Tuesday, 27 January 2009

NARCISSISTIC: The Word of the Week

The Springfield State Journal Register had a recent article that was exploring the state of our current Illinois Governor's mental health. Several local mental health professionals were consulted and all agreed that the gov surely fit, at least some, of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Of course, any professional would hesitate to make any sort of definitive diagnosis without a diagnostic interview.

Below is the list of diagnostic criteria, 5 of which must be present to qualify a candidate for winning THE diagnosis. Most people with NPD won't be asking for your vote because they'll know you've voted for them and if you didn't they wouldn't want your ignorance backing them anyway. Nothing personal there, just trying to help you climb inside and take a ride in the gas/energy guzzling ride of a narcissistic personality.

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy; is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

I don't know the actual number of individuals having been diagnosed but I can say with certainty that we have many people with narcissistic traits walking among us. I have known people with these characteristics in my personal and professional life.

It isn't pretty.

The sense of self-entitlement-- getting what they want or think they deserve with no concern about anyone but themselves, "you owe me," is pathological and destroys foundations of relationships (personal and professional) left and right.

One of the quoted professionals on the SJ-R article mentioned that individuals with NPD do not frequently get therapy because they do not think they are the problem. I would add that a narcissistic person will drag others to therapy (when it sometimes more disruptive than helpful) to try and prove that others have a problem and they do not; and they may also attend alone giving the professional their one-sided view of their life and their relationships without confirmation of their stories/experiences, and use that as an opportunity to grab some validation, "see, I got help and they think I'm fine (or right, or best . . .)."  In other words, they haven't gone to get help but to stage a scenario where, once again, they can be told they are right.

The children of the person with NPD suffer most. They are so confused about what is true and what isn't, what is right and what is wrong, what is an appropriate emotional response and what is emotional drama and overreaction-- their foundation for successful emotional and social development is at great risk.

Children will likely either fall into the parent's footsteps and have similar narcissistic qualities or be at risk for severe self esteem issues; after all, they were never important enough for the parent to put their own issues and agendas aside and parent appropriately. These children have been brought up seeing such inconsistencies in the words, actions and values their frame of reference is skewed.

Imagine that you are a child and your parent would lie and put the blame about an issue on you instead of accepting responsibility for something that the parent did and the child KNOWS the parent did. And imagine the parent does it with a big smile on their face, all the while insisting that they are reporting the truth. There stands the child, knowing they can't question their parent (who is ALWAYS right), unable to stand up and defend their own integrity; there is no foundational breeding ground for core values of honesty, integrity, loyalty. Unless, you hope and pray, they have other adult role models that model positive values and can give the child a reality check when needed.

I am not a proponent of putting individuals into a diagnostic box, which our insurance system forces us to do in this day and age, because many of the emotional and behavioral health issues, I believe, fall into a spectrum of severity as well as overlap with other diagnosis. Many people with the narcissistic traits will also have characteristics of borderline personality disorder-- in both cases people learn they must walk on eggshells around these folks so as not to catch their wrath; of course that rarely works because the people thrive on the drama they create and manipulate.

So when you hear our infamous current governor, as I did on NPR today, sounding so nonchalant about his predicament and comparing himself to situations in movies and the movie characters and people that have historically been done wrong and then hear the list of television talk shows he is going on later in the day and all the while you are thinking, if that was me I would be so embarrassed I'd want to hole up somewhere they would never look for me-- like the Springfield Governors Mansion . . . Don't worry, you haven't lost your mind.

But also understand, you don't have to be in government or Hollywood to be brushing shoulders with people with narcissistic traits. And when you brush up to someone with similar characteristics, what the best thing to do? Take care of yourself. Helping others is not on their list of things to do.

Many professionals have the opinion that folks with personality disorders typically will not get or accept treatment, for one reason because PD's aren't something that can be cured with medicine and it takes a true willingness to change.

But I've seen people decide to get better and do so.

Just like with addictions, the person has to hit their own personal rock-bottom and decide, "ENOUGH, I cannot live like this anymore." 

Unfortunately it isn't usually the piles of those they have wounded that announces that their "bottom" is near, but an assault to their own person. For some people, being indicted could be that bottom. 

For others, it never happens.

a little follow-up on to today's sj-r article.

