THINGS THAT IRRITATE ME

So, I watch too much tv these days, even though I decided to get rid of cable.  But, that doesn’t stop me from the mundane, the major channels and  Netflix and Amazon, and of course, a lot of commercials now.  The Farmer’s Only commercial really bugs the crap out of me.  No wonder these farmers have been so lonely, they hang out with irritating horses.  Most of their commercials make no sense, but their tag line is pretty good.

Then there is America’s Got Talent.  If I have to watch the camera flash on Tyra Banks making faces while the talent is doing their stuff, I think I will puke.  I don’t watch the show for her nor for the mouth covering expressions of the audience or judges.  I want to see the talent and the camera is continuously going to meaningless shots of Tyra with some asinine expression.  And, then there is the constant din of the audience yelling and clapping and screaming after someone hits a high note or after 5 seconds on the stage.  Like they want it to be all about them. They just have no manners and it’s often hard to hear the talent.  Then there is Mel B. who seems to have to say what the talent is doing.  Obviously, she can’t figure it out or thinks we need her ongoing diatribe to understand what is happening.    Okay enough about them.

Now, let’s move on to the bastardization of the English language by so called college graduates.  My most irritating phrase and one that seems to have been gaining acceptance is “I had went”.  AYAYAYAYA.  This out of the mouths of supposedly educated people.  I even heard Derrick Hough say it on World of Dance and another announcer say it on a local news station.  Who is teaching English in schools these days??  For those of you who think this is proper English, IT ISN’T.  ‘I went’or ‘I had gone’ are permissible.  That’s it.  Not ‘I had went.’  Makes my skin crawl.  It should make yours crawl too.

Then there is the inability of people to email in English or text in English.  The grammar is atrocious.  Correct spelling is non-existent.  And, if you rely on spellcheck, here’s a news flash, you have to know how to spell first.   Otherwise, you won’t know the difference between ‘there, their, or they’re.’   It seems that those who write the programs for this don’t know how to spell nor know proper grammar either.

Everyone is into .America First these days.  But, it doesn’t seem that we are first when it comes to speaking or writing grammatically or clearly. If you want to hear proper English spoken, you have to leave this country and go to India, or Africa and some parts of England.  Americans are now getting a second class education.  Teachers speak poor English and that is what students pick up.  It is the foundation for critical thinking and not sounding like a moron.  It helps you get a  better paying job and more respect.

For those of you who are reading this, demand that people and your family members speak proper English. And, if you don’t know, learn.   BTW, they will also behave better.  Sloppy speech leads to careless actions.  You might notice those who speak well, usually do a lot better and are more highly though of.

Of course, there are those who speak well and are still idiots and often act unethically.  Don’t be like them.  Speak well, act well and ethically.  You will find you think better of yourself and improve your own self esteem without harming or demeaning others.

There are plenty of things to blame for the decline of manners and grammar.  Acceptance of improper English in schools.  Minimizing reading and correct spelling, saying it’s the thought that counts.  It’s more than that.  I can’t understand what you mean if your language is so distorted.   Your thoughts become incomprehensible.   And, with social media, word count restrictions on everything, the inability of people to read more than just bullet points before they get bored, has contributed to abbreviated English, misspellings, confusing grammar and, as a therapist, I can assure you, people have more difficulty expressing their needs, feelings and goals, because their English is so poor.

Maybe you have your own pet peeves about things.  Go ahead and let them out.  It feels good to broadcast them, as long as you don’t become too insulting and obnoxious.  And, if you find yourself too frustrated over it all, as I do sometimes, breathe and try to show some compassion for those less fortunate than you.   Well, I had better went now……

 

 

 

The Opioid Crisis and Big Pharma

Listening to 60 minutes on the opioid crisis and the governments complicity in allowing the pharmaceuticals to continue to push these drugs.  This is a repeat but it still incenses me.  By now, everyone knows the drug companies and its distribution outlets couldn’t care less about your health.  It’s all about profit.  And, this report by 60 minutes now just links the government, both Congress and the FDA, to this epidemic.

