Seeing the best in life's challenges

You are a Living Library (reblog)

From the original:

To read this Message in its entirety, scroll to Day 145 at:

Please include this web address when posting and sharing with others.   Many blessings, Theresa Crabtree

You are a Living Library

Greetings, I am Chicchan 2 and we welcome you to this time of sharing. We are most grateful to be a part of your life, with the ability to share our knowledge with you. As you aspire to reach higher goals for yourself, know that we are always available to assist you in whatever manner you choose.

This day we would like to share some of our wisdom regarding the evolution of your soul. The word evolution in its most basic sense means, “to change.” Each of you in every moment of your existence is in flux; there is no-thing in all of creation that remains static for any length of time.

In your special condition as a human on Earth, the rules are different than those in other places of physicality. You have the ability in this Realm to know you are the boatman controlling the rudder, yet many in your Dimension do not adhere to this belief code. They let others run their lives, telling them what to believe, how to think, what to wear, what to eat and keep themselves in the realm of servitude.

There is nothing wrong with these things, although it severely limits your thinking and forces you to relinquish much of your free will. This is a sad state of affairs indeed. Know that you came into this world accepting the separation from the knowledge of your Spirit Self. It was the adventure of this experience that drew you here. Each of you has seeded within you the desire to know more, to experience something grander.

As this desire nags at you, it creates the impulse to seek something better. Most of you feel that riches or grandeur is the answer. However, when you master these things, you still find within you a great emptiness. Often, this emptiness leads you back home to reunite closer with family and friends, yet there is still an unfilled niche inside your soul. As you attempt various adventures and follow many paths, there is always something that is lacking.

This feeling of lack is the communion you had with Spirit. Many find solace in their religions, yet still do not connect with their Creator. This often happens as a result of what is preached in the pulpit. When faced weekly with sermons of hell and damnation, there is a feeling of imbalance created within those who are seeking Truth. When the pulpits are expounding on a Creator who is filled with love and mercy, there is hope that one can move forward in anticipation of creating direct communion with this Source.

It is up to you individually to choose how much time and effort you are willing to put forth in order to create a relationship with the Creator. This is where your salvation lies; we are not speaking of heaven or hell. Your salvation lies in the fact that you will release the nagging feeling of emptiness and commune consciously with the Source that fills your Being with love and compassion.

No longer will you need to seek solace outside yourself. When you tap into Source and know you are loved beyond measure, your time and energy are freed to begin life anew. You will find joy in all things you do, even those that previously were mundane. You will accept the riches and possessions you have with gratitude and create a desire to share your wealth with others. Those whose time is filled with love and gratitude will find great joy in simple experiences, such as watching the sun rise and set.

Your dreams will unfold as you learn to use this newfound time and energy to manifest your desires. When you come from a heart of pure love, we are eager to assist you in reaching these goals. You have the power within you, this moment, to ignite this passion. Your connection to Source comes from within, a knowingness that all is well and that you are pure Spirit.

Unlock the belief codes that keep you entrenched in feelings of “less than” and servitude. Release the fears and pain that have caused you to restrict your energy flow. Allow your energy to flow, affecting all around you as you radiate love toward all; this is your birthright. This is the reason you came to Earth at this time. You are here for one final run at moving the Earth toward a new vibration. You are a part of the soul-ution, with unique gifts to share.

No longer are you burdened with concerns of being burned at the stake or fed to lions. There are too many of you to allow these things to occur. No longer will you risk losing your family or job because of your spiritual beliefs, the laws have been set up to protect you. No longer do you need to be burdened with where your next meal will come from if you take the time to grow your own food. At this time in history, there is a resurgence in the return to Nature. By going back to your roots, you as a people have the ability to restore the Earth to her natural pristine state and once again live in the Garden of Eden.

It will take effort, but there are many who have set the foundation; perhaps you are one of them. Now is the time to build upon that foundation and create a world where love, peace and respect are dominant. Many refer to this as a return of the feminine. What we propose is to look at this time as a blending of both masculine and feminine energy. Both have their place and together they create balance.

We ask you to ponder these words and to see yourself anew. Take time to gaze into your eyes in a mirror and remind yourself that you are a child of God, of pure Essence. We also suggest that you do the following exercise with others, in which two of you gazes into each other’s eyes while pouring unconditional love into each other. Remind the other person, either verbally or through your mind, that they are loved beyond measure.

Know that not only are you a child of God, but that you are a part of the wholeness of Source. Picture yourself as a hologram of original Source, completely whole. Know that you are not separated from Source, that you are temporarily playing a part in a role you have chosen. Your role on Earth is important for all of creation, for it allows all to experience everything through you.

Not all of you wish to be a truck driver or a preacher. Not all of you desire to experience poverty or success. Even those who never incarnate on this Earth have the ability to tap into the emotions and situations that you experience through the Akashic Records. Each of you has the ability to experience anything through another without having to go through an entire lifetime on a specific planet.

Can you imagine having a desire to witness what it would be like to be on the battlefield at Gettysburg and have the ability to do so without actually going through the torment and triumph of those who were a part of the event? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend a concert with the most Angelic music on Earth? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to view Mt. Everest from the summit without climbing the mountain?

Anything that has occurred can be accessed through the Akashic Records. Each of you is a living library. As your body logs information during your daily walk, it is downloaded into the Records as you sleep, where it can be accessed by anyone. Most humans access these records during their sleep because they are not familiar with the process on a conscious level. There are many on Earth consciously tapping into this resource to find answers and to have experiences that you have had. We will speak more on this topic at a later time.

Know that you are a living library. Every action you take, every emotion you feel is logged. It is important. You are unique. Only you can experience things in the way that you do. These records are stored for eternity. There are many who live on faraway planets, yet are able to access these records for their personal enjoyment and to receive keys to create their world. There is much value in everything you do.

Have you ever learned not to do something by watching the pain another went through when they experienced a particular event? This is one reason why someone would search the Records, to avoid unpleasant experiences. Have you ever had tremendous insight or unexplainably received an answer to a problem you were grappling with? It is possible you entered the Records while sleeping and found what you were seeking there.

These Records are open to you at anytime. You are adding to these Records every moment. They are rich with information and resources. What makes them of highest value is that others can experience the emotions of others, as well. Unlike dictionaries that only show data and photographs, you can actually tap into how an antelope feels when chased by a lion. You can actually feel what a mother bird experiences when her eggs begin to hatch. You will be able to feel what a seed experiences as it sprouts and reaches toward the sun.

All things have a consciousness, yet on a diverse level. There will come a time when those of you on Earth will remember and experience these things once again. This is the true nature of the Garden of Eden. All things were once in communion. There was no need for anything, for all was freely provided. Humans and animals lived in harmony. Plants and animals gave of themselves freely knowing all was perfect and in balance. The fields were lush, providing nourishment for all. The water was pure with no need for filtration. Housing was simple, there was no need for walls or roofs, for the environment was not harsh.

You are moving back towards this level of harmony. The quickest route is for each of you to go within and to learn to love and respect yourself. Once you regain the ability to manage yourself, then you will spread this love and respect to others. It is your gift to humanity. Begin today; do not delay. Ah, another mantra for your mirror.

Selamet!  Chicchan 2

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Failure, Choices and Honesty

Over the last 24 hours, the following three posts came to my attention, in the following order:

I got a lot from reading these three posts.  Maybe you will, too :).

Here’s a sample from the first, about how to make choices:

Shift your attention. Your attention, as you have learned in this life, is given to thinking about and understanding what to do next and how to do it. We would offer a much simpler and easier to apply guideline for you to follow, and one that will put you into far closer touch with the greater self that you are. Move your attention as often as possible to your heart. What does that mean? It means asking yourself, “how does that make me feel?’ “How will it make me feel?” “How do I feel about that?” “How can I feel better?”

