Tag Archives: psychology

What I Do

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As I work to open my new business, I find that a lot of people are unfamiliar with what I do as an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach.

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What is an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach?

As founder of Ajahn Life, I feel I should write a little bit about myself so that you will understand who I am and what I do.  I received my masters degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University, and feel that I got an excellent education.   Most recently, however, I underwent more specialized training to be an integrative wellness and life coach through the Integrative Wellness Academy in California.

Some of you may have questions about what exactly it is that I do. First, I am a life coach.  A life coach is someone who typically is known for helping client reach a specific goal or to make a wanted change in his or her life.  I can do that, but my training goes far beyond that.

The word, “Integrative” means to combine allpathic and complementary therapies and/or serving or intending to unify separate things.  A life coach is traditionally defined as a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges.  An Integrative Wellness & Life Coach has knowledge and training in “integrative” approaches in the areas of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellness.  This is referred to as “Wholeness in Balance.”

The approach that I use moves life coaching from simply counseling and encouraging, to fully equipping and empowering my clients to make the effective changes they need to come into balance within the aforementioned areas of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellness.

My clients can experience and expect to walk away with a personal plan to move them towards wellness and health in the areas of mind (thought life and patterns), emotions (emotions and relationships), physical (this can mean physical health or physical surroundings and situations, such as career or finance) and spiritual health (awareness and spirituality.)

What I do, really, is to use specific proven techniques and tools to help you get from where you are, to where you want to be in life.  I accept clients on an individual basis, and conduct workshops where I utilize my skills with other practitioners from different areas, to help clients reach their maximum potential.

My rates are $150 per hour for individual clients, and a predetermined, discounted, fixed rate for workshop clients who purchase a retreat package. At this time, our retreats are in the planning stages, but I will have more information about that soon.

Are you Depressed?

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In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Uncommon Scents – The Nose Knows…..

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Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 9.49.38 AMThe sense of smell  is an ancient sense. All living things, from single-celled bacteria to the most accomplished hound dog, can detect chemicals in their environment. Odors are molecules, after all, and olfaction is just the vertebrate version of chemical sensing.  I have a particularly sensitive olfactory system.  It isn’t that I can detect scents that other people can’t detect.  It’s that scents tend to have a greater affect on me.

Our sense of smell is distinct from our other senses.  We are able to  create rich descriptions for our favorite objects by expressing their colors or shapes or sizes or  textures. Sounds, we can describe, by talking about their volume, pitch and tone. Yet it’s almost impossible to describe a scent without comparing it to another familiar aroma. Our sight, taste and hearing come from  “sensory memos”  that are delivered straight to the part of the brain called the thalamus,  and from there out to the primary sensory cortices. But sents winds its way through other brain regions, including the centers for memory and emotion, before reaching the thalamus.

When I was studying neuroscience, we learned that none of our senses reaches our consciousness without first passing through the thalamus.  Where scents are concerned,  you have all this basic brain processing before you have conscious awareness of what they smell like. An assortment of internal and external factors influences how we perceive a particular scent.  For instance, sweet smells can reduce pain by activating the brain’s opoid systems.   So…if the next time you have a nagging headache caused by tension or other minor causes, you make a point of going out for coffee at your favorite bakery, you might quickly discover the headache going away as the fragrances of freshly baked cookies waft through your nostrils and up to your brain.

I have diffusers in every room of our home, and I have my specific mixtures of essential oils that are always burning. My favorite fragrance of all times is lavender.   For energy, I typically diffuse blood orange and peppermint with a drop or two of lemongrass.  However, since I usually have a high level of energy with or without essential oils doing their magic, I usually diffuse oils that help with concentration and creativity.  This is typically a mixture of frankinscense, myrrh and sandalwood, with  a drop….a single drop…of patchouly. (I go through about five of the large Doterra bottles of frankinscense a month.)   It is with the help of this particular mixture that I recently completed two songs that are in a publisher’s office in Nashville going through their third round of consideration for publication.  It is with this mixture of scents that I recently completed a lucrative art commission and it is with this mixture, that I have done my best creative writing and my most delicious and creative cooking.  It works, folks.

