Healing From Within – WE ARE THE SUM TOTAL OF OUR CHOICES
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” host Sheryl Glick author of “Life Is No Coincidence” welcomes Dr. Mark Rubenstein, a forensic psychiatrist and an attending psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital who has taught psychiatrist residents, psychologists and social workers while practicing psychiatry. Dr. Rubenstein earned a degree in Business Administrative at NYU, served in the U.S Army as a field medic, and after his discharge went to medical school, became a physician and then a psychiatrist. Before turning to fiction, he co-authored five books on psychological and medical topics utilizing his scientific and medical knowledge.
Dr. Rubenstein’s personal journey is as interesting as his novel “Mad Dog House” which may be partly reflective of his own life as is true of most authors.
Dr. Rubenstein grew up in Brooklyn, New York near Sheepshead Bay. During the course of this show, Sheryl shares many synchronistic events from her early life in Sheepshead Bay which were mentioned in the book and which simply validates a main premise of “Healing From Within”- people frequenting our lives are often not random interconnections, but part of a higher intelligent dimension that creates and orchestrates the world, our individual development, and destiny.
Dr. Rubenstein is the author of a just released novel known as “Mad Dog House”, which is a gripping thriller revolving around three men who had shady beginnings, reinvented their lives and found success only to be reunited and to have the unrelenting power of the past challenge their prosperous and well balanced present life experience. In realizing the plight that the main characters find themselves in, we hopefully may remember what effort is necessary to deal with present day issues, our choices, and decisions, in order to avoid the pitfalls and repeated patterns or behaviors from our childhood that no longer align to our present day values.
Dr. Rubenstein’s descriptive narrative of the problems that the characters in the book experience alert us to the fact that if behaviors and actions of our past are not corrected or changed, repeated scenarios with even more devasting consequences will occur. Spiritually minded people will suggest that until a lesson is mastered and transformed, we will continue to have repeated episodes. Sometimes people revert to their old ways because deep, long lasting personality patterns are very difficult to leave behind. Dr. Rubenstein suggests that once you become whoever you are, it is for many a permanent way of being. Sheryl however, will suggest, as a Reiki energy practitioner many clients were able to make tremendous changes in their thinking and actions in relation to relationships, job choices, and health situations. New perceptions made new choices possible and old patterns fell away.. The use of certain therapies, energy medicine, intuitive healing modalities and great persistence by a person wishing to change can release long repressed memories at the cellular level leading to better conditions. These changes can allow for a more peaceful, compassionate life style and allow a restructuring of prior conditioning. All health providers hope to assist their clients, patients, friends and family to pursue their most hopeful dreams and goals. Change is sometimes brought about by our efforts and at other times since we have little control of most things in our life except our choices, change may be brought about by a higher universal energy or plan.
Dr. Rubenstein suggests some people can change from one degree to another, but deeply ingrained ways of perceiving and dealing with the world affects your character and deepest view of yourself and cannot be
easily released or renounced. Dr. Rubenstein refers to William Faulkner who wrote in “Requiem for a Nun”, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.” Sheryl’s perception of the eternal nature of energy along with other metaphysical scientists suggest that the present moment is where life is happening. The past and future need not determine the choices we now make. Furthermore our choices should not be determined by the responses we made as children or young adults. Developing a higher level of soul maturity and a greater sense of character based more on right action versus wrong action should be the determining factors for how we live our present day life. Also drawing upon inner wisdom and intuition allows one to know oneself better, and to more completely understand the influences and problems created from one’s early life.
