This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Info

When I asked a bit ago about the addition of an Amazon widget, the reader response was enthusiastic.  So, today, I completed the application, was approved and Amazon will be starting on the blog within the next week or so.
I told them that I did not want advertisements, nor was I going to promote products myself.  I only wanted Amazon to be accessible to my readers on my blog, as a convenience.
So, we'll see what they do.  If it is intrusive or too commercial, I will have it taken off.   But, hopefully, it will be just an access point for you to use Amazon when you are on the blog, if you wish.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Unstuck

Self-intervention strategies for depression

 What do you do when you are despondent or anxious ("stressed")?  I think it is easy to stay there and wind yourself down even further.  If you ruminate, repeat bad thoughts in your mind, and dwell on the discouraging feelings, you can make yourself worse and worse.  Inertia sets in and you can continue in the same depressed/apprehensive mode or, worse,- keep spiraling down further and further,- if you don't interrupt it.
It's difficult to make that U-turn but once you've felt your emotions, identified them, given yourself some sympathy and checked to see if there's anything to learn from your reaction, it's time, in my opinion to start intervening with yourself.

Of course undesirable things happen---to everybody.  Unfortunate events of this kind are real, they are part of life for all of us.  And we will react.  But, if we hang on to a litany of our bad luck, we do ourselves a disservice.
So how do you help yourself?  It would be fascinating to hear from any of you who would share your ideas and experience with what has helped you.

George Burns, when asked how he lived to be 100 years old, said:  "Nothing bothers me."
Krishnamurti said:  "I don't mind what happens."
Dr. Maoshing Ni says:  "You can expand your emotional elasticity by cultivating tolerance."
These three seem to be on to the same thing.

Personally, I can get to the same place but I have to do things to get there.  Here are some of the things I do:

1.  Find an activity that is completely out of my normal routine and is very engaging (takes me out of myself, displaces my repeated problematic thoughts)-even better if it can be with someone whose companionship I enjoy and if it can be a productive activity (not just entertainment).
2.  Take some time off from work; go to another place, even for a very short stay, a place of peace.  I go to an area that is quiet, slow-paced, and beautiful---usually in nature.
3.  I focus on finding that tranquil place in my own mind that I have in my repertoire; I know I've felt it before, so I try to get there mentally. (especially important before sleep)
4.  I find a sentence or "mantra" that I can repeat to myself that is the exact opposite of whatever bad thing I have been telling myself or am troubled by (cognitive therapy).
5.  Even if yet another unlucky thing happens at this point, I find the part to be grateful for.  For example, a near auto collision with another driver who unexpectedly cut in front of me, let me be grateful for my great brakes, glad to have a car with good steering, able to note my own alertness and quick reaction time and happy to be, rather than in some hospital emergency room, able to go on with my day.
6.  A critical or mean remark from another will be looked upon as their own negativity popping out because they were momentarily unable to control it.
7.  Meditate.
8.  Do yoga.
9.  Get physically active.
Try not to aggravate your stress reaction with what AA calls, "stinkin' thinkin'" and figure out ways to help yourself.  Find a good therapist.

(Other posts pertinent to this topic:   Wise Words From a Long-Term Patient & "Stress Reducing Methods")
Did you try any of these?  Did it help?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Bienvenue.  Huanying.  Qillkommen.  Nozime wsat lai pni seit.  Apaka svagata hai.  Welkom.  

 I have just learned that, in addition to my wonderful American and Canadian readers that I also have several readers from China!  I also have a couple from Germany.  There has been one visit each from the following countries: Latvia, New Zealand, India, and The Netherlands.
I am so excited to find that you are here!!
Google has created an on-going analysis of our blogs.  So, now I can get stats on where my readers are from, when the blog is accessed, and which posts are being read & how many times.
It's very fun for me, the writer---and so encouraging.  Since they offered it, I have checked all the statistics every day  ;-)
Now I am thinking I might look into offering translations of my blog into some of these other languages, just as a courtesy, as you can obviously read English even if it isn't your first language (good for you!)
My wish is that some of you from these other countries will write some comments---it would be such an enhancement to the blog to hear a bit of the perspective from other cultures.
Again, so happy to have you here!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flyn' By The Seat of Your Pants

The charms & the difficulties of the impromptu vs. the planned.
There are the planners and there are the, get it done when it presents, types.  Some people organize their time, rely on their calendar, keep their appointments, are punctual, and live by a schedule.  They like to be prepared and they value reliability.  They see themselves as responsible.  Coffee set up to brew the night before.

