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Questions about what to play

Most of my favorite solo computer games over the years have been RPGs. Ultima IV was a formative experience.

But increasingly, I find I'm not finishing them. I pick good ones to play, and typically enjoy them a lot at the start, but after a while when I sit down to play something I find that the pull to that particular game has faded away. Often it's some form of "it just takes too darned long to *do* things."

So, gamer friends, two questions. What recommendations do you have for me, in light of the of games I finished and loved?

And which, of my unfinished games below, do you heartily recommend I play through to the end?

Finished and loved:
Bioshock Infinite
Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Portal and Portal 2
Rogue Legacy
The Swapper

Started and thought I'd like, but have left unfinished:
Avernum*, Geneforge*, Avadon* (I've started ~10 of Spiderweb's games, and finished 2)
Divine Divinity
Dragon Age: Origins
Half-Life 2
Mass Effect 2
Planescape: Torment
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2
Torchlight, with Synergies mod
The Witcher and The Witcher 2
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10 days ago, Katherine and I had our handfasting! It was simply wonderful. We have been sorting through pictures and reliving the myriad delights.

I have just finished neatening up the text of our ceremony for public viewing. It was a blessing to be part of, a blessing that it was so lovingly witnessed, and a blessing to share it with you now.
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Rubenfeld course changes

I'm here at Omega again, for the next weeklong module of my Rubenfeld Synergy training. (5th of 12 over 4 years.)

The course directors have engaged "The Goldsmith Group" (healing discipline consultants) to help better realize their mission of making Rubenfeld Synergy an viable, sustainable discipline. Some of their recommendations are now impacting the level of our training group.

GG pointed out that compared to other disciplines, the curriculum of this training has people invest a lot more time and money before they allow us to start practicing for payment as "Rubenfeld Interns". So they are reimplementing the training structure to form three "levels", with a certification process for each level. 2 years of training = level 1, 3 years = level 2, and the full 4 years = level 3. After completing the training requirement for a level we'll be eligible to go through the certification process, which will be run by a new organization separate from the training organization (and will be certifying the trainers as well).

In this new structure, we'll be able to start seeing clients for money as a "Rubenfeld Intern" (with a price cap) after the January weeklong. After two months of that our first two years of training will be complete and we'll be able to get level 1 certified -- if we feel ready and can pass the requirements. They're not clear yet what the certification process will entail but one certain element will be video recording a full session and sending it to the certification board. At that point we'll be empowered to represent ourselves as a "Rubenfled Synergist (level one)" and set our own rates.

I'm really excited about this because I've known going into the training that my greatest challenges in the work were going to be around marketing myself. So, this brings forward in time the point where I have to start doing that, and thus will have the resources of the training available for a longer period while I work on that aspect of things. If it also brings forward in time the point where I have a large enough client base to quit the IT job and go full-time Rubenfeld Synergist, all the better!

They're also upping the frequency of the mentor telephone calls available to us from 1 every 2 months to 1 every 2 weeks, so there'll be a lot more of that resource to draw upon between modules.

At the present, I'm clear that I'm providing a valuable service to my practice clients (affirmed by the fact that they're keen to come back for more), however it'd be better called something like "body awareness building" or "getting into dialogue with your body" than the full "Rubenfeld Synergy". But a major missing piece is being introduced this week -- welcoming and helping contain emotional releases, and the major focus of the following weeklong will be making and following up on possible connections between the body's story and life issues. I've already been sensing the edges in my practice work where those skills would have been called into play had I gone in a different direction with something in a session.
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(no subject)

Here's a video that my course directors just released describing Rubenfeld Synergy. It's 4.5 minutes long.

It gives a fair taste of what the beginning of a session might typically look like. But it doesn't give much of a glimpse of the depth or range of what can follow.

However, my sessions with practice clients in this my second year are likely to look something like what's seen in the video, since we're staying on a simpler level for now.
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The Rubenfeld Synergy student is IN

Now that I'm in my 2nd year of training to practice Rubenfeld Synergy, I'll be needing some volunteers to practice on. This need will be ongoing for the next 3 years so consider this a standing invitation.

Come be a practice client! Or if you can't due to knowing me too well (see below), please think about whom you would refer. During my 2nd and 3rd years of training there will be no fee. During my 4th year the program will have us charge a partial fee for our services, as "Rubenfeld Interns".

Practice clients will receive relaxing and self-awareness-enhancing sessions that include gentle hands-on and dialogue about what you're experiencing in your body, but do not (at this point in my training) explore deep emotions or life issues. The client is always fully clothed and is welcomed to stop or modify the session at any time if they feel uncomfortable.

