The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Dog Poop

Today at a staff meeting for my talented team of co-workers at my new job for Elements Behavioral Health, our CEO- Dr. David  Sack did a dazzling presentation, complete with Power Point. The topic?  Dog poop. He shared the story of the family four-legged, named Charlie who is a basset hound. He was described as loveable, but stubborn and at the onset of the story; according to the vet- overweight. David went through his share of emotions, including guilt that somehow he was a bad doggy dad.  He cut back on the amount of food Charlie was ingesting and in pretty short order, his canine companion became a bit more svelte and had more energy to go on walks, which he had once upon a time been reluctant to do. All good for a little while, until an unexpected side effect showed up. Charlie began eating his own feces as tasty snacks. This became problematic for everyone except Charlie who apparently thought it was  a fair tradeoff for having to forgo crunchier sustenance.

What David came to realize was that he had co-created this scenario, since he decided to feed Charlie the recommended amount of food AND he could not ultimately prevent Charlie from desiring this alternative to his normal intake. Neither did he need to feel guilty about Charlie’s choices.

As he was speaking, I immediately understood that this was a perfect metaphor for working with or loving someone with an addiction. The adage that no one else caused it, no one else can control it and no one else can cure it is just as true about eating dog poop. It seems natural want to do all we can to stop someone from engaging in dysfunctional behavior and yet, everything we do is a coping skill. Charlie’s actions were his way of coping with reduced caloric intake.

I am learning to relinquish responsibility for anyone else’s perceptions and choices but my own. I can’t stop them from eating symbolic scatological matter. I can offer alternatives, but whether they choose to accept them is totally up to them. It really is a dog’s life.

Hurt People Hurt People?

Lately, I have been pondering this conundrum:
Why do people make violence acceptable? I see so many photos and videos of people hurting animals and people, images of abuse that whoever shot the films somehow think is cool. I understand why folks post them so that someone can identify the perpetrators and stop them. As a therapist for decades I have heard the adage that ‘hurt people hurt people’; but I know they don’t have to. I know that abuse, hitting, striking, shaking, spanking, threats to do these things, does psychological, physiological and neurological damage so that judgment is impaired and impulse control is poor. There are studies that validate this and yet it continues.
That doesn’t excuse it. Although I consider myself an optimist (and opti-mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility), there are times when I feel really discouraged about the ways people interact with each other. I know that all I can do is be aware of my own behavior and the ways in which I relate to people in my life. If I am loving and ‘do no harm,’ then I am doing my part to increase the peace. If I allow anger and resentment to get the better of me, then I am feeding the collective soup pot with that energy as well.
Last night, I was having a conversation with a long time friend. We were both observing relationship patterns in our lives. Both seasoned women- she is divorced, I was widowed. Neither in a long term, committed relationship since our respective marriages ended. Although I say I want to be in partnership and (as a friend who studies astrology has told me over and over, that since I have so many planets in Libra, I am a relationship magnet- my work is all about relationships, including my radio show by that name)  I remain (mostly) blissfully single.  Part of it is conscious choice, part a lingering fear that I may attract what I recently referred to as another ‘paradoxical marriage’. My husband and I loved each other dearly and there were elements of co-dependence and dysfunction that we didn’t have the wherewithal at the time to manage or change. Some of it involved generational wounding.  Relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100, as each person brings their history, baggage and beliefs to the table. His was about healing from family of origin addiction, abuse and mental health challenges and mine was about co-dependent ‘savior behavior’ and people pleasing. Not a great combination or indicator for a healthy relationship. He was a hurt person. I wanted to kiss the boo boos and make them better. I couldn’t. 
This, by the way, is not to martyr myself or make myself into some kind of hero. I had my own ‘mishegoss’ (Yiddish for crazy) going on. I simply want to understand the dynamics and change them for the next round of my life. I desire to be a force for good in all of my relationships and although I have experienced hurt (who hasn’t?), it is my solid intention to heal my own woundings so that I break the cycle.

Make Your Life Spectacular

 

 

jackmoviecoverA few days have passed since the world heard the devastating news that someone who entered their lives and lodged in their hearts (even if they never met face to face), had succumbed to the depression that had followed him for much of his life. When Robin Williams died, so too did the illusion that many carried about mental health issues and addictions. That is one positive thing that came out of a desperate act to end pain.  I have read professional journalists’ various takes on why he did what he did, what it all meant and perhaps ways of preventing it from happening to someone else. I have also seen input from others who have been where he was and who understand the irrational rationale that surrounded it. Blessedly, I have not heard of any ‘copycat’ events that sometimes occur when people glamorize suicide. It has brought out the best and worst in people, with some snarky, totally inappropriate comments from both ‘professionals’ and lay people.

One of the other things I have been glad to see is the impact Robin had on the lives of people, not because of his dramatic or comedy work, but because of the every day kindness and decency he exhibited.  Supporting athletes with seeming physical challenges and hiring folks who were homeless, for his movie projects, are two examples. I have not read a bad word said about him. Did he have demons that plagued him? Yup. Had he faced the same doubts, relationship challenges and pitfalls into which many stumble?  Uh huh…and he did it in the public eye, making it all the more daunting to recover.

