Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Practice WINNING!!

Thanks to the Haeberle Family for this pic!
  One of the charming things I am often known to say is:

"You're either a therapist or you're not.  If you're a therapist, you'll be a therapist whether you're a licensed, practicing clinician, or a mechanic, or a landscaper, or an accountant . . . or a Cowboy.  If you're not a therapist, no amount of schooling can help you."  And then I write my student loan check. 
Recently, I was whining about how my life does not allow the time I'd like to get outdoors and ride my horse.  It's frustrating because there isn't a sense of continuity - like I'm making progress.  I ride 3 days in a row, and then don't get to touch a horse for 2 weeks.  My treasured friend the "non-therapist" sent me an email later that day, describing an endurance ride.  He talked about maintaining my steady trot all day, then seeing an opportunity at the finish and riding for it - picking up a faster gait and passing the leader to win the ride!  YAY!!!  His point was that I could ride in my head any time I wanted, that it WOULD improve my performance to practice in my head, and that it was more than vital for me to keep that part of me from getting buried under the rest of the junk in my life. 

What he didn't realize is that he made me think about more than that.  As he described my finish, all I could think about was the possibility that in that wild dash for the finish, my horse would probably shy at that Wal-Mart bag and toss me off into the bushes.  Then I started to wonder how other people I admire in this sport manage to pull off that race for the finish.  I've seen them do it.  It's totally exciting!!!  It occurred to me that these people probably practice between rides.  I bet they get out there with their friends and race just for fun, which teaches the horses how to do it. 

Then, because I am so unfaililngly me, I started thinking about the larger implications for life, and the need to practice winning.  We tend to think about the worst case outcomes of whatever we're doing.  In doing so, we practice losing.  We practice failing.  We even practice giving up.  We practice all the things that won't help us win AT ALL.  Kids practice winning in their heads.  They even practice in their play.  They tell us they can be superheroes, or cowboys, or doctors.  When they are little, we call it cute.  When we get bigger, we call it daydreaming, and tell ourselves to get our heads out of the clouds and face reality.  We kill those winning visualizations with efficiency and finality.

I'm here to tell you to get out there and get your head in the clouds as fast as you can.  Your brain will naturally want to focus on the squeaky wheel, so don't worry - it will get plenty of grease.  Make a decision to practice winning in your head whenever you're faced with a problem.  In the meantime, I'm gearing up for my first ride of the season which is, coinciedentally ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!         

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Borrowed Talent :)

Take a few days of, take a few weeks to catch up!! 
 Thanks to NM for allowing me to share these beautiful words.  Enjoy!

foto76 - freedigitalphotos.net
Ebb and flow
Highs and lows
Life and death
Delicate breath
In and out
In and out

Like the waves
On the shore
So hard to say
How many days more
She will hold on
She'll fight for more dawns
In and out
In and out

Delicate breath
Life and death
Highs and lows
Ebb and flow

The Great Awakening
The spirit of love was there, alive and full of light
Even during times of darkness, the light shone so bright
Until the fall, into the deepest darkest darkness…that seemed to have no end in sight
And came so close to extinguishing that spirit of love light.
markuso - freedigitalphotos.net
So dark and cold in that place
It froze all except God’s grace
Eons came and went it seemed
Until the soul again could dream
A dream with hope’s faint light at first
But soon it came again into full burst
A great awakening was taking place
A magical thaw that one could taste
For although the light and spirit was threatened
The mystery of life and laughter was beckoned
As the Creator filled with love again
The cracks of the broken heart so it could mend

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A follow-up to the flooded post.

♥.Max ♥.
 What I forgot to say is that being caught off guard or scared gets you flooded really fast.  Getting ready for ride season gets me back to thinking about getting on chubby, fresh horses who have been on vacation for the last few months.  I'm hoping to ride my main man Max this season, and he's the king of the lateral move.  He's a spooker, that one.  Probably because he grew up with an inexperienced rider who was learning right along with him and was pretty scared.  (That would be me, for the record.  Sorry Buddy.)

