07Dec

Respect Your Past

The PathBut it doesn’t define you.  A great psychologist once said that “if you don’t like your childhood, then re-invent it.”  It is part of you and yet, the emphasis is up to you.  You can give power to any part of your past that you want to.  Do you want to remember the embarrassment of your mother’s harsh words or do you want to remember what your mother gave to you?  Do you want to remember the teacher who treated you badly in grade school, or do you want to remember the pride you felt when you earned a B in Math?  All are true, but which will characterize you?

The more you tell yourself you have suffered, then the more you have suffered.  What you tell yourself becomes your truth.  In this brave new world, where we are scrambling to understand our higher and better selves, we are prone to an over emphasis on psycho-analysis.  Both psycho-analysis and behavior modification work when you want a change, but behavior modification skips over the emphasis of what went wrong to you in your past.  We have all suffered, some of it awful and traumatic, all of it traumatic, yet we cannot compare a sports injury to a rape, we cannot, one induces much more trauma than the other.

I don’t suggest that we have no need to work through our very own trauma, I suggest that we move through our traumas, not into our traumas.  That may take a long time.  We must be aware of the time that we spend there.  Is the time we are spending inside of our past traumas, damaging the life we have available now?  Are the past traumas causing belief structures that damage us, for example, does the rape victim say to herself “what’s wrong with me?  I don’t matter.”?   Does the child bullied live in fear for years?  If this is happening to you or to one that you love, how do you empathize and encourage, either your loved one or yourself?  How do you make it across the divide of great sadness to being ready to move on with this life?

The way to moving forward is not to be in the past, reliving it and psycho-analyzing it.  Work through the past, yes, yet use behavior modification at its best.  Decide to make things different for yourself and reward your different ~ every step of the way.

Give yourself the very best childhood that you can recall and then move proudly and confidently into the very best future that you can build.

29Nov

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia
It was so gradual, it was like a pine tree growing, you could not see how it grew from day to day, but you noticed at different intervals that growth had occurred.
The most intense emotion that I remember feeling was the fear. I had no idea what was wrong. There were so many symptoms. I want to say the first really scary symptom was my stomach. I began to feel discomfort on a daily basis. It seemed like no matter what I ate there was no getting away with anything because my stomach was going to hurt. I was constantly nauseated. I finally ended up in the emergency room and from there to the gastroenterologist. It was a journey of fear and doubt. Was my body betraying me, was I finally getting old, did I deserve a terminal diagnosis?
During this time my body aches are getting worse and worse. Most of the time the pain is chronic, but often it would become acute. I remember talking with the orthopaedic doctor and being told that there was nothing that could be done about the pain in my hand. He gave me a horrid cream to measure and then rub on twice daily. I found no relief and was nauseated by the smell. When I went to the follow up appointment, he announced that the cream had no smell.
The usual pain in my neck, knee and lower back came and went, but mostly came. I began to feel all kinds of pain more acutely; a small bump became a debilitating incident. I remember crying over a small injury and being mystified by the level of pain.
Again, it was the fear that was the most exhausting. What is wrong with me, why am I hurting so often, why am I tired, why is it difficult to move around after a lot of activity?
After an endoscopy, I found out that the amount of ibuprofen I was taking was burning holes in my stomach. I had lots of painful ulcers and a hiatal hernia. I was elated to learn: no celiac disease and no h. pylori. However, ibuprofen was the only magic to work fighting my pain.
From my hand, to my neck, to my back and my knee, everything was measurably worse. The new hand doctor started with cortisone shots, he was somewhat cruel in the application so that doctor did not last long. In the meantime, I had to go to a different doctor for the rest of my body. This was a daunting task. No pain relief and now my chores and errands have doubled. I had to have x-rays and MRIs and all sorts of other evaluations and sometimes the doctors themselves became the problem (like the cruel one).
The medication to help cure my ulcers was an unfortunate mix of help and hindrance. While the medication reduced acid in my stomach and my unrelenting nausea was slowly receding, my body became unable to properly absorb necessary nutrients: an old diagnosis of anemia reared its ugly head again.
Months and months go by and it seems endless, I find a pain management doctor who performs several procedures. Her choice of medication for me makes me faint and dizzy, so once again I am without even a hint of pain relief. Lying down on the bed becomes agonizing as the muscles refuse to respond to pain relief. The procedures help, but cortisone is dangerous to the body.
Now I have to change my primary care doctor, the new medications confuse my hormones and now, my thyroid is not operating correctly (again). Does the madness ever end? Then I remember that I am basically okay. I can still work, see, feel and hear. I am not able to walk as much anymore, but I AM STILL WALKING. No more sissy-baby for me, I had to get myself through it.
Eventually, the right medication begins to work. It takes months to get the correct dosage and finally, I feel as if I can maintain. It’s been over a year since that trip to the emergency room. I am finally at the point that I understand the disease and I have accepted it. My fear has somewhat abated. I am not looking for the worst anymore. Fibromyalgia has become manageable.
Several people have blamed the fibromyalgia diagnosis on stress and over extension of my energy. I don’t know how it started, but I sure wish I knew how to make it end.

