Running Commentary of EVERYTHING Wrong

Have you ever caught yourself talking out loud?

Have you ever caught yourself going through a morning, a day or even a week endlessly observing, pointing out and providing a running commentary of EVERYTHING that is wrong?

This is a fictional example,

I wake up and yawn and stretch and notice and say, “Owe! I have a crick in my back, I must have slept wrong.”
Step out of bed and stub my toe on my shoe, “Crap! I left my shoe in the wrong place.”

Walk into the bathroom, “My tooth brush isn’t on my charger!” (first world problem)

Head to boil water for tea and realize and say, “Oops, I forgot to by more tea at the store last night”

Sit down to eat, and realize your food is already cold, “Gotta warm up this food in the microwave and now my pancakes have soaked up all the maple syrup and taste dry.”

yada yada yada

Go to work, point out things that need fixing.

Come home, talk about the things that were wrong at work.

Talk about the things that need fixing at home.

Talk about the problems with a show you are watching that night or a book you are reading.

Talk about aches and pains you are feeling.

These are all truths potentially.

These might even be OUR truths.

or

They might be truths that need to be fixed by others, and we may have just observed and talked about them.

But looking back over the course of the day, all those ‘problems’ and all that running commentary about the problems, what can we notice now?

Individually, any single item might have needed to be witnessed and addressed by someone.

Did we need to speak each of these out loud?

Looking at them in total, Did we need to speak ALL of them out loud.

How do you feel when we give voice to these Problems?

When we say all of these things, and I do mean ALL, how does that make us feel. Do we feel better for saying them out loud?

Do we cement the problem into our reality by giving voice to a problem?

Are these problems even a priority in our life?

So I stubbed my toe on a shoe when I first woke up. Big deal, it’s not a life changing problem. Sure I might be a little more mindful about where I put my shoe after I take it off before bed, next time. But do I need to announce to myself, those around me and the universe the problem?

There is no right answer. Maybe the toe stubbing was severe and we can’t help but yelp. Maybe it was minor and a distraction. Maybe in that moment when we chose by conscious will or by unconscious and mindless habit, maybe then we lose track of that REALLY important thing we were supposed to be focused on?

Inviting a Response from those Around Us

Consider for a moment the impact of these words on the people in our lives? Our loved ones, our family, our partners, our coworkers, our friends.

As they witness our running commentary of EVERYTHING that is wrong in our world, do they want to help? Do they try to help?

Do they want to turn their head down and avoid us or avoid adding to our problems?

Do they bottle up the challenge they previously thought they needed to share with us until they ran into our hurricane force wind of verbal problems.

Do they create a new habit where they stop sharing the little problems to spare us or to spare themselves the repercussions or the amplification of giving a megaphone to one more problem?

Do our problems seem to fall on deaf ears?

Do the conversations that pop up around our commentary help our relationships or do they hurt them? Are these the important things we really want to discuss at all?

or

Are these the important things that we want to discuss with the people that happen to hear them?

When we launch into our running commentary of problems and share something a challenge in our personal life with a coworker, business partner or even a client, does this help our professional relationship? Maybe it does, maybe this helps create a bond with an experience that everyone has.

or

Maybe it uses up valuable time talking about a topic that cannot be dealt with by the professionals around us, time that could have been spent dealing with actual challenges in our professional lives.

And then

When we go home, we have these unresolved professional challenges that were not dealt with at work, and we share them with the people in our personal life because the thing is eating at us or because it flared up in an email, voice mail, phone call or something after we got home, where it can’t be dealt with by anyone.

Now this professional problem distracts us from dealing with the personal challenges we shared earlier and the cycle gets worse, it amplifies and repeats itself everyday.

When to unload and let go out loud, and when to trust that it will be dealt with in due course

If we can practice reversing our habit to allow our verbal commentary of every challenge we might find the space to pick and choose the items that are a priority.

We might spare those around us from hearing the challenges that do not pertain to them or are not really a priority for anyone.

We can trust they will get resolved eventually. We can trust that they do not really even need to be dealt with.

Sometimes, Doing Nothing is the right answer

We can let go of these challenges easier because we have not given voice to every single thing.

We can reduce our anxiety by not empowering every challenge and making it ‘a thing.’

We can deal and cope with the challenges that we deem to be actually important and we can get help or assistance from the right people, responsible and accountable for these problems instead of offloading them on the wrong people.