Hello out there,

If you are here today because of the article (click the word article to read) in today's State Journal Register, please feel free to scroll down to my post: Run Obama Run, which was inspired by my interview for that article.

My personal post script-- nursing my broken rib continues and I am committed to continuing my 15 minute a day run on exercise (I solemnly swear to get a least 15 minutes of heart rate raising exercise in a day).  So as not to be overzealous, as I was the first week post rib fracture-- I am looking at the deep breathing exercises that are a must with a rib fracture to prevent pneumonia as a part of my daily routine and trying to stretch as much possible.

My first post on this blog and my side bar tells a bit about  myself.

Welcome and make yourself at home.  Best of luck with all your wellness goals!  I'm a firm believer that our inner wellness and balance only enhances taking care of our bodies.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Watching our 44th President ~ arrive

I've just heard Aretha and am now watching Biden being sworn in.

I hadn't had the opportunity to test this, but bawling like a baby hurts worse than laughing on a broken rib.

This is an amazing day.

I am so happy for the civil rights activists, the families who have lost loved ones to our unspeakable race war within this country that has gone so easily ignored to such a large faction, and for people like my 86 year old mother who have lived through and remember much of the pain.

I am so happy for all oppressed people that can feel a bit more hopeful today.

I am so happy for our children who have gotten such a wonderful example of how freedom and education and persistence and courage and perseverance and the ability to hold your head high and make the right choices makes all things possible.

Tis a gift to be simple
Tis a gift to be free 
Tis a gift to come back where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right 
Will be in the valley of love and delight
When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed
To turn, turn, will be our delight
Til by turning and turning come round right.

I hope the beautifully profound, yet simple, lyrics to the instrumental that is being played so breathtakingly as I write hold true as a testimony to the change brought forth by what I am witnessing at this moment.

And he is taking the OATH.  NOW.  

President Barack Obama has arrived!  The 44th President of the United States.

Welcome.  We've been waiting for you.

And if you have interest, check out this 1996 article in the New Yorker for an interview of Michelle and Obama.  Then.

Monday, 19 January 2009

a plane crash, a presidency, calm and karma

A picture paints a thousand words.  

In this case an out and out miracle is illustrated.  Those are people, yes people, calmly standing on the wings of an airplane that has gone down.  

As reported by the New York Times-- the emergency landing of the US Airways airbus into the Hudson RIVER (no, not a controlled emergency landing on a runway or a cornfield or a freeway but a highway of water) was as calm and effective as a text book example for future pilots might be.

There were first-hand testimonials of how the passengers seemed to pick up on the calm in which this entire near-disaster was handled.  Yes, there were some shouts by passengers on impact, but not the fear-of-imminent-death-frenzy we have all imagined happens as an airplane goes down.  I read somewhere that one passenger was quoted as saying that no one put their head between their knees-- we wanted to see what was coming.

The praise for Captain Sullenberger is unending.  The magical combination of becoming an award winning stand-out pilot at the age of 14, his meticulous attention to detail, and his voracious preparation/involvement in flight disaster prevention, as well as experience piloting gliders just may have been the lucky hand that brought these Airbus passengers home safely. 

But I personally think that the calm from which he acted trumps the other preparation. (or was he calm because he was so knowledgeable and prepared-- very well may be, still CALM was so pertinent)

One thing is clear-- calm breeds calm.  The accounts also astound when passengers report the methodical,  non hysterical exit and the near-serene stillness as they waited on the wings for rescue-- as so many of these amazing photographs show us.  And then Captain Sully calmly went into the airbus that was quickly turning into a sinking water bus, not once, but twice to make sure no passengers were left behind.  

It is a week of historically miraculous happenings.  As we see our new President of the United States get sworn into office and swept into the frenzy that is the presidency I am reminded of, how throughout his campaign calm bred calm.

You know how I try to shoot for zen?  I was embarrassed at myself during some of those Presidential debates.  When McCain was, what I considered, maliciously attacking and taking great pleasure in it, I'd find myself chanting "Keating Five, Keating Five. . ."  I couldn't fathom how, with all the negative sewage McCain plunged up and hurled at the world, Barack's team did not mention the Keating Five in public-- something that was actually a concrete example of impairment in McCain's judgment and a part of our history (forget how he met his wife and chased her around a cocktail table and or his service history and indiscretions prior to being a POW. . .  I'll stop now for I am not going down the calm breeds calm road).

