We see some of our thought patterns, we think. We think that the content may change and the thought patterns persist. In other words, we could complain about missing T-1, that Ts in general are harder to get help from, that a Child or Spouse is or is not doing X or Y. It is … Continue reading Rewiring a brain: 16.5
Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves
Many people reading and writing blogs, and many people living human lives in relation with other humans, want to change things about themselves and their lives. Can we agree that this is a normal behavior? For us personally, in order for changes to occur, big things must eventually shift. We want to treat people with … Continue reading The hardest changes to make
The barrier to healing in therapy for us has been the lack of connection among all these rules of healthy thinking. It's like, here's your brain (pile of goo) and here is a healthy brain (robust head of cauliflower). For us, what we think we are discovering is that we need top-down therapy: we need … Continue reading Truth to sink roots
Up for more than two hours between 2-4:00AM. Since we couldn't sleep, even with a dose of prescribed chill pills, we got up after 1.5 hours. Tried some self-soothing, ate, did some Crossword Puzzle. It was fun to see the puzzle again this morning, after we slept some more and were more coherent. We had … Continue reading Healing hobbies (real “mind games”)
We had our initial intake for a new therapist today. This therapist's specialty is Somatic Experiencing. Our goal in adding this fourth therapist to our lineup is to extend the mind-body connecting we started in the hospital last fall. Since fall, we tried contacting five other therapists with some sort of specialty in movement, mind-body, … Continue reading New Therapist (Intake Part I)
Do you get bogged down in the details of your story? In the telling and retelling? We do! In life, we feel an emotion, such as anger or fear, with the shock and force of a paper cut, and we are off on a trail of actions/events that almost always lead back to a major … Continue reading What is alive in us now?
Everyone and everything and all experiences are teachers if and when we are receptive to the lessons. We spent much of our working career in a college, which means we spent most of our life at school. This was by choice because we like learning and teaching. Here is what Nonviolent Communication (NVC) teaches about … Continue reading Empathy for those who piss us off
"...take your time. Those three words give you the power to come from a spirituality of your own choosing, not the one you were programmed for... It's critical for me to be able to slow down, take my time, to come from an energy I choose, the one I believe that we were meant to … Continue reading Take your time
We are practicing in therapy sitting with and surviving distressing emotions. Five days. Five therapy appointments. Four consecutive days of distress. (Mondays are usually just committing up the weekend.) Change feels like getting ill. Like influenza. People often recover from influenza. We have. DID Trauma therapist says, "What if more resourced parts of you give … Continue reading What change feels like
We don't think we amount to much. We are on government assistance, do not work, we complain a lot, feel persecuted, have many mental diagnoses, live in fear. We went to dinner with Spouse last night. This is brave for us. Our food was awful. Really bad. We couldn't eat it. We didn't complain so … Continue reading Be incredible for our time
We are working through the book _The Transformation _ by James Gordon. His Mind-Body solutions to healing trauma were the basis of the last hospitalization program we had in the fall. We learned that we need our body in order to heal. Dissociation is disembodiment. It's a leaving, an abandonment of self. While that saved … Continue reading Transformation
It can be healthy to set goals for a new year. It can be unhealthy, too. To make it healthy, make small, sustainable changes. For example, if you want to start meditating, revive a meditation practice, or extend a meditation practice, try what feels achievable and realistic. Five minutes twice a day is a useful … Continue reading Small steps are most effective for making changes
Negative thoughts are setting us up for a negative outlook. If we think, "We didn't do a good enough job," then we feel like a failure. We don't want to replace the negative with a positive, though, which might sound counterintuitive. Positive would probably help our outlook more than negative. And what would help the … Continue reading Reframing thoughts without judgment
Have you read _Nonviolent Communication_ by Marshall Rosenberg? The concept of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is not at all transparent. The reason NVC works as a mediation tool is because there is no compromise required: everyone gets their needs met. No one has to give up what they want because, when human beings truly listen to … Continue reading No compromise.
One of our therapists said the "middle way" is felt, not thought. You can't rationalize your way there. You have to dwell in the land of feelings to know. We acted out of accordance with our values. Spouse called it a choice. That may or may not be accurate. She views it as a choice. … Continue reading Choosing to respond versus reacting
Seeking pleasure ignores whatever is happening now. If we do experience pleasure, we try to cling to it. It ends anyway, and then we mourn it. Avoiding pain ignores whatever is happening now, especially when it's pain. Avoiding what is actually happening causes suffering because we want pleasure and have its opposite. We crave pleasure. … Continue reading What is the “Middle Way”?
So much of our thinking is flavored by these plotlines. Our mind does not appreciate uncertainty, and so these familiar stories help us write the rest of an unfolding or prolonged situation to its bitter conclusion.
