Monday, December 28, 2009

The Not-so-Fine Print
...... it can be a source of temper

Lots of information for us to tap into out there – especially via the Internet. And although it’s information, it may not be true knowledge.

Some items are hopeful, more are fear producing – and there are ‘key words’ to help you decide how to interpret more accurately.

The problem (and I’m not sure if that’s really what I want to call it) – the problem is some people, far too many people, take what they read as the gospel truth – even when the information includes the speculative words right up front.

‘Fine print’ refers to information which has to be read ‘carefully’, in order to decipher and interpret the correct, precise meaning. What I’m talking about with not-so-fine print are words which people often skip over. As a result, they believe what they read to be totally ‘true’.

How germs may help your heart

People who are more spiritual may be better able to deal with the pain and limitations of chronic disease.

Babies born to women who take antidepressants may be more likely to have health problems, but that doesn't mean stopping medication.

Brain scan may reveal risk for Alzheimer's disease

Could fat babies mean fat toddlers?

Mediterranean Diet May Fight Depression

…Training May Be Tied to Health Risks

Vaccine May Treat Cocaine Addiction

Autism May Be More Common Than Thought

Congress may consider fees, advice issues in retirement accounts

Post-traumatic stress may harm kids' brains

The study suggests…

Finance gap could wreck climate talks

…the arrangement of a mother's genes could impact whether her son is gay

Some children from poor families may be receiving powerful drugs not because they need them, but because…

…suggests that the ice cap may nearly vanish in the summer much sooner than the year 2030

A cup (or more) of coffee or tea a day could keep Type 2 diabetes away

Any activity that requires long periods of close-up work, such as reading, may change the shape of the eye.

New Danish study says looking young apparently means a longer life.

High Leptin Levels May Protect Against Dementia

Psychological Approaches May Have the Potential to Block Fearful Memories

Amyloid Imaging May Identify Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease

Impulsivity Measures May Help Flag Future Pathological Gamblers

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Be Effective for Elderly With Depression

Substance Abuse Medications May Offer Effective Treatment Option for Pathological Gamblers

A study suggests…

Let’s look at this one:

…a gradual increase in the gas tax may be inevitable to prop up the state's nearly depleted Transportation Trust Fund.

Lots of folks will take that as: “It IS going to happen – taxes are going to go up – again. Right away. Gas is going to be more expensive. The add: We’re already spending $150.00 per month on fuel for the cars. Where’s that extra money in our budget going to come from?”

My point is – these ‘may’s’ and ‘could’s’, the ‘suggests’ and ‘apparently’s’ – all too often generate a response of fear or anger.

So when you ‘skim over’ an article, and feel ANY bit of temper rising within you – please do check for the may’s and could’s. And if you find them – know that the opposite of what the author ‘said’ is also possible.

That little act will certainly help you stay more At Ease & In Control.
Do it for your mental health!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Wishes

My Best Wishes to each and every one of you to have a beautiful, good, average Holiday Season!!

....................Love & Blessings,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, December 21, 2009

It’s OK to Second-Guess

It’s OK to second-guess? I can hear the (shock) thoughts churning now: “Whaddya mean it’s OK to second guess? Every ‘expert’ tells us not to.

Well, let’s think about it realistically. You make a decision, and after it’s made, you review your decision. That could be considered second-guessing. That action could be called wise.

It’s not second-guessing that gets us in trouble. It’s 35th second-guess, the 74th, the 209th second-guess that keep us stressed. Or maybe we could call it Continuous Second Guessing which stresses us out, makes us cranky and crabby, and often down, disgruntled and depressed. All those extra guesses stem from one type of thought: “Did I make a mistake?” Maybe not in those exact words. The insecure thoughts could take the form of: “I should have…” or “I shouldn’t have…”

Second guessing is not something that happens outside of us. It involves thoughts – our own thoughts. Granted, someone may say something, or something may happen that triggers the fear (yes, it IS fear). There may even be a whole series of circumstances, yet – WE are the ones who keep the cycles going.
How? With our thoughts. Ahhh, and sometimes with our actions too. How so? By asking. Repeated asking. Asking your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, you best friend, someone you respect, and even someone you may not think too much of – if they agree or if they disagree with what you did (or didn’t do). In this case it’s muscular action + thoughts that keep the worked-up, worked up.