Big pharma has big money.  They only care about profit.  This is what happens when money and greed rule and we have the best Congress money can buy.  It is only getting worse.  And, even though you think you have choice in the matter, you don’t.

The DEA, thanks to Congress, has little power to enforce laws against drug companies.  It’s okay to go after the mom and pop stores or the Latino who has a small part in this.  But to go after the pharmaceutical companies, like Cardinal Health and McKesson is verboten.  Could it be that is because the pharmaceutical industry has spent 2.5 Billion dollars on lobbying effort in 2017.  Or that they spent $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005.  You bet.  They bought Congress.  There is way too much money in pushing drugs and to addict people.

They do not care about you or your children’s life.  They may profess how important ‘our children’ are, but they have actually taken no action to make a difference   Over 63,000 people died due to opioids in 2016.  And 40% of those deaths are due to prescription opioids.  That’s more than died in 9/11 and in the Vietnam War.

Many hospitals are now putting in protocols regarding prescribing opioids.  But, the pharmaceutical industry is doing their best to continue to push their use beyond necessity.  So, ask yourself, who is really the ‘drug pusher’ here and who are the collaborators.

(Opioids include oxycodone`, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, and new stronger morphine type drugs are being created and distributed as well.}

If this concerns you, write Congress, write the President, the FDA, and talk with your doctor should they insist (like some Occupational doctors do) that you take these medications, even if you don’t want them.  This happens way too often.  These meds don’t speed up healing and, as you know, they are highly addictive.

LOSS, PAIN AND RELIEF

GETTING THROUGH LOSS AND REJECTION

Everyone, including me, has suffered the loss of a relationship, a death of someone we loved, a friendship, a job and our dreams.  The pain of this loss can last from weeks to what seems like forever.  How do we get through this?  So often, it seems that we don’t and even feel we can’t.  But, we can and we can thrive.

When we feel rejected, especially by someone who we thought would never reject us, like a child, a spouse, a parent, it’s such a crushing feeling.  It can bring sadness and in some cases, it can become debilitating.  In one case, I know of a women, who deeply loved her child, ended up in a legal battle with him due to unforeseen circumstances. She won the case, but lost her adult son.   He has not spoken to her in years.  And, though they were very close for most of his life, this ended whatever they might have had.  She became despondent.  Ended up with serious illnesses, including cancer and deep depression.  Formerly, a healthy person, this blow was too much for her system. 

She survived.  She finally accepted this painful situation and realized if her emotions continued to get the best of her, she was going to die.  After a great deal of inner work, she accepted what was and sent love and joy to her son…wanting only the best for him.  Today, she is doing very well and working everyday.  Yes, she misses him.  But, her being in pain did not help anyone. She embraced acceptance and compassion for her self and her son.

This is not uncommon.  We literally can make ourselves sick when we go through a loss. Part of us believes that if we are sick, the other might come to visit.  We feel we don’t deserve to be happy or healthy if the other rejected us.  If the other has died, do we deserve to live.  The connection to the other is so strong, we don’t even know who we are without them.

A reasonable period of time to grieve our loss is appropriate and healthy.  That period varies depending on the person and the situation.  And, there are some techniques to help you get through. 

Of course, talking with someone and not being alone with this pain is so important.  For some, there are groups, which can be very valuable. (Please look up an appropriate group for your needs on the internet or ask a friend or your therapist or doctor).

Make sure to take care of yourself.  We all hear the phrase ‘self-care’ but don’t necessarily know what that means.  Briefly, it means sleeping well, eating right (minimize alcohol and sugars), exercising -walking always works well and it helps to be out in nature.  Being alone for long is not healthy.  If you only have one or two good friends, that is fine, spend time with them.  Involvement in a community contributes to health and happiness. If you have a religious community, utilize them.  If you have a hobby or a way to help others, do it, that improves mood and functioning as well.

