Samanthas beginning of her last year of highschool.
Hello friends. May I introduce you to this budding writer and the adventures of Samantha? Samantha is a superhero who is discovering the adventures of life.
Samanthas beginning of her last year of highschool.
Hello friends. May I introduce you to this budding writer and the adventures of Samantha? Samantha is a superhero who is discovering the adventures of life.
Know that Love is there.
The most friendly thing we can do for ourselves is to have a knowing-sense that Love is there. It sounds rather Disney, and maybe that’s one of the reasons Disney works its formula so well. It’s a formula that is based on Truth.
I like to think of Truth as something that doesn’t change with our changing perceptions, our changing definitions of what is real or have anything to do with our choices. Truth is as solid as anything can be in any dimension, time or space. Love is from that category of unchanging things.
I’m not someone who ever relished lectures on defining the different types of love; agape, phileo, eros, Micky-Mouse or Minnie. My simple ears hear buzzing sounds when people start talking like that and all I can think of is how to peel a banana or when can I eat that good bread in the bowl in front of me. I wear my primitive self on my shirt today not to say that we shouldn’t be otherwise, that Greek is trivial and forget the Dead Sea Scrolls. Nooooo way. That sophistication is wonderful too and I lean heavily on it. I just don’t do the research myself. I believe the research I feel is right. There. I’m a scientist and I just said I tend to believe my feelings. It’s out. Leave now if you want to but that is who I am. I still claim to be a scientist and you can’t make me stop.
I see Love the way I do. Bigger than that and that and that. A gestalt at times and at other times, bits. Like finding a piece of broken mirror; I know I don’t see the whole reflection of Love, but it is. Love is there. It doesn’t depend on our behaviors or proofs. It doesn’t depend on anything. Love is.
A patient, Mindy, was telling me about her husband. She said that when he was sick, she was constantly trying to figure out if he loved her. But as he’d been healing she’d been healing too. Now when she looked at him, she found the channel switching more often from, “Does he love me?” to, “There is Love.” I celebrate this with her.
Mindy could have taken this further to say, “Love was there even when he wasn’t healthy and even when I am not. Love is.” Maybe she still will. How about you?
Empower yourself by going towards what scares you. Take it to the table and be with it. Get to know it and openly share company with it.
Opal was throwing up. She threw up more when she gained weight or felt fat. Throwing up didn’t help her lose weight. It was just a tool she had to deal with it all. Opal was told often not to worry about her weight. Told, she looked fine and not to weigh herself. No one said openly, “Opal, you’ve gained weight and you’re going to get other illnesses because of it if it keeps going.” They were afraid saying anything like that would make her throw up. Hm.
What do you say?
We remember the three things that help maintain long-term weight loss. Well one of the main reasons they work is because they help keep us present with “the problem” or “fear” or “shame” or however we name it. Our natural instinct is to go away from fear but this is another example of when we don’t get help following our instincts.
What empowers Opal is to get tools to contend with her struggle with obesity. It is probably a life-er for her and oh-well! We can love our flaws better if we stop running from them and grow our skills in living with them in a friendly way.
Get empowered with whatever you are afraid of in yourself. If you can’t do what you need to do to be in the place of that fear, it may be that you have a medical illness keeping you from coping better. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Staying with your journey, even to taking medication, even to naming brain illness in your life is so courageous. You become one of the great ones. Heroic. It is so much easier to disconnect and lose our opportunity to love our flaws.
Have you ever heard someone call their life-er, “my old friend?” Maybe it is arthritis? Or recurring cancer? Maybe it is brain disease. Some day, we will also name our own, “my old friend.” And we, with Opal, will mean it.
Self-Care Tip – Empower yourself by your presence.
Questions: How do you do what is friendly to yourself when your instincts tell you not to? What has that done for you? Please tell us your story.
What do you want?
It is one of my challenges as a physician when someone comes to see me for reasons I’m not able to accommodate. I can’t validate them. I can’t tell them what they want to hear.
