Interview with William Henkin


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Interview with William Henkin

 

by Sensuous Sadie

 

Copyright c 2006, 2007by William A. Henkin

 

{This interview was commissioned by Sensuous Sadie for her book Spiritual Transformation through BDSM, Fargo, ND: Ephemera Bound Publishing, 2007, http://www.ephemera-bound.com/catalog.php. Several paragraphs are taken with only slight emendation from my essay, “Body Modification for Its Own Good Reasons: A Letter to PFIQ”}

 

 

 

Q:        You live in San Francisco just a few miles from Sybil Holiday, another contributor to this book – who also happens to be a former partner of yours. What kind of cosmic thunderstorm happened when you two got together, two well-known writers and scene personalities?

 

A:        Oh, my dear! It was … it was … it was … well, let me start from before the beginning.

 

I had my first deliberate bondage experience when I was six. Mimicking the cowboy movies that were popular back then – I’m talking 1950 – I tied my hands together so well in the middle of the night that I was not able to untie them. After all, there were few ropes courses offered outside the Navy and the Boy Scouts at that time, and I was too young to be considered by either. About a year later I had my first DS and SM relationship when I persuaded a neighbor boy to take down his pants for a birthday spanking, and then began to undress him and tie him up and spank him on a regular basis in a little copse of woods near our houses. By the time I was 10 I liked to fantasize about going to the home of my 9-year-old “girlfriend” – I use the term advisedly; we were much too much children to date or kiss or neck or hold hands, though there certainly were mutual feelings of erotic attraction – only to find the place burglarized and her tied naked to a post in the basement. Of course I had my way with her and of course she was pleased to let me, since I was the hero who’d scared the bad guys away. A year or two later my fantasy was more elaborate: I was taking over my elementary school classroom with a paramilitary force, undressing everyone, separating my pretty classmates from those who were not, and keeping the former for my personal pleasure.

 

BDSM continued to be a feature of my rich inner life until I was a quasi-adult and had  hands-on quasi-adult sexual relationships with adults and other quasi-adults. A little spanking here, a little pinching there, a bit of hold-her-hands-over-her-head-while-we-fuck on the other side, the occasional removal of lacey panties by knife – the usual sorts of sexual experimentation.

 

But when I learned, in my late 20s, that people really did this sort of thing in real time, I bent the journey of inner exploration I’d been on knowingly since I was 13 and made it include an exploration of BDSM. I traded bondage and hairbrush spankings with my main squeeze of the period, tried to figure out how to introduce the topic to other dates, started looking for relevant magazines – we had real paper magazines in those pre-internet days, devoted with varying degrees of fervency and accuracy to special interests such as these – hung out around the sling at one particular gay bath house I enjoyed in hopes that a couple of men would come along and use it, thereby providing me with eyes-on lessons, and I answered some personal and professional ads as both a prospective top and a prospective bottom.

 

One of the professional ads I answered mentioned numerous activities and interactive qualities I found attractive, but I think it was really the energy that underlay the ad I most responded to: commanding and warm at once. The first time I phoned the number in that ad I reached an answering device, and as a former English teacher I was especially pleased by the construction of a compound or complex sentence in the outgoing message: it was grammatically correct in a way that demonstrated the woman who’d recorded it had both the intelligence and the education to be thoughtful about what she said. I found it a refreshing mix, coupled with the ad, so I left a message and also called back. When I reached the woman who’d placed the ad she was nothing at all like your stereotypical sex worker: she was real, down-to-earth, knowledgeable, had a great sense of humor, and seemed better able to carry on a cogent conversation than most of the grad students I’d known.

 

Sybil told me later – for Sybil it was – that when she buzzed me in and I opened the door to her flat on the day of our appointment she heard a voice in her head say, “Oh, it’s you.” I didn’t have that sort of experience, but I did have the most marvelous time with her! I told her I’d done x, y, and z with friends and lovers and pickups and professionals over the years; that I’d been to Point “A” over and over and over again; that I was sure there was a Point “B”; and that I wanted to go there.

