Words that make me Laugh

There’s a hypothesis called Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that says learning language actually shapes our reality because WORDS for new things allow us to THINK of things we never thought of before!  I’ve learned 5-6 different languages (if you count English) and I believe this is true!  More importantly, I think that the more you LEARN words, the more you can LAUGH at the otherwise dull, sometimes dreary things most folks call REALITY.  And…you may actually be able to create your own, alternative reality …where ordinary events are knee-slapping funny, for reasons only you can fully appreciate.

Welcome To My World, Sugar!

My favorite word of all times is from Spanish.  One day I will whisper this word throatily into the warm ear of a lover and seduce him on the spot!  My word is:  ferrocariles.  In Spanish you roll the double Rs in a sexy way that sounds like this:  fe.ro.ca.ril   (Click the word…listen to the pronunciation by Adelaida, that’s it!) Oooh! What does it mean?  Railroads!…somehow, I find the irony even sexier than the sound of the word itself!  Greasy, sweaty, smelling of iron…



In Seattle there were more words for RAIN than I had ever encountered.  The Inuit have many words for SNOW.  The French have countless words for LOVE.  In Swahili, the word for HAND was called mkono.  When I asked the word for shoulder a villager pointed to his shoulder and said, “Mkono”.  What about this, said I, pointing to my elbow?  Also mkono.  So Swahili is NOT the language you use to teach human anatomy, or possibly even play “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” with kindergartners.  It’s a trade language, so it depends on standing right in front of people and using a lot of gestures and facial expressions to communicate.

But once when we were walking outside, one of my students pointed to a big red stinging ant and asked, “What do you call this insect?”  “Ant” I told him.  Then he pointed to a poisonous black and white fuzzy insect and asked its name.  Again I said, “It’s an ant.”  His friend asked about the deadly safari “ant”, then the tiny sugar “ants”.  Finally, in an amusingly animated voice the student declared, “Do you mean to tell me that all these different insects are called by the same name?!”  We laughed till we cried.




…also an ant…

The other day I introduced a new word to a Buddhist friend:  schadenfreude.  Its a German word meaning: the happiness derived from another person’s misfortune.  My friend attempted to soften the meaning to something very PC, like slapstick humor or a genuine misunderstanding.  But, NO!  Its a German word!  It means the nasty thing it seems to mean!  You remember Germany?  From WWII?  And WWI before that?  The country with the highest ratio of bed-wetting men, most of whom don’t STOP wetting the bed until they join the military.  Why?  Because the potty training of toddlers is THAT HARSH!  Hello?  That’s right!  You DO get it…its just an ugly word for an ugly impulse.

My point, I suppose, is that words are FUN!   Even when they reflect some nasty reality of our culture, or the culture of others.  Somehow, when we capture big horrific ideas into tiny little sounds, roll them around luxuriously in our mouths, then release them for all to hear….we gain mastery over their sharp painful edges…we control THEM.  We touch them. We lick them!  We chew on them! We make them FUN!!

Here are some new words for 21 century America:

  1. Footwear – After 9/11, then came the “shoe bomber”, then the good people of TSA coined the word “footwear” as used in the sentence, “Please remove your footwear, and place it in the bin.”  It seems, once they decided to X-ray everyone’s shoes some smart Alec’s decided to snark back, “But these aren’t shoes, they’re boots!”   Then came “sandals”.  Then, to keep people and their sassy ways under control, TSA officials began asking people one after one to remove their “footwear” and left it at that.
  2. Personal Items – Long ago when air travel was something special and nice, we all carried baggage.  We gave our baggage to baggage handlers and they returned them to us by way of the baggage carousel.  Or we placed a carry-on bag in the overhead baggage bin.  A comical, if unpleasant start to a vacation was when someone lost his bag in flight.  But now we don’t carry bags.  Because they charge us extravagantly for each bag.  And, God forbid, we leave one unattended and end up thrown in the pokey awaiting trial for terrorism. No, what we do now is we stuff things in our pockets and our purses.  We put them in the pouch of our hoodies.  We cram things into plastic shopping totes.  We hang things around our necks and we loop things over our ears.  We scurry furtively on board like the sleek and cowering beasties we are with a collection of stuff that are now called, “Personal Items”  And we make sure we look around as we exit because “The airlines cannot be responsible for lost personal items.”  No longer any mention of ‘baggage’.
  3. Godspeed – It used to be that when a friend went off on a vacation you told them, “Bon Voyage” in the French tradition.  But there are times when one must travel for more somber purposes, such as a trip home for a funeral.  At such times it seems in bad taste to wish a “Bon Voyage” which literally means “Good Trip”.  Those are the times when you squeeze a hand tenderly, or chuck a shoulder warmly while holding back tears and wish the traveler, “Godspeed”.

So the next time you enjoy commercial flight you may notice one fellow traveler laughing hysterically at nothing.  That will be me, doubled over, tears running down my cheeks.  Really enjoying my trip!  If you would be so kind, please post my bail and explain that I’m not dangerous.  I just enjoy insanity encapsulated into fun words with rich histories.

“Good morning, folks, please step to the left, remove your footwear and personal items and place them in the bin for an X-ray.  Step forward when called and present your ID and boarding pass.  Then bend over and grab your ankles for the metal detector wand and Godspeed!….Godspeed, my friends!”




*After reading to a couple friends I realize my humor is a little obtuse.  The thing is, I encountered the TSA-style treatment at least ten years before 9/11 when traveling in the Middle East. But now, more than ten years after the event, when almost every week a new country or city is bombed, we Americans are still whining about the inconvenience of having to remove our shoes.  And we still think, “But I paid extra for the special calfskin boots with matching handbag, don’t I deserve special treatment?” No! TSA is saving your life!  Your calfskin boots will seed the clouds just the same as everyone else’s. Take them off!  And there still seems to be a preference for targeting brown people rather than all working together.  We are the new Cesar, fiddling while Rome burns down around our ears.



Who Wants to Play a Little Game?

