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, November 29, 2010


At the conclusion of Feldenkrais class tonight, one of the students said:  "I think I got the idea.  I'm going to go home and practice and practice."  The teacher answered:  "No, don't do that.  Do another lesson and then go back to this one.  It will be easier."
This is, coincidentally, a description of how this blog flows.  It is a form of circumambulation.  Many subjects are being addressed here: In the earliest posts, I wrote several times about empathy.  Transitions, Flyin' By the Seat of Your Pants, and The Absent-Minded Professor are all articles about personality types and patterns of individual functioning.  There are posts proposing ways to evaluate your life and how change can take place.  How's the Fit? (3 posts), The Man in the Mirror, Shape Changers, Change is Possible and Jack Goes Boating are titles of but a few of those.  There are posts on relationships and on the therapy relationship itself.  Depression and suggestions for coping with it is discussed in a few posts.

So, there are a few examples of the intermittent re-visiting of subjects that I have been doing.  Also as you follow the path of this blog, it can also function as a model for how to conduct your own growth.  In therapy, people don't usually hammer away at one topic until it is all solved.  Some try that.  But, usually, the most natural way, it seems, to be in a growth process, is to explore a topic, leave it for awhile and then re-visit it.  It will usually reappear giving you the opportunity to work and re-work it until it is modified or resolved and transforms into something else. 
Sometimes people find, seemingly magically, that a stumbling block in themselves that they never addressed in therapy, gets healed as a side-effect of the other work.  We are connected inside!  If one part changes, so do others.  (Another post that addresses this last topic is called I've Lost 38 Pounds!)

I chose the title of this post purposely because it has a ritualistic flavor and it refers  to moving around the sacred.  As I share my personal process with you and offer you my professional help in encouraging and guiding your own  growth process, I feel it has a quality of the sacred.  To me, the development and evolution of each individual is a serious, wondrous process.  You are engaged with that process or you would not be reading this blog.  I think that you being the most you that you can be is important and worthwhile.

Have you noticed the "circumambulation" pattern of growth in yourself ?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Light-Hearted Version of a Truth!

Women are like telephones:  They like to be held, talked to, but, press the wrong button and you get cut off!  Erin Shultz

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When Fire Water Causes Conflagration

About alcoholism
"Alcoholism is the number one cause of death in the United states," says Gerald Frank, MD.  "Cirrhosis by itself is the number five cause of death, and when we add in deaths from automobile accidents and other medical conditions that are exacerbated by alcohol, we end up with the disease that presents the most serious threat to the health of our patients..."

"Almost everyone knows a problem drinker---a friend, relative, or a coworker.  Symptoms of alcohol dependency range from the obvious---consistent drinking beyond one's intention---to the subtle---frequent absenteeism or depression." (author unknown).  Maybe you are worried about the drinking habits of someone in your life or, how you, yourself, use alcohol in a way that worries you or those close to you.  I wrote a post called, simply, Addiction, ( in which I discussed how addictions of all kinds get started in a person and what the result is.  Here, I have selected just one substance to illuminate.  It is a health problem that I have seen ruin, ruin and destroy, so many lives, in the people who have come to my practice.  Some are or have been, in the path of the destruction when they seek help and, some are there still not able to acknowledge what is making chaos of their lives, and some come to recover from their own already decimated lives.
"If drinking is interfering with your work, you're probably a heavy drinker.  If work is interfering with your drinking, you're probably an alcoholic."  ~Author Unknown

It is important to understand that alcoholism is chronic and progressive.

Currently alcoholism is understood by health care professionals to be a disease, not a moral failing.  It is treatable.

Here are a few facts on alcoholism from Doctors Hospital:
1 in 10 drinkers will develop alcoholism.
80% of suicide victims had been drinking at the time of the event.
The rate of suicide is 39 times higher for alcoholics than non-alcoholics.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the 3rd leading cause of mental retardation in the U.S. and is 100% preventable.
1 in 5 of teenage drinkers has a serious drinking problem.
%20 of American families are affected by the alcoholism of a member.
1/3 of all child abuse cases are alcohol related.
60% of all domestic violence incidents involve alcohol.

Alcoholism and social drinking are two different things.  I will give the definition in a future post.