It’s talking it up = working it up in one of it’s finest form.
Where are you when you ask 12 people for their opinion, and 5 five are on ‘your side’ and the other 7 express some doubt or concern? Where are you? Still worked up. Even when you have a solid majority – maybe out of the 12 you come up with 8 yeas and 4 nays – it’s still possible to remain worry mode.

A solution?
a. Stop and think about what you’re thinking.
b. Watch your words. What you speak is what you’re thinking.
c. Excuse yourself. The decision you made ‘was’ – that’s the past – the past is outer environment.
c. Know that whatever decision you’ve made, there are still other choices you have access to.

The fact is: All of Life IS a series of choices and decisions.
And one of those choices is:
Will I be at ease & in control, or worked-up?

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why??? Why??? Why???
…………..Am I Thinking This Way?

Probably one of THE GREATEST truths I learned through the Method is this:
We are not responsible for the thoughts that come into our minds, but we can accept, reject or change those thoughts.

How freeing that was to me. ALL those insecure, oddball, sometimes scary thoughts I had were NOT because I was bad, terrible, crazy, mad, or losing my mind. I did not have to be ‘wrong’ for having the thought in the first place. WOW, I was ‘not wrong’, I was ‘average’. What a relief!!

Thoughts come. From where? I have no idea ‘where’ they come from. Maybe someday science will give us ‘the’ answer.

The second vital and essential piece of information is:
We can accept thought(s). We can reject thought(s).
We can change our thought(s).

In other words: We’re not responsible for them ‘coming’.
We ARE responsible for them ‘staying’ and ‘multiplying’.

That’s the method:
a. Deliberately STOP and think about what you’re thinking
b. Deliberately IDENTIFY the insecure/unrealistic thoughts
c. Deliberately REPLACE those thoughts with healthier ones - - over, and over, and over again if need be. Throw out one thought by replacing it with another does not necessarily work when the process is only done once. Especially when you’re a rookie. Deliberate, consistent, conscious effort is required.

Somewhere else, I’ve seen the statement:
Don’t believe everything you think.
That means Choice. It’s either “I choose to believe this thought”, or “I choose to not believe this thought.”

When you’re feeling good, it’s a sign that you’re thinking good.
If you’re not feeling good, it’s a Chance To Practice – another chance to practice.
As long as we’re thinking, there will always, always, always be opportunities. That’s Life.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fear is Fear is Fear

Call it apprehension or worry or concern or feeling uneasy – it’s FEAR.
It’s an insecure thought that ‘something’ bad or unpleasant is going to happen.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about or related to a physical condition or an emotional symptom. Some people have the idea that if it’s related to a ‘real’ physical difficulty or diagnosis, they can’t or shouldn’t use mental fitness tools to dissipate the fear.

I disagree. ALL fear – can be lessened, diminished, reduced. Fear is fear is fear. Worry is thoughts – a bunch of them. Thoughts are mental activity.

I have a wonderful friend who had a hip replacement a few years ago. Recently he fell off the lower second rung of a ladder. In the process, his foot got caught and the fall caused his hip joint to ‘pop out’ causing considerable pain and a trip to the hospital. (this is the second time his bionic part has done that) Now, with a deep wrinkle on his forehead, he admits to being ‘overly’ cautious – that is – thinking about, worrying about whether it ‘might’ happen again.

That’s the key word – ‘Might’.
Might is a ‘what if’ and the topic of ‘what if’s’ is typically some kind of danger. Most people don’t think: “What if it NEVER happens again”. They think: “What if it DOES happen again.”

Yes, it’s a realistic concern. BUT, not one that ‘should’ consume an otherwise well-adjusted, happy person’s mind. The solution? As always – changing thoughts.

What comes to mind is possibilities and probabilities. Is it possible? Of course – everything is possible. Is it probable? Is it likely to happen again? Not in the same manner, if he stays off ladders.

Is a third occurrence more likely because a second one took place? Perhaps. The medical community has figures and statistics, which state that the likelihood ‘could’ increase – but maybe not. MAYBE NOT! That ‘maybe not’ is a secure thought. Maybe, just maybe, the healing that takes place now will create an even stronger connection for the natural tissue with the artificial device. That IS a possibility too.

