Archive for December, 2018

December 25, 2018

Christmas Day

by Rod Smith

Every act of human goodness begins within the deepest recesses of an individual psyche, soul, or spirit – call that beautiful center of a person whatever you will.

It’s truly an inside job.

Kindness, generosity, forgiveness are bold, inner-initiatives. It’s got to happen in you. It’s got to happen in me. Before the goodness can overflow and touch others, and change families, and ripple through communities, it must do it’s powerful and good work first within.

We have to welcome the divine impulse to enrich those about us. We have to hear its sometimes whispered cry, acknowledge its gentle nudge, or feel its severe jolt within us, however it may choose to get our attention, and then respond to it, welcome it, foster it, so it takes root.

And, when it has taken root, it will do its good work. Little can stop it. It will attack all remnants of all prejudice, all prideful propensities, all inclination to harbor resentment, spread gossip, or demean others. Goodness will assist in the joy of regarding others as an opportunity to offer grace and hospitality. It assists you and me to see others as the miracles they are and remind us that people are not as they appear to be – they are as we are.

December 23, 2018

Blaming others for outbursts of anger

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Thursday

Angry people often blame circumstances for their rage when it is circumstances trigger what’s already within.

I was second in line at a cellular phone outlet. The customer ahead of me began viciously screaming at the salesman. When encouraged to calm down he pointed at the salesman as if he himself was powerless over his own angry response. The man apparently sincerely believes his angry outbursts are the responsibility of others.

In backed up traffic I saw a vivid illustration: On my left a man was pounding his fists, waving his arms, and some poor soul was getting the thrust of his anger over the phone. To my right the driver was apparently listening to something really funny and the traffic hadn’t gotten to her at all.

It would be easy to suggest the man was in a hurry and the woman was not.

Actually, the one is angry, and the other is not.

The traffic is the catalyst.

Few angry people seem to understand that anger and happiness and joy and forgiveness and resentment and generosity are all inside jobs.

It’s a tough lesson for those prone to rage, but, when a willing learner understands it and does something about it, it brings huge changes and relief to a person and usually to an entire family.

December 21, 2018

Fragile, resilient, tenacious, and funny

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Thursday

We are a fragile bunch, we humans. I’ve seen it a hundred times in you and in me. A mere look from someone we love can render us broken-hearted and upset us for an entire day or until we find resolution.

We are a resilient bunch, we humans. I’ve seen it vastly more than I’ve seen our shared fragility. We know how to love, to forgive, and to give again and again. We know how to mine the best in others, even those who have not treated us very well. I’ve stood in wonder dozens of times by the resilience I have seen in people facing hard times.

We are a tenacious species. I’ve taken myself by surprise at my ability to get what I need and what I want for my sons and for myself despite considerable resistance from those who’d prefer me not to. Like you, I go at it, wanting nothing more or less than what is good and right for my family and for others in the firm belief that in all situations we can all win.

We are funny.

Born for family and born to thrive in community, and yet acting so often as if it’s the last thing we want.

December 19, 2018

Making life a little easier

by Rod Smith

Get out of the middle of relationships (issues, concerns) that do not directly involve you. Your spouse’s relationship with your parents (your husband’s relationship with your son) does not involve you. It is close, it impacts you, but you are not part of it or responsible for it. Being “piggy-in-the-middle” is not much fun for piggy.

Resist speaking for others, explaining people to each other or being “communication central.” Allow people to speak for themselves and to each other without your help. Retrench yourself from being the family switchboard.

Extricate yourself from unnecessary binds (inappropriate loyalties) by refusing to harbor secrets and gossip even with your best of friends.

Move beyond blame by taking full responsibility for every aspect of your life. While you may have had a lousy childhood you are now an adult who, despite the many failings of your nurturers, has an opportunity to embrace life to the full.

Forgive everyone for everything because it’s a whole lot easier than accumulating grudges and safer than hosting bitter poison.

Show up, stand up, speak up for yourself – it’s really good practice and an excellent deterrent of abusive, controlling types. They will run a mile when they see what you are made of.

Arrange your inner-life (emotions, attitude) before your plan your daily schedule (your outer-life).

December 18, 2018

You are as healthy as your secrets

by Rod Smith

“You are as healthy as your secrets” goes a common adage in talk therapy circles.

Our dark secrets: these are the secrets that shift us into shame-mode, haunt our memories, needle our rest at three in the morning, and bind and silence us, keep us enslaved to their dark powers. These secrets debilitate us, silence us, make us captives, make us suspicious of others, and make us edgy in the presence where exposure threatens.

Our dark secrets can drive us into parallel behaviors that mimic the events that initiated the secrets in the first place.

These are the secrets worth exposing to a professional that their powers may be broken and the holder of secrets may be set free.

Our healthy secrets (yes, there are healthy secrets): the knowledge of shared and powerful intimacy, the knowledge and the trust of mutual promises made between equal partners, the pleasures found in a revisiting exhilarating and treasured memories, empower us.

These secrets free us, amplify our strengths and, as a result, we spill health into our families and upon all whom we meet.

These are secrets amplify any goodness within us and are worthy of being hidden in our hearts for they do no damage.

December 9, 2018


by Rod Smith

Fundamentals about human relationships:

  • Every interpersonal overreaction, poor attitude, expression of anger will have an equal and opposite reaction if it comes from a desire to control, manipulate, or maneuver another, no matter how much love there is purported to be. People are designed for freedom and attempts to restrict it will ultimately stir rebellion (it may take years) within the victim.  
  • The person who most wants whatever from another person (insert a desire: time, extended conversations, sex, a beach walk, loan, a long chat over coffee) places the potential giver in a position of power. This is part of the reason pleading and begging is so unattractive.
  • The stronger, more mature person of any two people in a relationship will be the one who seeks forgiveness and reconciliation when a relationship is derailed. While the focus is who is right or wrong and who need to apologize first and who started whatever, the people are not ready for reconciliation.
  • Mutual attraction is about matched levels of maturity or immaturity. People of dissimilar levels of maturity will hardly notice each other. Equally needy people will attract each other like powerful magnets and the attraction will feel like a match made in heaven – at least at first.  
December 2, 2018

It’s (simply) up to you (and to me)….

by Rod Smith

Some things are simply up to you (and to me)…

  • How open and available you are to new experiences, adventures, and meeting new people
  • How generous and kind and forgiving you are to others (and to yourself) under every circumstance
  • How much you communicate with your aged parents and how much time you generously and freely offer them
  • How much you interact or communicate with your brothers or sisters or other relatives
  • How you treat your in-laws
  • How much you respect and show that respect to all people and especially those who are outside of your chosen circle of relationships
  • How you use the power afforded you or the illusion of power afforded to you
  • How much you will allow friends and associates to know you and participate in your life
  • How angry or reactive you are when you are faced with the poor driving or less than perfect service or when you are overlooked or ignored
  • How much you will allow prejudice and stereotypes to shape your attitudes and behaviors

I will remind my treasured readers that I am my own first audience and everything I write pertains first to me. We are in this wonderful adventure of life together.