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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brain Stimulation

Want some practice doing critical thinking?  Watch the TV show, Justice:  Right Thing To Do?
Comcast has it on ch. 22 KRCB.
Some of the recent topics discussed,--- utilitarianism, cannibalism, cost-benefit analysis as applied to human life.
You will have to concentrate to follow this program.

Monday, January 18, 2010


"Practicing loving-kindness toward ourselves seems as good a way as any to start illuminating the darkness of difficult times."  Pema Chodron.

Her book, When Things Fall Apart, heart advice for difficult times, can be a comfort when you feel like you are at the end of your rope.  She writes from her own experience, is plain-speaking and in reality.  There is no fluff.  Some people find that reassuring.
Here are a few of her ideas I have culled from repeated visits to this little book:
*Fear is natural
*Nature is calming
  If you have a backyard, let it draw you out.  In any case, just go outside sometimes.
*Give room to all your feeling-relief, grief, joy-give every feeling at least a moment of attention
  Don't resist all the time.
*Make friends with yourself
  (One of my patients came in just after the new year began and said her resolution was to learn to love herself unconditionally).
*Realize "...that whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end. It is just the same kind of normal human experience that's been happening to everyday people from the beginning of time".
*Activate your curiosity
*Slow down
 Notice the wonderful aroma of baking bread, appreciate bicyclists, feel the clean cool air on your face after a rain.
*Try not to harm others
*Understand other people when they are troubled in their lives
*Stop striving for perfection
 "...because sooner or later, we're going to have an experience we can't control..."
*Sort out the difference between opinion and fact
*Make use of your sense of humor
*Remember that life is intrinsically challenging when you find yourself struggling with plans and judgments
*Train yourself to relax when the phone rings
*"For some of us, working closely with a non-judgmental therapist allows us to overcome our fears and finally develop loving-kindness for ourselves."

"Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important.  The reason it's important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn't just ourselves that we're discovering.  We're discovering the universe."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Your Assets

For the most part, people come to counseling presenting problems, conundrums, puzzles, and personal challenges.  At the same time that we are focusing on that, I also look for the patient's personal assets.  What is this person's strong point?  What are their best traits?  How do their most effective coping mechanisms work?  It seems to me to be important in therapy to see not only what's wrong but, also what is right.
Toward that end, there is some research being conducted about character strengths; this study was recently highlighted on a PBS documentary about human emotional life.  The study has put up a questionnaire online (takes about one half hour to do-you answer with a click, 240 questions or, if you choose, there is also a shorter version).  In return, you get a a list, with a brief description, of your individual character strengths.  They are arranged in descending order, so, your most developed strength is discussed first, at the top of the list, then your second strongest and so on.
It is all positive so it should be fun and interesting.
It occurred to me in perusing my own results, that those traits at the very bottom of the list could be considered assets to develop.  These might be looked at as assets you already have  that could be strengthened.
So this could be used as a tool for personal growth.  However, you could also, just enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Atlantic, Nova Scotia

Winter can be a time for reflection.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Troubling Happenings

Interpersonal problems:

When something goes wrong between you and someone you care about, try these things:

*Wait and see.  Give it time.  Don't bury it, keep it in mind, keep re-visiting it, keep thinking about it, but don't expect to necessarily solve it immediately.
*Feel your emotions about it.  Notice them.  Identify them.  Be gentle with yourself about them.  But try not to let yourself be overwhelmed by them.
*Try to trust that a solution will occur or a resolution will develop.  Don't let yourself believe that you will be---angry, sad, frustrated, offended or whatever it is that you are feeling---forever.
*Comfort yourself.
*If you happen to hear someone else discussing how they resolved an interpersonal problem, listen.  Pay attention.  Maybe there'll be a good idea you can use or, their idea will stimulate a new one for you.
*For some, talking over an unfortunate interaction like this with a friend can be helpful.  For others, an internal dialog is the most fruitful route.
*It may be that the problem requires working it out with the other or others.  But, often, a change in your own perspective is enough.
*Always remember that in most situations, you have choices.

Did you try any of these ideas?  Were any of them new to you?  How did it go?