July 30, 2014
Hey passengers today we have a guest writer. He’s a cat I used to know. I am mad at him (LIL CHuckie) cause there is a few things he could have told me that would’ve saved us a lot of ….time, money and issues had we had a talk back then. KICK IT!
Sometimes it seems like the whole purpose of life is just to learn and grow. We learn from our mistakes. I have observed that most of us do not learn unless we have made some mistake and have suffered its consequences.
I have also noticed that the majority among us keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again and in doing so keep on attracting the same kind of circumstances in our lives and then keep complaining too.
There are some of us who learn from the mistakes of others. The majority among us though must go out there, make their own mistakes, learn from them, change their thinking and behavior and move on. These are the wise ones.
So making a mistake unknowingly is not as bad as making it intentionally. Learning from your mistakes in incomplete without a change in your thinking patterns. Changed thought patterns bring about changed behavior.
Here are some life lessons I learnt after making mistakes. I am sharing them with you in the hope that you may be among the wise ones.
1. The most sincere and selfless people around you are your parents. They maybe wrong sometimes and maybe hard on you but don’t just rebel against them without trying to understand their intentions first.
2. Save some part of your money whenever you get some and don’t touch it unless you really really need it.
3. Spend most of your money on things whose value increase with time, rather than immediate pleasure. It won’t last long otherwise.
4. There is no shortcut to being rich. Anyone who tells you so is lying and most probably a cheat.
5. Time is more important than money.
6. Family is more important than career.
7. Pursue what you love to do and be great at it and find a way to make a living doing that.
8. If you are unable to make a living while doing what you love don’t stop doing what you love to do, and while you make your living doing something else keep thinking how can do what you love and still live of it.
9. Life is unpredictable. Make sure your loved ones know that you love and care for them, no matter how busy you are. Never assume they know. Even if they know tell them anyway.
10. Read good books instead of watching TV. You will learn more and waste less time.
11. Don’t buy what they advertise just on an impulse. Take your time to decide if you really need that thing.
12. Change your friends if they do not share your values. It won’t kill you or your reputation.
13. Take risks but calculate the risks before taking them to see that you can handle the failure.
14. Plan your life but leave room for unplanned activities too. Let yourself experience the element of surprise.
15. Remember that nothing lasts forever. Nothing. So appreciate what you have when you have it.
16. Find God The one true God. The one who gave his only begotten son. Reach out for Him and He will hold your hand for sure.
17. It’s better to agree to disagree rather than trying to force your point of view on someone who doesn’t think like you do.
18. Accept your failures with grace and don’t bury yourself in depression when you don’t get what you want. There might be something better waiting for you to notice it.
19. Loving someone does not mean you have to agree on everything.
20. When you are doing something try to focus all your attention to just that task. Forget about everything else.
21. Be healthy. Exercise, eat healthy foods, sleep well and you won’t get to see very many doctors in life.
22. Don’t do things just because everyone else is doing them. Choose what you want to do consciously with specific reasoning.
These are the very basic lessons I learnt from life. You make your own mistakes and learn them or you can just be the wise one.
Oh and one more thing from Lil Chuckie before I call for All Aboard….
Live like you were dying!
July 28, 2014
MERRY MONDAY!!! Here’s your weekly business car. It reads:
“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Hey passengers, I thought the quote above was appropriate for today’s post…After your ride today I think you’ll feel the same.
Well you know how we do it here on the train, like wine with a meal…MUSIC with the post. KICK IT!
You know, I was thinking as I mused over this post, my (our) mind is a funny thing. On the one hand, it’s awesome. But on the other, it can pulverize us more quickly and ruthlessly than anything else.
Our mind is inherently scared. That’s its job, to be cautious; to keep us alive, to have us cross roads safely, and not get eaten by a lion. But left unchecked, it can become paralyzed with fear and meaner than a cornered crocodile.
And it’s incredibly bossy.
The tendency of the mind to want to control is so strong and so habitual that we often don’t realize the myriad of times it tries to push our inner wisdom and natural sense of ease and love aside.
The bad news is there is no book or course that will change the nature of our mind; the good news—we don’t have to. The problem isn’t our mind, but how we use it.
We feel anxious, fearful, sad, or resentful when we give our mind too much power, when we follow all of its dopey ideas against our better judgment.
Here’s how I spot when my mind is trying to take over. Hope it helps you as well.
