The Truth is What We Save From the Fire

Recovery programs call our useless running, “getting something we don’t have,” or “keeping something we don’t want to lose.” Greg Baer, in his book, Real Love, calls it “Getting and Protecting Behavior.” Whatever you call it, it’s how we shield ourselves from pain. Check out blogger Matt”s great insights about this tough part of existence! Thanks Matt!
Mo

Must Be This Tall To Ride

Value of hard things vs. easy things Like vigorous exercise, a disciplined reading regiment, and giving more than we take in our marriages, there is VALUE — tons of it — in doing hard things. So maybe don’t run away. Maybe allowing ourselves to feel is THE way. (Image/Carl Richards – New York Times)

I’m afraid of someone using a circular handsaw to cut open my skull.

But I’m more afraid of dying, so if the choice is certain death or brain surgery, I would choose brain surgery.

I’m afraid of jumping off of 100-foot cliffs into unknown waters.

But I’m more afraid of being eaten by big-ass dinosaurs, so if a genetically modified hybrid Jurassic World dinosaur was chasing me, I would totally jump if the alternative was being Indominus Rex’s lunch.

Broken down in the most primitive way possible, human beings are motivated by just two things:

  1. Feeling pleasure
  2. Avoiding pain

Psychologists say most people…

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Simple Living Manifesto: Waste Less-Gain More!

Here’s a great article about simplifyin your life! So much clutter, so little time. Stop it! I’m in! Thanks BayArt!
Mo

Us and Them -My reality shift

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My sadness over the reality of our divided society overwhelmed me today as old lyrics rang in my ear, in the form of an old favorite song, Us and Them, by Pink Floyd. I used to listen to this song, hour after hour, with giant headphones, with my best friend, Leslie, back in the 70s. We loved that song’s ability to take us to another place. Its ethereal sound soothed us. The words were, well, just words, back then.

Imagine my surprise today when the same song, the same sounds and the same words ripped me out of relaxation to a horrific state of revelation. These words embody my greatest fears and disappointments in our current society’s state of affairs.

Take a look at these prophetic words:

Us and Them 

“Us (us, us, us, us) and them (them, them, them, them)
And after all we’re only ordinary men
Me
And you (you, you, you)
God only knows
It’s not what we would choose (choose, choose) to do (to do, to do)
Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
And the general sat
And the lines on the map
Moved from side to side
Black (black, black, black)
And blue (blue, blue)
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up (up, up, up, up)
And down (down, down, down, down)
And in the end it’s only round ‘n round (round, round, round)
Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside

“I mean, they’re not gonna kill ya,
So if you give ’em a quick short, sharp, shock,
They won’t do it again. Dig it?
I mean he get off lightly, ’cause I would’ve given him a thrashing
I only hit him once! It was only a difference of opinion, but really
I mean good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh?”

Down (down, down, down, down)
And out (out, out, out, out)
It can’t be helped that there’s a lot of it about
With (with, with, with), without
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?
Out of the way
It’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind
For the want of the price
Of tea and a slice
The old man died.”

A blog commenter, “SkinnyD,” put his two cents in, eleven years ago, giving his best interpretation of this, “oldie but goodie.” He wrote:

“Timeless poetry such as this has many levels of meaning.
Laid out before us by the artist so succinctly, yet so sublime.

All of us can see the reference to the nature of war, its cruelty, and futility.
However, I believe there is a more primal meaning to these words. It’s more about human nature, rather than the nature of war.

The “Us and Them” verse refers to how groups (tribes) of humans can be cruel to one another, but as individuals we like to think we would not act this way.

The “Black and Blue” verse refers to how, from the beginning of time and until its end, individuals are drawn to congregate and called to war. We like to think that as individuals we are called to war by our dehumanized leaders with their wicked words.

The “Down and Out” verse is the clincher that exposes one cruel aspect of human nature, greed. The greed of nations cause war and we can’t deny that is what the fighting is all about. Yet, in our personal lives, our greed can blind us to the suffering of the needy within our own society with people dying for the price of tea and a slice.

I believe the lyrics examines how we like to think of ourselves as individuals and how we truly act on a personal level.”

I agree, SkinnyD. If you’re still out there, props to you. Thank you for expressing what many were feeling then, and today.

Maybe I will cc my old BFF, Leslie, and get her opinion, after all these years. She probably feels the same…

Readers: What do you think about our world today? Has your view of reality changed for the better or the worse, since childhood?

Mo

Song lyrics by Pink Floyd

Comments by SkinnyD at  http://songmeanings.com/m/songs/view/2812/

Want Success? Embrace the GRIND — Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Thanks to Kristen for this timely piece. I am ready for the GRIND experience! Go grab those dreams!

Mo

What do you want? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice? These are the questions we must ask not once, but daily. There is no success without the GRIND.

via Want Success? Embrace the GRIND — Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Hows your Sleep Hygiene?

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Do you sleep well? Having been an insomniac  for years, I am sleeping well now. Why? What changed? Let me share.

Several years ago, I read Dr Andrew Weil’s book, Healthy Sleep, and learned that my brain is not a computer that I can simply power down at will.  It takes attention to a bedtime routine, time, temperature, environment, and consistency to “shut ‘er down.”

