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.

What Must I Do To Be Happy?

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? 

A Certified Fresh logo.

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Questions:

  1. Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?  Why?
  2. What do you perceive brings you happiness?  Please tell me your story.

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.

Love Differently, Love Your Flaws – Be a Tall Poppy

Tall Poppy

Image by Steve Corey via Flickr

To my family and friends, I thought differently.

But since I’ve loved my flaws less harshly, like pointing jeweled fingers;

since I’ve fallen and let myself savor who I was just then, rasping throat from less than gentle sounds, beautifully broken down, a phoenix who was afraid and not afraid to die;

since I’ve been in the same room with myself, my smells, my dying cells, my mistakes and since I’ve loved these things – since then I have loved you.

I thought I was before but this is differently better.

I am loving you when you turn away and miss your opportunity to praise.  I feel myself soften and think how you are mine.

I am loving you when you miss your self-care and come late and forget.

I thought differently before.

I thought I loved you more the other times, but this is.

It is better to see that you will never be who I expected and that you just missed the turn and won’t.

It is better since I have thought more of me.

And although this sounds off; a discordant honk in the culture score around us,

Although this is awkward showing my ankles exposed while I walk amongst tall-poppies, I even love that

and it is not to say I gloat,

just that I won’t run to hide behind my accomplishments

and won’t hide you behind yours.  I love you more because there is more.  This is differently better and I love you.

Self-Care Tip #278 – Be a tall poppy.

Related Posts:

How To Be a Friend to Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully?

I love real life John Waters freeze-frames

Image by TheeErin via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #253 – Humanize and forgive your bully.

How to be a friend to yourself when thinking about your bully?

Have you noticed that when we think about our bully, we don’t feel so good.  Just thinking about him!  Sheeze!  In our last post on bullying, Nancy said,

Wow! This one brought up WAY too much pain. I’m feeling very vulnerable and uncomfortable and hurt and stupid at the moment. 

There are jumbled emotions that flood us, such as anger, shame, helplessness, anxiety or more.  Our autonomics may even trigger, making us hypervigilant as if we were being attacked.  We are in defense mode – all the while sitting alone in a chair at our desk, in the quiet of our bed while falling asleep, or any other place of our generally hum-drum lives.  These feelings and nervous system changes come in a time and place when we are not in danger.  They come without us realizing their approach, stealth feet and skilled hands; we are in their company before we know it.

Is there no hope?  What can we do so we don’t feel victimized all over again.

Humanize

1.  Do research on the bully.  Find out about him on the internet.  See what others have said about him.

This helps us:

  1. see him as a human, mortal, without superhuman powers.
  2. feel like we are less alone in this.
  3. realize that we are not chosen, so to speak, to suffer at his hands.  He is a bully and not just around “Me.”
  4. we didn’t cause his behaviors.  He chooses his behaviors because of the same biopsychosocial paradigm that we choose ours.
  5. realize that he hasn’t chosen to do his self-care, making him more vulnerable to his own negative feelings and behaviors.

Forgive

  1. Humanizing our bully helps us move towards empathy and forgiveness.
  2. Anger debts only hurt Me and that’s not friendly to Me.

Grow our self-confidence

  1. Such as doing our own thing.
  2. Grow our own natural genius.  Work hard at it and see how it is there for us, like a friend when we are feeling pushed down.  Our friend will be standing beside us, reminding us of our value when this remembering tries to beat us down.  Our friend will be there reminding us that this negative event in our life does not define us.

Now if they continue, these rememberings, and if these rememberings are frequent enough that we believe our quality of life is affected, we may be looking at something else.  There are other medical illnesses that can disable our abilities to cope.  In this scenario, I am thinking especially about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.)

In PTSD, we relive experiences of trauma (which we perceived to have been life threatening to ourselves or observed by us in other(s).)  We may also feel hypervigilant, as if we are about to be attacked at times when our lives are not threatened.  We might have nightmares and avoid things that remind us of the trauma event as well.