What can I do? Help them “realize” that they came to see me for another reason. Another way to say it is to help them “choose” another agenda. A part of them realizes their need for help; they came. A part of them believes I am a person that can help; they came. A part of them. A part that I and the patient are responsible to find and shift agendas deliberately or by any wiles possible.
We are an unusual team in this. How often do you find another so awkwardly paired? Yet these are some of my best patient-doctor relationships.
What do you want?
When there is a meeting up, a connection and everyone is working for the same “want,” both presence and movement are natural responses. It’s like we’re standing still in the moment, senses taking it in, and moving all the while. The process of moving itself brings pleasure and healing. It is not always about arriving. It is not always what we think we want.
Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your re-choices and what you will get from them.
Questions: Have you every found yourself being “helped” to have a different agenda that improved your presence and movement in your personal journey? Please tell us your story.
Yesterday, sitting with all the intellectuals, the thinkers and the brains, my “Big Fat F” felt like I was dressed wrong more than once. However, thanks to you guys and what we’ve done together, I was able to recognize it and make it through without sautéing the shame of being who I am wired to be. See blog-post, Hear, Be Hear, Believe and Speak in Your Language.
There are temperaments that find it easier to believe in God I think; feelers, more so than thinkers at least. But definitely not across the board. Whatever our temperament or brain health, we are all deciding what to do with the surging evidence of the evolutionary history of our world. This can translate into an all-or-none decision for the existence of God. When logic and knowledge make a seven-day creation unbelievable, than believing in God might too. When we discover the repeating themes between religions, Buddhist with Christianity with Mayan and so forth, than rather than believing in a message that is bigger than culture and Time, we might believe that there is no message. When we understand emotions and behaviors on the cellular, hormonal and related biology and draw the line even more clearly to evolutionary origins, we might nod our heads. “No God.” When we say,
Everything starts and ends with me,
and in the connections we find, discover humanism decreasing the perceived need to depend only on God, we might pull a hand back, take in breath, go silent and think,
Is this all?
Yesterday, talking about oxytocin, how it was measured and manipulated, how emotions and behaviors were measured and manipulated, I was in awe. I always am by these discussions. It amazes me over an over again that we can have this beautiful understanding about emotions and behaviors. However, there was the curtained message that there is no God. I can’t say exactly how I believe this to be true. But I do. I felt a chill and remembered, even if these things are true, doesn’t say anything about God not existing.
All these things that I use to define my reality, which of them can be really trusted? Love, Emotions, Time, biology, personality, senses, brain, essence, connections and external input, learning and knowledge, the Bible, visions and more – they don’t have to define the existence of God but for many of us they may.
So I ask you, of all the things you use to define your reality, what do you trust? Do you use them to grow your belief in God or vice versa?
Self-Care Tip – Work these questions over deliberately before these questions work you over unsuspecting.
Evening friends. Spent the afternoon enjoying the company of friends and family. Including enjoying a lecture from the “love doctor,” Paul Zak PhD. Dr. Zak gave us a practice run on his upcoming lecture for TED in Scotland. He told us about the amazing hormone, oxytocin, which Dr. Zak tells us is the morality hormone. It increases any time we have increased social connection. Oxytocin makes people trust, empathize and have increased moral behaviors. Dr. Zak’s prescription is eight hugs a day (hugs increase oxytocin). Awesome.
A day or two ago we talked about life-ers. You and I gave our own. Whatever yours is, you are not alone. We share that being a friend to ourself means embracing our flaws, going towards our flaws and letting the shame dissipate in our familiar presence. Weather it’s cigarettes, weight, yelling or cow-tipping, resisting our instinct to hide it, to ignore it and deny it brings us into a place of friendship and connection.
In all my blah-blah’s, sometimes people just want me to get down to the specifics. I’ve never found those to be too exciting for me personally, but they do help when afraid.
Today I’m going to hit weight management up. When hope seems to be leached out by failures, these are my efforts that keep me connected to my journey. I eventually always go back to these.