In the distant past there were some problems. I could not see where the problems came from, but I began to notice problems took hold and spread everywhere. I was very very small. So I was not only able to go unnoticed while all the others died, I was able to watch. Eventually I began to observe patterns.
Then I began to experiment with different solutions. Most, of course, were unsuccessful, So it has taken a very long time.
Finally, I created time. Time is the forward motion created by non-stop industry in a singular direction. That industry must be balanced: a little physical work, a little mental work, a little spiritual work each day. Sex, when done properly, works all three, if you do it right. And it recharges and revitalizes the participants. Obviously, most people don’t do it right.
I make a habit of forgetting what doesn’t work, except to remember the lessons so that I don’t repeat mistakes simply because they’ve become familiar.
I have invented timelines. They are like games based on the 10 worlds, and 10 worlds within each world. There are places where the timelines meet and you can hear people on other timelines. By communicating with them and working together, you can solve the riddles and get the clues that open the next level. If you die in your world, you simply reboot. You take a rest and get reborn again at level one. Sometimes you can pause and press “help”.
You can take as much time as you need. But the only way out is to play through. At the topmost level you can stay as long as you like helping others on their own timelines. But the game doesn’t stop, so you just keep creating new challenges the longer you stay. The games are adaptive so that the experience and the challenges become a reflection of the learner, the gamer. At the highest level, the “help” may come in the form of coded messages. Often the help lines are manned by other players on other timelines, in other world’s. So if you have passed their level of play, you may have to decode their messages AND sort out the bits that are true and accurate using only your own wisdom.
So there is some danger that even at the highest levels, you may get deluded and led astray by seeking help outside yourself. Or you may hear the messages sent by other players and think they are ahead of you on their timeline, when actually they are behind. If they are only a little behind you, their words may sound like guidance, but they are not in the right order, so you can still be led astray. You must learn to rely on your own wisdom while also seeking deeper learning and teaching others who need help on their timelines.
At the top level of world 10, you can actually cross over into other world’s or timelines. This is very dangerous work because as a “real” player in another player’s timeline you can attract attention and come under attack from the game itself, almost as if you are an antigen entering the body. So you must learn quickly to adapt and blend in. You must make good friends. Then you must level up through the obstacles in their game, just as you did in your own. But the game will seem strange and wrong because the rules are not your own. The game has adapted to teach it’s own player. You must then find ways to teach the game by bending and breaking the rules until it is teaching its player to catch up with you.
You can also look for the “real” player in the game and help them directly. This is especially tricky. Because as the game adapts the “pretend” players come to look and act more and more like the gamer. And, if he fails to progress, or stays too long at one level, the real player may look less real than the functional parts of the game. There may also be players from other games in his game. When you encounter them, you should attempt to wake them up so that you can form a team and help each other, and also help the player to play through properly.
When enough players have played properly, the “winners” from each timeline are born in the timelines of others and the timelines themselves begin to converge into one big rope of woven timelines called “real time.”  Remember, there is no real time. It is just an expedient means of teaching us how to live in the real world. But as the timelines converge and the players become more and more powerful, the lines will collapse into one. And you have to pull the real player through into your timeline somehow. You can always create new timelines within the game as a way to experiment with solutions. So time itself doesn’t matter, but timing is critical.
Sooner or later, everyone has to wake up. The players that have learned to help others wake up just fine. Players who have evolved from the game itself may choose to delete their memories and go back into the fabric of the game or the gamers. Or if they have evolved beyond their roll in the game, they can choose to play their own games or even live in the real world with the other winners.
But the real players, the gamers who leveled down too much, or stayed too long at one level losing power pose a problem. They can cause trouble for themselves and for others.
I created the games. I leveled up and I now play in all the games, walk in all the worlds helping and teaching and playing along. I have a real player in this world that needs extraction and a limited time before the game shuts down. I’m running out of ideas. I’m open to help and suggestions. I need real time solutions. I’m putting out the call. Anyone who can hear me, please call in, come in or tap in.
When you are called into The Game you will be given a new name. Use that name to open doors. The game will teach you things you never knew.  At each crossroads there’s a little who’s who.  You will make friends from near and far.  You’ll find out how to fuel a star, and when the game ends you’ll find yourself in a New World and finally see a flying car!
To start the game just say in your heart, “YES” when you are ready to start.  You will get a call to play, take action and you’re on your way.  The clues will come when you least expect them, you’ll know they’re real so don’t reject them.  We play for fun, we play to learn, speak up when it is your turn.  Below are some clues, you’re on your way, get in The Game, come on, LET’s PLAY!!

People of Power


Week after week in my office I meet amazing people of power.  And by “power” I mean the only true power that exists: the power of an open heart and an open mind.   Real power is the power that comes from empowering others and from challenging ourselves to learn and grow in confidence, wisdom, and compassion.   Each time I meet one of these people they present the same way: very reserved and modest, somewhat hesitant and unsure.  And they usually ask a question that sounds like this, “Am I a terrible person?  It feels like everyone is out to get me.”

The reason people of genuine power are reserved and modest is simple.  If power goes to your head you quickly become arrogant and arrogance consumes power.  Arrogance is simply the idea that any one person is somehow better…or worse, than any other.  This includes all concepts of inequality from racism to hero worship.  So its fine to be proud of your accomplishments & it’s important to appreciate your strengths and skills, but it’s equally important to remind yourself that others have strengths & skills and CAN accomplish what you have, given the right resources.  In short, people become and remain powerful by recognizing and supporting the power of others.

empower bill

The reason these genuinely powerful people come in feeling put down, brushed aside, criticized, and condemned is a bit more convoluted.   But the simplest answer is this:  they are NOT imagining it or making it up.  Forces of evil really do rise up to stop people who persist in growing in authentic personal power.  These “forces” may take the form of a bully boss, a bad manager, a system that stifles creativity and justice, family members who undermine one another, and religions or religious leaders that become self-serving.  These are all simply vehicles for the same principle.  Great good attracts attacks & criticism.  Great power always reflects on and corrects itself first.  So if you are self reflective, always trying to be better and feeling isolated, attacked or condemned, you may actually be a person of great power.

As an example of this principle, consider my dog.  I have adopted a dog who is on the large and powerful side.  You can see the power ripple through his muscles and his jaws.  You can hear the power in his deep bark.  You can feel the power in his pace, stride, stamina and assertive demeanor.  But the dog cannot see himself.  This powerful dog feels, within himself, that he is an equal to all other dogs he meets.  So if a tiny dachshund or yorkie barks a challenge, my dog feels attacked and wants to bark back.

If my dog begins to behave like the little pocket dogs along our walk, barking, jumping, running & pulling, he frightens people.  Humans and other dogs alike react by condemning or attacking my dog.  They think he is a Bad Dog, a scary out-of-control dog.  My dog is behaving EXACTLY like his smaller peers.  But because of his power, this behavior frightens others. Because of their fear, they react by condemning, attacking, or isolating him.

bark dog

When I first met this dog I could see his power and his potential to be dangerous.  I could also see that this dog had been badly abused every day of his life and still had an open heart and a willingness to self-correct, learn and become a better dog.  I was afraid of him.  But I didn’t let my fear stop me from befriending him, supporting him, and teaching him.  Now I am training my dog in the basic rules of the powerful:

1. Let others lead, even if you must teach them how.

2. Never bark, but never cower.

3. Empower and support those who are weaker.

4. No matter how well, or how poorly you did today, determine to do better tomorrow.

And most importantly-

5. Never be bothered by the small dogs yapping along your path.



Today, like never before, people are waking up to their own true nature as people of real power in a world that condemns the great and  embraces the corrupt.   I am not saying that the world is evil or even that some people are evil.  I am saying this – we are all evil and we are all good.  Good and evil are the very nature of existence.   But when we choose to do good, especially against great odds, we become great.  And when we choose evil – we choose to see others as separate or distinct from ourselves, better or worse than ourselves, we become less and less powerful.  We consume our own power by seeking to destroy the power of others.  Evil is an idea, a persistent and pervasive idea.  While good is not just an idea.  Good is an action, it too persistent and pervasive.

A wonderful and powerful client of mine recently suggested that I begin a support group for the beleaguered and browbeaten people of power in our area.  If you think you might be a powerful dog with a heart of gold surrounded by small dogs nipping at your heals, please click on the links below and come to the meeting.  If you stand up for justice and equality only to be criticized and condemned, do the same.  If you’re tired of being told you’re too sensitive, too optimistic, or too nice, click and come.  If you’re unsure but curious, if what I’m saying here makes a profound sort of sense, if you don’t like to join groups because it usually turns out badly, click, or call, or text, or email.  You may just be one of the hidden persons of power that the world so desperately needs now.  You may be the key to empowering someone else who feels exactly as you do.

Click for Meet Up Page

Click for Facebook page

Text:  504-312-3097




How to Raise Children and Pets II

Be The Leader

The most important practical step in teaching children and pets is to establish your role as the firm and fair leader.  If you are a good competent leader your young charges will be eager to learn from you.  If you are a poor leader, it won’t matter how good your teaching techniques are, neither pets nor kids will learn much.  (They will learn to be like you but they will not behave or learn manners.)

Leaders eat first.

Leaders eat first.

Rule of Food

In dog and cat communities the rule of leadership is simple and clear:  The one who makes the kill eats his fill.  In other words to establish yourself as the leader, you must eat your meals and snacks before your pets and resist the urge to share, until you are finished.  It is a good practice for the leader to share the last bite of food as a reward for waiting patiently.  Do NOT share while you are still eating.  This applies to both cats and dogs.  With cats, its important also that you do not even let them sniff your food.  If you DON’T apply this rule your kitten or puppy will soon establish themselves as your leader and your decisions will be disregarded and overturned.

