Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Choice

"Destiny is not a matter of chance,
it is
a matter of choice;
it is not a thing to be waited for,
it is a thing to be achieved."
- Winston Churchill

Click Here For Success Tip # 003


Start where you are...
Baby steps or 10% change...
Choice..........

What are my choices?
I can choose to stay a victim.  After all it is a choice that I made over and over again.  In counseling, I was offered different choices.  I grabbed it and chose to change.  I chose to stop being a victim....Yes, I hear the outcry now, you can't make that choice.  Viktor Frankl agrees with me.  He wrote Man's Search for Meaning.  He shares that the final choice every person has, including in the concentration camps, is the choice of how to respond to a situation.  He wrote about those that gave there meager meals to someone else, those that did whatever they could to just survive, and then there were those that helped their captors and became worse then their enemies.  At first, I could not comprehend how I could make the choice to stop being a victim.  How did I break the strings that bound me to my abusers as surely as a physical rope could?  I first needed to recognize it was happening.  Say what?  How could I not know that I was being victimized?  What could I be missing?  I was able to see it better watching someone else.  I was neighbors to a woman that was beaten by her husband.  I was horrified by what had happened to her.  She went back to him the very next day apologizing to him for making him angry.  I could acknowledge that she was being abused.  Because I saw this horrible physical violence, I did not recognize the emotional abuse as being equally damaging.  Part of the human psychic is the ability to adapt. I was accustomed to being put down, belittled, called names, criticized, and every boundary violated.  I remember the first time I heard about boundaries in a marriage class.  I came home and asked DH, "What the hell are you talking about?"  Part of the reason I went to counseling so I could learn about what a boundary is.  Without boundaries, I did not recognizing when they were being violated.  I needed to know that choices exist.  I struggled with a life time of abuse and didn't recognize it for what it was because it was what I always known.  I still remember the powerful feeling when I told someone that they could not yell at me.  I was stunned and a little afraid.  Then I was thoroughly pissed off I hadn't done that years before.  I couldn't walk a path that I didn't know existed.  Counseling opened a whole new world, surviving instead of victim-hood.  I didn't need to see the whole picture to take the first step.

I created a prison that I could not see the bars. 
  

Monday, April 29, 2013

10% increase

 Poppypost received a great reminder about improving by 10%, thanks Sally.

http://poppyposts-blog.net/2013/04/27/the-aggregation-of-marginal-gains/

This is the original post where her comment was posted:
http://poppyposts-blog.net/2013/04/26/planning-with-military-precision/ 


I taught the same thing in Photoshop for making pictures larger.  In photoshop if you change the size too much the lines blur and focus is greatly reduced.  However, by increasing just 10% at a time you can increase a picture 2 to 3 times larger and still retain a crisp image.  Flylady (Flylady.net) taught me over and over again that baby steps still get you moving.  AA encourages, progress not perfection.  The difficulty arises when I want to know how far I have come.  I noticed on more than one occasion that I felt bogged down by my lack of progress.  I would whine to my counselor and they would ask me where was I at the year before, 5 years before, 10 years before. (KavinCoach would also ask if I wanted cheese with my whine. :)  Day to day progress is sometimes hardly noticeable.  Looking at a huge task seems overwhelming, every efficiency expert or motivational speaker encourages their audience to break down a huge task into the smaller task, simpler goals, shorter time pieces.  When I look at my life and decide to make it 10% better it is not nearly as overwhelming as talking about a 200% change.  I remember an airplane pilot sharing how a plane became lost...the problem was  a 1 degree difference at the start of the flight.  Changing a flight pattern by 1 degree won't seem much 10 miles later but 500 miles later it can land you in totally different city.  Another example that helped me see what it takes to change my life is changing the direction of an oil tanker.  Found this at Yahoo: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070604081339AAkf0rL


The immense size of these ships, as well as the heavy loads they carry, mean that each supertanker has enormous inertia.

A crash stop maneuver (from 'full ahead' to 'full reverse') can stop a fully loaded supertanker within approximately three kilometres, which takes about 14 minutes.
The turning diameter is almost two kilometres.
(These values vary according to ship size and weight, of course).

 Changing a lifetime of thinking takes time with setbacks and obstacles to impede my progress.  In this day and age of instant on, instant breakfast, and high speed everything taking time seems like there must be something wrong.  I like to think about the cathederal in Rome that I saw with a mosaic dome that took hundreds of years to complete.  A masterpiece takes time and is completed just a bit at a time.  
http://www.rome.info/pictures/vatican/images/chapel.jpg

10% at a time gets me where I need to be...I just need to be patient with myself. 


 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Start where you are....