If you meditate, which I highly recommend, there is a Buddhist method called Tonglen.  As you sit quietly and focus on your breath, you breathe in the pain (yes, breathe in the pain) and on the outbreath, you send peace, love, joy…whatever is appropriate to the other or to yourself.  In fact, you can do this many times and everytime can be for yourself, the other, or to all those who have suffered the loss you have.  And, if it brings you tears, that is wonderful too.

There are other methods to help you get through which include grief therapy, emotional freedom technique (also known as Tapping), and above all acceptance.  Refusal to accept the situation as it is, only brings more pain and is like King Sisyphus of Greek mythology.  His punishment for his hubris was having to roll a boulder uphill to the top of a mountain only to have it roll down every time it reached the top.  He was condemned to a lifetime of suffering. 

Loss is part of life. No one escapes this life without suffering some loss or rejection at some time.   As a human being you have a right to be happy, healthy and live a full life.  Should you be in the throws of loss and find yourself in pain, take a moment, accept the situation, send compassion and love to yourself and even to the other, and do something nice for yourself.  Continue to practice this everyday and you will wake up one morning and realize it is not the first thought that comes into your mind nor distract you from living a good and happy life. 

Do not hesitate to seek counseling if you need assistance in getting through this time.

 

FOOD, SUPPLEMENTS OR MEDICINE – WHICH IS BEST?

I completed a training in Nutritional and Integrative Medicine for Mental Health professionals last week. I had the joy of spending 5 days in Sedona at the Mago Retreat Center with about 65 other wonderful people who want to really help heal people without their having to be on medications for the rest of their lives.  Medications that, for the most part, don’t really work.

Are you aware that your gut is considered your second brain? And, did you know that between 80 and 95% of serotonin (your happy hormone) is created in the gut – not in your brain.  Yet, anti-depressant medications target the brain area that is responsible for Serotonin production.  That is, no doubt, why most SSRIs do not work effectively and have to be amplified by taking another drug.  And, it is well know that Effexor, a commonly prescribed SSRI, is not as effective as exercise in decreasing depressive symptoms (this was in Effexor’s own research).  Coming off Effexor and other SSRIs can be a long, painful and tedious process, to say nothing of the initial side effects of SSRIs – constipation (that’ll depress you), weight gain, low sex drive (now that’s pretty depressive too).

One of the other issues with SSRI medications is that there is a connection between long term use and the development of Alzheimers.

Now, I am not anti-medication. There are times when people do need an anti-depressant or even an anti-anxiety to get them through.   But, coming off is very difficult and takes months – if done correctly.  What I am anti- is the wholesale distribution by the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries in pushing medications that do not really resolve issues and can have long term negative effects. It is rare to find a psychiatrist who actually wants to practice psychiatry anymore.  Typically, you get 20 minutes (max) with the doctor who is deciding which medicine to put you on.  Or, you don’t even see an MD you get to see a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant – who basically does the same thing.  Then, they might refer you for therapy – where you should have gone initially.

They rarely, if ever, recommend a change in diet, ask you about your sugar consumption or even your alcohol consumption.  How is your social life? Do you have friends – ones that are supportive?  Do you spend a lot of time alone sitting in front of the tv eating?  How is work?  Is it stressful?  Do you hate what you do?  Do you have any goals or purpose that drives you?   Do you come from a family where one of your parents was an addict?

These are significant in how your life is? Do you exercise at all?  Exercise is actually more effective than most anti-depressants (this is documented).  Do you get enough sunlight?  Most of us are deficient in vitamin D3.  We are all pretty deficient in B12- a soluble vitamin that is excreted everyday.  It is considered the Stress Vitamin and we all need it.  Do you regularly consume that each day (with food).

There are so many ways to handle difficult issues outside of medication. Medication typically dulls the senses so you can get through the day.  It does not correct or resolve the situations that have caused the depression or anxiety  in the first place.  That means you are stuck forever if you can’t get out of the stuckness of your mind.

At the training, it became evident that there are many environmental and nutritional reasons for depression as well – not just that you were jilted or your boss yelled at you or you had a mean parent.

