Friday, February 10, 2017

Terrible, Horrible, Awful

Terrible, Horrible, Awful

It is interesting to watch the news and see just how bad the world is portrayed. The real truth is, at any given moment, the world is not as bad as the news suggests. 

For example, we are currently going through a winter that is less than fun for those who enjoy warm weather. It is what it is, and we can't change it, but to listen to the local news cast, it truly sounds like the end of the world. This is how they sell news!

However, in relationships it is not a good idea to take the facts and expand them beyond their real limits. 

Often, we talk to couples and hear one partner complain how the other partner never pays attention to them (or never takes out the garbage, or never does the dishes, etc.). Logically, if we look at the amount of time a couple spends together, it is virtually impossible for one person to NEVER pay attention to the other. This type of global assessment is very defeating to a partner who tries to pay attention, but sometimes fails. If there is never credit given for the positive attempts, then why bother to even try.

It seems when things don't go our way, we often make a quantum leap from a place of disappointment to a reaction of terrible, horrible, awful! 

If a person is expected to arrive for a date at 7:00pm but doesn't show up until 7:30, does this qualify as terrible, horrible, awful? Even if they do it repeatedly, it still doesn't qualify because they are now doing the predictable and we choose to stay with them. It is our choice, so why go to a place of such deep emotional pain?

One way to lower our emotional response to disappointment is to come up with a scale of "awfulization" with "0" being things are wonderful and "10" things are terrible and horrible. Now, what would qualify as terrible and horrible? We suggest something really painful, such as the death of a close friend or loved one. If our best friend is hit by a car and dies, it would be a "10" in the terrible, horrible awful scale. 



Now, where does being a half hour late fit on the scale? If you think it is a "10", then you really need individual therapy. Obviously, on this scale, it would only rate maybe a 2 or 3. 

Where does ______________ fit in on this scale? The blank is the area in your relationship that causes you great emotional pain. If it isn't at the 10 level, but you keep reacting like it is, then you are causing yourself and the relationship problems.

What are your thoughts? Email us at or comment below. If you want to be a follower of the blog, add your email in the upper right corner of this blog. Our web page is We also provide internet counseling by Skype or phone. Email us if we can help.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Bothered Baby Boomers

Along with my aging process, I am being blessed with the ability to work with older clients who are my fellow baby boomers, which is generally bench marked as those born between 1945 and 1964. This includes about 76 million people who began the journey of life following World War II. Now we are a generation who are facing the last stage of the journey, but trying to believe the best is yet to come. This month I turn 72 so I am definitely part of the boomer gang and proud of it.

The areas that seem to bother the baby boomers the most are the rapid changes in the interpersonal relationships, which seems to have taken place over the last years. I'm sure my parents felt the television was a massive departure from the value system they were raised in, so our often voiced concern about the internet is probably part of this evolutionary process. My grandfather dated my grandmother in a horse and buggy, so they had adaptation problems also.

Here are a few suggestions I share with my clients who are bothered baby boomers:

1. Stay connected but not coerced. In developmental psychology the time from 58 to 62 is a time of evolving into a person who isn't trying to prove anything to anyone, but is simply content with life and is set to enjoy it. There is a tendency to become isolated at this point, which is a definite wrong turn in the road. Staying connected to friends, family and social interaction is essential in the process of evolving. However, it is necessary to be connected to those who will provide a positive approach to daily living, not a negative complaining energy. Do not be coerced into negative interactions designed to bring clouds of darkness and fear.

2. Be creative.  The brain is constantly in the process of recreating every part of the body. There isn't one part of a living human body which hasn't died and been reborn. This is what the life of body cells is all about. If our body is constantly recreating itself, then we need to do the same with our lives. Find something new to challenge the mind and the body out of complacency and into creativity. Write a book, paint a picture, learn a new instrument, take up a new sport or just get outside and see what nature is doing. Be creative.

3. Develop a spiritual connection. Many of my fellow boomers have been busy trying to survive life and have not taken time to seek a spiritual understanding. Religion is interesting and often provides a great positive outlet, but a spiritual journey needs to be different from religious doctrine. Ask yourself, "What do I believe?" then follow up with the question "Why?" It is a big universe filled with magnificent beauty and it is working in harmony. As humans we don't work well in this harmony,, but we can if we take time to be part of it. Every person living today is going to die. Let's not fear that fact, let's explore the spiritual journey to see if we can find a larger understanding.