We can ask to be Given Space but…

Whether we are given space personally or professionally, we might not choose to expect space for EVERYTHING. We might not choose to expect those in our personal lives to ALWAYS give us space for professional issues and vice versa for those in our professional lives to ALWAYS give us space for personal issues.

In my personal experience, it seems more taboo to share or ‘hear’ personal issues at work. It does happen and that’s OK.  But there is more of a taboo there.

I feel that the taboo against ‘bringing work home’ has decreased.

There are many reasons for this that I’m not going to delve into, yet this change, it can be the snowball that creates an avalanche that spreads through our lives, creating that cycle mentioned above, until life cascades out of control.

So today, and going forward, I’m going to be more mindful in my practice about my own running commentary, when to give voice and when to just let the thought run through my head and out my ear, not my mouth.

Over time, I’m hopeful that the cascade will melt away and I’ll be able to better address any actual boulders or rocks underneath the former avalanche.

 

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Being Present When You Are Not…

I keep running into (smallish) challenges relating to being ‘present’ when I’m physically not present.  When I can, and when I am mindful of it, I prefer to be present and focused on the people I am with.

I am not perfect and will respond to a message or call as I can or need to, but do this so as to avoid letting minor things turn into major things.

My preference is to connect and be connected with people when we are together.  It’s more of a personal goal and not so much a rule.

Currently, I have many people in my life that are very important to me and all of them, spend significant amounts of time away from me.

  • I have shared custody of my children and see them for a week, every other week.
  • My girlfriend spends 2-3 days out of town every week.
  • My parents and brother live out of state 750 miles away.
  • I am connected with the majority of my (know them in real life) friends via Facebook.

Like food deserts, it can feel as if I live in a relationship desert.

All the more important to BE THERE

So when I am with friends, family, my girl friend, I try to be there.  It’s important to me, because I’m starved for this connection in real life so much of the time.

Juxtaposing creating and maintaining the relationships I have from a distance

Yet, with everyone so far away much of the time, I also have to work to stay connected in any digital way that I can.

I don’t do shallow

I’m a deep end of the pool kind of person.  I can make small talk a bit. I can shoot the shit and joke around.

But my preference is to go jump in the deep end of the pool and talk about real things that matter.

It’s not easy to do that via text. It’s not easy to do that via facebook. It’s not always easy to do that on the phone.

I can have deeper conversations with my son, my oldest child over the phone. But it’s not an easy medium of conversation with my daughters.

Its easy to talk with my family on the phone, when we can connect, but just connecting is a challenge at times.

My girlfriend and I, we communicate the most via text. It helps to foster in my mind a quick emotional connection. But I can’t go deep via text.  I can’t share deep, and I can’t ‘hear’ deep when its sent via text.  It just doesn’t click in my brain. We work at phone conversations, sometimes these work and sometimes not.  I’m not judging either of us for this, just trying to get clear in general….

The struggle of the balance Being Present in the now vs growing distant relationships for those that might be present in days or weeks.

So when my kids are with me and my girlfriend is away, I get caught up in parenting and the rat race of driving kids around. It becomes even more difficult for me to maintain a connection with my girlfriend (from my perspective). I’m trying to be present with my kids during this, because they are physically there. I’m trying to connect or reconnect after a week without them around. I’m trying to catch up on what I missed the week before. I’m trying to find those teachable moments and help parent, coach, guide my children into becoming the amazing women they are becoming. (My son just turned 20 and is an amazing man already. I’m still parenting and maybe mentoring a bit, but our roles are changing.)

When my girlfriend is present and my daughters are away, I try to be present with my girlfriend. I’m trying to bond and catch up from our time away from each other. I’m trying to work on me and foster us. I’m trying to hear her.

Yet, in both situations, my need to be present (for lots of good reasons), it takes away from my ability to remain connected digitally. This means catch up work will be necessary when I’m present again.

I feel like I often lose ground while each person is away. I sometimes gain that ground back when we are together again.

Gaining ground is probably the wrong analogy. I’m not trying to ‘win the relationship’. It’s not something I can ‘attain’ or ‘possess’.

I am hoping to do better in each of these relationships. I’m hoping to nurture and foster the relationships.

Observing Where I am with this balance

So I’m writing this to simply observe where I am as I attempt to navigate this balance. I’m not making any decision or changes or anything.