But our President, the one that is Barack Obama, took the high road.  He didn't sling mud back at the slingers.  He didn't let himself be riled by the anger he might have felt when such desperate measures were attempted to discredit him.  AND, he continued to speak complimentary of his attackers; a bit reminiscent of, "forgive them Father for they know not what they do . . ."  (yes, I've heard the jokes comparing him to "the chosen one" or "the second coming" but hey-- how long has it been since you've seen a public figure emulate such kind and forgiving behavior?  in the public eye, no less?)


Yep, unless you live under a rock you know:  it caused a movement.  A movement that said, enough is enough. Hate begets hate and violence and racism, sexims, sexualityism, ageism, and all other isms.  

Change comes from within.  It comes from finding the inner calm in the outer storm.  And then Karma takes over.  

Karma:   The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.

Thank you President Barack Obama and Captain "Sully" for living a life of "practicing what you preach."  For knowing it would be calm and mindful planning in the face of danger and panic and history-making events that would allow you to get the results you had always been planning for; that you have been waiting to be called upon to use.

And thank you for having the inner balance and resolve that when push came to shove you weren't a person that just talked a talk (or yelled a yell for that matter).  You had the skill and presence of mind to put follow-through with actions: you walked the walk in a most miraculously effective way.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Facebook Verdict

Initially I was asked to join Facebook for networking purposes by some professionals that I had some affiliation with in California.  I joined.  My account sat dry and unmoving.  I didn't get it at all.

Then, SpringfieldMoms.org asked all the advisory board members to join for networking purposes and as an alternative way to get the word about this excellent resource.  

Not only did the Spfld Moms hit the ground running,  networking on semi-professional ground, but given who we were-- many mothers with a variety of children and situations-- we had lots to touch base and connect about.  And so a sweet little carousel of support has taken root.

My initial thoughts about Facebook were: how trite.  It is a mere facsimile of attempting to have a relationship with no depth, no reciprocity and no genuine interaction.  HMPH!

What I didn't realize was that just as face to face relationships have their own developmental progression, which cannot be rushed: so goes Facebook, your relationship with Facebook itself and your "friends" themselves.

As one friend put it succinctly, "As busy as I am, working full time and having three children and a partner with not much time to socialize-- it is nice to at least have a sense that I am connecting with other adults; even when the connection is superficial."

But now after several months of Facebook I have seen the support that comes from others to their friends when there are joys or concerns.  I've witnessed the outpouring of support when people have a death in the family or a birth or had to put a beloved pet down.  When someone is injured, having a bad day, dealing with a bout of seasonal affective disorder (you know who you are) and needing a rousing round of "let's pretend we are planning our trip to the tropics while it is subzero outside."  Yes, people network, tell jokes and commiserate freely and there is something refreshing about it to me.

I know there are concerns that these next generations will lack an ability to have and sustain genuine relationships and let's face it: that takes work even with optimal ability and willing face to face participants.  But in lieu of not feeling 100% at peace with this plugged in sense of community that is among us (we text, IM, email, facebook, myspace, blog . . .) does that mean we think we can really accomplish anything by sitting it out and saying, "HMPH.  Not doing that new-fangled stuff. ?"

IMHO (in my humble opinion, spelled out for non-techies) that would be cutting off our relationships to spite our lack of communication.  I prefer to embrace the trends, get to know and connect with people in whatever way our current societal climate supports and try, TRY, to bring something positive to the endeavor.

In the mean time, I do have a crazy-busy life and a set of circumstances that does not lend itself to being on many people's short list for spontaneous invitations or the means of holding down the fort to socialize very routinely.  

I am a people-person and, honestly, I never would have thought I would have said this based on my first interaction with Facebook-- but I do feel it serves  a pleasant connecting purpose in these frequently isolating times.

My verdict: Facebook may live.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Run Obama Run

Dear President Obama,

I was recently contacted by a free lance writer, Amy McFadden, whom while researching an article for our local newspaper asked me for commentary on how to stay true to an exercise routine when you have an extremely busy schedule (ala Obama).

Here would be my personal recommendations for you your highness, Mr. President Barack Obama (bowing now):

1. Adopt my personal approach: commit to getting at least 15 minutes of exercise in each day (preferably cardio and definitely not 7 days of toe touching).

Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) --- 60 - 70% of maximum heart rate

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) --- 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

So shoot for 60-80% of maximum heart rate


2. Make at least 5 of those sessions per week cardio/aerobic.

3. Get a cardiopulmonary stress test so that you can determine your true maximum heart rate.

Mr. President, I'm sure your health plan would cover this-- but not so sure for the rest of us if we are otherwise healthy. I believe you can arrange this through the Center for Living at Prairie Heart Institute if you are interested for wellness purposes.

My husband, The Cardiologist, highly recommends you get this test rather than follow a chart to determine maximum heart rate.

IF you must, however, search for the method that makes you take your resting pulse before you get out of bed for 3 days to use the resting heart rate for the equation, it will be most accurate.

The premise is, when time is limited, you want to make sure you are following an exercise prescription that is giving you maximum benefit for your cardiovascular system.

4. Strive to get your exercise in first thing in the morning.

Mr. President, I'm pretty sure they have a gym and maybe even a pool that is very accessible to you; subtly apply the guilt of, "how can I not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity I have been given while contemplating pressing the snooze button."

Research has shown that people who get their exercise in first thing in the morning are more likely to continue long term.

5. Set your alarm half an hour (plus) earlier than you normally would each day.

6. Don't press snooze. If you set your alarm, put it across the room so you have to get up. If you have a Jeeves that is at your beck and call, you could even ask that he awaken you and dress you; you can't break a date and embarrass yourself with Sir Jeeves.

7. Mentally reward yourself for the 9 times out of 10 that you will exercise longer than 15 minutes because once you get started, "hey this isn't so bad . . ." and you probably have an extra 10-20 minutes before you have to shower and be in the Oval Office or help see the girls off to school after all.

Remember the church lady on Saturday Night Live? And remember the superior strut? Now clearly, that would not be a presidential dance for you to actually be doing throughout this presidency when you are feeling really pumped about yourself, but mentally, whoa-- go for it.

When you have that exercise wiped out at the beginning of your day you won't be able to resist having a bit of an internal dance going on as you bask in the knowledge that you have accomplished a wonderfully healthy goal for yourself and gotten your day off to an amazing start. You'll be amazed at the physical and emotional energy taking care of yourself first thing in the day will do for you.

8. Never. Repeat NEVER have said reward be a cigarette. Very bad Presidential form. New mantra to use: "Cigs negate aerobic benefit."

9. Get sufficient rest. This is a real challenge for you, Mr. President. We all know how much sleep we need to function optimally. Set a realistic goal of a bedtime to try to meet so that you will be rested enough to get out of bed and get moving in the morning.

10. Vow to not let travel or war or late night meetings or any variety of distractions throw you off of said plan. Pack a jump rope, just in case a gym is not available or practical, so there are no excuses. Jump for as long as you can hold, walk in place and catch breath, and repeat. Resistance bands are another must for travel!

Not that you will be getting charged for your luggage like the rest of us, but I know you are concerned about your carbon footprint and, hey, the lighter those planes, the less fuel they use!

11. Walk as much as possible throughout the day. Being who you are, you will be offered to be chauffeured ad nauseam (they may even offer the occasional piggy back ride). Wear a pedometer or BodyBugg and make it a game to see just how many steps you can get in throughout the day and how many calories you can burn during exercise. You'll need some distractions and this is a positive one.

For those of us that can stand to drop some weight-- we should stand as much as possible: stand and pace while talking on the phone, stand and work on your computer at a counter. Standing burns twice the amount of calories of sitting.

12. As much as possible insert a daily walk with Michelle into your routine. This will provide you with some important connect time and be a healthy habit for you both as well as for your relationship.

13. Have fun. Make those games you love a part of your leisure. I know you love basketball and I read early on in choosing your cabinet that you have chosen several folks that used to play basketball in college. Have fun with that. Set a routine time (once a month or even more frequently) for you all to meet while attempting to cream each other in a good ole fashioned game of b-ball.

14. Look at food as fuel and attempt to fuel your body with Premium Plus. Attempt to stay away from processed foods and strive to take in healthy calories every 2 hours. Keep your office stocked with healthy snacks. This will help with your cognitive function, energy level, and beyond. Try to put a healthy protein with each feeding. You do not appear to need to lose weight in the least-- the BodyBugg can give you more insight in just how many calories you need to maintain your weight.