1. When you ignore your natural inclination.
Your mind is smart. Not wise smart, but computer smart. Your mind isn’t into all that woolly intuition jazz. It wants facts. It likes making calculations. Running the odds. Say you have a thought to call a friend you haven’t thought of in years. But then your mind says, “Don’t be silly. She’s probably not home. She won’t remember me.”
So you don’t call.
But have you ever followed one of those inclinations and then looked back and seen, wow, look at everything that happened after? And what about decisions like what to do with your life? The logical way is listen to experts or copy what works for other people. Your mind loves this.
This is why we ignore the little voice that says, “You should be a writer,” and choose instead to study statistics, because there are plenty of jobs for statisticians. Or we train to be a dancer because we’re “good at that. ”Except you aren’t “other people.” And experts aren’t as expert about you as you are. And just because you’re “good at something” doesn’t mean it’s what you want to do.
2. When you want to say “no” but you end up saying “yes.”
Do you have trouble saying “no”?
I used to. I didn’t even see it as a serious option until I hit my late forties. It was messy. I thought there were rules more important than my deep desire not to do something. Rules like be a good friend, be a good employee, go to lots of parties I didn’t want to go. Kiss the right butt, shake the right hands and laugh at jokes that didn’t come close to being funny.
This is, of course, a total mind thing. Your mind wants to be liked and it thinks everything is important. Your mind doesn’t realize that saying “no” isn’t a big deal, or even a medium deal. Or that your intuition is where wisdom lies. Not only is it your right to do as you genuinely desire, but it benefits everyone when you do. Awhile back I read “An Angel at My Table”, based on the autobiography of Janet Frame, one of New Zealand’s favorite authors. Janet spent eight years in a psychiatric hospital, had two hundred electroshock treatments, and narrowly escaped a lobotomy only to learn years later that she wasn’t unwell; she just didn’t like being very social, and if she did what she felt like she was fine.
3. When you constantly text or check your phone or email, or Facebook status.
I love the Internet and email and reading comments on my blog. Just love it. What an awesome world we live in. But often I feel off balance because of it. Or rather, because of how I use it. And it’s not like I don’t know why I get so hooked on it. I do. I’m looking for approval.
The need for approval goes deep. Not only is it a natural trait of the mind, it’s entrenched by our schooling system. But it’s dangerous. It keeps you distracted from the present moment and trains you to care when people disapprove. Which they will. The modern hyper-connected world is addictive. To the mind it’s like candy.
So what’s the answer? Give it all up?
Personally, heck no. But setting limits and removing temptation keeps things in check.
4. When you think, “It’s all very well for them.”
Have you ever heard an inspirational story and thought, “It’s all very well for him, he came from a rowing family. It’s easy for him to row the Northwest Passage.” You see it all the time and it’s a classic case of your mind resisting change, worried you’ll want to make some leap of your own. Take Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Eat, Pray, Love.
It wasn’t a story about traveling around the world. Not really. It was about survival and courage and how one woman used the resources she had to save herself.
Thinking, as a few did, that it’s all very well for her she could afford to travel around the world is missing the point.
We all have the ability to get up off our metaphorical bathroom floor. And we all have our own unique set of resources to help us. When your mind is quickly dismissive and judgmental, it’s trying to stop you from seeing this.
5. When you think repetitive, worrying thoughts.
Getting OCD about washing your hands, turning off the stove, or locking the door before you leave is your safety-officer mind working overtime. While the worry feels real and overwhelming, there’s no reality to it. Don’t be pushed around by your mind. Thank your mind but tell it you’ll take it from here. Allow one double-check or hand wash. Now leave. The trick is ignoring the unpleasant thoughts while knowing a bunch of more pleasant ones will be along shortly.
6. When you try and control someone else.
Have you ever thought you knew better than someone else and tried to get them to do things your way? Just like dozens of times a day, right? Your mind is certain you have to intervene. You don’t. Your mind thinks it knows best. It doesn’t. Trying to control other people, in small and big matters, is not only annoying and disrespectful; it stops the flow of life. You miss out. I don’t know how many times I’ve experienced a profound and unexpected pleasure after I’ve ignored the urge to butt in.
7. When you feel inadequate for being “too negative.”
We’re inundated with messages telling us we should be grateful and positive and the like. They’re well meaning, but ultimately unhelpful. Because here’s the catch. Your mind regards these ideas as rules and is critical when you fail, as you invariably will. Because seriously, who’s positive or grateful all the time? A few years ago I had to tell a friend she was a negative person.
Her response: “Okay, so how do I change that.”
