Water, Snow, Water
Constructive Living for Mental Health
Publication Year: 2013
Adapting ideas from Japanese psychotherapies and Eastern thought, Constructive Living (CL) offers a sensible way of living. Across cultures and generations, CL ideas make sound, practical sense. Water, Snow, Water presents the current state of CL in its application to the West. Using a variety of materials—including essays, tales, maxims, detailed behavioral advice, case studies—David Reynolds, the founder of CL, presents fresh perspectives on everything from worrying to love, from psychotherapy to death.
For more information on Constructive Living, go to constructiveliving.org, constructiveliving2.weebly.com.
David K. Reynolds, Ph.D, is the founder of Constructive Living and has authored more than twenty-five books on mental health. His work has been published in Japan, China, Germany, England, India, Australia, Mexico, Israel, and elsewhere. He is the only Westerner to have received the Morita Prize and the Kora Prize from Japan’s Morita Therapy Association. Formerly on the faculty of the UCLA School of Public Health, the USC School of Medicine, and the University of Houston, Reynolds is director of the Constructive Living Center in Coos Bay, Oregon.
David Reynolds’ other books include A Handbook for Constructive Living, Light Waves: Fine Tuning the Mind, Constructive Living, and The Quiet Therapies: Japanese Pathways to Personal Growth.
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The title of this book, Water, Snow, Water comes from the deathbed That’s us, of course. Dust to dust, water to water, molecules to molecules. I am a living, breathing phase; a moving, thinking excerpt; of which we are animated components. How do we fit in? For what purpose have we been embedded in this flowing glacier called time? ...
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Happiness is fine. However, achieving your goals is more important than being happy. Enduring some discomfort and anxiety is worth living life with positive accomplishment. Living constructively, living a meaningful life, making a contribution to your world are more sat-isfying than just feeling good temporarily. If what you just read makes ...
Chapter 1 Questions and Answers about Constructive Living (CL)
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Over the years articles about Constructive Living have appeared in Self, “O” Magazine, Vogue, Men’s Health, New Dimensions, The Japan alone prompted inquiries from more than five thousand readers rep-resenting all fifty U.S. states and some foreign countries. The journal-ists who wrote those articles carefully presented a fair and positive ...
Chapter 2 Getting Along with Life
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There is something about the moment of acting that frees us from worries, fixations, and unrealistic concerns. Of course we need to plan for the future and review our pasts; we need to feel fully. But in our time and culture we have lost perspective and proportion. Some therapists are distracting us from sensible living in the present with ...
Chapter 3 Shinks
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The Japanese describe some people as “shinkeishitsu.” The term refers to people who are tense, nervous, worried, introspective, and self- critical. In Constructive Living we call people in their moments of distress “shinks.” One of the core characteristics of shinks is self- centeredness. The person who fears flying knows that the airline flies ...
Chapter 4 Common Sense
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It’s not common sense! It doesn’t even fit your own experience! Nevertheless, some people have swallowed the pill-sized doses of mental health beliefs excusing all sorts of hurtful behaviors because of strong feelings or poor experiences in childhood. You’ve been told that teachers and parents can instill self-esteem and self-confidence ...
Chapter 5 Fleeing from Responsibility for Behavior
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A young man kills his abusive stepfather and then expects to be excused for his action. The United States wages war in another coun-try for what it considers righteous reasons and expects the victims of war to love and support us. A young person tells the truth about a delinquent acquaintance and is surprised by the repercussions. It is ...
Chapter 6 An Alternative to Psychotherapy
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In the West psychotherapy is still sometimes practiced as though mental health experts exist who know more about their patients’ minds than the patients do themselves. Their patients may be en-couraged to talk about themselves, their current difficulties, unsatis-fying emotions, disturbed relationships, and disadvantaged histories. ...
Chapter 7 Psychotherapy as Myth
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Psychoanalysis, now supplanted by behavioral and chemical therapies, seems to me closer to religion than to science. Any stimuli—from dreams, writing errors, choice of clothing, word associations, diet, choice of lovers or friends or enemies or whatever—can be interpreted by someone with a reasonable imagination and some training to yield ...
Chapter 8 On Feelings
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Each year for more than thirty years I have flown to and from Japan twice, in spring and fall. I’m always scared when I fly, especially during turbulence. Often I tell people that my fear of flying is a kind of membership card, evidence that I understand their personal terror in phobic moments. But there are other reasons why I do not wish to ...
Chapter 9 In Praise of Pain
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I couldn’t have written this chapter three weeks ago. I was hurting too much then. My left side ached, my intestines burned, my stom-ach threatened anything I sent its way. I was weak, disoriented, and exhausted by months of misery and medical tests that didn’t reveal the source of the disease. Standing up brought some relief. Sitting and ...