Now the feelings that you have are a language in themselves you know. They are the way in which the greater self that you are speaks to you in each moment of your life. You have been conditioned over vast reaches of time to ignore this and proceed as if it were unimportant. But when you begin to pay attention, you will find that it will become what is referred to as The Still, Small Voice Within. It is the I Am. Listen to her. Listen to him. And don’t only listen. Find ways to act upon what you hear, what you feel.

A couple bits from the second:

You choose your priorities. There may be many reasons why you choose the priorities you do and why you do not choose the priorities you do not choose. It is best to be outright honest with yourself.


What obstacles do you have that you give in to?

The point here is not to kid yourself.

And from the third link:

And here is the advice Trungpa Rinpoche gave me. He said, “Well, it’s a lot like walking into the ocean, and a big wave comes and knocks you over. And you find yourself lying on the bottom with sand in your nose and in your mouth. And you are lying there, and you have a choice. You can either lie there, or you can stand up and start to keep walking out to sea.”

So, basically, you stand up, because the “lying there” choice equals dying.

Metaphorically lying there is what a lot of us choose to do at that point. But you can choose to stand up and start walking, and after a while another big wave comes and knocks you down.

You find yourself at the bottom of the ocean with sand in your nose and sand in your mouth, and again you have the choice to lie there or to stand up and start walking forward.

“So the waves keep coming,” he said. “And you keep cultivating your courage and bravery and sense of humor to relate to this situation of the waves, and you keep getting up and going forward.”

Trungpa then said, “After a while, it will begin to seem to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller. And they won’t knock you over anymore.”

That is good life advice.


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Wisdom From Anne Lamott

Today, I must share Anne Lamott’s facebook post from yesterday.  Here it is:

I am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954. My inside self does not have an age, although can’t help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.). Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

  1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.
  1. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
  1. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.
  1. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can’t save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, “Well, isn’t she full of herself,” smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.
  1. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It’s best use is as bait in snake traps.
  1. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart–your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born
  1. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who’d had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing.
  1. Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.
  1. Food; try to do a little better.
  1. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, “Help!” And then buckle up. Grace won’t look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.
  1. God; Goodnesss, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. You can play on our side, or Bill Maher’s and Franklin Graham’s. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up. My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don’t look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.
  1. Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. If I could say one thing to our little Tea Party friends, it would be this. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes. The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, “Figure it out” is not a good slogan.
  1. Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy-mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit–maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.
  1. Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don’t go by what I say.
  1. Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, “Take off your shoes.” We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.

I think that’s it, everything I know. I wish I had shoe-horned in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing: “It’s like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little aways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.” I love that, because it’s teue about everything we tey. I wish I had slipped in what Ram Das said, that when all is said and done, we’re just all walking each other home. Oh, well, another time. God bless you all good.


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Why Do You Care??

Compared to 50 years ago, most of us have much more exposure to others who are “different” than we are. We have a greater ability to travel, we have a multitude of TV stations that show us people and places around the world, we have the internet and Google and social media.

So what is your perspective on those who are different? On those who look different? On those who have a different religion? On those who have a different belief system?

Do you want the freedom to have your own personal style, hold your own beliefs, build your own career, spend your free time in the manner you want, all this without someone else telling you that you are wrong and you should be doing something else? Do you want to be in charge of your own life without having to defend it?

I would guess that each of us wants our own personal freedom to decide what’s right for us.

After all, you are the only one who has lived your life and had your unique set of experiences. Only you know how you feel in any particular situation. Only you know what brings you joy and what makes you uncomfortable. Only you know what has led you to the decisions, beliefs, and mistakes that are yours alone.

So if we want that freedom for ourselves, why is it that we don’t want to give others that same freedom?

Do you find that you want everyone to be the same as you?

Do you come up with labels for people and decide that some labels are “good” and some labels are “bad”?

I run into this issue with my kids all the time. One gets totally annoyed at another for hanging out with a certain friend, not folding their clothes, sleeping too late, keeping a messy room, liking certain music, styling their hair the wrong way, what they are eating, the list goes on and on and on.

I ask them, “Why do you care?”

Now it’s one thing if one kid is imposing on another. For example, playing music too loud. Or not picking up in a bathroom that they share.

But there are plenty of times where there is no impact on the other person. The other person just doesn’t like whatever the offending thing is.

An example we are all familiar with is the opinions people have surrounding the lifestyles of LGBT persons, gay marriage, gender identity, etc. Many people still get wound up and want to label these people “wrong” and tell these people not to be who they are. WHY do they care?

This is really just an application of the Golden Rule. If you don’t want another person telling you what to do, then you can’t turn around and tell another person what they should do.

I call this reciprocity.

In a world where we increasingly have to interact with others who are different, honoring reciprocity is the key (IMHO) to everybody getting along.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be conflicts. It doesn’t mean people can’t disagree and express that. But we can respectfully agree to disagree.  And building our communication skills and getting comfortable with conflict resolution will be a big help.

This is where people get really attached to what they think is “right.” If someone strongly believes that their way is the right way, then the idea of allowing others to be different will be very difficult.

I must say that I do think it is a very good thing for an individual to spend time and think a lot about their own personal belief system and their own actions. Read, research, think, self-reflect, have good reasons for, and feel good about who you are and what you do.   But do this for YOU, not for everybody else.

There’s also the question of how to react to someone who is trying to impose their way on you. It’s the other side of reciprocity. A person sometimes needs to stand up for their own freedom to make their own choices, by not automatically following what someone else tells them to do. We need to allow others to say no and respect that.

It has to go both ways.

Next time you are offended or triggered by someone or tempted to think or say “they should”, ask yourself:

Why do you care??


  • Is that person telling you what to wear?
  • Is that person telling you what to believe?
  • Is that person telling you how you should live your life?

If not, if that person is going about their own business and not imposing on you, why do you feel the need to impose your opinions on them?

And when someone says no, or maybe quietly does their own thing (that is different from what you think they should do), maybe consider that they are different than you are. And allow them to be who they are.

I’ve formed these opinions in part because of a personal situation in which I reacted to someone doing something different that I did not expect.  I did not know everything about the situation.  I was caught off-guard and reacted.  Then communication broke down and the other party still thinks I am judging, when in fact I really don’t have an opinion and want that person to be doing what they want to do.  To complicate it further, however, the other person wants to impose on me by forcing a relationship with someone with whom I am very uncomfortable.  In this situation, the old way of dealing with it is to focus on who is right and who is wrong, and who should be doing what.  From my perspective, we are just following two different paths and that’s ok.

So I have done a lot of thinking about this since, and paid attention to developing my other relationships and working on communications.  What I have found is that when you have a relationship with someone, and you both give each other room to be who you are, then you can really share everything. You can get feedback from them, which is very different than what most of us are used to. Feedback is sharing observations and thoughts, without judgment or telling someone what they should do. The other person still honors your personal freedom to make your own decisions, and you can feel safe in the relationship.

Most of us are used to the old way of interacting, so this is not an easy transition. I know that I used to think I knew what was right for other people. I have learned to let that go and I will keep working on this. It’s especially difficult with your kids, because as parents we need to guide them and the amount of guidance they need is different for each kid and changes as they grow.  My priority is to allow them to be who they want to be and to equip them to interact with the world, to give them feedback (a lot), but to let them make their own decisions and follow their own path as they move into adulthood.  They might not always do things the way I would….but of course they don’t, because they are not me.  I love them for who they are, not who I want them to be.

As always, I don’t have anything figured out for anybody else. I am working on figuring it out for me. I share because I like feedback and discussion. (I have friends that read this stuff and we discuss in person.) Writing, for me, helps me organize my thoughts, and it’s really ok with me if no one ever sees this! If that’s the case, so be it! If no one agrees, then that’s information .

It’s all good.

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About my Blood Pressure….