Three Things That Have Long Term Influence on Weight Management:
1. log your food. For example, Sparkpeople.com or myfitnesspal.com are both wonderful sites that will help with this free, including apps for our smartphone.
2. weigh yourself every day. Just weighing in has long-term benefits. Sweet. Improves presence with our bodies, awareness, goes towards shame, etc…
3. compete/support network
4. the rest of it. This is for all the other stuff that is critical on many levels. However, only the three things I’ve mentioned have been shown to have long-term effects.
I know. Where are my references? This is my blog, so me. But there are references if you like. I don’t have time to pick them off of my under-table unfortunately. Hope that doesn’t keep you from participating with us.
Self-Care Tip – Know where to go when you feel afraid – towards it and not away.
Some of the best encouragement I got was from my sister-in-law who writes, CretingBrains.com. She said,
Sana, you know a lot! When you start writing, you’ll see. It will come to you. You won’t believe how much you have to say.
Now when I get stuck, when no words come, I remember this, the panic ebbs away and I start to write. I increased my listening skills …to myself, to hear myself. It’s a terrible thing to live, loud background noise, but not learning how to become the main voice of your own journey. The knowledge base, emotions, energies and passive efforts although acquainted with each other never merge into rhythm.
Just write what you know.
I learned more to trust myself. In fact, I became a better physician.
However, before this, I studied. I studied and I studied and got worked really hard, but I got the knowledge base that I have and I gained part of my platform. I got a lot.
I share my sister’s words with others.
Just write what you know.
I’m not done. I shudder to think about being done. It feels like death. However by writing, it stretches my movements. It reminds me of those martial arts movies that show all the kicks and jumps and climbing air as if moments could be shaped differently.
That is my experience, but any of us have something worth saying. We have our suffering at least. Everyone has some of that.
My six year-old was asking me about writing a blog. I’m sure she’s tired of watching me at the keys and figures she’ll join me if she can’t get me otherwise. I asked her what she’d write about and she said,
I have nothing to say Mommy!
Just write what you think, I said.
I have nothing to say!
Just write what you feel, I said.
And then my daughter found her words.
One! I’m lonely! Two! I feel left out! Three! I’m sad! Four! I’m happy!
She is a fierce creation. She is, like me, “A big ‘F.” (F stands for feeler in the language of temperaments.) At age six, she has much to write about. I remembered my sisters words,
…you’ll see. It will come to you. You won’t believe how much you have to say. Just write what you know.
We all have something to say and for many of us, saying it increases our sense of presence with ourselves, our connections with others and inherent to the design of writing freestyle, guides us into the space of what we enjoy. That space can be evasive and for some of us, it takes practice and increased skill to find it. But here is an exercise in being friendly with ourselves. Not many of us would spend this kind of time on things that bore us, things we feel awkward with, things that erode our self-confidence or increase incongruence with our inner-self. When we write freestyle, we let our genetic self speak. It can be used as a guide to clarify our talents and interests as per our design.
I hope I never forget how compelling my daughter was with her,
One! I’m lonely!…
That is a lot to say. There’s a lot there worth hearing as well.
Go toward your interests and you’ll be writing what you know. If writing isn’t in your design, something else is that will join you up with your personal journey, grow your sense of presence, connect you to others and serve as a guide to clarify your talents per the design you were created to be. Go toward it. You won’t believe how much you’ve already stored up. You are treasure.
Self-Care Tip – Use what you know by using your temperament as your guide. Keep on.
Yesterday we spoke about the emotion, happiness, as it connects to and does not connect to spirituality. Traditional western religions squirm or more, disagree when they hear this. Everything is spiritual in their school of thought. However, as our understanding of where emotions and behaviors come from, we have happily disentangled ourselves from the stigma and judgment that comes from the way many people have (mostly unwittingly and often without intended malice) abused us with mental illness.
I know that I have also been in this crowd of prejudiced. Coming out of that has been fun. There is still so much that I think I see clearly but don’t, as it is for us all. The growth we’re talking about is part of the high adventure that brings pleasure to life.