I have no answers. I am simply recognizing the paradox.

Be present vs foster relationships with those that are distant

Time is the problem.

or maybe time is the glue that holds these two opposites together in paradox.

There are times when I have to do both at the same time.

sort of

I have to pause from being present to send or read a text.

I have to pause or delay nurturing temporarily distant relationships in order to be present with the relationship that is sharing a room with me.

I’m working to give the attention or presence to each of the people in my life. The dynamics are challenging.

How do you navigate this paradox?

Do you recognize the paradox?

Have you found any coping skills or life tips to organize things effectively, or more effectively?

or maybe there is just a more practical way of letting go of the expectations and just going with the flow, giving ourselves space to be as and when we need to be in the manner we need to be….

 

 

Quick break at the park – nullifying traffic over load

I am sitting on the table top of a black picnic table under a pavilion. The breeze is persistent and just strong enough to stir the hair on my calves, which are healing from a running injury last week.

There are eight kids playing in the park and about as many adults in the periphery of play things. Birds are squawking at each other from the circle of trees that surround the park just a bit smaller than a football field.

The cement below my table is speckled with the confetti remains of birthday parties. Planes are flying overhead ferrying people away from Charlotte while cars in the near distance bring others home from work.

My daughter stops by to slurp at her chocolate milk shake that seems to melt in fourths. She will be back for her last fourth in 10 minutes.

I pause to count and realize I made 7 different trips in my car today. That’s about double my norm. I have three more to make before the night ends.

Traffic has been rough lately as interstate construction is Wazing people onto local highways more and more. This morning I witnessed a backup that was about a mile long snaking through Christmas Town USA.

The drivers were not terribly jolly.

So I am creating the opportunity to sit and just be. I am letting go of the drives that were and the drives that will be.

I am focused on the bird chirps, the three guys talking about getting back into metallurgy, the mother trying to get her 3 year old to chill, the teens with grey hair gossiping, maybe about a girl that used to be on my daughter’s soccer team 4 years ago.

There’s an earthy smell about the place as the previously flooded river banks continue to dry down and out.

Ropes on swings and obstacle courses stretch and squeak.

The trees are leafed out and very green finally. There are very few that are not full now. Little puffs of cotton have been slowly showering down since we arrived.

The breeze has died down and my legs occasionally itch from a weed eating something or other a few days earlier.

My little mindful run down has me feeling calmer and refreshed. I am going to walk over to the exercise equipment and work on some other personal aspects of myself next.

A reluctant boy is told to put his shoes on 5, 6, 7 times and breaks into tears because he does not want to leave.

My daughter returned for her last fourth of milk shake and my guard duty is finished and exercise can truly begin now.

As it Comes together…

A great weekend summarized

It’s a Sunday afternoon, just after noon.  I’m sitting at a shaded table near the white water rafting loop overlooking the stage where bands play in the evening.  I just finished a terrific yoga sessions under the trees on the opposite side of the US National White Water Center.  It’s a beautiful partly sunny/cloud day. The clouds are helping keep the temperature perfect. There’s a regular shifting breeze that is earning a lot of props too.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a terrific morning running a 5k with my youngest daughter. It was a spring Girls on the Run race.  Both of my daughters have participated in Girls on the Run over the years, multiple seasons and years in a row.  After the race, I went paddle boarding with friends. I was on a paddle board, they were in kayaks, their beagle in a doggy life jacket.  

Yesterday was perfect and today is working out terrifically too.

The line of the suns rays are inching across the table I’m seated at towards my laptop.  Mentally, I’m telling myself that I’ll stop writing when the sun gets here, end the reflections and move forward again with my day…

I’m looking forward at my day tomorrow, my week coming, my summer, and my future.  

I need to do some planning.  I put off updating my 6 month vision board a month or two back.  I need to get back on track with this.

I was busy living, busy building my life. Sometimes, I was stressed and anxious and hanging by fingertips. Sometimes things were flowing and working well and easy. There was no constant scenario.

  • I was not broken all the time.
  • I was not functioning all the time.
  • I was not successful all the time.
  • I did not fail all the time.
  • I did not make mistakes all the time.
  • I did not ‘do it right’ all the time.
  • I did not learn from every mistake all the time.
  • I did not mis learning opportunities all the time.
  • Nothing happened all the time. There was no constant at one end of the imaginary scales of my mind.

