Tag Archives: loving

Feeling Out of Balance and Centered at the Same Time Part 2 – Imagination, Skills and Courage

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

Following the imagination process through means getting very specific about our thoughts and actions. In the case of our relative, let’s say we have decided to work toward being strong, compassionate and detached (obvious derivatives of powerful, loving and free). We now need to create the thoughts and actions that might accompany those feelings. The list that follows is one version of what our new blueprint might involve.

Thoughts for strong:

“Getting angry is not going to solve anything,” ” I need to put my energy into action rather than reaction,” “ Not confronting my sister about her beliefs does not mean I agree with them,” and “ Closedmindedness and anger are the very things I say I am intolerant of.. time to prove it.”

Thoughts for compassionate:

“My sister made choices on her best information.” “I am scared, Ill bet she has been too.” “We both want the best for our country.” “I can lead the way to common ground rather than perpetuating the conflict.” “Shes doing the best she can with the information she has at the time, as am I.”

Thoughts for detached:

“Everything doesnt have to be decided and resolved today,” “Her beliefs do not mean I cant express and act on my own,”  “I obviously need to take action to show myself that I am serious about what I say I believe,” and “Our relationship is more important than our politics… she is my sister.”

With these thoughts  in mind, we can now imagine actions that would accompany them. (again, these are not “right” answers, just one version)

Actions for strong:

Make a commitment to be more politically involved. Move conversations to topics which nourish our family not pull us apart. Actually listen to my sister for amounts of time I can handle and show my strength by actually listening. Accept that reality has changed and plot a course that I did not need to in earlier times. Have the strength to change rather than holding onto my old patterns.

Actions for compassionate:

Tell my sister I am happy she won and that I am sure we both want the best future we can have. Forgive myself for not always being the person I say I want to be. Keep a journal to stay focused and write down as a first entry, “I was born not to pass judgement on my family but to love them.”

Thoughts for detached:

Instigate other community building activities in the family rather than just political discussions. Don’t respond in kind to what I perceive as outrageous statements. Pray that both my sister and I find the peaccouplee and courage to heal the wounds that divide this country.

With this information in hand, I have now achieved some early success in the imagination stage.

The second step is Skills. Here is where we explore the reality that although we may know what we should think and do, we may not currently have the ability to do it. We have to self-evaluate to see if we actually know how to gracefully exit a conversation, or not bite at a stupid remark, or reframe the family’s activity, or pray, or even keep a journal. There may be skills we have to learn and practice to be able to bring our imagined blueprint into being.

And the final step is Courage. By now we know what we would be thinking and doing, and we have hopefully learned some new skills to do it, but change can be fearful and fear can only be faced with courage. We may have fears about taking the steps we need to take. Some in this case might be:

“If I back down from fights will others think I agree with them?” “What if I really can’t be more tolerant of others?” “What if I try and fail?” “What if I replace anger with compassion and I lose the fire in my belly to actually take action?”

There fears are legitimate, understandable and normal. We need to remember, however, that whatever emotions we act on become stronger. If we act on our fears by not taking necessary steps to change, the fear will get stronger not weaker. So now it comes to “the moment of truth.” Do I have the courage to face my fears and change myself rather than insisting the world change so I wont have to. I often ask clients, “Do you really not know what you need to do, or do you know what to do but you are afraid to do it?” One is lack of clarity; the second lack of courage.


We have all put a great deal of energy into creating what we want and hoping that will continue. When it does not we can bemoan our fates and rage at the world, or we can go about the business of making the changes we need to make to be loving, powerful, playful and free in a world we may not like or want to accept. Our inability to accept reality does not mean that reality doesn’t exist. It simply means we are unwilling to go through the difficult process of imagining our new selves, learning the skills to put those selves into being, and having the courage  to face the fears that come with any major change in our lives.


Image credit link https://onlineforlove.com

Today I cry . . .

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

(In loving memory of Dr. Ken Larsen, 1939-2016)

Today I cry. A dear friend of mine has died. He was kind, gentle, intelligent and loving. I never heard him say anything unkind or negative about another person — remarkable!

Today I feel grateful. I was friends with a man who was kind, gentle, intelligent and loving. I never heard him say anything unkind or negative about another person. This friend inspired me to be a better person because of who he was.

Today I’m reminded of my loss. I go on Facebook expecting to see his “likes” and comments about something I posted, something he posted, or something that someone else posted. Logging onto Facebook has become painful because I am constantly reminded of the loss of him.

Today my  heart is heavy. My sympathy and sorrow is with his family for their loss. My sympathy and sorrow is with the world-wide Glasser family for our loss of a friend and colleague.

And my sorrow and sympathy is with us, the Mental Health & Happiness community. Dr. Ken Larsen, fellow founder, partner, blogger and videographer of the Mental Health & Happiness project peacefully died in his sleep Monday, February 22, 2016. That day his final blog was posted.

Not long before his death Ken asked,

If Choice Theory is the answer
What is the question?

Here is one question he devoted his time, talent and energy to. How do we develop, improve and maintain Mental Health & Happiness? We are so lucky that he did. In honor of Ken we will be reposting many of his Mental Health & Happiness blogs over the next two weeks. This will give us all an opportunity to read and be inspired again by Ken’s ideas and words.

Another question where he devoted his faith, actions and love:


Thank you Ken, for all you gave to all of us. You are loved and missed.

Choose FEAR or Love

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

choicesRight now, at this very moment I am standing at a crossroads. As I look in one direction I see doom, peril and potential ruination. In the other direction I see nothing. It’s as if vaseline is over my eyes and I cannot see anything except blurry blobs of ill defined shapes and sizes.

