David Holt by Rob Waygood

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‘Why are you banging your left heel on the ground like that?’ I asked of David. I can’t recall his reply but the experience had shaken me: my father who died 15 years before had an artificial left leg. When he had walked a long way he used to bang his heel on the carpet to stop the nerves twitching in what remained of his leg (I recall that he wore holes in three lounge carpets when I was a kid). Years later the power of the counter-transference to move David’s body like that staggered me. I had consulted him as a fiftieth birthday present to myself! I wanted to look at my fears of illness and death and at my sexuality. He told me that he had done the same at 50. I appreciated his sharing that.

Being with David was as much a body experience for me as an intellectual one. His size, his facial expressions, his grunts and growls and other wild noises both scared and enlivened me. He talked of both the overt and the hidden power in the father/son relationship, which included both the Long John Silver in my seemingly kind father, and in the son, the competitive killer aspect as well. As David said:

‘Isn’t it about the threesome of Father, Son and IT, where the IT can include sexuality/killing and generosity/spirit?’ This ‘IT’ appeared in a dream of mine as a ‘radioactive’ me, as if I was dangerous for a non-radioactive world outside. David pointed out that the world outside is radioactive too with various psychoses. As he said, travelling at 70 or 80 miles an hour is pretty psychotic.

David’s generosity was his honesty about himself. He was prepared to address difficult areas: he shared some of the ‘IT’ in himself, and palpable it was: his sense of limitation, his stammer, his concern that his highly individual intellectual ideas were partly defensive obfuscation. Ah! a wild man to scare me and then to meet me. This was edible stuff, it helped me toward my spontaneity. For some people he was more like nagual-man (c.f. Carlos Castaneda): alarming, blasphemous or Pan-like. Sometimes he seemed to play the edges of what was acceptable. For instance, he described his ‘profound terror’ of how the church and some others use the concept of love. Because of this he rarely used the word himself in my company. But love it was that I felt so often in his presence, in the form of his kindness and humility.

I was asked to write something about David for this Bulletin, and I have chosen to write from a personal angle of him both as my therapist, then as my supervisor. He kept nudging against my resistance towards involvement in the OPS. It’s not an easy organisation for a feeling-intuitive who prefers process to thesis. His answer to this might be: ‘Use the thinking function in the service of the feeling function’.

His three word triangle that most rings true for me is: Author – Authority – Authenticity If you are able to take full authorship for your life (and not blame out or up), then true authority emerges based on your own authenticity (being in your own skin). That’s David for me.

I am aware that he seemed to die too soon for some. What can one say to address this absence of David?

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eyes for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.Quote close

My November Guest Robert Frost
From Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times
Edited by Neil Astley Bloodaxe Books 2002