However, even in the absence of a constant, there was a trend that sort of plotted out with hills and valleys going up and down and up and down and scattered away from a correlation line with occasional outliers…

I persisted throughout.

I did continue to make progress. I built momentum and kept at it, even when I wasn’t moving at all.

I was able to maintain a level of mindfulness more often than not.

There were days when I was uncertain and thought it might all fall apart.  But it didn’t.

So on with my week planning….

I need to identify some needs, turn those into goals, maybe create a list of things that can start to get me towards those goals. 

I do not need the magical plan that will solve all of my problems and cover every little problem or exception.

I simply need a quick push start…

I’m on a motorcycle or a bicycle with no kickstand. I have no way nor the talent to balance this thing while sitting still.

I need to get going to achieve balance. I know how to do that.  (Some other day maybe I can learn balance without momentum. Maybe that’s what monks in a monastery do?  maybe that’s a grass is greener on the other side perception, because I have no idea really what monks do.)

Listing the Needs…

  • I need to line up some largish projects for the next couple months.  
  • I need leads on largish projects.
  • I have several ongoing medium sized projects.  They are not enough to sustain me alone.  I have recently completed other largish projects so I have a little momentum going already.  
  • I want to build on that.
  • I need to automate small things.  In a lot of the work that I do, I believe there are opportunities to automate the steps in the processes I perform.
  • I really need to do this.  I need speed and flexibility.
  • I need to be free to solve larger problems with more complexity. 
  • I need to dive into some data analysis projects to grow in my ability to perform ‘conversion optimization’ and a number of other deeper skills involving my ongoing work in marketing in general.
  • I need some classes for this. These are easy to find. More importantly, I need some projects to run my new skills and education through.  Preferably, I need some projects that are 60-70% comprised of things I am very skilled in and include 30-40% of new things. 
  • I need to write.  I need to write about what’s going on with me as I am here. I need to write for my own business and use some of the same skills that I provide for a number of my clients.  I need to apply my own mojo to my own business to bring in those leads and larger projects, just like I do for some of my clients.
  • I need to continue finding more balance with my health and physical healthy lifestyle. It is something that helps keep a happy positive perspective that can fuel my work and make it easier for me to connect with clients.

Losing the focus and riffing

When I mention balance, I mean that I need to insure that I do not over due it physically, injure or exhaust myself such that I can’t get other things done in my relationships or work.  

This last week has helped me see that my health is important to me, but I can’t just ‘top off my cup of health’ and then slowly drain it with work.

I’m working through a number of small injuries this weekend. They mostly come from not doing enough on a regular basis and then trying to ‘catch up’ and over doing it physically.  

The sun is approaching. Its a about 4 inches away. The clouds are coming and going in a way that makes me forget my writing deadline set in the a sunbeam coming from a ball of fire that I recently sent my email address to on a mailing list for NASA.  I love space and science fiction.

The Beatles are singing “She loves you” on my iPhone as I write.

She does love me.  And I love her.

I’m writing with my nearsighted glasses on.  That makes it a bit difficult to see the screen, but the breeze is such that if I don’t wear my glasses, I get a bit of dust in my eyes. I forgot my sunglasses in the dusty parking lot.  🙂

It’s ok.  I’m just flexing in yet another way.

As I have increased my exercise this week, I have also worked to purge the house of sugary foods.  Some of that I let go by throwing it out. Some of it I let go by eating it!

I’m losing weight slowly.  I don’t have a lot to lose, but there’s some balance to achieve here.  I’ll get there.  

Throughout my life I’m either maintaining weight, or I’m losing some fat or I’m gaining fat or I’m losing muscle or I’m gaining muscle.

Sometimes I’m doing a couple of those things at the same time.

Currently, I’m losing fat and gaining muscle, so the weight is shifting slowly.

That’s totally ok.

Weight is just one gauge.

I track it not to obsess over my weight.  I could care less.  I’m tracking it to be mindful of where I am.

I have some new bicycle tubes (literal tubes, not hypothetical tubes like the motorcycle or bicycle in my head that I mentioned above…. real tubes that will be delivered by Amazon Prime in 2 days, or at least that’s when they were supposed to be here as of 6 days ago.

Anyway when they get here, I’ll add biking back into my mix.  Initially I’m gonna short for 2 miles per day.  That’s not much.  I’m specifically looking to keep it short, short, short.

