About a thousand days and blogs ago (but who’s counting?) I wrote a post about the basket of stones I use in my work as a group therapist.
When I orient a new person to my groups, I ask them to choose a stone from the basket for a mindfulness exercise. At the end of the orientation, I tell them that the stone they chose is their “Coping and Healing Stone” to keep. People seem to love their stones.
Yesterday, when I returned to work from a week-long group therapy conference in Houston, the basket of stones was not in its usual place on my bookshelf. I searched my office and the rooms where I do group therapy, but that big basket of beautiful stones remained missing.
I asked Juli, who had facilitated some of my groups while I was away, if she had taken the basket of stones from my office. She said, “What? No! What a weird thing for somebody to take!” As she thought about it, she remembered that when she had gone into my office to get some shells for a group mindfulness exercise, she didn’t see the stones there then. So they had apparently disappeared early in the week I had been away.
I continued to look for the stones and they continued to remain missing.
Then, I started to compile a list of suspects, which is what we humans do. The most probable suspect was a patient with chronic mental illness, who had been in my office and chosen a stone from the basket. I checked to see if this patient had been in the practice the week I was gone and I discovered that he had been — on Monday to see his primary care doctor. I told his doctor that I suspected this patient had taken the stones. His doctor agreed that was possible and we discussed the patient’s mental state and how to help him. I told the doctor I was not going to mention the missing stones to the patient.
I got on eBay and ordered a new basket and new stones. I had two people scheduled yesterday to be oriented to my group, which meant I needed stones for the orientation mindfulness exercises. However, in an amazing and fortuitous coincidence, I had brought in with me several beach stones that were given to me on my birthday by my friend Megan’s daughter.
Later in the day, I was standing in the hallway talking to a co-worker, when the practice director came out of her office carrying MY BASKET OF STONES. She explained that she had gone into my office while I was gone, taken the stones, and used them in a group. She said, “You have a funny look on your face.” Maybe she thought I was stoned.
I let the falsely suspected patient’s doctor know about what had happened My conclusion: “The mentally ill get blamed for everything.”
Last night, I noticed that I had missed a phone call from my son Aaron, who is studying at the University of Edinburgh, which has many buildings built of stones. He had called around 4:00 AM, his time. I called him back right away.
Aaron, who often looks a little stoned (especially when he’s tired), said, “I won the Edinburgh University Comedy Competition tonight.” My boyfriend Michael asked (as I knew he would), “Did you win any money?” Aaron said, “No. ” And he showed us what he had won. It was an enormous stone.
Feeling stoned yet? Here are some photos from yesterday.
If you look closely at that last photo, you can see Aaron holding the stone he won as the Edinburgh University Revue Comedy Champion 2018.
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but feel free to throw out some comments below.
Thanks to all who helped me write this post about stones and — of course! — to YOU.