Tag Archives: connection

The Many Dimensions of Quality World Pictures

by Barnes Boffey, Ed.D; Director of Training, Aloha Foundation…www.alohafoundation.org

We generally experience our Quality World pictures in only one dimension.  Those dimensions include “things we want to have,”“ things we want to do,” and “things we want to be.” We tend to see these dimensions as separate, but in fact they are all simply partial reflections of multi-dimensional QW pictures whose dimensions exist concurrently all the time.  At all times, our QW pictures have all three of these dimensions — there is a “having” dimension, a “doing” dimension, and a “being” dimension.

Let me explain further. If we perceive one of our Quality World pictures as something we want to “have,” (for example, a new car), we should be aware that in general we want to “have things” because they allow us to do things. Having a car is a possession, but its significance may lie  in the fact  that it allows us to spend less on repairs (doing) or take trips more easily (doing) or be proud of the car we drive (being) or be thrifty by spending less money (being).

Everything we want “to have” gains its important because it allows us to do something; everything we want “to do” gains its importance because it allows us to be something; and everything we want “to be” gains its importance because it allows us to follow our instructions to be loving, powerful, playful and free.  Every Quality World picture exists in these three dimensions at the same time.

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Let’s try another example. Suppose someone tells us they want to “spend more time with their family.” This want presents itself in the “doing” dimension, but also exists as “something we want to have” and “something we want to be.” If we were to ask that person what is important about spending time with their family, they might say, “because it allows me to be a better brother,” or “to be more connected with people I love.” If we want to discover the “having dimension,” we would ask the question, “If you want to spend more time with your family, what would you need to have to do that? They might say, “a better work schedule, (have) and more commitment (have).

If someone says I want to “be more spiritual,” we can explore the “doing dimension” of that QW picture by asking, “If you were being more spiritual, what would you also be doing?”  “Well,” they might say, “I’d be meditating more (doing) and reading the two books I have by my bed” (doing).  To explore the “having dimension” we would then ask, “If you want to do that, what do you need to have to be able to do that?” “More time,” (having), more self-discipline” (having) and “a conversation with my wife.” (the conversation is actually a “have,” going ahead with the conversation is a “do.”)

The significant take away from this piece is that all QW pictures exist concurrently in many dimensions. Why that is important needs to be the next topic we face.

The Art of Listening

By Kim Olver

As a healthy relationship habit, listening isn’t just about hearing another person, waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in with your “words of wisdom.” Listening is about doing your best to understand another person. Try to stand in their shoes, be in their skin and see the world with their eyes as best you can. No one can have perfect understanding of another. That would mean you would have to actually be that other person, but we can work at doing the best we can.

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Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can see it from another’s point of view and still maintain your own perspective as true for you. One example is a wife who speaks to her husband about his excessive drinking. She believes his drinking is having a serious effect on his health, particularly his achy joints and his liver. He explains to her that he has a lot of anger that he doesn’t understand and that drinking helps him contain that anger. She is able to understand his perspective without agreeing with him. It helps her be more understanding of the reason he drinks.

Another example, involves an incident when I was sixteen. I remember asking my mother if I could stay home from school. She asked if I was sick and I replied, “No, I’m not sick but I can’t go to school with this huge zit on the end of my nose. Everyone will stare at me!” My mother’s response: “Kimberly Marie, get ready for school. You won’t even remember this five years from now.” Well, I’m 53 and I still remember it, Mom.

This is not to say I think my mother should have allowed me to go stay home from school. What I wish is that she would have listened to me to understand how devastated and desperate I was feeling. She might have even shared about a time she had a pimple and it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Almost any response would have been better than having my perspective completely disregarded. (The funny thing is, in one way my mother was right. I don’t remember my classmates reactions that day but I do remember my mother not really listening to me.)

Do you have any stories about a time when someone didn’t listen to you? Or maybe you have a story about a time when someone did and it really made a difference. Can you be the person today who really listens to someone important to you to understand their point of view?

What does Fido do?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

A recent New Yorker Magazine cartoon I read showed a psychiatrist asking his patient if he had tried taking long walks. Upon more careful inspection it is revealed that the psychiatristis a dog.

Perfect!

mansbestfriend0373668Although not an original thought, lets consider the lessons a dog can teach us about improved Mental Health & Happiness.