“You don’t,” I said, “You probably won’t always be this way. It’s just how you are right now.” Whenever you feel inadequate, this is your mind pushing you to “follow the rules.” It’s well intentioned, but misguided. Accepting how you are, no matter how you are, is the most loving and genuinely positive thing you can do. And yes, this applies to when you’re being controlling. It’s your mind’s nature to seek control. It’s neither a good or bad thing, it just is. Sometimes you’ll succumb, other times you won’t. And it’s all perfectly okay…
It’s all ok…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
July 24, 2014
KICK IT! (The music for this post like wine with a meal)
When I first started this blog I had intended for the focus to be on the “Baby Boomer” generation since I just barely slide into that category…All heck, …ok, I’m a baby…”baby Boomer” …ok? Much to my surprise I was chastised by non-boomers (some young folk friends of mine) that the LiFeTrain should be for everyone, i.e. people of all ages. For the most part I have tried to stick to that maxim.
Today however, I would like to focus the microscope on those of us who are aging and the possible signs of depression. But first, I am not a doctor nor a psychologist. As a matter of fact I am not the most intelligent of lads. However, as I have said in the past, I know smart people, I read, think and have opinions (that I like to share here on the train).
Now, on to this week’s topic as part of Mental Health Awareness week. [Depression] is not a normal part of aging, although many older people and their caregivers think the two go hand in hand. As we age, we might encounter many familiar sources of depression, including losing loved ones and facing health problems. Still, depression can and should be treated in people of ALL ages.
I recently read that about 15% of adults over age 65 have significant depressive symptoms, and about 3% have major depression. Note, the risk of suicide increases with age: The National Institute of Mental Health reports that older Americans are disproportionately likely to die by suicide, and that white men over age 85 have the highest suicide rates in the United States. Two studies further underscore why older people with even minor depressive symptoms need treatment: One, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that older adults with signs of depression had diminished immune responses, which may affect their ability to fight off infections or disease. Another, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that more depressive symptoms in older adults meant more limitations on daily activity and a greater need for care. People with no depressive symptoms received three hours a week of care on average, those with one to three depressive symptoms had about four hours of care a week, and those with four to eight depressive symptoms needed six hours of care a week.
As we age, so are our parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles…you get the thread. Keep an eye on them. Check in on them and while you are at it…Check in on you! None of us are super-humans.
Checking in on you…This is what I mean. All over the world, depression is much more common in women than in men. In the United States, the ratio is two to one, and depression is the main cause of disability in women. One out of eight women will have an episode of major depression at some time in her life. Women also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and dysthymia.
Why are women so disproportionately affected? Many theories have been advanced to explain this difference. Some experts (and myself) believe that depression is underreported in men. But of course there certainly other, more complex reasons for womenâ€™s greater vulnerability to depression.
Before I close out this part of our focus. Just let me close by explaining why I chose such an unpleasant topic this week. Let’s admit it – emotions can be hard to talk about for everyone. The best I can convey is because it [depression] is real, depression is very real. I have seen the effects on many folks close to me. I’ve seen it manifest it self through drug abuse, alcohol abuse, food addiction and if I can keep it real here…even sexual addiction. And as much as I hate to admit it…well refer back to part I for my disclaimer.
Some people can find it “uncomfortable” to be around a person who is upset. It embarrasses them because they don’t know what to say, or do, or how to help. It can even be hard to hear or accept “I Love You” for some people and they barely acknowledge you have said it. Lots of us are just not emotionally confident and even our own feelings make us sometime feel uncomfortable.
So how are we going to react to or help a son or daughter, sibling, or parent (or ourselves) with depression…? Simple actually, very simple. Don’t be embarrassed, …”GET HELP”.
Don’t die of embarrassment, guilt or shame. Listen, biology isn’t personal. Biology isn’t our fault. Our biochemistry isn’t a character flaw or personal weakness.
There is no shame in having diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s ALS, EMS, MS, Alzheimer’s, appendicitis, or being hit by car !!
As passengers here on the train we must learn this, know this & believe this:
Depression is truly an innocent, shameless, blameless, physical disorder that makes you believe that something is wrong with YOU instead of your biochemistry. It is not a mystery anymore. When I was a child growing up we didn’t even utter the word. Most men I know just drank the pain away. It isn’t your fault. It could simply just be a physical disorder, imbalance or deficiency.
The more we know and learn about our own biochemistry, the more often we will be able to see ourselves as separate from ourselves a split second at a time. Think about it…
All Aboard! The LiFeTrain!