While I was in it, I wasn’t me.  I wasn’t the person that I used to be, I’m still not that person.  Reconciling the new me with the old has been a difficult task.  I judged that old me as better, after all, she was younger, prettier and she had more energy.  I know that who I am now is good and good enough, broken and bent do not mean spent.

17Jul

Dishonesty

Unknown author

Unknown author

For the first time since I started this blog, I am materially aware that I have an audience.  It has stopped me from writing.  I have been through a painful experience which made me leave my job.  I have been grappling with such issues as self control, my ability to modify my environment and the effects that another person can have on me.  In some ways my experience has been at odds with my belief system, which has caused a cognitive dissonance.  As you can imagine, I have been struggling.  This does not cause me to write less.  Indeed if you know me, it actually causes me to write more.

What has caused me to write less, is this awareness of my audience and the fear that my life would be negatively effected by my work here on the blog.  There is nothing more anxiety producing than losing one’s income.  I am not willing to be a starving artist, I have too much going on in my life to stop the train for the sake of my own written word.  Trust me, I have saved the words.

Some things that have caused me concern is the idea that my old boss, who is vindictive and mean spirited, would work hard to block my efforts to find new employment.  Another concern is that, a person interviewing me (with hiring authority) would turn out to be a Trump lover.  Based on experience, I know that these things can be real and I want to avoid the effect of someone’s negative feelings on my future.

Today, I read some research about why we want to believe that the universe is just and that things happen to people because they deserve it.  It’s far easier for us to believe that the universe will treat us right if we act right.  We can then believe that we have some control over life.  We can believe that people get what they deserve, even when there is an injustice.  I have known that this is not true for many years.  The universe is full of injustice and apathy and even evil.  We humans do not have control over the universe.  We are subject to life.

Which is why, in order to thrive, we must sometimes resort to dishonesty.  I have dishonestly withheld my truth from this blog, in order to create a transition as painless as possible.  My feelings had endured enough pain and I would not be my own perpetrator.

I have been dishonest with my blog, and I hope you will forgive the lapse.  It was intentional and it is over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.

 

23Jan

From May 21,2010

Being open is fearful stuff.  Anticipation, hope and desire swirl around the edges.  Being open allows “knowing” in.  Some times “knowing” is unpleasant, hurtful, painful.  Being open requires faith.  Faith waxes and wanes like the moon.  Life is all of it…

21Jan

Our Brain Can Change the Reality of History… And What is the Point of Guilt?

My own mother evoked gratefulness and love.  I am not sure why I was particularly present with her, but I was.  I invited her to be with me as much as possible.  Before my mother passed away 21 years ago, we spent an entire day together, one on one and I enjoyed every minute.  She was the kind of woman you could feel comfortable with and it was easy to respect her.  When she died, I didn’t feel regretful because I told her over and over again “I love you, Mom.”  ”You are the greatest mom.”

For Ella Mae, my mother-in-law, it was quite a different matter.  When she passed in 2005, I had not prepared in the same way I did my mother.  I loved her and told her so, but she never knew how important she was to me and our family.  Because she was a formal woman, there just was not the casual love that was available in my family of origin.