When our little granddaughter went through a strong bout of anxiety prior to beginning her kindergarten year of school, I diffused vetiver for her and guided her through some meditations that were designed to eliminate anxiety in children.  Poof!  Gone.  And without the anti-anxiety drugs that are pumped into so many children these days.

Yesterday, John gifted me with a bottle of a new fragrance by Fiele Fragrances called, “Pogostemon.”  It smells very much like the oils that I diffuse in our home.   The Fiele frangrance line is my new passion.  I am wild about each and every scent, but the Pogostemon is my very favorite.  I’m wearing it this morning, as I type this.

The essential oil that is used in making this particular perfume is extracted from the leaves of the Pogostemon plant and is well known for its deep and earthy aroma, most commonly referred to as patchouly….but not.

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Patchouly is a scent that  is commonly used  to reduce tension, insomnia and anxiety, while being a mood lifter.  The scent is  rich and intoxicating, and  has been used throughout history as an aphrodisiac, however, it has a bad rap becasue of the poor quality versions people often associate wit the 60’s….that strong, overwhelming, powerful, knock-your-socks off fragrance.   The specific type of patchouli used in Pogostemon perfume  is used in many of the finer fragrances today.  This type of patchouly is a dark variety that is cultivated in Indonesia.  The aroma is  a distiinctive, rich, warm and delicious one that has a powdery note, thanks to the addition of vanilla absolute, tonka bean absolute and cocao absolute.  It is truly divine.

I want to procure all of the Fiele line of fragrances.  Each one is special and beautiful.  The Pogostemon is a start, and I am grateful to my sweet husband for gifting me with this fragrance.  I wish you could take a whiff right now.  It is divine.   It really is.

Online Personality Tests

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Aren’t online personality tests fun?  One thing I have learned as a graduate student of psychology, however,  is that one shouldn’t place too much stock in the accuracy of these online tests. Real psychological testing is much more complex than these little online tests and should be conducted by people that are specially trained to administer them.  Still, one can have a good time taking these for entertainment purposes, and conducting honest self-assessments to determine whether their results seem to fit, can also be fun. 

Personally,  I have always found that the ones that have something to do with COLOR turn out to be the most accurate in assessing my own personality.  It might be because I’m an artist, or it might be because these types of tests are actually the most accurate.  Who knows?  In any case, I had fun taking this one and my results are below.  

If you would like to take it, simply click HERE

Test color is the result of original research conducted and validated by a team of clinical psychologists, psychoanalysts and mathematicians.  Test color can generate over 50 million different answers, personalized according to every test.

 

Result of your test :

Your results present a correlation ratio with our model superior to 91 % .

 

Your Profile :

 

You are 47 % extrovert and 53 % introvert.

Independently of any order of importance :

You are intellectual and intelligent, you wonder and you inquire before taking any action.
You are also able to listen to others, you show a good emotional intelligence, you know how to bring your support to others.
Finally you are a leader, you know how to organize the groups of persons and give them your energy.

 

Your understanding of your environment :
34% 30% 35%
Facts Feelings Ideas
At first, at 35%, you are centered on your thoughts and your actions are determined by your knowledge and your experience.
Then, at a ratio of 34%, you are focused on the facts and on the reality, and your decisions are determined by your perception of facts. Finally, at 30%, you are attached to moral values and feelings, and you have an emotional relation with the environment.

 

How you assert yourself :
In your relations with others, your point of view and your decision-making are motivated by your inner conviction at 51%. Dialogue and exchange of views with others are taken into account at 48%.
51% 48%
Your ideas
Your relations

Also, your actions and behaviour are determined by your sensibility and that of your partner at a ratio of 51%. Then you are driven at 48% by own will and personal goals.
48% 51%
Your will power
Your sensibility

Finally, your inspiration and your creativity, your artistic or spiritual impulse have an influence of 54%. Also your family and personal ties interfere at 45%.
54% 45%
Your inspiration
 Your family

 

The qualities that characterize your personality:

Your intellectual performance.
You are intellectual and intelligent, you wonder and you inquire before taking any action and setting your values.
at 21 %
21%
Your thinking.
you are attuned to others and you show a good emotional intelligence, which allow you to give support to people.
at 20 %
20%
Your leadership.
you are a manager and a leader, and you know how to organize groups of people and how to give them your energy.
at 19 %
19%
Your contact abilities.
you are open and good communicator, you know how to attract people and engage them.
at 19 %
19%
Your imagination.
you are a creative person, with always new ideas, and you know how to apply them.
at 19 %
19%

Finally, you are creative, you know how to see beauty, you are intuitive and your inspiration comes from the inside, you are strong-willed and active, your actions are determined by your own will, by the goals you settled to yourself, and by your need to act and move ahead.