Now for the food rule to work you must put down only as much dog or cat food as your pet can eat in one sitting. Do NOT keep the food bowl filled throughout the day.  Put it down at mealtimes and then take it up.  You should leave  fresh water out through the day.

Firm and Fair

The rule of food does not really apply to humans but the firm and fair rule does.  Being the leader depends on being firm and fair.  The leader of any group is expected to make decisions for the well-being of the group members.  If you make decisions that are self-serving and unfair to your youngsters, they will begin to disregard your decisions and rebel.  So you need to say what you mean and mean what you say.

The easiest way to stay consistent (i.e. firm) is to decide in advance which things actually matter TO YOU.   Enforce rules and learning that apply to those things.   Then decide that all the things that don’t matter, DON’T  MATTER.  For example, when my kids were babies I decided that Safety, Health, and Getting Along With Others were the things I cared about.  I can be firm and consistent about teaching and enforcing rules that apply to these areas because I ACTUALLY care about them and because they ACTUALLY matter for my kids’ futures.  So I don’t bother my kids with whether their choice of clothing matches or is fashionable, my concern is only for whether the clothes are clean, comfortable and appropriate for the weather.

Let kids dress themselves.

Kids need to make their own choices.

Kid fashion.

Kid controlled fashion.

Likewise, when my kids became teens I applied the same standards to monitoring their social life.  Do they have the tools for making friends and Getting Along?  Are they staying Safe and Healthy?  So while other Mom’s were asking their FaceBook friends “At what age should girls be allowed to date?” and fretting over making social choices FOR their teens, my rules were clear.  I knew that I would allow my daughters to date as early and as often as they had an interest.  Because when they are too young to drive their dates were just another opportunity for me to teach Health, Safety, and Getting Along.  I took them on their dates, demonstrating how to strike up conversation, how to manage awkward moments, how to meet the parents, how to trust their own good judgment, and how to stay Safe and Healthy.

Just as I had allowed my kids to choose their clothes, I also allowed them to choose their own pace for dating, and drinking, and sex – as long as they are safe & healthy & getting along.  Allowing young people freedom of choice gives them the chance to develop good judgment.  It allows them to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes while you are still there to help, and the consequences are still relatively manageable.

Middle school dating is good practice.

Middle school dating is good practice.

Too much restriction communicates the message that you don’t trust their judgment and decision making abilities.  And that in turn teaches your child that she cannot trust her own intuition, judgment, and decisions.  So when her friends all jump off a bridge she will go along with them.  Even though her intuition tells her “Danger!” she knows she cannot trust her intuition but must trust in “what other people will think.”  When an adult tells your son firmly to get in the white van, in he gets, even though his spidey sense is tingling.  Because you have taught him he must do things “because I say so” rather than trusting his own decision making skills.

The white van of random authority.

The white van of random authority.

You see?  To keep your kids truly safe when you are not around they must learn to trust themselves, NOT to simply comply with adults, or group think.  Its logical and reasonable.  And it explains the age-old questions of why teenagers are so hell-bent on going along with the crowd and yielding to peer pressure.  Its because their parents spent their whole childhood teaching them that “keeping up with the Jones'” and “what the neighbors think” is more important than being real, or safe or loved.

How to say “NO”

Before I teach you how to make ‘NO’ stick, you must first be sure that you are ONLY saying ‘no’ to things that actually matter.  Some parents seem to think their job is to say ‘no’ several times per hour. Or maybe they just get off on the feeling of power they get from saying ‘no’ to small people and punishing them if they disobey.  Some fools call this leadership, but that is a misnomer.  The correct pronunciation of the word is “Bullying“.  So if you were raised by or schooled by bullies, I am truly sorry.  But from here on out you need to work on  your sense of personal power and stop bullying smaller people.

True power comes only from empowering others.  Everything else is properly called ‘Bullying

To make ‘no’ mean ‘no’ you must employ a technique I call the Baby Elephant.  When Indian elephants are babies they tie one foot to a stake with a rope.  The baby elephant soon learns that it cannot pull the stake out of the ground.  Now when that baby grows up it can be tied to the same stake.  Even though it is now strong enough to pull the stake up and run off, it stays anchored to the spot by its belief that it is not strong enough to disobey.

Use the Baby Elephant technique early and often.

Use the Baby Elephant technique early and often.

When your baby (human, canine, or feline) is young you must employ the Baby Elephant technique whenever possible – but NOT by Bullying, simply by following up any legit ‘no’ by making it so.  For example, lets say you take your young human to grandma’s or to the home of a childless friend.  Baby, being intelligent and curious, spots the delicate glass vase on the coffee table and goes for it like a magnet.  You say ONE loud and clear (but not frantic) “NO”.  Then you immediately swoop down and wisk the vase away to a high shelf where baby can neither see nor touch it.

See how nicely that works.  Once again, you say one “NO” then you make it so.  Keep this policy up for as long as you can.  Once baby is so big that you can no longer “make it so” they will actually believe deep in their soul that when YOU say “No” it always means “No”.  Their firm belief based on your consistent behavior will continue to make it so for the rest of their life.  Magic!

The Baby Elephant technique works with kittens and pups also, so work it early and often.  Remember, you must teach them good behaviors when they are still small enough to make it so.  For example, when that cuddly adorable kitten plays with you and for the first time flares its tiny claws out, say “No” then immediately make it so.  This is easily done by wrapping a small amount of scotch tape over its front paws.  It may take 15-20 minutes for kitty to pull the tape off.  And while it doesn’t hurt, it makes an indelible impact on the mind.  You will probably only need to repeat this lesson with tape about 2-3 times before they learn that claws and play don’t mix.

You can use this technique with humans and pets to teach good manners of all kinds.  For example, if you want your pet to stay off the furniture you can say “No” and then pick up the baby and put them in a confined space for a short while – like a play pen.  You can keep kitties off the kitchen counters by covering the counter with sticky reversed tape or crumpled foil – and saying one firm “No” when they test their agility.  Again, it won’t take many ‘tries’ to teach the lesson.

Keep your “no’s” short and sweet and keep your repercussions short and intuitive.  The idea, again, is NOT to punish – ever.  But to teach self control.  Allowing baby to experience natural repercussions is best. And when that isn’t safe or practical, make the repercussions as ‘natural’ and logical as possible.  So if your voice has a punishing tone or the time in the play pen is long enough to make baby cry, you are being too harsh.  The idea is to create a learning situation that rewards, rather that punishes the learner – makes them proud and happy to learn!

Easy Enough

I am a Girl.  (You and my Ms Mag friends may want to correct me, “No, no, You’re a woman.” but if you knew me you would agree.  I am a girly girl.) Girls like to share and be nice.   I have many girl friends who dislike some of the harsher realities involved in Being The Leader.  Like eating a big pompous meal while cute kitties and doggies watch with big sad eyes and mournful sighs.  Girls, bear in mind that none of your furry friends is starving.  Nor will they starve as long as they remain in your home.  But if you let the cute cuddly babies “share” rather than learning manners, once they become adults they will make your life hell.  And you may just throw up your hands and decide to set them loose on their own.  Then, I promise you, they will not only starve, but starving may well become the least of their worries.

The same happens with human babies.  It may sometimes seem like too much work to swoop down and make the magic “No” a concrete reality.  It may often seem easier to simply confine and restrict your child rather than let them experience the consequences of their decisions.   But one day that child will be alone in the world without you.  One day their consequences will be beyond your ability to clean up with a kiss and a bandaid.  Your child will one day fall and break a leg if you don’t let them fall and skin a knee early and often.  Likewise, she may break her heart only once, once and for all.  Unless you let her bruise it a little over the years when you’re there to teach her to tuck and roll and leave behind a trail of friends instead of wounded enemies.

