State of Mind

In Hebrew, state-of-mind translates literally to “state of the (your, implied) wind.” I’ve always liked the saying.  It’s poetic … and likens how I feel, my “now” state to the natural world. The wind that blows through my life and mind. My state of the wind.


My current state of mind is surprisingly positive. Despite a whole bunch of small, medium and kind of large problems, losses, and more — I feel good about life.


Maybe it’s because winter is nearly over and it was an easy one, something for which I ardently hoped. Being away for a couple of weeks in a different part of the country helped too. People who live in cold wintry places should take a break to be reminded the sun still shines.

Otherwise, winter can be very long and isolating here.



From Cee: This week’s Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge (CB&W) topic is Sepia Tones Only. The topic this week is endless as long as your photos are in sepia (brown) stone. No black and white for this week’s challenge. Selective color is allowed with your sepia tones.

I have only recently begun to experiment with toning in monochrome.


It’s interesting how sepia (and other toning) can change the feeling you get from a picture.


For me, it’s a major mood changer. More mysterious, perhaps?


There is an antique quality to sepia that makes even the most modern scene look like it’s pulled from the pages of an old book. I like that.


Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge


My father studied with Sigmund Freud in Vienna in 1921. He was one of the first psychoanalysts to practice the “new” field of psychiatry in this country — in New York City. If you’re trying to do the math, I am not approaching 90. My father was almost 60 when I was born.

One of my Dad’s cases from that time has haunted me. I wanted to write a script based on this story for my audio theater group, Voicescapes Audio Theater. But it involves a hit man for the mob going to a psychiatrist. It was done, with great success and humor in “Analyze This” with Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal. And of course in “The Sopranos” on HBO.

mobster4The fact that my father’s story predates these versions by over 50 years does not seem to matter. When I tell the story, people are fascinated, but say: “Too bad you can’t turn this into a script – it’s already been done.” I still think it’s a great story, so I’ll tell it to you. With the proviso you don’t try to turn it into a script.

A man walked into my father’s office and said he needed psychiatric help. What was the problem? He couldn’t do his job anymore. It meant a demotion at work and a pay cut.

What was his job?

He was a hit man for the mob and just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger. He talked about the demotion to second story work (burglaries), as any corporate employee would. He complained he was too old now to go back to climbing in and out of windows.


He was humiliated by his lower status in the organization. So was his wife. She was getting snubbed by the upper level mob wives. She was furious about the pay cut he had to take and was making his life miserable.

My father had a moral dilemma. Should he do his job and help this man go out and kill people again? He only killed other mobsters, never civilians — and did that make a moral difference? Or should he uphold his personal feelings rather than his professional ones, and turn the man away?

He wondered how he would go about stifling the stirrings of conscience in this man, even if he wanted to.


My father was also concerned about his personal safety. He asked the man how he could be sure if he cured him, the man wouldn’t come back and shoot him because he knew too much. The man said: “ Doc, how do I know you’re not going to turn me into the authorities? I guess we’re just going to have to trust each other.”

My Dad was intrigued by the man. His curiosity and professional ethics won. He took the man on as a patient. Unfortunately the story ends pretty much there. My father had several sessions with the man and then the man just stopped coming.

By sir_trees-d6cn6ls

By sir_trees-d6cn6ls

Maybe the story has stayed with me all these years because it ended in mystery. I theorized the man fell out a second story window in the course of a robbery. My father thought maybe he had told someone about his progress in therapy and the hit man who “replaced” him decided he wanted to keep his promotion.

I think this story is different from the whiny mobster and shrink stories already out there. I may yet write a script using this as a part of the plot. But for now, the story is a big hit at dinner parties.

Hopefully, it makes a good post, too.