These are just a couple of thoughts I share with my clients and friends about the process of becoming an Unbothered Baby Boomer. Would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment below.

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My book about the Baby Boomer generation is called FOREVER YOURS. It is the fictional story of a man and women who fall in love in the 60's, raise a family and learn how to overcome the challenges of life in order to truly find their own relationship together. You can find out more at Amazon (click here). Or go to my website for more information. (Click here)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Ego is IN LOVE

In our language, love is a very difficult word to understand, as its' definition is mercurial depending on the situation. I love ice cream and that's good. I love my dog and that is good too. I love my wife, but I love her more than ice cream and dogs, so now love changes meaning. 

The process of being "IN LOVE" is generally motivated by a very self-centered emotion flowing from our ego. When we fall "in love" with someone, it generally comes from the other person providing us enough positive reinforcement so we now feel much better about ourselves. The person laughs at our jokes, listens to our thoughts, compliments us positively and generally provides an atmospheres of acceptance. Because this feels so good, we will return this positive reinforcement to the other person and they will also feel very accepted and good. What we are doing is exchanging ego reinforcement which we call "in love". 

Unfortunately, ice cream and dogs can provide the same type of ego reinforcement, but we don't look to make this emotional state a permanent position. I may love my dog, but I will not marry my dog, it is just not that type of love. 

When we are simply in an ego centered love relationship, we will work hard to make the other person feel good so they will also work hard to make us feel good and thus we are "in ego" not really "in love." However, when we start falling behind in our effort to make the other person  constantly "feel good" we will find ourselves moving out of love, or rather "out of ego".

 A long term relationship can not survive by simply being "in love." To make a true love work we have to start moving into a "loving relationship." In this development, we begin to realize the person we are "in love with" has some flaws and this person may be rather difficult to love. 

They may be very happy and giving, but they may have an annoying laugh or they may drool when they eat. At this point we make a choice, do I want to be with this person who has flaws, or do I want to go find someone else who can make me feel good and not have flaws. Obviously, someone who makes us feel good and does not have flaws is impossible to find, but large segments of our population are dedicated to this search, no matter how futile it may be. 

If we decide this person we are with may have flaws, but their good qualities make it a relationship  we want to be part of, then we will begin to develop a "loving relationship" rather than simply being "in love".

How do we keep a loving relationship:

1. Write down the things you like about your partner.
2. Remember these qualities and emphasize them in daily interaction.
3. Write down the things you don't like about your partner.
4. Read them over and then burn the paper. 
5. Do not dwell or emphasize the things you don't like in your partner, for this negative focus will not bring positive results in a long tern relationship.
6. Smile, laugh, and tell your partner how much you love them as often as you can. What you sow out you will harvest back. If you sow corn in a field, you can not harvest wheat.
7. When you feel uncomfortable in the relationship because things may be difficult, go back to the list in #1 and do item #2.

If the above seems like a lot of work, then you may want to stick with ice cream and a dog. Life is good, enjoy all of it.

In my book Forever Yours, a couple spends a long marital life together overcoming obstacles by building this loving relationship. Check it out at Amazon (click here)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Out of the Box and Off the Wall

In our Blog “Hot Steamy Body = romance?”( click here to read that blog), we talked about the reality of true romance. In that blog we discussed the ideal of romantic connection as one in which we can express our sensations and intuitions. We talked about the romance of touching life with our senses, but now we want to explore romance from an intuitive side. By Intuitive we mean the perception of a total situation non-rationally. It is the ability to view life through general impressions and abstract ideas, rather than concrete detail. In modern thinking, it is living “out of the box”. Sensation, as we previously studied, is an intense perception of physical world. Intuition is ignoring the perception and creating our own reality.

A couple we had in therapy, who were in a relationship going nowhere, desperately wanted to turn up the fire and find a romantic connection. They had dated for two years, been married for a year, and now felt bored with the relationship. While this may be difficult to understand for many people, in our experience, this is the plague of a vast majority of relationships today.

We spent time talking to them about how they handled life from a very precise intellectual position in which rational thinking was the foundation. They had successful jobs, were physically in good shape, lived in a nice home, and had good solid friendships. They were in touch with their thinking and planning side of life, but void in the sensation and intuitive.