 

Sybil obliged. She showed me Points “B,” “C,” “D,” and a good deal of the rest of the alphabet, and we both had a ball, but more importantly I was smitten, and knew I had been from our first meeting or even from our phone conversations. I came back a week later, and a week after that I returned to do some work for her in exchange for her time. Though she later told me she’d never said this before or since, she worked out some barter with me as if I were a “special student.” About two weeks later we both acknowledged that we were in a relationship neither of us had sought, at a time both of us had determined we wanted to be single rather than to be in primary relationship with anyone. Though the form changed from time to time, the relationship itself persisted. Eighteen years after we met, Sybil remains my best and dearest friend – and one of only three or four people outside my birth family I can point to who actually changed the course and direction of my life.

 

Incidentally, she was not a writer and I was not a scene figure when we met. In the mutuality of our relationship she learned the first skill from me, and I learned the other from her. She was the madam of what was arguably the most respected SM house in the Bay Area, and along with her ex she was running Serpent Mountain Scenes, the most remarkable series of mixed play parties I ever attended or heard of. I had published a dozen books and was already a Contributing Writer for Spectator, writing about the nexus of psychology and sexuality. Seven months after we met we made a standing-room-only presentation about BDSM, then known as SM or leathersex, to the national conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS). In the ensuing years, separately or together, we taught, led a workshop, or made a presentation somewhere almost every other week. We spoke to all our local San Francisco BDSM groups, we spoke at Threshold in Los Angeles, we spoke at SSSS meetings frequently, we spoke at the International Foundation for Gender Education, we were guests of honor at the Fantasia Fair, we presented at some of the early Living in Leather and Leatherfest conferences, we lectured at San Francisco State University and the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality – we just went on a roll, and, partly because we were having a grand old time doing these things together, we made a dynamite team.

 

* * *

 

Q:        You are quite the renaissance man when it comes to writing, having published an extensive collection of BDSM articles, book reviews, and advice columns. And then there’s your books on bathroom remodeling, classic jukeboxes, psychic healing, and mind-body integration, not to mention literature and poetry anthologies. Whew! What are your goals regarding your BDSM writing, since I presume they aren’t paying the mortgage for you?

 

A:        I suppose my answer depends on which BDSM writings you’re referring to. When I wrote my advice columns my goals were to answer players’ questions, especially those of newbies, and to spread both information and insights gleaned from what a teacher of mine once called, sardonically, the benefits of my infinite wisdom. When I wrote book reviews my goal was to let people know about the books, and in all my writings I sought and seek to expand the nature of the known universe by adding my three cents’ worth of bombast in the form of rhapsodic soliloquizing about anything sexual, and occasionally political, that was or is important to me that day.

 

Sybil’s and my book, Consensual Sadomasochism: How to Talk About It and How to Do It Safely, came out of the 101 and 201 courses we were teaching back then, and that sentence calls for an acknowledgment. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s Sybil and I literally called a couple of our courses SM 101 and SM 201. When Jay Wiseman was completing his first book he asked if he might use our title. We had not yet planned to write a book, so of course we said yes. His SM 101, now published by Greenery Press, went on to become a genuine classic in the growing field of BDSM participant literature, and with his many books and extensive teaching schedule he has become an important if sometimes controversial elder on the national BDSM scene.

 

Anyway: Sybil and I started with a two-page handout of definitions, books, and other resources, and the more we taught the more the handout grew till it was about 25 single-spaced printed pages. Meanwhile, our two-hour SM 101 course, “Defining and Demystifying the Language,” had become a 12-hour weekend workshop, including a more advanced SM 201 section called “Beginning to Play,” with an extensive safety handout appendix. At some point it seemed that rather than revise the handout every month and spend another million hours and gazillion pennies photocopying what we had, it would be easier to put it all between relatively more permanent covers. We approached Race Bannon, author of a charming SM introduction called Learning the Ropes, founder and at that time publisher of Daedalus Publishing Company, and founder as well of the Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) list (www.ncsfreedom.org/kap) that is now run under the aegis of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (www.ncsfreedom.org) to find out if he had any interest in what we were up to. Race was more than amenable, he was enthusiastic; and wholly apart from his tremendous contributions to the BDSM communities and sexual education in general, he proved to be one of the sweetest guys and most ethical businessmen I have ever had the honor to work with. Just a prince.