I’m writing this with the sole purpose of sharing my story. I strongly believe that each one of us is unique, and you can’t assume that what works for me, works for you. I am not a doctor. I am a thoughtful person, I am open-minded, and I am someone who is always looking at out-of-the-box possibilities. You might find this interesting, or you might think I am crazy. Which is totally fine with me.

When it comes to your health, you have to figure it out for yourself. Work with your doctor. Listen to the signals you get from your body. Think about your family history. Investigate your genetics. Read as much as you can.

Don’t take my word for it.

So why am I even sharing? Because we each have unique experiences, and we can learn from the experiences of another. Because I am a curious person, and I find it fascinating when others share their experiences.

And because this experience I am having is interesting to me, and what’s going on right now is hard for me to believe, when I know that I am the one having it.

It’s about my blood pressure.

I have a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease. My grandfather died in his mid-50s of a heart attack at work in 1971. He just fell over. My grandmother died after having a couple of heart attacks in her 60s. At the time, doctors couldn’t do much for someone who had had a heart attack. Medicine has come a long way.

My other grandmother had high blood pressure also, but she lived an amazingly healthy life of 89 years. She happens to be the one that I seem to physically take after. So I guess that’s a good thing.

My dad was on blood pressure medication from the time I can remember. Dinnertime conversations about blood pressure were common. So I know that in the 1970s, your blood pressure (upper number) was supposed to be 100 plus your age.

I remember going to the doctor when I was in high school, and he listened to my heart. He said I had “an athlete’s ticker.” I remember being glad to hear that.

So I’ve always been aware. And since the time I was an adult, my blood pressure seemed to always be “borderline high.” I also definitely have white coat syndrome – it’s always higher at the doctor’s office. But I tend to be healthy overall, and I haven’t been to the doctor’s much, so it never became an issue.

About a year and a half ago, however, I was 190 over something at my gynecologist’s office. Yeah, I was stressed that day, and yes, I know it can’t be that high. She gave me a prescription for Lisinopril and told me to get to my doctor.

The day had come. It caught up to me and I couldn’t avoid the issue any longer.   I was 52 years old.

The other interesting observation at this point of the story, is the automatic fear that is triggered as soon as you say that your blood pressure is that high. Yikes. People lose their ability to remain calm, and they start panicking about strokes and such.  People chastise you.


Well, I was already past getting triggered by almost anything, so I just calmly knew I had to go see a doctor.

I didn’t have a primary care doctor that was working for me (hadn’t needed to go in over a dozen years – uh oh, there’s another trigger there….) so I got a recommendation, and went to try out this new guy.

He didn’t want to up the Lisinopril from the 10 mg dose I was taking, so he put me on Valsartan/HCTZ160/12.5 instead. This was late May. On it, I started to get light nosebleeds. I don’t think I have ever had a nosebleed previously in my life. I ignored the nosebleeds, telling myself maybe it was a coincidence, and they weren’t that bad. But when we upped the dose to 320/25 a month later, the nosebleeds got worse. I went back two weeks later.

When I told him I was having nosebleeds, he said “high blood pressure causes nose bleeds.” Well, apparently I had a problem with high blood pressure before coming to him, and I had NEVER had a nosebleed. I start taking a medication, nothing else changes, and I get nosebleeds.   Huh? All I could think was “It’s got what plants crave.” I’m not feeling real confident here.

In the meantime, we also did an EKG and an ultrasound of my heart. All good.

Next, we tried Procardia (Nifedical XL 60). My blood pressure was good on it (in the 130s I think) but it was miserable. The swelling in my legs was not tolerable. At my next appointment, I told him about the side effects. He told me to keep taking it. I said no way.

This poor doctor is obviously frustrated with me now. But then he had a thought, said wait a minute, and came back with a sample of Azor 5-40 and said to try that.

I tolerated that well, but the problem was, my insurance didn’t cover this drug, and it was really expensive. To be honest, I was frustrated as well at this point. It seemed that, regardless of the drug (except the Procardia) my blood pressure was always about 160 at the doctor’s office. I was taking my pressure at home also, and it was lower than that, but not under 140 consistently. I didn’t feel that there was any logic to what we were trying. There might have been, but the doctor didn’t share that with me. I felt like I was just being told what to do.

The other thing that is assumed, from what I gathered at this point, is that generally it is believed that side effects are inevitable, and you just have to live with them and not complain. That didn’t feel right in my gut.

Through other circumstances, about this time I happened to meet a cardiologist. He’s a really nice guy, and the timing seemed synchronistic, so I decided I would go see him, a specialist, who should be really up on all this stuff. Besides, with my family history, I figured having a relationship with a cardiologist would be a good idea.

With the cardiologist, we started back with the Lisinopril, but at 20. That didn’t drop my pressure enough, so we upped it to 40, then added Amlodipine 2.5. I tolerated these fine. But we soon upped the Amlodipine to 5, because my pressure was not low enough.

Three months later, my pressure in the office was 138/something, so we kept the dose at 5.

In hindsight, I was having side effects from the Amlodipine, but they weren’t too bad, at least I could ignore them. But at my next appointment, the pressure was up again (150s maybe?) so he suggested adding a water pill. I resisted, because I was convinced the diuretic part of the Valsartan had caused the nosebleeds. (A friend of mine had just told me out of the blue that she got nosebleeds after her doctor prescribed a water pill. Coincidence? I wasn’t even talking to people about this stuff, and this comes up? I’m trying to listen to what the Universe is telling me, here, I’m not going to ignore that…) I asked if we could up the Amlodipine, thinking that I had tolerated it well. He said ok. He did ask if I had been snoring, and I do think he was concerned with a dose that high and side effects.

The one thing that didn’t sit right with me was that this cardiologist kept saying he wanted me to be under 130.  And I know that’s what the standard had been, but the official, current number is 140.  A study recently showed no benefit to lowering it further than 140.   I don’t want to take any more drugs than absolutely necessary, as a general principle.

I eased into the higher dose, since I had some 5s and 2.5s already. And somehow the pharmacy didn’t get the call-in for Amlodipine right away. But at Amlodipine 10, I could no longer ignore the side effects. Yikes. Yes, I had gotten increasing complaints about snoring, but now it got really bad. I couldn’t feel my legs – they felt numb and swollen, even though they didn’t look swollen. I didn’t want to walk too far. I had been powering through the leg thing, I realize, but this was just too much. It startled me.

So I weaned myself off of the Amlodipone altogether, and that is when I realized how bad I had been feeling. It did kind of turn me into a zombie. Like I said, I powered through it….but without it, I felt great and like myself again!

But now, this is where the blood pressure fear kicks in again.   It’s the silent killer, don‘t you know?? You might FEEL great, but it is quietly killing you!!

So, yes, yes, yes, I needed to do something, but what? This conventional medicine, do what the doctor says, take your pills things wasn’t going so well. It didn’t feel right and we weren’t getting anywhere.

Around this timeframe, I’m off the Amlodipine but not sure what I should do next, and my daughter calls me to her room.  She asks me, do you want to do this with me?  She shows me the website, and I say sure, and we order a two day juice fast/cleanse to do together.  Basically, for two days you only drink the 6 juices a day, and give your system a rest.

Well, I definitely felt a little “off” and tired during those two days, but I was amazed at how I felt after.  It felt like my body did a “reset”.  I no longer had cravings that I had before, and I didn’t feel at all like overeating.  This felt like a continuation of changing habits that were already occurring, but there was definitely a noticable difference in how I felt.  About six weeks later, I did it again.

So here’s where I diverge, and I will give you some more background .

If you read anything else on this blog, you will know I have been exploring deeper insights into the meaning of life, the meaning of strife, and things of that sort. I am very interested in understanding what it means to be here, on Earth, in a human body, and how that relates to our roles as Souls who are eternal. That’s an entirely different world, and the ideas you find there are not anything close to mainstream. And to the conventional medical establishment, it’s all wacky stuff. I know that.