"Everyone who got to where they are
had to begin where they were."
- Richard Paul Evans


Start where you are.  I noticed in helping people with computers or photography they seem to get frustrated when they are beginners since they want to be experts first day.  I take people on picture Safaris.  I am always asked, "What camera should I have?"  My reply is the one you have that takes pictures.  I am not being sarcastic or rude; I am encouraging them to start where they are.  One woman was stunned that her tiny point and shoot camera could take wonderful pictures.  I showed her how to make a selection of what to take a picture of and to get closer.  By the end of the hour, she was so surprised at what she could do with what she had.  Counseling starts with where you are, asks you about where you've been, and explores where you want to go.  We started with talking about where we were at the time and what did we expect of counseling.  However, I was extremely surprised where we ended up.

I notice when I have talked to people they want to know how I got to where I am now.  Sometimes I am tempted to say, "Well, I didn't say 'Beam me up, Scotty.'" People are looking for short cuts to jump to where myself or someone else is in their healing process.  In every endeavor, there is a need to take the first step. I worked in the computer lab at a university for photographers.  On of the most complex thing we teach people is how to print,  an 11 step process.  Students would ask me to help them with printing.  I would sit down prepared to show them.  They would sit next to me eager to learn with no pencil or paper.  I asked, "You plan on remembering all 11 steps by me showing you once?"  They would smile sheepishly and get out their paper and pencil to write down what I showed them.  One of the barriers I had to get past in counseling was to take the first steps.  I was afraid of making the wrong move.  I was assured on more than one occasion that any move in any direction was a start to get me moving.  Once I was moving corrections in direction are easier.  If I don't take the first step, I am guaranteed to stay where I always been.  Formula to change, decide I want to change, take notes on what I want to do, and then take the first step, then the next one and the next one.

Start where you are
Keep moving

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Interesting places you can go

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
 
I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!


And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible, but life shows me I am not.

I have been in Trouble many times.   The older I get, the easier is to get there.   

I may have been in Continent, and I don't remember what country I was in. It's an age thing.


~Author unknown 

PS Translating this page into another language may not make sense since it is a play on words in English, one of the craziest languages in the world.  :) 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Never Too late


"It's never too late to become the
person you might have been."
- George Elliot

Click Here For Success Tip # 012



My sister posted a link to a writers blog. http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/writing-opens-doors-unexpectedly/ In the blog, they are discussing what how their characters in a book may behave and some cause and effects.  I used to believe that authors had full control over their characters until my sister told me about her books that she writes.  In essence, she needs to get to know the characters she writes.  In the process, authors encounter difficult characters.  (I know 'Jack' is a real challenge.)  
 http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/why-we-and-our-characters-fall-in-love-part-2/
Judy posted a link to a list of behavaiors of a person might have if raised by an insecure, unavailable care giver.  I was startled by how many I matched.  Most of them, I am still trying to over come.  Then, I got past this humongous list (not really that big but when I kept coming up with 'yup, I do that', it takes on added size.) A much smaller list loitered down at the bottom ignored by me since the first list had all my attention.  

What kind of “repair messages” help build a bridge to secure attachment for our avoidant style character?
Words or actions that say: 
  • You belong here
  • I’m glad you’re alive
  • What you need is important to me
  • I’m glad you are you
  • I celebrate your existence
  • You can feel all of your feelings
  • You can feel your body
  • It is safe to be vulnerable and reach out
A soft gaze, or “kind eyes,” goes a long way with this style to convey many of the sayings above. Show this behavior across the dining table or at a coffee house. You can show how your character changes and feels after receiving these repair messages.


These are messages I want to make part of my life.  Thanks Judy for sharing the link.  


     

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who's the Judge?

This is the last in the series of my reaction to PurposeFairy's article:
http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/

She is a blog I visit often.  I appreciate her writing and sharing ideas with others.  I believe that there is power in sharing ideas.  I may not agree with everything but I think about what is said.  This helps me to ferret out what I do believe and what is truth to me.

8. Identify the Judge

Like many abuse survivors I have this hideous horrible tape that plays in my head.  Part of counseling is confronting where this negativity comes from.  How did I came to have such a poor self image?  When my DH suggested it was my mother, I denied it angrily.  No way...not my mother.  Then KavinCoach said the same thing, I started to doubt what I thought I knew.  Then I watched my mother in action with someone else....kind of a fly on the wall distorted reality when all the pieces come together.  I understood.  Every compliment contained an insult.  Ever insult carried a barb.  The comprehension that my mother would say the words but her actions demonstrated the opposite.  I had to be crazy to believe her.  Becoming healthy, I identified my judge.  I recognized how I internalized her never ending lists of how to correct me into the person she wanted.  Nobody warned me that the most devastating part of counseling was the total collaspe of the house of lies and distortions that was my childhood.   My happy childhood vanished under the onslaught of truth.  The truth denied me when I was a child.  I remember telling.  I remember questioning.  I remember not understanding then why my brothers would be fed and I was given only a small portion so they could have seconds.  I remembered going to bed hungry.  I needed to identify my judge and stop believing my abuser.  After being taught that black is white and white is black.   I still stumble.  I can change how I perceive myself.

