘While reading “Looking for Alaska” by John Green a few years ago, I came across the last words of the poet Francois Rabelais: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” The main character, Miles, states these words as his reason for going to a college away from home; he doesn’t want to “wait until he dies to start seeking a Great Perhaps.” ‘

Do read further, this is a lovely piece.

Frankl, V. E. (1975).  The Unconscious God:  Psychotherapy and Theology.  New York:  Simon and Schuster.  (Originally published in 1948 as Der unbewusste Gott.  Republished in 1997 as Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning.)

Image free download from Creative Market

 

Shaking Up and Giving Up | A New Life

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Having encountered Dr Viktor Frankl in studying the Introductory course in Logotherapy at the University of South Africa, (UNISA), in  2012 and meeting Dr Teria Shantall at the workshop, I discovered my own vehicle to unfolding my meaning. At the time I was not sure how this would unfold. I really wanted to become a Logotherapist, but was not in the financial position to continue with the other courses offered at UNISA. In the time since then I have been in the process of paring down, which began with the letting out of my home. I moved in with my sister and then into a tiny “cupboard” as I put my house on the market, sold it and waited for my funds to come through. During this time of waiting and paring down, I worked on a fictional short story: Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, and a small How to Guide on How to Reduce Stress, which I learnt how to publish as an ebook through BookBaby, which is nearing completion and due for submission to BookBaby for distribution.

As I struggled with the confines of the small space and many disruptions and lack of peace and quiet while living in my “cupboard”, I came to the idea to do a PHD to work with sufferers of trauma and PTSD. The underlying inspiration for this came from my relationship with Brett Pelser, who suffered so from depression and what I feel was PTSD. Finally and tragically he committed suicide. The idea also is deeply inspired by Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl. I really feel that trauma sufferers experience an existential crisis, their world no longer makes sense, they have no language to speak this senselessness, this schism in their very being and at the heart of their lives. My journey has taken me across the country to the Western Cape, which has the highest trauma statistics in the country. I have been accepted to do this PHD through UNISA and the Psychology Department. Things are uncertain for me in terms of creating an income to support myself and this study. I am staying in the moment, being positive and looking forward to new opportunities. A new life, a revealing and unfolding, the time is now.

Image of the beach five minutes from my new space. Courtesy Carol Knox.

Unleashing Your Potential | My Journey to Releasing my New Avanoo Program | Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life

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I am delighted to announce my new partnership with Avanoo Avanoo (pronounced “Avenue”) comes from the words Ava, which is Finnish for “Open”, and Noo, which is Old English for “now”. So Avanoo means being open to all of your potential right now! It is also a road we travel as we move forward in life.

In 3 minutes a day, Avanoo offers dozens of personalized 30-day programs ranging from Happiness to Productivity from renowned experts on those topics.

I am working currently on my program called: Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life. I will publish here my progress. For now I have almost completed all the Daily Noos, (pronounced”Daily News”), and I give you the titles of 20 here:

1. “This too Shall Pass”

2. Finding Something to Live for is Critical

3. The Question of Meaning in Life

4. Love Can Come to the Rescue

5. Putting your Focus on a Project

6. The Power of your Mind-Set

7. Finding Meaning from Suffering

8. Turn Suffering into a Challenge

9. Learning Self-Compassion

10. Suffering can be an Inspiration.

Today 29 November, I am adding some of the new Daily Noos that are now ready:

11. Filling our Unique Life Space

12. What is Your Choice of Response?

13. Appreciating Life Right Now

14. Your Watershed Moment

15. We are Whole as We are. We are Alright.

16. The Experience of Love. “The Salvation of Man” (Viktor Frankl)

17. Are you Your Own Best Friend?

18. Is it Ever OK to Give up Hope?

19. It’s Time for Self Transcendence.

20. Igniting Humor.

For more please visit Avanoo once my program is launched. I will keep you posted about the launch date. This program is intended for those who are facing life challenges or storms. I am aiming for a pre-Christmas or New Year launch date. In the mean time do go along to Avanoo to view amazing programs offered by experts from across the globe, to help you unleash your potential and overcome challenges and storms.