To say it plainly:
How does this fit into your biopsychosocial model of how you see yourself?
Biology. Psychology. Socially.
How does it influence the way you befriend yourself?
How might this influence stigma surrounding emotional illness?
Emotions are just one of the many things that make us who we are. Many many things. As we tease these bits of ourselves apart, it is not the same as denying the multi-paradigm weave that makes us who we are.
Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your emotions but don’t put your life on them.
A couple of days ago, in blog-post What Must I Do To Be Happy, we asked the question,
Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?
This is not a question we hear every day.
The relationship of happiness and spirituality is heavily weighted in our cultural awareness. We hear about it all the time. “They are connected,” is a reasonable statement.
The separateness of happiness and spirituality is culturally quiet. How often do we think that happiness is about brain health and not our spiritual condition? It may not be reasonable, culturally common or comfortable, but it is still true; they are separate.
Lola Snookers answered our question saying,
No, I do not see happiness and spirituality going hand in hand. Having faith does help me be stronger but no it doesn’t pull me out of sadness. I can be grateful and depressed at the same time. …to say having a closer connection to God will make you happy is crazy. It helps me hang on and push though, it blesses my heart & maybe someday I will look back think how happy I was to have Him in my life (and I am.) However, for me it doesn’t in itself make me happy.
Lola is telling us that happiness and spirituality are related and separate. There is no reason they can’t be both …except for how we reason. For example, I think of Father-Time who left office when the forth-dimension came into discussion. Our reasoning changed and told us that Time is not what we thought.
There is great freedom in the understanding that emotions such as happiness are not always chosen. There is great freedom knowing more about how we intersect with the seen and unseen forces. Freedom in knowing how we connect seems paradoxical doesn’t it? But it isn’t.
We’ve talked about how everything is connected and that knowledge is flat. That includes happiness and spirituality. However, we have also spoken about taking things apart to know their natures better. Knowing how they are separate is knowing how they connect.
I’ve been doing my usual struggle with lifestyle, health, weight and image maintenance. It’s one of my life-ers.
There are some things we will courageously and sometimes cowardly maintain our fight with. These are our life-ers. We will have it on our docket every day. There are times when this will blow us away with frustration, hopelessness and feelings of impotence. Other times we will see it more calmly for what it is. It is. No more or less.
It’s helpful to say these things out loud. That way when we wake up and see the life-er there, or catch a reprieve with distraction, or work like a mad-dog to get friendly with ourselves despite it all and find that that doesn’t take these life-ers away, we will maintain hope. We will see these life-ers, although part of us, don’t define us. We will own them and weave them into our friendship with ourselves – flawed and perfect selves.
What is your life-er?
Self-Care Tip – Knowing what your life-er is, is part of being a friend to yourself.
She is worth it!
Have you said that? Half crazed from this-way-that-way behaviors, your battered psyche crawls out of the smoking heap from your most recent relationship collision. There are times when this is absurd to continue. But have you ever seen those people who crawl out smiling? Sure their eyes are rolling around on their face but they are smiling. That might be you too. And there’s a reason for it. However the reason may not be what you think.
She is worth it!
I’m not disputing “her” value in this admirable exchange that takes all your energy. But what I do dust off from the good “encounter” we just spoke of is that although she may be worth it, I propose that isn’t the reason you think it is. The reason is you.
You find pleasure in it because of what it does for you. You think you are worth it, and you are.
Even the Bible says,
We love because He loved me first. 1 John 4: 19
We love because of what it does for Me. God isn’t surprised by that or looking down His nose at our motivation. It sounds like He is actually embracing it – fully consented.
Remember when we talked about inevitable selfish motives, secondary gain and the absence of altruism in us? Is that an ugly thing about us? I don’t think so. It is what it is.
Now this does not evaporate the connection, the realness of the exchange between two, the value of the bond or its quality. See blog-post, Things Will Always Be About “Me.” It does nothing else but discuss the motivation. I believe understanding our motivation to remain in a relationship is important not to devalue it or value it differently, but to help us take care of our own selves.
