Tag Archives: Health


To move forward when life throws mega blows  at you, you need to have learned the art of gratitude; just as there is summer, there is also winter, and then spring.


Emotional fitness is not about denying hurt; trying to is futile and only drives it underground where it builds up steam and erupts.  Emotional fitness is about feeling your feelings, seeing them as tools for leaning, or moments to be enjoyed and building the tools you need to survive a life blow, what the experts call trauma.

Trauma is best defined as something painful that changes you forever.  Feelings serve as signals and painful ones accompanying trauma  stop you from feeling anything but the pain.   You can only cry or howl.

However, in time you move on.  Some move on by getting angry, others numb out, others howl in despair or cry knowing their hearts have been broken; their lives changed forever.

I am one who cries, and it is always with thinking ” I will never be able to stop my tears.”  Not what happens.  Life blows get you howling or crying for far longer than you like. Some weep uncontrollably for what seems like hours.  I go for about twenty minutes in spurts that last for days, but each day the time between the tears or howling grow longer.

The goal all should strive for is to express the pain as pain. However,  some never cry, but rage. Anger is a shield against hurt.  Feeling the hurt is more productive but not if you wallow in as a victim.

Our genes often determine how long it takes to stop the tears or anger or despair that visits along with life blows.

The more we are able to persist in getting a job done, the more likely we have genes involved in the trait called persistence by the experts.  Persistence is a mega talent in many ways – some say it is the key to success. Now so helpful when trying to let go of pain and move on.

The traits passed on to us in our genes are not set in stone and can be modified and often are as we grow.   Learning to be grateful for the good when dealing with  a double-edged swords like being both blessed and cursed with persistence is one practicing gratitude.. For more about temperament visit this Parents Are People Too blog post. Take the temperament test.


Before the bad times come make a list of all you have to be grateful for – life, food, love, a beautiful world, friends, surviving bad times, good memories, pets, even material possessions. I am grateful for my computer and for access to the Internet, for my books, for my old, but still running car.

Be specific. When being thankful for the people in your lives,  list them by name and the gift each brings.  Some friends bless you in one way; others bless you in other ways.  Even the worse parent can be thanked for giving you life.

When you have made your list, get comfortable, then take a deep slow breathe  in and  as you breathe out say “Thank you” while thinking of something on your list.  Breathe normally for a few moments and then thank something else exactly as you thanked the first. When you have said “Thank you” at least three times,  say a general thank you, smile and go about your day. .

You can never say “Thank you” enough. As Elizabeth Gilbert notes, “In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

Gratitude is best practiced off and on throughout the day. Every time someone does something for you, say “Thank you” aloud. When someone rings up your purchases or packs your groceries, or holds a door say, “Thank you” Thank inanimate objects. Say “Thank you” when something works. Say “Thank you” when things go your way. Say “Thank you” when you see something of beauty. Say “Thank you” when you hear some beautiful or inspiring music. When you smell a whiff of fresh air, or the scent of a flower, or the aroma of fresh coffee or hot chocolate, say “Thank you.”

All that is good in this world is a gift and saying “Thank you” extends the gift.

And thank pain for the lessons it gives. There are always lessons.

parenting tip

As always what you do matters most, so say  “Thank you” when practicing gratitude in your child’s presence.  You do not have to thank bad behavior, but should always say it when the bad behavior stops.


DAILY PROMPT  Last Words: You have the chance to write one last post on your blog before you stop blogging forever. Write it.

Can you guess what mine would be? A “Thank You” Post in the form of a good bye letter and it would begin with Charles Lee’s Gratitude poerm.

What would you write in such a letter?

Links of interest


Don’t think you can afford a life coach? Like a life coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters.  To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.


Keep working to stay strong, I work hard to do the same . As noted above,  I am not perfect, no one is and this week;s post will be all about praising imperfection.

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Thank you.



Everyone betrays someone even those they love the most. Forgiveness remains the only way out of the hell of hatred betrayal creates.


You betray, I betray, we all betray. You betray when you violate a contract that causes deep pain or conflict to the other person or people affected. The contract can be presumed or verbal agreed to  or written and signed by both parties.

Do you remember the first time you felt betrayed by someone you loved? Parents are usually the first, but what feels like parental  betrayal is not recognized  by the very young as such.