Self Acceptance in The New Year

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This year.   I have an exercise for you.  This is about self loathing. And self-acceptance.

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Take a plain white sheet of paper.  Fresh paper.  No lines.  And get a really good ink pen…whatever kind you like.  Then….make a list.  Write the numbers 1 – 10 in a line down the page.

Next, list the top ten things that you loathe about yourself.  It could be anything.  Your hair.  Your inability to come up with a clever witticism when needed.  Your inability to perform mathematical calculations.  You’re a lousy cook.  You think you’re too fat.  You hate the sound of your own voice.  Whatever you don’t like about yourself….Write it down.

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THEN….

BURN IT!!!                                     René Best guitarist

That’s right.  Take the list outside and set that mo-fo on fire!  Burn up every single negative, self-loathing thing you said about yourself…and when the fire goes out and you are left with ash….send it up to the sky!  Let the breeze carry it away!

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Then….Make a new list.

Make a bunch of lists.  Put them up all over your house.  List the things you love about your life.  List the things you love about yourself.  List those things you are grateful for.  List the people and things that make you happy.

Then smile.

There is nothing wrong with you.   Everything is as it should be for now.  Everything is going to be alright.

Completely Changing Directions….

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I was reading about the future release of a new addition to the lineup of  Apple computers this morning, and their slogan caught my eye.  It said, “Sometimes, to take a major step forward, you have to completely change directions” followed by, “Radical, yet completely logical!”  And I realized that Mr. Jobs was speaking to me from the grave…or so I’d like to think.

As I type this, I am sitting in the breakfast room of a beautiful Cape Cod on top of a hill in California.  A gorgeous pool glistens through the window behind me as the morning sun is gently feeding the flowers after their earlier drink of water.  I am still in my robe, barefoot and relaxing for a moment after already putting in 5 hours of work.  John is on a plane headed South, and I am here alone with Maddie, the big yellow dog.  (Update:  John just sent a text to say that he had landed safely.)

This is the final countdown before I jump back into graduate school, my last days to relax for a long, long time….not that I do much relaxing anyway, but the pace of my life is about to change radically and to pick up significantly.  There are a number of things I am doing to prepare myself for the onslaught of sleepless nights and copious amounts of work that go hand-in-hand with studying advanced Research Methods and Advanced Social Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University this term….oh, and my History of Rock and Roll class that I am taking independently from Rochester University.

First, I am starting each day with aerobic exercise and I plan to continue the 3-day a week, 500 calorie fast that I have been on for the last 6.5 weeks.  I am convinced that this is the way to live.  Just as the scientists said I would, I look and feel younger.  I know I am healthier, and it keeps getting better all the time.  Whether I am eating the 500 calories on the fasting days, or I am eating whatever I want on the other four days of the week, I am convinced that I must maximize my nutritional intake.  Safeway, Costco and similar chain grocery stores do not even sell anything I will eat….or very little, anyway.  These days, I am all about the fresh, organic produce and making choices that really pack a punch.  I now view food as fuel, and just like the premium fuel that I put into my Mercedes, I am now putting premium fuel into my body.  Since I have less strength on my fasting days, I plan to ride my bike to the gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, leaving Sunday as a day for rest.  The gym and a healthful breakfast is how I plan to begin each morning.

As soon as we get back to Portland, I will finally be unpacking and setting up my new studio, Silverthorn Studios.  I will be working there a couple of hours a day, Monday through Friday.  I will also be picking up Ingrid from preschool at 4:00 three days a week, , and watching her until her mother picks her up at around 6:30.  The rest of my day will be spent studying and working on homework.  For the next month, I will be setting up this routine and getting used to it.  Then, I will be taking a trip to a place unmentionable for a few weeks, and I will have to take my show on the road while I’m away.  I plan to return home to Portland at some point in mid-November, and the rest of the term, I will be working from there.