9. Know Thyself!

Know myself started with believing myself.  Getting to know all myself.  Accepting that I made mistakes, but I also do things that are good and caring and loveable.  When I learned that I functioned as a multiple personality, I was shocked.  However, it was the only thing that made sense of some of the events I did remember.  Nearly slugging a poor shocked doctor that was ill advised in attempting to tease me after my daughter's surgery.  The young man that dated me in college and commented how different I was out of class from being in class.  The people that told me how intimidating I was...how could I be? I was a mouse terrified of my own shadow.  I  learned about the my three main personalities and I joked that "I was run by a committee that hated each other."  I finally got to know and love all 5 personalities.  When we became best friends, we started helping each other then one day I realized I knew myself and I was just one self.  Becoming my own best friend opened up opportunities that I never thought possible.

"Empowerment comes from fearing no-thing and facing every day with courage and love in your heart. Strive to be and do the best you can in every situation, then you will be living in your integrity.  Words or energy that does not fit with your frequency or vibration will not be allowed to penetrate your field of self.  You will have become the master of your life and your reality.
Something worth looking into, wouldn’t you say?

This article was written by Cherie Roe Dirksen. Cherie is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and meditation music composer from Cape Town, South Africa.  She has weekly blogs on her site www.cherieroedirksen.com where she discusses practical and insightful perspectives on taking responsibility for your actions and ultimately living the life you came here to experience."


When the tree was young, the trunk split.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What do you see when you look in the mirror?



I am continuing on with the list of steps towards letting go of opinions that taint us:

 http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/



6. That Tricky Enigma Called Universal Appeal

 This one is tricky indeed... I know with many discussions with my sister that the thought that we are lovable at all to anyone is a struggle.  When you are raised with the feeling that your own mother may say she loves you but treats you like crap...there isn't much of a problem of getting sucked into the belief that every body must love you.  I have met people that are just devastated if everyone doesn't fawn all over them and tell them they are wonderful.  I was always slightly puzzled by the behavior.  I had it ground into me that I was lucky if anyone would like me at all.  Or they would only like me for how they can use me.  I know I don't have universal appeal.  And this brings me to the next step:

7. Acknowledge the Good

I struggled to see the good in myself.  I saw the bad, the lazy, the stupid, the ugly, the fat, the whatever it was at the moment that was not good enough.  KavinCoach worked very hard at uncovering the good buried under all the negativity.  Took me a long time to be able to say, "I am a good person."  I am not the only one challenged in this area.  On facebook some posted a link to this page about people describing themselves to a sketch artist.   Then someone else describes the same person to the sketch artist.  He then hangs the pictures side by side. 

http://www.upworthy.com/2-people-described-the-same-person-to-a-forensic-artist-and-this-is-what-happene

I may not be the most popular person around but I have good qualities any way.  A large part of counseling for me was removing the distortions that made me look weird and scary in the mirror.  I am learning to let go of the opinions that I was not enough.  I am enough to do what I can do. 
Not a fish

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Putting together puzzles

"You must take personal responsibility.
You cannot change the circumstances,
the seasons, or the wind, but
you can change yourself"
- Jim Rohn


Click Here For Success Tip # 021




5. Piecing Together Your Puzzle
http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/

Most of my life, I only had part of my puzzle at any one time.  The switching caused some pieces to vanish and others to appear.  I couldn't understand why self-help books, motivational ideas, and attempts at change continued to fail, repeatedly.  In counseling, I finally understood.  To build a puzzle, I need all MY pieces.  In my life, other people threw in puzzle pieces that just weren't me but labeled me anyway.  I was feeling very overwhelmed early on in my counseling.  Every session seemed to blow another hole in my childhood myth.  I was feeling very discouraged.  KavinCoach reassured me, "You're just like everyone else you bring in your puzzle pieces, we might need to flip over a few of the pieces, then we put it together."  I thought, "Aaaaaahhh, I'm just like everyone else."  Then he followed up with, "You just happen to be a 10,000 piece puzzle."  The pile of puzzle pieces on the floor is 10,000 puzzle pieces.  Wow, oh wow.  I've pieced together huge sections now.  My puzzle isn't finished since it is an on going project.  I am learning to sit with the pieces and allow the design to come through. 


10,000 pieces

Monday, April 22, 2013

Respect

 Questions that I could delete but decided I want to answer.  First, I wish to define respect.  In this situation I am using definition #3. 


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect

re·spect

[ri-spekt] 
noun
1. a particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in  ): to differ in some respect.
2. relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route.
3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

In the movie Patch Adams, Patch is passionate about becoming a doctor.  His attitude turns the medical school on its ear.  At the end of the movie he is before the medical board debating his right to graduate.  He talks about the clinic he opens where every person is a doctor and every one is a patient learning from each other to live healthy.  I believe that the blogs I read are this type of idea to share what we learn, to offer what we know, and encourage one another. 

What I was asked:
So Ruth are joining the Cali camp now?with all the that suck up respect crap? 

The first question I feel is totally irrelevant since I do not believe there are any 'camps' on the blogosphere.  To the person signs in as Anonymous wanting to know if I joined sides....there are no sides.  Opinions that I agree with or disagree with but no sides... N O T H I N G to choose.