For a very long time, I suffered from headaches. They didn’t fit into the typical categories that you’d read about in magazine articles. Not a migraine. Not really a tension headache, although that seemed closest. They would last 3 days, and I could deal with them with Advil, and could power through when I was focused on a task, but I was a total grump and miserable.

Long story short, I tried a chiropractor after my third child was born and I was having some lower back pain. Xray images showed how my neck did not have the proper arc that it should have, and how this improved over time. There was one time, during the process, where I turned my head, felt something shift, and had an instant headache. I can tell you the spot in my kitchen where I was standing. There were several times that I went to an appointment with a headache, and the adjustment instantly took it away. My headaches have totally disappeared.

The other thing about regular chiropractic care (I went 3 times a week for the first year) is that you become really in-tune with your body. You learn how it feels when something is “off.” It basically gives you a lot of practice in feeling things that most of us have learned to ignore.

I must also say that I agree with the idea that it is our body that knows how to heal. Chiropractic attempts to take away any misalignments that make if harder for the body to function at it’s fullest capacity.  Whatever we can do to maximize our body’s ability to function, the better able it will be to heal itself. So, if we eat healthy, if we exercise, if we avoid toxins, etc. we will be healthier.

My experience with chiropractic opened me up to more possibilities. It made me question why something so non-invasive and gentle could have cured me of headaches, yet conventional doctors scoffed at it. People who had no experience at all with a chiropractor, automatically wrote it off. What was that about?

So I became interested in Alternative Medicine, and open to reading what came along.

One thing that came along, was a post by Lissa Rankin, M.D. It was a summary of a study that showed that fears can be passed to offspring of rats. I will find that post, but it’s going to take some digging. When I find it, I’ll elaborate. But it got me thinking, how much of this “high blood pressure expectation” is embedded in me? How much of it is not even “mine”??

It’s been even more interesting, as I have been doing some research on my ancestry, to see how many in my family died of heart problems. Genetic or otherwise, there’s a lot of history there. What kind of a role does that play??

I follow Lee Carroll’s channelings of Kryon, and I have also found the discussions of “mining the Akash” to be interesting. The basic idea is that we each have access to all of the information or lessons or abilities that we have experienced over all of our lifetimes, and that we can “replace” current attributes of our DNA with better ones from our storehouse.  If you want to know what I’m talking about, see the link below:

So I’ve read this, and I absorbed it as best I could, but I didn’t really know with my brain how this would work. But I also have enough experience with these theings to know that we are learning, it’s a process, and that we will figure our way through it.

So all through my blood pressure journey, I have had these things in the back of my mind. I trust my body to communicate with me if I am paying attention. When I pay attention, I honor my body and it knows that I intend to work with it. Now, at each step, I  always make it a priority to pay attention to how I feel, not only how I feel physically, but what my intuition is telling me.

I tried not to think about my blood pressure for a long time. As long as there wasn’t a crisis, I could ignore it and pretend there wasn’t an issue. In order to have this journey, I had to have my crisis moment and have a really high reading, and be forced to figure out what to do to deal with it.

I went the conventional route, and tried the drugs. But I was aware and awake and paying attention, and the process didn’t feel right. There was not good communication. We were treating a symptom, not trying to understand or fix a cause. I am approaching life in a very different way now, very different from these doctors. I had to figure out how to work through this.

I have been trying to follow Kryon’s suggestions. We are to “talk” to our bodies. Huh? I had to figure out, that for me this meant I could get quiet and set an intention to work with my body, to listen to its signs. That meant that when my body was having an unpleasant side effect, I stood up and said “no” and changed course. In this way, my body knew I was listening.

Yeah, I know, this sounds weird. But the story gets better….

My Miracle

So, a friend of mind had told me about going to a Chinese Herbalist. She called him an intuitive doctor. Hey, I’m open to anything, remember. She had taken her daughter for some symptoms. He pegged it, the kid was fine.

After the leg numbness when I took myself off the Amlodipine, I knew I had to decide what to do next. I looked at the website of the Herbalist, and it felt right. It talked about how it is important to know the person, because what works for certain kinds of people is different than for other kinds.

When I read through everything written on the website, it all resonated perfectly with my perspective. I made an appointment.

When I told my husband about the appointment, he couldn’t believe it — turns out he had this guy’s name on a post-it on his computer screen for the last year.  His nurse practitioner had told him to talk to the guy about nutrition.

In the meantime, I had a scheduled appointment with the cardiologist.

I cancelled it.

You’re not supposed to do that, you know.  But I figured, it didn’t mean I couldn’t go back if the herbalist didn’t pan out.

But I was committing to giving this alternative a try.

I had an hour-long consult with the alternative doctor. He kept printing out research papers for me to read, on the natural substances he was suggesting for me. He was obviously a smart, curious individual, who was excited about the information he was sharing.  And he wanted to know all about ME and how my body was functioning.

It has only been one week since I started on the regimen he gave me. You should know that I am still taking my Lisinopril 40 as well. He has me taking my blood pressure consistently (which I was doing before I saw him, as well).  In what I have written, I have only been talking about the top number of my blood pressure reading. The bottom number was consistently between 100 and 110.  So the differences here are even more dramatic.

The numbers speak for themselves:

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If I did not experience this myself, I would have a hard time believing it. I am glad I have my husband as a witness. This is crazy.

But something happened here. Is it just the effects of the herbs he gave me?

Is this how “mining the Akash” works for me?

I am purposely leaving out the information on what I am taking now. Because I am not convinced that if I had skipped the steps I went through, the process of it, that I would have the same result. I think that this process of honoring my body allowed me to achieve the results, the healing, that I am experiencing. And I think it is necessary that I continue to honor the process.

This is a new way of being.   It is a new approach to caring for our bodies. It involves an openness and a trust in working with what appears in front of us, while at the same time, using our minds to help us figure it out.

But you can’t shortcut it. You can’t just ask me what herbs to take and be done. Because maybe the herbs are incidental. I don’t know that yet. I am still in the middle of the process. I have more to learn, and more experience to gain.

If you want the miracle, you have to follow your own crazy, winding path to find it. No one else can tell you how it will go, or what it is, you have to discover it on your own.

I just wanted to share this example. Hopefully someone will get some inspiration from it. I welcome your comments.


No More Mr. Nice Guy

There’s that old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It always seemed like a very good saying to me, but lately I’m not so sure.

We think of saying something that is “not nice” as being mean. And that might be the case. If a person is judging another, and they express that judgment, they would come up with some statement with the intent to put the other person down, criticize them, set them straight, prove them wrong, well, you get the idea. We are all familiar with these kinds of words.

But is the saying telling us that any kind of disagreement shouldn’t be expressed? Is it “not nice” to tell someone something they don’t want to hear?

Lately I’ve been observing people who only tell others what they want to hear (or what they think the other person wants to hear). And I’ve noticed people who get very upset when you give them honest feedback about something, that they don’t want to hear.

Many people would rather be “nice” than honest.

I think the saying needs some clarification:

If you can’t say something with kindness and without judgment, don’t say anything at all.

The presence or absence of judgment makes all the difference here. You have to work to minimize or eliminate judgment to have the kind of honest, safe, helpful communication that, to me, is the goal.

When your priority is to be “nice” and that includes avoiding disagreement and conflict, what you get is fake communication and pretend relationships.

It’s no big deal when you are interacting with people on a superficial basis – you see someone you don’t know doing something you don’t agree with, but it’s none of your business and it doesn’t affect you…..there is no need to put in your two cents. (Even though lots of people are into doing just that these days.)

But I’m thinking about relationships between people that interact on a regular basis — good friends, family members, or co-workers. If you can’t be honest, then there is no way, in the long term, that your relationships can deepen and develop trust. They will remain superficial. You can’t count on someone who isn’t telling you the truth.