July 23, 2014
Let’s head on back to the Doctor’s office, Dr. Diedra Hayman for another portion of the Doc’s wisdom. Today we look at what are some of the hindrances to us’ins relating in a more intimate way. I really enjoy’d this particular session and my allergies (wink, wink) almost started flaring up as the Doc was bringing back some of my own stuff. But hey, I am the Ultimate MACHO MAIN and that moment passed REAL QUICK; I recognized her tricks!
Note to self, I must say, she is good at getting one to open up…
CHUCKIE: What issues can cause one to struggle in the area of intimacy with the opposite sex?
Dr.Dee: Gosh Chuckie, there are so many issues that can cause problems with intimacy in general, as well as intimacy with the opposite sex, in particular. I think you did something on that issue a few months ago, and several people, including yourself, came up with some very good reasons why people struggle in this area. If you pop that in a search engine, you will find another hundred or so reasons. But the big ones seem to be related to inability to trust, mental health issues including active addictions, failure to cultivate intimacy (which can be an issue of priority), childhood issues, cultural influences (including gender roles and stereotypes) and negative past experiences.
CHUCKIE: Is it more prevalent in one sex?
Dr.Dee: I suspect its more recognizable in men than in women. Women generally are trained from babyhood, to talk, to share their emotions, to get close. Men, in general, are taught that the macho thing to do is swat someone on the butt, suck it up, and keep your business to yourself. And if they do share, its the bare minimum, whereas women want to go into all the gory details of whatever. The other issue is that men generally are more likely to feel vulnerable, which is what intimacy requires, by the way, and men just don’t care for that feeling of vulnerability.
CHUCKIE: What types of childhood issues could cause such barriers?
Dr.Dee: Well, how a person attached or failed to attach to a parent or caregiver can set one up for intimacy problems. If you grow up in a household where you could not trust the world (ie your caregiver) to meet your needs, it becomes very difficult to trust that people “out there” will meet your needs. Since the ability to trust is one of the necessary elements to intimacy, people who never learn to trust never learn to become intimate emotionally. Also, if a person grows up in an abusive household, or being abused by people they are supposed to be able to count on, intimacy becomes very risky. Its simply too dangerous to share too much of themselves, because often that information was used against the person to perpetuate the abuse. Low self-esteem can also pose a barrier to intimacy, and this is usually something that develops during childhood. If we never learn to love ourselves, its difficult to believe someone else will.
CHUCKIE: Have you found that divorce can lend greatly to this issue?
Dr Dee: That really depends on the person. Certainly, a divorce can cause problems with intimacy, but generally its safe to say that the problems that caused teh divorce are more likely responsible than the actual divorce itself. Some people are more resilient than others. They are able to understand within themselves that whatever happened in that marriage was something unique to that marriage, and it doesnt necessarily mean that the next partner will be the same. Others simply cannot bring themselves to separate the past from the present and future, and their damaged ability to trust will give them trouble with intimacy for years to come.
CHUCKIE: Should one seek help?
Dr Dee: Certainly one should seek help if they realize that they do in fact have trouble establishing intimate relationships. Problem is, many people who do have trouble, tend to believe its the other person! In fact, in many cases, people who have problems with intimacy, tend to be drawn to people who are emotionally unavailable. In other words, they tend to be drawn to people with whom they will NOT have to actually become intimate, while at the same time claiming to be seeking intimacy from that person. If the other person were to actually become emotionally available, then the seeker would probably turn around and find a reason why they cant be in that relationship. Its just becoming too close for comfort!
CHUCKIE: Doc, I came up with a Chuckism as I am so apt to do. I call it emotional impotency. For example, can a person be hurt by a spouse, lover, or church to the point of becoming emotionally impotent? One may want to love and be loved, or be active in the church, but due to catastrophic experiences, have trouble connecting?
Dr Dee: Absolutely. That really gets us into how people sometimes respond to traumatic events. If someone we trust hurts us deeply, damaging our ability to trust, sometimes, people are traumatized by that event. One of the behaviors associated with post trauma response is emotional numbing. We just don’t feel anymore. Another behavior associated with post trauma response is avoidance of anything that reminds us of the traumatic event…so we avoid relationships. We avoid connecting with others. We pretend to get involved, but we hold ourselves back emotionally. We become, as you say, emotionally impotent. Now another thing that can happen after deep hurt, is, you guessed it, depression and grief. If you remember, one of the symptoms of depression is lack of interest in things you used to enjoy…such as sex and close relationships…and also social withdrawal. You simply don’t want to be around folks. Or if you have no choice, or you are keeping up the front, you simply don’t get too close. You keep it all on the surface.
