Memes, Life Is Good, and 🤖: Pause and Remember Every situation in life is temporary So, when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully. And when life is not so good remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way. Jenni Young-

From another perspective, life is temporary!  Have you come to learn that many things in life cycle?  Ups and downs?  It seems that way, if you can get out of your current reality and try to look at things from a bigger perspective.  Seems like you have a positive mindset if you follow the above advice.  Enjoy life when it is good, be grateful, embrace it.  When it’s not to your liking, accept it and remember, everything cycles.  Expecting it to change for the better, aligning your attitude with this new belief can help prod those better days along.

Peace,        John

Hello bloggers,

Thank you for reading and sharing my weekly blog posts!  We have just hit some major milestones that I would like to share with you.  I have been posting on “Touchpoints,” my blog for 5 years now!  We recently posted our 250th blogpost and we are now being followed by 750 people!  Those people come to us predominantly from subscribing through the blog itself on our MailChimp account (199), and by following me on Facebook (454).  We also have 36 from other WordPress blogs and another 61 following on Twitter.  Thank you once again for reading and sharing!

I am also looking for guest bloggers.  Find a quote that you love, share a few sentences of what that quote means to you and/or might mean to others reading our blog.  Send them both to me via email  (jpacheco@personalgrowthconcepts.com).  I will check them and, when possible, will put them up on our blog.  Credit will be given to you as a guest blogger and only your first name and last initial will be used.  I would like at least one guest blogger per month.  Will you help me with this?

Peace,

John


 

 

Memes, My House, and Police: A police officer came to my house and asked me where I was between 5 and 6 He seemed irritated when I answered 'kindergarten!

It’s good to chuckle, don’t you think?  I hope you enjoyed a good chuckle today.  Remember good mental health includes the ability to laugh, especially at yourself.  No deprecating and put downs, just good honest reactions to life’s idiot-syncrasies!   :)Peace, John

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As some of you may know, I’ve used this quote before.  Kubler-Ross, one of the pioneers in working with grief and the dying, is right on target.  Grieving is a process – you are changed in that process, never to be who you were before.  While it feels like you’ll never be whole again, the whole picture is not in the feeling.  Like last week’s post, you have to feel it to allow it to heal.  For many, the process is lifelong.  The amount of grief one experiences is usually proportionate to how much you loved the person who is gone.  While you may have doubts while in the process, “you know you will be you again, but a different you.  When you embrace that, you will be honoring the memory of your loved one and be in the healing process.  Be gentle [and nurturing] with yourself during this process….”

              Peace,

                                    John

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Back to last week’s post: pain is inevitable but suffering is an option.  In my mind, it’s a poor option.  Emotional pain is a part of life – at times we all feel upset, rejected, disappointed, sad, etc.  What do we do with it?  Do we run from it?  It’s going to keep chasing us, don’t you think?  If that doesn’t work, try the opposite, turn around, face it, name the feelings, allow them to be simply a part of your experience, accept (embrace) them.  It’s the best way to get through it and it’s been said, “you gotta feel it, to heal it.”   If it’s too big for you to feel it, get someone you trust to share it with – that usually helps. 

Happy 4th of July!    

Peace, John

Image result for i have depression. but i prefer

Depression can be a complex bio-psychosocial disorder. It can have biological (including genetic and biochemical), psychological and social roots.  Once you experience it, what do you do with it?  Here we speak of it as an “it,” when, in reality, we experience it primarily as feelings.  While the feelings zap our energy and resilience and try to limit our desire toward resolution, we do need to take up the challenge.

Saying “I suffer” from depression only throws us back to last week’s quote and leaves us being a victim which ensures us believing in our powerlessness over it.

When depression brings us low, we need to “go high!”  We need to use various resources available to us to “hit back.”  These may include physical exams and/or lab testing to rule out physical causes for the depression, antidepressant medications, and therapy to uncover possible situational or psychological causes for the depression.  Part of “hitting back” includes establishing and implementing a treatment plan, sticking with it and adjusting it as one seeks resolution.  Most of depression can be resolved with the right types or combinations of treatments.  Emotional pain and depression are inevitable; suffering is an option!

Which option do you prefer?

