Lens-Artists Challenge #115-Inspiration 9/23/2020

I am so lucky, so blessed, to be inspired, energized, and moved to gratitude by so little.

Oh it’s not that I don’t love witnessing grandeur. The Redwood Forests, Grand Canyon, the Mighty Mississippi, and a sunrise in Fiji, all moved me to tears.

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And it’s not that I always remember to look for inspiration in the really small or mundane things.

But when I need inspiration, It shows up for me in amazing ways….

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Like the sunset last night…first time I’d seen the smoke-hidden city and the Olympics in 10 days. Inspired me to keep holding on…

And these lovely, end of season flowers have been such a joy. I can only have flowers in my house in one location, the bathroom. My otherwise, well-behaved cats insist on dumping vases, just for fun, and the bathroom is off limits to them, because they also climb shower curtains!

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My junior high school boyfriend, and his son, paid me a visit a few weeks ago from clear across the U.S. We’ve stayed in touch all these years, which inspires me to value shared history, and to refuse any limiting definition of “friendship” .

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Spotting this lovely on my car inspired me to consider deeply, the hand-painted beauty of Nature!

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This, in my yard…

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And these at the local Farmer’s Market yesterday, inspired me to eat healthy, even though otherwise disgusting treats are extra tempting during this Covid Lockdown time!

Speaking of produce…this guy moved me to a huge Belly Laugh! At first I saw a large- nosed cyclops with a tail. But then I realized the tail was an arm…still on a big-nosed cyclops.

 

During our 8 or 9 days of Smoke-from-Hell, due to West and Northwest Coast fires, I had to be doubly sequestered…behind drawn shades, closed curtains, air purifiers blasting 24/7, and no daylight. So seeing the return of our usual beautiful blue skies was more than inspiring. It gave me the determination to hang on.

 

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This morning in my unused office-group therapy room, I spotted this plant. At first, I thought “tears”…but then realized it could mean “abundance” (of water).

This one, you may have to think about for a minute, but seeing the two things side by side inspired me to remember…everything is relative, and I can choose different perspectives on things as time passes. (Forgive my rare derogatory, political comment, but seriously, have you ever seen a more condescending smile???)

 

Seeing that last one, I am moved, energized and inspired to encourage everyone I cross paths with to VOTE!!!

 

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2020/09/19/lens-artists-challenge-115-inspiration/Du

Perspective-photo Challenge 7/25/2020 a fun story in pictures

I’ve written a lot of posts that contained embarrassing self-disclosures, but this one is a stretch, even for me.

First of all, I’m not clear who to credit for this challenge, but since perspective is one of my driving, life-force words, I’ve decided to just write and share photos anyway.

Here’s the story.

I have been photographing a tiny piece of mystery debris on my street for over a year. No idea why. Can’t really justify it except I spotted it, and became intrigued, and over the months, it evolved into a mild obsession.

I have thought at length about why in the world I would become so interested in this scrap of trash, and the only thing I can come up with is my Dad. It’s his fault really. He taught us very early on that boredom was a sin against Nature, and that if we used all of our senses, and just changed our perspectives, we could always find at least one miracle.

“Just look at the ground”, he would say. “It’s covered with magic!”

(I wrote about this in a story, with working title  The “Ruler” and the Torn Screen or One Square foot and posted it on on V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #40 “Things my Father said”)

https://wordpress.com/post/chosenperspectives.com/18412

I guess what grew from that particular Dad-Lesson was a life long habit of looking down at the ground, always in search of treasures! No surprise one of my favorite activities in life is Beach Combing. I have huge collections of rocks, shells and beach glass! I have even been known to collect tiny treasures right off the street, especially if it’s been too long since I’ve had a trip to the ocean.

I’m fairly easy to please.

I have photographed what I am walking on many times…

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Even modern day litter…

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So spotting this one piece of junk on my daily walk was not the surprise. It simply stood out. Unidentifiable, it caught my eye.

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The surprise was that I started looking for it every day. Every single day. I became more and more curious about why it never, ever moved. Its location was on a high-traffic part of the street. With all the cars, bikes and people passing over that very spot every day, it should have been run over…repeatedly.

So I decided to actually start tracking it…on purpose…and taking its picture…

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Uh oh, I had bonded with a fragment of litter.

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Seriously, and now, over a year later, and I’m even writing a Post about it.

But wait , as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s “the rest of the story”

Last week on my regular morning walk, I got to the top of my street, where my Scrap lives…and it was gone! GONE!

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I figured a car tire had finally knocked it off to the side, but after a long, elaborate roadside search (yes, a search) for my missing piece of rubbish, I had to accept it was over. My mystery remnant was truly missing.

 

In a world of uncertainty, a tiny, but predictable piece of my daily life, was gone. Sigh.

