Monthly Archives: October 2013

MIND GAMES

As I initially started looking for what was wrong with me at age 22, it was so easy to blame all of my emotional disturbances on the car accident that had destroyed my life in 1986.  In truth, however, that accident saved my life.  Yep, it saved “me” from “myself” as it turned out.  And it would be another 22 years  before God would reveal the missing puzzle piece that made sense of my entire life.

Childhood imagination:  Boy, did I have one!  I can remember lying in my bed at night and escaping to a world in which I wore a maroon-colored, majestic-looking, “ball” gown. Complete with that hoop making the bottom fan out into a big circle  at floor level.  Of course, I always had a handsome, dark- haired beau whisking me around a rather large,  ballroom dance floor.  This room was completely barren and  made of solid grey cement with pillars lining the entrance way.  I escaped to this exact same place frequently. Always wearing the exact same gown.  Dancing with the exact same dark- haired beau.  That picture remains vivid in my mind after all these years.  Childhood imagination?  Do I simply “remember” the exact same gown I wore?  On the exact same dance floor, in the exact same  room?  With the exact same dark-haired beau?  Or could it be something else?

Teenage daydreaming:  I’m sure I probably had those dreams about life turning out exactly the way I wanted, however, most of my daydreams were “different.”  I am not sure why, but I would often daydream about causing emotional pain to specific individuals.  That pain ALWAYS involved something bad happening to me that would, indirectly hurt others.  Wow!  I am amazed as I sit here recounting those memories.  It’s almost haunting, when you consider the major car accident I survived.  Coincidence?  Or could it be something else?

Young adulthood nightmare:  I “lost” a chunk of time during this phase of my life due to  brain injury.  I have NO memory of approximately 4-6 hours before my accident until about two months after. My earliest memories in the hospital include thinking that I was dead.  I asked anyone and everyone if I had died.  My biggest difficulty with this was in trying to determine if I had been sent to heaven or hell.  Oh, I was certain it MUST BE HELL!  I was in such horrible pain and my bed was like some-sort of human cage with netting all around it, similar to a tent.   I would scream out, LOUDLY, in pain or fear.  NOTHING made sense! The constant pain.  Inability to do things for myself.  I certainly didn’t understand why they kept me caged up.  I had, SURELY, been sent to hell!!! It’s kind of funny now, but I guess that accident really did involve the death of my “old” self and the birth my “new” self. And this started my journey to becoming my current “self.”  Wow, another significant discovery.  I had actually mourned the death of my “old” self while emerging from a coma.  That gives me goose-bumps, folks.

Middle age mind departure:  We joke at work about how I, mentally, zone out.  You may be talking right to me. I may be looking right back at you.  But I am somewhere else in my mind.  It appears that I am listening, but I don’t hear a word you say.  My mind is totally concentrating and focusing on something else.  I have completely tuned you out.  My direct supervisor can now detect when I am doing this and she jokes about it, but I’m sure it’s irritating.  Another example of how I “zone out” has me a bit concerned.  Recent events have hijacked my thoughts to such a degree that I have driven away from our house, intending to go somewhere specific, but arrive somewhere else!   Crazy, huh?  I did this twice in one day!  Welcome to my world, folks!!

AGREE TO DISAGREE

Can you imagine living in the same household where all of the occupants agreed on EVERYTHING?  From what to have for dinner to managing the household, and everything in between?  And what about the occupants of cities?  States?  Countries?  How about …THE WORLD?  I think we all can agree that life would be pretty boring if everyone agreed on everything, right?  We’ve all heard this a million times:  “Our differences are what make us unique!” OR…”Adversity is what makes us strong!”  OR, better yet…”The combination of our differences is what strengthens us as a whole!”  That last one was pretty good, huh?  I just came up with that while sitting here at the computer!!!  BAM!!! 

To think of all of the political conflicts right now…during our current Government “shut-down.”  Who’s to blame?  Who voted?  Guess who “didn’t” get to vote?  Blah, blah, blah!  Well, this is what I say…”WHATEVER!!!”  I mean, R-E-A-L-L-Y, folks!!!  OKAY…so I guess it’s safe to assume that we might… DISAGREE!!!  THIS IS HEALTHY!!!  But now we must combine our differences to STRENGTHEN, or solidify, the end product in such a way that appeases MOST American citizens.  And then it becomes a whole different ballgame in determining “which” American citizens are we appeasing?  Does this also include illegal immigrants? How about the children of illegal immigrants?   And on, and on, and on…

And then I must also consider the family “conflicts” that come into play.  WE ALL HAVE THEM.  And they’re dependent upon where we’re at in life combined with our own, unique, extenuating circumstances.  Marriage, alone, IS DIFFICULT!  This, generally, involves  2 individuals who often disagree, have miscommunications and misunderstandings that add to the day’s “difficulties.”  And how about if you add children to the equation?   So, so many responsibilities.  Not enough time.  And, certainly, NOT ENOUGH MONEY!  Stress, stress, and more stress!!!

Oh, and then what about those daily conflicts experienced with co-workers?  Neighbors?  How about friends?  Conflict can occur in any situation, at any time, with anybody.   We all have our own agenda.  Everyone has somewhere to be and something to do…that probably should have been done YESTERDAY!!!  This wears, heavily, on our tolerance of inconvenience, thereby increasing the likelihood of disagreements.  Whew!!!