There have also been beautiful tribute articles going around, as well as a one minute video. This one really touched my heart. It is about making your life spectacular; as expressed by the character he played in the movie called Jack. At his High School commencement speech, he had this wisdom to share:

“In the end none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer skies, when the stars are strung across the velvety night, and a shooting star streaks through the blackness turning night into day. Make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.”

This is Jack’s challenge and mine to you. Instead of waiting for ‘someday’ to live full out or for your dreams to come true, plant the seeds right now, this very moment. Instead of hoping for love to come to you, BE love, live as embodied love. Rather than bemoaning your fate, create your own destiny. If you find yourself, or lose yourself feeling swamped by emotional turmoil, seek support. It may make a difference, even if for one more day. Imagine how you could touch lives and open hearts. You deserve a spectacular life!

 

 

 

When Lives Touch

 

heartofgold2

 

I have been pensive lately for many reasons. The first is that I am still in relatively new life renewal mode. Two months ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with all manner of accutrement attached to my arms; beeping and chirping away. A pin hole was poked into my right wrist, allowing for the insertion of a stent that was placed in a collapsed artery. I can still see it and it is fading, but not my resolve to see this as a do-over. My schedule has changed dramatically as I am now working from home full time, living a cherished dream as a writer. I have what I would have thought of as the luxury to take care of myself in ways I never had before. Even though I am busy, I am not frenzied. Even though I have deadlines to meet, I can come up for air. Often over the years, I have felt as if I was holding my breath just to get through a day jam packed with activity. My friends would tell me that they would feel exhausted just hearing me chant the litany of my daily to do list.

When before I would have said yes to nearly every request made of me, more often I am feeling my way into it and saying no, if I am truly unwilling to say yes. I was laughingly telling my cousin Jody yesterday that I was looking for things to say no to, just to practice it. Ironically, the more I say no to what I choose not to do, the more life affirms me. Doors keep opening easily that had seemed bolted before. How grace filled things can be when I am in surrender mode.

A friend had asked a question on her Facebook page about the best thing that had happened in our lives in 2014. Immediately and ironically, I said that the heart attack was it. If not for its occurrence, I would still be running a gazillion miles an hour, sleeping little, working too much, too hard, scrambling for success, immersed in my workaholic ways. Clear and simple, I am a workaholic who needs to be mindful of the effects of that addiction as surely as an alcoholic needs to steer clear of the bottle. The truth is I can’t refrain from working, but it needs to be at a sane and reasonable pace. As a result of the cardiac condition, I have shifted gears in my writing; coming from the heart in all areas. I have used my gifts to share information to caution others to learn from my experience. From that vantage point, I have been able to touch lives that I might never have otherwise.

I also have been considering the mystery of whether anything is random or it is all carefully mapped out, or perhaps a combination of the two. Had I made a soul contract to lose my beloved grandmother at age 4, to be diagnosed with asthma soon after, so that at 11 I would join a swim team which would become a favorite activity for many years, which would lead me to coaching and then deciding to enter into the field of therapy since I liked serving in a teaching/counseling mode? That in turn brought me to Glassboro State College where I also worked in a crisis intervention center where I met many who are still in my life to this day (3 with whom I got to spend precious time a few weeks ago). Fast forward and my spiritual practices and interests had me going to hear a presentation by Ram Dass and during the intermission, I was introduced to a man who I would marry, with whom I would co-create a magazine called Visions, which would launch my journalism career. When he died, I would become an interfaith minister and free lance journalist who is now typing these words. Along the way, I have crossed paths with thousands of people in the various and sundry personal and professional roles I play.

This week I received an envelope in the mail marked ‘hand cancel’. It came from my friend Vicki. When I eagerly opened it, I saw this gold cardiac muscle shaped heart and it informed me that it was my heart of gold. I felt loved and it reinforced the belief that I sometimes feel challenged to accept, that I do have a heart of gold that guides me to touch and be touched by the people in my life.

 

 

 

 

Previous Posts

Dog Poop
Today at a staff meeting for my talented team of co-workers at my new job for Elements Behavioral Health, our CEO- Dr. David  Sack did a dazzling presentation, complete with Power Point. The topic?  Dog poop. He shared the story of the family four-legged, named Charlie who is a basset hound. He wa

posted 12:48:27am Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Hurt People Hurt People?
Lately, I have been pondering this conundrum: Why do people make violence acceptable? I see so many photos and videos of people hurting animals and people, images of abuse that whoever shot the films somehow think is cool. I understand why folks post them so that someone can identify the perpet

posted 6:25:25am Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Make Your Life Spectacular
    A few days have passed since the world heard the devastating news that someone who entered their lives and lodged in their hearts (even if they never met face to face), had succumbed to the depression that had followed him for much of his life. When Robin Williams died, so too di

posted 12:56:03pm Aug. 15, 2014 | read full post »

When Lives Touch
    I have been pensive lately for many reasons. The first is that I am still in relatively new life renewal mode. Two months ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with all manner of accutrement attached to my arms; beeping and chirping away. A pin hole was poked into my right wris

posted 11:12:58pm Aug. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Good Morning, Robin
      It's now 5:20 a.m. and I've been awake for nearly an hour. Like most who heard or read the news yesterday that one of the most prolific actors and comedians 'left the building' by his own hand, I have experienced a myriad of emotions. My initial reaction- as my fath

posted 6:28:16am Aug. 12, 2014 | read full post »


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