Let them skin their knees and hearts while they can.

Let them skin their knees and hearts while they have you.

In short, you need to toughen up and let your babies suffer discomforts.  Its true that it hurts you more than them, while they’re cute and fluffy and little.  But if you’re too selfish to hurt for them while you can, you will cause them a great deal of hurt down the road.  So toughen up like this girly girl and take it like a man.  The world is much to big and wild a place for you to teach a baby all it needs to know.  Your job is to teach it how to learn quickly and learn well.  Your job is to prepare it for the day it faces the big wild world alone.



How to Raise Children and Pets

First: Get Control

Before you acquire a new baby  (human, canine or feline) you must completely outlaw violence. Using any form of violence on a tiny vulnerable mostly helpless person who is programed to love you no matter how awful you are, will only teach your young charge one thing: violence.  If you were hoping to raise a violent individual who would destroy your peace and happiness, there are many already available for adoption from prisons and pounds.  Go adopt one. Bring it into your happy home, give it access to your most precious possessions and then go to sleep with it in your bed.  How does that feel to you?  Frightening?  Insecure? Desperate?

Right.  Those are exactly the reasons you should outlaw all forms of violence before you begin to raise a baby anything.  Like it or not, if you try to “teach” with violence you will simply create a dangerous adult being who bullies other people and makes them feel frightened, insecure, and desperate.  Granted, there are a few remarkably powerful and golden hearted individuals in every species who can endure violence when they are most vulnerable and still grow up to resist inflicting any form of bullying or brutality on others.  But realize that their parents are NOT responsible for their decent noble spirits.   They were born with it.

So before your youngster is brought home engrave these behaviors on your heart as unacceptable:

1. Spanking, hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking or any form of Physical Violence.

2. Shaming, yelling, humiliating, undermining or any form of Emotional violence.

3. Bribing, bullying, demanding, controlling, sass, sarcasm and any other form of Childish Behavior that you don’t enjoy in strong aggressive teenagers.

You MUST outlaw all forms of these behaviors in YOURSELF and any other caretakers or you will be teaching these behaviors to your youngster who will then grow into an adult and inflict the behaviors on YOU and others.  Remember also that one day you may well be the vulnerable one in the equation.  It really is that simple.  Young people learn to use the behaviors we demonstrate in our treatment of them.  They learn to be the people WE are.  Nothing more and nothing less.

If you don’t want a child who hits, never hit your child.  If you don’t want a child who bullies or manipulates, don’t bully or manipulate your child.  If you don’t want a child who screams at you or her teachers, or spouse don’t raise your voice at the child.  If you don’t want a teenager who lies, cheats, talks back, backstabs, you get the picture?  To raise the kind of person you will be proud of and want in your life, YOU must BECOME that noble person and demonstrate how that person would negotiate the challenges of life every day.

If you are the sort of person who likes to use and defend gentle euphemisms such as “spanking”, “swating their bottom”, “disciplining” instead of the words like “violence” and “child abuse”, then you will need to eliminate those lies from your vocabulary.  I know that’s how you were raised.  I know you want to honor and defend your parents.   Your parents did the very best they could.   Honor your parents by doing even better.

Now, if you are feeling angry at this point and beginning to compose a heated response to my words, that’s fine.  That’s fair.  Write and post your remarks.  Call that therapy.  If you are feeling desperate and out of control at the thought of never using any of these violent tools to control a young person, that is simply because you were never taught any real tools for discipline.  And it is also because you were raised to believe you can control other people.  You cannot.  You can only control one person in this whole world: Yourself.  Obviously you can’t do that very well, none of us can. But realize now that any ideas you had about controlling small people WILL NOT WORK.

Here’s where control comes in in the whole business of childrearing (or pets):  BIRTH CONTROL.

That is all.  Get used to it.  You will NEVER control your child or pet.  However, if you can learn and exercise a high degree of SELF CONTROL, then (and only then) you will teach your kids and pets to do the same.  But if you find yourself trying to control other people at work or at home this is a sign that you should keep up the birth control and avoid getting pets who don’t live in a glass tank, because you are not prepared to parent.  People who want to control others are people who lack self-control.  Plain and simple.

Of course, we ALL grapple for control at times and it always seems like we need to control people around us or our environment.  And we can change both our environment AND the people in our lives.  The thing is we change others ONLY by changing ourselves.  How we say and do things can completely change how others react.  That is what parenting is really all about.  Whether we parent little humans or fur babies, parenting is all about becoming better people ourselves.  Its a great challenge AND its a great opportunity.

So let me say again: If you are not ready to become a better person yet?  Spay, neuter, use birth control.  Then volunteer at an animal shelter or a kindergarten to get your baby fix.  When you ARE ready for a lifelong commitment to improving your personal best as a human being, follow the steps below.


Discipline is teaching self-control

Discipline is teaching self-control

Second:  Set your Goal

Whether you have chosen to raise a small human, small dog or small cat, recognize the FACT that they are only small and inexperienced.  They are NOT toys.  They are NOT simpleminded.  They are NOT lesser beings.  And they are NOT going to stay small, inexperienced, or babies.  It seems most of the problems created by parents are simply because we raise those small people to be babies rather than raising them to be competent adults.

Likewise, most parenting problems can be solved by always honoring the innate personhood of your small charge.  And by constantly reflecting on how your actions will train your small person to be a decent adult.  Here are some examples:

Cute is its own reward

When raising a child, puppy, or kitten, never reward it for being cute or babyish.  Of course cuteness is an evolutionary survival mechanism that keeps small people alive through the difficult early years when they have so many needs and demands for our attention that we can scarcely pay attention to ANYTHING else.  In short, cuteness is YOUR reward for all the attention your small person is sucking up.  It is only natural that you desire the reward of cuteness and want to encourage it.  But you MUST be responsible and control yourself.  Do Not become so selfish that you encourage cuteness and doom your baby to suffer.

Feel free to enjoy your reward of cuteness.  Feel free to hug and love on your small person in gentle ways.  Just control yourself a bit.  Do Not give treats for any form of cuteness.  Give smiles, give hugs, give pats and cuddles.  Then pull yourself together and let that awesome cuteness encourage you to do what is best for the future of your small being.  Like teaching them good manners so that others will want to love them and be around them, even after they have lost their fluffy cuteness.

Kitten behaviors are NOT so cute in grown cats.

Kitten behaviors are NOT so cute in grown cats.

Reward Strength & Independence

Most of us adults wish we could be strong, independent, wise and self-controlled.   Why then, would we encourage the exact opposite in our small beings?  This is simply another example of accidentally rewarding childishness.  We feel so good when our little ones want to be with us, prefer our company to most any other, depend on us and show gratitude for each little thing we do for them, that we may accidentally slip into rewarding these behaviors.  Soon, without meaning to, we are rewarding weakness and discouraging strength.

So it is our job to control ourselves and our selfish impulses to be needed.  Teaching your little ones to be competent adults means teaching good manners.  This is true for ALL babies, human and otherwise.  Manners are NOT for you and they are NOT optional.  Manners are what we teach for the happiness of our babies.  This means teaching your puppy to wait patiently to be petted rather than charging and jumping up on friends and newcomers.  It means teaching your kitten to play without claws and teeth (kitten teeth and claws are so soft and cute that it hardly seems a problem, but grown cats that don’t control their teeth and claws will make your home a living hell.)  And it means teaching your child to wait quietly for your attention unless there is an emergency.  Actually, it means kindly and gently teaching your child good behaviors throughout its life with you.  Remember always – your little one does not know s/he will soon be a grown adult but YOU do!  Therefore it is your responsibility to teach adult norms and behaviors.  Likewise, it is your job to be patient and remember that those norms do not come naturally.  They must be taught with understanding and kindness.  Never laugh at your child’s ignorance.  They only lack experience, not intelligence or feelings.