To be eligible to be a practice client, a person:
- Can't be a "good friend". (eg one of us has been to the other's house, or we're on "hugs hello" terms.)
- Can't have seen me before in either my Massage Therapy or Counseling practices.
- Has not been hospitalized for a mental health issue or recent major injury.

My course requires a screening call where I'll ask the prospective client some questions related to the above, after which I check in with my supervisor for a go/no-go (even if it's an "obvious yes").

My home office is near Ball Square in Somerville, a 12 minute walk NE up the bike path from Davis. Please send an email to [mattryan at pobox dot com] if you or someone you know is interested!

If someone is interested to be a Rubenfeld Synergy practice client but can't or doesn't want to see me for whatever reason, there's another talented student in my training program who also lives near Davis: Kamela Dolinova [kamela dot dolinova at gmail dot com]. I've included her email with permission -- she's looking for practice clients too so feel free to drop her a line.
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"I'm in ur milkz wishin' ur happies!"

Wednesday this week was Katherine and my 5th Paperversary (ie, day we "got the piece of paper", ie married).

I giggled all morning as I went about my routine, discovering lolspeak lovenotes on stickies all over the house, such as the subject line above. <3 Katherine <3 !
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Best Rubenfeld session received to date

Yesterday I received my first of two professional Rubenfeld sessions that are a part of each weeklong training. I went into it expressing my frustration that a) I wasn't getting much personal benefit out of my Rubenfeld sessions (either at the trainings or with my Synergist in the Boston area), and b) I wasn't having an experience of "dialogue with the body as metaphor for self" that happens most Synergy sessions that I've seen and heard about. A lot of the time when I'm asked a question about what's going on in my body it's either "I got nothin'", or I report something very concrete that doesn't lead into that kind of dialogue.

Joan, my Synergist, responded with this excellent question: "Do you feel like you're not being met in some way?" My immediate answer was "Yes, I feel like I'm not being met in my thoughts and ideas." So we agreed that when we go to the table, she would ask about my thoughts or ideas related to something before asking about what was in my body about it.

...and that made all the difference. Sometimes I looked for what was going on in my body to find the answer to her question about what I thought about something. Sometimes I didn't have any ideas, but there was an interesting change in my body so I replied with "well here's what happened when you asked that." Sometimes I had well-formed ideas ready to hand, which led somewhere interesting. We ended up having the kind of dialogue I'd been wondering about -- one leg was ready to go because there I was clear about what I wanted, and the other leg was holding back because there I didn't have enough information about what was going on around me. All of which was feeling pertinent to my life.


-I need a person to respond to my thoughts and ideas in order to feel like they're really meeting me.

-From there I can access anything else.

-The best answer to a Rubenfeld question will sometimes be "here's what happened when you asked that."

-"Reaching for something outside my comfort zone" (and I have a large comfort zone)
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3rd Rubenfeld Synergy weeklong

Saw a demo of some new moves this afternoon, followed by skills practice time. Joe (one of the directors) came over and watched as I came out of a hip hold with a sweep down the leg, and pointed out that I had left my arms behind. That's totally how I would do the move as a massage therapist: initiate the move from my hips, and when my arms reach full extension begin to move them down the body for a nice smooth motion.

However as a Rubenfeld Synergist the primary intention is *listening*. If I don't start moving my hands down the body until my arms are at full extension, then I'm committed to the next part of the motion -- it doesn't allow the possibility of pausing in response to what I'm hearing through my hands.

When I bring my arms along with me as soon as I start moving my hips, I'm stable at each moment and able to focus more on "what am I noticing here" as opposed to following through with the movement.

Moving while being able to listen is more important than reproducing the mechanics of any particular technique.
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touch and talk

Noel, one of the course leaders, made an interesting point today in a demo. The touch and talk aspects of Rubenfeld Synergy should *not* be understood to be operating merely in parallel.

Back before Ilana Rubenfeld herself was practicing Rubenfeld Synergy, she was studying Gestalt with Fritz Perls, doing Alexander Technique style "listening hands" on clients while Perls did Gestalt Therapy with them. They collaborated in this way for several years, as a result of which Ilana learned a great deal through her hands about what was working and what wasn't, among what the talk therapist was doing.

That was touch and talk operating in parallel. When Ilana brought the touch and talk together in the same person, they began operating as a *weave*, each channel of dialog constantly re-informing the other.