I know it sounds like a lot…and there will be days when I will not be able to follow through…but I’m going to give it my best shot.  It will only be like this for a couple of years…(gulp).  Wish me luck! 🙂

Aside

Two of my all-time favorite singers….Ricki Lee Jones and Ben Harper, singing, “Old Enough”.

 

Something’s changed

It’s not that I fear but

Maybe it’s that I took care of you

too many times,

And you grew weaker for a kindness

Sometimes kindness from a friend

can break a man

I can understand

You sit there like a child-man

I never meant to make you cry

I’d turn the clock but how can I?

You’re Old Enough to know

You’re Old Enough to know

Why do you shun me

when I treat you with respect?

You’ve been my best friend,

joy and happiness

But without a tender kiss sometimes,

We may as well say goodbye…

Cuz late at night,  as the cars go by,
I lay here and watch you try

to pretend you’re not breaking inside

For someone to sing in your ear…

I can understand…

You sit there like a child and beg,

But if you want me to stay,

Baby has to cry sometime
Don’t be kind to me,
I wanna walk away…

 

You’re Old Enough to know

You’re Old Enough to know

You’re Old Enough to know
Ah, you’re Old Enough to know

Ricki Lee Jones and Ben Harper – OLD ENOUGH

Walking with the Wise…..Avoiding Toxic Relationships and Being Healthy

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There is a proverb that goes something like this:  ” Become wise by walking with the wise”    Hang out with fools and watch your life shatter into  pieces.  This is what I keep telling a friend who is struggling with life right now.  This friend is in a toxic relationship that has caused  her own career to plummet into the nadir of despair, and that has caused her personal life to be reduced to a pathetic existence.  Absolutely pathetic.  She is living an existence that she never would have envisioned for herself.  Not ever.  I have known this woman for more than 20 years, and she is almost unrecognizable at this point in her life.   Her partner has imposed an emotional noose around her neck, even to the point of dictating her religious beliefs.

These relationships begin in an exciting way….and usually with great sex.  At the time, there seems to be lots of passion. Big highs. But also lows. This drama cycle can easily be mistaken for True Love. A deep connection. Intense intimacy.  It isn’t.  The intensity comes from deception, in most cases.  Someone has a need and will put whatever strings it takes to fill that need, even if it means playing a fake “passionate sex” card temporarily….but as the relationship becomes toxic, so does the sex life.  In many cases, it dwindles down to nothing, or when it occurs, it is just bad.  Of course, in any relationship, there are things that are black and white and there are grey areas.  This is a given.   However, when one person begins to try to control the other, the beginning of a toxic relationship is born.  Everything goes downhill from there.

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People can be health conscious and read labels, eat nutritious foods, make their environments as safe and healthful as possible, but if they are involved in toxic relationships, their health is going to fail as much as it would if they ate junk food every day of their lives.  Creating a toxic internal environment for oneself is tantamount to inviting depression, stress, anxiety and even heart problems into one’s life with open arms.  Being in a toxic relationship invites problems, not only including the events that transpire from day-to-day, but also ones that can end up literally killing that person.

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A long term study that looked at the adverse affects of living in unhappy relationships found a distinct correlation between toxic relationships and heart disease.  The 1985 study followed a group of more than 10,000 participants for an average of 12.2 years. Participants consisted of both men and women and ranged in age from 35 – 55 years old. Researchers controlled for psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, worry, stress) as well as lifestyle, social demographics (age, marital status, sex, employment status,) and biological factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cholesterol levels).  Researchers only evaluated the relationships which were identified as being the closest by the participants.

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The overall, study results suggested that participants whose closest personal relationship was negative were at a greater risk of a cardiac event, including a fatal cardiac event, than their counterparts whose close relationships were not negative.   In other words, toxic relationships can be toxic to our heart health.  A good way to tell is this….Look at your life when you first started a relationship.  If you are a doctor, was your practice thriving?  If you are an artist, were you getting lots of shows?  Did you have steady work?  If you are a teacher, were you involved with many colleagues, working on projects, thriving on the job?  NOW look at your life.  Are you failing, not only in your career…but also in your personal life?