  1. Take long walks dailyAlthough daily exercise does not need to be only long walks, getting up, out and moving not only helps our physical health, it also lifts our spirits, shifts our focus and does wonders for improved Mental Health & Happiness
  2. When reunited with a loved one, always greet them Are you lucky enough to be living with a dog right now? If you are then you know the glory of coming home after an absence of short or long duration. The dog greets you with unbridled joy and delight. Now imagine regularly giving and receiving this same level of enthusiasm, love and affection when greeting and reuniting with all those you love. Just imagining this scene improves my level of Mental Health & Happiness. How about you?
  3. Get lots of rest Even if youre living with a puppy you know you dont have to ask your dog to nap, rest or sleep. It is true that some dogs need some help and encouragement to lay down and calm down when they are overly enthusiastic. But every dog will nap, sleep, and sometimes dream on the hardest floors, in the coldest drafts or most ragged make-shift dog beds. Dogs are champion sleepers, resters, and nappers. Following this lead can help our physical and mental health and happiness.
  4. Show compassion If you have ever lived with a dog you know their remarkable instinct to come near you when you are upset, distraught and sad. They seem to know that their very presence, that might also include a full body leaning into you or putting their head on your knee or in your lap, will help to offer you some comfort and compassion that you sorely need. I want to be able to do the same with the people in my life who are experiencing unhappiness and sadness. Just as a dog knows the best therapy at this time is being close and silent, I want to be the same.
  5. Listen more than speak Even if the dog you hang around a lot is a yippy dog, I bet she listens more than she barks. This is a lesson Im concentrating on learning and incorporating into my life. I am a talker. But just as a yippy dog can become tedious, I know my talking can rub people this same, wrong way. My Mental Health & Happiness will improve when I can listen more than I talk.
  6. Love unconditionally Has your dog every told you that she loves you but just wishes you would stop clapping your hands when you call her or start feeding her the better, more expensive dog food? Have you ever told your dog that you would love him more if only he were a little softer or more obedient? My experience is that the closest most human beings will ever get to unconditional love is in their relationship with a dog. Dogs dont ask us why we didnt call when we promised we would. Dogs dont accuse us of loving the cat more than them. Dogs dont hold a grudge against us for skipping todays long walk because of rain. Dogs simply love and adore us, are happy when we play catch with them, and will happily sleep at our feet or on the couch if we will let them. I want to learn to give and receive love as unconditionally as a dog. I know this would be great for my Mental Health & Happiness and my relationships.

What Mental Health & Happiness lessons are you learning from your dog or cat? Please share. . .

Daydreaming..an Essential Tool

By Dr. Nancy Buck

Are you happy in your life right now?

Are all of your important relationships on solid footing?

Are you engaged in work that is meaningful and satisfying to you while benefitting others?

Are you physically healthy?

Are you as spiritually connected as you want to be?

Do you frequently think in challenging and creative ways?

Despite what you were told by your teachers and your parents, daydreaming is essential for a healthy body, mind and spirit. When you spend time imagining your life and the world as it could be you are gaining emotional strength.

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When you spend time simply dreaming of what could be, you are opening to the possibilities of even more miracles and happiness in your life.

And this dreaming might just contribute to you taking the necessary action to make some of these dreams and imaginings come true!

DREAM – BELIEVE – RECEIVE – GIVE THANKS

Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again

Dr. Ken Larsen

Peter, Paul and Mary did the “Wedding Song” back in the 1970s.  It nearly became a wedding cliché in many of the weddings I attended.  The one phrase stuck out for me in a powerful and wonderful way.  “Woman takes her life from man and gives it back again.”  This had a deeply mystical meaning for me that speaks to the flow of life and love among us.  I believe that the phrase need not be gender specific.  We all have the opportunity and the joy of giving life to one another, and receiving life in return.

Our mental health and happiness depend on our need for love and belonging.  When we talk about “love” in this way, I believe we are talking about our connections with one another that allow for the flow of that life giving energy we call “love” to flow freely among us.  We know what this feels like when it is working.  From the near ecstasy of the first blush of young love to the comfortable connections we enjoy with those close to us through the years.  This state of being connected in life giving ways is the cornerstone of mental health and happiness.  Sometimes we don’t know just how much these connections mean to us until they are lost.