15. And don't forget the mind games for yourself. If you are ever the least bit tempted to feel guilty for spending time or energy on yourself with so much going on in the world and around you remind yourself: I cannot take care of others (or a country) unless I am taking care of myself.

We want a healthy president. We want you to take the time to take care of yourself.

Wishing you optimal health and functioning during your stay at the White House~

Coach Becky

Mr. President~feel free to contact me a at my lifejourneycoaches website and we can arrange some convenient email coaching sessions for support and accountability. . . but I think they want you to stop using the Blackberry. (I can, however, keep a secret)

. . . or forever hold your peace.


Cars have them. Dryers have them. Cigs (bad, bad) have them. Coffee makers have them.

And yes, humans have them.

Unfortunately, our filters don't engage automatically like the afore mentioned filters do in their respective processes. Our filters, the one's that we sometimes call upon when deciding how to answer a question or approach a thought or subject with another human being (i.e. should I be polite, should I be painfully honest, should I ignore, etc.) must be mindfully engaged if they are to work.

I find this topic fascinating.

Boundaries in relationships can be a very good thing: I know where I stop and you begin and infrequently shall the twain meet. My inner thoughts, motives, actions do not have to be on my sleeve and out there for every person that I come in contact with. I have the choice-- which makes life a heckuva lot less dramatic than when these boundaries or filters are not in place.

But shouldn't there be a place that we can go to with the people that are dearest to us that isn't about walking on eggshells and is real and genuine and honest and can be called upon during times of stress, turmoil, confusion or just a good old fashioned healthy debate? Are we only friends if we are being polite and trying to make each other feel good?

I've heard men address this as a very gender-loaded subject. Seems many men think they are much more comfortable confronting each other and giving constructive criticism than they see women being. Some men think that it's just the business of being a friend or colleague-- saying what is on your mind with filters sat on the way-low setting. These men observe that women seem to be more sensitive in this area and shy away from confrontation, conflict or heated debate; so as to avoid hurting any feelings or stepping on egos at all costs.

As one man said to me, "If you have really close friends, you HAVE to be brutally honest with each other-- otherwise it is just another superficial relationship. Right?"

To which I answered in the most professional voice I could muster: "uhmidunno."

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

New Release: The Gift of the Broken Rib

Tonight my husband is on his knees worshipping The Broken Rib.

I called him on his way home and asked him to stop at the pharmacy to pick up some Tylenol PM so maybe I could be zonked enough to stay in one position more than one hour at a time, therefore minimizing the shrieks brought on by attempting to move in bed (which is absolutely confirmed as the most painful position for a rib injury-- that is, if you move in bed).  

Important aside:  I am not a pain-wimp.  As my husband brought to the attention of my co-workers today-- "this from the woman that was in labor for 5 days and gave birth in our house with no pain relief . . ."  He's still impressed by that.  

The unfortunate fact is that the rib spasms in bed-- due to the amount the core is needed to negotiate movement in bed-- hit me about as strong as those contractions that would wake me up, which I described as undramatically as possible, "like being awakened by a wrought iron skillet hitting you over the head."

So hubby stops at the pharmacy where our friend The Pharmacist works.  He brings home the recommended med and then suggests I call our friend to thank him for the help; which I promptly do.  

As soon as I hang up the phone my husband adds, "by the way, they got a new sail boat and have offered to give us theirs, remember the one we've sailed in?  It's ours if we want it."  

Wh wh wh what????  This is an awesome boat with a cabin and it really floats and even moves and we don't have one and what????  

"Why didn't you tell me as I was calling to thank him?  I thank him for his help but not the sailboat?"  

To which dear hubby sheepishly responds, "I wanted to make sure you were on board first . . ."

Then I had to make the follow up phone call-- oh yeah, and by the way, THANKS FOR THE BOAT!!!  (they've got a new awesome boat, this boat was given to them and they wanted to continue the charm)

So there you have it.   I don't have to spell the serendipity out do I???  

These are friends we see much more in the nicer climate when we are doing outdoor activities. If I hadn't broken this rib and my husband hadn't made his timely visit, the stars just may not have aligned in this most perfect fashion. We would have been none the wiser and someone else would have carried on the saga of the charmed boat (family members, by the way, had turned down his offer of the gift).