When you are surrounded by others who are very similar to you, there is less conflict or disagreement, and it is very easy to just “get along” and be nice.

But our interactions with others these days are more and more likely to include contact with people who are not “like us” and as a result, more conflicts will occur. This can be seen as an opportunity to develop the communication skills that allow us to be honest and kind at the same time.

Those communication skills go both ways – we not only have to learn how to express honest feedback with kindness, we also have to learn to listen to and accept honest communication.

If you anticipate that an honest comment comes with an underlying judgment, you will get defensive. So you have to learn to pay attention so you can figure out whether the person is really being judgmental or not. Is this comment coming from someone who is judgmental, always telling other people what they should do, and criticizing people? Then it is more likely that the comment is judgmental.  Maybe the person is just being mean, and you should just ignore them.

However, what happens when you get feedback that you don’t like, maybe it stings, you definitely don’t want to hear it……but it comes from someone who you know loves you and wants what’s best for you, and is normally a kind person? At that point, you might try to figure out if something set that person off, or if maybe you should consider that their comment might be worth contemplating.

I live in a family unit of five very different personalities, but I can say that our family culture is very honest. This has been an adjustment for me, since I came from a very “nice” family. So I have spent a lot of time learning to be direct and honest, while still being kind. I’m not saying I have it all figured out and that I always do a good job…..but it’s a process I’ve been consciously working on. And because of that, I observe this issue all around me.

Other parents are amazed when they hear about the level of open communication we have with our kids. We definitely have lots of practice dealing with conflict, but we do it in an honest way, and our kids know that it is safe to speak their minds. There is no question in my mind that this is one of the life lessons I am here to work on. In a way, it feels like I live in a lab experiment! I have learned so much from the souls in my family.

I try hard to see these dynamics without judgment. Instead of thinking that people “should be” one way or another (and people tend to think others “should” be like they are), I see that we are all unique individuals with different personalities, and there is no reason why we can’t learn to interact with others while respecting their approaches.

Those who grew up in a culture of “nice” tend to be the pleasers, the peacemakers, the ones who have a problem saying “no.” If you want to develop an honest relationship with these people, you have to do what you can to convince them that it is safe to be honest. Try to communicate with kindness. But also realize that you can’t change them, they have to change themselves.

You can recognize the pleasers. They always say “yes” even if they are already over-committed and there is no way they can do what they just agreed to do. They anticipate the needs of others, and put those needs before their own.

The “opposite” type person is what I would call a self-advocate. They are clear what they think and what they want, and they don’t hesitate to express any of that. Just because they are direct, doesn’t mean they aren’t open to another view. You have to meet this person where they are, and communicate directly.

Most people aren’t all one or the other. Depending on the situation and who we are with, we might take on different roles. And both approaches are important.

As always, it’s about balance. There are times when we need to set our own needs aside and help and support others. There are also times when we need to set boundaries and say no. There are times when we need to love ourselves enough to advocate for our own needs and focus on ourselves above others.

Are you aware of when you have been dishonest, just to be nice and not disappoint someone? Are you aware of when you have been brutally honest, and didn’t deliver your feedback in a kind way?

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Running Scenarios

You can predict the future! And the future is now! Let me explain…

The idea or concept of “running scenarios” is something that I became really familiar with when I was doing financial analysis for real estate development projects.

Let’s say you are going to renovate an old apartment building with 5 units. The building is 80 years old and hasn’t had much of anything updated in a very long time. This means you have 5 kitchens and 5 bathrooms, etc. If you are looking at the financial aspect of this project, you would have all kinds of possibilities to look at – whether to use high end or inexpensive materials, whether to move any walls, what kind of upgrades you would want to make to the building systems, heaters, plumbing, etc. Every single little detail would have a cost associated with it. And that’s just the materials – you would also have to make assumptions about the cost of labor and the interest cost associated with any financing, how much cash you would need to contribute, and any fees that would have to be paid. And that’s just the costs. You would also have to make assumptions about the amount of time it would take to implement your plan, which contractors to use, and what you would do to relocate the existing tenants.

So, you would set up a spreadsheet and have a place where you would list all of your assumptions. You would set it up so that it automatically sums up totals for you, and you could also set it up to calculate measures of return, to get a sense of whether this project would be a good investment of your time and money.

The spreadsheet would allow you to change each assumption, so that you could run various scenarios and see what the results are.

If you were really curious about how much it costs, and how it works to renovate small apartment buildings, you might gather information on a bunch of actual projects to see what is typical. But remember, with old buildings, each one is unique and you always run into surprises.

A person who has been doing this kind of renovation project for a long time would have developed this body of knowledge. They would be an expert. And if you have ever encountered someone with this kind of experience you know that they can almost sense how much a project will cost and whether it will be worth it.

So what if this same concept applies to life here on earth? What if we are all “running scenarios” with our lives, in order to learn and become, collectively, experts? Can you imagine the endless possibilities? My life setup is a scenario in itself, and then each hour of each day, I encounter choices I must make, which changes the assumptions, which changes the outcome. Life is very dynamic, which is why we can learn so much from it. And when we become an expert at life, what we really become is wise.

Which makes me think of the “wisdom factor.” That person who has spent a lifetime renovating small apartment buildings has a level of experience that shows as wisdom, almost a sixth sense about what will work best and what might go wrong.

An “old soul” who has experienced all kinds of scenarios (life set-ups) will develop wisdom. What if, embedded in each life, the wisdom factor is one of the assumptions? Think of every single life, not in a linear sense (one after the other), but in a completely interactive sense. What if, as you gain wisdom in one life, the wisdom factor in all your other lives increases, and allows you to make wiser decisions and gain more insight?

A book that illustrates this concept is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. The book follows a girl’s life and the choices she makes, then restarts her life over and over. As she gains wisdom, she makes subtle changes in how she interacts with others and lives her life, and you can see how she matures.

I am in a physical life in form, and so I am living one scenario, as it unfolds. But there are all kinds of other potentials that could happen. It might be as simple as my own change of perception of a situation – for example, I could see it as a problem or I could see it as an opportunity to learn.  Or I could make a choice that changes the course of my life.  Any change would have ripple effects on the lives of others, and ultimately on the entire system.

It boggles the mind to think of the possibilities.

But this is exactly the process that is described in several places.

My favorite description comes from The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan. Billy describes his experience of a hologram that allows him to look at his life without judgment. He is able to see any scene from his life. He can feel what others were feeling at the time. He can also try out any possibility – he can run “what if” scenarios to see how things would have played out. Can you imagine what you would learn if you were able to do this?

The “life review” described by people who have had near-death experiences (NDE) is what people are talking about when they say “my life flashed before my eyes”. I just recently read the book Life After Life by Raymond A. Moody Jr., M.D. from 1975 and was struck by how similar the life review is to Billy’s hologram.

In Lee Carroll/Kryon’s book The Journey Home, the main character, Michael, has a similar experience, which he describes as if he is watching a movie of his life.

Kryon often explains “how it all works” from Spirit’s point of view  (here is an example):

First, there is no linear time – everything happens in the Now. That’s hard to get your head around. But think if you could put every single scenario on it’s own sheet in a huge Excel workbook. Think about each one being linked to all the others, in an elaborate matrix of formulas and assumptions, one of which would be the wisdom factor. Then go focus on one of the scenarios and let it play out. Change an assumption, gain more wisdom, and see how, instantaneously, the entire workbook would reflect the changes.

It’s not hard to me, to think that God could work something like that.

Second, Kryon also likes to talk about potentials. It’s not that hard for Spirit, which is all-knowing, to have a sense of who every single person on the planet is and what they are likely to do. Of course, humans have free will and nothing is certain, but it’s not that hard to predict how humans will behave. So Spirit can make certain assumptions, and using the giant Excel spreadsheet, come up with likely outcomes.