The fly by the seat of your pants type roll out of bed and into their day.  They almost always make it to work on time, but never early!  They make it to most of their appointments but if they forget one, it's not the end of the world.  They're okay with saying (or hearing someone else say), "I forgot".   They see themselves as adaptable.  Coffee from the drive-through.

Both types can be highly effective workers, professional people, family people.  Jobs get done and relationships happen.  But, wow, these can be  very different approaches to life.
If these two types become involved in a close relationship, it can be workable.  The planner can learn to be a little more spontaneous and the doer can make a point of informing the partner, if not ahead of time, at least of when they'll be late, or if they have a (usually last minute) change in plans.

The more serious consequences for these pairings are if the planner feels de-valued because they see themselves as being fit in when the other has spare time.  They don't get to feel like a priority that is planned for in the other's life.  Or, on the other end, the impromptu type may be offended when the planner gets out the calendar to set a date.  They can't see why the other has to check to see if they have time for them.  Each one just wants to feel important to the other but they each have a different way of determining that.

This particular individual difference takes some tolerance.  It takes some trust.  There are many ways to feel loved.  If you find yourself paired with your opposite in this regard, you'll have to rely on some other indicators to measure and enjoy your value to the other.

If you have experiences with this kind of a pairing and have suggestions for others struggling with the misunderstandings that can come out of it, please comment!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Charting Your Course

A way to envision & possibly promote your dreams for your future.
"'s destiny is shaped from within then one has become more of a creator, has gained freedom.  This is self-transcendence, a process of change that originates in one's heart and expands outward, always within the purview and direction of a knowing consciousness, begins with a vision of freedom, with an "I want to become...", with a sense of potentiality to become what one is not.  One gropes toward this vision...with no map, and no guarantee.  Here one acts as subject, author, creator."(credit:  How People Change by Allen Wheelis)

Two people have come to me independently of one another to share their own wish for their individual future.  One was a Hatha Yoga teacher and the other was a patient.  One called their personal template for the future a Vision Board, the other called it a Dream Board.  One had images and writings of that person's past, present and future.  The other had only the future portrayed.  One did a new board at the beginning of each year, the other had it, in process, as an on-going project.  One said it was so personal that she wouldn't show me and would not consider showing it to anyone, the other showed me part of his.  But these images, self-created and honest, felt very private (and important) to each of these people.

As you can see, this is an idea some people have for imagining their future, remembering their goals and noticing their past and present configuration as well.  Yet these two examples, at least, were very different in the method of manifesting the details.  What was in common was that these are concrete, visual objects created for the purpose of reflection and change.  Both are an attempt to live in a more conscious manner.

It has been popular recently to put forward the notion that if you hold a picture in your mind of what you want, then there is a better chance that it will be manifested.  I have had this experience myself  and yet, I have no way of giving instruction on how to make this occur.  And I have to allow for the possibility of coincidence.  However, if you have an intention, and you make it clear to yourself, whether it be with a vision board or a picture in your mind, or a prayer, or a written manifesto to yourself, however you can put in your awareness---you are more likely to move in that direction.  That, at least, is only logical.

(An earlier post related to this topic:  How's the Fit?)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Your Aliveness

Finding avenues for personal expression will increase your vitality.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence and Intimacy

 It isn't only couples who can get stuck in the pursuer-distancer conflict.  Any two people---a parent and a grown child, two friends, even business partners, can become caught up in playing out the pursuer-distancer pattern.
One person, the "pursuer", seeks increased involvement, further intimacy, engagement, talking, meetings, or time together, while the distancer seeks separation, privacy, or physical space. 
  Remember when it became part of the vernacular to say, "I need my space."?  
"The pattern is self-reinforcing and self-escalating.  The more the pursuing partner pursues, the more trapped the distancing partner feels and the more he or she needs to get away.  The more the distancing partner needs to get away, the more deserted the pursuing partner feels..."the need for closeness and the more he/she strives to make a connection .  Yes, it's a vicious circle.