Chapter 10 Whirling Dust
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How much of modern life is the equivalent of studying outdated tele-vision listings, listening to recordings of last week’s traffic and weath-er reports, clipping expired coupons from yellowed newspapers? How much of modern life is just allowing information to flow through, filling our mental time? (We’ll consider the possibility of procrastina-...
Chapter 11 Reflections on Mind
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The West holds that you can understand the “it” that blinks your eyes and opens your mouth and raises your hand. The East holds that this “it” cannot be understood but that it is constantly experienced. The person who hasn’t given the matter much thought is unaware even of the existence of an “it.” To say that “I” blink and “I” speak and “I” ...
Chapter 12 Attention
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Neurosis is a matter of attention. The more one focuses attention on the suffering—noticing how unpleasant it is, trying to get rid of it, wishing it didn’t exist, comparing the self with others who don’t appear to suffer in this way, worrying about when the suffering will appear next, emphasizing other difficulties related to it, complaining ...
Chapter 13 Paralysis by Possibility—Unipossible and Multipossible Situations
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Unipossible situations are those in which only a single option is perceived to be available. The choice is whether to accept the option or reject it. Multipossible situations offer more than one option. Extreme multipossible situations with many options may make an individual feel paralyzed, unable to select from among the possibilities. For exam-...
Chapter 14 Under New Management
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...contributions of the ancient Greeks. The better humans understood something, the better we could manage it—that was the idea. Such an approach works quite well with cars and chemicals and rockets and computers. It isn’t so effective with minds. Understanding your mind very well doesn’t allow you to control it. Insight doesn’t neces-...
Chapter 15 Contentment
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How does one go about determining when one is content, or miserable, or just doing all right? When does one reach a point at which one be-I began to grapple with these questions as a result of several stud-ies in the first few years of my postdoctoral research. One study in-volved assessing the motivations for suicide. Sometimes it appeared ...
Chapter 16 Backups, Throwaway Tissues, Road Kill, and Resources—Self-focus in America
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...reserve to use when times get rough. They may be parents, children, lovers, friends, or anyone else on whom we can impose. We are likely and are no longer useful. We forget about them and the contributions they made to our lives so that we can avoid thoughts of indebtedness or repayment. Road kill are people who got in our way as we moved ...
Chapter 17 On Being Natural
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I wonder whether most Americans want to hear the fact that, however much we may wish to be extraordinary, nearly all of the time we are unremarkable. American culture seems to place a strong positive value on individuality, diversity, and unconventionality. Look at the synonyms for “ordinary” in a dictionary or thesaurus. The great ma-...
Chapter 18 Some Truths
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We will all die. We will leave all we have worked for—things, Our names and historical reputations will be no more than ideas We will encounter barriers and limitations to accomplishing our Neurotic suffering need not prevent you from living a full life.Neurotic suffering has a positive source, if you want to look for it. ...
Chapter 19 Reflections on Interpersonal Relations
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I don’t claim to have any special expertise in interpersonal relations. I ing in skill I can be at times. Nevertheless, from seventy-odd years of experience living in two cultures and operating in two languages I can convenience, not commitment. A measure of genuine love is the de-gree of trouble one partner is gladly willing to go to for the other. ...
Chapter 20 Constructive Living Assignments
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The essence of assignments is the doing of them, not the reporting or commenting on them in individual sessions. However, we do allow our students to report their accomplishments in individual sessions, because they may need instruction about the methods and meanings of the assignments, and because they deserve our recognition of their ...
Chapter 21 Constructive Living Tales
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There once, just once, was a very wealthy man who was so pleased with his house and furnishings that he decided to build an exact replica of them in a distant land. That way, if his first house were to be destroyed by fire or storm he would have a completely furnished house, he decided to build yet another one just in case some unlikely ...
Chapter 22 Constructive Living Maxims
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You’re not as old as you feel. You’re only as old as you are! Another birthday! How kind of reality to keep bringing them to us!Do until you’re done (dead); give until you’re gone. (Sue Cole)Recipe for Constructive Living: Take self. Separate into gifts. Shinky neurotics—Ready . . . Aim . . . Aim . . . Aim . . . . ...
Chapter 23 Constructive Living Poem
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No living person knows what death is—except that it is a word. ...
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Don’t get me wrong. This is a great country. I remember tears coming to my eyes as I reentered Immigration at LAX and the officer said “Welcome home.” I travel to Japan twice each year where I lecture in Japanese to Japanese people about Japanese psychotherapies. But America is my home. Of course, it is not a perfect home. This book is ...
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Production Notes, Back Cover
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Publication Year: 2013