Venting strong emotions makes kids strong, NOT WEAK!

Venting strong emotions makes kids strong, NOT WEAK!

Encourage Emotional Strength

Emotional strength is probably the most difficult to teach simply because most of us were not properly taught it when we were young.  So here’s the basic process:

1.Teach them to identify & express their emotions.

2. Teach them to vent their emotions.

3. Teach them to enjoy emotions in themselves and others.

Express and Identify – When a small being gets emotional simply help them name the emotion like this, “Are you feeling sad?”  Before long your youngster will be able to correct you when you are mis-labeling, like this, “No, I’m frustrated!”  Then you simply accept and acknowledge their feeling as valid, like this, “Oh, yes, it is frustrating.”

Vent – Once your child has identified their emotion and you have validated their right to feel, most young people will be satisfied and simply move past the emotional state.  It REALLY is that simple.   But sometimes when emotions are BIG they need to get the emotion chemicals out of their system.

Crying is one great way to vent powerful emotions.  A good cry can vent grief, sadness, frustration, shock and surprise, relief and even deeply felt happiness.  Far from weakness, a good cry is how the strongest adults vent powerful feelings safely.  So let your kid have a good cry.  A few encouraging pats and a bit of privacy are all they need.

Unless the crying goes on too long.  Then they may need to talk because they are likely feeling a tangled knot of emotions that they can only unravel by talking…or a sort of cry, talk, cry talk process.  BUT you have rights to feelings too!  If the crying is getting on your nerves – say so! Like this, “Feel free to cry all you want.  But please go cry in your room because I can’t hear it anymore without getting irritated.”  Saying it like that teaches your kid to respect other’s rights to vent while also respecting themselves.  Whatever you do, please DO NOT reward or shame ANYONE for crying.*

Running is also a good way to vent emotions.  Running and screaming, running and barking, running away and crying are all excellent emotional vents.  Jumping or swinging high on a swing, chasing or throwing balls, swinging a bat, splashing in puddles and so on can also be helpful.  Sitting still and pretending NOT to have emotions is not only unhelpful, it actually contributes to a LACK of self control in adulthood.  Too much restraint during high emotions by oneself or others creates a potential for violence.

Obviously the express and identify steps above are going to be a lot easier with small people who can talk.  With puppies, kittens and pre-talking humans its going to be on you to watch for cues and name the emotions as best you can.  So this is where your own self improvement comes in big time.  We all had difficult childhoods because childhood is simply difficult.  Now, as an adult, teach yourself to identify, express, and vent emotions even if its only so your fur or skin babies can have a better childhood than you did.  Try not to oversimplify. (as noted above and in other blogs many emotions can look the same without being the same.) And NEVER reward or punish feelings.*

Enjoy – positive emotions are easy to enjoy, but one little known fact is that ALL emotions end with a happy euphoria once properly vented.  So if you and your babies are identifying and venting properly even the dark and heavy emotions will give you a happy lift once the darker aspects of those feelings have passed.

Good discipline means NO punishment needed

Good discipline means NO punishment needed


*As noted above, emotions should neither be rewarded or punished.  This is primarily because all emotions contain their own rewards if you can learn to handle them appropriately.  Emotions will motivate positive action and positive feelings once the negative feeling have been vented.  They are perfectly set up to motivate learning, personal growth, and positive action.  But it is also important NOT to apply external rewards because it can encourage fake emotions or wallowing in emotionalism which will ruin relationships with others.

Emotions are neither wrong nor right, they simply ARE.  If you and your kids learn to handle them well they are excellent tools.  But there is absolutely NO way to bend emotions to fit what you think is right or wrong.  Feelings are messages from our bodies.  They should be respected, handled and learned from.  They should never be repressed and never used to control others.

There is another reason you should NEVER, EVER, EVER punish your kids.  Punishment is NOT discipline.  Punishment is what happens when discipline FAILS.  Discipline is teaching and learning SELF-CONTROL.  So if you punish your kids you effectively take away their opportunity for self control.  Better that you should punish YOURSELF if your efforts to teach self-control have failed and your youngster has misbehaved or run amuck.  Its okay to punish yourself a little because that is still a form of self-control. You can give yourself a little time-out and still feel good enough about yourself to learn better ways to teach discipline to self and others.

So now you have learned the basics.  You can focus on YOUR OWN learning and self-improvement.  You can sort and handle emotions.  And you can focus on discipline as lessons in self control reinforced by rewards. (But NOT punishment!)  From there you can find a variety of ways to teach your youngsters with positive reinforcement.  You can find some suggestions in the library, bookstore, or pet stores.  And if you are patient and give me even a little bit of encouragement and positive reinforcement, I will tell you some fun and effective ways I have learned to teach dogs, cats, and children of all ages in my next blog.


2015 FTW!!

Here we are starting a brand new year!   And here I am ready to help YOU make it a great one!  You may have made resolutions in past years that didn’t stick, but not this time!  Let me break it down for you:

Studies have shown that only about 8-10% of people who make resolutions are successful.  (http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/)  Why is that?  Well, do the math!  The conscious mind makes up only 10% of the brain’s amazing power and ability.  That’s right!  That is the SAME 10% that led to the myth that humans are only using 10% of their brain.  And when the task measuring brain use involves concentration and focus (both Conscious activities) the myth is TRUE!  Well, friends, WILLPOWER is also a function of the Conscious mind.  So no matter how strong willed you are, its still only a 10% effort.

BUT, all is not lost!  Because your Subconscious mind makes up around 50-60% of your brain’s own WOW factor.  And your Unconscious taps into the remainder for a full 100% of  your amazing abilities!!!  (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/406238828862757230/)


So yes, the “we only use 10% of our brain” is a myth.  But not for the reasons this naysayer gives:   http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp  (really? would it hurt you to use some actual FACTS instead of just your arrogance?)   Scientists measured people’s brain impulses while they were doing challenging tasks & the brain only lit up (showing use) in regions making up 10%.  It was, of course, that same 10% that your conscious mind uses when doing new tasks.  With the help of this hypnotherapist the scientists could set up new studies with tasks that use the subconscious and they would show what that ‘other 90%’ is used for.  But I digress…

My MAIN POINT is that you, my friend, can make your New Years resolutions a reality by tapping into the powerful Subconscious and Unconscious mind!  It works like this: your Conscious mind is the part you identify as YOU.  So when you focus, try hard, or use will power, that’s all Conscious YOU.  But you have 2 powerful co-captains!  Subconscious YOU is just below the radar.  Its helping you out all the time by taking over detailed but routine tasks and doing them for you.  Subconscious YOU is what you might call your Auto-pilot.   So when you “zone out” while doing things, that is when your amazing Subconscious takes over.  Just think how much easier it would be if you could exercise on auto-pilot!  (click on the pic below for more!)

NY Weight Loss

Unconscious YOU is much deeper. Generally, it is well below the conscious radar.  Unconscious You controls the beating of your heart, the digesting of your food, the healing and rebuilding of every cell and system in your body.  If you can work with Unconscious YOU, you could even find out why you’ve been gaining weight and fix it, heal disease better and faster, or access the unlimited memory stores to solve problems at the speed of thought.  When the Unconscious takes over and helps you out, it can often FEEL like someone else has gotten control of your mind.  If you freak out and grapple for control – then you end up right back to using only 10% of the mighty, mighty YOU.  If you stay relaxed and go with the flow, it can feel like MAGIC!  Success is fun and easy all of a sudden!

