πŸ₯š I Also Have a Dream πŸ£

β€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

– Epictetus

What if the opposite is true? β€œWealth consists not in having few possessions, but in having great wants.”

Martin Luther King Jr said

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

– Martin Luther King Jr 1963 “I Have a Dream.” (The part I can remember.)

…IΒ am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have aΒ dreamΒ today!

I have a dream that one day,Β down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have aΒ dreamΒ today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,Β Β Β  From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day whenΒ allΒ of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

– Martin Luther King Jr 1963 “I Have a Dream.”

Reading this today, it was surprising how I missed the spiritual tone as a child. In my school, we all had different religions and the teachers were careful at not favoring any over the rest.

We were shown videos of the riots, nice looking people throwing acid to blind other nice looking people…

We were encouraged to adopt Martin Luther King’s ideas of harmony and equality, but devoid of their spiritual basis I’m not sure they stand alone.

I think it’s hard to divide a person into peices.

Martin Luther King Jr was a reverend, son of a reverend, I didn’t realize that, it wasn’t advertised.

I guess I’ve grown more interested in spirituality after having children, you wonder if you will be gone forever after death or be there watching or guiding them from somewhere or simply transform like a butterfly sheds it’s body again and again and someday the extreme transformation occurs. Many laws of physics seem to conclude that energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed, but are “we” energy? Or what are we? Are we individuals at all or is it an illusion that we have “selves” apart from the whole of humanity, or the whole of life, or the whole of the universe?

I just found out fungi/mushrooms eat rock and that is how soil forms, that they connect the entire forest with a landline trees use to talk… that the red of our blood (the iron) comes only from supernova deaths of stars much larger than our own, that we all had a common human mother and father. Much of this information was available for some time, but it’s only being digested and combined in my mind the past year.

Most of my life I was a student and in being a student I was prevented from thinking or learning what I find relevant by mindless busywork being due. Even if I don’t focus on reading or learning the pace I learn for enjoyment, the amount I learn of myself, my self-worth, my life balance, my life quality, the amount of original thought, the amount of problem solving ability I have have all gone up exponentially since I left school and was allowed to explore “divergent” (a problem may have many solutions) rather than “convergent” (a problem only has one possible solution).

I think the rise in depression in children is related to a danger of toxic beliefs built into conventional schools, I think most traditional schools are idea prisons, that verbal and emotional abuse are inherent and also protected by the systems. The grading system where you are belittled for not knowing the answer is perverse and anxiety causing in itself.

I’m not an advocate of unschooling, but I would give it a second place to the kind of public schooling I grew up with.

We all know schools teach misinformation, lies and punish independent thinking, but no one does anything to help, it’s too big of a monster to go up against directly.

But on a small scale we can, we can support the children one by one, let them know that the school is there to offer them skills, but when they are told they are “wrong” because they have different ideas it may or may no be the case. We can’t fix the whole public school system overnight, but we can support each child one by one and offer information to combat misinformation.

It was only recently that I learned poverty is considered mental, rather than financial, that poverty causes an illusion that there are no resources, no cause for hope, no solutions for problems, no reason to dream.

I grew up like that, mentally poor, financially middle class, but very limited in beliefs of an abundant world.

I began teaching Economics, thus learning it a few months ago, it seems criminal that children are not taught economics when it affects their lives so deeply. Scarcity is part of economics, it’s a reality, it refers to the concept that there are unlimited wants and limited resources (great resources are still limited). Abundance is also a truth of nature, each plant gives so many seeds, so much can be produced, limited combinations and amounts in the future (but what is currently on hand is not limited, it’s finite).

So abundance and scarcity are related, interrelated and true, but imaging either is fake shows a deep misunderstanding of economics.

The abundance of the Earth to grow food in every climate is true, but the scarcity of droughts producing less is true, the idea water can be de-desalinated is true, but the scarcity of clean water available to certain regions and people is completely true. Both are true as left and right are true.

To imagine that scarcity is made up by “negative people” is insanity. Popular insanity. But also the idea that there are no options in life is also insanity, one that I think public school breeds by accident – sit down, quietly, wait, don’t do anything, don’t say anything, pay attention to the teacher – don’t think anything other than exactly the way we tell you to, when we tell you to. It’s really soul crushing for creative individuals like me, I hope I’m in the minority, but if I’m not then that explains why the mental health is so poor in my country. What if there was a soul crushing place, that breeds depression and anxiety, and we legally required all children to go there, if that was true we would have a massive amount of depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety have increased over timeβ€œ

Ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression” among children aged 6–17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012.4

Mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood

1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.5

Article

What if depression and anxiety are valid signs that people hate their lives and their lives are unhealthy for them overall? What if there isn’t anything wrong with kids other than constant emotion abuse inherent in the system, which many kids hate, but some can’t cope with at all? What if our shitty schools are killing our kids, crushing the souls of others and diminishing the potential of the ones that handle it best?

Big claims, with not much evidence, but if it was true the result would look a lot like the reality that does exist.

Anyways, in school it felt like there was point to the day, to those years, if you had to write a paper, it had to be unoriginal, meaning you needed to cite other people’s thoughts, therefore you couldn’t write anything original, mostly the topics were controlled, you were given two choices of unoriginal content, you didn’t believe in or want to do, then you had to read books to support those other people’s onions. Rather than enjoying your day or finding a topic that felt relevant to you.

It was horrible for me, most adults that I know who can remember it, remember hating it (not all), but we all kind of expect the kids to have a positive attitude about it.

If 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder, if they are “cracked eggs” then who cracked them? Maybe school, maybe parents, maybe both, but who guarded them was surely no one.

Bar Chart: Mental disorders by age in years - Depression: 3-5 years: 0.1%, 6-11 years: 1.7%, 12-17 years: 6.1% Anxiety: 3-5 years: 1.3%, 6-11 years: 6.6%, 12-17 years: 10.5% Depression: 3-5 years: 3.4%, 6-11 years: 9.1%, 12-17 years: 7.5%

The even distribution seems to me like an indication of life gone wrong more than a particular problem of a specific mental health abnormality like schizophrenia.

Why are so many kids crazy? Sub-optimal families and or sub-optimal schools.

If your life sucks, perhaps depression is rational, perhaps these kids have phones and money, but if no one really gives a damn about your well being doesn’t life still suck?

If you don’t know you are safe, or know you are not safe, doesn’t anxiety make sense?

If you are always told to be someone you aren’t and be happy in a life you hate perhaps you are angry, defiant, isn’t that ration then?

Are these mental health problems just life balance problems? What does life balance consist of for kids? School and family, maybe church and friends, maybe sports and hobbies, but pretty much always school and family.

Are our schools and families broken profoundly, I think so. But everything can be improved, all life is constantly improving.

One thing that would help is encouraging divergent thinking, and that’s free.

One thing everyone can do is start adopting and modding divergent thinking, it’s contagious (in a good way), kindness is as well, one kindness often lasts a life time to the recipient.

I think it’s a lack of free thinking and kindness killing these children slowly, those are free things, but perhaps they need to be taught in action rather than lecture and who knows when that will happen.

But it does seem like (from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech) that many good changes take place, however slowly, and we are overall better people now (in regards to tolerance) than we were, but tolerance will never be harmony. Grudging acceptance isn’t team work, there is still room from growth, but like Hitler, I believe change most strongly begins in the minds of the youth and like Hubert Humphrey I believe “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

I’m trying to allow myself “great wants” again, as I did as a child, dreams of changing the world for the better, doing something that matters to me, being a good enough person, fighting for good, and in doing so, I wondered where and how did I stop being a dreamer, and upon discovering my truth, I found it was easier and less mysterious to find the answer than I thought it would be, I hope my kind of mind, so easily crushed by public school is the vast minority, but I fear that it isn’t, and I hope more creative schools can be made to house the students that need it, whether that is 2%, 20% or 100% of the students. It would cost us a lot in admitting we are wrong and not too much in changing, for in my opinion, we don’t need to buy much, but we need to throw out much of what we already possess.

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πŸ’° Stoic Week 20 III πŸ¦΄

β€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

– Epictetus (Free Stoic Club on Coach.Me)

Today I’m thinking about hedonistic adaptation.

This morning was beautiful, last night my son was crying all night, very rare for him, he has a tooth half way out of the gum, that must hurt, and also possibly water stuck in his ear from swimming, he keeps rubbing his right ear, and he is just a little sick with a fever and diarrhea that might just be natural due to the tooth coming in. Tuesday night I was up pacing so my son wouldn’t cry, Wednesday I carried him on a walk and all day at home, last night I couldn’t carry him all night anymore.

But I didn’t hate myself for it. I’m practicing a bit more self compassion.

This morning my daughter woke up talked to me about being jealous (because I said good job to her brother) and did her math homework (five rounds of addition) quickly so I could borrow the computer (since we share it). I was so proud of her. I didn’t ask her to do that, it was very thoughtful. She learned to count by fives, using her hands and my hands, or my feet and hands she started counting by fives today when I suggested it to her.

Before our relationship was so bad, if I told her to count by five she would have argued against it… she argued about the day of the week it was, if it was night or day and other obvious things.

But though I was too grumpy towards her last night and yesterday when she put our new soap bar for hand washing all over the feather duster and tried to clean the shower with it… she was still thinking of me being able to write in the morning.

The computer I use to write, is her computer, she got it for her second birthday because her grandfather didn’t want it anymore. For him it was clutter, it had frustrated him too many times and he preferred to just use a different computer, but for her and me it’s been our favorite computer ever. It’s so easy to forget to be grateful towards my children. They give me so much, they do ask for a lot, maybe that’s why it’s hard to remember to be grateful to them.

I was proud of my daughter that she has started counting by fives in the moment it happened and not an hour later I’m not anymore. Such a danger in hedonistic adaptation.

I think my children are my wealth, I didn’t want to think of them as “items” or “possessions,” yet I actually list my best friends (I have five good friends, enough for me) as items in my list of wealth without minding it.

I don’t own them completely, like a dog, I have to care for them, their spirit is free to some degree.

I think perhaps I do own my children to an extent, their bodies are mostly their own, their styles are their own, their souls are their own, but I own something of theirs, perhaps a piece of their heart? Perhaps they split their heart between God, humanity, my husband, the world, and I? I don’t know. I’m finding I don’t have the right words to describe the relationship.

I’m lucky I was able to repair my relationship with my daughter, but immediately I wanted to move onto the next relationship I could repair.

I am proud my daughter is counting by 5s, but immediately I wanted to teach her a higher amount of counting by 5s.

I am grateful she thought about me in the morning, but immediately I wanted to sand off all her bad behaviors.

It would be nice if I found a way to pause, celebrate the beauty of life, make a note of ideas for improvement, but stop rushing for the next thing to happen ahead of its time.

I keep coming back to the idea that I rush myself and my family too much, it degrades my relationships, it strains my loved ones, but then I fall back into it again. But, I guess that’s okay, failure is okay.

As long as there is life there is hope, so I get to try again today to not rush myself and others, because when I rush I don’t enjoy the little victories, which would buffer me for the inevitable pain and defeat that is also part of life.

I wonder how much pain I have caused my loved ones by not letting the good things they do be enough before I mentally check off what happened and tell them what the next step should be? Probably a lot, but to my defense I drive myself the same way and I get a lot done. I hope to find a middle ground today or soon.

β€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Today when I read that I thought of it differently, in “having few wants” of things my children or husband “needs to do or achieve” and “wealth” in the form of joy in the current moment of life, in the good things that happen everyday and constantly go unnoticed. Like the beautiful golden dawn today, like the wonderful blue sky that is there everyday, like playing music all together with my son and daughter yesterday for the first time and seeing them smile and dance with real passion, not a grimace of being forced to memorize a stale piano song to recite in front of people, so many good things get spat out instead of digested in the name of hunting something bigger immediately.

I get to go make breakfast now, but I wonder why when I keep realizing this point I seem to sink back into the bad habit of rushing myself?

morning
Everyday has been better than the day before, but I appreciate it less and less…

πŸ’° Stoic Week 20 II πŸ¦΄

β€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

– Epictetus (Free Stoic Club on Coach.Me)

Last time (yesterday) I was sad to have stopped my stoic walks with my daughter, today we started again and went to the market and 98c store for the first time in about two months.