For a few weeks, we had them explore the sensation part of their relationship, using exercises similar to those found in “Hot Steamy Body=Romance?”. They began to feel improvement but still lacked the depth of romantic connection they had formerly experienced. Our challenge to them was to spend a month living with an “Out of the Box- Off the Wall” mentality. Be impromptu, impulsive, unexpected, and generally insane in the relationship.

A month later they returned and we could feel the difference between them. There was a positive energy and a connection that hadn’t previously existed. While a lot of the things they did during their time of “Off the Wall – Out of the Box” we really can’t print here, these are a few that are good examples:

• On a Thursday afternoon, the husband came into his wife’s office with several bouquets of flowers. It was unexpected and she greatly appreciated it. He then left and returned in about 15 minutes with more flowers. He left and returned again in 15 minutes with more flowers. This went on until 7 pm that night. Her staff joined in the celebration and began to cheer as he arrived every fifteen minutes.

• On a Saturday morning, the husband woke and found his wife gone. On her pillow was a note telling him to go to the kitchen counter. There he found another note telling him to go to the car in the parking garage. This went on for about 10 different locations which ended up in a hotel about 60 miles out of town. There she met him and they had a wonderful day together.

• Other adventures included leaving the car by the side of the road and impulsively running into the woods to see what was there.

• Taking a ride in a helicopter, when they had planned to simply go to dinner.

• Trying a Vietnamese restaurant they happened to see (neither had any idea what Vietnamese food was).

• Taking a day to travel in a westerly direction until they found something they liked or looked like fun.

In life we only have around 80 years we can plan on before it ends. Being with someone and enjoying them is a blessing that can make the life we have a true joy. Living “Out of the Box, Off the Wall” can make the romance really come alive. Ever tried it? Why not share your experience.

In my book "Forever Yours", a couple navigates their journey from from the early 60's into the present. The obstacles and joys of life both challenged and encouraged them to live "Out of the Box, Off the Wall." Find out more at Amazon. Click here. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hot Steamy Body=Romance?

Somehow romance and sex have become almost synonymous concepts in our modern society. It is interesting that romance itself developed a voice during the medieval times, largely because of strong religious beliefs. The idea of being romantically involved focused mainly on the drama of heartfelt feelings that were not going to succumb to the lust of the flesh. The romantic ideal was to love from a distance and not become sexually intimate. Today, most “romance” concepts declare there is a strong attraction somehow leading automatically to the bedroom. While this is not a bad concept in itself, it is definitely not romance as originally defined.

So what is modern romance? In a society in which male and female roles are not as clearly defined, what is the true significance of a romantic relationship? The ideal of romantic connection is one in which we can express our sensations. The “sensations" are stimulus coming from contact with our senses producing feelings, visions, perceptions, etc. Our over identification with “mind” makes western society disrespectful of this type of expression, and much of Judeo-Christian instruction does its best to keep earth and heaven from uniting. What would an exploration of a romantic relationship be like if we allowed sensation a free reign? What would a time together be like if we saturated our sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and seeing?

How about – sitting close together by the ocean listening to the roar of the waves and then softly kissing as we breathe in the freshness of the ocean wind. Don’t speak, just be in the moment and allow it all to saturate deeply.

Or – sit quietly together, and listen to all the sounds around us. Smell every fragrance that can be identified as we allow our mind to focus on one moment when we truly felt love for our partner. It may have been early in our relationship, or a special day, or even a sexual encounter. Allow this feeling of love to become very intense and then touch hands, sensing the energy exchanged between the two of you. As you feel this, turn, look at each other and continue to send a love feeling.

Another idea is to allow the senses to be thoroughly enmeshed in the moment. If it is a quiet dinner, a fun concert, a quiet walk, a time of passion or ride in the car, let the senses be utterly touched by the moment then share it with each other as only those who share love can do.

We will always have time to carry out the task of life, for now, let’s all go try out our sensations.

What are your thoughts? Email us click here or comment below. If you want to be a follower of the blog, click on the “Follower and Friends” box. 

An interesting journey into Romance and Relationships is my fictional book "Off the Hook" in which a young successful woman finds the tools to overcome fear and truly find love. Click Here for more information.