One of my guilty pleasures is to grab a cup of coffee on the weekend and read over the transcript of advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s Friday live chat. Why guilty? Because when you get your head wrapped around your own axle, it’s sometimes good to be reminded that everyone has their own set of issues. And Carolyn gives such practical, non-nonsense advice, that I almost always learn or reinforce some “get over your own ego” lesson that I needed to hear.
There are times, though, when the problems people face are sobering. Repeatedly, you read stories of people actively resisting therapy or counseling as an option. Just last Friday in Carolyn’s chat, one person wrote in about her chronically unhappy friend. Carolyn recommended encouraging the friend to get screened for depression:
“For understandable reasons, going from zero to therapy is actually more difficult than getting screened, in part because therapy often involves a burdensome search for someone who offers the type of therapy you need; is a good fit as far as location, hours and chemistry; and who is affordable and/or accepts any insurance, much less your plan. Plus there’s the obstacle that I find totally crazy-making, the perception of therapy as an admission of weakness, nuttiness or defeat, none of which is true.” [emphasis added] Continue reading →
This Thanksgiving, I believe we should not only give thanks, but we should recognize that sometimes it’s damned hard to give thanks. Some of us may be unemployed. People are occupying squares around the world to vent anything but their gratitude. Some of our loved ones may be deployed in a war zone. We ourselves, or our loved ones may be hurting with illness that may or may not go away. Maybe nothing’s really wrong, but we’re just stubbornly holding onto that thing that’s not going the way we want. Yes, I know that today is not supposed to be the day where we count the number of ways that the we are or our world is broken. But what if that’s all you can do?
Sometimes, you just need to sneak up on it.
Well, if gratitude eludes you, you sneak up on it, of course.
The first head-fake into gratitude is to try the opposite. If gratitude eludes you, try longing. Continue reading →
Sometimes, someone comes at us with something we can’t really understand. There’s a word or concept that’s new to our vernacular. There are a number of possible responses. Maybe we cast a furrowed, skeptical brow in their direction. Maybe we nod, as if we want to seem knowledgeable, when we really have no idea. Maybe we take it on board, like tapping our feet to the rhythm of a song to which we don’t know how to dance. Maybe we even recite it back, like poetry whose meaning escapes us, but we like the sound of the words. Perhaps we discount or ignore it, even if it perks our interest just a bit. We’re busy, so what’s your point?
One day, four of us were hiking to a climbing spot when I heard a rumble. “Was that a motorcycle of in the distance“, I asked my partner, “or was that what I think it was?” The thunder rumbled again. Now might be a good time to note that I am petrified of being outside during a thunderstorm. Our other two friends caught up with us. We discussed whether to make the last bit to the top of the mountain, or start heading down. ”Start heading down! Start heading down!” my neuroses cried out. The two guys wanted to finish the short distance to the top. With a slightly louder rumble and a widening of the whites of my eyes, my friend Z said that she would go down with me. One should never go alone, she said.
Thank god. Soon, the heavens opened up. A sprinkle turned into a torrential downpour, and the thunder rumbled with increasing frequency. I started to run-walk. “Slow down,” Z urged. “Don’t panic. You’re going to fall and break an ankle, and then where would you be?” Continue reading →
So far, I’ve blogged a fair bit about my passion for climbing and what it’s taught me. However, one of my first real head-fake lessons came from Bikram yoga. Bikram is a series of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises done in a 105 degree heated room. Yeah, that’s hot. (No, not that kind of hot – if you think about doing yoga to catch the eye of that cutie, Continue reading →
In my earlier entry, Catching the Run-off, I mentioned small, obtainable goals, such as the ones listed in 40 Tips for a Better Life. My problem appears to be that I set big hairy goals, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s when I get so impatient with my progress that the frustration and discouragement sets in – that’s the bad thing. I frequently discount small bits of progress as insignificant. Take learning how to breathe for example….
The Beauty of Bouldering Gestures, by liquene, on Flickr
“What’s the problem?” Tracy asks.
“I can’t feel my hands.”
“Well, take a rest. Warm them up.”
I furiously rub my hands on the little pocket warmers in the pockets of my new, shiny, PrimaLoft jacket. It’s 43 degrees. The snow had mostly melted and the sun teased us through the clouds. We were climbing the Rico Suave Buttress at New River Gorge – a section of rock covered by a huge overhang roof that kept the route dry and enabled our snowy and wet Yoga and Climbing Retreat to uphold the climbing part of the deal. Continue reading →