Right now the condition of his hip may be distressing, but it’s not dangerous. It’s fixed. It’s back in place. I know, I know, someone out there is saying: “BUT, it could be dangerous.” So ‘could’ sitting on that chair you’re parked on right now. It ‘could’ fall apart, or you ‘could’ slide off it and hit the floor.

The point is (and this goes for any physical condition): do what the doctors recommend, and DO catch yourself when you’re worrying. Make it a point to stop and think about what you’re thinking, and change your thoughts. If the worry continues, continue changing your thoughts to more realistic and secure thoughts. Be persistent. Be consistent.

Fear thoughts produce the ‘feeling’ of fear, and secure thoughts reduce and eliminate fear.

As many of us well know, fear thoughts cause emotional pain. And, a mind filled with fear – distracted with fear – is more likely to cause/contribute to an accidental fall. Plus, fearful thoughts thought day after day, night after night lead to depression.

On the Fear Scale – Realistic, rational, average caution is several notches below fear.

How can you tell of you’re being simply cautious or overly cautious?? That’s a very individual & personal verdict. Only you can gauge that. Ask yourself: How tense do I feel? The answer will tell you of the fear thoughts are outnumbering the secure/realistic ones.

Mind and body are connected. Our bodies do let us know what’s going on in our minds. They do let us know when we’ve over-indulged in fear thoughts.

~ ~ ~ ~

In the words of Leo Buscaglia:
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,

............ it only saps today of its joy.”

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, December 14, 2009

Poor Mondays – they get a pretty bad rap

How many times have you heard people ‘slamming’ Mondays?
“I’m doing ok (pause) for a Monday.” (spoken in a depressed tone of voice)
or, “I hate Mondays!!” (with a tight, serious facial expression)

Ouch – that ‘HATE’ is a pretty strong word.
WOW. Talk about temper!

Monday is a day – that’s all. Every 7 days it’s Monday again. There are 52 (give or take) Mondays per year

Just because a lot of people express their strong dislike of Mondays – does that really mean we all have to jump in and agree?
The whole thing may have started out as some humor in the cartoons, and now it’s like a world-wide syndrome.

For some people ‘hating Mondays’ actually makes them cranky, crabby, grumpy & sad on Sunday because they know Monday is fast approaching.
Is that any way to live?? Spending Sunday, dreading Monday?? What a waste.

Think about it: hate for Mondays is temper. Temper causes tension, tension causes symptoms. Is it worth it? You already know my answer to that one!

Soooooooo, I vote we put a good/pleasant adjective in front of each day of the week. Actually I’ve already done this for a few years. The tellers at the bank I go to already know the routine, and they are quick to tell me what day it is, complete with the positive, cheery prefix.

Marvelous Monday
Terrific Tuesday
Wonderful Wednesday
Tremendous Thursday
Fabulous (or Fantastic) Friday)
Super Saturday
Splendid Sunday

What we choose to label something DOES make a difference in how we feel about it (in other words, how we judge it).

Plus, those pleasant labels make for smiles, instead of frowns. They add joy, instead of grumbling. And that’s good for everyone’s mental health.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Tip on Time

Tis the season for Holiday gatherings – and with that comes being somewhere at a particular time.
Some people like to get to where they’re going on the early side. To others arrival time doesn’t matter all that much. Often, the question comes up: “How early is too early?” The topic of when to leave, how much travel time to allow for can even spur vocal differences of opinion – disagreements and stress.

The realistic fact is: you only have 60-second window to get anywhere ‘precisely’ on time.
Sixty seconds. One minute. That’s all.
If you have to get somewhere at 5:00 – it’s only ‘exactly’ 5:00 for 60 seconds – then it’s 5:01.

Whatever time you’re expected (whether it's you or someone else who set the expectation), odds are you’re going to get there before, or after. Possible you’ll be there at the specific time – but probably you won’t be. So take the pressure off yourself.

What’s more important, the time you get there, or the mood you’re in when you get there?