I was at first quite skeptical. However, trying to remain teachable, I gave it a try. I now sleep like a baby. It wasn’t a quick fix, but after some time (about a 2 week commitment), I am a true believer.

My top three suggestions are daily exercise (a 25 min walk) before 6pm and no screen watching one hour before bed. It is a brain stimulant. I also meditate (love the free Insight Timer app) or read briefly, in low light, nightly during the hour before my established bedtime, and I use the “brain dump, ” in which l write out today’s problems and proposed actions to take for solution tomorrow. My phone sets to silent one hour before sleep. No calls, period. See below for more tips that changed my sleep for the better, ’cause if Momma ain’t happy…you know the deal!

What are your “go-to” rituals for healthy sleep? Please share!

Mo

Andrew Weil’s suggestions:

The following are some of the best possible insomnia remedies:

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine. This is one of the most important factors in insomnia treatment and maintaining good sleeping habits. Routines may include taking a warm bath or a relaxing walk in the evening, or practicing meditation/relaxation exercises as part of your regular nighttime routine.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning. This includes weekends.
  • Get plenty of exercise during the day. Studies have shown that people who are physically active sleep better than those who are sedentary. The more energy you expend during the day, the sleepier you will feel at bedtime. Just be sure not to engage in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime as that can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine,particularly in the evening.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and limit alcohol. Both, even when consumed early in the day, can affect sleep and inhibit insomnia treatment.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping and sex. Don’t use it to do work or watch TV.
  • Avoid large meals late in the evening.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within half an hour of going to bed, get up and read or do something calming until you feel sleepy.
  • Learn and use a relaxation technique regularly.Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are not insomnia cures, but do lead to a state conducive to sleep.
  • Use “white noise” devices to block out surrounding environmental noise.
  • Take a hot bath before bedtime.Try a few drops of relaxing oil oflavender in the water.
  • Short naps are good. Try to get into the habit of napping for insomnia treatment: ten to twenty minutes in the afternoon, preferably lying down in a darkened room.
  • Spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light. If you are concerned about harmful effects of solar radiation, do it before ten in the morning or after three in the afternoon or use sunscreen.
  • Try to give yourself some time – up to an hour – in dim light before you go to sleep at night. Lower the lighting in your house and bedroom and if other members of the household object, wear sunglasses.
  • The two best natural sleep aids are valerian and melatonin. Valerian is a sedative herb, used for centuries. You can find standardized extracts in health food stores and pharmacies. Take one to two capsules a half hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other daily biorhythms. Try sublingual tablets (to be placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve); take 2.5 mg at bedtime as an occasional dose, making sure that your bedroom is completely dark. A much lower dose, 0.25 to 0.3 mg, is more effective for regular use.
  • Don’t obsess about not sleeping.Not surprisingly, studies have shown that individuals who worry about falling asleep have greater trouble dropping off. It may help to remind yourself that while sleeplessness is troublesome, it isn’t life-threatening and there are insomnia remedies.

Some additional suggestions reblogged are:

Having a set bedtime routine will allow you to go to bed with a clearer head and rest better knowing you’re already set to face the next day.

I know, you may be thinking I’m asking you to add more work and activity to your day when you’re barely able to get to the bed before you crash for the night. I get that. But what I’m suggesting is that you just start by adding maybe one or two things to your routine at night that will help to set you up for a better day tomorrow.

You’re bedtime routine has less to do with an actual list of set activities but rather how you clear your head before it hits your pillow. Sleep issues accompany so many chronic illnesses and the things you do in the last few hours of your day will impact the rest you get at night.

Start out by picking one or two of the following examples. Try it out for a few nights and see if it has a positive impact on your sleep and mental relaxation!

Here are a few examples of things you can include in your bedtime routine:

