Day 53 of being “grounded” – 4/27/2020 Lessons Solidified Part Three- Structuring Time

Time Structure

In Part One, of this 4 part series, I wrote about Scarcity. In Part Two, the Three Basic Human Hungers, one of which is a hunger for Structure.

In this post, I want to talk about how we all might be structuring our time during our various forms of isolation and distance from others.

I searched other people’s definitions of this hunger and came across a beautifully written article about Eric Berne’s original theory of Time Structure. In this article, Chris Crouch talks about these concepts in a way that connects so well to what I previously wrote.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did. 

I’ll be interested to know how you might apply some of this theory to whatever your current circumstances are.

(Any difference in text color in his article is my attempt at highlighting his words, either referring back to Part One or Part Two, or so that you might consider it in relation to yourself. I have also made a few additional comments in this same Bold Blue.)

 

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https://joyfullyparticipating.com/time-structuring/

Have you ever thought much about the various options for spending or structuring your time? Psychiatrist Eric Berne thought about it and came up with the following six options:

  1. Withdrawal
  2. Rituals
  3. Pastimes
  4. Activities
  5. Games
  6. Intimacy

From Berne’s point of view, this was important because the different ways of spending time result in different outcomes in terms of getting and giving strokes. And strokes are extremely important when it comes to mental health. Before I continue, perhaps a few comments on strokes are in order.

A stroke, in this context, is any act implying recognition of another person’s presence. Human-to-human stroking is the fundamental unit of the social interaction process. If you and I encounter each other and I say “hello” to you and you say “hello” to me, that is a two-stroke transaction. Something Berne calls recognition hunger is programmed into the human psyche. We need strokes to survive, prosper and satisfy recognition hunger. Just as food satisfies physical hunger and keeps us physically healthy, strokes satisfy recognition hunger and keep us mentally healthy. For example, one of the worst punishments you can inflict on a person is to put them in solitary confinement, depriving them of any opportunities for strokes. People usually experience mental breakdowns in these circumstances.

In terms of strokes, here’s how the different ways of structuring time stack up. They are listed roughly in order of how well they satisfy recognition hunger:

Withdrawal – This is when a person, for whatever reason, makes the decision not to interact with people and eliminates any chance of getting strokes from others. We all need brief periods of withdrawal (especially introverts), but for most people, doing this over a long period of time is not a good choice in terms of their ongoing mental health.

I’m wondering how many people are experiencing “sheltering at home”  like Berne’s definition of “withdrawal”…

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James, “working” from home, but look closely. He’s not as lonely as he seems.

 

 

Rituals – This is a safe form of social behavior. Rituals are highly predictable (church services, weddings, funerals, board meetings, your morning walk or Starbucks stop, etc.). With rituals, people can remain somewhat withdrawn from each other and still get strokes.

I don’t know how it is where you live but right now, all “rituals” are cancelled in my town…no gatherings of any kind…leaving many without the solace and comfort of knowing they are not alone…

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Rick schmoozing at his Photography Show opening

 

Activities – Activities allow us to structure our time and get strokes in productive and socially acceptable ways. Work is one of the most common forms of this kind of time structuring.

Many of us have changed how we work daily in dramatic ways during the Pandemic. Working from home for many has been a creative solution, and there can still be strokes, but in a different and limited form.

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unflappable Josh always looks this happy!

 

Pastimes – Semi-ritualistic discussions about superficial topics such as the weather, sports, current events, family, hometown, or other commonplace topics. This is a form of social probing to help decide whether to broaden, continue, or terminate the relationship. Networking events are often based on the pastime format of structuring time.

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Neighbor ladies making Apple Pan Betty and gabbing up a storm 😋

Another form of structuring time sadly, but officially cancelled in our area for the foreseeable future…

Games – Games involve interacting with a surface meaning and a hidden meaning and involve a payoff (usually a good or bad feeling). For example, person A might feel superior/good by making Person B feel inferior/bad. Strokes are so important that in the absence of positive (good feeling) strokes, people will pursue negative strokes when seeking recognition. In terms of time structuring, the main thing to understand is that games, although unproductive and at times quite frustrating, offer significant opportunities for getting and giving strokes. The majority of the time in most people’s social life involves playing games. I may elaborate on games in a future post since they are so much a part of the human experience.

