Archive for the 'Mental Environment' Category

Motivational Monday: The Glad Game

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. -Confucius

I’m trying really hard with this one today. It seems that people are more inclined to remember injuries and to be honest, I’m one of them. Learning to let go of personal injuries to the emotions is a hard lesson, but not impossible. Lately I’ve been playing the ‘glad game’. Remember PollyAnna? If you’ve never read that book, take a chance and read it.

The ‘glad game’ is taking the time to think of ways to be glad over everything that happens to you. The harder it is, the better it is for your soul. For example…you didn’t get the promotion you wanted or a job you wanted didn’t come through. Well, perhaps you can be glad that you don’t have to spend the extra time on the job and you can spend it with your loved ones instead. Maybe you need eyeglasses, but you can be glad you are not blind, and so on.

The Glad Game is hard, but easier than living with constant regret.

Posted in Conflict and Anger, Character Development, Mental Environment, Stress Management | No Comments »

Motivational Monday

“Be who you are and say what you mean because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” - Dr. Seuss

A Daisy Doesn't Pretend To Be A Rose

I love this quote. No matter who you are, you should live by this rule and teach your children to do so as well. Low self esteem not only comes from bullying, but from the fear of allowing others to see who you truly are. Be honest, be direct, and never hide the real you.

The kids are making a new start right now, why shouldn’t mom and dad? Don’t let resolutions and goals to make changes come only at the beginning of the year. Little changes add up over time, especially those that can help boost confidence.

Why not choose a new quote to jot down on a small piece of paper once a week and try to live by it the best you can? When you’re feeling low or just need to have a little reminder, pull it out of your pocket and read it. Read the quote out loud if you want. Use it in conversation.

And don’t stop with quotes from famous or historic people, come up with your own. Who knows, you may end up with a quaint little coffee table book of inspirational sayings you have written!

From now on, let’s start the week off with a quote. Feel free to email me suggestions!

Posted in Character Development, Daily Living, Faith, Mental Environment, Stress Management | No Comments »

The Sports Fanatic

I grew up playing sports and loving sports as a child. I even played football and water polo throughout high school — winning the state championship in water polo my senior year. As a boy, I was greatly influenced by my social environment to not only love sports, but to also worship them. I worshiped them through clothes, conversation and the way I spent my leisure time.

Sports always seemed to be like the weather — it was something that anyone could talk about at anytime. It also let the other person know that you’re okay — a regular, normal person.

Like most Americans, I spent my weekends in front of the TV watching football, got excited as the Super Bowl approached and was depressed when the season was over. I found, like I did with video games, that I wasted a huge amount of my time watching and talking about it.

As I got older (during my mid-twenties) I started to have aspirations for more meaningful things — writing, starting new businesses, psychology, etc… As my pursuits were juxtaposed to sports, it soon became clear just how completely meaningless professional sports were/are. I began to ween myself off of sports — avoiding games on TV, checking scores on the Internet and conversations about sports.

Removing professional sports from my life allowed me to spend more time with my family, read more and focus on the things that I wanted to accomplish in life. It also made me stand out socially — not something I was going for, but it was unavoidable. When people would strike up conversations with me about an athlete or a big game, I would have no idea what they were talking about. I tried to act like I had some clue of what they were talking about, just to avoid the awkwardness, but once they figure out that I was clueless, they generally gave me an emasculated response. It wasn’t with their words, but more with their facial expressions. It was usually an “are you a real man?” look.

I say all of this, because a recent article about a woman inducing birth early so her husband could go to a football game absolutely perplexed me. For me, I see a man who has devoted his time, money and energy into loving something that’s absolutely meaningless — an NFL team. The NFL is a giant commercial outfit designed to solely make money. It’s the antithesis of intellectualism and attaches itself to the tribal mentality of human beings — belonging to something and conquering all others. The problem is that like most things, it’s make believe. What happens after someone wins the Super Bowl or any other game for that matter? Nothing. At its best, it’s a distraction (which we all need to some extent). But to make it as important as things that have meaning, like a new baby and the health of your wife, is shamefully pathetic and off balance.

I’m not anti-sports. It doesn’t mind me that people are interested in sports and spend time watching and attending games. However, like anything that’s ultimately meaningless, it should never take precedence or equal importance to the things that truly matter in life.

Posted in Lifestyles, Relationships, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Pop Goes the Weasle


Sigh… Sigh… Sigh….

Maggie’s down for a nap.  The cat’s down for a nap.  The dog is banging on the back door.  John is at the studio.  This is my first chance to sit down and get some writing done today.  I think I am having something moderately similar to a train wreck - the list of things to do is overwhelming!  But then, I stop and think - wait, what is it that I have to do?  The list is actually very short.  But there’s this thing.  This thing that is constantly on my mind.  Like a nagging faucet drip.. drip.. dripping… It’s the Christmas shopping.  The Christmas shopping is making me feel like I have a mountain to climb.  The fact that all (ok. three) my friends are done (yes. done!) and I have not even started, is starting to make me feel like Christmas is tomorrow.