 

I’ve written very little the past couple of years about BDSM or anything else, while I’ve focused my attention elsewhere. In 2003 I edited and wrote the introduction for a collection of award-winning erotic stories by my friend James Williams called  . . . But I Know What You Want, published by Greenery Press; in 2004 Daedalus, now owned and operated by J. T.’s Stockroom in Los Angeles, brought out a much-revised second edition of Sybil’s and my book, while North Atlantic Press brought out new editions of two of my other, non-erotic, books, Bodywise (with Joseph Heller) and The Psychic Healing Book (with Amy Wallace); in 2005 I contributed a chapter on Bisexuality and BDSM to Beth Firestein’s textbook Becoming Visible: Counseling Bisexuals across the Lifespan; and now, in 2006, I’m working on two other book chapters: one about role play in a BDSM context for another textbook under way in England, and the second, aimed more at therapists than anyone else, about the process transgendered people encounter when they come out, which is intended for a collection about transgender identity issues outside the binary system, written by the members of my peer consultation group. In my spare time, between these sorts of projects, seeing my clients, and finding ways other than writing to pay the mortgage, I’m toying with the idea of pulling a lot of my disparate writings about human sexuality together into a single volume, but that’s still in the idle-hands-are-the-devil’s-playground stage.

 

* * *

 

Q:        You write in one of your spirituality articles: “The world of body play is not where I was born or reborn. I didn’t reinvent Lakota hangings in my adolescence, nor in adulthood deprive myself of mobility, engage in ordeals, or seek spiritual transformation by leaving my body through intense sensation.” (Interestingly enough, this sounds a lot like how author Fakir Musafar grew up based on his stories.) So what was your growing up like in terms of your spiritual and religious upbringing?

 

A:        Well, I intended the obverse of my statement – what I did not do – to sound a lot like how Fakir grew up. He had invited me to contribute a piece of writing to his wonderful little magazine Body Play, and by noting what I wasn’t, I intended to honor who he was and is. Largely because Fakir and I were both involved with the Back Leather Wings branch of the Radical Faeries at that time, the essay I wrote for him was published originally under my Faerie name, Princess Cruise.

 

I didn’t have much of a deliberate spiritual or religious upbringing, but I have felt a deeply spiritual sense of belonging in the universe for as long as I can recall. I remember lying on the lawn outside our little subdivision tract house in a not-yet urbanized portion of Michigan when I was seven, smelling the rich earth and damp grass and feeling vast awe watching the clouds form and reform into any shape my imagination could concoct, then rolling my head to the side and being just shattered by the gorgeous array of colors in the zinnias my father had planted: fuschia, magenta, gold, red, and yellow flowers that look like little Gerber daisies standing out in dark shadow on the bright green lawn against the brilliant white siding of the house – the forms and colors astounded me, surrounded me, became me: I melted into it all. In October of that same year I was walking home from my cub scout meeting on a crisp, shimmering night and became aware of the huge golden moon in the infinite, black, star-spangled sky and I was so stunned I had to stop walking to bask in the joy this scene of breathtaking beauty sparked.

 

By the time I was in high school I was spending long weekend hours walking all over the city of Detroit, where I mostly grew up, and somehow I got into the habit of stopping in at whatever churches, temples, or mosques I came to. I was blessed to be born in an era when churches as a genre were still seen as places of refuge and worship to all, and were not routinely locked against the rude brigands our culture has since promoted and produced. As a consequence, over time I sat in contemplation on the pews, benches, and floors of dozens of religious denominations thinking they were all houses of the Divine, and I later extended my practice to fairy rings, sacred groves, woodland temples, oceanfront cairns, and really pretty much any place that felt receptive to me. I still find it shameful that most religious places are out of bounds except to clerics, and to their parishioners during services and other specified hours, but I don’t know whether the shame more rightly belongs to the religious organizations that think their worldly holdings are more important than open doors, or to the thugs whose property crimes make the churches’ posture realistic. I suppose that’s long been one of the benefits of nature worship: until we started to systematically destroy the planet, it was hard to lock up a sacred grove and equally hard to steal from it.

 

* * *

 

Q:        At what point in your BDSM experience did you start to recognize the spiritual dimension of things, or was it always there for you?

