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Mark Gorkin, LICSWMark Gorkin, LICSW
A Blog about reducing Stress in our lives.

To Escape the Box, Embrace Paradox

Mark Gorkin, LCSW ("The Stress Doc") Updated: Aug 22nd 2013

To Escape the Box, Embrace Paradox – Part I

When having to fight a voice always right
Or one locked in their way till that last dying day…
Despite giving your heart, there’s no place to start.
Perhaps the fixation is your own “thrustration” –
Set to thrust ahead with direct action
Yet blocked by a head of fear and frustration.
And the probable cause of the looming train wreck
That “damned if I do or I don’t” bottleneck!

So thunder and rant, until you just can’t
Hide from the shame; shed white-water rain.
As that stark raging river of dark focused pain
Begins flooding and staging new levels of brain.
The cascade now a torrent for electrical current…
Surging sparks of fire, that mad mutant wire
Fusing old with the bold a daring puzzle unfolds:
A kaleidoscopic combo meets hot bayou gumbo.
Pieces bitter and sweet as ideas compete…
Melding Sherlock’s persistence and Sigmund’s resistance
To illumine at last the “pass” in the impasse!

To Escape the Box, Embrace Paradox – Part II

So a blow lands square on the chin; oh, no, so now a has-been?
Does a starry knockout score scarlet self-doubt?
Will you get off the floor, ponder the next door –
From exploring new ground to baring a wound?
It may well be a quest, laying demons to rest
To transform grief-passion into a life mission.
Such a painstaking test to craft one’s own nest…
It does take some magic: weaving comic and tragic.
You say it’s too late, though, to lose self-composure
With your Intimate FOE: Fear of Exposure.

You’re not a loser, though you are at a loss –
Wracked by disorder: out of control and off course!
It’s time to take stock…beyond “outside the box”
Here’s the gold rock: embrace paradox.
In times of great strife; Jesus or Buddha, to wit:
To find your true life you must first truly lose it!

So grieve, let go, and go with the flow.
Try an “incubation vacation” to hatch the next generation.
One insane way to train: sculpt the pain in your brain.
You really need laser; all you have is a razor.
(Now please don’t unwind…I’m talking razor-sharped mind
Though wouldn’t you know, I’m a big fan of Van Gogh!)

Add starting block tension…on the edge of explosion
Or is it collision from “mortal coil”** confusion?
As neurons spiral and spin on the verge of exhaustion…
To breakdown or break through? That is the question.

Aha!…A command decision for chaotic conditions:
Use Seussian rhythm and Janusian*** vision…
Now blast to the heavens “astride the coffin.”
Steering that casket in full metal jacket
Shouting for joy; your own engineered toy.
(Once seen, sky above, in “Dr. Strangelove.”)

As tears that you cried soon allow you to glide
On a magical mystical Persian carpet ride.
(And for all those “us” still taking the bus…
Please do not fuss about one Icarus.****)

** From Shakespeare's Hamlet; sometimes used as “this mortal coil” to refer to the fact that one is alive in a troublesome way.

*** Janus, the double-profiled mythical Roman God of beginnings and endings, leavings and returns; Janusian thinking, the capacity to reconcile or integrate opposition or seeming contradiction, often capturing a paradoxical or “higher truth,” is a hallmark of mental agility and creative cognition; the term “Janusian” comes from The Emerging Goddess by Dr. Albert Rothenberg.

**** Icarus, son of Daedalus, who dared to fly too near the sun on wings of feathers and wax.


Mark Gorkin, LCSW (

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc , acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs. Check out his popular website -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"

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