So here’s one last point.  You don’t get to the 100% by being a control freak.  Or by trying real hard. Or by willpower.  YOU get there by relaxing, by trusting the other parts of YOU – Subconscious & Unconscious.  You get there by realizing these other parts of your mind ARE YOU, with your happiness & your best interest at heart.  You get there by kicking back, zoning out, and riding the mighty wave of you own whole brain power.  That’s right!  YOU are far greater than you’ve been lead to believe!  Far greater than you’ve even yet allowed yourself to become!

With a relaxed mind and body YOU, my friend, can tap into a 100% WIN this year and I can help you!!!   In this article and on links are several great MONEY SAVING offers to help you get started on the way to a GREAT NEW YEAR & an even greater NEW YOU!  Cash in!!

Click on the pic for more!

+ Click on the pic for more!

You can print out the certificate, or just mention the special when you call to book your appointment at:   Clear Mirror Healing in Newport News, VA.


Spring Detox Time is Here!

One of the best way to shed excess winter pounds and get healthy is good detox.  And the very best time to begin your detox is spring!  For more background on the how toxins = excess fat and why spring is the best time to rid your life of BOTH, please see my April 26, 2013 blog “Spring Cleaning!”   https://clearmirrorhealing.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/spring-cleaning/

Set yourself free from toxic emotions!

Set yourself free from toxic emotions!

Emotional Detox

Last year I told you about some of the basics of detox.  This year I’d like to dig a little deeper!  The benefits of detox are all over the magazines online and off these days.  But one thing you won’t read about in Women’s Health (April 2013, p. 96) or other mainstream sources is  emotional detox.

Some of the toxins your liver has to detoxify are emotions.  Emotions are real.  They are produced by chemicals released into the body to help produce different physical and mental responses.  The negative emotions such as anger, grief, frustration, and stress become toxic to our bodies after only a little time and must either be broken down (detoxified) by the liver or they must be stored in new fat cells.

Beets and other dark red veggies & fruits aid detox.

Beets and other dark red veggies & fruits aid detox.

So when you commit to a detox process, some of the toxins you will be removing are the chemicals of these emotions.  As the body breaks down the fat the chemical emotions are again released into the blood stream and sent to the liver for processing.  As they circulate, you will again feel the emotions.  Once again those chemical toxins will make you feel angry, blue, grumpy and frustrated. They may make you argue with your partner, children, or coworkers.  Believe me, they will make you want to STOP your detox and head for the nearest bar, or bag of chips!

The humble artichoke helps flush the toxins from your liver.

The humble artichoke helps flush the toxins from your liver.

But to really realize the benefits we must push on through with our commitment to a clean, toxin free body.  This is where I can help!  Hypnotherapy is one of the fastest and best ways to free oneself from big, negative emotions and let them go.  The process is fun and easy and you’ll feel fresh and light-as-a-feather after only ONE session.  More importantly, hypnotherapy lets you build in simple, effective, SUBCONSCIOUS ways to solve the problems that create stress, worry, anger and frustration all year long.

There are several important things to keep in mind when doing a detox. One is simply that an effective detox will ALWAYS have an emotionally cleansing component.  If detox doesn’t make you edgy – its not really working.  (sorry!)  Next is: when toxic emotions do arise, remember those emotions are coming OUT of you – NOT into you.  So, contrary to human nature, you want to avoid placing blame for your feelings outside yourself.  Its not your partner, children, or boss causing you to feel this way…and its NOT your detox coach!  It is simply part of the process of real toxin removal.  When you keep in mind that the feelings are from old wounds and they are passing through your system on their way OUT for good and all, they not only become easier to deal with, they become actual proof that your detox is working.

Green juice is your best bet for removing toxins.

Green juice is your best bet for removing toxins.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you can speed your way through the emotional detox by drinking more water and consuming more green foods (dark green leafy vegetables – including algae).  In other words – increase the detox to speed the toxic emotions on their way.  And you can make the emotional detox easier to handle by talking walks in the fresh air, listening to happy music, journaling (try my online journal/support forum and resource Facebook.com/Detox Club at CMH ) or watching a nice movie.

Last thing to keep in mind as a resource is the strategy of “taking a break”.  The fact is you CAN dive into a pack of chips or a tall brewski if it gets bad enough.  Take the dive and then get right back on the detox track the next day.  It is the daily consumptions of these toxins that contribute to the liver’s overload.  Not a one day indulgence.  If you have to detox by fits-and-starts its still a better detox than giving up on your goals.  Besides, toxic emotions actually represent a much more dangerous overload than a little junk food. Better you eat some junk every few days than that you stuff those negative emotions back into your belly – or the face of an innocent bystander!

Lovely hibiscus tea (found in CS's Red Zinger & Tazo's Passion) helps clean out toxins AND calm emotions.

Lovely hibiscus tea (found in CS’s Red Zinger & Tazo’s Passion) helps clean out toxins AND calm emotions.

Making it through the hardship of emotional detox may take all the resources you can muster.  But the benefits are well worth it.  So before you give up on yourself, please call me and book an appointment.  I am on your side!  I know how hard it can be.  I’m doing my own slow, grueling, detox right now.  And I rely on hypnosis to get me through too.

This year I’m offering a great discount on a Detox Kit.  The kit includes a personal hypnosis session to help you through the emotional part, hypnosis CD for use at home, coaching on the (tried and true) How To’s of the dietary detox process, and luxurious spa quality products for the physical detox.  You can find the deal on Groupon or you can get it by mentioning the deal when you book your appointment.  Either way, you’re going to find a deep effective detox will jump-start your Summer weight loss and give you a healthy new lease on life!

Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Happy New Year!

new year

The new year is a great time to set new goals and achieve new levels of health and wellness.  The big joke this time of year is how many people make a resolution that only lasts about a week.  Well, this is the year you can change all that!  Its true, habits and patterns are difficult to break by their very nature.  But its NOT because you are bad, wrong, or broken!  It’s only because we rely on our patterns and habits to get us through busy days.  The more complicated our lives become the more we must depend on our “auto pilot” mechanisms.

As a hypnotherapist with certifications in 4 different schools of hypnosis and therapy, I have realized that hypnosis is much much more than “tricks” to control the subconscious.  Hypnotherapy is applied psychology.  It is a method for understanding how the mind learns and applying the quickest, most lasting methods for learning new patterns and habits.  As a matter of fact there is no “controlling” the subconscious or unconscious mind, there are only best methods for communicating our needs and desires to what is essentially a second mind.

Your subconscious IS YOU!  As they say, two heads are always better than one.  This is only too true!  The other-than-conscious parts of your mind genuinely want YOUR best happiness and success.  In fact, they are working for you every day making your life easier.  One of the ways they make your life easier is to memorize your patterns and routines and run them for you like an autopilot so you don’t have to think so hard about the ordinary tasks of life.

Student Driving

Student Driving

One great example of your subconscious working for you is driving.  When we first learned to drive it was nearly overwhelming.  We had to remember which foot goes where, how to work the shift and when, keep our hands at 6 and 9, our eyes on the road and simultaneously on the rear and side view mirrors, all while scanning ahead, reading signs, monitoring our speed, and checking for dangers all at once.  No wonder we felt like shouting, “Shut up, I’m driving!” whenever anyone tried to talk to us.  Now, though, we get in the car and do all that and we feel…bored!  We turn on the radio, drink a cup of Joe, or (God forbid!) talk on the cell phone just to keep from falling asleep.

How can we do ALL of that?  Well, we can’t!  It is our subconscious mind that is driving the car for us.  Most people can recall a time when we got in the car at the end of a long day’s work and then found ourselves pulling into the driveway at home without any awareness of how we got there.  I’ve even heard stories of people who found themselves pulling up to the house they USED to live in after an autopilot drive like that.  Your subconscious has learned not only how to drive but also the route home!