CHUCKIE: Well, we need to wrap this one up. Is there anything you want to add?
Dr Dee: Yes, emotional intimacy rests on emotional health. That means taking time to discover and address your own emotional needs, even if it means getting in to a therapist or pastor. Emotional intimacy also requires a good bit of courage and a positive attitude. It takes courage to allow yourself to become vulnerable to another human being, especially since we have all been hurt by someone at some time somewhere. And we do tend to draw the energy we send out. If we expect betrayal, we tend to draw people who give us what we are looking for. If we expect emotional distance, we tend to draw people who are emotionally unavailable.
CHUCKIE: Well Doc, this session is in the can. Thanks for stopping by the Train [again]. Is there anything you’d like to close with, is there anything else you’d like to leave us with today?
Dr.Dee: Well, yes there is as a matter of fact. Given that my practice is founded in Christianity, I’d like to leave our passengers with a few scriptures from the Bible:
…and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it…Gen.2:2-3
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord…Ex. 20:11
…the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath. Luke 6:5, Mark 2:28
And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 18:4
Go fellow passengers…and rest in God’s Peace!
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
July 22, 2014
Hey passengers, in support of mental awareness week (with an emphasis on anxiety) I decided we should visit the good Doc (Doctor Diedra Hayman Ph.D) again to make sure we have a firm understanding of the A word:
Regular passengers here on the LifeTrain know that we often visit with one of my Psych Doctor friends to discuss issues of the mind, back in the medical car of the LifeTrain. I sat down awhile back with Doctor Diedra Hayman to discuss anxiety disorders. With all the stresses of today’s world I thought it might be helpful to periodically look at how we could manage this type of condition or perhaps offer help to a friend or family member who might be…a tad worried over things. So without further a due, lets knock on the good doc’s door and see what we can find out. But first, let’s set the music for the background read:
Chuckie: Hey Doc Doc! Before we get started with today’s topic, tell us, whats going on in your world…how are you?
Dr.Dee: Well, life is moving quickly. I am just about to send the puppy I’m fostering to her forever home, so hopefully my life will get back to normal soon. I am SO glad my kids are past the diapers and 2am feedings, stage. Nursing puppies takes you right back to those days!
Chuckie: Doc, today let’s talk about Anxiety. Just what is Anxiety disorder?
Dr.Dee: Well, an anxiety disorder is really when we take worrying, and raise it to the level of art! lol! Everyone experiences anxiety. Its that feeling of nervousness, or worrying a bit about something that is new, something that is old and bothersome, something that is out of the ordinary for our lives. But when we worry and stress to the point where it interferes with our daily lives…we cant sleep, we cant eat normally, we are having bad dreams or nightmares, we are worrying about any and everything, we dont want to go outside our homes, we panic…then it becomes disorder.
Chuckie: Is this your area of expertise?
Dr.Dee: As a generalist, I do have some experience working with anxiety. After major depression, it is probably one of the most common mental disorders.
Chuckie: As I understand it there are types of anxiety disorder, correct?
Dr.Dee: Yes, there is an anxiety disorder for every day of the week! Not really, but there are several anxiety-based disorders. Interested readers can do a google search for the details, but briefly, there is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia, Phobias, Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Tic Disorder, and Dissociative Disorders, Somato form Disorders, Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. I may have missed a couple others, but those are the most common.
Chuckie: How do you treat anxiety disorders?
Dr.Dee: There are a variety of techniques for treating anxiety disorder. Systematic Desensitization is where a person is taught relaxation techniques, and then gradually exposed to the thing that causes them stress, while being asked to practice the relaxation. This can be done either through images created in the mind, or else, “in vitro”, or live, with an actual example of the anxiety provoking situation. Many cognitive-behavioral approaches are effective as well, and they tend to vary according to the type of anxiety. But essentially they teach the client to become aware of their thoughts, and then rather than accepting their thinking about an issue face value, they learn to question the validity of their thinking, and to replace faulty thoughts with more reasonable and helpful ones. I mentioned relaxation techniques as part of Systematic Desensitization, but those techniques alone can be taught as an effective means of coping with anxiety. Biofeedback is another means of treating anxiety. Here, the person is taught, through the use of a machine that monitors heart rate and blood pressure, to reduce the physical response to anxiety by slowing the heart rate and lowering the blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are very important. Often we are living in such a way, and at such a pace, that we may be unwittingly contributing to our own anxiety. And of course, there is medication management. There are a variety of medications available for the treatment of various anxiety disorders.