Believe me, the symbolism and the underlying explanations for this attachment are not lost on me. Been thinking about it all week. The pandemic. Being locked in my home, except for this daily walk, for 142 days. Reminders of my Dad, and wondering how he would have looked at today’s confusing, emotional, frightening new normal, ETC.!

I tried to find a replacement touchstone, something more permanent, and spotted this whale (or maybe it’s a country in Europe)…

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But when looking through photos for this post I discovered this formation, permanently embedded in the street, had been there all along.

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Anyway, this morning….I’m on my walk, approaching the former location of, you know who, (my reliable and familiar bit of trash), I decide maybe one more look around…

And there, well off the pavement, directly in a beam of early morning sunlight, I see this!

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I was disproportionately happy!!

And YES, of COURSE I brought it home with me, and put it in the cabinet with all the other treasures! It’s just not safe out there for such a vulnerable little guy.

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Yep, I’m glad I’m so easily entertained. Thanks Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘A good photograph is knowing where to stand’

Essay on Power (Warning: Political Content) 5/31/2020

(This post is dedicated to my beloved Warriors for Justice, who, of course, went down to Seattle to join in an important protest, or supported those who went by staying in contact all day. Many of the things in this post came from them, even during the chaos of the day.)

Unusual for me to be speaking out like this…I tend to steer clear of politics on my Blog (and actually in my life) but I am a 60’s Flower Child-Peacenik, currently living in the Seattle area so the last two nights of protesting the horrific death of George Floyd, have been rough.

Then seeing that too familiar evolution, from protesting into rioting, well, it all has me flashing back to my youth.

Even back then, during countess Vietnam war protests, and passionate civil rights work in the deep South, I rarely approached things politically. Instead, these were Spiritual events and times in my life.

I find the same is true for me now. Earlier in the week, when I heard the awful news story about George Floyd, the content of the video they showed, on TV and online, shocked and dismayed me. Somehow I selfishly related most closely to this one woman on the sidelines, screaming repeatedly, while she had to see that policeman commit that murder. Her panicked and desperate plea, rising above the crowd noise, was something like “He’s trying to talk to you. He’s trying to tell you something.”

I feel like I have been that woman my whole adult life…just trying to advocate…as loudly and as effectively as I possibly can. In a way, I’ve done it for my living. It is my life’s work.

Probably more than any other teacher, I have tried to live the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so this morning, I am spiritually crumpled…just crushed to have to see where we are right now, as a people. So much tragic, senseless, horrendous violence…

They are trying to tell us something.

THEY ARE TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING!!!

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I don’t however believe, like some, that all the work we all did back in the 1960’s was a waste, or was not successful. As the Dalai Lama says, “If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant”.

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I woke up this morning wondering if it was time to get out the poster board and paints, and find those old marching shoes? Or if it was time to think about how to pass on this baton I have held onto, mostly fiercely, for my whole adult life.

I’m still not sure but here’s how I am deciding.

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I pay very close attention to things that cross my path, no matter their form. If something is in my face, I believe I can learn from it. A song, a dream, a comment from a friend, an event, the squirrel on the bird feeder…again…anything can carry an important message. So when I woke up this morning with the movie (and book) Absolute Power, by David Baldacci on my mind, it stopped me…though it took some work to get at why. If you don’t know the story (spoiler alert) it is about who actually has absolute power over whom? The US President, over everyone? A black mailer over the President? Or a daughter over her father.

Huh? Yeah, that’s what I said too. What does this have to do with right now? What the heck is the lesson here?

But then I remembered my experience of the previous night.

Here’s how it went for me.

I am in our extremely remote Mountain Retreat, 300 miles from our home which is outside Seattle. I am alone here because James is gone, jamming with the guys tonight, some 50 minutes away from here. I know there are protests happening back in Seattle because several wonderful friends (the previously mentioned Warriors) are texting from the rally in downtown. I turn on the TV (we only get one live channel over here) to do my once-a-day check in on the virus, but am instead greeted with Breaking News interrupting the regular news programming.

Between the TV and my friends texting and sending live videos from Seattle, I now see the shit is hitting the fan all over the country. This is upsetting, and I no longer care about the stupid virus at all.

Then, interrupting the “Breaking News” about rioting, which has superseded the regular news, comes an Emergency Broadcast System Weather Warning, “crawling” across my screen, voice drowning out the riot newscaster’s.

I suddenly care a lot less about tear gas, rubber bullets and shots fired 292 miles away. I now have to gather up the cats, and prepare the house and cars for a huge thunder storm with 70 mile an hour winds, hail the size baseballs, oh, and probable TORNADOES, headed my way in a way shorter amount of time than it would take James to get home!

So the shift for me, of absolute power, went from one form of life and death, that is most likely to be present for the coming years, Covid 19 (unless we want to try drinking Lysol)

…to another, that will undoubtedly last at least until the election (“looting will lead to shooting” threatens our president?? “Our most vicious dogs will be sicced on protesters???”)