I pray for my friend’s heart.  It is a good heart.

shattered heart

Online Relationships

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One of my favorite documentaries is a film called, “Catfish” in which a young man who is involved with a beautiful woman decides to document their first real-life meeting.  What transpired is not pretty.

CATFISH                      <—–CLICK

SPOILER ALERT:
When he arrives, everything is different from what he had imagined.

Last night, John and I watched the TV spinoff from this documentary, a series by the same name.  I think we watched three episodes, and in each one of them, one person would misrepresent him/herself to another person.  The people from the show would check it out, and the other person would be crushed.

Why do people misrepresent who they are online?

I know one person who is living in hell, in a horrible relationship, living in some little tin can dump, but to read what she writes online, you’d think everything was peachy-keen.  She continually pursues men and makes them think she is living in Nirvana….but when they meet her in person…OUCH!    WHY do people do that?  Why not just be comfortable with and own up to who you REALLY are?

I know a lot of folks who have met online and have successfully developed relationships.  My own daughter, in fact, met her husband online.  They have been happily married for 10+ years, have a beautiful daughter, and a beautiful life.  They love one another and are happy.  Things turned out well for them.   One of my closest friends met her husband online, too.  Same story.

What happens when things don’t work out with these relationships?  I keep thinking of that kook who shot that poor woman….the Craigslist killer.  I think of other disastrous examples, and it sort of scares me.

I invited one friend that I met online, a fellow artist,  to come spend a weekend while John was away.   I took Ingrid with me to pick her up at the train station.  We went to the Fine Art Museum, out to dinner, gallery hopping and we watched, “Nashville” (a favorite TV show of mine) together.  Everything went beautifully. She was a perfectly normal person and is now a great friend.   My husband, on the other hand, made friends with someone online and had highest hopes about a real friendship, but things did not go well.  His “friend” had severely misrepresented reality.   It happens, and was a lesson learned.   ….so one never really knows until he or she meets the other person face-to-face.

All I can say is to be careful before you engage with someone online, and especially if you plan to meet that person in real life….and don’t be too surprised or disappointed if your situation turns out to be another CATFISH.

catfish

Have any of you ever been involved in friendships or romantic relationships  online that turned into a nightmare when you met the person in real life?  Have you experienced meeting someone in person who turned out to be completely different from the way that he/she represented him /herself online?    I’d love to hear your stories.  I am going to write a piece about this subject.  Either comment here, please, or shoot me an email, if you prefer a more private discourse.

Everyone Matters

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One of my favorite websites is everyone matters.com.  This is a site that is dedicated to making the world a better place.   This week, they have posted a challenge:

Can you go for 24 hours without judging or calling anybody names? 

Even while driving?

angry driver attribute to Brooks was here1 Take the 24 Hr Challenge

We all stand outside others’ lives – making judgments – about what they eat, how they dress, how they drive, where they shop, how they talk, what kind of car or phone they have.

We still stereotype by groups – gay, black, Muslim, Mormon, Asian, the rich, the poor (fill in the blank).

We throw around hurtful, judgmental words –  calling someone fat, old, ugly, stupid, gay.

Well, Try Stopping for ONE DAY!

Can you do it?

Lying by Omission

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“Technically….I didn’t lie to her….”

Is there such a thing as lying by omission?

I’m not talking about harmless white lies here, as in “Does my butt look big in this?”   I am talking about  the omission of truth that, if known,  has the potential to hurt someone deeply, and to cause them emotional pain and anger.

 I believe that there is.  In fact, I believe that the person who omits the truth when he or she knows damned well that his or her partner would be crushed if he or she knew it, is as much of a liar as the person who looks you squarely in the face and tells a big whopper.

When we are connected with others and we are not fully forthcoming about matters of the heart, matters  that serve to hurt and deceive them, we can accurately be branded as liars even when we omit information rather than speak lies from our mouths.

Silence can be good at times, but in instances when the mechanics of a relationships are involved,  silence is tantamount to telling a serious lie…especially  when our partners want to know the truth, ask us outright what the truth is, and receive evasion or silence.

Any relationship that is sustained on lies is no REAL relationship at all….at least, not a healthy, respectful one.   These types of relationships are sustained on insecurities and on sick psychological dependencies that have nothing to do with love.  Committed partners simply don’t do it to one another.