I think back to my post on supporting him when he's afraid of something (Click here to read it).  Let me tell you at the moment when you're trotting happily down the trail and then all of a sudden you're in a ditch, there's not a lot of love for your horse.  That same thing can happen anytime we're low on energy.  We get stuck in traffic.  We come home and the basement is flooded.  Someone is late for a meeting.  Our boss lays on another project when we're already swamped.  Something unexpected has happened. Your amygdala kicks into high gear and triggers that good old fight or flight response. The threat is already gone by the time we get up, so the flight option doesn't make any sense because there's nothing to run from. That leaves fight. We get MAD.
  Here's 2 really good reasons to get a handle on anger in response to fear:    
1.  It hurts you.  The physiological response of anger takes a toll on our bodies.  Our heartrate increases.  Our digestion changes.  You've heard this from me before in writing about the Amygdala Hijack.  The more often you rev the engine on that old jalopy, the faster the parts will wear out.  Same is true for your body.  Sure you feel powerful, all puffed up with riteous indignation, but you're hurting yourself.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Anger has very little practical place in today's civilized society.  Yes.  If someone jumps out at you with a knive, get angry.  If someone snatches your kid, get angry.  If a lion pounces on you while you're jogging (which happens here in Colorado), get REALLY angry.  Yell and scream and pound your attacker with every ounce of adrenaline-charged strength you've got.  But recognize that those are actual life-threatening circumstances that call for an actual life-saving response.  How often does that really happen?  
2.  It hurts others:  I'm thinking especially about when my kids scare me to death.  It sure gets their attention when they're about to run out in front of a car, but THEN IT NEEDS TO STOP.  The temptation is to keep right on yelling at them until the adrenaline has run its course.  From a strictly biological perspective, it serves to hopefully extinguish the behavior a-la Pavlov's dog.  But there's a fine line between effective anger and just plain VENTING.  When we have said what we need to say and then keep saying it, it cheapens the message.  Others have a finely tuned sense of appropriate emotional response, and when we go over the top, they are no longer thinking about the error of their ways, they are thinking you are a jerk.  Now we only tend to do this to people when we feel we can get away with it.  We typically don't open up that stream of unbridled self-expression (That's Terry Real's term, not mine) on the boss because there are consequences.  But I see it all the time in my office directed at spouses, siblings, and especially children.  Ladies and gentlemen you do not have the right to be abusive to ANYONE.  No matter what they did.  It's tempting and we all do it.  When you do, apologize. 
It cracks me up how many photos
this guy has!
Yes, that's right, I said apologize.  To your spouse.  To your sister To your co-worker.  And most importantly TO YOUR CHILDREN.  Apologizing teaches kids HOW to recover from screwing up royally.  It teaches them that apologizing doesn't give away your power or make you a wimp.  It doesn't invalidate your point or somehow give the other person the advantage.  It teaches kids that they deserve respect.  YOU respect your kids, and your kids see you respecting other adults, they learn SELF-respect.  Kids who don't learn self-respect either learn to be a doormat or learn to be entitled.  Neither one is pretty. 
Frankly, apologizing sucks.  Because you really do have a point, and it probably has at least some validity.  Letting go of that point and preserving the relationship is often so unpleasant that it serves as an inhibitor of future violations of the boundaries of others as well.  Now don't go to the other extreme and be a doormat either.  Just take a deeeeeeep breath and make an assertive statement about the issue at hand.  Oh.  And if the issue at hand is that whatever happened just triggered YOUR particular hot button?  You can say that too.  And you can take a time-out until your highly developed pre-frontal cortex is firmly back in command in your head. 
I think soon I will write a blog on how to apologize.  It can be complicated to preserve your self-esteem and a relationship at the same time. 
No, you're not a bad person when you lose your temper.  You're a person.  A human person who got hijacked by your amygdala.  Forgive yourself.  (That is not the same thing as justifying your outburst).  And then replay the situation over and over in your head . . . only CHANGE your behavior.  Practice NOT losing your temper, and see what happens next time!