It was amazing.

I guess I had been “over quarantining” myself, because I can only go outside as a group of three people, my 1 year old, my 4 year old, and I. So I didn’t know the exact rules about that, we at no time are 6 feet apart. We brought a mask for my 4 year old and myself for the store, our state leaves it as optional now, but I don’t want any problems, and actually don’t mind the cloth mask inside the stores. Anything that remotely makes sense to me I don’t mind doing…

Something that has inspired me a lot lately is Bear Grylls from Man vs Wind. I never knew he broke his back. It’s not the eating bugs and rock climbing that inspires me it’s his good attitude while doing it.

He came upon a jungle where he couldn’t light a fire because of the rain, it was cold (a cloud forest) and he slept in the rain, no fire, with some grass shoved into his jacket, one of the things he said in the morning was how much a single purple flower in tree deeply inspired him.

Β I remember when I was in the Amazon, in the middle of a really dense bit of rainforest, where no human would have ever been or probably will ever go again, and looking up and seeing at the top of a tree a beautiful bright purple flower, and thinking β€˜Nobody’s ever going to see that flower. That’s God’s extravagance.’ Even though no-one’s ever going to see it, he just can’t help but create something beautiful.

– Bear Grylls

I really like that idea of looking for beauty at all times, it seems that beauty almost always surrounds us, but we train our eyes to see the bad, the ugly, the evil, the mess. Probably because we have to do something about those things to survive, yet if we don’t see and do something about the beautiful things can we really ever thrive?

I’ve been working on being less perfectionistic for a few years now, but this week is the best I’ve ever done.

I took Monday off, but Tuesday started mentally regrouping instead of saying, “oh, the week is ruined, I’ll try again next week.”

Each day is a chance at life. Bear Grylls keeps saying each day you survive is a chance to get rescued. But I think (outside of the wild) each day is also a great day to pull my head out of my as is.

It was a wonderful day.

I brought one back pack of clothes to a donation bin that says it turns clothes and shoes into trees. I hope that is true, but I’m just happy to start a new life.

I got rid of my wedding dress and my grandmother’s funeral dress today, among some other clothes. It was an act of love, a promise to remember my grandmother’s example of kindness and let her live through me being patient, rather than a dress in a closet. Also to remember to care and treasure my husband rather than a dress in a closet.

It frees me so much to be rid of those ties to the past. It lets me live so much more in the present.

I hope the clothes have a nice new life! But if not, at least I will move ahead lighter.

So, I left my house again with the intention to be lawfully off quarantine, I left with a backpack full of the past and purchased a backpack full of the future.

Some swim toys, some hot dogs, going to take the kids swimming and have a celebration lunch that we are “free” again over here (somewhat).

Just got vomited on. Shower time. Best wishes friends, much love always.

I’ve Escaped!

πŸ’° Stoic Week 20 πŸ¦΄

Epictetus - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

β€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

– Epictetus

When the year started, I started taking stoic walks with my daughter, I had 50 quotes to go through (from Willem Van Zyl’s Stoic Quote of the Day Habit List on Coach.Me).

We had some lovely walks, then we fell off.

Like a chess match, sometimes I feel a few moves behind my day instead of in front of it.

Surprisingly this year has been the hands down best year of my life, sure I got a bit side tracked by the magnitude of change that went down this year, but I’m starting to get back up.

One of the things that brought me down was being very drained when my kids scream and not just admitting it to myself and adjusting to it. The reality is I’m not good with screaming, but since it’s just me “on duty” I get through it, but I didn’t let myself have the extra coffee I needed afterwards without shame. Now I am. I read some books that say distress only triggers you if you have internal baggage that needs to be reflected on and learned from, but I don’t agree. I think that is true, but also screaming is pretty draining even when you don’t have baggage, but I’m not sure because sometimes the kids walk right past each other without a problem. I’m not sure if it’s mirror neurons spreading the discomfort from one brain to another or if it is a reflection of internal baggage, but what I am sure of is 5 years into parenting, I’m still not into screaming.

Another thing was a weird side pain that lasted a month until I drank corn silk tea.

Another was obviously the stress of the many changes which happened when society was grounded by the government for the slightly worse flu that we decided to respond to in a drastic way after ignoring all past threats completely… perhaps we should take a week off to stop the flu every year, but I don’t understand taking months off for the corono virus this time and nothing for the normal flu that kills 40-60,000 a year… it doesn’t matter much what I think though, since I don’t have the political power to have a choice in what happens.

Still this is the best year of my life, all year my son has been with me. He was born in March last year.

This week hasn’t been perfect, Monday my daughter was a bit sick with probably the normal flu, which killed nearly 200 children in our area this year…

But it’s been great.

Great doesn’t have to be perfect (ie impossible) anymore.

My husband and I have two bedrooms, a school room, a bathroom and share a kitchen and pool. It’s very small, I never measured the space, but I don’t think it’s much bigger than a tiny home. We moved here, with my daughter’s god father, when I was about 8 months pregnant with my daughter, who is now 4, so about 5 years ago. We will probably find the most affordable house we can and move into our first house later this year (hopefully).

I was hoping we would pare down our things enough here to be ready for a tiny home or a container home, but as of now my husband prefers a traditional style home, so it will probably be something uninspiring to me, but any home is a better financial decision than renting.

Everyday I don’t know when we will return to our summer home in Hawaii, everyday I don’t know what kind of home I will return to when we come back, everyday I don’t really know what will happen to the overall state of the economy.

But once I mentally surrendered having control over other people’s sickness, life or death, the global or national economy, and even if or what house my husband gets, I found a deep inner peace.

And now I’m doing my best to get back to the things I do control.

Monday I was a bit sick, but I did the white laundry, colored laundry and cloth diaper laundry, folded it all, helped my daughter with her “mood meter” app to learn about EQ, helped her with her “Mightier” bio-feedback tablet to teach her how to down regulate her heart rate/fits. I was mindful through ~90% of the day, present through ~75% of the day, proactive through ~95% of the day, grateful through 100% of the day, kind through ~98% of the day. All those things are invisible, yet so important. I’ve come so far in the past 5 years since I’ve lived here.

I delivered both my children here at home, so the tendency to want to stay could be strong, but my husband isn’t very comfortable anymore and I do care, so I understand, and it also will free me to leave the place I delivered them.

Hopefully it will free me to see them as they are, 1 and 4, neither one babies anymore.

Lately I want to get rid of my wedding dress, but I’m a bit worried about offending my husband.

I still fit, I wear it on Chinese New Years, but I don’t want it anymore.

I want to start a new chapter in our marriage and for me, it would help to discard the dress that is a memory of a bad time.

I don’t particularly like the way the dress looks on me, it definitely doesn’t spark joy. It wasn’t too expensive $125.

It’s not a bad dress, but I don’t want to keep it, and it’s a shackle to the past.

There is a holiday I would like to celebrate by putting my dress and my husband’s suit on display on our anniversary, but since we don’t…

Not only do I not want the dress, I actively want to discard the dress. It would be like a butterfly shedding older skin.

I wanted to get married in casual clothes in my favorite place in the world, Half Dome, but my husband wanted his mother there, so we married locally in a hot air balloon that she said she would go into, but then declined to do so at literally the last minute. The dress reminds me of a bad time, of the death of romance and freedom and many unwelcome compromises and cultural clashes that were just beginning between my husband’s Latin and my Asian expectations.

My husband and I are doing all right now, but I still want to get rid of the dress, it just really seems like he could possibly take it the wrong way.

I guess what I can do is give him the dress, as a memento, or save it for my daughter as a memento, and then it no longer counts as “mine”. But I would really rather get rid of it, it seems like the getting rid of my wedding dress would level me up as a minimalist in an empowering way.

When Epictetus said wealth consists not of possessions, but of lack of want, it really sets my heart on fire to discard more clutter.

If I didn’t have kids, I think I would own about a back packs worth of items, the computer, some clothes, some toiletries, a box of photos and letter, perhaps a knife and a pot to cook, a cup, a plate, some glass bowls.

But since I do have kids, permanently home-schooled kids, we have art supplies, music supplies – drums, piano, keyboard, bells ext, a few books, bikes, their toys. They both have very few clothes and perhaps less toys than average, but very nice ones in that they are still “into” them, legos, duplos, dinos, a few stuffed animals, a pop up bus, some foam mats.

When I declutter it is as a person (an individual), a mother (thus I keep my son’s diapers ext), a family administrator (thus laundry soap, cleaning towels) and a teacher (thus the craft bucket, art supplies, music supplies, book ext.

The first special thing I ever let go of was my motorcycle.

I only had a motorcycle, no car, for many years.

It was more than a vehicle, it was a lifestyle choice, an environmental choice, an outdoor life style kind of choice, a statement of ownership of my own life and independence.

I knew an orphan in college who lost their father to a motorcycle accident, I vowed that if I had kids I would be done.

So when I was pregnant, we got a simple care as soon as we could and I sold the motorcycle for exactly what cloth diapers would cost me.

My motorcycle became, white cloth diapers.

A few years later the diapers could have been used again for me son, but the elastic was worn by age, so I decided to let them go and get a colorful print instead. I’m glad I did.

I’ve de-cluttered thousands of things, but only a few have been special to me. I would like my wedding dress to be the third special thing, but only if I can get away without damaging my husband’s feelings about it.

I came from a hoarding family, multi-generational, both sides. For me a lack of clutter is breathing room, literally, I grew up with asthma and allergies.

I don’t advocate anyone to have less than they are “into” but I advocate for everybody to let go of what is beyond what is wanted.

I really enjoyed both “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo and “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Sarah Knight, but for me the two are unfortunately linked.

For me meditation is best done physically, by decluttering my actual living space. Perhaps because I had to wait an entire childhood and part of adulthood to be away from my parents who prevented decluttering, perhaps because of the way I am, perhaps because I am extremely visual so everything I see gets to me (or even what I don’t see and know that is there). Perhaps because I don’t enjoy cleaning too much and the less items we have the faster cleaning goes, perhaps because I was prevented from having friends by having unacceptable living conditions I feel it is either one or the other more than it needs to be, whatever the case de-clutteredness is close to Godliness for me.

I thought I could get through the Kon Marie method of going in order through 1. Clothes, 2. Books, 3. Papers, 4. Miscellaneous, 5. Mementos, but each time I got stopped by clothes.

I hated all my clothes, but I didn’t want to go naked…

Since then I have a few dresses that I either like or at least – almost like – and I would really want to get through the first category keeping only what I actually want.

What’s helped is seeing clothes more like towels, I have so few I wash them all weekly, they get worn in a year or two. Which is financially okay since I get mostly affordable dresses, but I find it’s somewhat refreshing psychologically to get a dress with the intention to keep it for a year, possibly two.

It takes some of the pressure off trying to find a perfect dress, trying to look perfect or even off my own eventual death.

I think some of not wanting to let go of items is linked to a fear of death, as if holding onto a pair of shorts that didn’t work out will keep us alive forever…

Mentally taking in my clothing inventory, I have a purple dress I would like to let go off, a blue sun flower dress I love, a green dress with arm ties that drive me crazy that I would like to let go off, a black and green dress I like, a yellow sun flower dress I love, a pink dress that is a bit uncomfortable, a martial arts gi that I like okay, but wouldn’t mind replacing with a pink one, two tank tops, two bras I would like to get rid off and a bunch of underwear the elastic is getting messed up on that I should replace. And one pair of purple shorts that I don’t like, even though nothing is wrong with them at all. So out of 10 items I have (that isn’t underwear) I like at most 30% of what I have and 0% of the underwear.

I have 1 hat, but kind of want another one for writing. I love 100% of my hats.

I have 2 pairs of shoes, but I’m thinking of letting go of the old ones. For some reason my old pink sandals are more dear to my heart than my wedding dress. I love 100% of my shoes.

So, I’m working on replacing my wardrobe with things I like and sneaking out the clothes I didn’t like slowly so my husband doesn’t get too mad about the money lost, but I don’t want to stop decluttering.

That’s why I find I always have to violate the Kon Marie Method order, because I never have enough clothes I like available for purchase at any cost in order to dump the clothes I hate.