These types of lies, the silent ones,  should not be confused with maintaining a sense of privacy in a relationship.  No one should be obligated, for example, to give his or her partner their passwords,  or to reveal personal information that does not threaten the relationship.   That is invasive and frankly,  just silly.  Everyone deserves privacy, but one should simply be able to state that openly.  “No, I don’t feel comfortable giving you my Facebook password, because I’d like to maintain my privacy.”  There is nothing wrong with that.

However, if someone is having an affair, it is different.

I have a good friend who exists in an untruthful relationship.  He fears his partner,  so virtually never tells her  the truth.  As a result, my friend is tied into knots half the time, miserable and unhappy, confused, hemmed in, resentful and living an inauthentic  life that doesn’t even remotely resemble who he really is.  He is in the relationship because of guilt, obligation, psychological dependency….but not because of a conscious, adult choice.  He is in the relationship because he fears his partner, not because he loves her.   But does that excuse his lying?  I can only speak for myself when I say that I would never remain in a relationship where I could not be my authentic self.  If I feared my partner, then I would not really consider that person to be an actual partner….and I can see infidelity being the result of that…but why not just split?  Some people won’t split because their relationships are abusive.  They have been convinced that they have no power without the abuser.

Just as a lie is a misrepresentation of the truth, so is remaining silent in those instances when doing so might make the other person believe something that is far removed from the truth.  Spoken or unspoken…a lie is a lie.…and if someone is doing something that his or her partner would break up with him or her over, then the union is a farce.

 I cannot, for the life of me, justify or even imagine being in a relationship where I had to lie to my partner…either spoken or by omission….just so I could go ahead and  do what I wanted to do behind that person’s back!  Why on earth would I want to be with someone who would not allow me to be myself….to talk to the friends I want to talk to….to go the places I want to go?   To me, partnership means sharing one’s life…not hiding it….and if you’re involved in a relationship where you have to hide your authentic self,  it isn’t really a partnership, and it isn’t a love relationship.  The whole  thing is a lie.

Misleading statements are also lies.

 A misleading statement is a tricky kind of lie .  It occurs when  there is no outright, obvious  lie told, but it still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe  an untruth….and what is the point of that?   If my husband/partner cannot accept what I do, tough.  I am an adult, and I am in a partnership, not a prison.  It is not my place to tell him what to do, and it is not his place to tell me what to do.  I  am faithful because I want to be….not because I have to be.  I am faithful out of a sense of respect for my marriage.

What about partners who issue ultimatums?  Is that a good reason to lie or to withhold the truth?    Ultimatums are for faux relationships that are unsteady and unbalanced.  Ultimatums that exist for the sole purpose of controlling another person should not exist.  Honesty should.  There is nothing wrong with having boundaries.  There is no fault in someone’s saying, “If you do that again, I will not participate in the relationship any longer,” but there is a distinct difference between setting boundaries to maintain one’s own sanity, and tossing out ultimatums to control the person you are involved with.

 Fortunately, I have enough respect for my husband to be honest with him.  It makes me sad to see friends who are in relationships where they do not respect their partners enough to tell them the truth.  That, to me, is tantamount to living in hell.  I simply wouldn’t do it….even in the case of my friend who lies because his partner creates hell when he tries to be honest.

hate

 

As adults, we all have the right to privacy.  When another adult asks a question about something that we don’t want to answer, each of us has the right to say, “I’d rather keep that information to myself.”  However, in the case of fidelity between couples, I don’t think so.  If you are in a committed relationship and your partner is lying to you…either with word or deed…or in silence….my advice is to beat it to the nearest door. …unless you are helpless and dysfunctional.  Then, you are apt to simply wallow in it while other people whisper about what a fool you are……forever.  And they do.  You can count on that much.

Perfectionism is a disease. Here’s how to beat it. by Penelope Trunk Blog

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Perfectionism is a disease. Here’s how to beat it. | Penelope Trunk Blog.  <–CLICKY

The article above  is a well-written piece on perfectionism by Penelope Trunk.  If you read it, please leave a comment to let her know you enjoyed it, if you did.  I think she summed it all up quite succinctly!

First, please don’t brag about being a perfectionist!  It is not a good thing.   Mind you, I think Penelope might be stretching things a little bit to use the word “disease” to describe it.  When taken to the extreme, it can be a psychological disorder.