And so why do people do it?  Why would someone continue to hammer away at another who clearly wishes to withdraw?  On the other hand, why would anyone withhold time or attention from a partner who is obviously seeking it?  According to Harriet G. Lerner in her book, The Dance of Anger,
 it is all about "...managing anxiety."  We each try very hard to make the thing happen that we have found reduces our own distress.  
The pursuer may criticize themselves as being dependent and at the same time criticize the partner as being unable to communicate or handle feelings or tolerate closeness.  Their real value though is on talking things out because they have found that waiting is wearing and talking seems relieving.  
The distancers, on the other hand, seek the solace of their own company when stress is high. These individuals will often refer to themselves as 'a private person'.  They see themselves as being self-reliant but others may find them slippery, hard to find and emotionally unavailable.  For their part, they will accuse the pursuer type of beating a subject to death.  While it is an uncomfortable experience to open up to another, they may criticize themselves as not being successful in relationships. 
So, what to do?  First, try to figure out which style is yours.  Then, if you can identify it when you are caught up in this counter-productive cycle with someone important to you, recognize it. 
 At that point, someone (at least one of you) has to change their own behavior, in order to break the cycle.  For example, if you tend to be the pursuer, you can push another so hard that they may cut off the relationship completely.  So, you have to stop yourself.  Don't take it personally if the other wants some time away to think; let them have it.
If you find that you tend to distance, try to turn around from your walk-away and see if you can work it out.  
Of course, the key to changing your own anxiety-binding behavioral habits, is---you'll have to tolerate some anxiety!  The reward may be a business deal you could have lost or a closer and happier personal relationship. 
Credit:  First quote, Daniel B. Wile

Are you a distancer or a pursuer?  How does this affect your life?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Take It Personally/The Value of Critical Thinking

 How to maintain your own position in the face of another's noxious disposition Have a co-worker who seems unable to keep in mind that other people in the workplace have needs too?  Have a noisy neighbor?  Or, maybe the parent of your child's friend repeatedly does irritating things.  These are a few examples of what most of us come up against at one time or another.  We will almost inevitably encounter these situations or something similar at some point. When we do, it's easy and very common to begin to believe that these unfortunate actions are aimed at you.  It's possible.  But, it's also possible that this person just lets off steam inappropriately or, in the current vernacular, "...   emits a pouf of toxicity..." just, randomly.  If you take it personally, it can poison your mood.  Pretty soon that person,  intentionally or not, has obtained a lot of power inside of your life.  (Have you noticed a big cloud of dark smoke in the middle of your house?!)  You find yourself ruminating about revenge, rehearsing in your head speeches you will make, imagining how you will vindicate yourself or defeat this other person, and discharging in long diatribes to your friends or spouse (or therapist) about this annoying individual. To let someone else's negativity affect you this way really is a choice.  That may be a  difficult idea to accept but if you do you will find that it is a very helpful one.  The most difficult of these scenarios is if the other person has legitimate authority over you as is the case where the poor behavior is perpetrated by your boss at work.  However, I think that, though more of a challenge, it is still possible to make the choice to not let this negative energy infect you.
So, how do you remain unperturbed?  1.  Take the other person's behavior as information.  Remain objective, not obsessed.  Don't allow yourself to be so strongly affected that obsession or depression result.2.  Remain aware always that you have choices.  Don't allow yourself to become enmeshed in a drama that feels out of control.3.  Ask clarifying questions (in your own mind, if need be) such as, "What is she doing?"  "What is his intention?"  "What's going on with her?"  In other words, instead of immediately becoming engaged and reacting, step back.  Take a step back, in your own mind, in relation to him or her.  Take a look at that person from your own point of reference.4.  Take a wait and see attitude5.  Maintain some objectivity, your own center, some distance, and your own integrity. Remember, that other person's sour state of mind will only affect yours if you let it.