How is your sleep? Lack of quality sleep often leads to depression.  Do you have physical pain?  This is a major reason for depressive moods.  Are you eating foods that cause depression – sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, foods with lots of artificial additives (aspartame). These are foods that have been shown to cause serious allergies, bloating, leaky gut syndrome, anxiety and depression.

It is amazing how many people clean up their diet and find that they are no longer depressed. That the unhealthy parasites that have been dwelling inside you for years, feasting on your sugar consumption have made you moody and depressed and often anxious.  Notice how alcoholics get after they drink – moody, angry, depressed.  The alcohol turns into sugar that alters brain chemistry and results in mood swings and nasty side effects.

Mood follows Food. So notice how you feel after you eat up to 36 hours after (some even say up to 3 days later).  Keep a food diary and a mood diary.  You might even notice that a glass of apple juice is too much sugar for you and you get jumpy.  Depending on your constitution, even a so called healthy food could be negative for you.

Don’t take my word for it.  Notice for yourself how you are.  How your kids are.   You might think you are giving them healthy food – because the box of cereal says ‘fortified with B vitamins’.  But, I assure you it is still laden with sugar, artificial additives and, in now ay considered a healthy food.

There is plenty of information now on what is healthy and what is a promotion. Educate yourself.  Keep yourself strong, healthy, vibrant and stave off memory loss and other so called ‘age-related’ illnesses.   Yes, you may slow down a bit, but your brain can still be active and alert well into your 90s.   Don’t buy into the TV ads or the pharmaceutical ads.  There are other, healthier ways than stuffing yourself with medications.  They should only be a last resort – not the go to answer.

More to come…..

Janeen

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOES THIS MAKE ME LOOK TOO THIN?

As a diversion from the difficult and painful news we face everyday, I decided to go a little lighthearted for some relief.

     DOES THIS MAKE ME LOOK TOO THIN?

Whenever a woman looks into a mirror, the question that permeates her brain is:

“Do I look fat in this?”  It’s not even, “Is this an attractive outfit.” No, it’s always, “does it make me look fat”. Inevitably, the outfit is thrown off and another and another are tried on with the same plaintive moan – ‘too fat, too fat’.

I ask you, why aren’t women all over the US asking the real question…”Does this make me look too thin.”   I’M SERIOUS HERE.  Afterall, look at how unfeminine and unhealthy the likes of most actresses look. Not only are they starving themselves to look thin on camera, they are doing it to please men. But, when I speak with most men, they want a woman with some meat on their bones – a woman who is a real woman, not a coat rack – and a skinny rack at that.

And, who are these men who prefer skinny women anyway. They are producers and directors that never grew up – wanting undeveloped females gloating over them.  Or, they are gay men, who prefer to have their women look like young boys.  (Yeah, I know, this isn’t politically correct, but it happens to be true.)  

So, it is time for women, real women, to revolt. Ask the question:  “Does this outfit make me look to thin.”  And, if it does, honey, take it off, put on that flowered print dress and do yourself proud.

 

ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS – THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS

One of the things I have discovered doing years of therapy, and being a mother as well, is that suffering so often comes from refusing to accept what is.  We say things like, “I refuse to accept this.”   “Until he/she changes, I will not accept them.”   “I cannot forgive them for what they did 35 years ago, so I’m going to continue to be miserable.”

When we say or think this way, our lives become a struggle and very painful.  We also prevent ourselves from growing, changing and from allowing the situations that cause us so much pain to move into a less painful place.

When I say acceptance, I do not mean resigning yourself, which would result in continuing to feel sorry for yourself (a very non-productive state to be in). Acceptance is assenting to the reality of the situation, what is, without protesting or attempting to change it, allowing it to be.

When you can accept what is, amazingly what happens next in your life changes…for the better.  You free yourself from fighting yourself, your demons, others; anger diminishes and you free yourself to view life in another way.   You will find you have more energy because you have been using all that energy to focus on the negatives in your life and things you may never be able to change.