             Peace, John

Image result for i am not a product of my circumstances quote

 

Too often we see ourselves as victims of our circumstances.  We focus on the external things that are hemming us in and preventing us from being everything that we are capable of being.  We then tend to react, like victims, impulsively and without the benefit of thinking things through.  Not good!

This quote calls our attention to and helps us reverse that mindset.

The new mindset might be:  “Circumstances are; I am powerless over what was and is.  I am not powerless over my self.  I now choose how I handle my current situation.  What am I feeling?  What are my choices?  How do I choose to respond?”

By choosing to respond and not react, you decide.  You are no longer a victim; you create your self the way you choose to be.  As with all creativity, be sure to have fun.

 Happy Father’s Day!   Peace, John


 

Image result for what screws us up most in life is the picture

By the way, how is it supposed to be?  Are we back to that word , “expectations?”  You do know that the opposite of expectations is that other recent blog post word, “acceptance?”

What destroys those pictures and those expectations is reality.  Do we create the pictures and expectations to avoid the reality? Or is it just our ego thinking that we can control reality, make it bend to how we would like it to be rather than the way it is? Enter that third word, “powerlessness.”

Can we accept our powerlessness over the reality?  Unscrew our unrealistic expectations and just accept what is?  If we do, we should have no problem putting the brush down since there will no longer be a need to create an idealized but unreal picture! Remember, it always is what it is, until it isn’t!

 Peace, John

Image result for gossip is the devils radio don't be his dj

Gossip involves talking to one person about another.  This creates a triangle and these kinds of triangles are always unhealthy. To eliminate gossip only discuss your relationship with the person with whom you are talking – it’s that simple.  Talking about people, especially when they’re not present, doesn’t allow them to speak for themselves.

Try to take yourself out of these triangles.  The easiest way is to use the “I” statements.  Since you’re only talking about yourself, no triangle, no gossip!  The problem with gossip, especially if it’s “juicy,” is that people like to spread it.  Frequently, they add their own spin to it or add information that may or may not be true or leave out parts of the truth.  When you hear gossip, remember, in legal terms it’s called “hearsay.”  Hearsay is not admissible – it’s what one person says that another person said and so, it’s not verifiable.

Perhaps the best advice about gossip was given by Ann Landers some time ago in the following question and answer.  I share it here in the hopes that you resign your DJ position!

Dear Ann Landers:

Some terrible rumors are floating around this office, and innocent people are being hurt. A while back, you printed the enclosed. It would mean a lot to me if you’d run it again. – Sad for the Victim

     Dear Sad: It’s worth a second go-’round. Glad to oblige:

                                    GOSSIP

      It topples governments, wrecks marriages,

     Ruins careers, sullies reputations,

     Causes heartaches, nightmares, indigestion –

     Spawns suspicion, generates grief.

     Makes innocent people cry in their pillows.

     Even its name hisses.

     It’s called gossip.   Office gossip. Shop gossip.

     Party gossip.

     It makes headlines and headaches.

     Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:

       Is it true?

        Is it fair?

        Is it necessary?

     If not – Shut Up.

taken from: New Haven Register, Sunday, June 11, 1995 page D3

 Peace, John


 

 

Image result for love people for who they are and not

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” (Big Book of AA, p. 417).  It seems like that’s what this quote is about – to be able to love people, you have to accept them just as they are.

When we don’t, when we try to change them, not only are we met with a lot of frustration but we become co-dependent.  We focus more on them and what they are doing or, should be doing according to our plans; when we do this, we lose ourselves.

Too often we think they are here to live up to our expectations – that somehow, they can read our minds and they are responsible for us feeling okay.  If they’re not who we want them to be, then we get irritable, angry and/or controlling… and that’s where the disconnection starts!  Disconnection = loss of focus on ourselves, unhealthy focus on the other and, ultimately loss of a healthy relationship.

Love them for who they are. Acknowledge their similarities to yourself and value the differences. Acceptance…

Peace, John

Image result for memorial day 2017Image result for memorial day  familyImage result for memorial day

 

Image result for shame says because i am flawed

We feel guilt from something that we did or didn’t do that we, or others, think we should or shouldn’t have done!  It’s about the doing.

Shame goes deeper.  Shame is the message that we are not valued, that we lack worth.  Shame is about who I am.  It is given directly as in, “You’re no good!”  It can also be indirectly implied in others’ behavior and how they treat us (i.e. like an object).    Shame is usually used by those who have been shamed in the past and who have not found ways to heal from their own emotional pain.  It is a core issue in much of my work with clients.