To a certain extent, humans can use this same skill of evaluating scenarios. We might not consciously know all the details, but we can use what we know to make pretty good predictions.

My personal view is that we all, as souls, have the ability to see life this way. But we have to set aside lots of human conditioning that precludes us from doing so.

We have to set aside judgment. There is no judgment in this kind of thinking–only learning and growth and understanding.

We have to be open to the idea that there is more than just this physical life on earth, and we have to be open to the idea that it is way more complicated than we can fathom with our brains. We have to go beyond the limits of our minds, and open our hearts to “feel” and “know” what is possible.

 We have to abandon fear. Become Fearless.

There are people who are “psychic” who can “predict the future.” Do you find this scary? What if the future (the scenario with the highest potential) isn’t going the way you want it to go? Would you rather not know? I’m personally not sure why some people are “connected” to Spirit in a way that they have access to past or future scenarios. We talk about “past lives” and “the future,” even though it is more like a soup of assumptions and potentials.

D L Zeta presents a discussion of interacting with our past and future here, that fits in with this way of thinking.

It’s really important to note, that having access to the “other side of the veil” or to Spirit, can be really overwhelming. This access can happen to people who are unprepared and have no idea what to make of it. On top of that, since most people in our culture are uncomfortable or unaware, there can be all kinds of negative reactions. Others might want to diagnose the person with an illness, rather than explore the possibility of a spiritual connection.  It’s bewildering to not know what’s going on.

It makes sense that some of the people who tap into this information are kind and nonjudgmental, while others have their own belief systems that influence how they interpret the information they get. A person is like a filter, and if that filter is gunked up with unresolved issues, it will be more difficult for the pure message to get through. Lee Carroll and Kryon have written a lot about the process of becoming a clear channel. Paul Selig’s books incorporate discussions of the times that Paul has to “step aside,” when he is having trouble with a teaching.

A psychic reader that is addicted to drama in their own life, would probably interpret or present information in a dramatic way. One who is having issues in their own life, might be more cynical when those issues come up in information for another person.

Just like I come up with an analogy having to do with real estate finance, because that’s what I am very familiar with. So, the lesson is, understand the person so you can understand what kind of filter they are likely to be.  Then set those things aside and try to see the underlying concept.

So, here’s how I think about it. The Creator we call God, would be the Master at running scenarios. If we are all part of the One, if we are all creations of God with His spark in us, well maybe we are here acting out an endless, amazing variety of scenarios, with the purpose of collectively becoming wise.  This makes the whole idea of not judging make all kinds of sense, right?  Because how can you become wise without experiencing EVERYTHING, the “good” AND the “bad”?

This is how the idea of reincarnation makes sense to me. Instead of a “one after the other” progression of lives, I see it as more dynamic and beautiful than that. Our concept of linear time makes it very hard to wrap our minds around ideas like being able to change the past. But if we are all connected to each other and all the possibilities, at any moment, we are a snapshot of experience.

Without judgment, it’s all good.

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A Balance of Personal Strength

I am thinking about what it means to be a strong person.

I am not talking about physical strength.

We talk about someone having a strong will. We talk about people having strong beliefs. People can be strong when they are resilient. Someone can have a very strong faith. We all know people who are solid. The rocks.

Maybe we think of strong people as those who have lots of opinions and don’t hesitate being vocal about them. We think of people who are self-advocates and go-getters, people who make things happen. They say “I know what you should do…” They do what they need to do to get what they want. Don’t stand in their way! They are in charge. They are direct and ask for what they want (from you). They are the chiefs that surround themselves with staff. Let’s call this Outer Strength.

OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here, but you get the idea.

I am one of the strongest people I know. I hold ideas and beliefs that I have thought about and researched and tested and experienced. While I am open to new information, I have spent so much intellectual time on the ideas I hold to be true, that it is hard to change my perspective. It only changes with serious internal consideration. But unless someone knows me really well, they don’t see me as strong.   Let’s just say I have Inner Strength.

Think about people that you know. Which kind of strong are they?

What’s different about me is that I don’t impose my ideas or beliefs on others. I don’t talk a lot about them unless I am asked. I don’t try to convince others that my truth should be their truth. I love to share what I think to promote discussion, but I don’t feel like I need to convert anybody. I don’t ask anyone else to do something for me, unless there is a balance.

I will work hard to get what I want. But I won’t do it at someone else’s expense. It’s what feels right to me.

I have spent an awful lot of time around the more typical strong person. They usually don’t “get” me, and I think I can be very frustrating to them. I don’t make any sense, because I am operating under a completely different paradigm. I am not weak. They attempt to use their powerful approach to convince me or direct me, and I nicely say no, thank you, because I already have my own agenda. I am happy for them to have their opinion, so I don’t fight them.

Outer Strength that attempts to control others is not respectful. It takes a lot of Inner Strength not to get swallowed up sometimes.

So what would it look like if we all found a personal balance of Inner and Outer Strength without the need to impose our way on others?

There is nothing wrong with using a direct approach and asking for what you want. There is no problem with clearly stating an opinion that you have. There is nothing wrong with advocating for a position you believe in. There is nothing wrong with going after what you want.

But there is also nothing wrong with saying no. There is nothing wrong with plainly disagreeing. There is nothing wrong with opposing views. You can always choose not to participate.

I have learned that I don’t need to get angry when someone asks for what they want. They are free to ask for anything…….and I am just as free to say yes or no without getting an angry response.

Now imagine two people who each have balanced Inner and Outer Strength (or at least are working on it). They might not always agree, they might not choose to do the same things, but they are clear in communicating and they allow each other to be different. They learn the art of compromise. They don’t always have to get their way. They don’t tend to be telling each other what to do. They do, however, share perspectives and learn to understand each other.

What if everyone operated this way?


Thinking about Motivation and Kids

This is dedicated to all the coaches and teachers and others out there who want to motivate the kids they are working with. As an observer and thinker about this, and as a mom of three active kids, I’ve witnessed kids with many different personalities in many different situations with many kinds of coaches and teachers and parents.

The bumps in the road with kids range from relatively small to very big, but a lot of the dynamics are the same along the spectrum. Don’t we want to understand what’s going on, so that we can minimize our problems? Whether it’s a better relationship with your son or daughter, or avoiding teen suicides, eating disorders, cutting, or other destructive behaviors, it’s worth digging into the dynamics of how we interact with our kids.

What’s the Goal?

So, we might assume that we all would agree that the priority when working with kids is to motivate them to do their best. This seems reasonable, but I am not really sure that this is always the case.

Like anything, lots of people in the world are running on automatic, without really thinking through or being aware of what their true priorities are. So stepping back and thinking about it might be a worthwhile exercise. When you work with kids, what is your primary goal?

From what I have seen, the prevailing model for dealing with kids, that we have used for years, is what I call the Crime and Punishment model. Many adults really just want kids to do what they are told, to behave, to obey. I am the parent, what I say, goes. Step out of line, you have committed a crime, you should expect a punishment.

This way of thinking might sound like this: “I have the education and experience, I know what is best, and they should respect that. I have been successful in my field, and I know more than anyone else here, they should do what I say.” My response would be, that might all be true, but if a kid is not motivated to go along with the plan, there might be some issues. And, likewise, if a kid is really motivated, they are going to strive to achieve, despite what the coach or teacher or parent does.

So I am not interested in evaluating or making a distinction about whether the adult in charge is competent or not. Let’s assume he or she is experienced and knowledgeable. The actual goals of what you want the kids to do are probably the same…’s more a matter of how you get there.

What I am interested in talking about is the HOW in how do you motivate?

Motivated kids make your job easier. If they are motivated, you don’t have to push, and that’s half the battle, right? Why are some kids motivated while others don’t seem to care?

