Category Archives: Connection

Scarred but not broken!

Blue sky

Blue sky

I just finished a 4 day training in experiential therapy techniques led by Dr. Ted Klonz  held at OnSite. The process was gut wrenching, powerful and creative. Having recently completed my CeFT, (Financial Transitionist) course of study and self assessment, I was in a mind set moving forward to apply even more focus on women in transition related to changes in their life that may require financial decisions. Case studies and situation work for clients is very different than Experiential Training.

The only way to really learn Experiential Training in my current view is to take the Deep Dive into  the process of my own issues. Safety is pretty easily established with 10 experienced therapists in the room , but things long hidden, forgotten, stuffed, buried,compensated for and left in that vault of protection were brought right to the surface. That broken, little child in me with so many unanswered questions came to sit right beside me, constantly poking at me. That nasty pot stirring grandmother who made every holiday a nightmare showed up also.

Things happen in childhood that are beyond any parent’s control and a parent can only use the tools they have to cope. Sometimes those tools can not extend to comforting a child. Taking the Deep Dive is not about blaming anyone, it is about feeling and experiencing the pain in your soul. Oh little Charlotte, questions never answered, performance never good enough, this child needed something that could not be provided in my household. Everyone’s pain and wounded inner child showed up. This is sacred work done with great compassion and all I can say is: “WOW, was it worth it”. There was fun and laughter as we gathered for communal food breaks and “played” with props.

Self knowledge and clarity is important as I reach out to help others. We all need to be listened to with out judgement or interruption. So I am all ears and I have an even better understanding of that needy little girl whose father died way too soon. It is so much easier to pile on defenses and judgement, which does not help anyone heal. A therapist, counselor, coach, thinking partner or whatever you call that person you go to for help in tough times has to have done their own work to get to the essence of what is hurting you. Two hundred tools were taught, plus the latest in brain chemistry, but the Deep Dive is what will matter the most in my ability to help others.  I have immersed myself here and in other work (EMDR, spiritual healing, talk therapy, movement therapy and auric healing) in order to bring my best self to the table for all of my clients. I am very happy to report that I have new friends and therapists all over the country, people I have trusted with my deepest wounds and who have trusted me with theirs, so now I have another tribe who accepts and understands me.

The deepest need for all of us is belonging. So with my Al Anon, Sudden Money, NazRudin , Ted Klontz Group tribes in addition to my loyal and faithful friends of 50 years, 40 years, 30 years and my small but mighty family of origin and my ever patient and loving husband, I know I belong and am loved. It is never to late to change your behavior, your spiritual life or heal your wounds. It is never too late to explore who you are and improve your happiness and serenity at a pace that works for you.

“What kind of fool do you think I am?”

Freddy in the grass fooling around.

Freddy Foolin Around!

Today we all get to be fools, so we need not answer the question. I do wonder about the Greater Fool Theory, The Ship of Fools and why feeling foolish is not viewed in a more positive light. We have a special day for Fools and that deserves some attention!

So here are today’s Foolish ideas:

Hug everyone you have contact with today.

Walk in the mud barefooted, then wipe your feet on the grass.

Dance for one minute like you are 17.

Eat breakfast for dinner or vice versa.

Use real sugar! OMG will I drop dead if it is not Agave or Stevia?

Drive the speed limit.

Wiggle you rear like a happy dog when you see someone you like!

Do something foolish for someone else! ( like order something from Archie McFee)

Wear a Foolish grin on your face and make people wonder what you are up to.

Dress foolishly!

Support an imaginary person for President –  Vote for George Jetson, he’ll take you to the Future!

Vote for Freddy to live mouse free!

 

Mental Wellness!

Family Time

Family Time

In a family there is often a family member who stands out from the rest of the family. Sometimes the difference is in their hair color, their body type, their abilities or their sense of belonging. Humans especially have a need for belonging. Groups of packs, tribes and families constantly remind us of our need for belonging.

We have reached beyond the smelling of people to determine if they are one of “us”. Sadly, the substitution of a simple smell test has been a lengthy list of requirements from each tribe or family for how one belongs. People often say that mothers automatically  love their children, but while this is the natural norm, it is not always true. Parents often shape the fate of their child with unfavorable comparisons to others, love based on performance and repeated behaviors to suggest that you are loved as long as you perform. Conditional love from parents, makes self-love almost impossible and sets up siblings to be competitive and non supportive.

The child who has trouble keeping a job, making good grades, keeping a marriage intact or living from crisis to crisis becomes despised by the siblings who do not have this difficulty. In time of crisis, the troubled child gets no recognition for what they have done, only that they have not done enough and they are banished one way or another from the family. The laughs and good times are quickly forgotten, the help that is given is negated, achievements of that person are meaningless. The person who needs love and support the most is denied what they need and not allowed to contribute what they can. Families implode. Children in imploded families are affected regardless of age and they are taught to treat their parents as the elders in their family are treated. So if grandparents are shuttled off out of sight and complained about as a burden, that is how they will see their care of their parents. If they see that the Uncle or Aunt with problems is dismissed and demeaned by their parents, then they will feel justified when they do not like their sister or brother’s spouse or hairstyle. Sarcasm is often used at family gatherings to tear away at the flesh of the weaker sibling.