Changing this belief about oneself  requires breaking a habit, surrounding oneself with healthy people,  healthy messages about self, and beginning to internalize a different self-perception, one of value and worthiness.

God loves you just as you are!  Like a good parent, He may not like some of your behaviors but His love and gift of grace is continuous and omnipresent.  If you are struggling with  shame, I urge you to try to love yourself the way you imagine God loves you.  Surround your self with healthy people who will accept your shortcomings and, at the same time, love you for the wonderful person you are.  Learn to cherish your self!

I still struggle to fully wrap my head around that business of deserving, of God loving me unconditionally, of  His Amazing Grace which I don’t deserve but is always abundantly available for me.  If you have any tips, I am open and will share them.

For my Christian friends, I hope you will listen and enjoy the voice of Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by following the link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKo3T0j9qqo   If you need to, you can click to skip the ad!!!

Blessings & Peace,  John

Image result for you will never change your life until you change something you do daily

As much as I don’t like how this quote is worded, it has a profound point.  In the past several days I’ve encouraged a few clients to consider minimizing the negative, and moving away from the extremes, in their thinking and talking.  They can replace them with positivity and think of things as existing somewhere along a continuum.  For instance, instead of labeling yourself as happy or unhappy, you could see yourself as happier than you were yesterday.  The quote above would then become something like,  “To change your life, start changing something you do daily.”

Changing your life can seem large and overwhelming.  Instead, start looking at your daily routine.  What do you do regularly and in what order?  If you want to do something different or, get a different outcome, what can you change?  What could you do differently?  What would you start doing less of to start doing more of this thing differently?  That’s how many big changes begin.  Remember “Yard by yard, it’s hard, BUT, inch by inch, it’s a cinch!” 🙂

I wish you well in creating and maintaining those small daily changes, repeating them until they become habits and, thus, creating the positive change you deserve in your life. Persist!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Peace, John

Image result for the bad news is time flies quote

The “real” news is that time always goes on at the same steady pace. Frequently, we try to fit too much into our schedules and so, it seems to speed up. We wonder how we will get everything done in the time we had. That’s usually a sign that we haven’t prioritized our “to do” lists and so, we feel overwhelmed.

As the pilot, you fly your own plane. Are you or is someone else? If someone else, who and why have you let them? Can you invite them to leave the cockpit or, perhaps move over to the right seat where the copilot sits? What are your priorities? Are you spending the right amount of time on them? And remember, you are the pilot. You have the experience and the vested interest in being in that left seat, calling all the shots for your life. You and you alone are responsible for your self, the plane and this journey that you are on. You never know what decisions you may have to make. Remember you are the pilot and a lot rests on you.

As I write this blog post, my sister, Anne Marie Bennett and I are co-facilitating a SoulCollage® weekend workshop in Westfield, Massachusetts with 11 budding pilots who are learning the basics of flying their own lives. I dedicate this blog post to them and we now welcome Amy, Becky, Jan, Jennifer, Jill, Kathy, Kimee, Laura, Sharon, Susan C, and Susan N to our list of regular blog recipients. As a bonus for them and for you, our regular readers, I’ve added below an additional quote this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace, John

Image result for i am looking up because that is where i want to be

Image result for when you can't control what's happening challenge yourself quote

One formula for anger: when you think you should be in control of what’s happening and you’re not!  When most people are powerless, they try to gain control of the situation – arguing, acting out, etc.  It doesn’t work – they are powerless and, for the time being, are unwilling to accept that.  This quote offers a way out.

First, mindfulness, aware that you are not in charge.  Second, get focused back on yourself and figure out what your choices are of how to “respond.”  Notice, I said “respond,” not react.  You shift the focus back to yourself, the only person you can control.

It is a challenge, but do you want to keep struggling with the impossible?  Would you rather master the situation, and yourself, and increase the likelihood of success?  Would you rather focus on the obstacle or resolving the challenge?

Peace, John

Image result for Healthy boundaries are not walls.