And then, forgive yourself for having wasted all that time,  for doing what you thought was right or even for what you might have thought was wrong.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  What it does mean is that you are a human being.  Humans make mistakes – it’s how we learn.  We didn’t come with manuals so we learn as we go.  Some of us have had great role models, most of us haven’t.   We are bombarded with social media, with advertising, news, movies, unrealistic expectations that make us feel we are failing; that we are not good enough.  Forgive yourself for buying into it all.  (Advertisers are betting that we will all feel less than so that we will buy their products to make us feel better – though it does not work.  But, it does make certain people rich.)

When you cannot forgive yourself, you continue with feelings of shame and guilt.  It’s hard to move forward and feel good enough and worthy if you are full of shame.  Eventually, you can do your best to forgive others.  The more you forgive, the freer and happier you become.

It takes time.  It takes some work.  Without question, resistance will come up.  Accept the resistance; it’s part of the process.   If you have been punishing yourself for years  and cannot accept your life as it is, it may take you longer than you would like to make the change.  But, the more you accept what is and that what others think of you is their issue, not yours, the easier life can be.  The happier and more satisfied with who you are happens.

I will continue to write more about this and the benefits of acceptance and forgiveness.  Look into it.  Try it.  All you have to lose is pain and suffering and so much to gain.

 

I HAVE TO STOP WATCHING THE NEWS

As much as I have been consumed with the news, politics, who is accusing whom these days, Trumps latest inane tweets, I have discovered that all this anxiety provoking information has done just that – made me anxious, irritated, angry and judgmental, no matter how much mindful meditation I do.   It has also done the same thing for everyone I meet or read on Facebook.

So, in order to maintain a sense of sanity and calm, I am limiting my exposure to the news.  No more Rachel or MSNBC, no more Sunday morning reporters and Congress people telling me how to think; Facebook on occasion, not hourly, occasional nightly news but not nightly.  I might even decide to abstain from Facebook as well.

I know that, somehow, I will be able to get whatever news I need to get whenever.  Everything is repeated more than a 100 times daily, so I’m sure I won’t miss anything.  I am a strong believer in a well informed electorate and that we must know what is going on in order to keep our country free and strong and respected around the world.

But, it has all gotten so out of hand.  With the 24/7 news cycle, and everyone posting, everything and anything has become news  There seems to be no significant difference between the importance of a missile launch by North Korea and the latest egg free scrambled eggs that taste like eggs; the devastating tax reform bills and the Kardashian’s latest shoe collection.   Everything has equal weight.  Too much information and too little substance.

Oh and everything is Breaking News – “Fly splats on windshield – Breaking News”.

And though it is not yet New Year’s, I resolve to watch less and less news, less posts and enjoy more Netflix, even though Poldark is off air for now. I will be reading more – fiction – meditating more and, hopefully, even staying off the cell phone more.

After 30 days, I shall report on how my inner and outer emotions have been affected by my own News Break. If you wish to join me on this endeavor,  I would enjoy hearing about your experience.

THANK YOU HARVEY WEINSTEIN

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT …

THANK YOU HARVEY WEINSTEIN…..

(A note – I wrote this before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, like Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda – their opinions matter and they are right, but it’s like you have to be a celebrity to have an opinion on this? Or expose it?  Don’t think so.)

Yes, thank you, Harvey Weinstein, the world’s current most famous sexual harasser.  In spite of the fact that you are a very sick man, you have really shone a spotlight on this issue.  And, we also know you are not alone.  Your compatriots in all businesses need to have the spotlight shining on them too.

Let’s be clear, in no way am I defending sexual predators or harassers.  They need education, training and some very heavy consequences.  And, so do women.   Everyday I am stunned by what is put out by the media on how women should look and act.  For the most part, it is men who are sending out these messages.  But, there are some female reality stars that truly are having too much negative influence on young women.  (I shall refrain from using names, but you know who I mean.)  They walk around half naked with absolutely showing no sense of self worth or dignity.  Wearing thong jeans and exposing yourself in public, taking nude photos and sexy videos and putting them online is not okay – and yes, you will be harassed because of it, right or wrong.  And, you will also be shamed – not your prettiest picture.