…and then finally, shifting once again to the most urgent absolute power of all…

Mother Nature.

No contest! Mother Nature (some might even call her God) wins hands down.

She’s just plain bigger and louder!

With her awesome weapons of hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, she wins every time!

So here’s what I’ve decided; I’m in too many high risk health categories to protest in a crowd these days, masks or not. I can’t even walk far enough to get in a good March but I am still with it enough to continue my spiritual journey. And I can still write my thoughts and beliefs and still look for things to inspire those younger (and healthier) than me.

I can pass on the baton but still wear this mantle for a while longer.

 

Here is some inspiration, and even ammunition, for the current battle for Power in our country.

Please listen and watch and do let me know if it is useful. I so want to be contributing!!

 

And an older, Jackson Browne, get-off-my-butt to fight song, that is still frighteningly true!!

 

All of our protesting in the 1960’s may not have made visible, permanent changes, that we get to actually see “in our lifetime”, but I would not trade a single minute of the deep, passion and purpose-filled, spiritual life I have been blessed to live.

And, with that wreath of flowers in my hair,  I still believe we will find our way…

 

 

PS Two more things about Seattle…1) you know you are there when the Police Force is riding their bikes, decked out in their shorts, and RIOT GEAR, and 2) the day after a riot you see this:

 

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Volunteers in Seattle, cleaning up after the riots the night before…

Spirit Lifters; Day 85 of being “grounded” 5/29/2020

To find the Spirit Lifter in this post may require some work.

Dig deep. You’ll see it.

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Being falsely accused of something has been one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. Countless little accusations, misunderstandings that were never quite cleared up.

But there were a couple of huge ones, life changing ones that, had I not heeded my father’s early teaching about having the ability to choose how I look at things, well, those condemnations would have been the end of me.

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And somewhere along the line in my 72 years, I realized there is always, ALWAYS something beautiful to balance out, or even counter-act, life’s repeated icky, dark, mystifying tragedies.

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Of course, retrospect is my best friend, and when I search for light and fail to find it, if I can just wait long enough, it will eventually show up…often reminding me that it was there all along.

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We are all in the middle of the dark right now, but in small, seemingly insignificant ways, if we keep our senses open and awake, we can gather up pieces of light every single day. These discoveries have a cumulative effect, and can eventually outweigh the heaviness of these dark days.

Often, it is not until later that we can see the obvious gifts we have received, in spite of the catastrophe or heartbreak. And sometimes they are miracles that simply could not have happened without that dark time.

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I wrote this on my friend Karuna’s comment section this morning.

Touched My Heart

I just watched and can’t stop crying. Here’s a big thank you, Karuna. I have been teary all morning, because of what’s happening in Minnesota and across the country, after George Floyd was killed. This incident was highlighted for me, following a powerful connection just last week with Milton Grimes, Rodney King’s attorney. And then 2 nights ago, we just happened to watch Rocket Man…

I had been searching desperately for other “perspectives” to choose from today and then I see your post. Thank you so much!

If it’s OK with you, I’m going to write about this today on my blog.

 

Worth the whole watch…

 

I can’t light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I’m growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life
It’s much too late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of life
But you misread my meaning when I met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
I can’t find
Oh, the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way feel
Don’t discard me baby don’t
Just because you think I mean you harm
Just because you think I mean you harm, oh
But these cuts I have, cuts I have
They need love
They need love, they need love to help them heal
Oh, don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I that see, yeah
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free baby, oh
‘Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me

Day 60 of being “grounded”– 5/4/2020 Lessons Solidified Part Four- Chosen Perspectives

This is the last of a four part series on lessons revisited and solidified during the pandemic.

The first 3 posts on Scarcity, Three Human Hungers and Structuring Time, are issues that for me, have definitely floated to the surface during my confinement.

And here is the fourth.

I started seriously considering the possibility of the existence of Dual Realities way back in the 1980’s. I found my Psychotherapy practice filled with those who were diagnosed as “Borderline Personality Disorder”, an unfortunate label. I mostly didn’t use the suggested DSM whatever-number-it-was back then. I didn’t want to stick my clients with a reputation that might limit them in some way. So when I got a referral called Borderline, I started switching it to Borderline Personality Organization. I also encouraged my therapy community, especially my trainees, to adopt this different perspective.

I bring this up because the clients with this “diagnosis” were most therapists’ worst nightmare. No one wanted to work with them back then, and tried to limit their practices to one Borderline at a time. No surprise. A person whose personality worked that way, could frustrate the most experienced of practitioners! A “Borderline” tended to be quick, smart, combative, testing, and successful at what they do (healthy or not). Typically, they were extremely creative…but mostly at proving their own strongly held mistaken belief that they were unlovable, and that you too, would eventually abandon them….another thing they were successful at…getting a therapist to give up on them.