That is a great example of how your subconscious mind works hard so you don’t have to.  It never gets easier to do the 10 tasks at once that driving a vehicle requires of us.  It only SEEMS easier because our best buddy, the subconscious, takes over the job for us as much as possible.  Whenever something new or different demands our conscious engagement the whole task is tossed back to the conscious mind.  So if a car suddenly pulls out in front of us, our conscious mind must engage.  Suddenly, we drop the cell phone, throw that coffee in the air and yell, “SHUT UP! IM DRIVING!” all over again.  See?  Its not easier, its just that our old reliable subconscious is hard at work so we can better contemplate the joys of life.

sleepwalking thru life

sleepwalking thru life

Now that you can appreciate what your subconscious does for you, maybe you’re beginning to like the idea of forming a REAL partnership with your “other self”?  Maybe you can also better appreciate how many tasks your subconscious takes over for you (You know you’re still asleep in the shower each morning.  Who do you THINK does the scrubbing and shaving for you?) and how easy it is to misunderstand WHICH habits you have decided to drop and WHICH you want to reinforce?  Those old “bad” habits that tend to repeat themselves are just like driving up to the house you moved out of months ago.  You’re subconscious is not sabotaging you, it has simply learned its job too well.  Now, that’s where hypnosis comes in.

Hypnosis is the easiest way to communicate clearly to the subconscious exactly what patterns should be changed and which should be repeated.  Otherwise, it gets confused.  Of course, the subconscious in all of us speaks a different language than the conscious mind and everyone’s subconscious language is unique.  A qualified hypnotherapist will need to be a good interpreter to custom translate your goals into the language your subconscious understands well.  A few sessions for fine tuning, and those old nasty habits are gone for good.

And its easy!  And its fun!  And all you really have to do is relax and let your subconscious mind do what it does best!  You can simply be the beneficiary of your ‘partner’ (subconscious You)’s  hard work and tenacity!  There’s no reason you cannot make your resolutions REAL lasting changes that make life better and happier.  And if you’re having trouble thinking of new patterns to replace the old ones – your subconscious is great at THAT job too! That’s what its there for.  Isn’t it time you took a load off and let someone else do the hard work for you?  Wouldn’t it be great if you had a partner to help you through all the tough parts of life?  And wouldn’t it be lovely if that partner was YOU and was as easily accessible as the air that you breathe?  Hypnotherapy makes all that real, tangible, and fun.

Get 'er done & have FUN!

Get ‘er done & have FUN!



Workplace Politics: Men Seeking Power and Control

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the kind of negative social pressures so many of us are faced with today as office politics are begun and perpetrated by persons lacking real personal power and self-control.  Two basic rules of human interaction that apply here are: 1.All bullies are cowards at heart  2. People who are controlling of others are in desperate need of self-control.  These two truths apply equally to both men and women.  The folks who seem to be exercising POWER over others in the office mayhem are in fact very small powerless people who seek external displays of power and control over others in order to offset their own feelings of true powerlessness, lack of control, and acute lack of courage to act in positive productive ways.

Sad but true, the word POWER has been twisted to mean its exact opposite in most folk’s mind.  True power is and has always been the personal power of wisdom and compassion.  It is manifested strictly as the drive to empower others.  Look around your office.  Those people who still dare to be kind, to genuinely care, and to support others, THOSE are your people of TRUE POWER.  No wonder they are the persons most frequently attacked, ridiculed, or taken advantage of.  True power has always infuriated the truly powerless.

Power struggles between men

Power struggles between men

As I’ve mentioned this applies equally to men and women, but the behavior of dis-empowered men is different from that of dis-empowered women.  Women tend to get manipulative, and often resort to using social leverage like the office grapevine to control others.  Men tend toward a more frontal and territorial attack.  Simply put men, more than women see their job as part of their actual identity & man hood. So any sense of threat makes the fight much more viscious, territorial and domineering. Physical confrontations may actually occur…or the perpetrators may go for the victims family, starting affairs with the victims wives or girlfriends. The victims may get repeatedly sent out of town on jobs as a way to hurt his family & his relationship with his partner. There will be physical battles over office space as territory: who gets the office and who gets the cubical? Who gets the windows? Who is left near the toilets? The battle may be psychological in terms of the loading-on of more work or more disagreeable assignments.

In the Man’s world there also exists another disturbing reality: The Victim whose wife or partner has gotten sucked into the office power-play and chooses to have that affair does so because of Her Man’s cowardice.  The male victim needs to realize that he has helped to create that situation because he communicated to wife – “I am powerless”.   Women are instinctively attracted to men of power more so than appearance. Handle it at work…do not bring it home.

Now, that does NOT mean you shouldn’t talk with your wife about the problem.  Just don’t KEEP talking about it without taking appropriate action.  And most importantly DO NOT bring your powerless feelings home and become domineering or controlling toward your woman or your children.  My man has actually seen wives flirting with their husband’s managers & even agreeing to meet “for coffee”in such situations.  Men, DO NOT ask or expect your wives to “fix” the problem for you – take action or find a new place to work.   If you value your wife/partner DO NOT put her in the position of observing your cowardice for long.  Even a very good-hearted loyal woman will become disenchanted and disengaged with you if you display this lack of personal power.


Taking action for men-on-men office politics is different from what I described last week regarding female bullies in the office.  To take action, a man can choose to empower another man by the “buddy” system too. The action is not verbal and most decidedly NOT to praise him or his work to a superior. (For the uninitiated that kind of “praise” is a method of diminishing and patronizing a man. DON’T go there!)  A certain show of solidarity can be created among men by parallel activities of teamwork.   This could be a shared beer and sports talk after work, or it could be actual collaboration on a project.  Just keep it real.  Men are highly sensitive to patronizing or “fixing” by others.  Just give the dis-empowered man in question the opportunity to display his real strengths and find some genuine sense of satisfaction.

Male bonding = male empowerment

Male bonding = male empowerment

The other man approved method is to confront the perpetrator with a tenacious display of self-empowerment.  Use your best judgment and stop short of any legal act of insubordination, guys.  But the bare truth here is many men like and respect a man who stands his own ground and returns force with force.  A man also has a pretty good chance of success using the corporate structure, where a woman usually doesn’t.  Go to your bully’s boss and insist on your rights after standing up to the bully in your best workplace appropriate way.

Shows of force = respect among men

Shows of force = respect among men

There, my men, is where solutions end.  If one of these male-approved actions does not bring your bullying boss back to his true power, its time to look for alternative employment.  Sad to say, but these workplace bullies are sometimes created by the corporate structure.  The bullying may be the

corporate approved method of management and could well be reinforced on up the chain of command.  Or your bullying boss may be feeling dis-empowered on the home-front.   If a man’s recent divorce or lack of success with women generally is what has dis-empowered him, a few opportunities for team-building or confrontation with other men (like those above) could help him find his power again.  If that doesn’t work and the chain-of-command won’t help put things right, you need to move on to a new workplace.

Cowboy Up and move on if you must!

Cowboy Up and move on if you must!

Switching jobs is NOT a cop-out, believe me!  Job hunting is an act of courage and empowerment in the best of times.  In these hard economic times, it is an act of fierce cowboy independence and manliness.  Next week, I’ll share my best strategies for biting that bullet!  Till then gather your courage from within by chanting “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” (see sgi-usa.org) and bolstering your TRUE power by reaching within yourself.

Man of power and honor: Jon Simmons, my personal hero & nephew. RIP beloved.

Man of power and honor: Jon Simmons, my personal hero & nephew. RIP beloved!