The second question is multi-faceted.  To say that one is sucking up it implies that I must be inferior and in need of gaining favor from someone superior to me.  Since I do not feel I am inferior then there is no need to suck up.  In my opinion, if a person knows what it is to respect someone else than sucking up has nothing to do with respect.  Plus if the author of these questions believes respect is crap then I believe he/she does not know what respect is or never experienced it.  I was not raised in a home where I was respected.  After describing how I was treated my counselor pointed out that servants are treated better.  I learned about being respected in counseling.  I am thankful that my counselor respected me and taught me to respect myself.  I learned that in order to respect others I needed to respect myself.  So do I believe in respect...absolutely yes.  "I am who I am and I do not need your approval." quote found on Facebook seems appropriate to these questions. 




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dissecting comments

4. Dissecting Agreements

This section could not have come at a more timely moment.  http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/ Criticism will come as surely as Death and Taxes.  Some people believe it is their responsibility to point out the errors of our ways.  In my childhood, I was expected to not only take the criticism quietly but to love the person unconditionally that heaped the criticism upon me.  I did complain about how I was treated..."That is just the way she is, you got to love her."  Many hours of my counseling were spent dissecting conversations and how I was treated with information on other ways to respond.  I had a particularly nasty boss.  I went to HR (Human Resources), they told me if I didn't like the way I was treated to get a job some place else.  I went to Equal Opportunity, in the United States you can file a grievance for being treated unfairly due to race, gender, or religion.  The woman I talked to had a huge file on my boss.  She told me if he just treated minorities and women this way, they could prosecute, but he treated everyone with disrespect and sometimes outright cruelty.  She shrugged and said, "It is not illegal to be a jerk."  So why dissect disagreements?  I have seen comment dissecting become such a huge issue as to have people go private with their blogs...people stop following blogs....numerous posts devoted to what did the person mean when making comments that were in disagreement of the author.  Well that is no different than real life.  When I said something to someone that seemed disagreeable to them, they stopped talking to me for months.  I was ok with this because I made the decision to no longer be a doormat that anyone can wipe their nasty attitude on.  I declared my website a no dumping zone for people telling me how I made this minor mistake or my beliefs were faulty or what ever it is someone else thinks I need pointed out to me.  On a few occasions, I refuse to post a comment because the tone of the comment is critical or condescending, by my opinion.  I don't know every person that comments on my blog.  I don't know why they feel a need to criticize me or other people making comments.  I try to share a variety of perspectives that are filled with "I" statements and sharing their experience.  I look out for those "You" statements that are telling me some error I made, judging me, or belittling to me.  My counselor made me very aware how hyper-sensitive I am to criticism.  I worked at being more tolerant, however, I am never going back to the doormat that took every criticism since many times their words are not about me.  How freeing it was for me to understand that much of what was spewed out on me as a child and as an adult was not about me but about the other person's dissatisfaction with themselves and directing that to me to relieve their unhappiness.  I accept other opinions.  I am fully aware I am not always the easiest person to get along with.  My ideas sometimes need to be challenged...oh hell...the reality I spent a lot of money on counseling specifically to challenge how I think and totally change how I function at the most basic level.  Nothing more humbling to go to marriage counseling and finding out my behavior was the biggest problem...not the only problem but in marriage counseling they need to work with 2 people not 5 people in one person and only one on the other.  I chose to integrate because I was born with only one mind and I was tortured into two, then three then more to survive.  I wanted to be one again.  Not every multiple makes this same choice.  I can understand why they wouldn't.  I am not writing that I integrated to say they are wrong but to show it is a choice, another option, it is not impossible just really, really, really hard.  So Reader, if you want to share your perspective, share it.  If you want to tell me how wrong, stupid, ugly, twisted, selfish, or ungrammatical I am because you are pissed off at the world, don't expect to see your comment here.  I am not required to come to every argument I am invited to...oh wait...maybe if I make a grammar mistake that changes the meaning, please tell me.  Many times I write late at night and I miss something.  Also in school I totally missed out learning grammar.  It was so bad that when I was taking Spanish I had to quit when they were teaching grammar.  I explained to the teacher, "If I don't know it in English, how can I do it in Spanish?"  If a grammar error is pointed out, I actually will Google it and find out if it is a hard and fast rule I am breaking or one of those fuzzy rules that can be done more than one way.  I have readers from all over the world with different religions, genders, multiple personalities, and singletons.  I try to be respectful to all while sharing my story.  I appreciate others sharing their different perspectives, values and experiences.  My counselors made a world of difference to me by sharing their healthier perspectives.  I didn't embrace all their ideas but more than once I heard what they taught me coming out in what I write or say.  Disagreement can lead to changing perspective or ending relationships depending on how I handle it and the response of the other person.  I hope that we can all treat each other with respect and kindness.