Not overdoing it

I’m going to keep doing the other things I’m doing at the same time I add biking into my mix.  (yoga, running, walking, pull ups, upper body stuff, weights, yard work)

I’m almost hungry now.

It’s time to wrap this up.

Maybe I’ll get that vision board started today.  Make a pass at it at least.

If the first draft sucks, I’ll do it again a different day.

Bob Marley’s singing ‘Satisfy My Soul’, that’s what I’m working on.

Finding a way to satisfy my soul, working towards my purpose here on this rocky rocket ship spinning around a sun that is itself firing across the galaxy such that my planets own path is a spiral forwards into the unknown.

I’m spiraling my soul forward.  Repeating some stuff, but not really because I am thousands of miles past where I did the same things before.

I’m in the same place and I am definitely not in the same place.

Time to go and make some magical soul stuff come together again!

When Not doing the Opposite of Self Harm might be Self Harm

“When Not doing the Opposite of Self Harm might be Self Harm”

Yup, that’s a loaded title.

Lots of negatives in that title aren’t there?

Does the title even feel a little confusing?

Difficult to truly understand what it means?

We humans give NEGATIVE emotions 70% more force…

than positive emotions.

The title full of negatives is like negative emotions in our brain. It confuses our thinking, it muddles our feelings, it can result in tripping us up a bit.

So Let’s Change the title

Practicing Self Help/Blessing/Kindness can save you

Weird how the positives just don’t pack the punch in our brains as the negatives do… Well that’s kind of the point. So let’s work on this….

Backdrop – An Event that hurts my heart

Yesterday, a student at my son’s college attempted to take their own life.  I have no news as I write this as to how the student is doing or if the student is alive. My heart goes out to them and their family.

So Before I proceed further, here’s a list of resources for anyone that might need to assess where they are right now or get some other type of help.

*1-800-DON’T-CUT – More info on self-injury

*http://www.selfinjury.com – Referrals for therapists and tips for how to stop.

*1-800-273-TALK – A 24-hour crisis hotline if you’re about to self-harm or are in an emergency situation.

*To Write Love On Her Arms (http://www.TWLOHA.com) – A non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

*1-800-SUICIDE – Hotline for people contemplating suicide.

*1-800-334-HELP – Self Injury Foundation’s 24-hour national crisis line.

*1-800-799-SAFE – Domestic violence hotline.

*1-877-332-7333 – Real Help For Teens’ help line.

Intent is to speak my truth here

I am going to attempt to share only my feelings on this and not delve into things my son told me in confidence. I do not want to share gossip out of respect for the other student.

I will say that the student’s suicide attempt had an impact on several people, including people present when it happened. I am hopeful for the student. I am hopeful that maybe they survived and will get help and care. This is not a sure thing.

The people that witnessed the act are going to need care as well. Other students and employees of the school, my son is both of these.

Grief research, education & counseling will probably be needed for many people.

Even as I spoke with my son, I was reminded that as teens and twenty somethings, we humans all see and experience ‘some shit’. Some of that is more than we are prepared for and it can have a long lasting impact on us.

We can be hurt indirectly. Call this post traumatic stress, call it scars, label it and name it as you need to for your own situation.

This brings me to my topic.

We, all of us, the survivors of ‘some shit’, go on living.  And we have to work through our wounds and heal them and even work out the scars as best we can.

Last night, I was reminded of some of the things we can do to get through the minutes and hours after a traumatic event. (see a list below)

How do we balance out the over powering desire to focus on the Negative?

Once we know that we are wired to focus on the negative, we can do things to balance our internal scales. 🙂

You can do this! 

We often recognize self harm and when we are healthy, we do not practice self harm directly.

This can be easy enough for most of us most of the time.

Good Job You!

Sometimes we can all get caught up in moving forward, living our lives, building our lives, doing the things we are supposed to be doing. These are all good things.

There’s something extra we could be doing though. Think of it saving up for an emotional rainy day.

The act of not practicing self harm is a positive.

We can be more positive than that!

We can take it a step further and practice the opposite of harm on ourselves.

  • You know what harm is.
  • You know what makes you feel bad.
  • You know what ‘hurts’.

Do you know what the opposite of harm or specifically ‘self harm’ is?

🙂

That’s ok, I had to google it myself.

I mean, I knew, but I didn’t ‘know’ of my own volition what the words were specifically.

