The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Disney Daring

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I am no longer a Disneyland virgin. Yesterday was my very first day in “The Happiest Place on Earth”.  Earned my ears (although I didn’t buy any(: Went on Soarin’ Over California, Monsters, Inc, and then to earn street cred, had to up the amps and do California Scream, then Cars, then Thunder Mountain, then Splash Mountain, then Buzz Lightyear.  Lunch at Thunder Ranch, sitting at tables of 6,  and was able to have the vegetarian option (skewers of tofu and veggies), baked beans and corn bread,  which was a nice surprise, since it was a barbecue joint. Sampled a wee bit of shared desserts with my table mates. We ordered way too much, not realizing how big they were and the waitress who reminded me of one of my  favorite childhood television icons Sally Starr issued a challenge.  She said that if the 6 of us could polish off the 3 desserts (one would have been plenty for the table), she would eat hay.  Although we put in a valiant effort, the hay bale was intact by the time we left. I was proud of myself for limiting intake, even though chocolate (my drug of choice) was part of two of the three decadent treats on the table. Was serenaded by a singing cowboy who had the uncanny ability to do word mash-ups, (an example was referring to Cinderella as Rindercella) and approached me and asked if I had ever been turned into a pumpkin. Not the least bit embarrassed for being singled out, I told him that it hadn’t happened lately, but I imagine there was a time when I had. One of my co-workers thanked me for “taking one for the team.”

 

 

I can’t remember the last time I went on wild rides. When I was a kid, I loved the fast paced, spinny kinds. As an adult, my inner ear had protested and queasiness ensued. Not much fun to puke once I hit the ground as I had something like 20 years ago and a park in PA called Knoebels  Grove. I thought what fun it would be to go on the swings that winged out with the centrifugal force. My stomach didn’t agree and I literally lost my lunch. Yuck!

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I felt a perfect sense of calm and safety, as I waited in relatively short lines (I think the longest wait was 45 minutes) with new friends/colleagues  who I had met for the first time the day before. Members of the creative team, we had come in from all parts of the country for a meeting, that included brainstorming, networking and teambuilding via our employer Elements Behavioral Health whose focus is serving folks facing recovery from addiction. Bonding occurred quickly. Such richness of experience and devotion to our work in the world. Impressed with the quality of people on the team and the ways in which we bounced ideas off of each other and got to know each other over a two day period. They feel like family already. This is the first time that many of us have met. I am one of the few East coasters.  Turns out that one of my co-workers named Chris Gordon, does the voice over for You Tube phenom- Honey Badger, which is pretty cool.

 

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Once on some of the rides, I found myself screaming with delight and not fear. Although some of them bore warning signs that someone with cardiac conditons should steer clear, I threw caution to the wind. Still here to write about it, obviously. My seat mate on California Scream was a 10 year old boy with braces who, according to two of my friends who were sitting behind us,  had his hands up in the air, while I clung to the bar in front of me, with eyes shut tight most of the time.  I wasn’t meditating; just breathing through it.

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Walked at least 10 miles, for realz, between meandering through the park and then back to the hotel.  Feeling energized this morning as I awoke to the So-Cal sunshine. Will be home tonight, ready to implement the ideas that have been jumping about in my head like popcorn .  Grateful for a life of work and play and love that knows no limits!

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 and more societally acceptable sustenance. Just in case you wondered, the technical term for such behavior is ‘coprophagia’.

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. He did all he could (including using products designed to prevent this unsavory recycling of waste products) to keep his dog on the straight and narrow. No dice.

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. While family members and friends may contribute to the dynamics of addiction, they are not ultimately responsible for it occurring or continuing. 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!

 

 

 

Previous Posts

Disney Daring
  I am no longer a Disneyland virgin. Yesterday was my very first day in "The Happiest Place on Earth".  Earned my ears (although I didn't buy any(: Went on Soarin' Over California, Monsters, Inc, and then to earn street cred, had to up the amps and do California Scream, then Cars, then Thu

posted 11:02:37am Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

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 »


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