The first thing to say is, one size does not fit all. Sure, that seems obvious, but when working with kids, one has to consider the various personalities and situations of the kids you are working with. Do you adjust your style accordingly, or do you just use your style no matter what? As a parent, you may have had the experience that what worked with your first, does not with your second. If your style is not effective with a child, do you adjust, or do you just impose that style harder?

So let’s talk about motivating kids. It’s only one aspect of working with them, but it’s an important one that determines how effective you can be. You can have more knowledge about your subject area or sport than any other person alive, and you can be great at explaining and demonstrating that knowledge, but if the kids aren’t motivated to listen and engage, then you will only get so far.

I have seen the exact same kid thrive and excel under one coach, and totally bomb under another coach. I have seen the exact same kid excel in a subject at school with one teacher, then I have been told by the next year’s teacher that this child doesn’t know what he’s doing. The kid didn’t change – so something else was going on. It’s not just motivation, but that’s usually a part of it.

I like to analyze and figure things out. It’s what I do. And as a parent, I want my kids, and all kids, to learn and grow and excel. So I have watched and thought a great deal about this.

Motivation is a key component. And not every individual is motivated in the same way or for the same reasons. I see two primary questions that help break it down to figure out what is going on.

Is this kid motivated internally or externally?

We all know people who are self-motivated. It comes from inside. Once they have set their mind on something, nothing will stop them. This is the kind of kid we all love, because the motivation is already there. They make it easy.

But where that internal drive comes from isn’t always the same. Someone might have a drive to succeed because they just love doing their best at anything they try. They may love the satisfaction of reaching a goal. They may do what they do because they enjoy the sport or activity and it brings them joy, or a rush, or gets them into the zone.

Others may be motivated because they have internalized an external motivation. The parents were both athletes and so of course I will follow in their footsteps, I am expected to be and I expect myself to be a star. Failure is not an option.

Some may be in it for the glory and the bragging rights. If I am the best, I will get the medal, or the trophy, or the all-State status. Others will know I am the best. The championship or the title will be the motivation.

At the other end of the spectrum is the purely external motivation of parents or peers or coaches. The kid is required by his/her school to play a sport, and the rest of the team is all about winning, and the kid doesn’t want to let the team down, so the external motivation is responded to.

The parents push their kid hard, have invested a lot of money in lessons and instruments or equipment, say, and have also invested themselves in their child’s success. The kid does not want to disappoint their parents’ expectations. Failure is not an option.

Every single situation is unique, and you can’t assume what a child’s motivation is, just based on the circumstances. One kid who plays a sport might be totally self-motivated and love his sport. Another on the same track, might be doing it because his three older brothers did it.

One kid might be a superstar at school, where the learning comes naturally and is enjoyed, while another might be responding to tremendous pressure from teachers and parents to do it all.  They could both get straight As with different motivations.

The second question is:

Are the motivation techniques I am using positive or negative?

Positive techniques are based on love. They include encouragement, a focus on improvement, and they build a kid up. Positive techniques support growth and taking risks and they let a kid know that the sky is the limit.  When a person embraces this kind of motivation, it becomes the best kind of self-motivation.

Negative techniques are based on fear. Fear of punishment, fear of being ashamed, guilt for not measuring up, fear of consequences, fear of anger and emotional outbursts. Coaches yelling at their teams.

(One parent recently told me of a coach who told young girls that if they performed like that again, they would be a disgrace to their families. Really?)

I am sorry to say, but many, many of the techniques I see used in schools to get kids to fall in line and behave, are fear-based. I suspect that those who use these techniques prioritize behavior and doing what you are told (control). What they may not realize, though, is how damaging this is.

You see, deep down, we all know that we deserve love and respect. We are all “good enough.” At the surface, some of us are sure of this, many of us doubt this, and some have been convinced that this is not so.

Bottom line, any time fear is used to motivate, this is insulting to one’s Soul.  It’s called manipulation.

So back to the secure, self-motivated kid who has messed up or missed the goal or made a mistake. If you slam him or her, and try to make them feel “less than” in order to “shape them up”, this will KILL their motivation. ESPECIALLY to a kid who has been raised to support internal motivation, who tries to do his/her best, but who knows they are a human who makes mistakes…..they do not need to be beat up. They already know that there is improvement to be made.

And the insecure, vulnerable kid? You can really do some damage. They already feel unworthy, and you are just kicking them when they are down. You think they will continue to try?

I am not saying that you won’t get what you want with a fear-based approach. Fear works, and in the short term, you may get those kids to perform. They may be strong enough and self-motivated enough to ignore your methods. Others may be unwilling to let their parents or their teammates down. They just might be scared enough of you to do what they are told.

But you will never empower kids by using fear. You might get what you want and win the battle, but you lose the war. You will not develop a relationship with these kids. Do you think any kid who has any kind of issue or trouble will ever come to you for help? Forget it. So without help and guidance, their troubles will get worse.

At this point, you may be saying, well their parents should take care of them. True, if the goal is to control kids and make them do what they are told and behave. But is that what we are trying to teach our kids? Or do we want kids who learn to navigate life, by making mistakes and practicing how to do better next time? Don’t we want to encourage kids to take responsibility for their own activities and decisions?

As parents, coaches and teachers, it is our responsibility to make kids feel SAFE coming to us with their problems. That is, IF our goal is to empower kids and help them learn and grow.

What has amazed me the most is how entrenched our culture is in Crime and Punishment. We aren’t even aware of this. Even kids with really open and caring parents are afraid to share their difficulties. Most kids wouldn’t dare discuss issues with their parents or other adults.

And teachers and coaches? You better believe that if you follow the Crime and Punishment model (which, by the way, often includes No Tolerance policies) there is no way kids think they can work things out with you. Instead, they will weasel their way through the best they can. Some will just quit. And you definitely WON’T be getting their best. Isn’t this obvious?

I have observed the kids who have been crushed by this system. It’s awful.

And the thing is, it’s unnecessary.

It’s not about assigning blame or figuring out who is wrong. That’s just pointless. We all make mistakes sometimes, we all wish we had done some things differently. We have good intentions, we are doing the best we can, and sometimes we are doing things the way we think we should…..and it turns out that’s not the best way.

It’s life and it’s how it works and nobody is perfect.

But everybody knows our schools and our kids are in crisis.  Instead of searching for someone to blame, wouldn’t it be more helpful to understand?

One little blog post can’t cover this topic. But to me, if everybody took some time to think through these issues, we could make dramatic improvement in our interactions with our kids. And in turn, we would be making the world a kinder place with more Love and less Fear.




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Stuck in the Details of Right and Wrong

Deciding who is right and who is wrong is pure judgment. Period.

IF you’re a Christian, it’s very clear that we are not to judge. Period.

So how does that work?

Step back, and let’s look at how “deciding what’s right or wrong” works, forget the mandate of “no judging” for now:

Take any argument that centers on what was right or wrong in the past. First, what is done is done. So what is the purpose of labeling something right or wrong? You could call this just semantics, but it’s not just that. If your true focus is on determining right or wrong, what does this really accomplish? Why do people spend so much time arguing who or what was right and who or what was wrong?

Even if we all agree on which label fits which party or situation, that label doesn’t fix or change anything.

When we don’t agree on where the labels should be placed, these “discussions” are usually attempts to convince others of our viewpoint, which can lead to anger, insults, and intimidation to convince others that we are right. So not only is there the question of whether the issue we are discussing is right or wrong, but we take it on personally to be which person is right or wrong. You may become a bad person if you end up on the wrong side. So the stakes in this game are high. Each person wants to win – this is really a competition.

I think most people approach things this way because this has been the prevalent way in the past. It’s just the way it is, and that way hasn’t been questioned. It’s the default setting.