Influenced predominantly by Dr Viktor Frankl, Dr Teria Shantall, Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others, Buddhism and Zen thinking.

Image purchased at Creative Market

Work? Optional! – Writing and Trauma Work – Out of the Rain and the Dark and into the Song

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Work? Optional! – Writing and Trauma Work – Out of the Rain and the Dark and into the Song

 

If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

Yes, I would work. I would spend my time writing both non-fiction and fiction, especially short stories.

I would also establish a Trauma Practice and work with those who have experienced life traumas of various kinds. Cape Town, South Africa has the highest levels of trauma experiences of various kinds, including PTSD, in the country. I would like to be able to travel to areas that have experienced trauma or disaster and give assistance there. I would use coaching and Logotherapeutic techniques. I would focus on finding meaning and meaning making. Mindfulness and meditation would also be included.

Stress reduction techniques would marry very well with the above.

I see this as my future work.  Out of the rain and the dark and into the song.

Images from Imagicity

Title Competition – Creating a Course in Meaning Making | Meaning Unfolding – Anyone?

I am creating a course around Meaning Making or Meaning/Purpose Unfolding. There are those who say that a lack of meaning is a crisis of our current times. I would like to develop a catchy title, something like:

Meaning in Uncertain Times

The person who develops the best title will get a free copy of my ebook: How to Reduce Stress. I have until Saturday 16th to finalise my title.

I would really appreciate the input of my wordpress reading community. Take a look at the tags to get some ideas.

Also see my post Provocation to Meaning

Thanks so much in advance.

Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

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My daughter Amber. I had a call from her this morning. She talked about the incredible challenges she experienced in B. She is one of the organisers of a debating tournament. She explained how she really felt a deep spiritual understanding of how the world works. How she got through immense problems while feeling she was: “just able to keep standing in her skin”. She talked about how she was challenged as an individual to the very boundary of her being, her exhaustion, pushing through and becoming far beyond what she thought was possible. She learnt what she is capable of as a human being, while actualising the following Franklinian values and sources of meaning, achieving a self-transcendence: the creative value, doing something in the service of others – “we experience meaning only when we make use of our gifts and fulfill our unique calling in contributing to society” ~ Paul Wong. Goals or projects that are future oriented; experiential value, relating to other people, life and nature with openness and appreciation, strengthening herself, others and her personal relationship. Finding meaning through love and loved ones; attitudinal value, which applies to finding meaning in times of suffering – in helping others and becoming what she had to become when confronted with very difficult circumstances, including helping someone who was seriously ill – transforming suffering, revising life goals, positive meaning and lessons, spirituality ~ Paul Wong.

In Amber’s own words:

“…i love you all, and i am proud of you all, and i can’t wait to work to move forward with this as the foundation that has spread so strongly among us through the toughest of circumstances.

you have changed how i view debate, and the world, and myself, and i cannot thank you enough…”

She is very blessed to have had this opportunity to really work on a deep level in her experiences in this situation, which when confronted with it, she became for others. How extraordinary to have had this opportunity to really extend herself. I am deeply happy for her, to have had these challenges so young and to learn so much about herself. She talked about how the spiritual teachings she has been exposed to at a young age, (Buddhist teachings from Geshela’s and teaching in India when she was 13), had given her a kind of inner bedrock of strength to work from. I wept when I realised that the teachings I have exposed her to, have had a profound impact on her life, in ways neither she nor I could have expected. I am grateful to all my precious teachers, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for enabling me to be a vehicle to bring the Dharma, (dharma is the universal truth common to all individuals at all times, and it is regarded as one of the primary sources of Buddhist doctrine and practice), to my daughter, who has brought it to her partner, through lived and challenging experiences. She was protected.

Image courtesy of Carol Knox.