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What would happen if each of us would recognize that we have the gift of life to give to others?  A cheery smile to a stranger, a word of appreciation to someone who serves us in a restaurant or drug store, these are ways to give life to others.  Flowers, a lingering hug, tender touches are ways that we give and receive life and love from those in the intimate circles of our life.

We’ve heard for millennia that we ought to love one another, but putting this into practice seems to be elusive.  We are faced with the many ways that we are separate and different from one another.  This sense of separation makes it easier to remain distant and disconnected.  Carried further, our history shows that when we focus on our separation and differences, we can blame “them” for our problems.  This leads to enmity, hatred, and sadly, to violence and warfare.

What if we were to begin to look at our connections?  What if we were to make an effort to recognize one another as persons in the greater whole of humanity?  What if we worked consciously to find ways to share life and leave behind our long history of separation, hatred and death?  What if we recognized the truth in John Donne’s oft quoted words:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne  1572-1617.

What if each of us in some small way started to live our lives as though we believed in our connections as human beings? What if each of us would make a choice to give life in some small way each day to those we meet?  I believe that the impact on our world would be more than some small thing.  It could mean a step in progress toward a whole new and  better world.

Try it, you may like it.

 

Happy Halloween!

by Denise Daub

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? When was the last time you had some fun and did something silly?  Do you take the time and stop and enjoy these moments with your children or do you rush around taking them trick-or-treating to get it over with?  Do you spend your time thinking about and stressing about everything you have to do?  Are you checking your email and making sure you “stay connected” and don’t miss anything?  Guess what, you are missing it.. you are missing everything.

halloween

The other day while surfing the never ending array of channels and finding, as usual, nothing interesting to watch, I came across a movie which brought back happy memories, Hocus Pocus. I remembered  how much my daughter loved this movie.  Like most kids she would watch it over and over again for the month of October, it was her Halloween movie. My husband and I would sit and watch it with her over and over again. I remembered how much fun we had dressing up, going to Halloween parties and  trick-or-treating.  This is before cell phones were so popular, this was before my hectic busy life that don’t allow silliness or fun anymore.  My daughter is now 21 and that movie is still one of her favorites.

I suddenly found myself shutting the laptop, putting my phone away and snuggling on the couch to watch this movie that I knew by heart.  My husband joined me and we reminisced about our daughter and Halloweens gone by.

When you take your child(ren) or grandchild(ren) out this Halloween, be present and leave the phone home .. the work and email will still be there when you get back, it isn’t going anywhere but your children are…

Make this Halloween a Mentally Healthy and Happy one!

 

Feeling, Emotion and Intuition – Part I

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

In trying to be someone who lives a genuinely happy and fulfilling life, I have found some help in understanding the differences between feelings, emotions and intuition. They are not all the same. I have more control over some and less control over others. Part of the difficulty in maintaining our mental health in this society is the way these words are used interchangeably and often inaccurately.

Feelings are impulses – sensations of energy and indicators of our system’s awareness of a perceived reality as we become aware of it. A feeling is almost indescribable except in terms of intensity; once we begin to name it we are into the area of emotions. Feelings are like electrical impulses that accompany awareness.

Let’s use an example. I come home after work looking forward to seeing my new puppy who I left in the cage when I left.  I open the door and see a torn up pillow on the floor. Seeing that pillow, I experience a feeling that something is wrong. It can be like being punched in the gut or just having a wave of sensation run through me, but the feeling accompanies the fact that I am now aware that something is wrong.

After we have a feeling, we begin to try to explain, describe or understand the phenomenon we are now aware of and we “tell ourselves a story” about what we perceive. The story we tell ourselves is what will determine our emotion. Our emotions are our own creations, dependent on the way we explain and perceive the phenomenon about which we are having feelings. As people, we generally have little control over our feelings and a great deal of control over our emotions.

puppy

In the case of the puppy, our emotion will depend on our “story.”  “That damn puppy..”- anger; or  “Looks like I got away easy, just a pillow”- gratitude; or “Great.. finally a good excuse to get a new couch” – happy.  The likelihood is that we will tell
a mix of stories and experience a mix of emotions, but we can always track an emotion back to a story. We create the story- we thereby create an accompanying emotion.

Intuition is the complex series of sensations we experience which indicate our connection to/relationship with/and awareness of a indefinable power in the universe. This universal power has an energy which can guide, instruct, support and assist each of us. A big determinant of our ability to access that energy and power is our ability to connect with it. Intuition is the channel through which we make that connection. The more we open up to the events and experiences that are part of the universal energy, the greater becomes our intuition.