 

A:        As my previous answer may suggest, I have long been comfortable with the spiritual dimensions of things. I’ve often said I came to BDSM for the sex but I stayed for the transcendence, and I have no reason to revise that assessment. In 1990, Fakir Musafar and Cléo Dubois were married in Montgomery Woods, a state park full of humongous redwood trees about 150 miles north of San Francisco. Sybil was Cléo’s best woman, and I was along as her consort. Shortly before the ceremony, which was a pretty full-on Pagan gathering with lots of Faeries in gaudy costume and old-style leather dykes in Amazon regalia and everyone playing music on every sort of instrument you could bang, pluck, strum, or tootle, the man who was supposed to be Priest of the North was taken ill and could not attend the service. Cléo asked me to take his part. I was already wearing a white robe for the occasion so I didn’t really have to change anything, though I did have to learn my part.

 

In the ceremony I lifted a crystal considerably bigger than my head and pointed it to the north, invoking spirits of the earth to participate in the occasion and bless the couple. When I spoke one of my lines – “Everything is sacred” – I was thrilled from the height of my extended fingers down through my head and body and out through the soles of my feet with the recognition that those words were literally, absolutely true. Everything: every mote and moment; every person, place, thing, and action; every feeling, thought, attitude, and consideration: everything. Is: only the present really exists, and though we measure the universe in which we live and thereby create and parcel out time into all sorts of increments, especially including the “past” and the “future,” yet the one no longer exists and the other does not yet exist, so in reality we have only the present, the now, the is. Everything is. Sacred: in Footnote to Howl, Allen Ginsberg memorably observed that everything is holy – “Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!/ The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!/ Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!” and so forth – and that is all I mean. It’s my task to bring my own informed intelligence to my experience, but each time I do I learn the same lesson anew: Everything is sacred.

 

* * *

 

Q:        I mentioned earlier that you had written about psychic healing and mind-body integration. These were under the auspices of the “nilla” world, but I imagine you probably were thinking at the time how those ideas applied to your BDSM play as well (I sure would have been). Care to share any?

 

A:        When I wrote those books I was not yet involved with the BDSM communities, and my play was mostly the covert sort of backdoor, non-consensual erotic power grab lots of people make who don’t know any better. I’d certainly played before, and I certainly had BDSM fantasies, but I did not yet know how to communicate or be responsible about them. That was the era in which I grabbed one girlfriend and tossed her over my knee and spanked her. I came to realize some years after the fact that what I had done was actually abusive, and she would have been within her rights to call the police or kick me in the balls. But in fact, on that occasion she looked back over her shoulder and said, “Oh, Henkin, how did you know?”

 

Nothing at all about The Psychic Healing Book concerns BDSM, nor do I remember any erotic power play thoughts affecting or influencing what I wrote in it. The book came about as a result of Amy’s and my work at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in the mid-1970s, and had much more to do, for me, with my awakening consciousness. I had just begun to meditate and to pay deliberate attention to my interior landscape, and my psychic studies were part of that development. Since I am a writer I tend to process my interests by scribbling; since Amy is also a writer, the book was a kind of logical outcome of what we were doing with our lives at the time.

 

Bodywise is overtly concerned with handling and manipulating the corpus, and because I spent a lot of time under the well-trained hands of both my Rolfer and Joseph, my co-author, who was the first president of the Rolf Institute and who originated Hellerwork, I did indeed contemplate the nature of erotic power in bodywork, as well as the whole question of unequal power dynamics that comes into play between doctor and patient, lawyer and client, professor and student, or therapist and client, for instance. Peter Rutter, a San Francisco psychiatrist and Jungian analyst, has written about this topic eloquently in a couple of books such as Sex in the Forbidden Zone. But while these kinds of questions are important in understanding and coming to terms with erotic power play dynamics, they are not pertinent to BDSM precisely because they do not concern negotiated consent of power differences in order to achieve erotic pleasure.

 

* * *

 

Q:        In a similar vein, your personal explorations have included Rolfing, Traeger, Voice Dialogue, Encounter Groups, EST, Hellerwork, Fedlenkrais and more – yikes I’m getting tongue tied. What have you learned from these that could help others explore the spiritual side of BDSM?

 

A:        Be here now. I don’t mean to be flippant or trite, but the bottom line of all the trainings I’ve done and the disciplines I’ve studied involves making conscious what is unconscious and healing old traumas so that I can be more and more fully present in the here and now. BDSM was a similar sort of training ground for me because there is nothing like striking someone with a cane, or being struck with one, to bring you right! here! now! By the same token, all the trainings I’d done before Sybil and I met led her to believe at first that I’d had much more BDSM experience than I’d had in fact at the time we met, precisely because there is a correlation between what BDSM has to teach and what other consciousness disciplines offer. But really, all the work I’ve done on myself has come down to this simple nostrum Ram Dass made popular in this country 30 years ago, and that meditative scholars seem to have known for millenia. It’s a process rather than a goal, so you can always develop your ability further and yet you’re never incomplete. Be. Here. Now.