For one, I’m an off size, very small, and the second thing, my taste goes in and out of style. It was in stores right before the stores got shut down. Hopefully it is still there by the time the stores reopen.

Part of the problem was taking a long time to know my own taste.

I’m a summer in skin color, kind of ashen, but I only like colorful clothes.

So hopefully I’ll find a silver dress for Monday, red for Tuesday, orange for Saturday and teal for Sunday when the stores reopen, I hate sending dresses back and forth online even more than I hate going to stores in person.

It really is nice to wear clothes I like, basically comfortable, summer dresses all year, especially ones with a bright tropical vibe. It just took me a long time (34 years) to really admit what I like and get it when I find it. I love cute dresses, joyful dresses, comfortable dresses, vibrant dresses. I like something that could be danced in or could be cleaned in, I like not having to change to be able to move freely.

Thinking about my style more I want to get some fake fruit for my hat to let it be silly. I love a silly style. Whimsy and humor have been too scarce in my life so far. If I could get something that makes me smile, it would be worth the effort. I don’t do T-shirts, but Amazon does reasonably priced custom tank tops, so maybe someday I’ll think of something that makes me laugh for a tank top.

I was going through my financial records recently and thinking that for me true wealth is my friends. My family overall, unfortunately is like debt…

I love my husband, my two children, I appreciate my dad and my sister, but all those relationships have become cluttered by emotional baggage and trauma (except with my son). My daughter and I, according to her, have fixed our relationship, so that’s great, but I think it’s a long road ahead with the remaining three relationships that could use repair.

My husband and I are off to a good start, we have kind of got the bullet out so to speak, but I think it will be much harder with my dad and my sister.

I’m hopeful the “Emotional First Aid” book will help me create a relationship that doesn’t create any sense of dread with my father and my sister.

It’s not like they are bad people, but we had so many “bad times” together, so they kind of take me back there emotionally like the Cranberries takes me back to the 1990s.

There was a minimalism documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus that really changed my life forever.

They said at the end “love people, use things.”

I had been doing it wrong my whole life.

So now, even though I’m trying to do the Kon Marie Method of having items that spark joy, I always put people ahead of that.

I have a team of four imaginary friends when I declutter, Marie Kondo, Matt Paxton, Joshua Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, actually five, Sarah Knight as well.

And it probably takes that much to let go of the unwanted. That’s how hard it is to silence the voices of the people who lived through the depression telling me I “have to keep everything, in case,” what if I live the remainder of my life with excess baggage though? What if I don’t have energy to play with the kids after cleaning excess junk the older generation never had to deal with though? What if my husband and I divorce over arguments about clutter, space or messes that a little bit of rebuying something I threw out could have prevented though? What if I find my life purpose in the creative activities that empty space I enjoy helped me get in the mood to pursue though?

What is the cost of letting go of some clothing I didn’t like?

If I keep it, it doesn’t mean the sweat shops close down, if I keep it to donate it – the mess doesn’t leave my house for months longer, if I keep it, it doesn’t make a big jump in our families savings, if I keep it, most of the family won’t notice either way, if I keep it, I feel burdened.

In the Q.U.I.C.K. method of organization book they refer to people like me as “tossers” I prefer to think of myself as a “minimalist at heart” in the company of most people who ever lived outside of modern times, in the company of Epictetus and Henry David Thoreau.

It’s not about the number of items, but it’s really about making more room for sucking the marrow of life. I feel like the extra clutter is right in the way of the life I want to live.

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

– Henry David Thoreau

It seems to me the more “possessions” I have, the less I can accurately discern what wealth is for me.

I know wealth is my friends love for me, the laughter and peace of my children, the beauty of the sunrise, the ability to write and think freely, a kind smile from a stranger, a joke or good song easing the pain of life, the surprise of everyday being different than the last, the company of friends, the ability to take my kids to an open park, or walk as a family on a nature trail, to have peace of mind that we have enough for groceries and rent without double checking, the sound of a song bird, the way images from stories in books can stay with you all your life, the smell of a library, the taste of Hawaiian shave ice, the smell of guavas.

But I want to know more, I want to suck deeper of life’s marrow.

For me I think that means much less visual distraction and much less “stuff”.

Anyone have something special that you let go of intentionally with either a feeling of freedom or regret?

Update: My husband was completely fine with me getting rid of the wedding dress, he kind of understands me by now (after 5 years of marriage). It was nice. I told him it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with him, but I wanted to be with him in a new way, not the way we were. I think he really understood what I meant. I put a lot of the clothes in a bag to toss, I’m torn between taking a few items to donate, but if I don’t “really do it” tomorrow then I’ll throw the bag out Thursday. I wonder if donating something with a negative vibe for me is a blessing for someone else or just transferring a problem. I’m guessing one person’s trash is another’s treasure? It’s weird, but I can’t wait to be rid of the dress, I’m so excited to get rid of it tomorrow.

One reason in particular I wanted to get rid of my wedding dress is because 10 years after my mother cast my father aside like garbage for another man who didn’t love her, she was deeply attached to her wedding dress. She wanted me to wear it. I didn’t want to wear the dress of a failed marriage and I was so puzzled at how she could value a $400 dress so much more than the marriage that cost much more and the human being who loved her faithfully and constantly. It’s an unstated goal to get rid of as much as I can from my wedding, so that what is precious about my wedding is my actual husband, so that he is what I have from that day, to value the person, not the things. I’m not saying a person can’t value people and things, but for me, I’d rather err on the side of caution that my priorities are crystal clear in my own heart and mind.

😿 Blogging and Mental Toughness πŸ˜Ό

Values based living, it’s been hard for me and very rewarding for me.

I change my values a lot, not that I abandon them, just that with limited time and focus, responsibilities around me changing and the world changing, things change.

My daughter checks in with Habitca, a habit tracking app, and selects her value of the day in the morning (chosen from her own top 7). Then she can focus on her value. Tuesday was humor and she kept joking until she made me laugh. Monday was fun and she was extra silly. Last Friday, friendship, she hung out with our room-mate a little bit and had a blast.

I’m so proud of her, she is four years old and she knows what her values are, rather than the ones society would like to push on her.

And she finds her own way to live by her values.

It’s good for the prefrontal cortex to plan and make goals.

The Navy Seals developed a mental toughness training course to help more people pass their training, it worked, it changed the passing rate from somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 (I don’t remember the specifics).

How the Brain Works and How to Become Mentally Strong

But it works enough for me to trust it.

  1. Eat the Elephant
  2. Visualize Success
  3. Emotional Control
  4. Non-reactivity
  5. Small Victories
  6. Find Your Tribe (And Necessity)

I would split number six into two pieces (following rule 1, meaning split up something hard into manageable chunks).

Looking at this list, I realize now that blogging has helped me in all these ways over the past year.

I started blogging for a few reasons, 1. I like writing. 2. I wanted to move on from morning pages. 3. I was really shy and it was a bit of exposure therapy. 4. I wanted to find myself as a writer. 5. I wanted to find myself as a person (I was so lost in fog). 6. I wanted to get better at writing clearly. 7. I read a challenge by Mark Manson to write 100 blog posts before deciding about what to blog about or even if you should blog.

I’m at 82/100 right now, but I can’t really imagine choosing 1 topic, nor trying to monetize. Not that I’m against those things for other people. I feel a boundless freedom in being able to discuss anything, perhaps the most freedom I’ve ever felt or had. It really reminds me of “the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” Episode 1, where Giordano Bruno is imprisoned and killed because he believes in an infinite universe against what the Catholic Church at the time believed in… was the church too stupid and violent or was Giordano too stubborn? I don’t know. But I’m starting to feel that free floating feeling of freedom and it’s so hard to imagine confining my mental space to an non-infinite range of topics now that I’ve tasted freedom.

I also don’t want to monetize, I’ve never tried to drive traffic, never tried to make my family or friends read my articles that they are not interested, never minded when people don’t follow or like what I write.

Perhaps because my expectations were so low, I’ve always been told I have weird tastes and opinions that no one wants to hear, so that when actually about 1/5 articles I write are liked, that’s infinitely more than I expected or “need”.

Actually yesterday on Coach.me where I also write, I got the first comment that I made a difference to someone in the exact way that was my goal and it felt amazing.

My goal was 1 person.

And I met that goal.

And now, I’ve gotten so much benefits from writing this blog, that I can’t imagine ever being without it, or without some kind of writing.

Thank you readers, I realize now that you are my tribe.

Some will just glance and read something else (1/2), some will dislike (X), some will read more (1/2), some will like something (1/5), but all are acknowledging me as a human being, for who I am. My writing is me, much more than my body ever has been. You can like me, dislike me, remain neutral, but by reading my work, you are seeing me, meeting me, knowing me.

Just like a real tribe, some people in the tribe don’t have much interest in me, but others do, and I’ve found so much support, encouragement, interesting perspective in the blogger/reader/writer’s tribe. The “wordsmiths” if you will…

It’s been nice to find the feeling I belong for the fist time in my life. Even if it’s to a completely open club, it’s still nice to belong.

Hopefully I’ll get a “writer’s jacket” with patches at the elbows sometime soon. My son has one and I’m completely envious of it.

Just started a new book “Emotional First Aid,” it’s wonderful (I always say that right?). This book is water in the desert for me. It’s like a dummy’s guide to emotional problems, which I completely needed my whole life and thank God/the universe/fate that I finally found it (you can tell I’m agnostic a little bit there).

I skipped right to the guilt chapter and it’s nice that there are three main types of guilt, survivor guilt is probably the worst for me, but I think like an ice-cream sandwich bar I have all three flavors! I don’t why that’s exciting, but it is. Perhaps, since reading “Permission to Feel” I feel like I get a gold star every time I notice my uglier feelings? They have become like rare “Pokemon” to collect, rather than things to hide or suffer from day in and day out.

This post makes me want to write about each aspect of mental toughness and link to the posts that helped me most in each area, and also I didn’t even talk about serenity, my new value of the day for Thursday, but I really want to get school stared for the kids, so I think I’ll end this post here and leave some of the “fun” for next time.

Thank you guys so much for being my tribe! Much love and gratitude for you time and presence here.

I feel so free, I let me out of some “prisons” in my mind today. Ironic right?

🌎 Worlds Within Worlds πŸŒ

For a what seemed like a month I was ill, I was lucky to have the ability to see a doctor, get a blood test, urine test, kidney ultrasound, but none of it revealed the cause and I’ll probably never know. Getting the tests gave me some hope of finding what it was and curing it, unfounded hopes, but strong ones. I was so far past my comfort zone that my husband looked for a cure and found one, without a diagnosis I was still able to find what really seemed like a cure. We found corn silk water. Which is the strings of the corn that are trash, boiled for about 10 minutes and drunken. I joked with my husband that perhaps all I needed was water, but I really think the corn silk water, known to be a anti-inflammatory was honestly effective. I had never heard of it before and had absolutely no hope in it when he brought it to me, so I don’t credit the placebo effect.

What I had was a persistent pain on my left abdomen, above belly button level and left of it, between the flank and middle. I was also unwell, dizzy, nauseated, couldn’t digest food, when I threw up food it looked the same as when I ate it and I burped a foul odor sewage often. The pain was so intense at times, it felt undulating like an octopus of pain. Since my lab results were all “normal” it didn’t seem to be an infection, nor parasite, nor kidney stones, but the fact that it seemed like nothing to Western Medicine, didn’t mean it was nothing. I’m not given to any mysterious pains, I was healthy, able to exercise and pick up my kids one month, then the next I wasn’t.

It was difficult to be nice, I tried to be, but I was pretty cranky. I told myself I was going to remember how hard it was to be nice when I was in pain (I know some people do it).

Now I’m better and I’m a bit afraid of forgetting the mental shift of understanding towards people in pain that I had during that time.

“Think little of thy flesh: blood, bones, and a skin; a pretty piece of knit and twisted work, consisting of nerves, veins and arteries; think no more of it, than so.”

Marcus Aurelius

I’ve been sickly often, but also healthy often. Probably more sickly than most people, but also more healthy than most chronically ill people. Spent some time in crutches and leg casts as a youth for dysplasia of the hip, did physical therapy, observed how being the only one on crutches makes the other school kids separate you from them mentally. I was lucky in that they separated me in a nice way, they actually treated me better, held the door, gave me space and encouragement. But still a mental separation grows between the people who are normal and the outlier.