So, make it what it is: No Big Deal. Trivial. Not at all worth getting upset over.
After all – the goal IS to be At Ease & In Control – and you CAN achieve it.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“I Forgot” or…

What’s the typical/average response to “I forgot to ____”?

You’re right, it’s usually a insecure reaction (thought), that throws us immediately into self-blame – which is another thought – a fear/judgement thought – “I’m wrong!”
That’s the habit pattern (thought pattern). You can even see this very reaction with a young child – let’s say a six-year old who forgot one item of homework.

Now let’s look at the truth – the realistic viewpoint. And a viewpoint is a thought – a thought that CAN be changed.
Yes, whatever ‘it’ was may have been forgotten, but now, in the present moment, you have remembered.

Instead of that blame reaction “I forgot”, we could be celebrating the fact that we remembered.

Immediate Insecure interpretation (thought): “I forgot”
changed to
Secure thought: “Hey, I just remembered!!”

Even though they’re average, we DON’T have to live with our first responses.

We have the freedom and the ability to consciously change our thoughts.


© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Remove the Blinders

Pretend you have the word FEAR written in big letters on the palm of your right hand, and the word ANGER written on the palm of your left hand.
Now, with your eyes open, bring both hands up towards your face and cover your eyes.
What do you see?? Maybe a little light peeking in around the edges? Not much else.

Now that you’ve read the instructions – try it. There’s a lot more impact in doing the exercise, rather than simply reading about it.

In the dark - that’s where we’re stuck when we’re in a vicious cycle of temper – with very little or no insight.
That’s what fear and/or anger do – cause a condition which we could call temporary blindness. Not vision or eyesight blindness, but mental-emotional ‘loss of sight’.

We don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to do it. If we stay in that state long enough (hours or days) we can easily slip down into:
I can’t, I just can’t…
I’ll never be able to…
I’m a mess
I’m confused
Life is horrible
I’m depressed
I’ll never be well enough to function (at a job, as a parent, etc.)
I can’t see how this is ever going to work out
I’m a failure

......and on, and on, and on.

And just what is insight? Inspiration. Ideas. New/different/healthier interpretations (all of which by the way are thoughts).

Ideas come when the mind is clear – or at least semi-clear.

The Solution? Release the judgment that either you, or someone else, or something else is wrong. You probably won’t get immediate results, but the fresher, new & improved thoughts will begin to flow.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, December 5, 2009

When Your Mind Seems to Have
a Mind of Its Own

STOPPING the Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah,
Blah, Blah, Blah...

The other night I made the ‘mistake’ of reading a news article online about an hour before I went to bed. Yes, In my mind it was a mistake, because I know better (for me).

Typically I’m pretty selective about what I read. I’ve found that it’s just much, much easier to not plant something in my mind in the first place, than to try to get rid of it later. With that said, in case you’re wondering, I do not watch TV news, because I don’t own a television. That’s not exceptional. For me there’s just not a lot of content that interests me. It’s not any more exceptional than not having chocolate ice cream in the freezer, when you don’t eat chocolate ice cream.

Back to the topic: The article I read was about a murder in my former home town. The details were not particularly grisly, but there was enough there to ‘paint a picture’ in my mind, in other words – to ‘deposit’ thoughts in my mind. And even though I did other things before I went to bed, when I was trying to fall asleep, BING, BING – here came the thoughts about what I read. They were really more bothersome than upsetting. Nevertheless I didn’t fall asleep as quickly as I normally do.

I am so grateful for learning about objectivity from the Method – doing something with focused concentration. To say I used that technique a lot way back when I was feeling panicky is an understatement. It’s good. It works – like a charm.

There are lots of relaxation/quiet-the-mind practices that call for counting backwards from 10 to 1, or 50 to 1, or 100 to 1. The idea for the procedure I’m going to describe here I invented for myself when I was learning to meditate. With that said, I will add that I have passed it along to others who use it strictly as a mental health tool – and successfully to.

Ready? With this process, you don’t count backwards with numbers-numerals, you do it by spelling the words. It takes a whole lot more focus and concentration. And, you don’t say the word before you spell it. So it’s not speaking or thinking ten – t e n. It’s t e n, then n i n e, etc.