Here are a few….

Nouns for the opposite of self harm

  1. self favor
  2. self help (see you knew some of these!)
  3. self benefit (it’s ok to do yourself some good!)
  4. self happiness (yup, this is a goal too!)
  5. self virtue
  6. self blessing (Bless you, I mean do this literally, bless yourself!)
  7. self pleasure (Go for it, it’s all good)
  8. self kindness (you are worthy of being kind to you!)
  9. self goodness
  10. self profit (We have to pay ourselves the things we need before we can do anything for others)
  11. self advantage (gotta look out for ourselves, just like on a plane putting an oxygen mask on in case of emergency, put yours on first, then check on the people nearest you)
  12. self good

Verbs for the opposite of self harm

  1. Self aid
  2. Self assist (help yourself to this one!)
  3. self build (build your self up, you can be a better you!)
  4. self cure (sometimes we cure ourselves too)
  5. self heal (if you think about it, this is the ONLY way we heal!)
  6. self mend
  7. self repair (we all need a little fixing at times, and we are the ones that know us the best)
  8. self strengthen (This is maybe the topic of this entire blog article, we are growing our ability to practice help for ourselves and that strengthens us for that rainy day)
  9. Make (self) happy – This is sooooooooooo important. We have to work at this because all those negatives are super strong (in our minds) and we have to balance them with extra big doses of happy, just to bring the score to even and then beyond.
  10. self surrender – we do not have to ‘fight’ ourselves. Fighting our selves follows the path towards that other thing (harm). Surrender to your self and be at peace with yourself. You are who you are.
  11. self care (you are doing this now!)
  12. self approve/self approval – again, you are worthy of respecting yourself
  13. self benefit
  14. self create – You are more than the sum of all your days and experiences and cells and genes and thoughts.  Each minute you are different. Each second you create a newer you.
  15. self fix
  16. self help
  17. please (self) – it’s ok. repeat this in your head 10 times. “It’s ok to make myself happy.”
  18. self respect – that’s what this is all about, practicing self respect and learning to balance the things we do for everything else with that which we can do for ourselves to love ourself
  19. self protect – all of this is like building up a defense or ward to protect ourselves for the thoughts that might harm us. The tires on your car or bike might lose air over time, we have to fill them up.  Just because they are losing air, doesn’t mean there is a leak. Air can escape because of temperature or other reasons. A big drop in temperature can make a tire seem flat, so we have to fill it up. A big drop in positivity (via negative emotions) can make us feel flat, so we have to fill us up again too!
  20. self improve – in all of these things above, we are improving ourselves. Good Job!

 

All of these are a type of practice. We need to do this throughout our hours, days, weeks, months, years and lives.

The more we practice, the happier we can feel. The more we practice, the more we fill up our reserves for an emotional rainy day.

We benefit from practicing self good.

 

Things we can do to get through an event right after it happens

  • Know that we are human. Our feelings and emotions are normal. We are not the first to experience them and we will not be the last. Grief is a cycle, and we may feel like are emotions take us on a roller coaster ride. Don’t hold your breath on this ride….
  • We can focus on breathing. It sounds simple, but when we are in ‘some shit’ we start breathing shallow. We get less oxygen to our brains, and we prepare for flight or fight.  Slowing ourselves down and taking some deep breaths can help us feel better immediately.
  • We can walk. Taking a walk can help us feel better too. It gets us moving, it helps us ‘do something’. It helps us burn off some of the hormones our body generated right after an event.  It also creates new hormones that can cause us issues a couple hours later, but sometimes we simply need to get through now.
  • We can write a list of things that we remember making us happy, happy times, happy memories. We can do this in advance even. We are going to need to ‘feel what we have to feel’ when we work through things, but we can do this in balance.
  • We can talk to someone.  The more we engage our senses here the better, visual sense good, hearing sense better, visual and hearing even better, add in smell or touch, add in a social bite of food too and it will help us feel safe and grounded.
    • Texting or chatting can help.
      • I even use and recommend the Woebot app, an artificial intelligence powered app. It’s no substitute for people, it’s a nice extra to practice a couple minutes a day.
    • Talking on a phone and hearing someone’s voice can help more.
    • Talking via video with both people looking into the camera to help make eye contact seem real, can help even more.
    • Talking in person with one or more people, making eye contact, maybe even giving a hug or a dozen hugs can help even more. We humans are social creatures and this means. We can help ourselves and help others, simply by being in the presence of each other.
  • We can do things to get the thoughts, sounds, images out of our heads a bit.  Our brain might go into shock, to protect us initially. As it comes out of shock, our wonderful brains might start to process what happened. Working through memories and scenarios and what ifs and more can be a lot to handle. It’s ok to feel what we have to feel. It can be helpful to give our brain some breaks. Deep breathing again, playing some ‘mindless’ meditation music maybe, playing an instrument even if we have that talent, practicing yoga or meditating directly can be very relieving, watching a mindless and happy video or show on a screen. (not the time to watch something dark or ‘stressful’)
  • We can feed ourselves a bit. Again, we have those hormones in our system and we’re trying to metabolize them, a little eating can help us feel better, even if we have to force ourselves a bit. Some of those hormones will zap our appetite. Yet we need nutrients to maintain our health. Food can ground us as well, our stomachs require energy to process food and this can slow our system down just a bit to taking some focus away from our other brain. (Our stomach is a lot like a second brain).

