An Incomplete Gathering of Maxims from M. Y. Golden

Dear Bella Levenshteyn

On Monday, I was talking on the phone with Natasha, and we reminisced about her teacher, M. Y. Golden, a therapist she had respectfully nicknamed the “Wizard,” because he was so skilled at accompanying people through their thousand and one maladies, stuck points, and self-sabotages.

I asked her to remind me of some of his maxims, and the following are the ones I scribbled down. They probably represent 1% of the ones Natasha has heard over the last thirty years, but I couldn’t probe her for more, because I had to end the phone call to make an emergency meeting with the increasingly distressed Flannery McNeal.


Perry Schimmel

“We’re not gonna make it.”

“It’s not what you do but what you do with what you do.”

“I do shit, but I ain’t shit.”

“Victims are more in command of avoiding what they don’t want than getting what they do want.”

“The best way to learn anything is to teach it.”

“It’s easier to wear slippers than to carpet the world.”

“Individuation is the point at which one’s own human experience becomes the automatic (but not necessarily exclusive) basis on which decisions are made.”

“You’re never where you were.”

“You do what you think and then you believe what you experience.”

“The best way to block anything is to insist on it.”

“Intimacy is the sharing of dangerous things.”

“The truth is in me and I have to get to that truth and I can’t do that if I am constantly being fed from without.”

“You never get over anything, you just get through it — once you surrender to the fact that you can’t get over it, you’re already through it.”

–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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