Why?  Because children believe  do not have the sense of fairness required to correctly label a betrayal.  Might makes right rules their world.  It is when we hit our teens, that we can contemplate more abstract ideas like what is fair and realize we have been betrayal.

When I was a teen my best friend went after a boy she know I was interested in.

“Not fair,” I cried.

“All’s fair in love and war,” she replied.

Perhaps that should not be “All’s fair.”  Howver, the lesson I took from this betrayal was that people are such that they will always seek their heart’s need whether it is fair or not.  My friend might have chosen to leave the field clear for me, then she would have betrayed her heart.  A conundrum. Betraying others is part of being human, not the best part but often an understandable one. Our friendship survived because her explanation made sense to me at the time and we were able to talk about it.

Sometimes we betray out of weakness, sometimes out of strength, mostly due to conflicting needs, but in time we all betray. Even the most loving couples eventually face death and that is life’s ultimate betrayal.

Emotional fitness tip one: The betrayals  of those we love starts when we lie to ourselves or to the loved one.  There is a phenomena amoug marriage counselors known as  “Runaway wives.”  Husband do it too.  It starts with not being honest about who you are and your feelings.

Emotional fitness tip three: Know yourself, so you can be honest about your needs. Betrayal is often kindness or conflict avoidance taken too far.

Emotional fitness tip four:  Don’t let hurts fester. forgiveness requires a philosophy that softens hatred through understanding. My father hated and feared conflict; he was the shining example of “If you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” He also managed not to let what hurt him about my mother fester.

How did he do that?  At  some point in his life he apparently decided to forgo revenge and to let go of hate. He did this by the belief  the other person would suffer more in the long run.  Bishop Tutu’s definition of forgiveness is not seeking revenge. My father had never heard of Tutu, but was wise, however, also letting his need for peace rule him and not always to his benefit.

Emotional fitness tip five: Forgiveness cannot be practiced when emotional and physical safety have no been not established. Physical assault,  whether the torture of oppressive regimes, child, or partner abuse is the easiest example of the need for safety; ongoing emotional abuse is less easily defined, but is unrelenting blaming, coldness and attacking the others self-worth.

Emotional fitness tip six: Learn and practice the art of forgiveness.


Divorce is one  way parents betray children into today’s world of easy come and easy go marriage.  But there are lots of other ways.  As noted above even those who love you the most betray. I remember when I finally figured out my father, the only person I worshiped well into adulthood and who I  know loved me unconditionally,  had betrayed me.

How? My mother was given to horrible pre-menstrual temper tantrums. I was often her victim. To her credit she never got physically violent, but her emotional outbursts sent me to my room weeping uncontrollable. In time she would calm down and my father would come and reunite the two of us.  How was that betrayal?

I don’t think he could have stopped her rages, but he could have told  know it was her problem, that she was wrong but at the mercy of her own needs.  That would have made all the difference to me. It was a therapist who helped me understand that and so forgive and go on. My father did the best he could, so did my Mom, and so do all of us.

There are times, however when the best is just not enough to keep us from betraying those we love.  What to do?

Parenting tip one: Betray as little as possible. Practicing kindness helps.

Parenting tip two: Own up when you are betraying another. As always your behavior models what your children follow most strongly.

Parenting tip three:  Try to do better.  If you cannot  do better, own that you are at fault.  The most common way out of the guilt of knowing we are hurting another is finding fault with the other  — the blame game.  Children of divorce say the bad mouthing or arguing and blaming of the other parent hurt more than the  divorce.

Parenting tip four: Teach your children life is not fair, betrayals happen.

Parenting tip five:  Teach your children to practice kindness, the art of apologizing, and how to forgive.

Parenting tip six: Improve your child’s self soothing skills.

improve your critical thinking skills

DAILY PROMPT  Undo: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

If I could undo anything, it would be the very human need to put on what I call a faux self.  We have many selves and our faus selves are often attempts to be kind or to avoid conflict. Understandable, but in the long run you betray yourself and often others.  Why learning to be who you are, say what needs saying, but not saying it means matters most.

Your ideas?



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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find some good every day..