PTSD is easily reactivated by other stressful situations – such as being bullied.  When we have a history of PTSD that has been quiet for a time, even years, we are more vulnerable to stressors reactivating it’s symptoms.  Then, although the said stressor may not have been a life-threatening stressor, we perceive similar feelings and neurologic changes we did when in the life-threatening situation.  Then, although the said stressor may be over and not recurring, those PTSD symptoms start happening all over again and may continue indeterminately – propagated by the disease process and not our bully event.

This might be endured and it may go away in time without treatment.  But it isn’t good for anyone while it is happening.  PTSD can improve with medical therapies.

Question:  How have you been able to humanize and forgive your bully?  Please tell me your story.

Choose Back! …As Long As Life Chooses You.

A Girl On A Footbridge

Image by jyryk58 via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #241 – As long as life chooses you, it is your right to choose back – so do.

Although I am not a geriatric psychiatrist, I have still been given the pleasure of serving a “golden” few.  What has impressed me has been their willingness to start over.

Starting over takes courage and humility whether it is deliberate or not.  Sometimes fear dances between the lines of all the emotions and intentions. But still, wouldn’t you agree that it takes courage and humility to negotiate fear?

(Enters Hans.)  Hans was seventy-three years old.  He had struggled with brain illness on and off he thinks since he was at least twelve.  There were big spaces of time when his disease exacerbated, and he largely suffered.  But he chose, at this age, to try again for improved brain health.

Is there a time when we start thinking, don’t keep trying to start over?  Maybe in the dying process.  In case you don’t know, the dying process is a specific term.  It means the time when a person is facing impending death.

This area of medicine is not my specialty but I imagine at some point we want to stop with that starting over process, give up, but not in a hopeless way.  In a way that says,

I can stop trying for new anything and sit in the space of what I already have in me…

…Which hopefully includes all the ingredients and interrelations of life.

But how far before that point in life do we consider starting over reasonable?  I’ve heard of kids being told they’re too young to ride a bike, or cut with a knife, or understand the dinner conversation.  No one bobs their head at that.  But find a seventy-three year old who believes that after a lifetime of perceived failure by onlookers or themselves, who still says,

Now let’s give this another go,

…and if it hasn’t been said, it’s been thought,

give it over already!  You’ve hit your seventy-times-seven chances!

It’s like they’re shopping in the teen-ware.  We blink our eyes and angle our heads.  Even the thought of starting over as a real option feels indiscreet.

(Enters Hans.)  Hans is seventy-three.  He is starting over.  Humbly and with courage, he pursues brain health in the face of stigma.

I think I had celebrated my six birthday when my dad asked me if I felt any different from how I felt when I was five.

Yes!  I feel older!

 Then he asked me how old I thought he was.  When I answered some enormous number like, “twenty-two!” he asked,

Does forty-four seem old to you?  

Of course it did!  But I had an intuition that if he was old, than he’d die, so I said a definitive,

NO!  Daddy you’re still young!  You aren’t old!

Now, almost that same age myself, I am in awe of him and the others in their golden or not so golden years (Enters Hans) who believe that as long as life chooses them, they will choose back.  It is their freedom.

Questions:  When all your senses don’t sense pleasure in life, or you feel old and useless, or you feel that you’ve failed too many times, how do you choose to start over?  Who has inspired you and what did they do?  Please tell me your story.

You Bring Light

Tonight my eyes are heavy and I’m yearning to go exercise before the clock denies me the chance.  I’ve thought of you folk all day and your thoughtful replies to our difficult questions.  I sense that the difficult questions are not finished for us.  We wonder together, and that wondering in company with you has become my white light – many, perhaps small, particles of different colors and brilliance coming together into what we have.

 

ht. learn.uci.edu

 

 

Thinking about your comments, I remembered Marsha, a young adult who asked me, intelligently, hands flung open to the universe at large,

Who am I if I’m a different person just by taking these pills.  I’m so different!  I like that difference but I’m scared by it too.

She was so vulnerable sitting there, lip faintly quivering on her down angled face.  She asked as we ask together, as I believe God wants us to ask, to know that we have an essence and because that essence has an indestructible connection to Him, the intuitive fear falls into a more friendly perspective.

Good night friends who bring light.  Thank you.  Keep on.