A large rusty anchor and small fragment of chain and an orange life preserver hanging on a boat's hand rail.

The Life Preserver and the ‘Good Luck’ Anchor

A couple went for a sail in a small boat. A storm blew in out of no where and they lost their sail. They were getting blown out of the bay and out to open sea, when they noticed a rock coming out of the ocean. On the rock was a rusty anchor and some chain.

With much struggle they were able to guide the boat to the rock during a lull in the storm. They attached the chain to the boat. The top of the rock was flat and the anchor would not attach to it. They did not want the storm to bash their boat against the rock, so they drifted out a bit and dropped the anchor. It steadied them at a safe distance and they stopped floating out to sea.

They were grateful for finding the anchor. It steadied them and gave them hope. They might be found or rescued after the storm.

But the storm got worse and the swells increased that night.

By morning, they realized that the anchor was no longer catching against anything. They pulled it into the boat in the hopes they could use it again later.

A new storm rose again in the mid morning. It was fierce and worse than the last. Their boat started to sink. They had an inflatable life raft, and scrambled to get it inflated and into before the little sail boat was lost. They managed to bring some water, a life preserver and at the last minute they brought their ‘lucky’ anchor just in case it might be needed like before.

They floated all day and had no chance to drop anchor nor see anyone that might help. In the evening a new storm picked up and the ‘lucky anchor’ scratched a small hole in the raft. They worked to bail and re-inflate the raft and even patch it.

But the patch did not hold and the water came in to fast and eventually the life raft was lost, and yet in the distance they could now see the distant lights of a shore.

They decided to try and swim towards the lights, an obvious choice. They wanted to maintain their last bit of luck and clung to their ‘lucky anchor’ while they shared the life preserver.

They kicked and pulled trying to make progress. The anchor was dragging in the water behind them. They were holding on by the link of the chain. In some of the swells that were mild now by comparison to the night before, their preserver would bob under the wave by a few feet before barely pulling them back up.

The good luck that had gifted them the anchor was now holding them back, but they held on.

In the late hours of the morning, they got tired. They decided that they would take turns sleeping. One person would hang inside the preserver with their arms over top the ring. The other would hold the preserver with one hand and the anchor with the other and kick them towards land or at least hold them in place.

This did not work well. The swells were lessoning so they didn’t bob under the waves, but they were losing ground and the shore looked farther away than ever.

They had both had fitful naps a couple of times, but not enough to renew their energy. They were exhausted and tired and cold and hungry and losing hope.

All they had were each other, their life preserver and their lucky anchor.

They tried to boost each others spirits and thanked their luck for finding the anchor the day before. For if they had not found it, they would have surely drifted even further into the ocean and the jet stream would have pulled them into much colder waters. They’d probably be dead of hypothermia by now if that had happened.

They couldn’t wait to get on shore and show and tell the world about their great fortune in finding the anchor. They were tired and didn’t want to risk dropping their good luck anchor, so they found a way to tie the chain around their waists. This freed up both their arms and helped them paddle even further together towards shore.

They never once considered letting go of their anchor and swimming to shore faster with a lighter load, and that’s why when the tides changed, they were swept further out to see and the larger swells eventually pulled them under and they didn’t bob back up and they didn’t make it to land and they didn’t tell their story.


We know of this story because the locals on that shore hear the story of the couple every evening after a large storm rolls through. The spirits of the couple pull themselves up on shore and tell of their good luck in finding their good luck anchor and how it saved them, right before they recede with the tide back to their eternal resting spot at the bottom of the ocean.

Excuse Removal System – Chris Brogan – YouTube

Love these quick tips/steps from Chris to create an excuse removal system.

Really loved the anecdote about having to device logins, one with the username ‘YouNeedToWriteMoreYouBastard’ which has no internet access, ergo no distraction opportunities.

There’s a bunch more, check out this 4minute video, could probably be watched at 1.25% speed if you are in a hurry, get ready to take notes after the 1 min mark!

Chris is an amazing, smart and thoughtful guy with a great sense of humor. Please consider subscribing to his channel!

Get More Done by Building an Excuse Removal System – Chris Brogan – YouTube
— Read on m.youtube.com/watch

Invest in the Process not the Result

This morning I watched Srikumar Rao’s Ted Talk – Plug into your hard-wired happiness.

