December 31, 2014
The Mercury – January 1, 2015
Ways to think about the New Year that will lead you into new dimensions of living that you design for yourself:
All behavior has meaning. Assess your behavior – your responses, your attitudes.
Try to see the behavior of others (good or bad) as none of your business.
Draw. Using stick figures of various shapes and sizes, draw your family according to the influence you perceive them to have.
Think about your patterns. Diagram your relationship traps and triangles.
Chart your position: how it’s changed over the years and how you’d like to see it modified in the future.
Give the colors meaning. Track the information-flow.
Until you become your own Chief Executive Officer and Human Resource representative in your own family you will not see the changes you’d prefer. While you are not in charge of you, someone else will be.
Keep your drawing private. You are looking for change, not an argument.
Everyone sees his or her family differently because we all live in different families – EVEN if we are siblings.
Allow yourself, and everyone else, the kind of grace you’d like shoveled your way. This is partly what it means to accommodate homeostasis (yesterday’s column). Allow for some degree of regression and failure on all of your parts.
December 28, 2014
When making your New Year resolutions – whether they involve very personal matters like ridding yourself of excess weight, changes you’d like to bring to your family, or how you conduct yourself at work – consider and respect the power of homeostasis.
This is the systemic pressure for things to return to “normal”. It’s the pressure that resists change. It’s the force that wants things to go back to the way things were.
Think of the power of homeostasis as an influential undercurrent, an invisible force. It’s why losing weight in the short term is easier than keeping it off in the long term. It’s not only that you may just get slack about watching what you eat. It is more than that. Your body is reaching for, even aching for, a state it once knew.
Understanding homeostasis will help you understand why some people will leave one abusive relationship only to appear to welcome another.
It’s why the “new broom” boss was only able to change things at work for a short time.
If you can accommodate the power of homeostasis in your plans you are more likely to succeed.
Understand this pressure is real.
Embrace it, build your plans around it, and you are more likely to harness it.
Awareness is a powerful tool.
December 26, 2014
What gifts will you offer yourself and others in 2015?
Here are mine…
I shall make every attempt to be clearer about what I need and what I want, knowing full well that clarity and definition on my part do not guarantee that I will get what I need and want.
I shall make every attempt to be softer and gentler with my opinions, clearer with my humor, and less terse when annoyed both in print and in person. Readers have been more gracious than I deserve in pointing out this necessity to me and my close friends have been kinder than I deserve in accommodating my strong views.
I will use my skills and my privileged platform to promote the gifts and the skills of others.
I will vet requests on my time more carefully than I have done in the past so that I may give myself more fully to the things I love and to the things about which I am passionate.
I will look for the treasure in others, treasure that is so often hidden behind tough façades.
December 22, 2014
Perhaps I was not like other children and the differences I experienced were as profound as they felt.
Perhaps all that separated me from what I perceived was the experience of other children was amplified in my young heart.
You know, you know how children are said to amplify things.
Who can tell these many years later?
But the things I wanted for Christmas when I was very young, and I mean as young as 7 and 8 and up until I was 10 and 11, required no batteries or remote devices or charging.
I wanted safe adults. I wanted adults whom I could trust. I wanted them sober. I wanted them sober all the time, not just in the mornings.
I wanted my dad to be as sober as my mother always was.
I wanted a peaceful home.
I wanted to live in a house where people didn’t live on the edge of financial ruin and where the anxiety over lack of resources was not repeatedly temporarily eased by very excessive drinking.
You can think I am exaggerating if you want. I’m not.
I did get it – I got all I wanted for Christmas when I was 12.
Dad stopped drinking.
December 21, 2014
“There’s a young woman cutting herself outside my flat. What can I tell her?”
(Text received from South Africa)
Assess the level of urgency.
Does she need an ambulance or your presence?
If it’s the latter, your presence is more important than your words.
Be very respectful.
Ask if she wants you to say anything at all.
If she tells you to be quiet, be quiet. Tell her you will sit with her in silence.
Allow the quietness between you to settle in, and this could take a long while, then tell her gently that you are willing to listen to her for as long as she wants to speak, and that you will not say a word while she talks or try to rearrange her thoughts or mess with her feelings.
If she tells you that you may talk, tell her very gently, after much silence, that there is help available to people who think that hurting themselves is helpful; that while her strong feelings that result in her inflicting pain upon herself may offer her a tangible outlet for her strong feelings, there are steps available toward more permanent relief from whatever she is facing.