I have valued Ella Mae more in retrospect, than I ever did while she was alive.  My own mother knew how much I valued her, I wrote cards and letters and expressed my joy and love in many different ways.  Ella Mae, not as much.  I am very grateful for her contribution to our family and for this reason, I have for the last 12 years been valuing her “things”.

I know better than most that guilt is no replacement for current action and present love, and yet, here I am indulging in guilt because I did not treat her the way that I would want to treat her today.  I find myself thinking “I must hang onto to Ella Mae’s china so that I can pass it on to my daughters.”  Why would I want to imbue value onto the china if I didn’t feel some measure of guilt?  I didn’t value Ella Mae enough while living and so now I must value her china to show the kids how important that she was.  It’s just not necessary with my mother’s things because her value was so well established while she lived.

In this case, I think the point of guilt is so that I can convince myself that I loved her enough and that she knew it.  If I didn’t love her enough while she lived, I am trying to make up for it.  This is a burden for all of us.  It is a burden that I do not wish to bear, nor do I believe that there is any way to make up for my behavior once someone has passed away, nor will I make promises about future behavior.  I simply must say that Ella Mae gave us much, she taught manners and in this way made us comfortable in any environment.  Ella Mae taught me that birthdays are important, my family never celebrated birthdays, it was Ella Mae who brought that tradition to us.  She loved step grandchildren and biological grandchildren and tried very hard to be fair.  She was not fair; the attempt was there.  For this I am grateful.

Ella Mae was a very gracious woman who welcomed everyone into her home.  She saw holidays as a means to give me a rest and she would never let me lift a finger or ‘bring’ something.  She cooked like a chef and hostessed like a queen, and it was those talents that she passed to me.  She had a beautiful silk hanging in the dining room.  For some reason both of my sons had to touch it every single time they passed by on the way to the kitchen.  She may have grimaced and she may have said something, but she never got mad.  Her graciousness extended to everyone.

Maybe now that I understand why I am hanging onto the china, I can actually put it down.  No one wants that stuff anymore.  I do hope that I can pass on graciousness, that’s a gift worth giving.

13Sep

Is Obesity the Latest Moral Failing?

We have treated addiction as a moral failing since drunks started drinking centuries ago.  “There must be something wrong with him, he wasn’t raised right…”

Those who could not or would not stop imbibing were thought to be degenerates, not deserving of social care and concern.  In recent years addiction medicine has been able to pull us away from this paradigm into a broader understanding of how people become addicts and lose control of their lives.  Science tells us that it is not a moral failing, but rather a complex combination of nature and nurture.  There is DNA involved in addiction, as well as brain chemistry which reacts to primal pleasure sensations, seeking rewards by repeating behavior.

Addiction is not an easy illness to understand and this challenge has made it into a medical “stepchild” no one really wants to claim ownership and the illness keeps worsening.  Addiction is now claiming lives in the thousands, daily, who overdose on opiates and heroin.  At least society now sees a glimmer of reality by calling out the profit hungry behavior of big pharma and physicians who over-prescribe.  We begin to see that addiction does not thrive in a vacuum, it thrives by virtue of hundreds of factors: social, medical, economic, individual and by the infinite possibilities in the strands of our DNA.  Blaming an addict for using substances, doesn’t produce any good results and yet our society has done it over and over again.

Obesity is our latest moral failing in America, and like addiction it does not earn the appropriate attention for resolution.  I read a billboard yesterday that was advertising liposuction, the billboard said “Get Your Sexy Back!”  The assumption is: Of course you can’t be sexy if you are fat and of course, if you are a woman, you must be sexy.  All through my youth there was a part of me that admired the woman who was not sexy and therefore did not have to glamorize her self.  This woman was not being watched or looked at and had long since decided on a lifestyle with different demands.  I deeply admired this kind of woman.