 

* * *

 

Q;        You told me recently that when your father saw the film Brokeback Mountain he asked you, partly in jest, “Is nothing sacred?” And you replied, “Everything is sacred, that’s the point.” Could you expand on what you meant by that?

 

A:        Unnnhhh, I think I did that a couple of questions ago. Would you like me to repeat myself? I’m very good at that.

 

* * *

 

Q:        You have talked about the physical and spiritual beauty of body modification through tattoos and cuttings, saying “I do think a lot of the tats, jewels, and cuttings I see in the world I’ve come to inhabit are compellingly attractive; I know from personal experience the value of the rituals that have underlain many of them; and besides, I recognize the spirit of the person who makes her or his own way, who is cast out from the citadel of safety or escapes from its rigidity, who will not or cannot settle within the limits of what’s known but may and must extend the nature of the Self, and extend thereby the nature of all Selves.” Can you explain what you mean about how body modification in itself extends the nature of the self?

 

A:        Gee, Sadie, I’m a one-trick pony: all I talk about is consciousness, awareness, being present in the fleeting – the already gone – moment. Maybe that’s really all I ever talk about, except when I’m ordering a second cheeseburger.

 

It’s odd to say for someone who’s done as much bodywork as I have, but I’m not much of a sensationalist. I’m a shrink and a writer: a man of the mind. Yet, body modification, as I’ve come to know it, is just another door to consciousness, as meditation is, or the sort of tantric whipping Sybil used to do so exceptionally well, or the profound commitment to serve or be served as or by a consensual slave. Many people get a piercing, cutting, tattoo, or brand for the aesthetics: they like the way the mark looks, or they like the social statement it makes. Some people modify their bodies specifically for spiritual reasons, in the belief that the site of the modification or the modification itself attracts, dispels, or in some other way directs energy to promote a good effect (such as healing) or to dispel a bad one (such as illness). Aesthetics, of course, are idiosyncratic: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But a concern with all sorts of energy underlies most spiritual belief systems, including nearly all religions, and such an awareness of energy can be an occasion to pay attention – which is a commanding way of saying be here now.

 

The mystical belief in channeling energy underlies shamanic body modifications and the movement that favors them, which Fakir named Modern Primitive. While many people with genital, nipple, and perineal piercings claim the piercings greatly enhance their feelings of erotic stimulation, here modifications may be more: at very least they are emblems by which members of a sub‑cultural tribe can recognize one another, but also they have the symbolic and energetic meanings of claiming some part or aspect of a person’s life: a tongue piercing may remind the wearer of her relationship to sustenance (eating) or to communication (talking), for instance. Some people get genital piercings or tattoos for similar reasons: to reclaim a sexuality they feel was stolen from them by molest, rape, or bashing, or simply by growing up in a society that denied their sexuality. Genital modification can be a way of saying, This part of my body is mine again. Genital piercings also appear in parts of the BDSM community, where some Masters and Mistresses may pierce their slaves (or have them pierced by more knowledgeable piercers) to demonstrate ownership of their property. Both shamanic and claiming or reclaiming body modifications may be highly spiritual, and may involve a process of associating with a god, goddess, or other higher power. But all I’m talking about here is making conscious what was unconscious, and healing old traumas so you can be more free.

 

* * *

 

Q:        You have written a fair bit about the role that cutting and body modification have played in your life. On the one hand you sound and describe yourself as a pretty regular guy – the kind who writes books on how to remodel your bathroom. On the other hand, there you are doing some kind of mystic stuff with goddesses which doesn’t sound much like what I do on my Sunday afternoons (see quote below). Please tell me about how you move between these two personas that you do seem to live in quite comfortably. I’m pretty sure you don’t go from fixing the bathroom sink to the Priest thing a minute later, so how do you get there?