So, thank you Harvey Weinstein for bringing all this out into the open even more than it was.  However, after hearing that some 60 (I’ve lost count) women in Hollywood are accusing HW of flagrant misdeeds, it got to me – MORE THAN 60 WOMEN.  What the heck is really going on?  Did he have every young actress in Hollywood?  When did he have time to make movies?  If that many women knew, why didn’t anyone say anything? Why did it take an article in The New Yorker before there was any hubbub?   Why was it all ignored for so long?  (Apparently, there were a few muffled voices along the way.)

When a man, who has a home, an office, is married asks you to come up to his hotel room – aren’t you the least circumspect?  Were they all in a daze?  And, if you were in a hotel room, couldn’t you start screaming?  If someone started to molest you, wouldn’t you scream? Or was it because it was the famous Mr. Weinstein that you turned coy.  You were not 5 years old and told, “Don’t tell anyone, this will be our little secret.”  If he pinned you down, I understand, but that is not what most of these women said happened.

For better or worse, Hollywood has always had a casting couch.  They have always had the beautiful girl to flaunt and abuse.  Goes back 100 years now. And, abuse of women and girls goes back thousands of years in society.  Unfortunately, too many women have felt it was their only way to get ahead – talent or no talent.  The moguls will take advantage and get what they can get – as will most men.  It’s up to women to say no and kick them in the balls if you need to.  Anyone notice the old movie messages …. men seem to really love John Wayne – the man’s man.  His movies include him forcing women to kiss him and then noting how the little woman will just finally fall into his arms after he forces himself on her.  (“See women really like it.  No does not mean no.”)  Take a look at most of the movies, especially 50s and 60s (but it goes on now too) and you will see it was and is a man’s world and that means the man still  has the right to do what he wants to the ‘little woman.’  Why I was just watching reruns of Bewitched – one of my favorites – but in spite of the strong Samantha, she was still always trying to placate and please her man, who repeatedly said, “No wife of mine is going to work.”  [The messages we send to girls and boys!!!]

The law was and rarely is of help.  There was no such thing as marital rape until 1993 and though it is a crime, each state has different delineations. For example, in South Carolina, there has to be additional violence to the woman before it can be considered a form of spousal abuse or rape. (Just think about it – in order to get justice, you have to make sure you get beat up.)    Then we have social media. Even today, when a female accuses someone of molesting her, she becomes the victim again – she is maligned, shamed and can be destroyed if her accusations could possibly destroy some young man’s sports career.  And, just reporting a rape is like being retraumatized.  Having to take a physical after being physically assaulted is degrading, occasionally painful and often the victims are looked at by medical and police staff as being the real problem and not the guy who caused all of the trauma.

How many men are actually arrested and convicted of rape?  How many men are arrested and convicted of child molestation?  A recent statistic I saw stated that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators walk free.  Women are afraid to report for good reason.  And, out of 311 arrests made – 7 get a felony conviction and 3 actually go to jail.

But, the HW issue is another matter.  Too many women…too many people knew of his reputation and his actions.  And, without the magazine article, this would/could have continued.  Again, he is not alone.  He just did it so much!!!  If all the males who sexually harassed others in the workplace were put on trial – well, I guess it would only be women really running this country.  This issue goes to the highest office in the land as well.   But, women!!!  You anger me in your complicity.  In your failure to join together to come forward until you jump on the bandwagon only after someone else was strong enough to say something.  

There is a big difference here between women who have been sexually molested and raped by strangers, by family members, by bosses etc. and what happened with HW.  There are girls who are sold into marriages at the age of 13 to someone 30 or 40 years their senior and used as a slave.  Children who are repeatedly molested by a relative and can do nothing and no one believes them. These people do not get millions in a settlement from some rich entrepreneur.  These females are not famous and the pain and shame they carry all their lives can be debilitating.  Who will help them? 

