Planning helps, even on vacation

A boy in a children's swimming pool.

A boy in a children’s swimming pool. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is amazing how little time there is to write when living through a day as perfectly uncomplicated as string cheese, reading books and guarding the swimming pool.  In between this higher living, I have been thinking and thunking about what we will say to the university folk about psychiatry, but it has been as if space got in the way of clear thought.

I took a nap, but when I awoke, although rested, there it was.  The space and timelessness of no schedule plugged up whatever clever thoughts were waiting to come.  It was like those expensive tires that patch themselves when you ride your bike over a nail.  I imagine there is green foamy stuff all over my brain, stopping up holes where super thoughts might have tried to pass through.  And before it could be clearly grasped that this was not accidental, that these thoughts were wanted, indeed solicited and not hot air, wouldn’t you know it!  The day is over and I am flattened.

And so for tomorrow I am planning, rather than hoping.  I plan to write.  And I know when too!  And it will not disallow the necessary open space.  I will write and have my space with it.  My cake and eat it, you know, or some other sort of adage to explain that planning can enhance and add much flavor to the space of time around us.

Self-Care Tip:  Plan for what you want to do.

Question:  How does planning improve or diminish your space?  Please tell us your story.

Do you like yourself? Come Join Our Workshop.

Please join us!

Do you want to be empowered?

aware of your freedom?

have more to offer others?

and do you want to like yourself while you do it?  Do you like yourself?

A series of Thursday-Night Workshops

  • Thursday, February 9
  • Thursday, February 16
  • Thursday, February 23

Workshop and Q&A:  6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Workshop Address:
River Springs Charter School, Murrieta Campus
Recreation Room
41862 Kalmia Street
Murrieta CA 92562-8825

Registration

Reworking Choices With Your Physician as Part of Your Team

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.

Hands touching

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Use What You Know – It Will Help You Know Yourself Better And Be a Guide For Your Future Efforts

The Forbidden Kingdom

Image by Gandalf. via Flickr

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.

To Catch What People Throw At You, Give a Little or You’ll Drop It

Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 - 16

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Sometimes it doesn’t serve us well to follow our instincts.

When I was little, I don’t know, maybe nine, I remember one of the many times Dad tried to teach me how to throw and catch a football on our front lawn, under the huge tree that seemed to always block me. Dad had played college-ball on scholarship at Duke University where he promptly blew out his knee; one of the many orthopedic problems he’s known. However, he still had his arm and his gentle way of making me feel like he really enjoyed lopping the ball over short distances with me and my awkward hands.

Catch the ball right here, into your arm like you’d cradle a baby.

Nobody needs to try that many times before learning that footballs are hard and pointy and hurt a lot when we catch them wrong. Purposefully putting my body in front of that spinning high-speed object didn’t feel safe.

Get in there and watch it the whole way make contact with you as you catch it.

My eyes were still shut when he said that. I was trying not to cry but I was pretty sure my fingers were going to look differently when I opened them.

Here came more less obvious instruction,

Let your arms and hands give a little, while you catch, closing down on the ball as you let it push you.

People throw all sorts of things at us in the space between “me and thee.” It can hurt to catch and even physically damaging. But counterintuitively, we need to catch like we are cradling a baby, get in there, and give way a little.

This isn’t always advisable but it refers to opportunities to practice presence. Not every interpersonal moment is such an opportunity. Nor will each true opportunity be received naturally or effectively. Those will improve with practice, or perhaps coaching or medical intervention.

The other day, Frida told me with some self-satisfaction about the long hoped for day when she stayed with her daughter during her daughter’s anger, rather than escaping. She gave space for her daughter to throw her pain around. Frida cradled her in her personal space long enough to receive and throw back. For Frida, what she threw back was the next effort of growth. That day we celebrated the presence she was able to offer her daughter and herself.

Now get in there Frida, let it come into you. Give way to some of the momentum or you’ll drop it, and cradle what you catch.

For Frida to do this, she owned her choice to find the presence and to do the work to gain the skill. As I am a medical physician of the brain, you might guess we worked on her illnesses. Frida stayed, received her presence in the company of her daughter – and we celebrated.

Self-Care Tip #284 – Give way to some of the momentum and cradle what you want to be present with.

Related Articles:

Sucking Up to the Boss May Move You Up and Keep You Healthy

Choice and Biology – Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

Three Legged Race

Image via Wikipedia

I left the light on outside, waiting for my husband to come home.  He was gone, though, to a meeting and wouldn’t be back until Friday.  Some bit of automatic thought current made me flip the light switch and before I realized what I’d done, I flushed.

My husband’s eyes aren’t good and he doesn’t see well without a light.  I can.  I don’t “see” so to speak, but somehow I know where things are and can find my way in the dark.  I’m not a bobcat.  I just remember the way things look by the emotions I felt around them.  This is what was happening that night.

I flipped the switch and there he was.  Walking toward the door.  Distracted.  Fitting his key; almost home.  This was all in the moment that it took me to feel happy and then disappointed remembering he was away.

I turned the light off then because I’m not daft.  But it made me think about what sets our behaviors and emotions in motion.  In that moment, finger to the switch, up, anticipation and disappointment – in that moment, I didn’t choose what happened by the cultural definition of choice.  I responded to patterns that many choices I’d made before had laid down.  Tracks in my brain, hedged and maintained by recurring choices, along with design; my emotions and behaviors also an expression of my temperament.  These moved with each other.  But were they moving along the way we generally think of them, like a three-legged race?

Who was leading who?  Trip.  Get up!

One, two, one, two.  Step.  Step.  Step.  Step.  

And in that moment, my layers of choices were counting out with my biology, “One, two!”  There I was, participant and audience.

When we think about where emotions and behaviors come from, culturally we view them as if they are awkwardly related.  As if biology and choice are tied together at the ankles, about to trip each other up.  We call out to them, hoping somehow they might not show the public how little they know of each other’s rhythms.

But you can see the ridiculousness of this.  Choice and biology are in no way separate.  Design forbids it.  The question of where emotions and behaviors come from in itself reveals our confusion.  They come from the same place.

I can hear the concern that this eliminates free-will.  Answer …”But why?”

After these thoughts that night, I turned the light back on.  I preferred how I felt when I thought my husband might arrive soon.  I chose I guess.  What else could I do?

Questions:  What does it mean to you to fuse choice and biology in the discussion of emotions and behaviors?  How does your culture view this?  Does this affect the way you care for yourself?

Self-Care Tip #282 – Don’t deny the choice available to you to feel and behave as you wish, where that wish surfaced from and the tools you use to make them.

Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

steps 15

Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
  6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Me.

For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.