Heavy drinking damages the body.  I will be writing more on this topic as it is so important, and in future posts I will tell about how alcohol affects the body.
For now, please remember, alcoholism is treatable, recovery is possible, a stable personal life is a real experience for many recovering alcoholics.  More to come

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Your Question of The Day

What is one and how do you plan on reaching it?*"

Follow up question:  "*How often do you step back and reflect upon the way you are living and where you are headed?  In what way will reaching your goals make your life more satisfying?"
The Book of Questions
by G. Stock, PhD

Monday, November 15, 2010

O Canada

Some of the things that I admire about Canada are the physical maintenance and cleanliness of the cities, the cultural appreciation of the arts, the sophistication regarding the field of psychology, the fact that Canadians take care of their elderly citizens and the dignified way that Canada participates in world affairs.
Thank you for your consistent and loyal following of what I write here!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

To All Intents and Purposes

                            Harnessing the power of your own intention

 One of the most powerful ways to manifest your own destiny is through the use of your own intent.
When you have a real purpose, a clear goal, and believe you will do it, you have an intention.  Here we are not referring to wishful thinking, longing, yearning or irresolute fantasies.  Intention starts with a true decision.  I might go so far as to say that you must have a sense of conviction about your idea, whatever it may be.
It could be about any number of things, as we've been discussing in the examination of how to be a force in your own future.  It could be simple as in, I intend to stay focused on business and not procrastinate at work today.  Or, it could be profound like, I am going to draw joy into my life experience.  Or, anything in between.  The point is, when you make the choice in your mind or write down your plan or tell a supportive companion:  "This is what I will do.", that you mean it.

Once you effectively accomplish that initial step, sometimes remarkable things will happen.  (and sometimes they won't---no guarantees--- but, it doesn't hurt to make the attempt!).  It can happen that the very thing you propose will be manifested with your only having had to state your intention.  Indeed, I have seen this occur.  Or it may be that you have to hold and nourish that thought consistently for a long period of time.  Sometimes you have to take difficult and repeated actions focused on reaching your goal.  In that case, having your eye on the ball will support your effort and keep you from wavering.  You can also come up against having to sacrifice something else important to you in favor of your goal.  Stay open and ready to seize upon it if something resembling your objective emerges; it does happen that sometimes you get a version of what you set out to manifest; it may look a little different than your original mental image or, on the other hand, it can be exactly as you imagined.
(Another post on a related topic is titled, Charting Your Course)

In Ben Affleck's film, The Town, one of the main characters states an intention about half way through the movie.  In this case, the intention meant a huge life change.  There were many obstacles thrown in his path.  However, he kept repeating his intention, verbalizing it to others as well as making attempts to act upon it.  Some of the others were supportive and, some opposed him due to their own self-interests which they viewed as being in opposition to his goal.  (This brings to mind a point that some make about this process; it is sometimes recommended that you share your intention with others in your life whom you expect will be encouraging.)  The film character, through all of the hurdles put in his way and despite terrific odds against him, remained resolute and unwavering.  He kept repeating what his intention was and never gave it up.  I won't spoil the movie for you by telling what happened in the end, but this character is an excellent role model for working a personal intention. 

Set your sights on what you know is the right next step for you, in your life, and see what happens!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


"Bountiful am I, blissful am I, beautiful am I."  from music CD titled Pure Ganesh

Monday, November 8, 2010


  Unfinished Business, follow-up post

 Amongst my many books and papers on  psychology, I have a page with a seemingly exhaustive list of words which identify various human feelings.  It is called Feeling Words and is published by Marriage Encounter.  There are 264 words for feelings here and yet nowhere does the word disappointment appear.  How did the compiler of this list miss that?  I certainly experience that as a feeling, don 't you?  I propose that this is one of the hardest states to recognize in oneself, much less express outwardly.
I rarely hear a client express this feeling and yet, I see people having it.  Recently I had a male patient in the office, devastated by what his young adult daughter was doing with her life.  Only in her very early twenties and, already she had done a little jail time for some dealing with illegal drugs.  The family saw her through that and hoped for a fresh start for her.  Now, he was reporting that she had involved herself with a young man who was conducting some shady business.  This distraught gentleman said to me with great anguish again and again how angry he was.  As I witnessed his pain and listened to his story and his declarations, I saw that he was profoundly disappointed.  And so, I said to him that I hadn't heard him say one feeling which he seemed to be having---disappointment.  The tears came.

I find that most people share but two feelings, anger and depression.  And, yet, here I have a list of 264 feeling words.  Something is missing here.
Children feel disappointment:  Imagine the little girl who believes in Santa Claus and has spotted a doll that she so dearly wants for Christmas.   A box appears under the tree that is just the right size for that doll.  She is sure it will be there, in that box, on Christmas morning.  The big day arrives, she hurriedly opens the box and, inside, is a xylophone.
When I was a teenager, my English class teacher had us do a spontaneous writing assignment, in class.  I wrote a story about an adolescent struggling with the temptation to smoke cigarettes.  It was an excellent story I thought, and I was proud of it.  My teacher accused me of plagiarism.   I felt a number of things---confused, surprised, outraged but also in there was, disappointment.  You may have noticed how very (maybe overly) careful I am to always credit other writers or speakers whom  I quote or reference in the blog.  I may be still smarting from that unjust accusation after all these years...   However,---as you can see, I never gave up on my writing!