In my practice, I still see young women who are afraid to speak up to their husbands or boyfriends.  When I ask the question if there has been any history of abuse or molestation, I am more surprised when the client says no than yes. It is 2017, not 1017 so why are these issues still so common place?  Why do women let themselves be abused?  It isn’t like we need the man for a paycheck anymore.  And, why would any woman vote for a man who has his own history of molesting and harassing women – even committing crimes against women (see his own words).  It shows a total lack of self respect.  It says you really don’t care about yourself and that you are not important and that the man is more important than you. 

I still have hope that things will change for the better.  Not all men harass nor molest.  Not all men degrade or think less of women.  And, it is time for both sexes to take a look at what the media is presenting to us as ‘normal.’  This is what impressionable minds, both male and female, see and what becomes the norm for them. Shows like The Housewives of ….you name the city.  The fighting and screaming that women do between each other and how these women act is deplorable.  The shows like Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Dr. Phil, couples airing all their dirty laundry and vitriol.  Marriage  Boot-Camp shows that depict horrible communications between people who supposedly love each other.  This is NOT normal and it is NOT okay.  Yet, people continue to watch and men continue to produce these shows and create anger, chaos and, typically, rotten solutions.  It may be entertaining, but it begins to permeate the subconscious and is reflected in our culture and our daily lives.

So, if you really want things to be different, start acting differently.  This goes for both sexes.  Women, have more self respect.  Don’t train your daughters to be divas who are second class citizens and think it’s okay for young girls to expose themselves.  It isn’t okay and it has consequences.  Don’t train your sons to be abusers and not to respect women.  Fathers and mothers set examples.   It all starts very early on.  (Who knows what Harvey Weinstein’s upbringing was like – OMG.)  And it is time to respect yourself.  Don’t patronize businesses that degrade women.  Don’t watch tv or movies that demean and demoralize women.  Be appropriate in your life.  And, don’t let the Harvey Weinsteins of the world get away with this… GET ANGRY, SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING.  You don’t have to wait any longer for 50 other women to come forward first.

 

 

 

 

 

What If???

I was just listening to a spiritual CD that said,  “When you know who you are, You’ll know what to do.” Huh?  What the heck does that all mean?  Knowing who I am?  I know who I am, blah, blah, blah.  I can always look in the mirror if I’m not sure. And, if I’m really not sure, I can ask my kids. They’ll be happy to tell me who I am – much to my dismay.

But, it got me thinking about meaning and purpose in life – in a different way.   Viktor Frankel in Man’s Search for Meaning,  basically said we need meaning in our lives.  We need purpose – that will bring us happiness.  To dovetail it with the Constitution, the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of purpose (Janeen Weiss, 2017).

My work has been helping others.  Be it as an attorney and now as a clinician.  People come to me with problems, pain, misery and the need for a safe place to pour their souls out to me and, wherever possible,  to fix it their pain.  (For the record, the thought that I have a magic wand and can fix all their issues is quickly dispelled.)

When we ask people about their purpose, what they want to do with their lives, typically, it has to do with helping others in some way.  That means that others have to have problems or difficulties in order for them to have a purpose in  life.  This means that things need to be bad or wrong to make you okay.  Think about that.  What does that tell the Universe to do – create problems.  For without them, who are you and what do you do?

When people make New Year’s resolutions, it’s often for peace, love, end to war and famine, no sickness, and on and on.  But…WHAT IF we lived in world where that truly existed.  No war.  Everyone was fed and clothed.  No gang wars. No warring tribes. No drug wars.  No sickness.  Acceptance of all.  No bullying or harassing.  No divisiveness among politicians.  No problems between parent and child, or between couples or friends or anyone.  No racism or religious wars.  No hurts.  No mental, physical or emotional illnesses.