We can not control the behavior of others, especially through anger. So  every family must decide how the family can achieve Mental Wellness. Can you love people where they are, for who they are , with all of their limitations? Can you establish boundaries without stating them angrily?Can you happily justify your anger and resentment so that you continue to punish that weak family member and drive them out? Can you check in regularly on the telephone  with the despised family member and if that is hard to do tell the family member why? Does this troubled family member talk over you, over react, interrupt you or not follow through? Maybe a meeting or two of the family with a therapist could be helpful.

In some animal packs or herds, they drive out the weak in the herd, they may even eat them! You can not with humans truly divorce a family member as someone will always track you down to identify the body unless you move around a great deal.

So get the help and support you need during times of family stress to promote Mental Wellness instead of multi generational family dysfunction. Each generation in a family learns from prior generations how to treat each other and that is how healthy or unhealthy family systems are created.

Are you happy with how your family is treating you or each other? Do you and your siblings have the sort of relationship you hope your children will have? When you deny a person love and belonging you contribute to  the poor quality of their life as well as  your own. When you silently seeth and resent someone you are poisoning yourself. Drink a little poison down or choose to grow in love and do things a new way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day past dead…..

Heading Home!

Heading Home!

October 21, 2015

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend who is battling and not winning a nasty cancer. She asked me what the date was, ( as we all know opiates can mess with your sense of time). When I told her it was October 21, she  called for her husband and asked “wasn’t yesterday supposed to be my last possible day?”  “Oh, she said, I guess I missed my DEAD DAY and we laughed!”

My friend, who is usually very good with deadlines, was happy to miss this one. She’s been feeling slightly better and was going to the Dr. to be evaluated for getting somewhat better. The good news is she had an outing on a gorgeous Fall Day, made me spit out my coffee with her humor and has once again showed me how to live and die at the same time.

Life and Death coincide with only a thin line to separate us. The path to dying is paved with living. We talked about the card campaign I got started. She wondered if she was supposed to “know” all the people she got cards from. I told her no, that these were my friends who I had worked with to help our mutual friends who have battled cancer. Members of the Queen’s Court take cancer pretty seriously and reach out to help others, the way they want to be helped. Catherine’s response to that explanation was “beautiful.” There is beauty, love and ugliness when you commit to helping people on their journey with Cancer. Cancer is a mean lonely process and having someone at the ready is  certainly better than having no one. My friend has legions that have loved her and been loved by her for decades,an adoring husband and children, but this is her cancer and her fight.

People identified as closer to their ending are pretty much like they have always been. My friends have taught me about love, living, fighting for life, death and the process of dying. They have all given me so much more than I could ever give back. Most people do not want to talk about the “hard stuff in life”, at least when they are healthy, as if bringing the discussion of one person’s plight will “ruin” their day. Cancer is not contagious, so you can’t catch it and the memory I will always have of my soon to be departed friend will now include her perfectly timed “I missed my DEAD-Line comments and the laughter we shared as I spit coffee on myself.” She doesn’t want to leave the planet, but she  is very focused on the here and now just like we all want to be.

I hope you get a reality laugh today. Catherine, her name means smart, sassy, brave, funny, irreverent, creative, artistic, powerful and adored by legions will be greatly missed. I will treasure my coffee stains and 40 plus years of having you in my life.

Today, November 25, 2015 the battle is over and you will never be forgotten by any of us.

Catherine Whitehead Snow Knight you are legend and we will be laughing for years with your quips alone. I am thankful to have had you in my life.

Namaste!

The nose knows.

IMG_2268

Katie the Farm Dog on Patrol, protecting the barn and the horses!

Sometimes late at night here in the country, my dogs suddenly go nuts, barking and wanting to get out. I don’t see anything for them to bark at, nor do I hear anything or smell anything, but their noses know. A dog’s nose can smell 300x what a human nose can and I have some very good noses at my house. It is skunk time in Tennessee as Russell recently let us know.

Russell seems to be of Terrier descent although he was labeled a cocka-a poo. Dogs from shelters are often labeled things with no particular reason, which is why Francis Marion’s flat coated retriever mix and Bedford’s dalmation mix are questionable. I believe that all of our dogs are mixes of mixes, much like their Celtic, French, Swedish and Irish owners. W e are mutts with mutts.

Regardless of labels our dogs all have excellent noses and they know who should be where, so my alarm system is in place. Harmless pups who know the property line ( the borders patrol in the AM and PM) could get less friendly if they feel there is a threat. So how do dogs distinguish between a mere intruder and a threat. Dogs can smell the difference and distinguish the intention of the intruder by their smell.

I think it would be great if we could smell the sociopath in the room or sniff out the burglar in a hotel. Sometimes we can sniff out the potential drunk drivers and take away their keys. Sometimes we can sniff out the people who latch on to us for the wrong reason. I recently told a single friend of mine who was not happy when a slightly smashed guy in the elevator asking her, “What do you do?” to tell him she sold whole life insurance . This answer is guaranteed to move most people down the line. People fear the person who can close a deal by getting them to think about their own death.