Chuckie: How do I know if the medication is working?
Dr.Dee: If there is significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, and the side effects are not intolerable, then you can assume the medication is having some impact. Its important to be alert to the medications, though. In the case of anxiety, some of the medications are actually addictive, such as the benzodiazepines (Klonipin, Xanax). If you dont want to risk addiction and withdrawal, request something other than a benzo, if at all possible. Some antidepressants are effective against anxiety symptoms, at different doses.
Chuckie: Any parting thoughts to leave us with on this subject?
Dr.Dee: Yes, anxiety can be a crippling disorder. It can make it difficult to impossible to get a job, keep a job, or even leave the house, for some people. Often, people become anxious because they attribute all kinds of faulty meanings to events that occur in their lives. One of the most effective treatments I know of for anxiety is trust in God. Knowing that ultimately, God is in control, makes it possible to manage even the most distressing anxiety, and even reducing it to zero. I encourage all who desire, to seek a knowledge of God, and to rely on Him for the solution to our deepest worries. God says “casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”
Chuckie: Do you think we’ll ever get our own syndicated show?
Dr. Dee: Uhhh…no, Chuckie, I work on the “brief therapy” model. You are almost out of sessions for this treatment episode!
July 21, 2014
Merry Monday, All ABoard for another ride on the train! Passengers, we all know that everyone worries sometimes. Everyone gets scared, except me…(LOL!)…well maybe every once in awhile. But, I’m working on it. And you should as well. Kick it (Today’s wine with the meal…the song):
I’m not saying that worry is an illness, it’s normal, even healthy, responses to threatening situations. But if you feel extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or if you repeatedly feel panicky, consider seeking medical advice. Anxiety takes many forms. It can make you so uneasy around people that you isolate yourself, skirting social gatherings and passing up potential friendships. It can fill you with such obsessive thoughts or inexplicable dread of ordinary activities that you cannot work. Anxiety disorders can be mild, moderate, or severe, but overcoming anxiety generally takes more than just “facing your fears.” Many people need help in dealing with these problems.
But getting help has always been easier said than done. As with many mental health issues, there has long been a stigma surrounding anxiety. People are ashamed to admit to phobias and persistent worries, which seem like signs of weakness. The shame, combined with the tendency of people with anxiety to avoid others, is perhaps the biggest obstacle to relief and recovery. Without treatment, many individuals become more fearful and isolated. In extreme cases, they are so imprisoned by their anxiety that they are unable to leave home.
Sigmund Freud regarded anxiety as the result of inner emotional conflict or external danger. While these factors often contribute to anxiety, scientists now know that anxiety disorders are biologically based illnesses. Indeed, the last 30 years have transformed our understanding of anxiety. Sophisticated brain imaging equipment has made it possible to trace the neural pathways of fear and anxiety. In the process, scientists have discovered certain abnormalities in the brains of anxiety sufferers. Research also suggests that genes may contribute to these abnormalities. While there are still more questions than answers, the growing knowledge about anxiety has already led to safer, more effective treatments.
Anxiety disorders, which include panic attacks and phobias, are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting about 19 million American adults and millions of children. For every individual with an anxiety disorder, many more are affected by it, including spouses, children, other relatives, friends, and employers.
On the other hand, never before have there been so many therapies to help control anxiety and preserve the relationships that can be undone by it. Medications can, in many cases, reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms. Several types of therapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, also help control anxiety by teaching people to adopt more positive thought and behavior patterns. Some medications now being developed may even help prevent anxiety disorders in people who are genetically predisposed to them.
So this week…be anxious for noting…help is at hand! Hop aboard the LifeTrain all this week as I share help and information on dealing with Anxiety.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
All Aboard, The LifeTrain!
July 14, 2014
All Aboard! Merry Monday!
As you board the LifeTrain I give you your weekly business card, it reads:
“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang Tzu
Back when one of my many nieces (Porche) was three years old (now 25) she was the most pleasant person I have ever hung out with. What I loved most about her was that she didn’t care how I looked, what I was driving, etc. she just loved her Uncle Chuckie. If you have children or are around children, you know exactly what I am talking about. Anyway, her mother was frequently on-call (as a doctor). Sometimes when she was called into work (all hours of the night), in a pinch she would call me to baby-sit her daughter. She was a single mom.