This was a terrific talk and stands the test of time very well, and it has a title that did nothing for me.

Side lark… – Sometimes, I wonder if there are Ted Talk Editor Elves. They might have the job of editing titles to insure that they are descriptive and do not give away any spoilers, no answers in the title. The end result is that I often see amazing Ted Talks and feel that the title was by far the worst part about the talk!

The amazing core of this message is that we should invest in the process and not the result.

What does that mean?

Srikumar works through the backdrop that we can never be happy if we focus on attaining, acquiring or being something.  Winning the lottery, earning a promotion, being someone that we are not.

Instead, he talks through the concept that it is the process that gets us to these things, to these ‘purposes’. That process is the thing that we have to do, day in and day out.

The fallacy that we should do a job/profession that we are passionate about

Many times people refer to do the thing that you are passionate about. They often mistake that for a job or a profession. Attain the job and then you can do the thing you are passionate about.

Other times, people say that we should find a purpose in life and that in and of itself will be fulfilling.

Well, they both always sort of miss the point, or part of it.

Srikumar comes super close to putting these together in a new model.

First, he guides us that we need to get rid of our old brain model,

Bad Model -> If I get/do/have/be  this, Then I will be happy.

He instead, guides us to let that thing we want to get or do or have or be, let those things maybe be our guiding purpose, or at least our next purpose.

The key is in the process, our mental model of how we create the formula of doing/being/living.

If we only strive for a thing, it will never be fulfilling. Once we have it, we have it, nothing else to do there.

A process, a way of doing/being/living can constantly be improved, changed, adapted and this can be done for different stages of our lives, careers, relationships etc.

Now, last week I was working through the concept that

Happiness can be measure in our Progress

When we are making progress, improving ourselves, or can see and measure the progress, we feel a sense of accomplishment and capability and ability and growth and more.

This would be as opposed to be stuck or losing ability after ability.

If I go to school and learn how to code or how to write or how to communicate better with the people whom I love, I can measure my progress in new abilities.

That’s definitely part of the happiness forumula.

The thing is that if I only learn a better way to communicate with the people I love and I do nothing else, I don’t have much of a process for my life.

I need communications to improve. That gets applied to one part of my life, the thing that is the processes I engage in.

I am more than just a communicator.

I solve problems, and build websites, and work with business models, and practice yoga, and raise children, and coach and mentor people and many, many other things.

All those things I do are part of a process, and break down into little processes too.

Improve the processes, be happier with an improved life

And that’s the main concept of his talk. Invest in the process, not on buying stuff.

Invest in the things you do so that you can improve your process or processes.  Might be one part here, might be another part there.

You might work on several at a time, or you might hit them one at a time.

Know your Process

I think this might be where the next step for me might be.

I have become more conscious of many things in my life. Sometimes, I model these out in a diagram, like the one with this blog post, a diagram symbolizing my need to automate certain basic functions of my WordPress Agency. I need to simplify and streamline things so that the business can be more nimble, and to spare me tedium.

That required digging in and learning what in my business process could be better.

Recently, I’ve begun the process of Consciously Uncoupling from my love of three years.

It’s time I rework some of the processes that I choose a person for a relationship and engage and grow the relationship too.

I have done a great deal of that over the last three years, and this was an amazing relationship that I am now coming out of and…

I can do work on myself. I can improve my abilities, my communications skills, my ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries, my abilities to know my values and find someone’s who has values that align with mine, even if they approach life through a very different set of processes, a different way of making a living or even of having fun.

If we align in our values, the things we want to ‘process’ towards, we can bring synergy to a relationship and build something together, even if we are going about it in somewhat different ways.

I have some shit to work. That’s ok. I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. Perfect is something that no one can attain.

I can improve me by improving my methods, my processes, and I can find love and happiness with someone that chooses to do the same, even if very differently.

Life is better with love

As I sit staring at the flowers on the table, sipping some ‘Sleep’ tea because I’m not sleeping, I glance up and see a plaque on my wall.

life is better with love

About 3 years back, I bought that plaque for $10. I think I got it at Big Lots or maybe it was Aldis?