I would love to always have a dog with me, because they can tell so much about a person by the way they smell even through hideous cologne. So turn on your nose, your eyes and ears and stay present with people and you will have less fear and more delight! Dogs wag their tails and smile because everything smells just great! Dogs always live in the present!

 

Self – Care, Thanks Lois.

Walk your Path!How well do you take care of yourself?  Do you take care of your friends, your family, your animals, your coworkers, but forget to put yourself at the front of the line? It is not so easy if you are a Highly Sensitive Person to say no to helping others and yes to getting enough sleep, food, rest, meditation or work out time.

 

Why is this so tough for some people and no problem for others? As usual it is a complex  combination of genetics, birth order and family lifestyle. Children raised in alcoholic families often have a problem putting themselves first. The oldest in the family may be over scrutinized and pushed, the middle child learns to lay low in the chaos and the baby of the family is likely to be completely abandoned and unsupervised or adored in a sometimes unrealistic fashion. Stuck in the middle looks up to the oldest and feels responsible for the baby.

 

As a grateful member of Al Anon I find that many of us were children with at least one parent who was an alcoholic. Most of us carried our family survival skills and expectations into adulthood. Many of my friends in the fellowship had similar experiences to mine. Often a highly functional Alcoholic parent is not the most injuring parent. The parent who is trying to “cover” and “hold the family together” : the untreated AlAnon is the hammer in the family, because the word alcoholic is never mentioned.

 

I entered the AlAnon program with six decades of pleasing to my credit. I am deeply empathetic, I am sensitive. it is very easy for me to imagine being in the position of someone who is feeling bad. Thanks to AlAnon and my own spiritual and emotional searching with lots of help; I am better able to do the things that help me function not as a people pleaser, but as a thinking partner for my clients. By taking care of myself first, I have more to give to others,  I have grown spiritually and have  come to find my unique personal faith.

 

AlAnon is not a religion or a cult and just about everyone who has ever known a problem drinker (family, work and friends) can benefit  from the program. The focus at AlAnon is over our own lives and behavior, not a  bunch of people complaining about their” reason” for being there.

 

If you wonder what AlAnon is about come to the Annual Al Anon Conference at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, TN and attend the conference. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend! We are rich and poor, young and old and anonymity is the foundation of the program. An AlAnon meeting is  the safest place emotionally on the planet.

 

As a human being (converted from being a human doing), I think many people would be surprised at how much fun we have laughing at ourselves and gaining strength and support for each other. You know what you lose at Al Anon? SHAME!

 

This blog is just me talking to you who are all Worth Healing about a highly recognized and inexpensive way to improve your life. I hope to see you in Murfreesboro, I might be the woman in Minnie Mouse ears, because I love to be silly and serious and Al Anon accepts us all!

 

The Brat and the Diner!

Who is the BRAT?

Who is the BRAT?

Nobody likes a brat! Most people think that just children can be brats. In fact being a brat can happen at any age. Entitled parents, have entitled children. Obnoxious rude parents often have obnoxious rude children. People who are nice to their barista, may be nasty to their family and vice versa.

Who is the brat in the diner? The parents?

In a relationship, partnership or friendship each person can feel they do more than their share and not enough at the same time. Being a brat is about feeling justified in your resentment and wounding the other party to elevate your feelings of self-worth.  Were the parents exhausted? Having a conversation about mom’s dying? Who knows? Or were they talking about what color to paint the kitchen or taking a vacation? They were certainly not thinking about others nearby. Brats do not communicate because, they don’t want to and the sound of the other persons’ voice makes them clinch their teeth. Brats are busy with an unknown agenda, seemingly frantic and worried, distracted, rude and most of all ” wanting things their way.” Stew in the juice of your personal wants long enough and even Mother Theresa would be a brat. Thinking is the fuel that brats need to stay in their “monkey mind.”

Is the child the brat?

Was the child hungry? Ignored? Autistic? The brat large or small, has a set of behaviors designed to make people look. Being a brat is like being a hero in reverse. Children act bratty in an attempt to gain some control or attention, have their needs met or to have someone comfort them.  WE all act bratty when we are  hungry,  angry, lonely or tired.

Is the owner of the diner a brat?

A diner is not a 4 star restaurant. Tables are turned quickly and the owner depends heavily on her regulars who need to be kept happy. Handing the parents the check and the to go boxes was a nice way of saying “hit the road.”  Earlier intervention could have helped the owner lower the anger and frustration in her voice.  After Baby’s first scream, the owner might have inquired if the baby was  alright.

My conclusion was that everyone’s inner brat showed up that day at the diner. The fact that this story has been such big news tells me we are all weary of killing and politicians. As a country, many of us have the illusion that we can control outcomes. When people  are killing each other over ideology in our country it is frightening, but we can’t do anything about it, so we argue over other less critical issues.

“Let your conscience be your guide.”