Question: As I spent time with Porche I often wondered, could it be that instead of only teaching our children the lessons of life perhaps we should let them teach us the lessons of happiness?
Since I didn’t have kids and it didn’t seem to be in the cards for me… time with her was very important. Most of our time was spent with my observing and playing. It got me thinking about her abundant joy and how I should take these lessons to heart.
Here is what Porche taught me about the secrets to happiness:
Don’t think about playing; just play.
My niece didn’t think about playing or how to play, she just played. Just like a blade of grass doesn’t intend to grow, it just grows. But we get so caught up in thinking about doing something that we think that contemplation is action, but it couldn’t be farther from it.
Are you practicing making a change to your life so much that you forgot to make the change happen? One of my mottoes is, “Ready, fire, aim,” because if I think about it too long, I will talk myself out of taking action.
Don’t think about playing, just play.
Stop and listen to the birds.
One of my niece’s favorite things was to listen to the birds in the morning. When was the last time you listened to the birds at dawn? When was the last time you smelled a blooming flower? When was the last time you took over an hour to eat a meal, savoring each bite?
This is mindfulness and it is so good for creating happiness. Part of mindfulness is practicing gratitude. It’s hard to be grateful if you don’t stop and notice all the good things in your day. Stop and listen to the birds.
Explore above, below, and everything underneath.
Like most children, my niece was incredibly curious. Everything was new to her, so naturally it had to be explored. She had to explore every aspect of something new, no matter if it was chalk, the sound a bell made, or what ice cream tasted like. Her entire day was one big exploration of life.
As an adult I get set in my ways; don’t you? We are so content in our ways we forget about new ideas, new perspectives, and new ways of doing things.
When was the last time you took a new route to work, tried a different restaurant, jumped in a pool, or danced? Happiness is in the joy of the moment, and there is no greater way to create joyful moments than to explore new things. Explore above, below, and under everything.
Bath time is a cause for major celebration.
For my niece there was no greater activity than taking a bath. Total happiness ensued as she got placed in her tub. Everything about the bath was full of joy—the water, the splashing, making bubbles, and time with her uncle.
When was the last time you reveled in something like a bath or even a hot shower? Instead, we get in to get clean and spend the whole time rushing through to-do lists in our heads. Use your bath or shower to cleanse your thoughts and enjoy the experience. Bath time is cause for celebration.
If it’s funny, silly, or exciting, then laugh.
I read that a child laughs an average of forty times per day. An adult laughs an average of fifteen times per day. If something is funny, silly, or exciting, then my niece was laughing. and thus we were laughing. Some are small giggles and some are deep belly laughs. Both are full of present happiness and joy.
There is so much to laugh about. Don’t worry about looking silly or being the one with the loud laugh. Laughter is contagious and immediately changes your mood. If it’s funny, silly, or exciting, then laugh.
A side note, trust me…if you ever hang with your conductor…”you gonna laugh”. Ask some of your fellow passenger who often call me: STU-PID! My goal is to make soda shoot from your nose.
Above all else what my niece taught me about happiness was to be present and enjoy the beauty of life. There is much to be grateful for and enjoy.
Instead, like many, I can easily get wrapped up in deadlines, feeling bad about my body, relationship drama, or fear of failure. All of these are self-created.
If I really stop and just notice the world around me in that moment, I see trees and hear birds. I enjoy the sunrise and sitting with friends. There is no anxiety without anticipation. And you cannot anticipate the present moment; you can only be in it.
Have a great week…
ALL ABOARD!!! The LifeTrain!!!
June 16, 2014
Merry Monday fellow passengers! All Aboard!!! Kick the music, enjoy the ride!
As you board the train I give you your daily business card. It simply reads:
THE TWO WOLVES…WHICH ONE WILL YOU FEED THIS WEEK?
One evening a grand-father sat talking to his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. “One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. “The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The Grand-father simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Passengers, as you roll down the tracks this week…remember, feed the right wolf…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
June 9, 2014
All Aboard! As you board the train I hand you a black and white business card which reads:
“Our interactions with one another reflect a dance between love and fear.” ~Ram Dass
In my personal experience, I’ve learned that it is sometimes easier to dance this journey of life solo rather than in partnership. Many of us have experienced life both in relationships and outside of them.