Some disappointments may run deep and be very serious such as a long-term relationship that has never been able to provide the emotional intimacy that one of the partners wishes for.  Perhaps a person works hard all her life but just isn't lucky and always has a financial struggle despite her efforts.
Daily, little disappointments such as, the doughnut shop not having our favorite that day, can readily be absorbed.  But  the larger disappointments need attention.  As you can see from my case example (the gentleman with the young twenties daughter), the first and apparently quite difficult step, is to notice the feeling and identify it.  It should then be attended to in some way.  Do what you can for yourself.  Make up for it if possible.  Comfort yourself.  Share the feeling with a sympathetic person.  Read the post titled, Not a Formula.  But, as discussed in Unfinished Business, do not stuff it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

She Was On Her Way

Find Your Future-Lost In Thought, Follow-Up
"She wasn't where she had been.  She wasn't where she was going...but she was on her way."-Jodi Hill

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Find Your Future---Lost in Thought

Your inner source of inspiration
 The French have the better word, for how to begin to design your own future.  A reverie is a resource for your vision of your life and how you want it to be.  There are three posts on the blog on the How's The Fit topic and four on the Charting Your Course topic.  If you haven't been following these, the first group is about whether or not your life, as it is, is right for you.  The second series is about how to influence your own personal future, specifically discussing dream/vision boards.
One way to access your inner knowing (the implication being, that this is present within you---it's just a matter of accessing it) of how your life would best play out is through musing, daydreaming or reverie.  Sit and look out at the horizon and let your mind wander; do not censor it; just notice what comes up.  If you practice meditation, you will recognize this technique of letting thoughts emerge and pass by without attaching to (or dismissing) them in any way.  But even if you have never attempted a formal meditation experience, every person is capable of allowing themselves to become lost in thought or of daydreaming.

"Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life's coming attractions."  -Albert Einstein
Apparently this very smart individual believed that there is power in our thoughts; what we imagine is what will be.  That's an exciting possibility to consider. Certainly, at the very least, we can discover possibilities for ourselves and potentially discover wishes and interests that were not previously conscious.

"When you dream and imagine, lights turn on throughout your brain, creating billions of new neurological connections.  This ability to form new connections through imagination and dreaming is our ultimate human gift, allowing us to move beyond our limitations and rigid old habits, creating new possibilities and realities that were not possible for us before."-Anat Baniel
.Allow yourself to dream and pay attention to what is revealed and you will empower your own imagination.  Maybe you dream of being a painter, an artist, even though you have not been artistic before.  Putting some focus on it makes it a possible aspect of yourself that can be developed.  Let's say you wish you could live in a cabin in the woods---you have a dream about this, it feels lots of ways to you-quiet, peaceful, calm.  The next step is to clarify the picture in your mind's eye; fill in the details, make the image as clear as you can.  Make it vivid!  Use your imagination to connect to your inner passions and thereby increase the likelihood that they will eventually manifest in your actual outer life.
Maybe your dream is to live in a big hotel.  Don't dismiss it out of hand, even if it seems outlandish.  It won't hurt to nourish your dream, it will energize you and possibilities do exist.  You don't know what can change, be added, or transform in your life. 
Many people who have not found someone to share their life with wish for a relationship; they long to find a partner with whom to share life's journey.  Instead of feeling sad about the absence of a partner, begin to open yourself to the possibility of a suitable person entering your life and the development of a good relationship.  If you place this firmly in your vision, it is much more likely to happen.  A dream board is one way of working on this; find pictures that represent the qualities you would want to enjoy in that relationship.  Perhaps you will find poetry that portrays the lifestyle you would want.  Maybe there are real couples in your life whom you admire; put something that represents those couples on your dream board.  Sometimes just having and working on the dream board leads a person to action they had not previously thought of. ~  I once had a friend who was in this position; she decided to make a real concerted effort and went to everyone she knew and asked them to introduce her to any single men they knew whom they thought might even be a remotely possible match for her.  They did.  She's been married for 15 years now.
Perhaps you need to find a healthier you in the future.  Or maybe you need to become less combative with the others in your world.  Maybe you need to deal with people at work in a different way.  Maybe there's a use for a benefactor to enter your situation.  In other words, nearly anything, from an enhancement/positive improvement to serious problem solving can benefit by the application of your imagination.
In my own life, I have had four instances of success with this approach.  One was through imaging, one was a wish, one was an intention, and one was a feeling.  I will write these stories if you put in the comment section that you want me to.  Imagine that!!!!

Has a dream come true for you?  Have you tried imaging a different future for yourself?  How about envisioning yourself with a new personal quality?  Please share your experiences with influencing your own future.