Classic, a universally recognizable game!

 

Intimacy – Intimacy occurs when you develop a relationship with another person based on honesty, openness, and mutual respect. Intimacy, although rare, is the best source for meaningful, high-quality strokes.

It is difficult to develop or engage in existing intimacy when ALL of our senses (and learning styles) cannot be involved. Even with all our miraculous technology, it’s hard to read body language or hear voice nuances, or see facial expressions fully on SKYPE or Zoom. We each need to be aware of our most used senses, and look for alternatives when those are not available for access. Example: I won’t get what I need, or be able to fully give what I have on just a phone call. I am not “auditory” enough to make the best use of that. I am an extremely visual and tactile person. So adding the screen aspect current equipment provides is helpful to me in an intimate conversation.

But it does not address the tactile deficit we are all experiencing right now. SO far at least, even Microsoft has not come up with a way to “hug” online!

According to Bandler and Grinder, there are four modalities of walking through the world: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Tactile. I believe we each have a favorite, but one or more of these may be unavailable right now. To compensate (just as with a learning disability) time to highlight (beef up) the others, and develop some work-arounds.

In terms of joyfully and productively participating in life, achieving intimacy with a least a few people (or even one person) is a great strategy. Nurture relationships that allow you to be open, honest, and authentic with another human. Hopefully, this is the kind of relationship you have with your life partner and a few close friends. As a friend of mine once told me, “a true friend is someone who knows you – and still likes you.”

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Me and my best friend of almost 50 years!

 

My main message today: Even if you only experience short periods of intimacy with another person, value and nurture this kind of relationship above all others. They offer the best chance for high-quality strokes and are important to your ongoing happiness and mental health.

Can you identify your intimate relationships (most people have very few – unfortunately, some have none)? What are you doing to nurture them?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I really wonder what Eric Berne would say about this current Covid 19 state of affairs. 

Forced Isolation is very different than the occasional solitude we all require for good mental and emotional health. 

Rituals, Pastimes and Activities can be managed even during Social Distancing, and sheltering at home.

Games…well, let’s just all take a break from those during these life and death times, shall we?

What is a bit more difficult, and requires some serious creativity, is achieving, and maintaining true intimacy during a time when the behaviors we are most familiar with to express deep and honest connection, are limited.

Here’s my solution and suggestion: When connecting with your closest people, use all the OTHER learning styles, and engage all of your available senses. 

Examples: 

Maybe for you, it would be watching (or listening to) one of the amazing videos all over the net these days created by people making music together while in their own living rooms. But do this WITH someone else. Do it together while on SKYPE or ZOOM, etc.

If it’s someone you are really close to, try listening to a meaningful song, while looking into each others screen eyes. Powerful!

James has been on the other side of the state for weeks now but most nights, we will at least share a TV show on Netflix or Prime. We synchronize, pushing play so that we are seeing it at exactly the same time, sometimes texting the comments we might be making if we were watching together in person.

What are some ways you can be close to those you love even when you can’t touch each?

To finish, here is a free training that could be helpful right now.

https://www.humanitysteam.org/the-keys-to-healing-trauma/?mc_cid=054eea5df3&mc_eid=9f7e69f7cb&cookieUUID=f64854c5-ace7-4306-9c62-d296a6ae85b4

And one of my favorite music videos. Watch it with a friend online, and participate by moving or singing or dancing together!!

 

Thanks for reading, and as always, I’d love your reactions! (in comments!!)

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SongLyricSunday-theme Season 12/23/18

HUH??? ChosenPerspectives here…Somehow my post got posted with someone else’s post mixed in it. I don’t know how that happened??? (Helen???) If you know how please inform.

This is mine:

I got completely side-tracked with this theme. I can see many great songs have been shared since yesterday, including the very first one I thought of. I always like to go with that first one because it’s often a real old-timer, and I fantasize I am sharing my old music with younger generations.

But something strange happened as I was preparing to post it.