Both are just as sweet… Yes, it’s true…
And thus we begin this week’s journey down the [Life] tracks…KICK IT! (When I say kick it, I mean the music that I felt appropriate for this post – All ABOARD!)
I’d like to offer up some lessons I have learned in my dance in and out of relationships:
1. They are not meant to last forever.
Our society seems to put a lot of pressure on the idea that things will last forever. But the truth is, everything is impermanent.
After a recent break-up, I found myself feeling as though I had failed the relationship. Then I stepped outside of my conditioned thinking and discovered that love and failure do not reside together.
For when you have loved, you have succeeded—every time.
It was Wayne Dyer that introduced me to the rather practical concept that “not every relationship is meant to last forever.” What a big burden off my back! Of all the souls hanging out on this planet, it seems to make sense that we might have more than one soul mate floating around.
Relationships can be our greatest teachers; it is often through them that we discover the most about ourselves. In relationships, we are provided with an opportunity to look into a mirror, revealing what we need to work on as individuals, in order to be the best version of ourselves.
Each relationship will run its course, some a few weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime. This is the unknown that we all leap into.
2. Attachment is often the cause of suffering.
We sometimes cling to people in an attempt to hold them closer, but this often pushes them further away.
The Path To Healing
In love there is nothing to grasp; it is so expansive that trying to capture it is like trying to capture water with a net. When we attempt to control where a relationship is going, we become disconnected with the sweetness of the moment.
Ram Dass shared one of the most exquisite paradoxes: “As soon as you can give it all up, you can have it all.”
It is silly to think that we can own someone’s love, but many of us have tried to do it.
I often find myself fantasizing about how my future will unfold with a new partner, but it is in that moment when I fall out of the present.
We have the opportunity to surrender to the natural flow of relationships, letting go of our proposed outcomes and taking ourselves out of the driver seat.
This means being fully present in moments of intense love, conflict, uncertainty, vulnerability, and joy.
3. Being vs. doing.
“CLICK” the image for the message…
In the beginning of relationships, we strive to show up as our best selves, hoping to impress the other person and to receive their love in return. In most cases, we are focused on doing simply because we want to make an outstanding impression on the person we fancy.
But if you’re anything like me, being and doing are extremely hard to keep up at the same time.
In relationships there is work, but there isn’t much we have to actively do. In fact, doing can often be associated with attempting to control a situation.
The place where we should hang out is in the being. Being allows us to show up as our authentic selves. When we show up as humans “being”, something magical happens. Being is our natural state. Love thrives in this space.
4. Allow for change.
Don’t be attached to any particular way your partner is showing up each day. Change is inevitable. As “humans being”, we are constantly growing and discovering new passions and experiences.
For example, next week your partner might wake up with the realization that they want to leave their job as a lawyer and become a yoga instructor. How will you respond?
Love is the GREATEST dance in life…
The news might be shocking and somewhat unusual, but change happens. The question is, can you allow space for that? I learned this lesson the hard way. I’m confessing in hopes that you won’t (make the same mistake).
Oftentimes it is harder to embrace change within others than it is to accept within ourselves. If you are anything like me, consistency is super important; however, completely unrealistic. Someone once told me “you are consistent with your inconsistency.” I initially took this as an insult, but now I see it as a practical strength. It shows movement and willingness to change.
I’m not saying my post today is a panacea or right for everyone but, I do know this… Love is the greatest dance in life. Surrender to each step, hold your partner close to your heart, but don’t grasp. If we can allow ourselves to enter into partnerships with this awareness, it may dramatically shift the way we see and experience relationships and love…
And remember everything is impermanent except the Love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Son of God. Enjoy the ride Passengers…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
June 6, 2014
This weekend I plan to look out on life with amazement, not shock. I hope you will join me. Let’s celebrate the variety, the diversity, the manner of every person, the beauty amidst the drudgery,of last week. The contrasts, the opportunities, the heroism in the lives of ordinary people, our gifts, our talents, our friends – even just one friend – is all awesome. Let us live in awe, and entertain wonder, and we will be knocking on the door of true love. Don’t kill it (that love) with cynicism or criticism, don’t sabotage our lives with moaning and complaining. This week, let’s open the eyes in our heads and the eye in our intellect and choose to see the stunning, awesome, diverse beauty of life happening around us right now. Let’s meet it with our hearts and we will enrich and be enriched in one single moment.
A friend told me recently, about the importance of properly watering plants and people we love in our lives to realize growth. Join me in applying that water this weekend and watch things grow into AWESOME!
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!