When I’m healthy I have a tendency to think I’m healthy because I made good choices about eating, I exercised a lot, I go to the doctor once a year.

But it’s all wrong.

My choices are pretty average, I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat that healthy, perhaps a shade better than average if at all not much. Both my parents were thin, my dad had decent eating habits, my mom was anorexic, luckily I picked up more of dad’s eating habits. It was probably luck to be exposed to healthy eating habits at home, in the larger extended family and than in my friend circles and athletic circles. Some athletic circles are mentally damaging in an effort to make weight, mine wasn’t, for that I am grateful.

I do exercise, sure, but I’ve seen people who exercise a lot more and are unhealthy. In a way Lance Armstrong was much less healthy than me. Because I feel like enough inside, without a gold metal, or however many he has. I guess he got into a cycle of taking drugs to win, lying about taking the drugs, and still not being happy with the amount he won. The Cool Running Coach syndrome. Exercise has played a huge role in my battle to master my mind and emotions, but it can’t keep you healthy, many people who exercise get physically or mentally sick inside.

I go to the doctor and they check to see if I’m already healthy, going doesn’t make me that way. Getting the cholesterol blood check helps me know if I need to adjust my diet to fight my naturally high cholesterol producing body I have due to genes from my Japanese side, but just seeing the doctor and saying hello doesn’t bestow health upon me.

Japanese people (I’m Japanese from my dad’s side) produced all the cholesterol their body needed with no meat for so long when isolated and encouraged by religious practices of Buddhism, that Japanese people who do eat meat, especially non-seafood, tend to have high cholesterol, adding extra where there is already enough. Cholesterol is needed in the boundary membrane of all cells, part of the bag that separates one cell from another, it’s not bad in the right amount, but vital – when in balance. At 16 years old my cholesterol was about 260, which is “too high,” I got it down with garlic, running, and some diet changes, but every few years it shoots back up and I start something to bring it down, oatmeal, plyometrics, something.

Anyways, I wasn’t sure a few months ago if good health was a gift or something you earned, but now I really think it is a gift. The ability to be well enough to exercise, or affluent enough to eat well, both are gifts.

It may be a gift that you have to earn, but even still it’s a gift.

I’m sure Stephen Hawking would have stayed well if he could.

It seems like splitting hairs, but it isn’t.

If I have something good in my life, like life itself, awareness, health, love, I want to know if it’s something that is a gift or something that is a wage.

It’s not that I don’t like gifts, but knowing the difference is mentally vital.

It allows me to give credit where credit is due and not where it isn’t.

My husband told me, when he was frustrated, that he hates “all of my ideas.”

I was sad, I told him “people are made completely of ideas and values wrapped in a meat shell.”

He asked if he could keep my meat shell.

Which was funny, we laughed, he apologized later.

We are not the body we leave behind, but it does affect us.

β€œYour body is the harpΒ of yourΒ soulΒ and it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.”

– Khalil Gibran

Being in pain affects the mind so much, it makes it hard to think, and for me, hard to take steps towards feeling better.

When I don’t have back pain I sit with good posture, when I do have pain, I sit hunched over and make it worse and worse… when I don’t have pain I will set up a heating pad, but if I already have pain I won’t…

I don’t know if it’s a personal failing or a feature of humanity that the more we need treatment the less we rise towards it.

Perhaps we were meant to take care of one another like my husband did for me this time. Setting the cure down in a glass in front of someone’s nose who doesn’t believe in it and wouldn’t have taken the time to get it?

I don’t know.

But in retrospect it seems silly I didn’t recognize health as a gift a long time ago. It’s a gift often given to the youth, but very often I didn’t have it.

Perhaps believing I control it, when it was so obviously not the case in my life full of allergies ext, that I didn’t have to fear it would ever be gone.

That’s perhaps why I hated myself when I was sick…

I blamed myself for being ill when I was ill, I applauded myself for being well when I was well (instead of being grateful). Both ways deepened a delusion and thus reduced my sanity (the ability to recognize reality).

In a way sanity is the same as mindfulness, what an insane world we live in where sanity and mindfulness are considered an unnecessary luxury in a world trying to get us to work as much as possible…

I was just discussing with my husband (from Mexico) what I (from Hawaii, US, but previously an independent kingdom) are. As a parent the US education system’s massive mediocrity comes to mind first, it wasn’t always – used to be top 10 in the world (6th in 1990), but it’s about 27th now and hasn’t been good in a long time (my aunt is a high school teacher, my sister and friends work in that field as well), the health care system that I worked in for many years is a pretty massive failure as well, the care isn’t horrible, but it’s not better than the same care in other countries at a much higher price due to either corruption or inefficiency (I have no idea which), the third failing is security. We think of ourselves are the strongest military in the world, but we came out of Viet Nam (my uncle fought in that one) with a loss, didn’t win the Korean War (my grandpa fought in that one), got stuck in the middle east without much to show for it, certainly didn’t win the war on drugs or terrorism, perhaps we bite off too much, or worse there is corrupt business interests on the part of politicians who won’t be the one on the ground suffering or causing suffering for others. Violence is also a problem at home, police killed my friend’s Caucasian, unarmed mentally challenged son, when he didn’t raise his hands when told to do so, they shot an unarmed Hispanic boy in our area 14 times when he was crossing the street. Dead people for police, are like dropped dishes at a restaurant, or rockets that don’t launch without blowing up… (it’s a part of the job) but the extent of our internal violence and external violence, it’s very stressful for the people who are aware of it, or affected by it due to where we live. Many people are not aware of the extent of or violence, but it’s not all hype, there are a lot of shootings, and the police shootings are more terrorizing because there is nothing to very little done about it ever.

We Decreased Educational Spending 3% While Others Increased It – Seeds that are Watered Grow… This data is based on SAT style test given to 15 year old students around the world.
US Health Info
Not the Worst in the World, but Moderately Unsafe Always

The top three things about this country in my opinion are 1. Musical diversity and creativity, 2. Movie or entertainment production and 3. Factory production output. The way we won WW2 was largely by producing more airplanes and ships that the ones our inexperienced troops were loosing. I think we are the world’s other “made in China,” our phone ports seem to break every few years, but we churn out a lot of different kinds of things in a good/innovative and bad/pollution kind of impressive way.

I don’t hate this country, but I’ve been bothered all my life by the disconnect between what the media and public says we are and our lack of data baking that up. My grandparents raised the flag every day, what prevents me the most from loving this country, is not knowing it, you can’t love a lie. There needs to be some honesty rediscovery of reality for my generation to come together as a nation.

Perhaps it’s a fake news problems, or government suppression, but I don’t think so, I think the public just didn’t adjust to the fast changes of the past 70 years. I think we got stuck mentally at a time when we were militarily victorious, when we were leading education and our health care was not failing. I think we forgot to really look at ourselves without fake news, ever since our grandparents era passed and take stock of the reality of the significant changes that have happened.

My husband and I don’t enjoy living in the US to the same extent. Instead of arguing with him, that he thought it was the best place for us to live and discounting my view that it isn’t the best place to live, I considered the possibility that both are true.

There are many differences between my husband and I, but the first obvious one is gender.

The US is the same as Arab and Asian countries in political representation of women by women… I would hope male politicians always thought about women’s rights and men’s rights as equal, but I notice my husband forgets what I ask for from the store much more than he forgets what he needs…

So perhaps this is the best place for him, he loves the stock market lately, he likes having a pretty well paying job, he likes his life quality, and at the same time it is also true I don’t feel this place is the best for me.

I look at Sweden’s 16 month paternity leave for both parents and drool, imagining having help for 16 months is just amazing. Not only the help I would get, but the joy the kids would have playing with their dad, the joy he would get seeing them grow and master new things, seeing himself reflected in their eye and knowing how we are parts of one another’s souls.

I am not denying I benefit from this country, but although I am a great worker and have a bachelor’s degree I have never made over $13.75, my husband can’t do long division and makes double what I made working on an ambulance, as a mechanic.

It’s two different jobs, a mechanic vs an EMT.

But the reality is the same, my worth in dollars, in resources, which translates to freedom and power, is less than half of my husband.

I’m not sure who has more rights between a child or a wife? But between a husband and a wife in the US it’s clear.

As an EMT we had to report child abuse and elder abuse legally, every time, so did everyone else in health care, or police, or teachers, but domestic abuse does not get touched and is not mandatory…

The message I see on TV is american women are so free and privileged, the message I see in the bank is american women are behind men in rights, the message I see in politics is america is that the US is the same as the Arabic world it demonizes (but our hijab is a lack of clothing not extra), the message I see in the legal system is women don’t matter. And that’s how it felt growing up, as a child I had rights and every year approaching womanhood was a silent loss of rights, a child getting cat-called (verbal abuse and sexual harassment) by a grown man was shamed by society, a woman is expected to take the abuse and literally smile, while movies portray some illusion of equal rights for women in the US, data has never lied to us that way.

What is it like to live in america? It depends highly on who you are, where you are, what you like.

It’s not a horrible place, by all means, the problems here are probably caused by lack of awareness more than evil or conscious victimization of women or students ext, but it’s just amazing the difference between the public opinion, pubic appearance and the at home experience. When my mother grew up 1/3 children were being sexually abused at home, now it’s 1/6, about 1/4 american women will be raped or molested. That’s improvement, but it can sure take the joy out of baseball and apple pie when you live with that dysfunctional broken family tension that is a big part of america that doesn’t get put in the brochure.

Drug problems, mental health problems, abuse, gender inequality…

Scenic coasts, inventive minds, fresh fruit pies, technological innovation…

I think the worst thing about the US is an air that emotional repression is healthy, I think it causes most of the other problems.

Repress your emotions, you get drug problems, mental health problems, abuse problems, perhaps even gender inequality, women express more emotions and are perhaps shamed for being who they are meant to be.

What’s the solution? Probably social change.

Education just makes you aware it’s messed up that woman get raped and then you drop it and go about your day.

When women play an equal role in law making I think they will safe guard there own rights to a better extent than men (who probably mostly mean well) will do.

I don’t always know what flavor of beer my husband is into, he likes six (Blue Moon, Modelo, Negro Modelo, Heineken, Stella, Dos Equis), but they fall in and out of favor, when he goes to the store he gets what he craves almost always, but he can’t remember, after six years of marriage, which ice cream I like. I like mint, he brings pistachio, I like black cherry, he brings cheese cake… I love him, but when he shops for me, the amount of me getting what I want drops…

I didn’t always think it mattered how many women were in politics, and I certainly don’t think woman are immune to corruption or always do a better job, but I don’t think due to human nature, not evil intentions, that women will achieve equal rights before equal representation or earning.

I don’t think it’s important for me personally or women as much as it is important for everyone, every human had a mother and a father, we are all tied to the well being of both genders. To start charity that helps only women, doesn’t offer men jobs to support the family, lets girls but not boys go to school, it pains me equally as the opposite does.

I have a boy and a girl, I wouldn’t want to subjugate one in place of the other, what I want from the future is a future where women are free to be themselves, not smothered by expectations and injustices and if we must be smothered, at least we are honestly smothered and not silenced by a public facade.

While women are oppressed, every family is oppressed and in a way every person. While anyone is trapped, everyone is trapped to some very small degree.

Who knows the potential of the world when the genders are both allowed to work in harmony, when the nations get over their pride of pretending to be better than the data shows they are and have open dialogues about what the current priorities are without needing to pretend everything is perfect?

I think world peace, harmony with the environment, space travel, a end to slave trafficking, I think those things are all possible and staying satisfied with having half the world’s population subjugated partially is holding progress back and I think it’s a damn shame.

Some people are going to mars in the next decades, others are satisfied with the current status quo and many are living trapped as house slaves or sex slaves in every country of the world in “massage” parlors no one really cares to do much about, some people are starving, all in the same world.

I get my child legos, I teach them science, I try to be a better person just a bit everyday, but trying to understand this modern life is nearly mind boggling.

Because on this world of billions of people are billions of world, my husband’s world separated from mine, by no physical distance, but both by gender and individuality. My sister’s world separated from mine, by an ocean of distance, but a wider ocean of temperament and psychological differences. My father’s world separated from mine, by the same physical distance that lies between my sister and I, but also by an ocean of time.

