Dr. Jenni Silberstein is a licensed psychotherapist and the owner of the Center for Creative Psychology, a private practice in Los Angeles which helps adults, teens and couples transform and thrive. Learn more about her practice at www.creativepsychology.com
Not only is Dr. Jenni a psychotherapist, she is also a writer, artist, meditation teacher and actor, bringing mindful approaches to everything she does.
In The Zen of Jen play, the audience watches Dr. Jenni wrestle with multiple roles - mother, wife, psychotherapist and fictionalized clients - as she meditates in-between sessions and tries to make sense of a culture that fails to see or understand its inhabitants.
The Zen of Jen play tries to make sense of our world by delivering zen-like, universal incantations throughout the performance, serving as spoken-word meditations that allow the audience to contemplate life's complexities.
“At the door of every contented, happy person, somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping to remind the happy people that unhappy people exist, that however happy the contended person may be, life sooner or later life will show its claws, some calamity will befall them – illness, poverty, loss – and nobody will hear or see them, just as WE do not hear - or see – others - NOW.”
This quote by Chekov is woven throughout The Zen of Jen play, exhibiting how most people unabashedly deny the "hammer's taps," the pain and unhappiness of others, until life shows them it's "claws" and they are suddenly faced head-on with their own mortality.
“We all lie in a cradle. Then, we all lie in a coffin. In between, if we’re lucky, we have the opportunity to lie or sit on a couch and gain some self-awareness.”
"As a psychotherapist, I consider myself a healer - part of a long line of witch doctors, shamans, priests, rabbis, buddhists, prophets, puritans, tragic playwrights, fortune tellers, astrologers, palm readers, tarot card readers, psychics, midwives, yoga instructors, sound healers, meditation teachers, body workers, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, artists, novelists and poets - all attempting to make sense of life’s “claws,” the pain, which inevitably will be dispensed to all of us."
"My sister ran back to the table as I stared at the African man, thinking about that word I had heard over and over again in South Africa. (“Apartheid”) I looked around the restaurant at all the White people eating their food, laughing and talking and then, outside at the man behind the glass. The man sitting apart from me. The man, hiding in the outside darkness."
"And remember – there IS no love or understanding between two people – there is only the potential for it. It has to be reinvented every day. If you want to make this relationship work - you have to start reimagining it."
"And most of all, I thought about the world in which I am raising her, where a war could come into any of our windows at any moment - a school window, a home window, a work window, a synagogue window, a church window, a nightclub window, a television window - shattering and splintering any window of opportunity."
"I tried to made a dent, find an opening, an aperture. Because it’s a little break in the tissue of lies. Once that happens, anything is possible"
"My parents knew that when truth is kept at bay, when the hammer’s taps are not acknowledged, they build to such a crescendo – that eventually, life’s claws take hold, and wars enter and shatter windows, and – we find ourselves in the middle of – the Soweto Riots, Kristallnacht, Sandyhook, The Tree of Life synagogue, the Gilroy Garlic Festival."