This topic is obviously bigger than one blog’s worth, but beginning to understand what we are experiencing and why can help us make better and more accurate choices.

This precious day

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Do you remember the last time your child came crying to you to have his or her wounds, pride, and heart comforted? You probably didn’t know it was going to be the last time until weeks later! Eventually you realized your child was handling his or her own soothing and comfort. And to your great regret you realized your child no longer needed your warm embrace to cover the booboo with your kisses. That part of your relationship slipped to an end. If you had only known the last time was going to be the last time you might have held tight a little longer to savor the moment.

canstockphoto0189025Do you remember the final lingering kiss from a lover that is no longer in you life? Don’t you wish you knew it was going to be the final kiss at the time? Knowing it now is too late to savor, enjoy and appreciate that moment.

Did your mother, grandmother, or some other magical chief make a dish that only she could cook to perfection? My mother cooked green and shelly beens with pork fat to perfection. She was a good southern cook who cooked this favorite summer indulgence when all the ingredients were fresh and readily available. Sadly, my mother is no longer living. Luckily she lived with me the last 2 years before her death. Together we cooked my favorite dish one more time. While I ate I knew it was to be the final time. With this knowledge I really savored and ate with gusto.

Luckily, many of life’s precious moments that cannot be experienced again are replaced by new precious moments. I can no longer sooth my son’s sufferings from cuts and bruises. But my grand children come to me occasionally for the same comfort. This time I don’t miss the moment. Each time I’m aware that this very moment could potentially be the last.

How Much is Enough?

by Dr. Ken Larsen

One of my favorite “message songs” was performed by Elvis Presley.  The title is “Life”.  One of the lines goes, “…from in the depths an evil seed, grew and manufactured greed, and changed the way of life…”

donaldduckMost of us have seen the negative effects of greed on our mental health and happiness.  The near collapse of our economic system as the result of the greed of a few has sent a wakeup call to all of us.  When some take more than their share, the rest of us suffer.

This is important in our relationships.  There is an “economy” in our connections that goes beyond the financial.  We each have what others need.  Healthy and happy relationships are built on giving to one another in quantity sufficient to meet one another’s needs.

What do we have to share?  We have our time.  We have our affection. We have the attention we can give one another.  These are the things that we need to give and receive in order to enjoy the mental health and happiness that we all want and need.

“How much is enough?” is a question.  It is a question that we need to answer in dialogue with one another.  As the song says, greed can be an evil seed that can change the quality of our lives and relationships.

To Whom Do We Owe What?

Dr. Ken Larsen

puzzleWe know that our mental health and happiness is dependent on the quality of connections we enjoy in our relationships.  We are not meant to be alone.  We each have something that someone else needs and wants.  When we find ways to make those loving, life giving connections, we add to the quality of life of the other.  And what makes it even nicer, our own quality of life is enhanced.

Asking ourselves the question “to whom do we owe what?” gives us the opportunity to evaluate how we are contributing to the relationships we need and enjoy.  The question can also set us free from relationships that are toxic when they are destructive to our well being.  [for more on this idea, look to the principles of Al Anon.]

Our first commitment is to ourselves.  It’s like when you’re getting the safety speech by the flight attendants on the airplane.  Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.  The New Testament tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is not narcissism but a basic principle in a healthy relationship.

fingersThen we look to those to whom we have a commitment.  Spouse, children, friends, parents all have a rightful claim on our time and attention.  Maintaining a healthy balance between self care and care of others is essential to ongoing quality relationships.

Then there is our recognition that “no man is an island.”  We each have a share in the overall well being of all of us.  Certainly to a lesser degree of intensity and time commitment than to those close to us, but essential to our answer to the question.

If we could see these three sets of relationships as concentric circles, we would have a larger outer circle within which all the others exist.  That outer circle is understood in different ways.  Some name it as God, some as a “higher power”, some as the Universe.  Each of us needs to relate to this outer circle according to our own understanding.

Our question, “to whom do we owe what?”  is not a one time question, with one set of answers.  It is an ongoing means of navigation in our journey through life.  It helps us maintain those connections and relationships that are so essential to the quality of our mental health and happiness.

I’d like to hear of your experiences with the sort of thing I’m talking about here.  Add a few lines in the comments below.