Counselor's Corner: Drama and reality

By Fred Cavaiani

Last week was “snow drama” week. The radio and television stations expressed “high drama” about the impending storm that would hit last Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday. The adrenaline ran high on television. Academy awards could have been handed out to many weather forecasters in their dramatic description of the terrible snow catastrophe that was falling upon Michigan and other Midwest states. Of course, what usually happens, happened again. The prediction of snow gloom was far worse than the reality. The news predictions served only to get our attention so that the sponsors got our attention also. It was ‘high drama’ at its’ best. Much of this drama was based on assumptions with no absolute certainty. Yet everything seemed to be expressed as if assumptions were reality. It was a “Super Bowl” of weather descriptions. If anyone had a fear of snow or snow storms the news would foster this with pleasure and almost jubilant descriptions of the approaching snow.

This sense of high drama which is usually perpetuated by news reports is so very common to everyone. We have come to expect it and even though we have our own cynicism about it, we listen and watch with eager anticipation. This high drama about what is going on in life around us almost seems to be part and component of our human nature. The drama becomes more important than the reality. Gossip is another form of drama. We describe things by making our opinions and judgments sound like truths about reality. Much of the time these opinions and judgments and assumptions are far from the truth.

Drama can be good and helpful if it honestly helps us face the truth. Embracing the reality of the daily moment is much better and even more helpful than clothing the present moment with artificial high drama. Television and radio can help us embrace and understand reality or it can dramatize the present moment in such an intense manner that we can become jolted out of the embrace of the present moment. We often do this to ourselves.

Too often we react to events, persons, places and things with such high drama that we do not see and experience what is really before us. I can be so filled with fear that I paralyze myself. The fear of an impending snowstorm can paralyze a community much more than the actual snowstorm itself. The fear of facing something that we really need to embrace can paralyze us so we avoid dealing with reality. The fantasy has more emotional impact than the reality. The anticipating fear or joy or sadness of the approaching reality can cloud our reactions and our judgments so that what we experience is more a fantasy of what is happening that what is really happening. Fantasy supersedes reality.

Two days ago was Super Bowl Sunday. The days before the ‘big game’ become a Las Vegas paradise for those who gamble. Gamblers and addicts do not like to live in reality, but in what they wish and hope reality to be. When reality doesn’t turn out the way they hoped, misery envelopes them. Misery always happens when we avoid facing reality and learn from it.

Reality is what is happening to us right now. Embracing it with acceptance and understanding, with faith in the source of all and everything, brings us into an awareness that is enriching, peaceful and growth producing. When I cover reality with high drama or with high avoidance, I diminish and weaken myself.

The high drama we experience through radio and television will always be with us. So will the high drama of gossip and the speculation of media. It is important to not allow this high drama cloud reality. Reality is best understood by embracing what is before us and learning from it and understanding it. We listen, embrace and learn and have an open mind to everything and everyone. When this happens truth begins to touch us. This truth will help us become free, joyful and happy even in the midst of pain. High drama can often cloud and catalogue this truth. Listen, experience and look carefully and thoughtfully in the present moment. Truth will prevail and you will find freedom.

Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is