If the world was exactly as you pray for, who would you be? What would your purpose in life be? Would you even have one?  What would there be for you to do?  You wouldn’t  need to rescue anyone.  You wouldn’t need to proselytize or convert anyone.  You wouldn’t hate anyone nor would they hate you for whatever reason.  There would be no one to heal, nor feed or clothe.  Countries would not try to kill each other or even consider weapons of mass destruction. No guns.  The second amendment wouldn’t even be a subject of discussion.   It would all be just the way it is – peaceful and loving – all the time.  Sort of like a Star Trek episode where they landed on a happy planet  (and you know how those ended).

Would we end up walking around like automatons or perhaps like certain religious sects that are regularly made fun of.  Where would our humor come from? Just what would  John Oliver or Stephen Colbert or SNL do to make us laugh?   Sarcasm and insult humor would be out of the question.   We would be relegated to slapstick and, of course, that would have to end with people not getting hurt in anyway.  TV would be…The Brady Bunch?  Leave it to Beaver?  Breaking Bad could not even have been conceived.  The 24/7 news would not exist, most likely (how wonderful that would be).  What would the news be filled with:  the weather, sports and maybe a cat up a tree and how it was lovingly rescued.  What about music?  Rap could become elegant sweet poetry.  And, if everyone was happy and loving all the time, where would the songs about unrequited love go?  There goes my rock ‘n roll.  Guess everything would be symphonic or just ‘Be Happy’, which would be titled “Already Happy.” It might be like John Lennon’s Imagine.  (But, there would have been no need to write that to begin with – just imagine that.)

Lawyers might still exist, but perhaps only to smooth the way say for a house sale.  Definitely wouldn’t get those high fees.  Courts would rarely be used.  Police wouldn’t need to carry guns and we probably wouldn’t even need police.  We might have ‘monitors’ to help people out should the need arise or to keep order in the event of a really good sale at Best Buy.   Armies – what for?

No fighting to get to the top.  Politicians would be honest (I’m falling down laughing right now, just thinking of that).  Congress would only need to meet if a new law arose.  No PACs or lobbyists.  Kindness and respect would prevail.  Everyone working together.  Religions would not need to exist – ah an end to the endless television preachers.  Your God would not be better than mine.

I am sure you can think of more.  But, what if this were really the scenario.  Where would you find your purpose?  What would you do?  I’m sure I would be out of a job? If no one had any issues and no one really needed therapy as they always felt supported, loved, accepted and there was no illness, I would be out of a job – and a purpose.  If no one was judged for the way they looked or felt or thought – a good portion of the world would be out of work – that would include you Tony Robbins.  All those self help books  – non-existent.  No more praying on people’s fears and insufficiencies.  No doctors – maybe an occasional injury, but nothing major.  Hospitals out of business.  Arms dealers, lobbyists out of business.  Pharmaceuticals almost totally out of business – unless they made feel good pills (oh, they do).   Healthy food – no rallying against chemical companies or meat eaters.

If you didn’t have to feed or clothe anyone, except yourself and your family and the occasional guest, would that work for you?  If you didn’t have to rally against a currently unjust corporation or government or ruling body, what would you do?  If there were no children starving in Africa, no  epidemics in the world, no elderly suffering from Alzheimers or other diseases, what would that mean – no Nobel prizes, no great honors?  No concerns about money or medical assistance.  Everything was provided and everyone was happy and satisfied all the time.

Our purpose and meaning is too often based upon the suffering of others.  In Judaism, there is the concept of Tikkun Olam – which means ‘repair the world.’’  But, if there was no world to repair, what would be the purpose?  Who would have thought of the phrase to begin with?

So, instead of looking at all these problems and issues as horrendous (and many are) or trying to rid the world of everything negative, you might want to look at these problems as your road to meaning and finding a fulfilling life.  Look at this as what is this doing FOR me instead of why do we have all this suffering in  the world.  We could discuss the reasons for suffering,  but it’s really man’s dualistic nature and society’s influence and maybe just our DNA that has brought us to this place.  There are plenty of books and research on that.

But, look at your life without any problems or issues. It’s hard to imagine this as we have so little framework.   It might just be a big fat BORE, and, a life  totally devoid of meaning or purpose.    Then again, it just might be a great retirement.