3-day weekends are hard for us. Lots of time around other people. We and our children are much less effective at night: decision-making poorer, emotional brain overwhelms rational brain. Consequently, at night, little problems seem bigger. For us, that often leads to nightmares, and then we wake up disoriented. We finally have some alone time, … Continue reading Practice, patience, and repetition
A poem about always investing in yourself
We all have magic. The way to find yours is to spend time noticing. Avoidance of self and inner-experience is a barrier to being. Running to the next distraction. Running from the crying child inside your mind. This culture has all the augmented reality and not-you experiences needed to live a life that is devoid … Continue reading The only True You
Have you ever heard of "off-label" use? We don't do this with medication. We do this with books. Let me explain.
The field of Positive Psychology says people pursue happiness in 3 different ways
I was getting annoyed that family member was starting to re-ask the same questions and was getting stuck in "analysis paralysis." I tried to look inside myselves to see how I could survive this
I'm in a challenging spot. I'm low on energy and my therapist says I'm low on resources because I've pushed away the parts of me that know how to cope in new, healthy ways. So we're using old ways: OCD, anger and self-punishment. OCD sees the out-of-control world (our spouse is sick and we're stepping … Continue reading Back to basics
Every other Monday I set my phone to remind me of specific events in my life that I consider miracles. I'm not religious, and I'm very spiritual. Many of the miracles were signs delivered by nature, some by people, some by what could otherwise be considered unbelievable coincidence. Some saved my life. Some saved the … Continue reading Miracle Monday
You probably want to be free of suffering. I want to be free of suffering. Deep down, we're probably all compassionate beings.
Small changes can add up. For example, say you want to have more money (ideally to pay down debt, save for retirement, or go on a vacation). If you switched to a cash-back credit card, brought home lunch and beverage to work/school every day or every other day, and made a few other tweaks, the … Continue reading Go big or go home? Or make little changes?
Shame doesn't have to be permanent. There is a "cure":
One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm
Feel your power!
There is no 'one kind' of caring. Spoiled by fiction we too often overlook the love right beside us and within ourselves.
Collage on construction paper mounted on poster board
Note: This blog's author often uses plural pronouns for self-reference. Most of what dictates how we are supposed to act (in public, at school, at work, etc.) is made up by people. We're not saying there is a committee actively making social norms for others to follow, though Ms. Manners and other champions of etiquette … Continue reading Breaking social expectations that violate your values
These are hard faults to admit. And they are true.
When we were little and acted contrary to someone's expectations, we were usually chided with, "Don't ____." Don't hit. Don't swear. Don't drink grape juice in the living room. As adults, when we're trying to change a habit or practice, we often default to the same thinking: Don't judge. Don't yell. Don't eat that. We … Continue reading What are you doing? Why “Not pooping” is an insufficient response
As we aged, we transformed the rich experience of surviving the tornado into a static data point to prove our misfortune. Our therapist shows us how to add it back.
It’s all going to be right now
Are you re-enacting the victim-perpetrator-rescuer triangle? If so, you are in good company (we do it). Here is why and how to stop.
When we develop a dimmer switch, we increase our options for meeting our goals.
Put these items on our "to do" list along with our tasks and we will be better organized, prioritized, and reminded to experience life in the now.
Nature is teeming with messages for us if we tune in.
Which pursuit is worth our life’s energy? It’s not the one you think. Yes, this post will really reveal the meaning of life.
When contrasted with the seasons, the events of our lives seem unpredictable. In reality, we probably exert some control over these seemingly less predictable circumstances.
Our goals in this blog post are to encourage you to obtain disability insurance or supplement your existing coverage, to warn you of the pitfalls of the disability insurance system, and to convince ourselves and you that we are not our financial status or our diagnoses.
We can find and fix the living nightmare that is so life-draining it has become invisible to you.
starting a new practice--to look for good in things or to approach situations with no expectations at all--takes conscious effort
When we judge, we label, reduce, and remove context. When we observe with specificity, we provide richness and still allow ourselves to express our values.
We sometimes feel lazy when we are not being productive in some way. We self-critique that we could be doing more: more journaling, more cleaning, more problem-solving. We felt especially out of rhythm after a recent family getaway. We hadn't been journaling regularly or trying to solve any of our myriad problems. How could we … Continue reading Do This One Thing After a Vacation
The past is remembering Now a prior Now. The future is a fantasy. Practice being Now.
We keep reading in self-help books that "feelings are natural" and "judgments are dangerous." Wait, what's the difference between a feeling and a judgment? Can you have one without the other? We had to have it explained to us repeatedly, and we think we understand! If our boss says in front of coworkers, "I received … Continue reading Are You Intensifying Unpleasant Feelings with “The Layer”?
We can’t have a week of success at a new task without one day of success. Here’s how to start...