But the point is, that people are being denigrated and disparaged because they are overweight.  Many will righteously criticize the obese making statements like: “fatty, stop feeding your face and you are a tub of lard.”  Public Health appears to be much more concerned for the overweight than the addicted, which has been helpful for the overweight.  Public Health brings a validity to this condition.  All forms of healthy recognition can be appreciated, as long as the public understands that attacking those who suffer from addiction or obesity does not make for better public health.

What really needs to be said is this: People are not bad because they are obese, just as they are not bad because of addiction.  It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate those who struggle with their behavior.  There are no easy prescriptions for recovery and our culture does not support the discipline of sobriety, nor the task of healthy eating.  Just the opposite, our society is concerned with selling booze and hamburgers to anyone with a dollar.

While our society spins relentlessly to the music of a dollar bill, in the meantime, our part of change is to be kind, kind to everyone, everywhere and at all times.  

This means that we don’t blame, denigrate and demoralize anyone for any reason.  Obesity is not a moral failing and neither is addiction.

18Aug

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

I can only conjecture why people ‘play games’, I don’t understand it and I can’t identify with it.  I don’t remember ever playing head games.

According to Wikipedia it is “Psychological one-upmanship” and this definition surely describes what I see.

In the work world, we have this activity called training.  Training is a way to get the job done and to get new staff up to speed quickly.  It is an extremely beneficial activity because it instills confidence and creates efficiency.  However, at some levels in the corporation, training becomes a competition, something to prove a point.  From an external observation point withholding knowledge seems ridiculous for a number of reasons:  The first reason is that often, the perpetrator believes that s/he is proving a point about another’s intelligence or lack thereof.  This is never the case, because even if it proves difficult for the new person to complete a task unaided by support, no one ever views it the way the perpetrator wishes it to be viewed.

Sometimes this one-up-man-ship is just for self-gratification.  The person with knowledge enjoys knowing something that others do not know.  Watching others look for the information is a way to demonstrate one’s self superiority over others.

What I find most amazing about this withholding of knowledge is that, knowledge does not prove anything about intellect at all.  Knowledge, in no way, demonstrates critical thinking skills, or reasoning abilities.  Knowledge is just knowing something and something always changes over time.  This perpetrator works hard to prove how smart she is and instead proves that her intellect is lacking.  While knowledge may be power, strength is in numbers.  Sharing knowledge is the only fool proof way to maintain knowledge.

The other type of mind game is the one where I pretend to know it all and won’t consider that anyone else is correct.  From an external observation point, this is an extremely difficult stance to maintain.  Many, many people work hard to maintain a know-it-all stance.  From what I have seen and observed, the difficulty lies in the need to ignore information to the contrary of this belief “I know it all.”   This person will tell everyone how to do the chore, when the chore does not work out or the instructions prove incorrect, this person must find a reason that proves that their instructions were above reproach and must have been either misunderstood or perhaps not followed.  It is difficult to ignore all of the information that tells them that there was a mistake, but even more difficult is the need to convince others that their eyes deceive them.  Instead of the “customer is always right”, the mantra is that “the boss is always right”.  Or, in the absence of being the actual boss, just the person with a forceful personality.

As for the forceful personality: when it comes to discussing things with this person, there will be no discussion.  If in fact, you do not agree with the point of view that they favor, insults will start.  The conversation becomes harsh and ugly, because this is the behavioral fallback position of the bully (think Trump).  Again, mind games, head games and one-up-man-ship are the rules of the discussion.

I normally do not write an article about a person, it is always a conglomeration of events that keep happening that I have a need to describe.  Usually I describe to understand.  And so it is with this discussion, just a need to understand.

05Aug

Love and Faith

The very best gifts that you can give to yourself are love and faith.  Do it.  It’s important.  You can have some of mine if you need it.  Take love and faith from me, I will give it to you.  In the end though, you must give it to yourself.

21May

If it isn’t “a thing”

Then why bring it up?  Why mention it?  Why talk about it?  To bring it up in heated denial makes it “a thing”.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a quotation from the 1599/1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone’s too frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive, and insincere.   Wikipedia

28Apr

Do You Ever Get Uncomfortable?

You always talk about why success cannot be achieved.  You argue for failure.