Sometimes we feel alone in the world, because we sometimes are.

Thank you for visiting my world for this moment in time. I wish you all the best, everyday that we do a little better, the world is a little better and the days we can’t open up another day where maybe we can.

πŸ€– Emotional Intelligence 48% πŸΆ

Hopeful, guilty, sleepy, that’s my normal three. My daughter jealous, loved, curious, she used to my more excited and silly, I miss that girl, but I suppose it had to end someday. Sibling jealousy isn’t as bad with us as it was in the family I grew up in, but it became the center point of our reality and I hate that so much.

I read Siblings without Rivalry, they use the analogy if your spouse brought home another spouse who used half your stuff, it wouldn’t feel “cool” to have someone new in the family… I don’t know how it’s done in other places, but it seems weird to me that so many kids are so narcissistic (including myself and my daughter, but also most of the preschool) that we never imagine having to share our parents and it becomes such a strain.

There really have been three pairs of siblings I’ve met, in hundreds, who didn’t seem to resent the other sibling. Two pairs had older boys with younger girls, one was an older girl, younger boy, all were close in age. Two were from this country. I don’t know what they did right, or if it was the kids, but despite having read the Siblings without Rivalry book and trying to implement the suggestions, the jealousy my daughter has seems never ending, which is exhausting.

I think I had more patience for her jealousy the first year, now I’m starting to get mad. I’m supposed to be a safe place for her to talk about the jealousy so it has an outlet to not pile up and explode, but it’s getting more and more difficult, because I really find it stupid.

Perhaps it’s a feeling of failure on my part, I did what I thought I was supposed to do and it didn’t work to get rid of this jealousy issue. So either I need to do something else or I won’t be able to control the issue and it will pass whenever it passes.

I hate either, and especially not knowing which.

I don’t like other people’s feelings, no one ever helped me with mine growing up, I’d rather not have to deal with other people’s feelings at all, there is an urge to live in the woods, writing or painting, that I’ve had since growing up in the woods, with no other kids in our neighborhood, that has never left me.

The weird things is that I have friends. It seems to me weird that anyone would want a friend that is reluctant to support them thorough emotional turmoil, but I have a few great, close friends.

Which is why I have a strong belief that true friends are gifts from God or fate, which can not be rushed or shopped for ext. My friends really accept me as flawed, without hating me, or even asking me for more. Their honest feedback and quiet acceptance has been a source of strength and always reminds me the world is not made of my mind, because my imagination wouldn’t have given me friends.

I never though I would get married either, I remember studying for college Physics with a group of girls at Barnes and Noble, one was reading a book about dating, I didn’t criticize her, but I thought the book was pretty stupid as she read exurbs from it. We talked openly about what we wanted from life, I was the most career driven (and now a stay at home mom), I was the least interested in marriage (and the first to get married).

Looking back on my marriage now, what ruined or at least degraded it was we both want the other one to see our point of view, respect our feelings and we both think the other person’s point of view is stupid and their feelings are stupid. Even though we as in love as anyone could be, living with someone for five years who thinks all you view and feelings are stupid can put a lot of distance between you.

An example, I was hurt and felt left out when my husband went on a tropical, international bachelor’s party two months before our wedding, with most of the details still unplanned. He was frustrated that I didn’t want to help him buy the tickets, hurt I didn’t didn’t want to see his pictures when he did come back and pretty much thought it was stupid that I was hurt.

So, it wasn’t a failure of recognizing each other’s feelings, we just mutually find them stupid.

Which explains a lot.

Defiance is not a discipline problem; it’s a relationship problem — he is showing you how alone he feels. Your son is acting like this because he needs help with his emotions and he doesn’t trust that you’re on his side to give him that help. You can change that, with your empathy and connection.

– Laura Markham (Getting Strong-Willed Kids To Cooperate without Punishment)

I read an article by Laura Markham a few days ago, “Getting Strong-Willed Kids to Cooperate without Punishment” and pieces of it really struck me as the behinds the scenes story of every relationship I’ve ever had.

The relationship between my father and I, between my mother and I, my husband and I, my daughter and I.

I don’t want it to be the relationship between my son and I also.

My son is 1 now, he is starting to be strongly emotional, he has something taken away, he cries our of frustration of his curiosity, or lack of control ext. when he gets hurt, he tends not to cry. Pain has become emotional, rather than physical, in a major way already.

I think babies have emotions already at birth, but it’s glaringly obvious at 1.

I think that’s why my mom only liked little babies, they love you, you can ignore their emotions (if they have them) and it’s a simple relationship.

I think my mom and dad were really helpless to deal with emotions, which was bad for me because, I couldn’t pick up those skills from either, my husband is also the same or worse than I am, so my children don’t have a good example either, yet!

I’m really optimistic to learn some better skills from the Permission to Feel book.

Over 2,000 schools use their RULER system, so hopefully we will be one more successful one, and hopefully I can be there to help my kids with their emotions someday soon.

I had always thought the individual has a responsibility for their own feelings, and that is probably still true of the adult… but I don’t think it is true for young children anymore. They can’t eat by themselves, they can’t potty without being trained, why would they be able to manage this (emotions) when they can’t manage time, clothing, cleaning or anything else without being taught? I’ve helped them with everything else, but thrust that at them thinking that was the only way.

Even if it is their responsibility, if I could help, why I wouldn’t I help?

I never could before, I didn’t even know it was a thing…

I thought the internal world was like a vault somehow, that other’s didn’t have access to be able to help or be helped, but perhaps the door can open or shut, and just because all I saw before were shut doors, doesn’t mean that is all there is to see.

The RULER is:

R- Recognize feelings from words, faces and body language.

U- Understand our feelings, why they emerged, how did it affect us.

L- Label the feelings with words correctly.

E- Express feelings appropriately.

R- Regulate, not stuff the feelings, but not act inappropriately either.

As much as I notice I have a problem accepting other people’s feelings, I am noticing that I’m doing okay with R-Recognizing,

Here’s a wheel that helps go from a general feeling to a specific one to a mood and back.

Right now I’m furious, because it’s hot, it’s silly, but that’s how I get, and I’m noticing my son gets like that too. We are about to cool off with a shower and water play.

The weather shot up from cold to hot in three days, so it’s not that we can’t adjust, but I wasn’t aware it was happening and it takes me a little while to adjust our habits. I didn’t expect a hot April, but it was 93F/34C yesterday after having been 75F/23C for quite awhile. I checked the weather report, it’s not coming down, so we just need to adjust for it, but I think a steady heat is much easier to deal with than a sudden one, I don’t know, but it feels like our bodies adjust.

It kind of feels a bit better, just saying that.

I suppose that’s how the U in RULER works, it feels like it helps to understand.

I suppose maybe our feelings are stupid, but we still benefit from understanding them and perhaps when you distance yourself from someone’s stupid feelings the byproduct is an overall distance.

I can’t imagine having to befriend all my dad’s illogical feelings, my husband’s extremely quick changing feelings, my daughter’s explosive feelings, and my sister’s depressive ones at this moment.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Maybe three feelings a day would be a good start?

I watched this video years ago and wanted to join in, but it wasn’t to be.

Right now I’m trying to grow slowly, I’m working on R and U before moving on, so recognizing feelings and understanding them.

Yesterday my daughter was sad I took her dog toy she was hitting me with, then she punched me, I recognized she was sad that I can take her things, I think she feels powerless when I do that (but nor do I care to be hit with things), I didn’t punish her this time and in a way I think it made her feel worse because even her maximum power level of punching me really is powerless to do anything… I didn’t even mind it other than I’m supposed to tell her not to do it…

Three days ago she sat on my lap hugging me and told me “my life has always been so hard.” I tried not to laugh in her face, because I don’t think that’s true, she has always been spoiled with toys and treats, she was the first grandchild on my side… but I try to open my mind to her truth, I am still trying.

Perhaps she doesn’t care about toys and treats, perhaps she has always wanted power and freedom, or respect and mastery, and she has never had those things (maybe a little respect, but not as much control as she wants).

It’s very difficult for me to open myself to her feelings and I don’t even know why.

I’m open to the idea her early life was hard, that’s what drove me to become a stay at home mother.

But I suppose I’m tired of dealing with the sibling rivalry to the extent, I don’t even want to hear that she is having a hard time with it anymore.

I’m over having that problem.

And my daughter isn’t over having that problem.

So, I’m kind of a jerk in that way.

The same way my husband was a jerk I slept on the sofa crying while he was gone and even though that’s my lens, choice, belief, experience, he never cared to extend me a hug in sympathy. Our dog slept with me on the sofa, our dog gave me a hug, it’s quite possible our dog is a better person than both of us in many ways, especially that way. The dog didn’t say, you are right to throw a fit, but she did comfort me anyways.

I guess I have the underlying belief that to offer support for feelings is to agree with the logic or belief that led to the feeling?

This is very murky water in my mind, but I’m going to navigate it, because of the dog.

I feel like I owe to that yellow dog (Canela) to learn that lesson and pay it forward, especially to my son who is starting to reach out for support, I’m not yet ready to offer.

I guess I have the underlying belief that if I could offer support for feelings to my family, I would be obligated to give them as much as they wanted, which in my mind would be much to much for me to endure. That it is all or nothing.

I’ve got to break those beliefs to move forward.

Learning how to support others emotionally doesn’t mean I have to, it means I can, it doesn’t mean I agree with their stupid believes, it just means I support them and accept how they feel in the moment.

This is pretty much day 2 and I’m already kind of exhausted from yesterday, but my daughter’s behavior has gotten a bit better (4%?) rather than (0%) with confinement in her room. I guess I’m also angry, judgmental and lovey.

Hot is an Emotion for Me

Thank you readers, it helps keep me accountable to share this publicly, I don’t know why it does, but it does. It keeps me from getting distracted with another book and forgetting that increasing my ability to comfort my kids emotions (and mine) was my mental top priority. It’s my resolution to be less like a robot and more like a dog, to be more of a bitch to my kids if you will, much more.

🏠 True Freedom πŸ¦œ

How do I feel about the coronovirus 2 month confinement in Orange County California, USA where we have low infection numbers?

Angry.

In some places it’s important to limit infections, because hospitals need to keep up with it or the population is so dense it could be a disaster.

But in other places neither of those things is a reality and shutting down becomes a threat to other people’s lives, some loose their job, their exercise routine (a big part of mental health), years ago I read Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, which explains your reason for getting out of bed (Ikigai) and physical social circle are two of your biggest contributors of actual physical health, longevity and well being pretty much on par with diet and exercise.

Saving some people has cost others in a way that is impossible to calculate, 800,000 people (1 in 40 seconds) commit suicide worldwide, every year. How can we ignore the impact decreasing people’s mental well being will have on the world if we are concerned with every life?

My dad asked me what that has to do at all with this situation and my response is that in both cases it’s not my moral responsibility to keep the people alive, but theirs.

I’m not against being concerned about the elderly or ill who die from coronovirus, but I absolutely consider their lives equal to the others who die from anything else, suicide, opiod overdose. You may say they are making choices people can’t choose not to get infected, but that’s not true, it’s a choice to see people, the elderly can permanently self confine (that’s very drastic, but possible). It’s a situation where very drastic alternatives are the reality. For people to loose their jobs to help keep others sick, isn’t cool and no big deal and no problem and all smiley like the commercials encouraging people to stay home and stop the spread.

Not that I don’t care, but the ethical burden is on them to stay home, not me to stay home to not get them sick.

I am so irritated by the implication we should do this cheerfully, so much more than the interruption.

I’m watching Ted Burns World War 2 documentary, four towns and many people who actually experienced the war, it’s very cool to see first hand history, they keep saying “we hated the war” but “it was necessary,” after all this time I agree with them.

What strikes me as wrong with america today is not that we over confined, but that we can’t be honest about hating it.

I know I as an individual am, but when I googled looking for someone expressing doubt of the necessity based on the facts, I could find that anywhere on the first three pages, I’m not saying an article was there and suppressed, but I think the emotion is there and suppressed.


I feel unsure we did any net good by social isolation due to the death toll under normal flu and cost in unemployment and loss of our freedom.

I feel surprised we could be kept in so long without a vote, when health officials asked for a week, the local government decided on 2 months with no vote. It’s the discrepancy between the two numbers that bothers me more than the length.