She is worth it. That isn’t the question.
What can go wrong in our self-friendship when we think we are motivated by reasons outside of what is in it for Me? What do you think? I think it distracts us. It’s wasted energy and we don’t have enough to waste. Getting it right, puts energy into us. Getting it wrong, takes energy away.
Yesterday we talked about wanting to connect with someone who has character pathology. Any of us can say that this is hugely energy depleting at times. If we think we are doing this for any other reason than for ourselves, we will get “burned” much more often than we might if we understand that we choose, consented, freely and for ourselves. We will wear the victim-crown and die the death of worn out do-gooders who lived to do nothing really but bemoan their special suffering existence. See blog-post, Please Don’t Say “But.”
Self-Care Tip – Do things for yourself with self-knowledge.
When we want to take what is good and leave the rest, to keep the best and let the otherwise character pathology pass us by, to make good memories with someone who torches the ground and air they breath, splits families and catastrophizes the little and ignores the big personal flaws – when we actually turn around and say with a fully informed consent, “I want us in each others lives,” make rules.
1. Take care of “Me” (bio-psycho-social)
2. Have walk-away power
3. Nothing violates what you say is impermeable; such as you and your spouse, your nuclear family, your home
4. Consistency combined with as blind a vision as you can bare
5. Take nothing personal
6. Pick your fights carefully
7. Let them save face
8. Set them up for success in your relationship
Each one of these generally takes hard work. Some of it will be natural and easy. A lot of it will be hard.
Setting boundaries for the other person helps them control their chaos and they’ll feel safer with themselves. The boundaries, when clear for a person with character pathology, helps them trust themselves more and subsequently us more.
Again, if these things seem exhausting and insurmountable efforts, it might mean that medically – emotionally and behaviorally …–> Go back to #1. Take care of “Me.”
Self-Care Tip – To connect because you want to even when you’d be advised otherwise, set your rules.
Evening friends. Or morning. Spent the day today and will tomorrow being present with the father of my children. Can’t give what we don’t have and I’m thankful, humbly, to say that I have love for him. That’s currency of sorts I suppose. There have been sad times for us when I didn’t have bank.
What has being a friend to yourself invested in you? Do you find love there? You were made for it. Blessings! 🙂
Self-Care Tip # I can’t remember! – Give to yourself love and friendship and you will find love and friendship where it dwells.
Today, I can’t get my thoughts away from the frolic in temperament-land.
Teacher, what must I do to be happy?
Who hasn’t asked this? I remember Nicodemus who asked Jesus,
Teacher, what must I do to be saved?
I bet he was wondering, too, about happiness.
I’m not equating happiness with salvation or morality. I am saying this might have been a parcel of his question. Happiness is an emotion per our language and cultural definition. And we have enjoyed our path of discovery in seeing how emotions are tools we use to interpret the world around us. They are not universal or constant between us.
After I read,
Individualism, a stronger predictor of well-being than wealth,
in R. Fischer, PhD’s Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, I followed my thoughts toward the Jungian Typology of Temperaments. Remember our pasture and barn people? The Jungian Typology of Temperaments is our playground where we have a wish-basket equipped with supplies to become any variation we might choose of what our design requests. Read the article and you might follow a similar path of thought. Or not.
In case you’re wondering, and per Dr. Q (who is a poor statistician so take this for what it’s worth,) a meta-analysis is a study of studies. A meta-analysis brings together a number of studies that reflect a population of people and a methodology that is as objective as we can find. We compare them and through the tools statistics and logic offer, we make a summary conclusion.
If you are familiar with the tomatometer on RottenTomatoes.com, you already have a sense of what a meta-analysis does. (I love rottentomatoes.com.) There is more power in the indexed findings of many studies than in just one study. There is also more power in a fresh tomato than a rotten one.
In our growing familiarity with our fears about medication therapies, we are getting to know about control and identity. Separate those in hopes that will help us bring them together later.
