Latest Posts

Fear: Don’t Confuse Me With The Facts

www.motherjones.com

www.motherjones.com

Vaccinations have been a hot topic following the recent outbreaks of measles in the United States. I thought we were all done with measles but no, they’re baack. In 2014 there were 644 cases reported in 27 states and 176 cases so far in 2015, most of those linked to an amusement park. (Ahem, Mickey, had you been vaccinated?) As parents increasingly opt out of vaccines, states have begun to introduce legislation to strengthen immunization policies. But bills to eliminate personal belief exemptions in Oregon and Washington state recently failed. Parents are afraid for their children and want personal choice over medical decisions. Who cares about the potential for a return of many long eradicated diseases like measles, mumps, and whooping cough. Who cares that one’s personal decision could negatively affect the many. Fear trumps reason. Continue reading…

Pleasure: Seize the moment

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”                     - Thích Nhất Hạnh

hdscreen.me

hdscreen.me

I envy my dogs sometimes, especially my spaniel who has an unmitigated joie de vivre. My Gordon Setter can be more like me, steeped in perpetual angst, but Beatrix? She’s joyful. It can be raining and muddy outside and she’s content to stare at the tree in squirrel stalking stance for hours. Fully present in the hopefulness of the moment. If the sun is shining she can fling herself to the ground and roll around squeaking with exuberant abandon. Dinner is a festive feast every day, no complaints about the same old thing. I have a lot to learn from her.  Continue reading…

The Highly Sensitive Person

www.pinterest.com

www.pinterest.com

There are times in life when I have to contain my impulse to jump up and run screaming.These are not times that would be obvious to most people. They may be at moments that appear to be perfectly lovely. One of them is when I’m playing games with my group of extroverted friends while conversation flows and music fills the air. I love each one of them. I enjoy their humor, intellect, and energy. I like music and I love playing games. So what’s my problem? When you put it all together it’s too much. The total of all that good feels overwhelming for me because I’m an HSP – a highly sensitive person. A delicate flower in the sensory stimulation department. Continue reading…

Goals: Don’t be Attached to the Outcome

www.puplife.com

www.puplife.com

One of the activities that occupies my head space is dog agility. This is a sport where you train like crazy, shlep enough supplies for a military deployment, sit around for hours waiting your turn, and then run like hell for about 30 seconds. Curious? Watch some international competitors here. I don’t move quite as fast as those top handlers however. My style is more like the Titanic – slow to turn. But even at my level, people set unrealistic goals and that’s where the troubles start. Continue reading…

Reframes: Finding Fun in Flying

 

www.jokebandit.com

www.jokebandit.com

Life is full of surprises and opportunities. Just when I thought flying couldn’t get any worse, I found Silver Airways. Never heard of them? Be very glad. Silver Airways is the little company whose prop plane I recently used to get between Ft. Lauderdale and Key West. A short flight of only 35 minutes if you’re lucky enough to actually get on an airplane and the propellors keep going around. There was much drama involved and I observed many angry folks trying to straighten out one problem or another. I did an informal analysis and concluded there were more upset people per square foot dealing with Silver Airways than I’d ever observed with any other airline. And that’s saying a lot. I know my own blood pressure was soaring and so I had a choice. Did I become a homicidal maniac or did I use the power of cognitive reframing? Continue reading…

Our Nature: We Are Who We Are

www.math.pitt.edu

www.math.pitt.edu

The sun came out the other day. It was such a happy event that thoughts of a lovely walk on the river path with my dogs came to mind. I grabbed the girls, a Gordon Setter and an English Cocker Spaniel, snapped on their leashes and stepped out with a smile on my face. That didn’t last long. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed by their antics. Some dogs may be content to walk placidly along side their human with just a delicate pause to sniff now and then. Not my girls. These dogs have hunting ancestors and so they take the lead and go back and forth, forth and back, with tails wagging and noses on high alert looking for birds. Occasionally a scent grabs them and they turn around and give me a shoulder dislocating yank in the opposite direction. I’m not looking for birds, I’m never going to blast anything, and I haven’t trained them to do this – it’s just their nature. I have trained them to heel but that takes focus and concentration which makes a walk more work than relaxation. So I find myself getting annoyed. But why? After all it’s just their nature. Continue reading…

Friendship: love and loss

lucyinthesky-lucys.blogspot.com

lucyinthesky-lucys.blogspot.com

I thought about calling my friend Sue today. I’m painting my living room and she always loves to talk about decorating. It’s been awhile since I’ve talked to her and I’m pretty sure she’d like this color. I’ve changed it from a Tuscan gold to a much lighter and brighter yellow, really just a hint of lemon. I know for sure she’d love the fabric I’ve found for the drapes. They’re a Hawaiian bark cloth and will complement the walls and the new red couch. I want to call her and share this with her. But then I remember all over again, I can’t call her. My dear friend of 34 years died some months ago and a place in my heart feels empty without her. Continue reading…

Scents and Sensitivities

howtobepleasant.blogspot.com

howtobepleasant.blogspot.com

Last weekend a friend and I went to an event which required sitting in bleachers with other people. We were chatting and enjoying ourselves as people sat down when suddenly I was hit with a tsunami of scent. Not a delicate whiff of cologne, I mean a full on assault on my senses that almost made my eyes water. Obviously the person wearing the cologne wasn’t suffering but I started considering a hazmat suit as a fashion choice. It was irritating to me but my friend suffers with migraines that can be triggered by scents. She considered calling the fire department to hose him down. Instead we moved. Are fragrances really an issue or were we just highly sensitive? And you may feel confident you’re not a scent scofflaw but are you sure? Continue reading…

Not my problem: Know when to let it go.

“And that’s my problem because… Oh, wait. No, it’s not my problem.” ~Nigel in the Devil Wears Prada

I don’t know when my need to take on every problem and make it my responsibility first started. It seems like forever ago but it’s as natural as breathing. It could be something as small as picking up a piece of trash or more ambitious like soothing the feelings of every human being I ever met. I worry about the grocery store cashier when it looks like she’s having a bad day. I walk quickly across the street so that I don’t delay the drivers that are waiting. I feel anxious when a friend makes choices that I know are going to bite her in the butt. I’m not sure when it started but it often leaves me totally exhausted or worse, silently stewing in  resentment. Continue reading…

To Sleep, perchance to . . .sleep damn it all.

northtexaskids.com

northtexaskids.com

I envy the sleep of children who can flop over the shoulder of a parent and stay in dreamland in spite of what’s going on around them. And what’s up with those teenagers who can stay in bed until 3:00 p.m. Alas, then comes middle age when sleep becomes a ritualized and tortured affair often involving appliances and special pillows. I have a dental appliance to prevent teeth grinding, a wrist brace for carpal tunnel, and a body pillow for back strain. Oh yeah, I’m a sexy gal when I hit the bed. And now I have to protect my night time ritual like the Secret Service protect the President. Oh wait, that’s not that great. I do better. I can’t have too much mental stimulation prior to bed so that means no computer or other electronic devices and no phone calls, texts, or tweets. It’s imperative I get my system to slow down in order to fall asleep. As a friend once said “if the sleep train leaves the station and I’m not on it, there’s not another one all night.” Continue reading…