Dr. Rubenstein lets us know that as an author the process is rather different than his medical approach to his work. He does not believe he was focused on analyzing situations and the characters for deeply hidden motives and strivings. As a human being Dr Rubenstein take things as they come as should we all. Though he is not taking a psychiatric view of what a character might say or do because he is a certain type, it is still very likely that training, education, life experiences, and psychiatric experience exert some influence on his writing, though not in any conscious way. The Law of Attraction which is a concept that has been discussed on many “Healing From Within’ episodes and with many guest speakers, suggests there is a magnetic pull for individuals to connect with certain experiences and people…like finds like… and in” Mad Dog House” it is shown how when a dark energy or person from the past resurfaces chances are trouble in one way or another will follow. The choice to move away from old instincts are often provided to each of us signaled by a gut feeling or spiritual intuitiveness. The question is can one draw on their inner reserve of “ courage” to make choices that are appropriate for this present time.
Dr. Rubenstein also addresses how our actions affect our children and quotes, “ As parents many of us are concerned about the legacy we leave for our children, and while we hope our children don’t make the same mistakes we did, sometimes they will.” If we as parents do not behave the way we tell our children they should, they will follow our example, and not our words. Dr. Rubenstein further suggests we shouldn’t try to be “helicopter parents” constantly hovering over our children. The implication is parents should trust the kindness and love within themselves and their children, and encourage decision making based on those inborn natural instincts. The main character in this novel, Dr. Roddy Dolan offers these wise words to his son, “When thinking about right and wrong, listen to the little voice in your head.” Such advice suggests parents must trust their children to make choices and decisions that are right for them even if the parents don’t think so. Sheryl agrees that too many emotional problems and fears that plague people as grown-ups are the result of poor or over-parenting techniques. Much like the expression” Physician heal thyself” each human being needs to create their own destiny and it begins in childhood.
The novel explores among other things male friendships. Discovering that our physical life allows us to explore different relationships for understanding ourselves and others in a more compassionate light is an ongoing theme of “Healing From Within.” While much has been written about the importance of women’s friendships and the emotional bonds they create, Dr. Rubenstein shares valuable insights showing the differences between both genders and how popular culture fuels these differences. Male friendships can vary depending on when they were formed and how long they last. It is suggested that bonds formed in childhood can be deep and tap into a large reservoir of long ago events and feelings and can be very special. While men’s bonding seems to take place around games and sports, women can get together more easily with no game centered activity(having lunch together) A good deal of bonding in buddy movies shows two guys thrust together under stressful conditions, who at first don’t seem to get along, and then over time develop mutual trust and admiration. This may not be seen as often, or not at all, in the case of women’s friendships which often revolve around family, children and romance. It appears that culture and the media extols this philosophy of male virtues which may not be valued as much for women. Female friendships seem more focused on nurturing the emotional issues or problems in relation to men, home and children. The men in this novel” Mad Dog House” seem to appreciate and need their friendship and trust to resolve their problems. Sheryl would hope to see changes in society that reassess the perceived imbalances and help men and women realize their own self-worth which strengthens the foundation of all relationships, and creates cooperative friendships rather than competitive” dog eat dog” behaviors.. The values of male friendships described by Dr Rubenstein in his book seem more valuable and authentic than what can be seen in the way women are encouraged to interact with each other in these competitive times.
“Mad Dog House” is a thriller filled with violence and darker impulses and Dr Rubenstein suggests violence even murderous impulses reside within all of us. This can be seen when you watch news items about riots, war, or street violence, as well as sporting events like martial arts, football games or wrestling matches, or read about tragic historical events. Dr Rubenstein says sex and violence sells and while that reality is partially true, it becomes the responsibility of more evolved, peaceful, and compassionate souls to set an example for those still immersed in that lower mindset, so we may be helped to evolve and move beyond those lower behaviors. As we notice when these negative behaviors emerge, we can become more adept at not engaging in situations that can create violence or harm. Sheryl observes after reading this novel that poor choices lead to dire consequences, and believes that the author hopes that readers will discover how to handle similar events when and if they happen. Healing and being healthy depends on a realistic, but loving view of self and others. The physical world eventually reflects our inner thoughts and behaviors bringing either peace and love to our lives or violence and destruction. We must first improve our own inner connection to divine values before we can improve the human condition. The choice is always ours.