Tag Archives: self-talk

Binocular Perception

Binocular PerceptionBinocular Perception

I looked out the window
at the apple tree

One eye on each side of the mullion
Each saw a different picture
though so close to each other

Then I thought:
If my 2 eyes are so close to each other
and see so differently
then how can any 2 people
who are much farther apart
look at anything
especially God
and see the same thing?

As I stand on one side of the apple tree
and tell you about where the apples and branches are
and what shapes and colors they are
And as you stand on another side of the tree
and tell me where the apples and branches are
and what shapes and colors they are

Let’s remember that we have 2 different views of the same thing
And we are both correct.


dedicated to Judith Henry
who inspired me to poeticize this revelation from decades ago
I hope you enjoy your celebrations today.

 

Image credits:
Binocular Perception, composed by Grace Buchanan.
Apfelbaum in Alberschwende, by Böhringer Friedrich (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons License  BY-SA 2.5.
New Windows 017, by Roger Mommaerts. Used under Creative Commons License BY-SA 2.0.

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Embrace Anger

The first time that I had a long-term relationship with a counselor (how can I write that so it doesn’t sound romantic?), at one of our first meetings, he asked me to buy and read the book “The Dance of Intimacy” by Harriet Lerner, PhD. I asked why I had to pay for counseling AND a book. Couldn’t he provide the book for free, or lend it, or tell me what’s in it, if it was so important? He said that I didn’t have to buy the book, but it would save time, and give us some common vocabulary as we discussed issues.

I bought the book, read it, and the following week, I reported that I did so, and asked “What’s next?” He looked stunned, and asked if I had any questions about the material covered. I said, no, I’m a good reader, and that it was all familiar concepts. I was eager to move on with this counseling process. He asked me to buy another book: “The Dance of Anger” by the same author. I rolled my eyes, bought it, sat down to read it cover to cover, and went “WHOA!!!!!” after just the first few pages. This book was completely over my head. I spent years reading and rereading sentence fragments, trying to make sense of the material. I never realized how angry I was, and how poorly I handled my anger.

The core lesson that I learned from the book is that anger indicates that I’m not saying how I feel or what I want. I remember that lesson often now.

Twenty years later, I am participating in an Anger Management course. I am continuing to learn how to recognize my anger, and to plan strategies for dealing with it in constructive ways. Here are some highlights so far:

Feeling angry can distract me from what I want

Anger can make me blame others instead of taking responsibility for what I want

Recognizing that I’m feeling angry can bring an important issue to my attention

Feeling angry can move me to do something constructive

How do YOU turn anger into your friend?

 

Image credit:
Red Hulk by Marcel Trindade, used under Creative Commons License by-2.0.

Weighing In on New Years Resolutions

Now that the new year is under way, you might be putting your resolutions to the test. This weekend, I noticed that a nearby grocery store had expanded its produce department, even though we are having seasonal temperatures around 0o F, and none of these foods could grow nearby now. I imagine that they are feeding people’s new habits.

Expanded produce department

But how long do new habits take to form?

I grew up during the era when everyone “knew” that it took 21 days to establish a new habit. Imagine my surprise during dinner last night when my daughter told us that she is on the 17 Day Diet, and my son protested that new habits take 30 days to form. So, I did what I love to do: I looked for reasons behind our various expectations.

I found that I grew up after a doctor published that his patients took 21 days to begin to adjust to their cosmetic surgery. Paperback best sellers retold his story by stating that it takes 21 days to change a habit.

A few years ago, the European Journal of Social Psychology published an article that states that it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. Media is reporting that the researchers found that habits take 66 days to establish, so a new myth is born.

You might want to join Matt Cutts as he challenges you to try something for 30 days instead.

If you’re looking for support while you’re turning over your new leaf, or know someone who is taking on an awesome challenge, let us know in the Comments section so we can cheer along and be inspired.

Police Brutality and Fear

Howard University students protesting police brutality in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri
A conversation is taking place at Dungeon Prompts regarding whether, and how, race colors our perceptions of police brutality.

My perception of police brutality is colored by my personal experiences, which are colored by my racial status.

The Context

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Brown — an unarmed black young man — was shot to death by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Witnesses say that Mike’s hands were in the air when he was shot.

My Personal Experiences

As a white woman, I was raised to present myself effectively in a non-threatening way, and people perceived me as respectable and trustworthy. They didn’t read my mind. I was fantasizing about using my advantage to become a professional criminal when I grew up. (My desire to continue to be trusted, and to feel free from the haunting paranoia that I stifled after each incident, deterred me from following such a plan when I was still a teenager.)

As I was deciding to be a criminal, someone very close and dear to me married a man who became a police officer. As he took on the responsibilities of being a rookie, he had to walk the beat in the most dangerous areas of New York City during the most dangerous times. Their relationship became explosive. One day, while he felt enraged during an argument, he took out his gun and pointed it at her. Eventually, she discovered that this was not acceptable behavior in our culture, and she filed for divorce.

Years later, I was in a similar situation in which I no longer felt safe with my husband. Eventually, I, too, discovered that this was not acceptable behavior in our culture, and escaped to safety, with the help of supportive friends.

Around the same time, someone very dear to me found police waiting for him at his home. They strategically persuaded him that he met the description of someone who had committed a violent crime. The long and aggressive interrogation ended with, “We know that you did this. We’re going to get you.”

Conclusion

In these three cases, each aggressive man — who was a highly valued member of his community — felt fear, and misdirected it toward someone whom he identified as a threat, like in Ferguson, Missouri. How can such behavior ever be considered acceptable?

I want to feel safe. Even though my race and socioeconomic status assure me that I am not a likely target, events of police brutality hinder my trust, and feed any paranoia that has a chance to dwell in me.