Another blog to read on dissecting agreement or disagreement:
http://roots2blossom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/looking-inwards-and-reaching-outwards/

To me, this is an amazing feat of engineering and ingenuity turning water into electricity. To others, it is a terrible thing to do to the Earth and destruction of nature.  Both right from our own perspectives.  However, viewed it is there. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Define the problem

I am continuing with the article by Purposefairy:
 http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/


2. Self-Realization and Repair Kits

 I read this paragraph over several times.  To me, this means I need to define the problem ...where are my hurts and what are my unfulfilled needs.  Then I need to take the problem to my Savior and work out a plan to give up the hurt to Him and work out a plan to find peace.  My desire to follow Christ leads me to change myself to become more aligned with His teachings.  My higher self is the one that wants that connection.  Each person has their own understanding of what that higher self is.  I liked the quote about religion being about the church and spirituality about my own experience.  I happen to believe that I need them both.  My religion is useless without my inner spirituality aligned with principles of Christ's Gospel.  My spirituality needs the refinement of rubbing shoulders with others in my religion.  I don't see the two parts as separate but a strong connection between my religion and my spirituality.  I was blessed with an excellent counselor that helped me understand what was wrong.  I realize that many people find it hard to believe that I couldn't see my own problems, they were hidden from me.  I knew something was very wrong with me but the very essence of multiple personalities is to hide, especially from myself.  I measure my progress in years.  Day to day doesn't seem much different but when I compare myself to where I was a year ago or 10 years ago the change is quite startling.  Too often I want to see the change in myself right away but like a tree or anything else growing takes time. 

3. Inherent Beauty and Perfection

I read this and recognized in my quest to root out and solve what was wrong with me, I tend to overlook what is right with me.  As for perfection....well I agree with Flylady (http://www.flylady.net/d/press-kit/2011-columns/column-1/) that it tears people down much more than it builds people up.  Flylady recommends "progress, not perfection."  I remember a story I read about an old man finding a childish journal kept by his now grown son.  The date recorded a 'perfect' day fishing with his father.  The old man went to his journal and read his entry for the same date...a wasted day fishing, didn't catch anything.  Much like beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  Sometimes we waste hours and hours to get some detail perfect that will be forgotten in a year or two, in the mean time neglecting to do the things that really make a lasting impression.  I am challenging myself to see the beauty in myself and remind myself that I need to let go doing something perfectly while stepping up those things that last the longest. 




Friday, April 19, 2013

Letting Go - Smoke and Mirrors

Sometimes I hang on to a blog post from someone else and think about it.  Then I take the time to write about each piece of it.  I am looking for puzzle pieces to help me on my journey through living.  PurposeFairy post some awesome lists and articles that really get me thinking A LOT.  This is one of her posts:
http://www.purposefairy.com/7805/9-truths-about-letting-go-of-opinions-that-taint-us/

I debated if I wanted to do a summary or a piece by piece inspection and reaction to a well written post with some awesome ideas.

1. Smoke and Mirrors

One of the first steps in counseling is clearing away the Smoke and Mirrors that distort perception.   Ever run through a Fun House with distorted images that make you look short and fat or tall and impossibly skinny?  Telling my story and examining my life pulled up distortions that I believed all my life.  Smashing mirrors and illusions right and left until I wondered what remained of my shattered world.  KavinCoach led me and coaxed me out of the mixed up maze of my life.  One of his questions that rocked my world, "Why did you give away your power?"
WHAT?  What power?  I never had any power?  Here in PurposeFairy I found the same question:

"Spare a thought about who you give your power over to."

Years later, I know the answers to part of the question.   I gave up my power when I was a little girl before I even knew I had any.  The demand for absolute blind obedience without question stripped all power of choice at a very young age.  I gave up my power in order to survive and I didn't even understand the terrible price I paid and paid and paid and paid....I was in counseling, over 40 years old, before I understood I was supposed to have power.  I didn't know what I was looking for because I didn't know I had it to loose.  Those counseling sessions were painful in the extreme, no fault of my counselor.  It was the comprehension of the massive loss that could never be returned to me, years and years of feeling powerless.  I didn't understand I have power over my own belief and perceptions.  I do not have to see the world or myself as my abusers dictated.  I decide what is beautiful, what is good, and what is enough.  Taking back my power was hard because when I took back my power I became responsible for my choices.  Smashing mirrors and airing out smoke took years of work. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Compassion on myself

When you look back at your life & see the bad choices you've made & feel bad about the lost opportunities or the problems you've created, resist the urge to beat yourself up. Facing the truth about the mistakes you've made in your life doesn't have to include cruel self-reproach. You can feel regret, remorse, sadness or loss. You can see where you went wrong & why, but you have to remember that until a person becomes conscious, they're doomed to act out the scripts that were written for them in their childhood. Without consciousness, we aren't the masters of our lives & we're not guided by our highest self. When consciousness begins to come in, it can be painful to look back & see where you went wrong, but have compassion for yourself. Now that you see the truth, you're empowered to make changes for the better & to move forward in a more constructive manner. This is the essence of ruthless compassion.
Ruthless Compassion contributes wonderful thoughtful pieces on Facebook. I capture the ones that I want to review and reflect as to how it applies to me and am I being compassionate with myself. KavinCoach pointed out more than once that I was far more compassionate of others than I am with myself.  He suggested I fire my nasty boss, the one that expected me to be to work 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late, never let up on any flaw, constantly setting unreachable goals then getting down on me for not reaching them.  He talked for awhile before it dawned on me that I was my own worse boss.  However, I am not alone.  A recent video came to my attention on Facebook that I believe is worth a few minutes of your time:

http://www.upworthy.com/2-people-described-the-same-person-to-a-forensic-artist-and-this-is-what-happene


When I view myself too harshly, I tend to sap my energy and keep me from reaching for the things I can do. 