I never felt that way. I absolutely loved the ingenious ways they could get all of us therapists to fight over them, to disagree about them, to “split” over them. It reminded me of me and my sisters growing up.

Talk about immersing one’s self all the way into a pre-decided reality…all or nothing, black and white, no gray. Brilliant. And a lot of therapists bought right into the reality, compelled to choose a side, or a singular definition of right or wrong.

 (imagine a photo of the yin/yang thingy here)

But see, I was raised by my Dad, a brilliant, but covert, Master Teacher, who from day one, taught me that one thing, two things, even three could be completely true at the very same time.

He had three daughters and out of necessity I suppose, quietly negotiated, and mediated, and helped us see things from each others’ perspectives.

Bessey Girls

It may have been easiest for me though. Not because I was his oldest, but because, though he was my Dad, he was not my father. (He married my mother when I was two-ish.) It took me until well into adolescence to straighten out that conflicting statement.

“You’re my Dad but you’re not my dad? Huh??”

I had lived the proof throughout childhood, that two seemingly opposing things could both be true. I had enough experience with it in other parts of my life, that when I started getting calls from frantic therapists, throwing up their hands wanting to refer a Borderline (remember, labeled with affection by me), that’s what I set out to teach my new clients…exactly what my Dad had taught me…

“You’re Mother left you. AND Your Mother loved you.”

 

The real anchoring for me of the concept of Dual Realities came right after 9-11-2001.

 

9-11 Twin Towers

Immediately following the attacks, in my search for understanding I stumbled across a PBS Special. The program was interviewing religious leaders, teachers and philosophers from all over the world who, in my opinion, were valiantly trying to prevent the next world war…trying to get us to consider the event from other perspectives.

One of my very first Blog posts was about this experience. https://chosenperspectives.com/2015/11/19/absolutely-nothing-is-absolute/

Anyway, what grew for me out of those experiences was an idea…my version of a primary theory, like my mentor’s all-encompassing idea about Scarcity forty years ago.

What if there really is only one single task for every human being to accomplish during their time on the planet? I now believe there is.

We need to learn how to be separate and connected at the very same time.

Talk about conflicting states, or dual realities! How can both of those be true simultaneously?

This is not new. We have each been dealing with this exact issue since our very conception. Think about it…even as we were growing our separate little bodies inside our mother’s womb, we cannot, and will not, ever be any more connected to another human being than that!

baby pushing out from inside belly

It may also be the oldest existential discussion of all. We are whole entities, completely unique, and separate from all others. No one can ever fully be in our shoes, and on our death beds, we will all take that final breath completely alone.

But at the same time, we are completely connected to everyone else. (Hey, all those people at Woodstock would tell you they were ONE with each other!)

Wide-angle overall of huge crowd facing

We are certainly connected as a species, and some would say we are linked, attached, and related to ALL living things on the planet.

Well, as if we needed a reminder of these facts, in case we needed to learn this lesson experientially, along comes Covid 19, throwing us all into the ongoing, daily circumstance of being separate and connected at the same time.

We have had to literally separate ourselves, to socially distance, to hunker down and isolate in order to slow down or stop this virus.

But what is also true is that we are all in this together, finding creative methods for proving and anchoring our connections, all while frantically searching for the way to save our entire species.

In every single moment of our lives, based on our individual and collective stories, we are choosing a perspective, a way of seeing, defining or experiencing the world.

I never thought I would be quoting one of Mr. Trump’s staff, but his Dr. Birx said the following, actually as I was writing this:

“We need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent,”

And an even more surprising resource for me to share is about the video made by former President Bush:

In a three-minute video shared on Twitter on Saturday, Bush urged Americans to remember “how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat.”

“In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of god,” Bush said. “We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.”

 

What the virus is teaching us, shoving in our faces really, is that we have to find a perspective that includes both being separate and connected at the very same time….

And we have to find it soon.

Coronavirus separate but connected

 

As always, I’d love comments. Helps me feel connected even if you disagree with me…

🧡💛💚💙💜💗

Spirit Lifters-Day 55 of being “grounded” 4/29/2020

Watch this to help meet your Recognition Hunger…virtually!

 

And here is one of my favorite organizations. I have loved their newsletter for a long time and they are a wonderful resource during these days. I especially liked the collection of articles in the April 21st issue.

 

 

 

https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/

 

 

And for some good feeling laughs, another episode of Some Good News from John Krasinsky

 

 

Lastly, look what I found on my walk yesterday…growing in a long stretch of icky weeds.

I’m tellin’ you…ya gotta keep your eyes open for these sweet things!

 

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Hope you are hanging in there. Please share any Spirit Lifters of your own in “Comments”.

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?

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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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