Did I mention that we are buying my son a piano for Christmas?  Do you realize the amount of planning and organizing it takes to orchestrate a piano magically appearing on Christmas morning.  Combine this with the fact that I have zero skills in the planning and organizing department and - kaZow - my head starts to feel like it’s going to pop off.  We’ve got the spot in the house picked out - it’s gonna look killer on the wooden floors right next to the antique fire place. BUT. How do I get it there in those magic hours between Christmas eve and Christmas morning?!?!?  DAMN those elves for only being imaginary!  Damn them!!

These are the times in my life that I envy (dare I say… loathe) those smarty pant organizer people… You know the ones.. The ones who wear watches and set alarms and know how to have all their Christmas shopping done before the 20th of December AND have everything wrapped and all their Christmas cards mailed out (I don’t even HAVE Christmas cards yet!)….  Is it possible that I just was born to be this disfunctional?  I mean, maybe it is something so ingrained in me that I can’t shake it, right?  All my banker friends, and I do have them, are way ahead of the game - because that’s how they were born, right?  They like things to work as efficiently as they do in banks.  All my artist and musician friends, complete other end of the spectrum.. Hell. We have a hard time remembering it is even December half the time and then we end up walking around in a daze looking like electro-shock patients, wondering why strange men are making children sit on their laps and why everyone is wearing sweaters with trees and deer on them…   And, then, December 24th comes around and we are running our asses off at Target trying to buy everyone we have ever met a Christmas present but nothing is left in the store so we end up buying everyone laundry detergent, shaving cream and lotion claiming that we were trying to be “practical” with gifts this year.

So, with this knowledge all tucked in my brain, you would be right to say “hey, Lisa, why not get a head start!  It’s still early!  You can start today!”.  And to that, I have no other response other than -  I’ll see you at Target on the 24th.  You’ll find me in the lotion aisle.

Posted in Mental Environment | 1 Comment »

The Traffic in My Head

“You have to stop, mom. Really.”

These were my son’s exact words to me as I took him to school today.  Apparently, he is done with my trash talking the other drivers.

“I just can’t take it anymore.  You go on and on and on and I really can’t stand to listen to you be mean to the other people on the road.”

He’s six.

“You know, mom, they are just trying to get somewhere too.”

I slunk down in my seat. For shame.. For shame!!!

“Maybe you should just trying taking a deep breath and being patient.  But, please, just stop.  I don’t want to hear about it anymore.”

Did I mention that he is six?  God.  I suck.
Once I apologized and shook the embarrassing shame from my shoulders I realized that I do go on quite a bit about how much I hate Nashville drivers.  For some reason, when the light turns green people here do not move until 30seconds later.  And, when the speed limit is 45, they see fit to mosey at about 30mph seemingly hoping that the next light will turn red before they get to it.  They drive as if they have absolutely nowhere to be - and of course, 90% of the time it is because they are on their phone or eating a cheeseburger the size of their face with only their knee controlling the steering wheel.  oh oh oh.. AND don’t even get me started about how utterly disfunctional these people are when they are faced with a round-a-bout.. good lord.  You would think that they were being faced with the most difficult physics problem in the universe.  Idiots.  There is no other word for it.

And, I truly thought that these musings were being kept concelled in my head most of the time.  Apparently, though, I am spattering about it the entire time I am driving.  No wonder he is fed up.  It has got to be annoying - hell, it annoys me.  I’ll try to do a better job of keeping it to myself.  Or, maybe, I’ll do a better job of not caring and just try to “take a deep breath and go with it”.  I guess I’m lucky to have kids who keep me in check.  It’s never easy to hear, but - ultimately - he’s really right.  And I need to listen.

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Environment | 3 Comments »

“Mean Mommy…. Hate Mommy! Hate HER!”

Where my daughter learned the word “hate” I still can’t fathom.. I’m sure it came from me screaming about hating the ridiculous driver in front of me at some point in our day, but I don’t know if I am ready to admit that to myself.

Weren’t these supposed to be the tender years? Wasn’t my daughter supposed to love me unconditionally at least until she was thirteen? I mean, I know she loves me but I never thought my two year old would be screaming “hate” and “mean” at me.. Maybe my unruly teenager ten years from now - but never my sweet two year old.

Me: “Hey Mags, wanna have a snack?”

Mags: (happily and bubbly)”snack.. yes!”

Me: “How about some peanut butter crackers? That sounds kinda yummy, doesn’t it?”