Here goes:
t e n
n i n e
e i g h t
s e v e n
s i x
f i v e
f o u r
t h r e e
t w o
o n e
z e r o

If you want to get fancy, you can also picture the letters as you think them and then “see” them or the entire word in your mind’s eye. Sort of how it would look if you were printing them on a blackboard or whiteboard.
Notice the sample? All the letters are lower case. That’s how I “see” mine. All uppercase, or a mixture is fine too. Whatever you want. You are the creator, the graphic designer. More elements: What color are your letters? What color is the background?

The more detail you add, the more your mind has to work on what you are directing it to do – keeping it busy with NO time for unwanted thoughts to slide back in. Any thoughts that do try to come back are stopped by an imaginary (maybe not-so-imaginary) ‘busy signal’, a ‘no admittance’ sign, an error message… Like the recorded message you get when you call your internet connection provider because you can’t access email or anything else and voice says: “All circuits are busy. Please try again later.”

So is my stop-the-thoughts method tedious? Yes, you could say so. Effective? You bet. And, it can have an element of fun too, if you move your lip and cheek muscles into a smile when you begin doing it, plus label it a mind ‘game’.

Why go to all that trouble?
Me? I do it for my mental health.
Actually getting quiet, being still, benefits my mind, body and spirit.
ALL of me wins!!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What’s the Difference between Angry Temper and Angry Thoughts?

Note: From time to time I’ll do a Q & A post. This question happened to come from an RI Group Leader – someone asked them, they in turn asked me. My thinking is, if one person wants some clarification, others most probably do too.

So, what is the difference between Angry Temper and Angry Thoughts?
The way I understand it – Nothing.

Angry Temper – the judgment that someone else or something else is wrong is a thought – a temper thought. The expression of anger may be outward – BUT before it’s an action, it’s a thought. We think before we speak. That’s how it works. We think thoughts, before they come out of our mouths.

Granted, in some cases the words come out with lightning speed, and it seems as though we speak before we think. Think about it: If we didn’t have thoughts first, there would be no words. As humans, that’s how we’re wired.

Anger is anger, whether it’s spoken or thought. And, at times there are no spoken words, but acts. Walking away ‘in a huff’ is an angry gesture, so is slamming a car door, so is sulking, so is scowling (you know what I mean – it’s that face thing that sends a snarly message).

Out-rage is pretty easy to recognize. In-rage (I know, I know the correct spelling is enrage, yet “In-rage” points to where the anger originates – inside our minds).

In-rage is having angry-judgmental thoughts. “Somebody else is wrong.” Out-rage is the resulting action that can occur.

Racing, angry thoughts are not always volatile – as in you’re really, really, really, really mad. Although that kind is easy to recognize when you’re having them.
The judgmental, ‘he’s wrong/she’s wrong thoughts’ can be more subtle – and I’d say most of the time they are. So are they less harmful? Well, in a sense they may be. But if several irritations, frustrations and disappointments come up, let’s say in a 12-hour day, and they’re not taken care of (not consciously excused) that’s where feeling overwhelmed comes from. Number 10 triviality get stacked on top of Number 9, on top of Number 8, on top of Number 7, etc.

Think about it: At that point you’re ‘feeling’ the tension from 10 prior events/responses, not just one. Of course it’s going to make you feel swamped, irritable, cranky, crabby, not at-ease and maybe even tired too.

That’s why I find it so important to use the guideline of trying to handle each triviality/each response of even the slightest temper/judgment as soon as it happens.

The fact is: Temper causes tension, tension causes symptoms.
It’s a whole lot easier to work down an original response when you feel the tension – BEFORE the tension grows into symptoms.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So what’s The Big Deal about Gratitude??

Well, it’s an activity of changing the focus from what we don’t have, to what we do have.

Tis the season… The holidays in general, and holiday shopping time can be a time for the “What-we-don’t-haves” to come to the surface. Behind those “What-we-don’t-have” thoughts are fear, concern, worry as in: I don’t have enough, and other thoughts – which can quickly escalate to: I am not enough. And anger, resentment, envy, jealousy too as in: “They” have so much more than I do – and a few thoughts later spiral into thinking ‘who’ is at fault for our present circumstances, It’s just not fair, and more (more temper).