Right now I'm feeling like O. Henry has nothing on us and it is close enough to the holidays that I could maybe turn this into a classic tale . . .  The Gift of the Broken Rib.

Here's to the sweetest people EVER.  

And, sure, here's to the gift of the broken rib.  At least I can now giggle with the reminder the pain brings me.  

Lemons to lemonade scores a big one!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

No Surrender

Does this ever happen to you?

You make a commitment for some positive change in your life, that you can actually control, and poof-- right when you think you've got it down, you fall on your face?

It just happened to me.


If you read back at my "resolutions" post, you will see that I have this brilliant idea to psyche myself into getting some exercise every day. Though I vowed to myself not to report in about it until the end of the month, I must share.

I've had a run on my resolution. So far, every day, I have exercised for at least 15 minutes. And only ONE day did I exercise for ONLY 15 minutes.


It's working!

Guess what happened yesterday?

I literally fell flat on my face.

My husband and my four year old and my self were walking through a parking lot when said four year old (whom I was hand-holding) began doing the bob and weave and baby-tripped me. So as not to throw myself into said four year old's gait and send him flying, I did not do the typical giant, leaping steps and flailing arms we adults do to regain our balance and keep our face off the ground.

Little did I know, that split second choice would send me falling straight flat on my face. Seriously now, imagine a telephone pole being pushed over and landing with a gargantuan thud.

That was me.

I heard/felt something pop in my rib region. My hands were embedded with gravel. I literally had gravel dust all up my legs and trunk which was proof, positive of the full body log-like contact I had made with the ground. A kind stranger was much more freaked out than my husband who was 3 strides ahead, because he actually saw it and I remember him yelling, "Oh my God!!!"

Thank heaven for yoga-- I actually landed in somewhat of a cobra position so that my face was spared of the gravel debridement.

The long version would go on and talk about the fear of breathing in too far because what would happen if there is a little splinter there that could puncture my lung . . . and all sorts of happy thoughts like that. But I'll try for the shorter version.

I was sore last night. I have taken a regular regime of anti-inflammatories to keep the inflammation and pain at bay.

Sleep was hell.

Every time I woke up and had excruciating pain I would wince at the fact that I was surely going to be an invalid for the next several days. One of the last dreams I had was that I slept all the way through until 3:30 pm when my boys arrived home from school, being the invalid that I was.

My husband kissed me good-bye after kindly getting everyone rounded for school and shoving more ibuprofen in my mouth, to which I winced, "what am I going to do for my exercise???" "Honey, you didn't figure an injury in there, it's not practical-- you'll have to skip." To which I moaned--- Nooooooo . . .

I lie in pain for a while longer and then carefully and slowly pried myself out of bed by using the headboard for momentum. And guess what? After I was up for about 5 minutes I had this revelation: the absolutely worst and most painful position for rib injuries is lying down.

No, I'm not a picture of comfort but I am not writhing in pain like I was in bed. So the prognosis isn't quite as bad as I had painted for myself and my resolution.

As I write this, I find it an interesting metaphor for some of the challenges in life. The whole 3 steps forward, 2 steps back phenomenon.

We have a relationship in our life that is an extreme challenge. It is a necessary relationship, one that we cannot end at will for various reasons, but it is a very, very difficult relationship. It is compromised by the afore mentioned 3 step/2 step concept. As soon as you feel that you are on some secure footing and communication is about as optimal as it is going to get: SPLAT. We are pushed flat on our face, so to speak.

I'm sure you have them too. Examples of where you can only do what is in your control to make a situation or relationship optimal but the reception of that is variable and very out of your control.

It's hard when you feel like you are following the program, then splat, there you are pushing yourself off the ground again and having to accept the fact that the other party just hasn't and may never sign up for the "optimal communication" plan.

Then we cue ourselves: we can only do what is in our power; we can only control ourselves; WE are the only ones that can stick to OUR plan . . .

A rough patch doesn't mean throwing in the towel, but it may mean restructuring expectations or, in some cases, willing surrender just to save the feeling of being beat up repeatedly.

For me? Just before I sat down to write this I tried to jog around the house. OUCH. The jarring wasn't a good call. Then I hopped up on the elliptical and gave it a try for about 2 minutes. Much better.