WiFi Comes to the Charlotte VA medical facility

I have been spending quite a bit of time at the VA medical facility in Charlotte, NC over the last year.

I can’t say enough good things about this place and the care I have received here.  I have never in my 45 years on this Earth experienced soup-to-nuts medical care at this level.  It is excellent.  It is better than the care I received, while I was still in the military (over 23 years ago).

It is far better care than I have received outside of the VA  too.  I have been covered by some excellent ‘insurance care’ over the years. I have been to some very good doctors.

Fortunately, I have been relatively healthy and needed little help.

But

I have never been somewhere that gave me this level of thorough and overall care, physically, mentally and more.  It’s been mostly a one stop shop and that really makes a big difference.  All the clinics inside the clinic have access to my medical records.

There are 2 different labs in the same building too.

I do not have to drive from one doctor to the next specialist and then to a lab and then to a pharmacy. It’s all right here.

The staff is helpful. There’s even something extra friendly and connected with all of the other Veterans here.

We all share a similar experience and have learned and been trained in making eye contact and acknowledging each other.  We may not know each other here as we arrive for a visit, but no one is a stranger either.

I am very grateful for the help I have received here.  Part of me definitely feels like I ‘earned’ it, and part of me feels simply grateful. I am very aware that in years past, not everyone received this type of care.

My experiences here make me hopeful for the rest of America.

I do believe we could all experience a higher level of ‘health care’ not just ‘good insurance’ but actual care.

I can’t begin to express how much easier it is to get ‘care’ somewhere when there is no fear or stress associated with hidden costs, extra charges, insurance approvals for a specialists review and so many other areas.

Before the VA – Experiences with health care & ‘Great Insurance’

In years past, I have experienced what it is like to get the ‘mystery medical bill’.  It’s that moment when the first medical bill comes from a normal doctor or hospital.  And you look at the letter and open it wondering how much the total will be and how much of that bill will have actually been covered by my very good insurance, which did not always cover everything.

I have felt that sinking feeling when the bill is far more than I could afford, when it was more than a months salary, when it was more than 6 months salary.

I have felt that compounded feeling after reading one of these letters, when I then realize  this bill is probably not even the only one associated with the visit I was billed for.

At the VA

None of those feelings are loaded into my psyche when I come for a visit here. I’m simply coming somewhere that is trying to help me get healthy and stay healthy.

Now there’s one more Benefit

I work online.  I work from home and also from a coworking office.  If there is wifi, I can work.

I need that work.

For the last year, the VA here, which is relatively new, did not yet have a WiFi network setup.

Today, as I paused to try and get a hotspot signal connected through my cell phone, it failed. Cellular signals are just not that great here.

Then, I happened to notice that there was a new VA Guest Network available in Wifi.

I connected, and now I’m online. (4th floor, not sure if it is available in the entire building yet).

This is a big deal for me. I often try to schedule multiple appointments on the same day to reduce trips. But that means I spend extra time here between those appointments. There’s no close food place or coffee shop down the street.

Now, I can keep myself productive, getting things done, which will help me take care of myself, take care of business and take care of my clients.

For another 5 months, I’ll be coming here at least once per week.

This means, that I have at least 20 days, where I’ll recoup some productivity while here.  That’s a big deal for me, and definitely will help me make this a better year.