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hunger for love

"There is more hunger for love and
appreciation in this world than for bread."
- Mother Teresa
 

I stopped taking the paper years ago.  There is sorrow and sadness daily somewhere in the world.  Yesterday bombings hit Boston Marathon.  Timing and all the bombs exploding would have multiplied the dead and wounded.  Saying that Boston is lucky does not ease the pain and suffering of the injured and those that died.  I appreciate the quote by Fred Rogers (many in the USA know him as Mr. Rogers) being passed around to look for the helpers. 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." 

 There are already tweets and Facebook posts of those stepping up to help others in Boston. People that are comforting others, easing the way for others, and cleaning up the debris of someone's desire to cause pain and suffering. I have never understood how the suffering of innocent people makes sense...it doesn't.   I pray for those that are suffering.  I am thankful to those that step up to help.  There is hunger for love everywhere.  I can start where I am. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rest

I learned after a LOT of stress I need to rest.  Came home from work and went to sleep until after dinner time.  So today's randomness came from school:

How many days old are you?
http://www.korn19.ch/coding/days.php

Curious my age seems much older in days then years.

Sometimes a day of just resting can help change my perspective.





Monday, April 15, 2013

Are you a People Pleaser?

For a week, I kept this article open on Firefox...reading and rereading. 

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2013/04/02/are-you-a-people-pleaser/

Checking in with myself, reminding myself that I do not need to play the assigned roll by someone else.  Family gathering for my parents 60th anniversary does not require relinquishing what I gained and dropping back to old family patterns.  It is not my job to smooth over everything.  When the celebration was first proposed, I wanted nothing to do with it.  I kept reading and rereading this article was because I was a people-pleaser to the point that I lost myself completely.  Old habits die hard.  Starting a week ago, I recognized that what I would be celebrating is my marriage, children, and grandchildren.  That I can celebrate without reservation.  With that thought in mind, I spent 2 hours playing with bubbles with my grandchildren.  We had a blast.  One of my grandsons released a helium balloon and we waved goodbye as it flew over housetops and into the wild blue wonder of sky.  I felt I stayed true to myself this weekend.  Not an easy task when people-pleasing and doing things for others can seem so similar. 

New Growth on Old Wood

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fight, Flight or Lunch

Evidence rolls in on a daily basis that humans and other animals have many similarities.  The fight or flight response is well documented with research on a physical and emotional level.  One of the things I thought about is that in nature, in the world of predator and prey, there is fight or flight or the prey becomes lunch to the predator.  Research into humans shows that there are actually four responses: Fight, Flight, Freeze and Appease.*  All 4 responses are useful at a given time.  However, when an inappropriate response occurs negative fallout follows.  Fighting with your boss at work can lead to being fired.  Freezing when a car is driving straight at you can result in injury or death.  Appeasing an abuser may protect in the short run but can result in countinued abuse and/or slavery.  Running away can become a habit that may take you from harms way temporarily but also keeps a person from feeling connected.  To complicate everything the human body can become so flooded with emotion that it is like a shutdown switch making any response almost impossible.  Some researchers believe that animals do not get PTSD.  I own a rescue cat.  I watch her cringe away from people and certain situations that remind me of myself.  I suspect they don't believe animals can get PTSD because they haven't watched rescued animals.  Part of the purpose of counseling is learning to choose a response more appropriate for the situation.  I experienced all these reactions.  I also experienced flooding.  Unlike hyper-arousal this state your hearing decreases, sight dims, the mind shuts down all functions, and sleep can follow that I call "a nap from hell." The human mind is an amazing and complex terrain.  Abuse scrambles the coded information and the resulting inappropriate behavior produces the reasons why a person seeks counseling.  I vividly remember the day that a student joking grabbed my wrist from behind.  I stood their shaking frozen in time trying to stop from beating this poor unsuspecting student.  Neither of us realized this hidden trigger that left unattended, unprocessed would cause a joke to turn into something far more dangerous.  Working with KavinCoach I worked at desensitizing myself to this particular trigger.  I integrated so that I would have greater control over my emotional reactions including allowing myself to have them in the first place. 


* http://www.mvbcn.org/shop/images/the_human_stress_response.pdf


My Kitty

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Body guard?