“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  Albert Einstein

Beauty rocks and roots (2)

For there to be life, trees, flowers, grass, roots must find their way through the darkness of the earth and often through rock.  The religions  scholars define a miracle as something that cannot be explained by the laws of nature.

So when you find a dandelion pushing its way through a crack you cannot see in your driveway, you do not think miracle.  The miracle of flowers growing in cement or even  a tree pushing through cement, asphalt,  or a rock seems common place. Most of the time we do not see a miracle in that dandylion and all too often think of it as just a weed and troublesome at that.

But think about it in terms of the miracle of creation, and hopefully, you understand what Einstein was saying . We diminish all that is and that includes our well-being when fail to see the miracle of life.

Whether you reject the idea of a creator and think all that is is accidental you miss much by ignoring the wonder of it all. Morever, you limit your emotional strength. When you are in touch with the miraculous, you know what matters, you feel blessed by what you have been given at this moment in time, you live with greater awareness  and greater gratitude.

In the rush and turmoil of today’s life finding the miracles requires some diligence.  This is most true when we are facing a stone wall of sadness. or are failing to find our way.  What to do? This quick and easy emotional fitness exercise improves your odds of doing as Einstein suggests.

  1.  Turn off all electronic distractions. Get comfortable.Take a minute to  breathe softly and slowly.
  2.  Don’t try to control anything, just breathe and notice how it feels to breathe in and then out.
  3. Think of a starry, starry night. Imagine looking up into the heavens.  Imagine all that has been created.  Think about all the stars like our star.  Think of all the possible unknown worlds above us, below us, around us.  Wonder. Breathe. Smile gently.
  4. Think of a garden. Think of the flowers.  Think of the bees, the butterflies, the birds.  Think of the soil, the ground that supports the life that grows in it and walks on it.  Think of all the life within the soil.  The moles, other creatures, some too small to be seen, that crawl through the dirt and darkness so plants can grow.    Wonder.  Breathe. Smile softly.
  5. Think of your body. Think of the how skin covers muscles, bones hold us erect.  Think about your blood flowing through our veins.  Think of how you move, how you think.  Think of how one person connects to another to create life.    Wonder.  Breathe.Think of how you are part of this marvelous whole. You are one with the stars,  you are one with the earth, you are one with all others. Wonder, Breathe.  Be grateful.
  6. Lace your fingers together, palms facing out.Take a deep breath, reach out and up with your arms, hold for a count of five,Slowly breathe out while you lower your arms, unlace your fingers.think of the wonders of breathing, moving, being.  smile gently and softly say, “Thank You.”

Warning: Only do the physical stretching if you are free of back problems or other medical conditions that might call for caution.  If in doubt ask your doctor, and drop that part of the exercise until you get medical approval.

This exercise can be completed in two minutes or less; longer and slower is better.

If the exercise does not relax and comfort you more might be needed. What is needed most often is practice.  K. Anders Ericsson, world recognized expert on experts, notes that to star at any skill thousands of repetitions are required adding up to years of intensive effort.

The good news for learning this exercise is that once learned it can be completed in two minutes or less.  Longer and slower is best, but not necessary.

Don’t feel finding the time to practice is possible, then your life is pushing you toward a dangerous stress level or sadness and pain are calling, the more you have practiced this Emotional Fitness exercise, you more you are sustained when you most need sustaining.

Parenting tip

Model your belief in the miraculous. Then consciously teach your child to seek beauty; finally,  as s/he grows in understanding discuss how all is a miracle and teach the exercise you just learned.


How? Answer this DAILY PROMPT  Clone Wars   If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?

My thoughts: One of the miracles of life is that even identical twins quickly become un-cloned although similar in some things.  Our genes – how we would be cloned remain the same, but two things change who we become. Our various personal experiences and then the beliefs we create from those experiences.

Of course, it would be nice to have a near clone that I could assign to be my commputer tech and one who had been genetically modified to become an error free editor (I have dysgraphia and why you see errors here and there that spell child does not catch. So a clone will not work.

However, maybe, there will be a money miracle coming my way and I can hire a non-clone to take on the things I cannot do so well.



Don’t think you can afford a life coach? Like a life coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters.  To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.


Keep working to stay strong, I work hard to do the same . As noted above,  I am not perfect, no one is and this week;s post will be all about praising imperfection.