To the staff and everyone involved in the VA medical center here in Charlotte.

Thank you!

heart shaped balloons floating up into the clouds of a beautiful sky

Love & Fear & Lifting & Dropping Energy in Group Dynamics

This morning I’m listening to Jackie Wilson’s “Your love is lifting me (higher and higher)” while I eat breakfast. Jackie Wilson’s song makes it very obvious how the ‘higher and higher’ part can work.

It’s only one piece to the puzzle.

All week I have re-read Jame’s Redfield’s Tenth Insight, a sequel to The Celestine Prophecy. I watched the Celestine Prophecy on Amazon last week too. I have read The Celestine Prophecy dozens of times. I enjoy it for the lesson and path examples as much as I enjoy studying the writing style for teaching philosophy.

We Lift others up with love

This is one of those concepts that it is very obvious.  Anyone that has ever received loving feelings, words, hugs, appreciation knows first hand that this can energize a person.

The Celestine Prophecy as a teaching tool, guides us to love ourselves first and establish a connection to a source of love.  Once we do that we can safely shine that love on others and energize them, without depleting ourselves.

Fear Drops everyone involved down

The flip side of this is fear.  When fear is present, it can take the energy out of any person experiencing it, and sometimes it can deflate the energy from a group.

As the energy leaves the person or group, the person or the people in the group simply need to recenter on love.  Once reconnected to love, like an oxygen mask on a jet, they can then shine that loves on others, like assisting a child with their oxygen mask on the same jet.

People, we make mistakes.

As the positive energy of love dissipates and is replaced with wisps of fear, confusion can enter and remembering to recenter, immediately, can be tricky. We might miss a beat for a moment. Sometimes the moments stretch for seconds and sometimes for minutes, hours or even days.

When we are with one or more people, we all need to be on the lookout for this.

But we are just human and we do not have canaries in a basket hanging around to let us know when the oxygen of love is suddenly being replaced with fear.

We have to look for other signs.

Fear is a big wide stretching thing.  I think I’m going to refer to it as a super emotion.

The canary that we need to look for, might show up in other smaller emotions and the words that relate to them….

They might show up in non-verbal expressions as well, but I’m going to leave that larger topic for a different time.

The Canary Emotions to look for in words

  • We can look for words that express Anger (aggravation, agitation, annoyance, bitterness, fury, grouchiness, and more).
  • We might see Disgust words (antipathy, aversion, contempt, repulsion, spite, repulsion)
  • We might notice Envy word (greed, pettiness, wishful, ‘green-eyed’ talk, longing)
  • and Fear sometimes has its own direct words too (anxiety, dread, edginess, panic, overwhelming, shock, worry)

These words or feelings are not inherently bad anymore than the canary is bad.

These words and the emotions are the signals we are looking for.

These words or feelings are not inherently bad. They may have merit or point the way to miscommunications, opportunities for better understanding.

Why is this important?

Just like flying in a jet, if it depressurizes and loses oxygen, we need to know how to find and put our oxygen masks on.  It’s the same when we contend with our fear or fear in interpersonal group dynamics.

If we attempt to communicate when we feel fear or others are feeling fear, the odds of miscommunication are going to increase significantly.  The fear can push us far into an emotional mind, and we lose the balance of our rational mind.  Without that balance, we cannot engage with others in the middle, balancing in wise mind.

wise mind venn diagram from pinterest, source is BPDFamily.com

wise mind venn diagram from pinterest, source is BPDFamily.com

We need to look for the sign that love is dissipating and being replaced with fear.

We need to stop the fear.

Not by shutting down the fear words or emotions or even trying to ‘reason’ with them in our head or from an external source.

So what do we do with all of this?

  1. We need to put our love breathing mask back on and get connected.
  2. When we can feel love for ourselves again, we know the love mask is working.
  3. When we can feel love for the people in the present group dynamic, then we our ready to re-engage with them as well.
  4. We need to shine love on them, and acknowledge recognition of the existence of fear or the other emotions present that are displacing love.
  5. If anyone in the group dynamic cannot reconnect, and this includes ourselves, then we need to back away from the group. We need to regroup ourselves and allow others to do the same.  This can help if we leave on a note of love. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer would call this ‘End on love no matter what!’
  6. Later at some other time and place, when people are reconnected with love and we are too, it might be time to reconnect and communicate.