 

“I lounged in my priest persona on my goddess’s couch while a priestess from a different tradition called upon her own spiritual powers and incised in my goddess’s shoulder a potent symbol of the crone she was growing to be. The cutting testified to a successful journey she had made to her particular underworld, and an assertion that she had the right to claim what she had discovered there. I loved the process of her cutting, and I loved the process of my life that enabled me to be with these two holy women in so intimate a space. I went away from that sacred hour with a deeper understanding of my own journey, though no knife touched me and I didn’t bleed – that time.”

 

A:        In many ways I am a pretty regular guy, Sadie, but I’m a regular guy who found early on he had an itch, and I spent most of my life figuring out how to scratch it. My itch began as a simple adolescent awareness that I was unhappy. Since unhappiness is a kind of pain, I did what any animal would do: I tried to get out of pain.

 

 Just as is true in BDSM, getting out of physical pain is a whole lot easier than getting out of emotional pain, simply because where the body is concerned you can determine causes and effects in easily tangible ways: this clamp is too tight? Loosen it. The paddle smacks too hard? Lighten up.

 

With emotional pain the causes are subtler and often hide behind societal pre- or proscriptions, or behind family rules, or behind peer group pressures. If you’re a shy kid in a razz-ma-tazz middle school, you’re going to be teased. If you’re a bookworm or a geek in a town that’s football- or NASCAR-minded, you’re going to catch some guff. If your parents’ version of child-rearing includes abusive behaviors that traumatize you, you’re going to develop defenses that the people around you will not understand. Their misunderstandings may result in further abuses, which will result in further defenses that cut you off further and further from other people and even from yourself, which leaves you in the greatest possible pain. Being separated from yourself is really being separated from the Divine, and the loneliness that can result from that sort of isolation is frequently unbearable.

 

Once you start trying to figure your way out of these kinds of internal pains you open up a road of self-exploration that can quickly become extraordinarily compelling, if for no other reason than that you do assuage your pain: the search itself assuages the pain, and so you want to do more of it.

 

My path was a child’s version of what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey. It began with a search for my “Self,” whatever that meant to me when I was 13. It took me through numerous psychotherapies in several different modalities (Freudian, Jungian, existential, energetic, somatic, couples’ counseling, etc), psychic studies, several kinds of meditation, bodywork, dreamwork, encounter groups, teamwork workshops, and so forth. It led me into and out of several professions, including singing, teaching, magazine editing, and writing, which was also always a form of meditation for me. It included a certain amount of experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs, and for a few years it included a great deal of escape through that legal but medically dangerous drug, alcohol. It brought me into and out of more primary relationships than I’d have thought I wanted, but serial monogamy with or without affairs on the side helped me learn a great deal about sex: not just the physical and emotional pleasures, but also learning from sex as a path of awareness. It brought me to psychotherapy as a profession. And it brought me to my relationship with Sybil, with whom I shared and still share a profound mutual student-teacher association and with whom I did some of my most important inner work, especially on my various selves, or “personas” – what we can call the whole inner family of inner children, inner adolescents, cross-gender personas, various inner adults such as warriors and magis and priests, inner animals. To be a complete human being is to be integrated, which means, in one of its definitions, to have no part missing: to be whole.

 

Eventually I succeeded: I “found” my “Self,” and please forgive all the quotation marks. What I mean here is that after 30 years of searching I became able to recognize (“found”) my own sense of identity (“self”) in a broader sense than simple ego gratification or aggrandizement (“Self”). All my parts were present, “I” was aware of all my parts, and all my parts were mutually aware of each other. I was – we were – whole. I joked that since I had finally accomplished my quest I was a success, and so – now what? But that turned out not to be a joke at all, because now what? became the focus of the next part of the quest: what do I do with the “me” I have become?

 

* * *

 

Q:        In closing, I see that your bathroom remodeling book is out of print, but fortunately I can get a used copy on Amazon for 1 cent. Would you be honored or insulted if I used it to prop up my bathroom sink?

 

A:        I will not be honored or insulted by anything you do with that book, but I would point out that what you do is nowhere near as important as how you do it. If you blithely and unconsciously use my book to prop up your sink, you will have wasted a valuable resource, which is not the book but an opportunity to become aware. If you bring your attention to the process and watch yourself use my book to prop up your sink, you will have made the best possible use of my book and your propped-up sink will last forever – until and unless it doesn’t.

 

* * *

Q:        Thank you very much!

 

A:        You are equally welcome, I’m sure.


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