I feel thankful healthcare stayed open and adjusted very kindly.

I feel thankful fast-food was open, didn’t eat it a lot, but it did feel normal.

I feel thankful the stores restocked quickly.

I feel smoldering rage that the news presents possibilities as probable, that are just theoretical, and scares the public presenting theories in a way that confuses most people, I find it unethical, and intolerable that they continue to operate in a way that worsens people’s anxieties and health year after year.

I feel glad that more and more people realize the globe is a whole unit and humankind as well is a whole family and we can’t easily maintain a bubble, so that teamwork and what happens to others in other places affects our whole.

I feel glad for whatever lives we saved by my staying in.

I feel strongly opposed to being held in for two months for political reasons vs medical ones.

I hope that a medical board different from politicians can be consulted as to quarantine times in the future to attempt elimination of politics from a medical issue.

I hope we can find a different way to isolate the sick and elderly in the future that both protects them and gives the young and healthy a choice on going out and keeping their jobs. Like a combination approach of some quarantine with testing for go between and freedom for those who don’t choose that quarantine in areas not likely to be a huge problem (unlike San Fransisco and New York). Essentially I hope for a non-blanket response the next time, there will be a next time and a worse time.

I feel a such a deep rage at the connection between being told what to do and how to feel.

If I have to do this I will do this, that’s not a problem, but why are you suggesting I should do it with a smile?

This is definitely a trigger of my father’s generation pushing me to always have a smile pissing me off.

I’m not going to smother my pain so you don’t get uncomfortable, it’s your choice to be in my life or not, I’m not a pawn on someone else’s chest board to keep up appearances.

If I smile when I don’t mean it, a smile looses all meaning for me, in a way you rob yourself of ever seeing a true smile by requesting fake ones.

Real smiles are rarer than diamonds in my family. My son just gave me one.

I believe we should be able to choose our causes, but I also understand unwanted battles are forced on your group sometimes as well.

I maybe would have liked to help if I was given a choice or vote, I understand life won’t always afford me that luxury, but I don’t have to like it.

My dad yelled at my four times over my not having his opinion and was very verbally abusive to my sister, who is very depressive.

I don’t know about every family, but in my family, the elders have been asking us to hide every emotion except happy our whole lives.

Even my calm was not good enough, if they bought us a toy we didn’t want, and we weren’t ridiculously excited like the commercials, we were passive aggressively punished to try to get us to be exactly like their ideal image of a child.

It was hardest for me at Christmas, I’m a minimalist, I’m a phlegmatic, calm person, I loathe being lied to about “Santa” or anything, because it shattered permanently my ability to trust authority figures.

So far the best thing that’s happened in this corono-spring 2020 is my finding “Permission to Feel” and embarking on a journey to protect what matters to me.

My cause at this point is to ensure my son can give his honest smile all his life, which means not trying to force him to show it when he is angry or sad or calm, which means giving permission to feel however he feels, and also doing it myself to show him how.

Things are going better with my daughter now that we don’t put her in her room, we have the same rules, but I send her to her door to do spins in front of it when she breaks them. It’s weird, but maybe the exercise part makes it work better? I don’t know.

Our idea is that we are going to keep trying new ideas until we find something that works for all of us, rather than keep doing the old idea (rule breaker in their room), which didn’t work at all for us as a family nor a society (with prisons)…

It feels good to give myself permission to explain how I feel, I wonder why it took so long? If I was holding in stay at home feelings out of respect for the dead and families suffering? Or was it just what I have always done with big feelings?

I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone lost or suffering, but I would now risk seeming that way, in order to feel my own feelings.

I don’t know why I can’t separate feeling them, writing about them and publicly posting them yet, but for some reason being able to express them publicly has enabled me to voice them privately, I don’t know why?

Ruffling feathers doesn’t seem worse enough to avoid killing myself from the inside out anymore.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

– Maya Angelou

πŸ”₯ 10 Differences Between an Insufferable Family Life and a Challenging One πŸ³

Lately my 4 year old has been pushing back hard, it’s been over two years, but for one year I was pregnant and too tired to mentally fix the problem, then I was guilty that we had a new baby and I was trying to make sure my daughter had a good relationship with her brother by not making changes that made it seem like the baby’s fault. Now I’m shifting towards being available and accepting of her feelings more, trying to hear her out instead of putting her in her room more often, but not being accepting at all of her breaking rules, but dropping as many unneeded rules as possible.

Things weren’t working well the last four years, so I’m trying to adjust them and taking notes about what works. Now I’m trying punishing harder, but less often and more affection during non-punishment times. I hate that being a parent is kind of like playing mind games.

The Ted Talk I watched yesterday that separated like and want is helping me untangle my feelings about parenting. I don’t “like” parenting, but I “want” to do a good job at it. It’s so uncomfortable for me to open my arms to a child throwing a fit over something stupid to come get a hug… but I “want” to give my kids that option to always have a lap and hug available to go to, and I’m the only one here…

My son runs into the floor with his face and the wall and then cries, I give him a choice of getting cuddled or not cuddled, he does both.

I see that he did something stupid and got hurt and I just comfort him.

With my daughter it’s harder, because I expected her to stop doing stupid things, but she hasn’t, so it’s a very unhelpful expectation.

Also she hurts herself emotionally rather than physically.

I was doing a diaper change, I did a bad job, I got poop on the clean diaper, and a blanket, I just admitted it, I knew I was frustrated and didn’t beat myself up for needing to take care of the mess before answering the questions my daughter started asking at the same time.

But that’s physical sh*t.

When I have mental sh*t to deal with, for some reason I beat myself up for needing any time, from five minutes, to one minute, to six seconds, I don’t give myself a break to recover from accidentally being head butted, or with a toy, or insulted ext, I expect that I can power through any kind of mental or emotional problem, or if I can’t I really beat myself up for not being able to.

Yesterday Cyrus said, “if this worked, don’t you think things would be getting better already?”

It wasn’t meant for me, but it struck me like an arrow to the heart.

I’ve always worried that if things don’t work, it’s my fault, that I quit to early, but looking back on many situations I didn’t quit to early, I just followed the wrong recipe for too long.

I have an authority bias, if I see a recommendation on a parenting article or in a book written by a professional, I think they know better than me, even though they have absolutely no way to see my kids.

It’s like a professional race car driver writing a book, that says left turn, and me trying to take a left turn on my street that doesn’t have one, over and over and over.

And part of the problem was in my mind I was not aware of how strong an authority bias (a professional said so, so it’s right!) I had.

I need to adjust that. A professional said so, so maybe it warrens consideration, does not at all mean immediately or irrefutably right for this situation.

I should have known that since there are always experts on both sides of every situation, doctors that say smoking is healthy, ones that say it isn’t… but what color are the lungs? Which people get cancer… the evidence tends not to lie as much as experts.

So, I made a personal note of 10 ways I want to change my real everyday family dynamic and knowing the specifics will change also the reasons behind the specifics.

LIVABLE BOUNDARIES FOR ME
1. Box up toys that are out of their allowed zone rather than discussing the zone over and over.
CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
2. Discuss disobedience and challenging behaviors openly and immediately, “If you challenge me you will lose every time, because I’m much older.”
TRAINING
3. Teach vocabulary, I say “if your toys are on the floor they will be taken away.” She says “no they won’t.” I say “if you mean “you hope they won’t” learn to say it that way.”
BOUNDARIES – DON’T RESCUE/ENABLE
4. Don’t feed bad behavior, if she is being punished for breaking the rules, no treats to help her feel better during that interlude.
TRAINING – KINDNESS
5. Do mention she is good and bad, and can make good choices and in what ways she is good when she eats lunch nicely, helpful carrying the laundry, fun to dance with, sweet to let her brother join in her game ext.
ENGAGING HER PREFERENCES
6. Play on her identity as “Blue” the good dinosaur.
RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION
7. Walk away if I’m not calm, I can come back to the discussion calm in 5, 10 or 15 minutes. My anger scares her and she doesn’t learn, I have to be calm.
NOTICING WHO SHE IS
8. My daughter learns from pain, like the pain of losing Legos left on the floor, if I try to rush her through that pain or minimize it, she doesn’t learn. Shame and pain teach her. She had an accident at the park in front of her friends and that was the last major one. I didn’t shame her, but the shame of the experience was what taught her to stop bullshitting the universe that she didn’t have to go potty when she really did and was lying to herself to avoid interrupting her play.
RULES – CHOOSING BATTLES
9. Get rid of non-essential rules, because each one will be a pain in the ass to enforce and all require enforcement, keep everything that matters, but realize they will all need enforcement.
EXPECTATIONS BASED ON REALITY NOT FANTASY
10. Think of her like an animal, a dog doesn’t come unless trained to come.

There is a pretty new kid’s series Jon Klassen’s Shape Trilogy with a sneaky triangle, a hard working, yet confused square, and a well liked circle. I loved the books. My daughter is very much the triangle, she does bad things because it’s fun, it’s funny, to see what happens, breaking the rules gives her a kleptomaniac glee, and of course many children and weak and sensitive now, but she isn’t, she is trying to game the system almost constantly. I hate that I can’t just ask her kindly and respectfully or explain to her calmly and logically to get her to follow the rules, but I can’t, it hasn’t worked. I’m quite uncomfortable being firm, but I can’t keep trying what doesn’t work anymore.

My new plan:

LIVABLE BOUNDARIES FOR ME
1. Box up toys that are out of their allowed zone rather than discussing the zone over and over.
CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
2. Discuss disobedience and challenging behaviors openly and immediately, “If you challenge me you will lose every time, because I’m much older.”
TRAINING
3. Teach vocabulary, I say “if your toys are on the floor they will be taken away.” She says “no they won’t.” I say “if you mean “you hope they won’t” learn to say it that way.”
BOUNDARIES – DON’T RESCUE/ENABLE
4. Don’t feed bad behavior, if she is being punished for breaking the rules, no treats to help her feel better during that interlude.
TRAINING – KINDNESS
5. Do mention she is good and bad, and can make good choices and in what ways she is good when she eats lunch nicely, helpful carrying the laundry, fun to dance with, sweet to let her brother join in her game ext.
ENGAGING HER PREFERENCES
6. Play on her identity as “Blue” the good dinosaur.
RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION
7. Walk away if I’m not calm, I can come back to the discussion calm in 5, 10 or 15 minutes. My anger scares her and she doesn’t learn, I have to be calm.
NOTICING WHO SHE IS
8. My daughter learns from pain, like the pain of losing Legos left on the floor, if I try to rush her through that pain or minimize it, she doesn’t learn. Shame and pain teach her. She had an accident at the park in front of her friends and that was the last major one. I didn’t shame her, but the shame of the experience was what taught her to stop bullshitting the universe that she didn’t have to go potty when she really did and was lying to herself to avoid interrupting her play.
RULES – CHOOSING BATTLES
9. Get rid of non-essential rules, because each one will be a pain in the ass to enforce and all require enforcement, keep everything that matters, but realize they will all need enforcement.
EXPECTATIONS BASED ON REALITY NOT FANTASY
10. Think of her (but not call her) like an animal, a dog doesn’t come unless trained to come.

Perhaps this is something everyone else knows about dealing with young children, but I didn’t know and it sure wasn’t on baby center articles that really advise a ton of permissive behavior towards children that won’t improve the life quality for the parents or mothers, like if you are getting bit, that’s fine and normal… what? Ok… four years of being bit later, I punish my son very mildly, putting him down a few feet away if he bites me and not feeding him for half a minute and he seems to be biting less… Unfortunately the internet has as much bad advice as word of mouth or even more, but some websites seem very correct with an article written by a doctor or parents with more years of experience than I have. But what no one else has, is a view of what is actually going on here, nor any idea what is tolerable or possible for me.

I tried hugging it out as a punishment, I got kicked a lot and my daughter seemed very uncomfortable having her body hugged against her will… I totally believe it worked for the mom, who said it worked, for that kid. But that kid isn’t this kid.

I think this approach may be helpful for not only my daughter, but also my husband and my dad, the people who hear my politely stated boundary and proceed to step over it as if they didn’t even hear. These are loved ones, they are really helpful, really generous, I want them in my life, but I have no idea why they don’t care to respect a politely stated boundary the way I would.