I have a body guard?

http://kara-throughthelookingglass.blogspot.com/2013/04/name-that-feeling-amygdala-hijack.html

This is one of the best short versions I have read about the "amygdala-hijack."  Before counseling I had no name for this reaction.  It happened so fast that I thought it was another switch until I had the very rude awakening that it happened more often after integration.  Before integration, I had one personality that handled all high stress situations...Marie.  The power of Marie is she felt nothing......no emotion....no amygdala hijack.  The weakness of Marie is she felt nothing....no love, no fear, no regret.....  When this new 'thing' seemed to attack me an all rational thought I viewed it as an enemy.  Something to fear.  Something to destroy. Fortunately, KavinCoach saw this differently.  Fortunately, I reconnected to this powerful ally.  If you read or view some videos they will tell you the 'evil' of this Fight or Flight kick in the pants that have you behaving in ways that if you logically thought it through you would never do.  I recognize now that KavinCoach took the time to let me feel it then slow down my reaction so I would feel the Amygdala kick in, then think through the best response.  At the time of learning to use it, this was not fun.  I did NOT enjoy the process of learning to recognize and respond to this illogical 'splat-boom-run' type of emotional explosion.  I like what Kara points out....the Amygdala prepares you to fight a tiger.  No, I would not be faced with a physical tiger, however, there are some emotional tigers that I needed to regain that emotional response that protected myself from being savaged.  KavinCoach never encouraged me to let the amygdala control my life....more like a super awesome high alert early warning system that I was taught to ignore.  I had to ignore to survive.  I had to ignore to be abused.  I had to ignore to live in my insane childhood....if I fought or ran as a child my life became much worse very quickly.  Now, I am in a safer place.  My amygdala hijack reaction tells me when danger is present.  I like how Kara included the information that the amygdala is rarely wrong in the assessment of a threat.  Now when I suddenly feel a strong emotional reaction I look for the danger.  What is my emotional brain reacting to the my logical brain doesn't recognize as a danger?  My amygdala knew before I did that my nasty boss was dangerous.  I thought I was being illogical to believe this mild speaking man could possibly be a snake in the grass.  Unfortunately, I learned the man really was a snake in the grass, my logical brain didn't recognize the very real danger.  I survived and had many opportunities to learn more about how this works.  Many 'gurus' preach at ignoring this 'emotional' reaction and think only logically as to the best answer.  I mastered this by splitting to Marie.... b a d  i d e a....people forget that the emotion is where compassion, kindness, love reside.  Using pure logic dehumanizes the thought process and why businesses and many people behave in cold heartless ways.  KavinCoach spent many, many hours putting emotion back into my life.  He also taught me to stop the hijacking, he encouraged the early warning then to slow my reaction so I have time to think before I act.  This process is usually accomplished during the teen years.  The volatile teen years is when most people learn to feel strongly about a situation then learn a healthy way to react.  I didn't do this.  I didn't rebel.  I didn't get all emotional.  I didn't learn to use this early warning system as a body guard to protect myself from predators.  I felt jealous of Spiderman's spidy sense that kicked in before he could see the danger....the amygdala is our spidy sense.  It recognizes a 'tiger' before I do.  Unfortunately, the amygdala cuts all choices to fight or flight...other choices can be made available if I listen to the amygdala and look for the danger.  Last week it kicked in and took over shutting down everything else but my need to pay attention to a danger that was coming up.  MyCounselor encouraged me to go with the emotion and find out where it took me.  I missed two days of work but now I have a plan on how to react to a potentially dangerous situation.  Few people would see the danger but few people experienced what I have experienced.  Yup, I have a body guard if I learn to team up with the amygdala and use it how it was meant to be used keeping me out of danger or prepared to fight for my boundaries. 



Interested in other articles? Searching amygdala hijack gives a fairly large lists of articles...some healthy, some not so much. 
Definition: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-amygdala-hijack.htm
http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/51483/handling-the-hijack.pdf


Friday, April 12, 2013

Good - Better - Best

MyCounselor is teaching me to live without needing a counselor.  I did for years before but I hid from myself and living, most of the time.  Now I am really learning to live; out loud in the open where people and conflict and pain exists.  So I asked the big question, "How do I know what is Good, Better and Best for me?"

"By how you are. Good is not being in crisis by staying home.  Better is going where you chose to go and not being in crisis. Best is going where you want to go and enjoying yourself." 

There it is the very opposite of what I was taught.  Who I am and what I feel is more important than what I do.  If I do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, I feel miserable.  However, when I do things with my heart authentic and my feelings in a healthy place then what I do becomes a beautiful...not a 'perfect' thing just a beautiful....I can live with that.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Comparisons rarely a good thing

"When life's problems seem
overwhelming, look around and see
what other people are coping with.
You may consider yourself fortunate."
- Ann Landers

Click Here For Success Tip # 078


Dr. Banks suggested that 1 in 4 are mentally ill....pick out 3 of your friends if they seem fairly 'normal' than you are it.  