I may have to tweak my plan a bit, but as for today: No retreat baby . . . No Surrender. (Go to 0:44-1:25 mark for relevant refrain) :-)

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Let the miracles begin

I'm discovering that there are many fascinating videos posted on You Tube. I found this one very sweet for 2009.

Monday, 5 January 2009

the long, long, long life of benjamin button

So what did you think?

I was a total victim of the movie pre-hype syndrome.  I loved the concept.  Like (enough) Brad Pitt.   Love Kate Blanchett.  

So what could go wrong?

I listened to Oprah.  

The one time I have seen Oprah in the past year, which had to have been at a hotel since we don't have cable, she had the cast on and raved and raved and raved about the movie.  

Here's the deal-- I'm slow, but I've finally figured it out.   Oprah has friends in high places and they all, understandably cover each other's backs.

The movie, in my humble opinion, could have easily been sooo much better to me than it was.  I don't like it when the movie makers (up there in the sky or wherever they live) choose to make the point that their creation is of epic proportions by making it epic-length.  

So in a nutshell--  there were too many languishing pregnant pauses throughout.  The one laugh that kept recurring, "Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightening 7 times," soon became less cute with the predictability.  And it wasn't the deal breaking be-all on the whole "circle of life," which I absolutely am interested in Oprah; but this was not it. . .  

This was a long, amazingly effected fairy tale that had little to do with real life.  And I found the attempt to intertwine Katrina throughout it trite and ineffective.  (I know, you want me to tell you how I really feel about it.  Right?)  This movie does a lot to explain Bradgelina's relationship with New Orleans.  

If you've, at the very least, seen the previews you would have noticed, though, Brad Pitt does make a very sweet and cute elderly kinder-man.  

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Free "De-stress Kit for the Changing Times" download-- don't miss it!

Click here  to get a free de-stress "kit" from HeartMath.  

This is a very nice tool and they have kindly put it out in response to our difficult state of affairs. 

You are encouraged to share it at your workplace, with clients or wherever.  

Take care-

Friday, 2 January 2009

what a long, strange holiday it's been . . .

Uhm. Happy New Year.

What a strange couple weeks it has been. If you need detailed background please fill free to peruse 2 posts down . . .

I feel my head peeking out of the holiday and virus laden days of yore, but I'm not quite there yet. I've been holding down the fort with a household of 5-9 children.

We are so spoiled with such a great space in the moderate weather (living on water) and a family that loves the outdoors that these more dark and frigid days tend to render everyone into an electronics induced fog (hence the frequent blogging). It's my own fault though, it's never as bad as you think it is if you make yourself venture out; I just need to strap on the armor and haul my carcass outside more often.

Which is what I did today to try and jump start that resolution I think I made. I ran for 2 miles and then came and got Banjo, the Cairn Terrier and Roscoe, the Welsh Corgi and we went for a very long walk. I was out for a total of 90 minutes and have the freezer-burn on my cheeks to show for it.

And it feels good.

This was all while hubby had taken the kids to Barnes and Noble to use some of their gift cards. So while I have a moment to myself in the house what do I do? Leave it. They passed me on their way home as I was walking the dogs.

Since my wonderful, uplifting holiday post a few days ago I've had another puker, as well as feigned pukers who caught their father's rath, "We've had too many people sick in this house to be faking! NOT FUNNY!"

That behavior stopped pretty quickly , but then my 2 days of queasiness started. It's the kind every person that has taken care of a den of germs has felt-- am I sick or do I just need to eat . . . which leads to flashbacks of what sickness really looks like . . . which then makes you queasy, thus afraid to eat . . . which I'm pretty sure eventually does lead to queasiness induced by famish.

You get the picture.

New Years Eve started mid afternoon with purging our home office area. Finally around 8:00 I'd had enough work for a holiday and took my computer to bed and hulu'd. For those of you that don't know, unfortunately that act is not pornographic but a way to stream shows on your computer. My husband eased the computer away from my dead sleeping self well before midnight. Yep, wild and crazy never ends.

In the midst of the chaos we've had a couple wonderful interludes with friends-- as in adults. And I haven't lost sight of how lucky we are-- viruses, crabbiness and all-- or how I wish for all of your families and mine the most healthy and exuber-tole-rant year possible.

Peace. Out.