Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
The Powerful Locomotive
2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Since the day it left the factory many years ago, the powerful locomotive had given its best. Its mission was moving down the tracks of the railroad of life. Its hard-working, resourceful chief engineer had seen it all. He would wax eloquent about every challenge faced in every sort of weather, yet, for all of this, nothing was the same these days.
For some time now, the locomotive and its chief engineer had been STUCK. The train simply did not move forward more than a few millimeters at a time when most pushed and pulled. And even this gain was at the high expense of tearing up precious track in the process. This situation provoked no small amount of aggravated worry and intemperate anger among the train's staff. Even harder work didn't make the train move forward.
In fact, it became so very clear that the harder the forcing, the worse the results. Trying brought no doing and this no doing brought nothing, thank you. Attempting was no better. Faster produced slower, and newer got older quickly. Better wasn't, and more was only more of the same, and that no one wanted! Contrary to common folklore, bigger and longer was NOT more satisfying. Struggling I'm sure I need not even mention; it is all in that dreadful tongue-twisting word.
Triple-checking that all engine parts were in working order only made the frustration worse. Sheer exasperation hung in the air thicker than the polluting soot from the smokestacks. Something was MISSING!
Amidst all the frenetic activity, a very ordinary-looking gentleman appeared out of nowhere. Apparently he had walked forward through the train from way back near the caboose. He was adamant in his request for a face-to-face audience with the chief engineer. All the train's staff did their level best to steer him back to his seat, explaining how busy they were in attempting to move the engine forward. Nevertheless the gentleman persisted. He would not be dissuaded from his purpose. His insistent confidence, bordering on bravado, was at last too much for the chief engineer.
"This isn't done!" the chief engineer grumbled under his breath to no one in particular. Reluctantly, and with a hurry-up-and-get-it-off-your-chest-and-over-with attitude, he snapped, "All right, make it quick! What's on your mind? I'm very busy, as you can see."
The unknown gentleman raised his voice to a bellow. "I WONDER IF YOU HAVE NOTICED THE 100,000 TON MAGNET, WAY IN THE BACK, HOLDING ON TO THIS LOCOMOTIVE?!"
The chief engineer was so shocked by this news that he demanded the gentleman repeat his statement several times. His ears confirmed the words. He stretched his neck to look at the back of the train as he readjusted his mirrors. He was amazed to discover the 100,000-ton magnet doggedly resisting any forward motion by his locomotive! It appeared to have the letters E G O and M I N D right on it! It was so in fact, his every sense attested! The thunderstruck engineer yelled, "NOW I'VE REALLY SEEN IT ALL!"
Before the gentleman
went back to his seat, he too raised his voice again, "CONSIDER DETACHING THAT
100,000 TON MAGNET FOR THE GOOD OF US ALL! HOW FAST YOUR LOCOMOTIVE WOULD GO FORWARD,
ONCE NOTHING HOLDS IT BACK." And he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.
Consider that every one of us is a powerful locomotive and its engineer. Oftentimes when we feel stuck and our train is not moving forward much if at all, we seem to be missing something. Typically what we are missing is in our blind spot, that is, by definition we are unable to see it. It can be remarkably useful and empowering for us to find a consultant who can help us see what we are blocked in seeing that can make a world of a difference in our getting unstuck and again to roll down the tracks of our life.
The obvious is often anything but seeable. The best consultants point out what is missing or hiding in plain sight. It is worth considering Ludwig Wittgenstein's maxim "Don't think, but look." Reflect upon this: pause, look and see for yourself.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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