I brought it back to my new apartment, the post separation apartment after a 23 year marriage, evaporated in an evening initiated by a drunken stranger in an out of control truck on two wheels.

The plaque conveyed my sentiments, my intention, my aspiration and my belief system.

There is judgement in those words.  It happens when ever that tricky be verb is used to create a sentence.

It most definitely gets judgey when the word ‘better’ gets thrown in there too!

Better implies worse. Better implies comparison. Better implies someone looking around and seeing worse and comparing it to something else that gets labeled as better.

All that judging is why it is part of my belief system. I recognize that now. I was not conscious of it then.

Some might claim that it is also a value of mine.

I value love.

I want or desire love in my life. And for me, when I have love in my life, life is better.

It wasn’t too long after I bought that plaque, that love came into my life. I met a wonderful woman. We experienced a perfect date. It was a confirming of love as much as it was also a falling in love.  We had already fallen in love before the first date.

The date was more of a chemistry check. Did we have chemistry to match the love?

Oh, yeah! We most definitely had chemistry.

We were off to the races and it was wonderful.

We had our wounds. We had our scars.

We were in love and we healed a whole lot of those wounds and worked out those scars and made ourselves into something new.

Happily Even After…

We got quite far on love and chemistry. We started to bond and grow in new ways trying to find ways to grow into our new relationship.

  • We traveled a bit here or there; it was not enough.
  • We attempted to co-create a business together; it was not quite… I do not know what.
  • We made a beautiful home together; and it was not enough either.

That relationship ended a week ago and this is a small coming to terms with that end.

And I look up and see the plaque. Life is better with love.

It was amazingly better with love.

And here’s the rub…

Since we decided to end the relationship, it feels as if a balloon of tension simply disappeared.

It didn’t pop. It didn’t zip away in noisy, squealing loop-de-loops.

It just vanished.

It is early in this split up. We are just starting in the Step 1 or something of Conscious Uncoupling, a 5 step process, a way to mindfully, compassionately end a relationship and shift into a life of “Happily Even after” ~ quote from the book.

I am very happy with the new directions opening up in my life. Things feel easier.

I love witnessing the energy and vitality in my ex-girlfriend as well.

There are many reminders at this stage, reminders of why and how I fell so deeply in love with her.

I am not going to get into the ‘why’ of the ending. She and I have discussed this and for now have decided not to write about that. In my memory, this was more her idea than mine, and with a week of hindsight, it feels very wise to me in this current moment.

I remember why and how I fell in love with her. I could do it all over again, but I also remember why and how the relationship wasn’t working for either of us.

In balance, the scales tipped away from there being an ‘us’.

A week ago, it did not look like we could be friends for much longer. Maybe that was the heat of the moment, the fuel of the ending.

This week, I feel differently about that. I do not know where this friend might fit in my future life, and that’s ok. These things never get figured out in 7 days, maybe not 7 weeks or 7 months.

In this moment, I can mourn the passing of our relationship, and I think there is still love there. It’s not relationship level love. It’s a love of our own selves. Its a love for what we experienced maybe. It might be a love for what could have been, if only xyz.

Its a love for this other person that meant the world to me for a few, important years of my life.

I have loved as deeply for a far shorter amount of time.

I have loved as deeply for a longer amount of time.

The measurement is not important.

The love is the important part, whether its for three weeks or 3 years or 3 decades, a rough approximation of the three most influential loves of my life.

I do not measure these loves against each other. This is not how love works for me.

I loved them each with everything I had while I was with them. I love each one of them still and will not stop.

I learned and confirmed three years ago, that I could grow my heart larger. I did this in part as there was a massive hole in it. That hole was not filled or healed or anything. The hole will always be there.

My heart simply got larger. My capacity to love grew infinitely more, and I fell in love using that newish, great big heart.

My heart is not dead yet. Some day I will do this again. This is not something I need to learn nor confirm anymore. I have gained a new level of knowing, an intense new level of wisdom about myself.

I paid for that wisdom with blood and sweat and tears, and I’d pay it all over again, and I probably will.

The bottom of my tea cup still has some tea left. I neglected to throw out the tea bag and the lavender/chamomile  blend is turning the water sour. The tea was calming and helpful to calm my mind as I started writing this.