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness, another Easy Emotional Fitness Exercise is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Thank you.




All the urging to be yourself has a dangerous side. Yourself is many selves and the one you choose matters and requires thought particularly when in pain.

Unhealed hurt leads to hate if you let it.

Unhealed hurt leads to hate if you let it. One of ourselves hates. That self needs acknowledging but only to let  our better selves  emerge.

Sullivan was the author of a biography of Beethoven.  Beethoven was born in 1770.  His music, which is generally split into three periods; each one related to  the gradual decline in his hearing. He wrote his First and Second Symphonies while he mostly had adequate hearing.

He started having hearing problems in 1796. During this period he  wrote among other things the Moonlight sonata, the opera Fidelio, and six  more symphonies.

The Late Period starts just before 1820 when he was close to being fully deaf or nearly so.  During this time, his music switched back to including more high notes which had not been used in his middle period compositions.  Loss of those notes is  a sign of  deafness.   Many speculate the return of the high notes meant he had accepted his deafness and  was listening with his inner ear. This period included what most consider his greatest composition – the Ninth Symphony; he began working on this in 1822 and it was first performed in 1824.

His struggle with deafness followed the path most need to follow in order to heal: denial which often involves efforts to change or control what is hurting you, then a period of strong feeling, which for some is anger, others pain and most often is an alternating between those and other strong feelings including guilt and shame..

The final stage is what Marsha Linehan calls Radical Acceptance: seeing what is and not wasting energy denying or trying to change what you cannot change. “It is what it is.”

Dealing with pain? Hopefully in time you might also come to the point Sullivan felt Beethoven had reached. You accept what is, accept you are suffering and then do what ever healthy things you can do to get through to a better state or to  ease the pain of the moment if that is  possible.

You might be lucky enough to find a  lesson in the pain or find a new path to relief.  I suspect for Beethoven,  finding a way to create music despite his suffering brought him great relief from the pain.

A recent Facebook friend suggested when praying about suffering, yours or another’s using the words “Make it count.”  A wise motto to add to your selftalk whether you pray or not.

Words of warning: All suffering is personal and subjective. That means you are the one who knows the depth of yours.  Your suffering may seem trivial by most people’s rating,  to you it might be as immense or traumatic as Beethoven’s loss of his hearing.

Pain, no matter whether great or small, is dealt with mainly in three ways. The healthiest way to deal with it is to make it count for good.One way?

Giving up in one way  –  the most extreme being suicide. Not healthy.

Another way? Getting angry and holding onto the anger in order to not feel the pain. Anger is a powerful cover-up for pain, but if you look deeply at all anger, you will find it started with a hurt, the hurt could be a physical blow or an emotional blow.

Much of the anger taking to the streets starts with the pain felt when a victim or injustice. Jerome Kagan and the other cognitive theorists note that  uncertainty about the self-worth is a major source of  psychological pain and is often dealt with by getting angry at those you think are causing you to feel valueless. Think of racial or religious hatreds. Not healthy.

The third way is to acknowledging the hurt, look for a lesson, check the lesson for anger and hatred and  let go of those by practicing kindness when you can.  

Emotional Fitness Tip for being the best you: When suffering remember hatred and anger only breed more hurt, more hatred and we all know hate and anger, they are part of out worse selves. Practicing kindness lets you access your good self and makes your life, the lives of those around you, and the world a better place.


How? Answer this DAILY PROMPT  Sliced Bread: Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?  Thanks for the great idea, crazydotcom!

My thoughts: Sliced bread is a good way to think about our many selves.  Seeing that you have an emotional self, a thinking self, a good self, and what the rabbis call an evilly inclined self, a bored self, a sad self, a mad self helps you stay emotionally strong and gives you more options than being just one of these things.

Even the mad self has value as long as it seeks to right wrongs without acting on the evil inclination self hurt and anger can arouse.

Parenting tip

Strengthen your child’s ability to deal with pain by acknowledging hurts, teaching the rating of pain, teaching self soothing skills, what matters, and practicing kindness. Go to my parenting  blog for more  tips. 



Don’t think you can afford a life coach? Like a life coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters.  To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.


Keep working to stay strong, I work hard to do the same . As noted above,  I am not perfect, no one is and this week;s post will be all about praising imperfection.

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Thank you.