I used to be perfectionist back in my late 20’s, that is, until I realized that there was clearly something wrong with that scenario…..so I got help for it.  Perfectionism can be a very limiting, debilitating condition that  prevents one from enjoying oneself  and from living a good, healthy life.  The condition  is part of a fear-based existence that prevents one from taking action.  Perfectionists tend not to do things at all, if they can’t do them perfectly.

 In retrospect, I can see the impossibility of what I was trying to accomplish. At the time,   I believed  I was boasting an admirable  quality about myself, all the while,  not realizing that it was not only bad for my health overall, but that it also drove everyone around me crazy!    Now, I know better.   Now, when I hear someone utter those words, I think to myself, “Bummer.  I hope you get help for that.”

These days, I simply do the best that I can.  I work very hard and I attempt to be the best person that I can be, but I no longer  seek nor expect perfection.  I no longer place the kinds of limitations on myself that being a perfectionist placed.  I find that now, I have much more freedom and I do much better, in general.  In fact, because I gave up trying to be a perfectionist, my life is closer to being perfect than it has ever before been.  Go figure!

Life isn’t perfect.  It never will be.  My goal is to enjoy it, and to do the best that I can with what I have to work with.  I’m no slacker.  That’s for sure…..but I accept the fact that life has its limitations, and I’m ok with that.

NEXT!!!!

Scientific Proof that People Can See Auras

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When I was in one of my early grad school classes, I felt a huge wave of relief sweep over me when I studied the phenomenon known as “synesthesia”.  I have had this condition for my entire life and have always felt “different” or “out of place” in  a way,  because of it.  Now, there is a scientific explanation for it.  Please enjoy the following article:

Researchers in Spain have found that many of the individuals claiming to see the aura of people –traditionally called “healers” or “quacks”– actually present the neuropsychological phenomenon known as “synesthesia” (specifically, “emotional synesthesia”). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged “virtue”. In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. This way, synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people with a particular color.

Credit: University of Granada

The study was conducted by the University of Granada Department of Experimental Psychology Óscar Iborra, Luis Pastor and Emilio Gómez Milán, and has been published in the prestigious journal Consciousness and Cognition. This is the first time that a scientific explanation is provided on the esoteric phenomenon of the aura, a supposed energy field of luminous radiation surrounding a person as a halo, which is imperceptible to most human beings.

In neurological terms, synesthesia is due to cross-wiring in the brain of some people (synesthetes); in other words, synesthetes present more synaptic connections than “normal” people. “These extra connections cause them to automatically establish associations between brain areas that are not normally interconnected”, professor Gómez Milán explains. Many healers claiming to see the aura of people might have this condition.

The case of the “Santón de Baza”

The University of Granada researchers remark that “not all healers are synesthetes, but there is a higher prevalence of this phenomenon among them. The same occurs among painters and artists, for example”. To carry out this study, the researchers interviewed some synesthetes as the healer from Granada “Esteban Sánchez Casas”, known as “El Santón de Baza”.

Many people attribute “paranormal powers” to El Santón, such as his ability to see the aura of people “but, in fact, it is a clear case of synesthesia”, the researchers explain. El Santón presents face-color synesthesia (the brain region responsible for face recognition is associated with the color-processing region); touch-mirror synesthesia (when the synesthete observes a person who is being touched or is experiencing pain, s/he experiences the same); high empathy (the ability to feel what other person is feeling), and schizotypy (certain personality traits in healthy people involving slight paranoia and delusions). “These capacities make synesthetes have the ability to make people feel understood, and provide them with special emotion and pain reading skills”, the researchers explain.

In the light of the results obtained, the researchers remark the significant “placebo effect” that healers have on people, “though some healers really have the ability to see people’s auras and feel the pain in others due to synesthesia”. Some healers “have abilities and attitudes that make them believe in their ability to heal other people, but it is actually a case of self-deception, as synesthesia is not an extrasensory power, but a subjective and ‘adorned’ perception of reality”, the researchers state.

Reference:
Auras in mysticism and synaesthesia: a comparison. Consciousness and cognition, 2012, 21(1), 258-268 de Milán, Iborra, Pastor y otros. Avalaible at: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810011002868