Now I think, I can get that rest I need, preparing for an amazing day tomorrow working on myself, working on my business, working to build an amazingly beautiful end to my relationship with an amazingly beautiful person, as we take slow, gradual steps to not be with each other anymore, and with luck and good fortune and compassion and even love, I hope we grow as friends.

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).
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.

Learning about Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels from Gretchen Rubin on the Tony Robbins Podcast

I am in the midst of re-listening to a podcast on personality types. Specifically, this is a niche personality focused on how people react to expectations of them.

Podcast Episode from January

Two Types of Expectations

  • Inner Expectations are the expectations we set for ourselves
  • Outer Expectations are Expectations set by other for us.

The 4 Personality types

  • Upholders want or sometimes seem to easily live up to both inner and outer expectations
  • Questioners (question everything) they live up to the inner expectations that they believe, but if they do not believe an Outer expectation, they may not do it. They ask why should I or what’s the point and maybe an endless number of other questions as they attempt to internalize and buy in or not.
  • Obligers tend to meet all outer expectations from others but they might put their inner expectations of themselves last.
  • Rebels tend to rebel against the demands of others and also the expectations they set themselves too!

The podcast talks about some of the strengths and weaknesses of each type.

It also talks about how these types sometimes work or do not work in relationships, at work or even in personal relationships. That also touches on the topic of how to communicate and get along with each type.

Gretchen Rubin is a happiness expert(Gretchen on Twitter) and for this topic has written a book on the four types called The Four Tendencies (available on Amazon).

Woe is not me with Woebot app

A couple days ago I added the Woebot app to my personal self improvement toolbox.

Woebot is an artificial intelligence app that guides me through CBT counseling. It is a type of counseling essentially that teaches healthy mental coping skills essentially through a dialog with the AI.

Actual people never see the conversations.

The app is built to encourage and guide extra positive dialog between the user(me) and the AI.

Along the way, each day includes a lesson. Today it was about identifying 3 things that I am grateful for.

Yesterday, it was about identifying ‘should’ language in my own words and in others.

I also attend two weekly group counseling sessions, one is based on DBT. This too is about identifying the duality of things, and not getting hung up on labeling something as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but instead moving foreword mindfully, not reacting but making thoughtful choices to improve our now and sometimes our future.

The combination of all of this therapy is definitely helping me.

Focusing back on Woebot for a second… it is a free app. I am including a couple screen shots of the app page and then one of my own interactions with the app.

You will notice the ‘Bye’ button with the hands clapping emoji at the end.

The app often provides a suggested response to speed things along. These response suggestions are always empathetic but in a very positive frame.

This drives me as the user to initially frame things in a positive light.

I can always override that and type something if it does not apply. I find that this suggestively also helps me practice positive reframing cheating me up.

Each daily interaction takes no more than 2-3 minutes.

I highly recommend this. It will not solve all problems but is a nice quick help everyday.

Vision Board Example - pexels-photo-264693

I Never Wear Bandanas – Vision Boards, Tree Chopping and Cruise Lines Now Hiring

“A Tree: First you chop it down, then you chop it up” ~ George Carlin
This morning I finished meditating. Now, I’m sitting at the top of a carpeted stair case. At this time of day, I can soak in the limited pre-winter sun beam that only comes in this one window . I have a bandana tied around my head.
I never wear bandanas.
I’m getting into my un-comfort zone. I’m trying to feel the world from a different perspective with my third eye blindfolded.
Earlier, I read an article by a friend and client. He was not happy with the state of his new industry.