It seems like for some people the golden rule is non-existent. Not that they are bad people, but they expect their boundaries to be sacred and mine to be adjustable and flexible.

I’m actually not happy with the way some of these things are, but I find that I’ve got to really look at reality the way it is, try something, however imperfect to find a better balance, because I really want to have a family life that isn’t highly stressful. I want to give my kids, a lot of time, love, service, education, but I don’t want to martyr myself for four or five years longer, meaning that I don’t want to endure a status quo of daily boundary testing, which is horribly draining and unpleasant (which is what a lot of articles suggest, the kids being bad is part of normal development ha ha, just enjoy it!). I choose to find a way to tone it down from high stress to medium stress, or at least to try, because I’ve been unhappy with the level of tension, but always kind of one step behind whatever is going on in a way that left me too shell shocked to be a good leader and make a battle plan.

It’s a long-winded way for me to say I’m trying to switch from a calm parent to a firm parent.

I suppose it’s very difficult for me to change because what I wanted more than anything was a calm parent and perhaps I’m stuck trying to give my daughter what I wanted rather than what she needs or wants.

I’m still perhaps trying to create the ideal family, I never had and always wanted, but fate or God didn’t give me the right cast of actors to do that, instead I am a part of a new play that I’m directing poorly due to my lack of accepting what I can do in reality vs what I want to do in my own mental fantasy of a well behaved, calm, harmonious, loving family.

I am watching Ken Burn’s World War 2 documentary by the way, I was inspired by a commander at D-Day, when the Americans were all getting killed in the water by machine guns he suggested “we are dying here in the water, let’s get onto the beach and die there.” That’s what I’m trying to do, imperfectly shift my family out of our less than optimal status quo with the possibility of finding a way out of bad habits between all of us.

“Can’t we do better? At least I can try.”

Anyone have success with those people who hear what your boundary was, understand it, but love nothing more than to either cross it or at least put their toe on the line over and over to watch you squirm? 🧨

πŸ“– Permission to Feel πŸ’–

Yesterday I started a new book, Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, it’s just what I wanted after reading How Emotions Are Made.

How Emotions Are Made had so much evidence that almost everything we thought we knew about emotions in the general public was dead wrong.

The real evidence supported the real-life occurrences of increased mental health problems with kids, growing suicide, the probably mental health problem underlying the American opium epidemic, but it was also hard to wrap my head around.

Wow, so everything I knew and was taught was wrong… that makes sense, but now what?

The now what is this book, Marc worked with answering the same questions I had for 25 years before people wanted to hear it, now he makes sense of how the same evidence that I am chewing on fits in to a larger new world of your family not being emotionally abusive anymore because it’s status quo.

I’ve always wondered why you can tell your dreams to strangers, who for the most part, won’t tear them down, but in your own family, I’m sure there is one or more people who would tell you things no stranger would ever think of saying to you.

Then you grow your own internal voice of emotional abuse and no one has to say anything to you for you to doubt what you feel is normal or valid.

It’s so common I know very few families that don’t do it (two, I’m so glad I saw it first hand or I wouldn’t know what that feels like).

I hear a lot of verbal abuse of millennial by older generations, and there are many many flaws with us, but one thing that is not a flaw is our speaking out about sexual or emotional abuse and beginning a process of transformation in our society where hopefully if abuse does happen from 0-18 and doesn’t get prosecuted, at least it stops then, at the minimum I hope to live through a period where at least adults have the social and emotional power to say I don’t care what support you gave me and how we are related, if you are going to tear me down, I’m not going to be here. I hope I see the death of the abusive family, much more than the first female US president or the first person on Mars. Not everyone creates a family, but we are mostly part of one, if it’s something we all do, I wonder why we haven’t “got it right yet”?

Perhaps the pain of being “wrong’…

I asked my daughter if she thinks I’m a bad parent, she said “yes”.

I got a bit defensive, but 98% I just agree.

And I’m really hoping this book “Permission to Feel” helps me be a good parent.

We all tell our friends, “you’re not a bad mom” or “you’re bad wife,” but there are bad moms (especially Gabriel’s mom right?) and bad wives out there.

According to this book I’m supposed to be able to:

Understand and read feelings from faces as well as words,
Know why the emotions occurred,
Understand how did the emotion affect the person (myself and my kids),
Label the emotions correctly,
Express emotions well to be a model of how to do it,
Regulate how I feel

I think I do regulate well, but I’m not good at reading other people’s emotional lives, or understanding them. When I label wrong my husband and daughter get frustrated with me and when I model they seem super disinterested with trying out processes that work for me.

I think I’m going to have to support my husband through his journey at learning more about emotions and he will have to work with my daughter, because their mental process is so similar, I just don’t think the same tools that work for me will work for them, at least not in the same way.

I’ve noticed meditation helps me, but I only meditate when I’m already calm or half way calm. When I’m really angry or depressed I don’t even try.

So it doesn’t seem fair to tell my depressed family member or furious family member to meditate. Even if meditation was the #1 best way to master sailing the sea of emotions, if boats are only for sale to calm people… I hope we find a different way for my husband and daughter. Or if not, we at least need a step to move them to calm before they start where I usually start, a transition step.

I’m trying not to read more than I can absorb, today I read so many truths:

1. A 30-minute argument with your significant other slows healing 1 day
2. The stress of anticipating a public speech doubles allergy symptoms
3. Sad moods make illness symptoms more severe and susceptibility to catching them x3.
4. Crying caries stress hormones out of the body.
5. Gratitude increases oxygen in the body speeds healing, boosts the immune system.
6. For 1 year falling in love improves memory via nerve growth factor and restores nerve system.
7. Laughter enhances mood, releases beta-endorphins, stimulates growth hormones, and reduces heart attack risk.
8. Anticipating laughter lowers cortisol and adrenaline.

– Marc Brackett

A quote that I liked:

Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at any cost.
Emotional health is facing reality at any cost.

– M Scott Peck

I kind of believe that the purpose on a whole of our millennial generation is to say, enough emotional sickness. I fully understand the frontier days were about survival, women, children and men as well suffered abuse to survive at all, the first generations of Americans were making life work as best they could, WW2, the great depression, a huge proportional of people has unavoidable PTSD, we wouldn’t be here without their sacrifice and hard work, yet we don’t want to continue broken habits now that the larger world is completely changed, I think it’s time for the world of the family and individual to change as well. I think it’s time for a war on emotional abuse within the family. At least in my family.

And it starts with me, going to war with me.

I knew I wouldn’t want to hit my kids, I didn’t.

This year I didn’t want to yell anymore, I stopped, that was my 2020 resolution.

But I have no idea why I never thought to be nice?

If one end of the spectrum is abuse, then “acceptable” hitting, then yelling, then verbal abuse, rudeness, meanness, talking, acceptance, emotional empowerment, mentoring, support and being nice.

I don’t know why I didn’t even think of being nice, rather then “stop yelling.”

After I did stop, I wondered what the next goal was, I though maybe “stop being rude,” “stop saying mean things,” but I realized that was a void, a lack of a habit, not an actual action, the positive habit. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be doing instead of yelling…

It’s not just me, I just visited a friend who according to them, had been yelling at their only child all day to clean up…

That’s a horrible day.

It actually wasn’t clean, so the whole day was spent, not disciplining, not cleaning, but just being ignored and unhappy…

That’s been my day too.

Then I really started taking away toys (without drama), and I realized I never needed to have a problem.

Either my daughter cleans up whatever she wants to have, which is fine, or I box it away for someday that she might both want it and also be able to manage it.

Now when I grab something I’m cleaning I decide if I want to be responsible for cleaning it or if I want to put it away and not have to clean it everyday.

If that’s unfair I don’t see how?

No calling her a slob, no throwing it away, no giving back and forth everyday or week or month…

It’s just when you are ready to be responsible for the item you will be able to chose to access it.

I worked for years and when I became a stay at home mom my husband expected (maybe subconsciously) that I would suddenly want to clean up a lot after other people and I actually don’t. So I don’t.

He also hopes that I develop my skills as a writer or programmer to someday make money from home.

I am not willing to hold the pressure and expectations of being someone who is “developing to renter the workforce” and also someone who is “developing to be a better stay at home parent”. Complete refusal.

I would perhaps do what I can of either, but not both.

I’m not already doing a job ie stay at home parent and also preparing to get a job (meaning I don’t have one as a stay at home parent.

I’m really not sure if parenting is or isn’t a job. It’s hard to say, since there is no income, yet there sure are job duties and hours of work completed.

But I’m not going both be a better maid, since I’m “not doing anything” and also try to develop job skills…

It’s so weird to me that my husband and I have these problems of ping ponging expectations, because I’ve always been clearly not that lady who would cook, clean, take care of the kids and pick up part time work at the same time. I will cook and take care the kids, if he cooks I would clean and take care of the kids, if I didn’t have kids I would pick up work. I will basically do any two with a smile, but not all of them and he has always wanted me to do all of them with a smile (like his mom). So I’ve never been his mom, never said I would be, never been willing to, but he just can’t stop wanting me to be. I’ve wanted to, but I can’t, I can get type A productivity from myself, I wasn’t born to be that way. It kills me to try and when I was able to and saw him contributing so little of the overall duties, it made me hate him, so either I don’t do everything or I do, but I will be a single mother, rather than a married-single mother.

We’ve talked about it many times, it’s not something he wants to do, something he feels stuck doing, like when I used to yell at my daughter, while I was pregnant.

I’m not trying to shame him, I’m just trying to voice a problem in marriage that either people could watch out for developing or tell me how they solved…

One thing is shoes, I picked glass off the carpet yesterday, my husband works with machines, he tracks in glass, I ask him to take off his shoes before he walks on the carpet, he won’t.

I can’t even ask anymore. I vacuum the glass, I hope I get it before my 1 year old eats it or steps on it. I find it sad that I’m too sick of the cycle to even bring it up again.

I’m Asian, we don’t wear our shoes in the house, my husband is Mexican, his particular family doesn’t not wear shoes in the house… I’ve told him how I feel about it, that it increases the amount of debris that gets into our kids area, that I don’t enjoy spending the time vacuuming as often due to him bring the shoes in, that I have tripped carrying the baby once at night when his shoes were in the middle of the hall, I don’t know if he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t change. I have a boundary, I express it, my spouse doesn’t respect it, I discuss it, from there I don’t know where to go?

I can imagine hiding his shoes, but um, it seems disrespectful to treat an adult like that. What I want is a spouse who will respect my boundaries, but I don’t have that, I’m not ready for a divorce over it, but nor do I want to adjust to it, I don’t know what to do about that yet. On paper, the next step to having boundaries is defending my boundaries, but how to do that in a respectful way I have no idea, so I live with these little things that build one millimeter of resentment up every day and it slowly becomes a mountain of distance between us.

The book made these claims that I have directly experienced, it’s difficult to discuss these things in a way that isn’t complaining, in a way that is sharing observations of life without being a victim, but I do want to say to people reading the book, these things do match my anecdotal evidence, this is not just a story, it’s something that happens to people and can happen to you, something to be mindful of from both the perspective of the person who distressed by arguing with a significant other, who doesn’t like arguing, that it isn’t right or fair to scapegoat a stressful day at work onto someone who isn’t fine with it (common yes, possible yes, just no, decent no).

I discus my husband because he plays this huge role in my reality, it would be hard to explore our interaction leaving his half blank, but it’s not that I don’t appreciate him. I wouldn’t be with him if I didn’t love him. I just think we could do better, both of us, and it takes me a lot of anger to be able to uncover where my boundaries are or should be, since they are a bit like a reef in the dark to me.

1. A 30-minute argument with your significant other slows healing 1 day.

I had this really bad digestive problem during the time my husband and I had our first apartment and I really think it healed slower than it needed to because it happened at the same time as we were fighting like cats and dogs trying to match his family’s version of normal living and my family’s version of normal living together (it couldn’t be done, we just had to find a new version together). It started on a trip, a very happy trip, I don’t think it happened because of stress, I think it happened because of Giardia or some other traveler’s diarrhea, but I do think it lasted years because it coincided with a time of stupid constant arguments. I wish I was better at communicating, stupid constant arguments take two people to have them, I could have been the person to be more respectful and less reactive in hindsight, but the point of me talking about it is to say, I really think it’s true. Rather than say “all couple’s argue” as an excuse, I hope I and everyone starts to understand that engaging in obviously too much argument is doing damage on some level, maybe small, but real to the person you love’s health and it’s really an excuse for not learning how to communicate well.