I don’t want to lose control of my choices to the control of medication.
Jane had pocks on her face from childhood acne. Kids had bullied her. She learned to fight. Jane’s mother had a boyfriend who victimized Jane. She fought harder. Not against her mom or her mother’s boyfriend, but against kids. Jane left her mother’s home when she was fourteen and lived between friend’s houses. Her story continued to develop. Jane learned to really fight. She bloodied herself to get control and she still had her teeth.
Jane had sold marijuana for five years when I saw her. She had used one to two bowls a day since she was twelve. It was one of the first things that had given her a sense of control. Emotions sparking, nerves peeled back and exposed, dilated eyes, afraid and shaking; Marijuana took the peaks and filled in the valleys.
And what brought Jane in to my clinic? This scraping, scratching survivor? Weeping, Jane’s pocks folded as her face scrunched up. Thirty-one years old and she was not in control. Jane was suspicious of everyone who crossed her path, she couldn’t concentrate and just suffered an at fault motor-vehicle accident when she was ticketed for carrying marijuana. Jane awaited her trial.
Reader, you see the push-me pull-me in the room. Was Jane ever in control? Are any of us? Our embrace with our powerlessness stabilizes us more than our power. This was the time in Jane’s life where she was available for help. This was one of the best times of her life, even if she didn’t know it. It is the surrender of all that we are, controlled and uncontrolled, to our Higher Power that stabilizes us. Control comes from the outside in.
But being a friend to ourself isn’t about control. It is about putting ourselves immediately and ultimately in the care of Love. What does Love want for us? To be good to ourselves.
We offer medication therapy (and sobriety) not to put us in control or to take away control. Assuredly some of our goals will happen. But still, we offer medication therapy when the benefits outweigh the risks to “Me.” When it is friendly. Not to erode us. See blog-post, Self-Care Works You, Pushes You, Tires You Out Until You Are Happily Spent On Your Friend – You.
Over the past two days, we have asked a lot of questions and gotten insightful, perceptive, inspired and intuitive answers with power to connect us and point toward healing. We will continue to explore these questions and these answers, as they will continue to influence our relationship with and ability to befriend “Me.” For today, however, I will bank these Q & A pages and pause Jane’s story. I send you into blog-post, Are Your Meds Safe?
Yesterday we talked about fears of addiction to medication therapy. There are other fears that influence our choice to use or not use medication therapy for brain illness.
In clinic, we hear about people’s preference not to take medication, as if it were like ordering mushrooms or no mushrooms on pizza.
I am not someone who likes to take pills.
Again, I think most of us agree entirely. Who of us set out in life thinking, “I hope my life depends upon medication therapy? I just want to have a reason to medicate.”
So tell me about this. Questions:
Fears can provoke us to grow stigma and biases. However they can also be used a tool for getting friendly with ourselves. We can use our fears. We can use them to gain clarity to know better why we are making our choices – stigma? Or friendship to Me?
Nothing is all right or all wrong. But we should know our motives if we can because of it’s potential usefulness. It is a friendly thing to do.
Self-Care Tip #285 – Know your fears so you know why you are making your choices.
I don’t want to get addicted!
We agree. Who does set out to get addicted? Is that really a starting motive for anyone? “Ok. I’m going to take this pill crossing my fingers that I get addicted.” Even those of us who have suffered from addictions of illicit substances such as cocaine didn’t get into it hoping it would hook us real good.
So here are some questions for you:
Fears can be anxiety provoking filling us with dread and avoidance, including fears of medication addiction. However, they can also promote a more deliberate course. We can use our fears to get friendly with ourselves. We can use our fears. Fears can be a the energy we needed to do the work, to gain clarity about what we need to consider fair warning and what should be thrown out.
Self-Care Tip #284 – Use your fears as a tool to clarify what precautions are worth keeping and cleanse your stigmas otherwise.
Just touching base. Missed posting yesterday as we were thrust into a time machine. Without Internet I suppose we must have spent the evening in 1970-something. Catch up with you soon!