Vision Boards – WTF

While I read, I kept glancing up at my vision board. A vision board is a drawing. It is part mission statement, part goal. These combine in a visual diagram drawn next to an image of the current state of affairs. In the middle is a list of three things that take a person or group from the current state of affairs to the future goal. It is not created in the order I just described.
I’m working in my un-comfort zone. If you continue reading, give up expectations of order.
I watched a TedTalk earlier. Actually, I watched three. The first was in Spanish and talked about floating balloon cities. I don’t speak Spanish but I’m learning French again. I did understand the words Mucho Grande. I liked this talk quite a bit, partly because I named my daughter after the President of the solar system. He ruled from a bubble city floating above Jupiter.
Another Ted Talk discussed Slow Hunches or something. It described how Darwin felt that he had an epiphany when he came up with his theory of natural selection. Darwin’s copious notes tell a different story. He developed a strong, slow hunch about Natural selection months before he realized what he was thinking.
I might be slow hunching now.
The same talk described the benefits of ‘opening up to each other’ and mixing ideas to create amazing new solutions. The genesis of GPS is an example of such a beast.
My friend’s article felt a bit like a complaint with no solution.
There’s nothing wrong with complaining. In fact, I find that I rarely get something fixed (quickly) until I have complained about it out loud. In fact, the faster I say something is ‘impossible’, the faster I figure out how to make it possible.
We often need to put voice to the pain we feel so that we can do something to change the state of things.
As I ponder his challenge, I keep thinking, this article was a complaint, but it could have been a vision board.
It could be an article that sets up the problem (the current state). It could then paint a portrait of a future state.
Then it could list 3 things that could be done now to move in the direction of the future state. It might not solve the problems of the current state.
However, problems like navigating through a forest, is sometimes easier to do after we start.
We need to move in the direction of a thing, before we can ever course correct.
Unless, someone has a GPS Problem satellite, hovering 150k feet above us, that can calculate where we are and where we need to be and how to get there.
Now there’s an idea. How do we do that?
What is our Value in the world?
This was one of the core issues of this article. A group was trying to offer work to a single person by courting hundreds if not thousands of people to compete for the same job.
In chasing a large number of people, they had cut the offer amount to about one third of what it should have listed for according to my friend. Their thought must have been, if we put this out there to a large enough group of people, someone will take it at this price and we’ll save tens of thousands of dollars.
My friend noted, that when this happens, it decreases the value for everyone in the industry. A lower tide lowers all ships.
Fun Fact -The offer came from a cruise line.
I just brought my girlfriend’s three legged cat in from outside. She had gone out to ‘eat the grass’. It’s a part of her daily routine. She doesn’t stay long now that it is colder outside. Her remaining bones get chilled easy. Now, she is sitting atop the stairs in the sun beam I occupied before.
She’s trying to creep onto my lap, but that spot is taken by my laptop.

Future Vision – A World with Visions & fewer complaints

  1. So, I’m going to create a blog template. Something that is preformatted to showcase a problem, the current state. Something that is also pre-formatted to showcase the future state with solutions running.
  2. Then it will have a big arrow connecting those two things.
  3. Finally over top the arrow will be a quick list of things that can be done to help make it so.
  4. Bonus Round – There will also be an invitation for readers to chime in and co-mingle their visions of how they can make it so too.

What the Goal Isn’t

In this situation, the goal would not be to have a bunch of people tell my friend how to do the thing better nor argue about the 3 methods he might conceive of.

What the Goal is

The goal is to get more people envisioning their own role in the thing, and sharing how they would fit in the system.
For my military friends out there, this might be a little similar to the brainstorming process that comes with an After Action review, where everyone works to identify 3 things that went well and 3 things that could have gone better. The idea with an AAR is to keep what works and improve upon what isn’t working well enough. It is an iterative brainstorm.
This Vision Post could be helpful for the individual that writes it, but it could evolve into an iterative Hive Vision Post as well.
Bringing multiple people together in common vision cause to make the world a better place….
Now to do the thing!

Afternoon Addendum

I ran with some of the playful creativeness of the morning. I made an initial draft of a template for a  Blog Post Template for a Vision Board.
You can see a bit here…
Moving beyond being Stuck

Move Past Things that Hold Us Back

I had surgery last week. A small skin cancer tumor no longer resides below my right eye in my cheek.

I never had cancer before. This was a ‘small’ cancer. It was not life threatening. It could cause problems later in life, but it is gone now.

I never had a surgery that cut into my skin before. I received many stitches in my face. I am fortunate. These stitches are my first too.

The surgery was 5 days ago. It took more out of me than I expected. I slept a great deal.

I could not smile for several days. That took a lot out of me too.

Before the surgery, my life kept accelerating. It grew and it grew better, but the surgery forced me to slow down and pause.

I need to speed up again.

Things are holding me back. I can feel them. I need to move past these ‘things’.

I do not know how, so I am writing through it here and now to find my path again.

What holds me back?