Sometimes this can back fire in two different ways.  One way is that I discovered I was the worse case scenario.  KavinCoach had me read a book that listed abuse as this is bad...this is worse...and this is worse case scenario.  I kept matching worse case scenario.  I slowly realized I was the person that other people looked at and were thankful with their situation.  However, if I looked around, with in minutes, I could find someone worse off than me.  Unfortunately, for some they feel like their situation is minimized...their suffering isn't 'bad enough.'  They would say, "Well, my situation isn't as bad as yours so I don't__________." Fill in the blank as to what they didn't deserve to have help with.  Some how we get the impression that we have to be worse case scenario to get help.  True, when I would help people with computers I felt frustrated with people that refused to try.  I did try to teach people that the only stupid question was the one unasked.  Each person deserves the right to feel what they need to feel.  Someone being worse off, does not mean your pain is not legitimate. 

The other way that this back fires is when someone looks at me on my best day and says, "Well we haven't progressed as much as you."  Technically speaking I would be hard pressed to meet the criteria for DID, PTSD is only an occasional melt down that feels mild when I remember I would feel that way every day instead of once every few months.  Integration, learning new skills, emotionally growing up helped me catch up on the things I missed out on as a child.  Sometimes making comparisons we compare our worse day to someone else's best day.  Plus, each person has their own path.  My sister and I were raised in the same house in the same room but our five years difference in age, made huge differences.  I know that Ann Landers meant that there are plenty of people worse off.  One of the aspects to giving service that is so important is to recognize and feel compassion for those with different struggles than I have.  

One of the people I like to check in with is Nick Vujicic, he is upbeat, energetic, engaging with no arms no legs and no worries.  Spreading hope around the world.  http://www.nickvujicic.com/

Comparisons, in my opinion, do more harm then good.  I do believe in reaching out to others not because I am better off but because I feel better for reaching out to others.    

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Identify what I feel

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2013/04/06/want-a-simple-way-to-calm-yourself/
One strategy particularly struck me: if you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can work to reduce it by labeling it in one or two words. Note, however, that thinking or talking at length about the emotional state tends to intensify it, while simply observing and labeling it helps to quell it.



Putting this one to the test. One of the difficulties I had was dissociation separated me from emotions.  As a child, if I expressed an emotion, negative or positive, my mother would refute it.  She would tell me that I didn't feel that way or try to alter it.  One of the stranger memories was I was feeling very happy and told my mother about it.  She then told me a very sad story and childlike I felt the sadness of the story and then she cheered me up.  Pleased with herself for cheering me up.  From my perspective, it didn't seem to occur to her that before starting to talk to her I was happy.  Eventually, I figured out not to show my mother any emotion.  It stopped this roller coaster of highs and lows she seemed to generate.  I thought the memories were totally out of whack and unreasonable.  After I started counseling, my sister and I started comparing notes.  She verified what I experienced.  However, reconnecting to emotions is more difficult than you may think.  For one, the physical reaction for excitement and anger are very similar.  Same with fear and love heart rate goes up, emotionally agitated so the feelings seem confusing to label which emotion is which.  My counselor was curious as to which emotion I felt first after integration.  He was quite surprised when I told him boredom.  Before integration, I had never been bored.  Each personality so wanted time if one was bored the other took over.  Not so when you just have one.  This is when I learned about getting stuck in an emotion.  I can see why people will go to such bizarre lengths to avoid boredom.  It feels terrible.  Fear on the other hand can really jack you up and turn you into a freaking race horse.  Excitement can be like all the fireworks going off at once.  I can identify these fairly well.  But what about meh?   I don't feel happy nor sad nor bored nor any of the big emotions.  I am working at recognizing the subtleties of peaceful, satisfied, and calm.   Calm was very hard at first because I could decide if I was calm or bored.  Then I decided that calm is what happens when I am choosing not to worry about getting xyz done and just sit quietly.  Calm is not something I encounter too often.  My tendency is being up and doing.  To just sit calmly is hard.  Identifying it is even more difficult.

Last week's emotional melt down was a real shock to me.  MyCounselor taught me to sit with my emotions and give myself time to work through what I am feeling.  I fell apart so rapidly over something that logically I knew was not problem.  The emotions coming at me felt like an over full water balloon dropped in my lap.  It went every where fast.  About this time was when the PositivielyPositive posted the article above on Facebook.  Identify the emotion in one or two words.  In computer work, it would be identifying the issue... In art, defining the pallet...shades of green, or blue, warm colors or triads.  Whoa, I think I just stumbled on a way for me to help identify what I am feeling.  Should be a 'duh' moment.  At the beginning of my counseling KavinCoach gave me a coloring book for emotions.  Perhaps instead of verbally naming an emotion, I wonder if coloring my emotions I might be able to grasp them a little better.  I did not enjoy the surprise melt down but I recognize now that I had hints and tremors that I ignored.  I need to try this out to see how it works for me.  Blue is my favorite color so it is not a sad color...blue is a sunny sky, a lake of water, blue flowers, blue birds of happiness...blue is beautiful.