Disclaimer: I rarely post anything political or controversial, unless it’s really important to me, and what I am about to say has nothing with the other people who also chose the same song I thought of. It also has nothing to do with the group doing this song. (The Zombies were brilliant and I’ve included a couple more of their songs at the bottom.)

It’s just that I was shocked and dismayed at the video that came with the song.

At first, I was completely embarrassed, like somehow a whole generation’s blind spots about sexuality were my fault.

Don’t get me wrong. I was THERE! And I remember all of this going on around me. It was the SIXTIES.

But this video shows only one aspect of a powerful movement, the sexual revolution, not all of it.

Now that I’ve had some time, I have been able to shift my perspective, and see that I did not choose literally one of the most demeaning-to-women, music videos I’ve ever seen…(talk about objectifying, harassing, unwanted touching and the whole game of it all).

But rather this video shows just how far we have come since 1968.

So here is my choice for our theme, Season.

Time of the Season byThe Zombies
It’s the time of the season
When love runs high
And this time, give it to me easy
And let me try with pleasured hands
To take you in the sun to (promised lands)
To show you every one
It’s the time of the season for loving
What’s your name?
Who’s your daddy?
(He rich) Is he rich like me?
Has he taken, any time (any time)
(To show) to show you what you need to live
Tell it to me slowly (tell me what)
I really want to know
It’s the time of the season for loving
What’s your name?
Who’s your daddy?
(He rich) Is he rich like me?
Has he taken, any time (any time)
(To show) to show you what you need to live
Tell it to me slowly (tell me what)
I really want to know
It’s the time of the season for loving
Songwriters: Rod Argent
Time of the Season lyrics © Marquis Songs Usa

 

 

Thanks for allowing me to share my personal perspective. Please, feel completely free to take it or leave it.

 

 

 

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Nothing below this is mine?!?

 

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26 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 12/23/18”

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  18. I almost forgot today was Sunday because I have been trying to get my daughters room finished for Christmas, it being her Christmas gift and all. But I did remember, and I had no idea what to post until I heard a song on a Christmas play list this morning. It is a twist on the twelve days of Christmas, and by the way I loathe that song, but this one was actually worth listening to all the way, so here is the Twelve Days Of Christmas Straight No Chaser.
    Arranged by Ken Burgomaster

    On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
    A partridge in a pear tree.
    On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
    Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.
    On the fourth day of Christ
    On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five golden rings
    Four calling birds, three french hens,
    Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree
    On the ninth day of Christmas, (on the eighth day of Christmas)
    My true love gave to me (my true love gave to me)
    Nine ladies dancing (eight maids a milking)
    Eight ladies dancing (seven maids a milking)
    Seven ladies dancing (six maids a milking)
    Six ladies dancing (five)
    Better not shout, you better not cry,
    You better not in a pear tree
    On the ninth, no!
    On the eighth, come on!
    On the seventh day of Christmas (deck the halls)
    My true love gave to me (with boughs of holly)
    Seven swans a swimming (here we come a wassailing)
    Six geese a laying (among the leaves so)
    Five golden rings (Fa-la-la-la-la)
    Four calling birds
    Three french hens
    Two turtle doves (here we come a wassailing)
    The boar’s head in hand bear I (among the leaves so green)
    Bedeck’d with bays
    And partridge in a pear tree
    On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
    Eleven pipers piping (ding)
    Ten lords a leaping (dong)
    Nine ladies dancing (ding)
    Eight maids a milking (dong)
    Seven swans a swimming (ding)
    Six geese a laying (dong)
    Five golden rings
    Four calling birds
    Three french hens
    Two turtle doves
    And Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!
    On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
    I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay,
    And when it’s dry and ready, my dreidel I shall play
    Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel (hey, 12 days of Christmas)
    (what? 8 days of Hanukkah. It’s a Christmas medley)
    On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
    Do do do do doot do (do de do de do de do de do de)
    Do do do do doot do (do de do de do de do de do de)
    On the twelfth day my true love gave to me
    Twelve drummers drumming like Olympus above the Serengeti
    Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba oh
    Eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping (Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba oh)
    Nine ladies dancing they were dancing for me
    Eight maids a milking they were milking just for me
    I had Christmas down in Africa
    I had Christmas down in Africa
    I had Christmas down in Africa (five golden rings)
    I had Christmas down in Africa (five golden rings)
    I had Christmas down in Africa (five golden rings)
    Couldn’t take the halls into the things we never had
    Do do do do doot do (do de do de do de do de do de)
    Do do do do doot do (do de do de do de do de do de)
    Partridge in a big pear tree (do de do de do de do de do de)
    Partridge in a big pear tree