Boundaries separate one thing from another.  They create a distinction.  What’s on this side is different from what’s on that side.  It’s that way in relationships too – if there are no boundaries then it becomes easy to forget where you end and the other person begins.  When you’ve lost yourself, i.e. or are overly focused on the other person, you can’t get anywhere.  You’ve lost your bearings – maybe you have even taken on the other person’s bearings.  Chances are, if it’s codependent, the other person is just as lost as you are.

That’s why we need fences with gates.  You become the gatekeeper.  You must let yourself in when conditions are appropriate, and you must keep yourself out when they’re not.  Some people may see fences and gates as controlling others from coming and going.  To a degree that’s true – you can’t stop them from coming or going out there but you can stop them from coming in and trampling on your territory and/or taking up permanent residence without paying the rent!

A client & I once spent nearly a whole session focused entirely on her need to set up boundaries in her life.  We understood where the lack of boundaries came from since we knew how dysfunctional her family of origin was.  She left with some good ideas about when and how to set up boundaries.  She was equipped to start figuring out and living her own life.  She came back the next week and told me that she learned something even more important about boundaries.  She said, “I’ve learned that, for me, setting up boundaries is challenging.  However, the hardest part is, once you’ve set them up, then you gotta do ‘sentry duty!’”

When you get those boundaries up you’ll be surprised how much you learn about yourself.  Perhaps you’ll be able to smell the roses in your own garden for a change.  Remember to pull those weeds!  Happy building, … and guardening!

Peace, John

Image result for living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice

The voice, you know, the voice inside your head.  It’s that negative voice – the voice that worries about everything you have made up (projected) about the future.  It’s also that voice of self-criticism and self-doubt.  Somewhere along the way you learned it, and you’ve been practicing it, probably for years.  It’s been on automatic.

It’s only way of growing is to get louder because you haven’t been paying attention to it.  When most people pay attention to it, it doesn’t help, but they keep trying to ignore it, so it gets louder until it drowns out everything else.

Want to fix it?  First, be aware of it and the damage it has done to you (i.e. mindfulness).  Become proactive.  Create another voice, a positive, “can-do attitude” kind of voice.  Create a voice that shouts back and challenges the first one.  Make that voice stick up for the new you and challenge those anxious  irrational beliefs.  Add to the new voice positive “I” messages that focus on the here and now, not on the future.  You then need to listen to the new voice, turn up the volume and pay attention to it.  Never let it take a vacation else the old one will try to creep back in.  Maybe find some kindred spirits with similar voices and create a chorus.  What do you think?

If you do these things repeatedly & persistently, you will find the original voice decreases in volume and intensity.  Your insecurities will diminish as you focus more on your strengths and it becomes easier to think your way through day-to-day situations. Take those anxious thoughts out of automatic and put the new ones in gear and steer and drive them to a new and improved, better you!

As I’ve written in an earlier blog, you can make molehills out of mountains!

Please let me know how these ideas work for you.

Peace, John

Image result for explain your anger, don't express it

When angry, start out calmly saying to yourself, “I feel angry.”  Then pause.  This identifies it as a feeling and, if you didn’t know, what you feel is not the whole story.  The whole story includes what you think about the situation as well as your behavior.  Most people miss those two other steps and, when feeling angry, jump right to expressing it.  That doesn’t do much except get others defensive and more likely to act angrily back at you, i.e. the “argument.”

Saying, “I feel angry,” can interrupt the process, and lead you to thinking a little more rationally about what is going on.  You can assess what might be an effective response.  Notice I didn’t say “reaction.”  There is a difference!

Anger is a sign that something may need to change.  You may need to change your expectation, something about the situation or just accept the fact that you may be powerless.  When I start getting perturbed, I’ve had to train myself to ask two questions. First, what was I expecting that was unrealistic?  When I lower, or give up the expectation, my anger dissipates.  Second, what is it that I am powerless over, that I want to control?  When I accept my powerlessness, the anger also dissipates.  Amazing! My training is a process and is still ongoing. Be patient with your self but keep asking (and answering) those questions!

Explaining the anger, to myself and sometimes to others, usually diffuses it, prevents upheavals and leads to re-solutions.

Which do you prefer, arguments or solutions?

Peace, John

Your comments on this post are welcome. Be sure you are on my blog on our WordPress site and click comment.  “Comment” is at the top, just before the quote or graphic, and after the categories and tags.  If you get our blogpost through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+, click on the link that will take you to our WordPress site first.  If you comment, please be patient as I have to review & approve comments before they show up on the blog itself.  Thank you.