Mags: (with the rage of Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas)
“NO!!!!! HATE peb-butter!! HATE MEAN crr-ckers!!!!!!!!!! HATE MOMMY!!!! HATE HER!!!!! HATE HER!!!!!”

And then she rallies around the house building up an army against me.

Mags: (to our dog Jackson) “jack-thon, YOU hate mommy TOOO!”

Mags: (to her My Little Pony doll) “Peeny, YOU hate mommy TOO!”

Mags: (to her brother) “Jo-thep, YOU hate mommy TOO!”

And it goes on and on and on.

For about the last two weeks this has been a typical scene peppered throughout our day. Yeah sure, we have good moments too but they are becoming fewer and far between than the “strong willed” moments. The girl has some serious rage issues……..

I know it will pass and I know it is just a phase and that she is testing boundries and blah blah blah.. It’s good for a little girl to be strong willed, right? It is good that she is displaying independence and strength, right? And if I am good mom I can cultivate this into a balanced human being who, in the future will be able to fend for herself. Knowing all that sure as hell doesn’t make it any easier to swallow at the moment.

Posted in Behavior Issues, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Autumn’s Arrival… and mine…

I can remember long hours sitting in my room, all alone, listening to album after album after album… From the age of six or seven until I was well into my adult years I was infatuated with music… I would wear out my parents old 45s.  I would try to capture the raspy click of each turn of the needle softly scratching its way across the vinyl onto a tape so that I could play it in the car on my way to guitar practice.  This was how I spent my childhood…  hours spent sitting on my daddy’s knee, oversized headphones on my head, blonde hair tucked underneath while goodbye yellow brick road played and my daddy explained to me why the piano was more powerful than a guitar in rock and roll.. every long drive there would be a quiz and a reward for who, between my brother and myself, could guess which beatle was singing.. it was the way my father raised us.. with all the creativity that the military managed to suppress in him, he never let his passion for good music go.  and he made sure that it was as much a part of our upbringing as brushing your teeth and making our beds everyday.. because, what’s the good of having clean teeth if you can’t sing a good rock and roll tune, right? 

Yet, somehow, with all the business of starting a family and finding jobs that paid us enough to eat, I put it aside, making room for sleep and work and all the other business of life.  too tired.. too busy.. too distracted.. Sure, music is always around.. Our radio is always on - something good is always available for the wanting ears.. My kids adore it.. But I stopped listening.. I didn’t feel a thing.. Until today.  I put Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on and, like a flash, it got me.  It got me like it used to get me.  The whole CD.. It just took over..  Watching my son in the backseat singing all the words helped - it got him too, it always gets him.  Am I making any sense here?  I guess what I am saying is, a part of me is waking up again.  Mabye it’s the beautiful autumn that is shaking me up.. This weather always stirs some madness in me that makes me feel fuller than I can handle some times..  But part of me that had to rest for a few years so that I could take care of some serious stuff is tired of sitting on the sidelines.  I’m back.  Me.  I’m finally back….. whew..

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Environment, Healthy Living | No Comments »

354 Days

That’s how long I have until the terrible twos are officially over.  Pray that they end sooner than that because, I really don’t know if we’ll make it.

I did have some relief yesterday after our horrifying excursion to the Green Hills Mall.  My mom is visiting and she likes to shop.  A lot. For those of you non-Nashvillians, let me just sum up the Green Hills Mall by saying it is the complete antithesis of Wal-Mart and has the exact adverse reaction on me. The sheer smell of the wealthy, botox injected freaks makes me undeniably nervous and grumpy.  Some days I can enjoy it for all that it is and isn’t - some days I am mature enough to consider it all as good material for the art that I will one day make again.  Yesterday, though, was not one of those days.  Apparently, it was Uberbitch day and my two year old was not welcomed.  Nor was I for that matter, but I have gotten used to that - I don’t look the green hills mall part and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t washed my hair that day.. A big no no.  It was just a ridiculously awful day and I wasn’t in the mood for anything even remotely challenging.

So, anyway, my relief came when we arrived home and my mom pulled out The Little Mermaid that she had bought my daughter the night before at Target (did I mention that she like to shop?).  Much to my chagrin (I have a thing with the Disney princesses.. I’d kick all of their whiney, drippy, overly accentuated asses if only given the chance) - my daughter was thrilled.  But it didn’t last long.. no no no.. It didn’t last long.  Within ten minutes she was begging (begging!) me to take it off saying “hate mrrrmaid.. hate mrrrmaid!”.  I still can’t figure out what upset her about it, but all she had to do was ask once.  My grin was ear to ear the rest of the night.  Of course, my mom was miffed.  She can’t understand why I can’t just let the kids have all the candy and television/movies that they want.  She thinks I am slighting them because I want them to think a little higher up the food chain than I was taught to.  Poo, I say.  She hates Ariel, all on her own!  I had nothing to do with that.  Of course, she writes it off to early brainwashing - basically, I may as well have removed her uterus as far as my mom is concerned.  GASP! What kind of girl doesn’t adore the Disney Princesses?  Mine.  mine mine mine….