There are people who enjoy playing this game of right and wrong just to stir people up and see them squirm and see how much emotional reaction they can get. A friend of mine knows he does this – he calls it “hunting bear.” Are you tempted to decide he’s “wrong” for doing it for this reason? Hey, it’s just his choice. Who am I to judge?

Some people are very invested in being right and knowing all there is to know about whatever they are discussing. It’s a self-worth thing. They need to be right, and they need to defend that, otherwise they would be wrong. (If you are wrong then you are bad, and nobody wants to be a bad person.) People want to feel good about who they are, and they can get very emotional when threatened with a label of “bad.”

So it depends what your goal is. Are you just having fun messing around with people? Do you think you know more and are better than all the other idiots? Are you invested in being superior?

If someone is playing the judgment game, you can’t really discuss anything with them, because they are not as interested in digging in and understanding the issue or problem, as they are interested in being right. They may know lots of facts and background information, but the purpose for knowing all this is to be right.  So you have to understand where they are coming from. And they may never have thought about why they take the approach that they do.

This can be tricky to figure out, because those who are really good at the game (but aren’t aware they are playing it) use approaches that lead others to believe that they are really trying to solve problems. They know lots of details and could argue the finer points until the cows come home.

Look, they may really truly want these problems to go away. I am not saying people don’t have good intentions. I think most people do. I just think most people haven’t thought through what I’m talking about to the extent that they understand where it’s possible to get stuck.


And I don’t even expect others to agree with me on what I’m saying here. Really this is only my one perspective. What I am interested in, is non-emotional exploration and discussion of ideas. The only way you can understand anything, and especially the nuances of anything, is to hash it out and explore every possibility. Without getting emotional and defensive.

If a person gets triggered by someone who disagrees, that probably indicates that they are stuck in the “right and wrong” game. If they can agree to disagree, even if they are passionate about their perspective, then they have probably moved past that stage.

IF your goal is about understanding complicated issues, or trying to do the best you can with whatever the situation is, or trying to decide on policy or who to vote for or how to improve whatever it is, THEN you have to set aside the game of judgment. You don’t waste time arguing right or wrong.  And you don’t feel the need to put other people down.

Instead, you frame your discussions around what works to get to the goal and what doesn’t work. You talk about goals, what they are, and how sometimes two important goals can conflict.

You realize that life is complicated, each person and each situation is unique, and to make the best of anything, you have to think about it and do your best, and adjust the next time.


Some examples to think about:

Fear Porn

We all see lots of information about situations that exist in the world that cause pain and fear. A certain amount of this is really, really important, because we can only solve problems if we are aware of them.

To be aware of all the problems in the world can be overwhelming. No one person could possibly have enough time or energy to tackle more than a few. But how many pictures or posts do you see where the primary purpose seems to be to trigger feelings of guilt or horror at these types of situations? There are a lot. Their underlying message seems to be “Don’t You CARE????” So, is the purpose of a post to promote awareness, or is it to promote what is right?

ANYTHING that uses fear, guilt, or shame to motivate people, will only promote more of the negative. Because the motivation is to avoid being WRONG.

Are you a terrible person if you don’t rescue all the abandoned dogs on the world? If you don’t write your Congressman about every single problem that needs attention? If you don’t repost the picture of the girl/boy/men/women who have been mistreated? If you don’t feed the poor? If you don’t stand up for human rights?

I’m talking about issues that are ALL important, of course they are, and I can be aware and care and have compassion for all of them. I can also be aware of who I am and my place in the world, and I can do all I can to use my individual talents and situation to make the world a better place. Fear porn isn’t going to support me with that. In fact, fear porn only contributes negative energy. It doesn’t solve anything.

Of course it’s a balance. Sometimes we want to get people’s attention. Something that looks like fear porn to me, might be exactly what the next guy needs to see. My point here is to make people think about it. If all you are doing is posting sad, terrible stories, but you never get involved in a real-world sense to make something better, then maybe you are stuck trying to showing everyone else how wrong they are.

The Crime and Punishment Model of Parenting and Schooling

Talk about a subject area where people are obsessed with being right or wrong…

We motivate kids with fear all the time. Follow the rules or else. Zero tolerance.

When a child makes a mistake, we can’t wait to say “Gotcha!!” We are obsessed with making kids who slip up know that they are wrong, while we reinforce being right with praise.

This results in kids who are wonderful actors. They figure out what behavior gets them praise, and they hide (not always so skillfully) any behavior that will get them a “bad” label. We teach them to be superficial, rather than supporting them in building character, making smart choices, and learning to navigate the world.

Or, they see how it goes and they give up, because they realize there is no winning with this game. Kids are smarter than you think.

Look, everybody makes mistakes. When Mistakes = Wrong instead of Mistakes = Opportunity we miss our chances to understand and learn and grow.


I’m not sure that any of our problems are more rooted in the Right vs. Wrong paradigm than politics.

You know, it doesn’t have to be this way, by the way.

Politics in the US is all about us vs. them, being on the right side, my way is right, your way is wrong. If you operate within this paradigm, it’s a great place to exercise this way of being these days. What a thrill ride!

Doesn’t our current day political situation seem insane, unproductive, unworkable, inefficient, etc etc etc? Do you notice that cooperation between sides seems to be treated like a terrible threat? This mindset has a stranglehold on politics, and the only way out of it is to abandon the mindset.

If you spend all of your time arguing which President was good (right) and which was bad (wrong) you will never get anything done. If you keep arguing about which policy was good (right) and which was bad (wrong) you will never spend time creating a new policy that might work better, much less will you actually learn what you can from previous experience.

You might  discuss the very same issues, but the mindset and the goal that you have will determine whether you get stuck in an endless loop of competition between good and bad, or whether you think and learn and understand and contemplate better solutions for the future.

Details Don’t Really Matter

This is why I don’t really care about the details of what happened.

So yes, I know there are lots of situations in the world where we need to come together and tackle situations and help each other out. I already know that. So I don’t want to spend my time talking about how terrible it is and all the gory details. Let’s put that energy into cooperating and finding solutions.

I don’t care whether the kid drank at a party or skipped class. I want to talk about what’s important, about making smart choices, about knowing what is important to that particular kid, and understanding how they found themselves in that situation. I want to use the opportunity to think things through and help the kid learn.

We might have almost the exact same conversation about who was there and who did what and what happened then. But instead of trying to convict the kid and make sure he knows he’s WRONG, the goal is instead to support decision making and learning how to do better next time. Build her up, not break her down.

And please. Just please. Politics is not a sporting event. You don’t root for your team. We are supposed to be trying to find the best people we can who will be creative and find solutions and try. We can’t expect our elected officials to change the system, WE have to initiate that change by letting go of the ego’s need to be right and make others wrong. We just need to drop it and work together and know that nobody is perfect and put our ENERGY into solutions.  We need a new mindset.

THAT’s where I’m coming from.

THAT’s why I just don’t have much patience for fear porn, constant negativity, attacks on individuals, belittling others, scare tactics, condemnations, etc.  I am no better than you.  You are no better than me.  We are each unique, important individuals who contribute to the fabric of humanity.  Even the “bad guys.”  Even the other guy.  I will respect the other guy no matter what the perspective.

If you want to play that game, hey, it’s your choice.  I want to change the world, I want world peace, and I don’t think the competitive mindset of determining right and wrong will get us there.  So I will tell you that.  If you try to convince me otherwise, I will stand up and say “no.”  I will be clear.  I will not argue with you.  You have as much right to your perspective as anyone.  But you can’t intimidate me into feeling less than you by hurling insults.  Sticks and stones, bro.

Just don’t be surprised when we go our separate ways.

Let’s agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Isn’t it interesting that “don’t judge” is an important concept we get from Jesus?   Maybe he knew what he was talking about.  But the difficulty is this:  those who are in the judging mindset, will feel judged by my little rant here, where no judgment is intended.  Just another example of how with “right vs. wrong” we can never win.

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