An alternative to arguing is talking, it has a higher rate of results for me 70% instead of 0%. When I don’t get what I want through talking, arguing hasn’t made it work either. If arguing does work for you, what’s the cost to the other person? Is that fine? Maybe it is. But if arguing doesn’t even get you what you want, maybe consider quitting?

2. The stress of anticipating a public speech doubles allergy symptoms.

I had allergies (verified by blood tests) for years, I didn’t give public speeches, but knowing I would have to be on call worsened it when my phone broke after I accidentally washed it, I didn’t replace it and my well being increased so much. It’s not for everybody, but it’s not impossible to live without a phone, for some people (like Stephen King and myself) it’s a better life either not having a phone or having one with extreme limitation. I don’t know how much being on call for work or for arguments by whatever family member wanted to start one affected my allergies, but I could see that when the stress improved (not to perfection) I got better. I had all the allergies on the blood test in the past, now I have none. The body can heal quite well if whatever is harming it is removed well.


3. Sad moods make illness symptoms more severe and susceptibility to catching them x3.

This is not me, I’m not too sad (I’m more angry or calm), but it’s my sister. She averages three times the flus and colds as everyone else in the family, year after year after year, I’ve always wanted to be able to help her turn off her depression, but I think I’ve ever been able to help at all, not sure if it’s just me or if it’s something that needs to be done from the inside out, or if it’s just a bad gut biome, which will have a cure in the future, I don’t know, but we care for her. She went to the psychiatrist, she tried the meds for months, no improvement, she went through the recommended hoops, but they didn’t help for her.


4. Crying caries stress hormones out of the body.

This is a horrible point of marital conflict between my spouse and I. His family says “no llores” don’t cry and I completely support a baby having the option to cry. An older child can be encouraged to find emotional copping, but I’m just 100% against the biggest component of his mom’s child-raising philosophy so it’s defiantly cost us peace in our marriage for me to try to support my children’s right to emotions and I hope I was not wrong because it was not without a cost. One thing people who don’t want crying are trying to get is sleep, that I agree with, I try to soothe the baby during sleep hours, but not by saying don’t cry and not with the attitude of “shut up now” more like “how can I get you more comfortable so we can all rest”. Another thing they want is emotional resilience, but having people care about you and be willing to hear you out is what creates that, so it’s unfortunate that they prevent the goal they are seeking with a method that has no evidence to work because of the logical fallacy if it’s commonplace it’s right. Instead of strong men and women, it creates people who refuse to report being weak, while they are often weak as hell. My husband’s father left his family with three kids when he was 1 year old, supposedly because he was impatient with how long my husband’s diarrhea bought was lasting. Wow, what a strong man that isn’t… My mom left because she fell in love with a guy who she felt attracted to, who didn’t want to commit to her, couldn’t support her and she didn’t care so much about providing a stable environment for her two kids. Is it a win for gender equality? It didn’t feel like it at the moment…

5. Gratitude increases oxygen in the body speeds healing, boosts the immune system.

This is the most important one for me to talk about because the others were commonly spoken about, perhaps not believed, but spoken about much at all. Being sad can potentially kill you, but it’s also part of who we are, our experience, gratitude can potentially save your life and it’s free and encouraged. I’m not saying don’t be sad, I’m saying do be grateful. Perhaps the death of a loved one is a good example of chasing sadness with gratitude. When we remember the good, it doesn’t mean we don’t wish there was more, but without doing that seemingly simple thing we go through a greater pain than we need to. Which reminds me of when my son was born. I delivered him naturally at home, no pain killers, and then had a headache and took an Advil. It was kind of funny to go through the larger pain without medicine and take the medicine for the smaller one, but the reason is I’m not sure pain medicine was safe for the baby during delivery and I felt sure it was for the headache. So for me, there was no reason not to take an Advil for a headache and there was a reason for me not to take medicine for the delivery (that I’m not sure is right or not). I was told that the increase in pain killers for delivery corresponded to an increase in drug addicts possibly not coincidently and it worried me, totally not saying it’s for sure or trying to shame other people, but it worried me and affected my choice. Anyways. Living without gratitude is like living without pain medication, it’s your choice, you can, but why? For many people it seems out of reach, like either you are or are not “that person” but I know it’s not true now, it’s possible to find your own way to be grateful and it’s so wonderful a feeling once it stops being awkwardly hard. Kind of like rolling an R, but better. I think when cats purr or dogs lie in the sun they get the kind of feeling gratitude gifts me and it’s really a beautiful, very understated life skill that is available for anyone.


6. For 1 year falling in love improves memory via nerve growth factor and restores nerve system.

It’s funny, I used to talk with my husband about our favorite times and we would remember everything from our first year, a bit of our second and almost nothing after… but that’s consistent with this evidence about nerve growth factor. I also felt like I was healing as a human being, and perhaps to some extent, I was since I was so inspired to be the best person I could and I also was able to actually restore my brain. It felt like I was healing from a lifetime of being unloved and unwanted by parents, and maybe my brain was actually growing some new social skills. When I fell in love with my husband it was, the feeling of being loved for the first time, a feeling of this is what human life is supposed to be like, someone cares about me, I have someone to care about. It was as if the world was constantly covered with golden dust, I didn’t see it, but it felt that way. It felt like no one died of poverty or disease like no one got trafficked, no wars were going on… it wasn’t true, but it created a feeling of world peace in my heart for many years and I never forget that. Even though today, we have such a typical “I Love Lucy” kind of status quo dissatisfaction, I never forget the beginning. The first smile, the look in his eye, that I was the most interesting and beautiful wonder of this universe (that I haven’t seen in years…) I remember it completely – thank you never growth factor for saving me that memento.


7. Laughter enhances mood, releases beta-endorphins, stimulates growth hormones, and reduces heart attack risk.

Laughter is the best medicine, maybe not just a saying, but true? I don’t know how far it goes, but lately that I can’t exercise, because I’m kind of nursing myself back to health still I naturally turned to comedy to look for a healthy substitute to the dopamine.

Dopamine isn’t bad, it’s necessary.

I worry that by misunderstanding addiction we are missing our chance to have productive conversations and find solutions that really work.

-Cyrus McCandless

I was going to say I’m grateful that I don’t have anyone addicted in my family, and it’s true, but then I remembered my mom. We are now, so distant, there is a gap, a hesitation of my brain to even remember her… At the end of that TED Talk Cyrus says that addiction isn’t a moral failing, it’s a biological one and I felt guilty without knowing why.

I’ve always judged my mother harshly, for her abuse of myself, even more of siblings and even more of non-related victims as if abuse “should occur” with family only, not strangers!… but I judged her also for being a drug addict, like she chose it over us, quite possibly she didn’t “choose it”.

My mother, the bipolar, anorexic, drug-addict, pedophile… wherever you are I no longer blame for being a drug addict. Actually, I hope you find peace, though I value the safety of children so very much higher than your freedom.

When I watched the TedTalk today the quote “I worry that by misunderstanding addiction we are missing our chance to have productive conversations and find solutions that really work,” really struck me as the feeling I have about talking about my family problems, my marriage problems. I’m trying to either have a productive conversation or at least be a part of a world where those conversations can be open conversations so much more than I want to “complain”.

I think it’s a fine line between “this happened” (discussion) and “this happened to me” (complaint-victim-hood).

There is also a fine line between “this isn’t the time and place for this discussion” and “shh! We don’t talk about that ever.

So perhaps laughter can save your life from a heart attack? Maybe. I know calcium supplements can kill you from a heart attack, that was surprising. Germany studied it and did not see it coming. The study is attacked, it only studied Β 23,980 men and women… seems like a lot to me. The authors reported that users of mixed calcium supplements had an 86% increased risk, well that’s just… um, a lot. But that’s the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC-Heidelberg), most places are still trying to sell calcium supplements… but I’ve been really suspicious about them since college where my largest project was to search for the largest probably osteoporosis culprit and it really seemed to be “excess calcium.”

8. Anticipating laughter lowers cortisol and adrenaline.

This was cool, I try to make my son laugh everyday at least once, but even if I don’t, if I even make him expect to laugh I’ve created a slightly better life for him. For about a week I’ve been trying and failing to watch comedy every day, it seems not that hard, but all new habits are hard, and even thought I didn’t, my life has been improved by thinking I was going to watch comedy for the past few days.

I think I’m very often like, “this book is life changing,” this is going to be the book for me, that lets me “really start to live” to suck the marrow out of life like Henry David Thoreau did, just sit there by the lake sucking away, not giving a damn about what haters think, this is going to be “that book”…

But really, I think is the book for me, to fill the gaping hole in my life skills that nice people tell is already just fine, but that still stinks.

That reminds me of getting my wisdom teeth removed, it left me with a gaping hole, food would get in, be trapped by the bowl shape of the healing wound, and stink… I had to flush the trapped food out with water, I’m hoping this book is the “curved tip irrigation syringe” I need to flush the rotten part out of myself.

Because I do suck as a parent, at least at a part of it, and I think by denying or misunderstanding the ways I am a bad wife and mom, I am missing my chance to have productive conversations and find solutions that really work.

74,000 drug deaths in the U.S. in 2017, it’s getting worse, but we continue to take the same punitive approach under the presumption that if we are just hard enough on addicts, they’ll stop, and we’ve servery limited the kinds of treatments that are available and the availability of those treatments and we’ve been very slow to adopt new approaches from the science of addiction where we’ve made huge progress in the last 30 years if our current approach worked don’t you think things would be getting better instead of worse?

Marketers and journalists have perpetuated a huge misunderstanding that what feels like your addiction to your phone is the same thing as addictive drugs.

-Cyrus McCandless

Yes that matters to me, but what matters more is seeing how true it is of my family life.

It’s getting worse (the distance between my husband and I, the closeness between my daughter and I), but we (my husband and I) continue to take the same punitive approach (putting my daughter in her room, taking away toys and games) under the presumption that if we are just hard enough on addicts our daughter, they’ll stop, and we’ve servery limited the kinds of treatments that are available for feeling frustrated (getting outside, seeing friends) and the availability of those treatments and we’ve been very slow to adopt new approaches from the science of addiction learning and emotional intelligence, where we’ve made huge progress in the last 30 years if our current approach worked don’t you think things would be getting better instead of worse?

Marketers and journalists have perpetuated a huge misunderstanding that “want” and “like” are married

We don’t have to want what we like.

We don’t have to like what we want.

Dopamine doesn’t make us feel good or be happy, it doesn’t tell us how much we like things, it teaches us how and where to get the things we need or like.

Can β‰  Should

Like β‰  Want

Dopamine responds to the signs I have learned that predicts the appearance of what surprised me in the past, not what actually happens.

That’s why very young kids probably love Christmas, and older one’s not, it was a nice surprise at a point, then it became a routine without surprise, then possibly a routine that wasn’t even rewarding at all.

That’s why falling in love was so great, I completely didn’t expect it to happen to me. Then it did, someone loved me, it was amazing. Now perhaps my husband does me love me, that’s not surprising at all, it’s kind of expected. Our marriage became routine and isn’t very rewarding at all at this current point in time. But when he does tiny things like buying me two fries without asking, it’s magic! I guess I do love surprises and never knew it before.

I recommend you check out Cyrus McCandless’ TedTalk, it deals with real addiction, but also your brain, because your brain works based on dopamine too and I think it’s the main culprit of hedonistic adaptation that turned the wonder of going to the moon the first time, into the boredom and criticism of the second time. It explains a lot.

I’ve been singing “I love you, I love you, I love you, just the way you are,” to my kids (ripped off from Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood) instead of calling them pretty or handsome, and they love it, even the 1 year old… it’s kind of “cheesy” perhaps for me to say this, but let me say it to you guys too, maybe for someone, it’s the first time…

Readers, I love you, I love you, I love you, just the way you are.

If it’s silly or cheesy, that’s fine, I’ll be silly and cheesy, instead of just being mean all the time. πŸ’ž