In order to change our focus – we need to our change thoughts.
Can’t feel grateful, if we don’t think grateful thoughts. Besides, thinking of what we do have right now– is good practice in thinking realistic thoughts.

My personal preference is to write a gratitude list. For me the act of writing is more meaningful than simply thinking about what I’m grateful for.
When we write – we’re thinking the thought, writing the thought, seeing the thought on paper, and reading it too as we’re writing. Lot’s of physical senses involved. It takes some effort & concentration.

For several years I wrote the standard: I am grateful for _______.
Now sometimes I add some variety.

There are lots and lots of ways to express gratitude.

I appreciate ______.

I’m so fortunate to ______.

I’m lucky to be/have ______.

I’m so very glad to ______.

WOW, I really appreciate ______.

I am thankful for ______.

I’m so lucky to have _____.

I’m so happy to ______.

I’m so pleased to ______.

I really value ______.

I am sooooooooooo grateful for ______.

I’m really happy about ______.

I am profoundly grateful for ______.

I am so blessed to ______.

And one of my favorites: I really cherish ______.

Me? Among other ‘things’ – I really cherish my mental health!

There’s no right or wrong in which words you choose to use. It’s the heartfelt feeling of appreciation that shifts/elevates your mood (feeling).
Suggestion: Just like any other practice – Say it like you mean it.

One more idea –
Thinking about what we don’t have makes us feel bad.
Thinking/being grateful for what we do have makes us feel good.

As always, we get to choose what we want to consciously think about and dwell on. And, as always, for BEST results – practice daily.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Can’t Decide…

Ever feel that way? In duality? Unable to make a choice? Bouncing back and forth from “I want to… But maybe not.”

Several times when I haven’t been able to decide exactly ‘what’ to do in a certain situation, I do the standard pluses and minuses list. Sometimes that activity can bring out enough realistic observations to easily make a choice. And sometimes not. The result is two lists. Two lists, and no conclusion.

Lots of us have been ‘caught’ there when we’re in what I’ll label ‘somewhat significant situations’. Yes? Or, No? Should I? Or, shouldn’t I?

Situations such as:
* I really could use a better vehicle… should I buy a new one now, or wait until January or February?
* I’m not really happy… Should I get out of this relationship now, even though some parts are good, others are not?
* Should I let my children go live with their Father, even though I’m not 100% sure they will be happy?
* Should I move my Mother to an assisted living facility, or wait another few months?
* Should we buy a home in another state, just to live closer to at least one of our children and his family?
* Should I even try for that job transfer to Texas with my company, which has a very good potential for a big promotion in the next two years? Yet if we move half way across the country it would mean my husband having to find a new job and the kids changing schools in the middle of the year?
* Should I move some of that extra money to a safe CD at the bank, or take a chance on that great low-risk stock my wealthy Uncle recommended last week?

My suggestion, and I have done this (with success) – if there’s no huge rush, no impending next-day deadline, I make a firm decision to put off the decision to a later date. What? A firm decision to not make a decision?

Hey, it works. If the back-and-forth thoughts are causing more than a little bit of stress & tension, making a firm decision to put off a decision to a later date makes sense. It’s taking the emergency out of it.
It takes away the self-imposed pressure. “Self” imposed pressure is “I” imposed pressure. If “I” have imposed/created it, “I” can uncreate it by thinking different thoughts.

Choose any reasonable date in the future and make a simple decision: “I’m going to review this again in two weeks” or “I’m going to reconsider this on January 2nd.” I prefer choosing a date (for me it seems more of a definite firm decision, plus it’s entered as a To-do on my calendar). Then, if any working-up type thoughts do come up, you can just tell yourself (think/bring to mind) “I don’t need or want to think about that now. I’ve already made a firm decision to reconsider the facts on January 2nd.” That really does put a stop to the duality.

So when you’re in bed trying to fall sleep and the ‘Maybe I should, Maybe I shouldn’t’ thoughts come back, you just tell yourself: “I’ve promised myself…” (that’s really what a firm decision is – a promise or an even stronger word is ‘vow’) “I’ve promised myself I will review my options on January 2nd.” Period. Exclamation point! The END.