Also, I am in search of guest bloggers.  If you have a favorite quote, why not send me an email (jpacheco@personalgrowthconcepts.com) with the quote and your thought/comments (less than 250 words, please) on how that quote helps you, or can help others?  I’ll review and may share it in the future with the over 400 people who regularly receive our blog.  I usually use first name and last initial to give credit but, if you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know that too. Have a blessed week!  – jp

Image result for it's the repetition of affirmations

Take a cup and pour into it a quarter of a cup of orange juice. Call that “negative.” Look at it. Now fill the rest of the cup with clear water (positive). Look at it again. What’s different?

Now take that cup and pour it into a gallon container and fill the rest of the container with more water. Is it lighter orange? Less juicy? Get the point?

Can you ever get that quarter of a cup of orange juice back? Keep adding water. I rest my case.

For those of you who were hoping an affirmation would fall out of this blog post, here are two that Louise Hay recently posted on Twitter. Choose between them or, use them both.

“I liberate my energy by doing things that don’t like me,” or “I allow love to find me in the perfect time and space.”

You now know how to make “things happen!”

                                                                                                           Peace, John

Image result for ADHD I march to the beat of a different drummer

People with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are unique.  Even though they may have shortcomings in staying focused or in concentrating, they tend to be creative, innovative and often good multitaskers.

There are two forms of ADHD, inattentive and/or hyperactive.  Those with the inattentive form frequently seem to be somewhere else – the thoughts in their minds rapidly change from one topic to another.  Even though they may appear to be listening, what’s going on inside might be miles away.  They miss chunks of what they’re told, don’t remember things and frequently get frustrated, sometimes acting out, when these shortcomings are pointed out to them.  Those with the hyperactive form tend  to constantly move, some even when they are asleep! 

Medication and/or therapy can be helpful.  Professionals used to think that children outgrow ADHD.  That’s not true! As children grow up, sometimes they find ways to accommodate the disorder.  Sometimes they don’t!  Certain jobs are easier for those with ADHD and other jobs are more difficult or nearly impossible.   Fifty percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have at least one parent who is ADHD;  frequently the parent is undiagnosed.  Most adults don’t get diagnosed with ADHD until one of their children is.

I believe we need to appreciate those who keep switching drummers as much as we appreciate the drummers!

Peace, John

Image result for I am lighthouse rather than lifeboat

Who doesn’t love a lighthouse?   A lighthouse is rock solid, made to withstand high winds and a lot of harsh weather.  The lifeboat is smaller, not anchored and can go all over the place in search of victims.

If you’ve been the lifeboat for a lot of people in your life, why not consider putting your roots down, building a lighthouse for your self and guiding others rather than having to rescue them all the time?  If you keep rescuing the same people repeatedly, you’re both going to get exhausted and they are not likely to learn how to keep themselves out of the drama.  More importantly, you also won’t learn how to keep yourself out of their drama!

And remember, even lighthouses need keepers!

Peace, John

Image result for You can't wake a person who is pretending to sleep

It took me a while to wrap my head around the above quote.  My head, in fact, went in a couple of directions while I was mulling it over.

Initially I was looking for a quote about addiction. Denial, one of the hallmark signs of addiction, is about the pretending.  To deny something, one must already know that it exists!  You might want to think on that one for a while too.  Knowing that it exists, then you have to pretend that it doesn’t.

But the quote is much more than just about addiction.  Think of any challenge in your life.  To meet those challenges, one needs to change.  Most people resist change even though, as I like to say, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!”  [That’s for those of you who can remember what vending machines are!]  Initial responses often mimic the pretend game, as in, “pretend it’s not a challenge” or “pretend it’ll go away on its own.”

Finally, back to the quote, it finally dawned on me – I was trying to read too much into it, trying to make it fit my mindset. Simply taken at face value, someone who’s pretending to be asleep, must be awake.  You can’t waken someone who’s already awake!  Nor can you enlighten someone who’s in denial.  Also, you can’t make others embrace change.  In most people’s lives, there are times of sleep and times of wakefulness.

Instead, try this, “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep, unless that person is yourself!”

                                                                                                         Peace, John

P.S. A friendly reminder – Next weekend Daylight Savings Time begins again!  Remember to change your clocks.

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