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Here We Go Again…

So, those of you on the edge of your seat wondering when and if we are going to finally get a TV - your time has come!  But we are entirely hiding it from the kids.  Does this make me a bad person?  Really, it is all Lost’s fault.  I’m grotesquely obssessed unlike any other series since The Monkees.  It’s no joke.

This weeked I will venture out to Circuit City and other places of fine technological gadgetry and purchase a TV.  Then I will venture out to various furniture shops and antique shops to purchase a peice of furniture that will cleverly disguise my initial purchase from earlier that day.  The cable man should be here sometime around noonish on Tuesday so that I can be set to go Wednesday night, 8pm.  I don’t know that I have looked forward to anything so much in quite sometime. 

Thus ends the life long debate - To TV or not to TV.  I guess I’m a sellout but, it’s for a good cause - which would be my sanity.  Having that one night a week where I allow myself to get sucked into another world might just be the tonic I need to let go of some stress, lighten up and remember how to chill out. 

Posted in TV and Pop Culture, Daily Living, Mental Environment, Technology | 1 Comment »

France Can Wait…

My mom comes into town next week.  I am thrilled by this, of course.  But, like most mothers and daughters, we have a, well, sort of unbalanced relationship.  We are best friends with complicated insights about one another.  Let’s face it, your other best friends never wiped your butt or saw you pick your nose AND your other best friends never came right out and said you were screwing up your life, even when you weren’t.  It’s not bad or good, it’s just complicated.  We can get under each other’s skin unlike anyone else, sometimes. 

My mom’s side of the family is notorious for showing love by, how can I put this nicely, being mean spirited assholes to each other.  My mom and my aunt have moved away from this type of behaviour but, essentially, it is a free for all at family reunions.  If someone has a soft spot, you can bet your last dime that it will be laid out and peed upon before the day is through.  Making fun of each other is what they do.  We’ve all gotten used to it and try our best not to retaliate. 

And, even though my mom has steered away from this terrible family tradition, she still manages to pull out some aces on me when we are together.  Currently, she finds it riotous to call me a yuppie.  I can’t recall I have ever heard her laugh as hard as when I told her I was folding laundry and then I was going to playgroup later that day. “Ooooooh, looks who’s the minivan driving yuppie!  Who would have THOUGHT!”… Yeah.  So, I take a deep breath.  “Mom, it’s not a minivan, it’s a crossover SUV/wagon - there’s a difference.”

My identity is something I am very protective of.  Not my “image” or my “style” - don’t get those things confused.  I have clung to my indentity since I can remember.  My ideals, my strengths, my opinions, my art, books that I love, people that I care about, places I have been - all of these things have created who I am, obviously.  And, I will admit, I had great diffuculty finding my way once I became a mother and, even more so, when I became a stay-at-home one.  But, I feel that - despite the suv/wagon crossover and the fact that I drive through starbucks occassionally and the fact that I only get to work in the studio once a week - I have stayed my course and can honestly say that I am becoming a better person and, yes, a good mother and wife.  I understand that the me of ten years ago would likely wage a protest if she ever heard the me of now say that it was important to be a good wife and mother.  BUT, the me of ten years ago had never met the wonderful people that are my husband and kids, so how could she have known how important it would be? 

So, why should it bother me when my mom prattles on about - “oh, lisa, remember - you were supposed to be living in France right now being an eccentric artist!  Ooooh, how the times have changed!!!”.  Why does it bother me?  It just does.  I guess because I want my family to understand that, sure, I mourn those things.  I feel sad, daily, about the youth that I didn’t have because I had a baby at 21 years old rather than to give it away (or worse). I guess I want to know that at least she thinks I have worked it all out the right way.  And, maybe the chortling is her weird, backwards way of giving it to me.  Hell, I don’t know.  I just know that France isn’t as important as it used to be - but it will be again one day.  And, making a political and philosophical arguement out of everything isn’t something I have to do anymore, not because I’ve gone soft-yuppie, but because I live it rather than talk about it. 

So, I guess I’ll take this as an opportunity to let her in to my world a little bit more.  I know we will have a blast.  And, I know that she really does approve of my life - more so than anyone else.  Maybe I can find a funny thread in her jokey-jokes.  We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.. I know she means no harm.. I guess it’s just my achilles heel.  Damn it, I guess this means I have to do more growing and finding my own confidence and crap like that.  Why can’t it be some one else’s turn to learn a lesson for a change???

Posted in Parenting, Communication, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

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