  1. Set time aside to read. Reading allows your brain to focus on a singular activity. Don’t use this time to catch up on social media – experts say that will only get your brain rushing through a lot of thoughts and stirring emotions that can actually hinder your ability to fall asleep. Instead, choose a devotional or fiction novel.
  2. Listen to a podcast or relaxing music. If you’re not able to focus on written words, try directing your thoughts toward a podcast or gentle music. Put in the earphones, close your eyes and allow your body to relax.
  3. Express gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal next to your bed and take a moment to find one or two things you’re grateful for. Write them out and take a moment to express your thanks to God for that gift in your life.
  4. Brain dump. Have a notebook or notepad by your bed and take a few minutes to think about what you need to do tomorrow or what upcoming events you need to plan for. “Dumping” all these thoughts onto paper has a two-fold purpose. First, it allows you to have a clear head as you fall asleep. Second, it serves as your to-do list for the next day. Remember to include your daily non-negotiables.
  5. Stop working! At least an hour before bed you need to step away from any work you have going on. Housework, work you’ve brought home from your job, etc. Let your brain turn off the hustle and bustle and begin to relax.
  6. Spend some time with your spouse and kids. When my kids were little I’d sit by their bed at night and ask them what was the best part of their day. Those were precious times! It allowed me to see the day from the eyes of my children and get a glimpse of what was truly important and impactful to them. It’s also a good exercise to do with your spouse. It allows you both to focus your mind on the positives of the day and end on an upbeat note.
  7. Decide what you’ll have for breakfast and make sure the kitchen is set for the preparation. This may sound like a silly step that adds a lot of work but it will really help you start each day on a good note. Quite a few of our meds and supplements need to be taken with food. Having the kitchen set up so breakfast is easy to prepare can let you get through the first few hours of your day without the stress of cleaning the blender or counter and deciding what you can toss in your belly.
  8. Take a bubble bath! Giving yourself a moment for pampering will de-stress your body and mind. Toss some Epsom salts or essential oils in the warm water and your now detoxing as well!
  9. Check tomorrow’s calendar. Whether you keep a bullet journal or day-planner of some sort, take a peak to see if there is something you have going on the next day.
  10. Set out your clothes. Making sure you have clean clothes that fit whatever is on tomorrow’s agenda will save you the stress and rushing about that happens thirty minutes before you have to leave the house.
  11. Meditate on a few verses and take time to pray. If you have trouble quieting your mind and focusing on the positive as you fall asleep this step may just be the key.

 

I’d love to hear what you include in your bedtime routine. Leave a comment below and share your best tip for relaxing and clearing your mind to ensure a night that’s as restful as possible!

I said NO…explanations are unnecessary.

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Saying No

For many of us, the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary: No. Go ahead, say it aloud: No.

No – simple to pronounce, hard to say. We’re afraid people won’t like us, or we feel guilty. We may believe that a “good” employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.

The problem is, if we don’t learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.

When do we say no? When no is what we really mean.

When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.

If we’re scared to say no, we can buy some time. We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no. We don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.

When we can say no, we can say yes to the good. Our no’s and our yes’s begin to be taken seriously. We gain control of ourselves. And we learn a secret: “No” isn’t really that hard to say.

Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.

From: The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beatty

DBT- could it help you too?

2e3bead43728b0072795936bd014a52dI’ve been in Psychotherapy for a number of years and don’t plan to quit anytime soon!  I feel it gives me some of the best skills in handling life and the accompanying stress that comes along with it.

In my several years I have learned much about dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) Once an area that was reserved for only those who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, DBT has become a skill set that psychologists are teaching to a wide variety of patients who may be struggling with a wide variety of emotional regulation.

I love DBT especially because it includes mindfulness training. Mindfulness is learning to stay in the present without time traveling. It’s eliminating the “if onlys” and the “what ifs” (which are past and future worries).

There are four modules to DBT-read below and see if it’s for you! I hope you learn something new from this post!

Mo

The Four Skill Modules

DBT Skills training is made up of four modules: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. They are designed to specifically assist individuals in better managing behaviors, emotions and thoughts. The intent is to help people who experience problems with anger or the expression of anger, episodic depression, irritability or anxiety, intense or chaotic relationships, impulsivity, stress and feelings of emptiness.

Core Mindfulness teaches a person how to focus their mind and attention. Distress Tolerance develops acceptance of the current situation as well as crisis survival skills to decrease the likelihood of engaging in problematic behavior. Emotion Regulation skills include learning to identify and label current emotions, identifying obstacles to changing emotions, reducing emotional reactivity, increasing positive emotions and changing emotions. Interpersonal Effectiveness skills teach helpful strategies for asking for what one needs, saying no, and coping with interpersonal conflict.

 

Mindfulness SkillsCore Mindfulness Skills
Mindfulness skills in DBT come from the eastern spiritual traditions. These skills help members focus on the present and attend to what is happening in the here and now in a calm way. It helps people slow down and focus on doing what is needed to care for oneself in the moment. Members learn the value of wise mind instead of succumbing to intense emotions and acting in a destructive way.

 

 

Distress Tolerance Skills
Distress tolerance helps people get through difficult times when emotions are running high. It teaches people to soothe themselves in healthy ways when they are feeling upset rather than becoming overwhelmed by emotions or hiding from them. This allows individuals to make wise decisions about whether and how to take action, rather than falling into the intense, desperate and often-destructive emotional reactions. Crisis survival skills are also taught so that one does not engage in problematic behaviors and ultimately make the situation worse. Reality Acceptance Skills focus on helping people fully accept reality and provide a guideline for responding to painful aspects of life.

 

Interpersonal Effectiveness SkillsInterpersonal Effectiveness Skills
Interpersonal effectiveness skills involve helping people understand what their needs are in their relationships and helps develop effective ways of dealing with others in order to get one’s wants or needs met in a healthy way. This involves respecting the self and others, listening and communicating effectively, dealing with difficult people, repairing relationships and being able to say no.

 

 

Emotion REgulation SkillsEmotion Regulation Skills
The DBT emotion regulation skills help people understand their emotions. It teaches people to decrease the intensity of their feelings and helps them ride out strong emotions without acting on them. It provides education about the function of emotions and how to not be swamped by them.

From: http://www.dbtskillsgroupnj.com/four-skill-modules/