Please stop and consider the complexity of living life, managing our “plates of crap” daily, AND…WORKING TOGETHER to achieve the greater good for all.  Wow!  Difficult, right?  Impossible?  NO!  Let us first agree to disagree.  This is healthy!  Just don’t give up.  The final outcome of every conflict should be, and could be, the combined effort of all those involved, thereby being resolved the only way possible.  NOT YOUR WAY.  Not MY WAY.   BUT OUR WAY!!!

TEAMWORK, folks!  WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!

 

GO TEAM USA!!!

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, right???  Come on, folks…WE HAVE TO BE!!!  We live in the greatest country in the world, right?  LAND OF THE FREE.  HOME OF THE BRAVE.  RIGHT???  I refuse to believe any differently.  I LOVE AMERICA and what this great country stands for, but it appears that we are all losing sight of what made us so great in the beginning.  What it was that, originally, made people from all over the world dream of coming to America?  Think about that…what was it about this country that made so many people choose to migrate here?  Hhhmmm…think, Think, THINK…

Freedom?  Opportunity?  Having as much as you were willing to work for OR having as little as you chose to work for.  That is your choice here in America.  The more you do, the more you have.  The less you do, the less you have.  Easy, right?

People with dreams tend to work harder.  FACT!  Why is it that so many individuals have no motivation these days, or worse yet…they have no dream for their future?  What happened to dignity?  Self-pride? Self-respect? What happened to:  “When the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’?”

I must admit that I am saddened to see what has happened to the, once great, American Dream…You know, that dream you could achieve with hard work and perseverance?  The home, 2 cars, yearly vacations, a savings account, money put away for retirement, etc., etc., etc.  The American Dream used to be something that you worked hard for and were proud of what you had achieved.  When did the American Dream become something that was simply given to folks by the U.S. government?

Working together, folks.  This is one of my main themes.  Get it?  “Work”-ing together?  We need each other.  We need each other to share a sense of responsibility to contribute the best of ourselves DAILY to help improve the quality of everybody’s life.  That requires “GIVING” of oneself, not simply “TAKING” from others.

Work.  Get a job!  And I don’t care what that job is.  Just do SOMETHING!  Contribute something by entering the work field.  There’s something out there.  And when you’ve GOT NOTHING.ANYTHING is better!!!  EVEN if that means earning less money than the Government gives you.  Serious folks, our country is going under!  Putting something into the “pot” via taxes helps all of us more than taking from the “pot” via welfare.

As a young adult, suddenly disabled and unable to work after my car accident, I needed our government’s assistance to get back on my feet.   I now work in the medical field.  “HELPING” others during their medical crises as well as contributing to our country’s federal, state, and local taxing systems to benefit, yet, others in need.

There are definitely those individuals who are unable to work.  We understand that. We are Americans, folks.  The most giving country in the world to those in need. I believe every individual is proud of their efforts to support those in need.  However, there are a whole lot of people out there who could be doing more.  People who “COULD” work, but choose NOT to.  And people who could do more or give more, but don’t.   And I’m sure that “YOU” know who “YOU” are!!!

All I’m asking, folks, is for us to regain that American pride.  To:  “BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE.”  Not only for yourself, but for your family.  For your community.  For your state.  FOR OUR COUNTRY.  FOR OUR WORLD!

GO TEAM!!!  WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!

 

 

 

TO TALK…OR…TO LISTEN?

Communication is so VERY difficult.  So far, we have discussed communication styles and how they might impact conversations.  The different styles utilized add a very distinct, emotional side to the equation.  Styles, as I refer to them, indicate whether someone is happy, sad, angry, passive-aggressive, self-assured, confident, arrogant, etc.

Typically speaking, a conversation involves two basic skills:  Talking and listening.  Both skills add their own different and distinct qualities.  How do you rate yourself at each of these skills?  Are you better at talking or listening?  How do you think others perceive you?  Good questions.  Now let’s look at these a bit closer…

TALKING:  Very important skill, right?  Putting your thoughts, ideas, or feelings into words that others will, hopefully, understand.  Be specific.  Straight to the point.  You can NEVER say things too clearly.  People have a way of attaching their own meaning to what they thought you said.  And HOW MUCH you talk during your conversations is of importance as well.  Do you tend to dominate discussions by over-talking or do you say very little?  Too much talking is annoying.  We all know those individuals who dominate conversations.  Talking and talking…never letting you get a word in, edge-wise.  Nobody likes to be a part of those disastrous conversations!  Talking too little, on the other hand, may indicate disinterest or a disconnect.

LISTENING:  Equally important, right?  Or is it?  I tend to believe that listening is more important than talking.  Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Listening.  Really listening to what someone is saying is the easiest way to gain their trust and respect.  This implies that you care about what they are saying.  This is very important.  I encourage you to test this out for yourself, especially with new acquaintances.  The best compliment you can give someone is by listening to what they have to say.

Alright, you’ve got your assignment.  Closely examine how much talking and listening you do during your daily conversations.  Experiment to see how more or less of either skill affects those conversations.  I guarantee you will be amazed by what you learn…