First, there are things that hold me back. There are things that help me move forward with ease. I need to remove the former and heal or repair the latter.


I am depressed. This holds me back.

I am unable to exercise due to stitches for a few more days. This prevents me from running or practicing yoga. Those are things that help me move forward with ease.

The depression has many roots. Some are ‘all in my head’. I have an initial therapy appointment for the second week of December. This is the earliest the VA can get me in to start working on me.

I made the steps to get that going though!

My finances are upside down. I have worked on this for quite a while. I make progress every week. Yet, I am still in the upside down. This is frustrating and a driver of my depression as well.

I work to accept what I cannot fix in the now. I work to fix what I can. It is far easier to do this work well, when I do not feel depressed. The depression creates a ‘catch 22’.

I self medicate with a 200 mg caffeine pills as a daily supplement. This gets me through the hardest time of day, mornings.

It’s not enough. It helps.

I suffer from distractions. I do not call this ADD or ADHD. I do not have a diagnosis for either.

I get hung up on things:

Cash Flow Problems – Clients that do not pay me or pay slowly. This is a big trigger for me. Even when the amount is inconsequential, it can stop me in my tracks.
News & Politics – For 18 months I kept these out of my life. It helped. They have seeped back into life.
Interruptions – Running errands for myself or the family distracts me. This is a big one. As a half time single parent, it can be more challenging every other week. I get behind when I have custody of my children. Writing that sentence makes me feel guilty as hell.

This list is not comprehensive. It is a small sample.

It helps me to have many things to do.

Before writing this:

  • I unloaded the dishwasher,
  • reloaded my medicine box for the next week,
  • made the bed,
  • took a shower,
  • dressed my wound, and
  • had a healthy snack.

These small tasks gave me momentum to start writing.

Writing will be another task that will help me move onto client work that requires more writing.

That will feed to another task and another.

I build momentum to move forward. Moving is necessary to move past things that hold me back.

How do I move past this?

It helps me to write out the things that ail me. I need to put voice to a thing to move past it.

So writing this now, is helping me move past everything I mention herein.

Writing alone is not enough. Therapy next month will help.

Reading books, taking courses, viewing things on screens that inspire help me too.

I am overdue for a trip to the comedy club. Laugh therapy always helps me. I laugh at life’s challenges all the time. I often have a ‘good attitude’ even while depressed.

Laughing ‘at my circumstances’ is not healthy. It is self deprecatory.

Laughing along with an audience led by a professional comedian can be very healthy.

I need that soon.

I need to get out and dance as well. Music and moving to music, helps me metabolize my depression. It helps me transform into a positive person.

I need that soon too.

Did I really put the monster down?

In a month or a year or 5, will I look back and witness that I moved past the things that held me back?

Will I have put down the monster?

I do not know.

I will set some goals. I need to consciously see what I am working to improve. I need to KNOW when I have achieved it.

I will need to course correct if I fall of the path. I will need to adjust my goals if my view from the next vista indicates, I have chosen poorly.

In some ways, I may never put the monster down. That’s ok.

For many years, I never needed most of this stuff.

Well, I did, but I didn’t know it.

I lived without knowing what I needed to be happy, healthy, or to perform at peak performance.

I know better now.

Many of these steps are one part first aid and another part ongoing maintenance.

If I heal for now, and stop performing the maintenance, a serious problem might develop.

First aid might not be enough!

I can get to an easier place in life. I can get back to a place where I have things taken care of as part of my regular routine.

Next Steps for Me

So I will publish this short article. I will help a client and then another and another.

I will help some of those same clients pay me.

I will improve my work and business. I am doing a lot to get far more organized. I am cutting costs too using new tools.

I will build more momentum.

My face will heal and the cut will stop oozing blood at unfortunate times.

I will exercise again. I will reboot my head practicing yoga again.

I will do many more things and do them well.

I will make mistakes and learn from some of them. With luck and effort, I will learn from all of them!

What would you do? What would be next for you?

I do not know everything. I am in unchartered territory and learning as I go.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?


Enough about me. How are you? What would you do for you?

What will you do next for you?

Care to share some notes? Maybe we can learn from each other, maybe not.

I do know that it is healthy and helpful to work through life with others.

Thank you for coming along for the ride!