    Liked by 3 people

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 12/23/18

SongLyricsSunday 7-1-18 Theme “Game”

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 7/1/18

Well, this word conjures up too many responses…songs with the word “game” in the title or lyrics but I just cannot post a song by Foreigner! It’s too easy.

I have been a Psychotherapist (that’s one word, not two or three) in private practice for 40 some years now. My original education and training was in Transactional Analysis, a pop psych theory made popular by Eric Byrne in his best selling book Games People Play

Games in this context are defined as Berne defined games as: “an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined,predictable outcome. Descriptively, it is a recurring set of transactions… with a concealed motivation… or gimmick.”  www.ericberne.com/games-people-play/

Given this definition, I’d wager that MOST songs are about “games”, in one way or another. In my music life, as far back as 1965, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, “The Game of Love”, (another one I just cannot post!), songs have been about one game or another.

So I picked two of my favorite songs, both about a bigger picture kind of Game.

One rings very true for my generation, not that it doesn’t apply to others, but we became so much more aware of this game. “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne.

And the other, more of a universal game currently being played by too many humans on our planet! “They’re not Here, They’re Not Coming” by Don Henley. (There is some sad irony in the timing of Henley’s song, released in July 2001….)

Both songs are great musically. Just don’t miss the message!

Running on Empty by Jackson Browne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdHg4QEmBvk

with lyrics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq25ZJwZJzU

Lyrics

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-oh-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned, into the road I’m on

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don’t know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that’ll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I’d love to stick around but I’m running behind
You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find
Running into the sun but I’m running behind

Songwriters: Jackson Browne

Running On Empty lyrics © Jackson Browne/Swallow Turn Music/Night Kitchen Music/Open Window Music

ArtistJackson Browne

AlbumRunning on Empty

Released1977

GenreSinger-songwriter

NominationsGrammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

And

They’re Not Here, They’re Not Coming by Don Henley

https://www.lumsvids.com/vid/006-they-re-not-here-they-re-not-coming/

(Only video I could find of this song but it really plays like a trailer for X-Files…what a dark and violent TV Series….that I loved every minute of…)

https://genius.com/Don-henley-theyre-not-here-theyre-not-coming-lyrics

From the Arizona desert
To the Salisbury Plain
Lights on the horizon
Patterns on the grain
Anxious eyes turned upward
Clutching souvenirs
Carrying our highest hopes
And our darkest fears

They swear there was an accident
Back in ’47
Little man with a great big head
Splattered down from heaven
Government conspiracy
Cover-ups and lies
Hidden in the desert
Under endless skies

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No time for heroes, no place for good guys
No room for Rocky The Flying Squirrel

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
Turn your weary eyes back homeward
Stop your trembling, dry your tears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

Would they pile into the saucer
Find Orlando’s rat and hug it?
Go screaming through the universe
Just to get McNuggets?
Well, I don’t think so, I don’t think so
It’s much too dangerous, it’s much too strange
Here in a world that won’t give Oprah
No home on the range

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No authenticity, no sign of soul
The radio won’t play George and Merle

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
‘Til we put away our hatred
‘Til we lay aside our fears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my sister
They’re not here, they’re not coming

To this garden we were given
And always took for granted
It’s like my daddy told me
“You just bloom where you’re planted.”
Now you long to be delivered
From this world of pain and strife
That’s a sorry substitution
For a spiritual life

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No place for sentiment, no room for romance
Bring back the Duke of Earl

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
Turn your hopes back homeward
Hold your children, dry their tears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
‘Til we put away our hatred
And lay aside our fears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

 

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