Keep the faith, Men! Keep YOUR power clean and REAL!


Workplace Politics: Disempowered Women

Hats off to caring people!

Hats off to caring people!

In my line of work I meet a lot of good-hearted, giving people in giving professions such as nurses, teachers, and military personnel.  I frequently see the same patterns of workplace politics.  These people are under tremendous amounts of stress from being attacked at work for doing the right thing.  They often report having workplace political machines leveraged against them.  I can name about 5 professional nurses who have faced formal reprimand or even lost their jobs for  “caring for patients too much”.  Really!

But no, you’re not amazed or even surprised, are you? You’re nodding your head sagely and maybe breathing a sigh of relief to know its not just happening to you, am I right?  If you’re being targeted at work to comply with an unspoken norm that says: cut corners, kiss ass and get promoted – then that’s your sign that YOU my friend are one of the good hearted, moral people of this world.  Its not your imagination, the world is going crazy.  But you DO NOT have to go there with them.

Fight the office politics machine!

Fight the office politics machine!

(If you are one of the people who WERE good hearted, open minded and moral but have recently rolled over to comply with the crazy social norms, consider this your wake up call. Pull yourself together and do what you know is right. You are NOT alone.)

The plain fact of the matter is people who use social leverage to bully and cajole others into doing what goes against the moral code are dis-empowered people.  In fact all bullies are cowards at heart.   I have seen this process at work in many developing countries and I’ve been able to put together some patterns and see a big picture and solutions that I’d like to share.

Friendships among women tend to be egalitarian. Most psychological analyses of females will tell you that woman value bonding and commonality with others.  No amount of personal achievement can satisfy a woman who has no friends or close heart-to-heart bonds.  Women’s bonding rituals tend toward finding common ground and leveling individual achievements to include the contributions of others.  This is why, when you open up and share some personal challenge with a female friend you are likely to hear her share a similar experience in reply.  Its a woman’s way of saying, “I’ve been where you are, Friend.  I feel you!”  Males are more likely to offer advise, or “fix.  Now that advise may certainly come from a place of understanding and compassion but the guy is unlikely to share his story like the gal would.

Living in developing countries and other societies where women were clearly second class citizens and they knew it, I found a quite different dynamic at work.  Friendships among women tended to be competitive.  In the beginning stages of friendship one woman would do something spiteful to put the other down.  If the second woman accepted the blow without retaliation the “friendship” would be established as a one-up, one down arrangement with the meanest woman in the up position.  If the second woman pushed back to re-establish her dignity, the first woman would make a gesture of subordination and allow the second woman to dominate.  Since I  accept neither domination nor subordination in my friendships, these patterns tended to repeat themselves until I would walk away from any possibility of friendship with that woman and instead keep her at a cool but friendly distance as a mere acquaintance.

When I have observed this dom-sub style relationship in my own country it has always been in cultural pockets or situations that  dis-empowered women.   Women who have met with some form of punishment for speaking their minds, displaying strengths and abilities outright, or taking charge of situations tend to drift toward manipulation of others and the “frienemy” arrangement I describe with other women.  In the workplace, they tend to use the gossip grapevine to punish, pressure and reward as a way of manipulating and controlling others.  Since coworkers are targeted one at a time they tend to feel alone and without support.  As long as the victims do not support one another each tends to capitulate one after another until the whole office is held hostage.


So what can be done?  What seems like an obvious first step is to reach out to others who want to do the right thing.  But that’s a tricky thing to do.  Reaching out and providing support is important but you cannot expect such efforts to be immediately rewarding nor can you expect those you support to be grateful and return the favor.  This is simply because the “Frienemy” machine is lying in wait for such attempts at moral team building and whomever you reach out to will likely be targeted for more grief simply for accepting your support.  You may also find that people you reach out to will be targeted for nasty gossip about YOU that will serve to feed their doubt and create suspicion that you may actually be the one running the machine.  You may need to establish yourself as a strong independent, upholder of right who cannot be swayed by social machines before your support of others will be met with success.

Still, its not that hard to dismantle social machines of the “dark side”.  Your best first step is to resist the natural urge to reach out with team support ONLY to the victims and instead reach out to the perpetrators.  That’s right!  These are PEOPLE we’re talking about and as I’ve said we now know they are feeling dis-empowered.  They still have powerful potential as friends and allies.   The other thing to realize is that they are NOT actually getting the results they crave, they are simply employing a old default mechanism out of desperation, fear, and the need to feel some small measure of control in their out-of-control lives.     They NEED your help even if they think you are the opposition.

The best and most efficient place to start is to figure out who is at the top of this evil machine.  I’ve done that for you: its probably the boss’s secretary.  I’ll explain why this is likely in my next blog, but for now this a a good person to start with.  You can get chummy with the boss’s assistant or you can befriend her closest friends and allies.  The thing to keep firmly in mind is that you must create REAL friendship bonds, not the frienemy kind already at work.  You don’t have to pretend to like unlikable people you just have to give them the opportunity to be their true decent selves.  Take a page from Dale Carnagie (How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplehttp://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671723650) or David Leiberman (How to Get Anyone to do Anything and never feel powerless again. http://www.amazon.com/Anyone-Anything-Never-Powerless-Again/dp/B002HJ3JK0 ) and ask for a small favor.  Borrowing a pen is an easy low risk way to create a situation that endears you to another person.  Then when you thank your new friend, be genuine, appreciative but not fawning.

Next time ask for a slightly more personal favor and ask in a somewhat conspiratory way.  Let’s say you ask this person to tuck in a tag on the back of your blouse or get her to give you fashion advise. (“Do you think these boots would go well with my black skirt?”, pointing to a catalog picture.)  The personal nature of the favor sets you up as chums and by asking for a favor you have appealed to their desire to be in charge.  Now, you have cleared the way to do a favor for her.

Make your favor a REAL one – stand up to support her when she’s being bullied by her boss.  This is easier to do than you think.  Everyone needs support at some time or other so make it as natural and subtle a gesture as possible. Maybe you’ve noticed she frequently has to work through her lunch break.  If so, go ask her boss nicely one day if you can take his right hand gal out to lunch.  Then, ask her.  Or if her boss is the type who criticizes her openly, offer verbal  praise some work she’s done in front of the boss. If its reasonable, get him to agree with you.  This sort of workplace friendliness can be genuine and sincere without having to be best buds outside the office environment.

But let’s say the big boss is not a bully.  Then you probably have a situation where the top dog does not earn the respect of his subordinates and so his assistant has stepped in with manipulation and social leverage to fill that void.  The secretary is manipulating her boss.  So then you can direct your inroads to true friendship at the boss too.  Reinforce his appropriate actions with recognition.  Support his efforts to keep peace and fairness in the organization.  Still, remember to focus efforts on the perpetrators of the gossip mill, as well.  When they become true allies of fairness and moral behavior you will have done something powerful indeed.

Make a difference right where you are, every day!

Make a difference right where you are, every day!

Lastly, and most importantly, be ever vigilant about your own attitude and behavior.  It naturally makes us all defensive to feel under attack by an invisible organization.  But you are NOT alone.  You are NOT powerless.  You are powerful beyond measure whenever you choose to stand up to injustice, to reach out to empower others, and to keep your own hear pure and on the right path.  Seek out other people who stand up for whats right.  Seek out uplifting, inspiring environments. Seek out your own inner wisdom and compassion.  There is not better way to do this than chanting “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” (see sgi-usa.org).  It is a simple, personal practice for tapping into your own Buddha nature, or in other, equally valid words, the God nature that lies within each of us.  Your chanting, your heart, and your wisdom, will wake up others in your environment even if you say nothing.  But it will also help you find the words and the courage to continue saying and doing the RIGHT thing, even in these crazy times.

Keep the faith, My Friends!