I blame myself for being in this predicament. If I had done a better job of paying closer attention perhaps I could have taken steps to avoid arriving at this particular spot in my life’s journey.

Hold on though. I am not a careless person. Each decision I’ve made along the way was based on doing the best I could at the time with the information that I had. Hmm . . .

I’m discovering that too frequently I blame myself for circumstances, events and outcomes that were not dependent only on my actions or inactions. If blaming is among the deadly habits that contribute to the deterioration and destruction of relationships, how does my blaming myself help me? Hmm . . .

Am I willing to dig a little deeper? Instead of going to self-blame can I better understand my frustration, anger and confusion?

Upon further reflection and some helpful meditative reading I discover that I’m full of fear! If I wasn’t afraid would I be stuck at the crossroads?

Here are some discoveries that have helped me:

FEAR = thinking + time. Decrease either and fear disappears

                                    F.E.A.R. – FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUNor

                                                     FORGET EVERYTHING AND RISE

                                                                                    (Thank you Dave Romanelli for this idea

Happy is the new Healthy, 2014)

What if I face my crossroads, my potential peril, doom or ruination with love instead of fear? Now what?

Yes! Yes! Yes! The choice of direction is clear even though the clarity has not eliminated the blurred and unclear road before me. With love as the guiding light and my total behavior of loving in every step I am propelled forward with confidence and competence.

I choose LOVE and with that choice my Mental Health & Happiness improves. Even though the present “bump in the road” felt more like an overwhelming and insurmountable mountain, with each loving step I am able to continue moving forward.

Are there areas in your life where you’re choosing fear instead of love?


How do you want to feel?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How do you feel today? Ill? Frightened? Satisfied? Tired? Anxious?

How do you want to feel today? Happy? Excited? Accomplished? Loved? Generous?

canstockphoto8974678Today is a good day for you to try an experiment. If you are already feeling the way you want to feel today, then save this experiment for another day when you aren’t feeling so great. Here’s how you do the experiment.

Take a lesson from a well known strategy in the acting world. Decide how you want to feel. Now imagine you are feeling the way you want to feel, what would you be doing and need to do in order to feel that way. Start doing those things.

Let me give you an example. Imagine you want to feel happy. If you are feeling your own happiness, you would be smiling broadly, feeling a lightness in your step, a fullness in your heart with sparkles of joy in your words and voice. Your posture would be tall and proud with your chest and head held high. You might even begin spontaneously humming, singing or dancing to the music that only you can hear.

Can you imagine this? Great. Now start acting this way, right now. If you’re willing to take this experiment a bit farther, go out in the world and complete an errand acting full of your own joy and happiness then come back to this blog.

Did you do it? If you did I’m betting you feel Mentally Healthier & Happier now than you did at the beginning of this experiment. Isn’t that amazing!

The excitement of this experiment is that you can do this almost any time and any place. Are you about to testify in court, something you may not frequently do? How do you want to feel when you are being questioned? Strong, brave, honest and clear. Now imagine what action you will take to feel that way as you testify.

Want to feel more loving and compassionate during you next encounter with your out-laws? If and when you feel love and compassion, how to behave? What do you do? What do you say? How do you stand? What happens with your eye contact? Start acting that way with the people who use to be your in-laws and see if you not only feel greater love and compassion, but you also start acting like a more loving and compassionate person.

How do you want to feel during your next anything? Decide how you want to feel, then imagine and plan what you need to do in order to feel the way you want. The more you practice and practice and practice this experiment, the more it will become who you are, not just an experiment you complete.

Go ahead, give it a try. You may just begin to feel  Mentally Healthier & Happier as a result!

An Act of Love

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Several years ago I was lucky enough to live near my eldest sister and her husband. For the first time in our adult lives we were neighbors and friends not just sisters. How lucky we were to spend a great deal of time together, learning about each other, what we liked, disliked, the ways we were similar and different, and who we had each become. We just sprinkled a bit of fun in all are interactions and suddenly we had become BFFs in mid-life.

I discovered what a generous and loving person my sister is. Although I had always known this to be true based on how she treated me, what I learned is this is how she treats everyone. Within just a few minutes of meeting a new person or greeting an old friend, Susan finds something wonderful about this person. She then generously and genuinely compliments them.

That color blue really makes your eyes sparkle. 

You always say the nicest things about your children. It’s so delightful to hear. 

Thank you for driving. I really appreciate that you are always willing. 

The very first time I noticed this, I begin to observe Susan more closely. Was I the only or most frequent recipient of this act of love? No! No matter if she was greeting a store clerk, the postal worker selling her stamps, or a repairman, this is how she treats people. In fact she is also likely to bake cookies for repairmen ensuring particularly high quality work.

If you live in the south, this may not be such a unique quality to you. But for me, a New Englander, this was an amazing discovery.

canstockphoto6627060Not only did I notice how generous and lovingly Susan behaved with her compliments and praise, I also noticed the response of the people receiving her gifts, including me. People just glowed. Even folks who were shy or reluctant to easily receive her compliments smiled. Some people commented, “You have made my day.” Many people beamed holding their heads and chests higher.

I’ve been working at incorporating this act of kindness and love into my daily practice. I’ve made two additional discoveries. First, because I’m looking for it, I find more of the good in people than their bad or annoying parts. I’ve also discovered that the more I find good in another, I’m able to find more good in myself too.

Giving and receiving compliments is an act of love that improves my Mental Health & Happiness. You can start this practice and share the sunshine too.