Often during the interim time, when we’ve taken the pressure off ourselves, something or someone comes along spontaneously with new information or a different/better opportunity which makes making the end-goal decision much more uncomplicated.

Try it. It beats duality and worry!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am Blessed!!

This morning as I was driving, about a mile from home I heard a chime sound in the car. Looked at the dashboard and saw the oil light flicker on and off. About a mile later it did the same thing.

My favorite gas station/repair place is just another mile or so down, and I decided to stop there. The owner checked the oil, said it was about a quart low, and since it was about time for an oil change I agreed to have it done.

After waiting 15 minutes or so, a different mechanic came to me in the waiting area and told me the brake pads needed to be replaced – soon, as in within the next 50 miles, or else the brakes would be scratching on the rotors. The cost: $169.00. I had a tiny– ouch, that’s going to cost some money response, and said “Go ahead and replace them”.

So where’s the Blessing? First the oil light went on to ‘warn’ me of that condition. Then, the mechanic was wise enough to check the brakes when the car was up in the air and notice they were very worn.

There are only two ways to look at (think about) events: positively & securely, or negatively & insecurely. There is always that choice.

We are the ones who get to label what happens in our lives.

Lots of people may disagree with me – and that’s totally OK.
Years ago I would not have considered a series of events like this a blessing either. It may have been a triviality, but a Blessing??? Nope. I couldn’t see it that way (I didn’t think of it that way). Way too much off-and-on fear and anger were blocking any insight.

I found that’s what racing, insecure thoughts do – build distrust, and increase discomfort. And the opposite is also true: indulge in secure thoughts only – refuse to argue (think) otherwise and you will attain trust – and peace (relief).
It’s quite uncomfortable distrusting anyone and everyone – thinking everyone or most everyone is out to ‘get you’ in some way. Being suspicious is being fearful. Being fearful comes from thinking fearful thoughts. That’s all.

Yes, Lots of Blessings in my life today – and I’d have to say the most significant one is that I remained At Ease and In Control.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rehearsing for the Family Gathering

Rehearsing? Yes!
Rehearse being nice. Being group-minded.

Being at ease & in control.

Why not? We sometimes rehearse being annoyed, angry or resentful. Rehearse? With our thoughts & imagination.

In fact (here comes another ‘confession’ on my part) there was a time when I did just that: run through a past or future ‘scene’ – If so-and-so says _____, I’ll say ____.” And, I experienced discomfort: racing thoughts, plus physical distress. Keep thinking fear and anger thoughts long enough, and the body will let you know what you’re doing.

I call it The Temper Alarm that ‘goes off’. It varies considerably, but you probably have your favorites. Favorites? Yes, those typical places where your body ‘collects’ and ‘exhibits’ the tension. For many years, for me it was my stomach. Before that, it was a pretty strong tension in the back of my neck. Temper is the cause; symptoms, the effect.

But, back to the topic...
At first I thought racing thoughts were only connected to fear. Then I recognized those other kind, the anger thoughts, could be just as swift and speedy.

Thoughts about an upcoming family gathering – whatever kind: a holiday dinner, wedding, reunion, etc. – have a tendency to bring up the past. Past tempers too… “Remember when so-and-so did such-and-such?”
If it’s a humorous memory, by all means do laugh about – whether you’re expressing your memories out loud to yourself or someone else – or merely reviewing (having thoughts about them) in the space of your own mind.

Your judgments about Cousin Stuart or Aunt Christy, or Grandpa may be dormant during most of the year, but when you think about being in the same house/place with them again, temper thoughts are apt to arise. (this goes for friend-type gatherings too, not just blood relatives)

My suggestion: Take the time now, prior to the occasion, to reduce and extinguish any temper (thoughts) that you recognize or identify. Whoever ‘they’ are, they are outer environment. We can’t control anything but our own thoughts, and our own muscles. Whatever ‘they’ did is a triviality compared to your mental health.

I love the chapter in Mental Health Through Will Training that has the story about the ‘letter to be mailed’, and Dr. Low describes the letter as a ‘piece of paper’. How silly it is to get mad at/about a piece of paper.

That’s exactly how I came up with the idea that what someone says – even if it’s ‘hurtful’ and I initially get upset over it, in reality it’s only ‘sound & air’ coming out of their mouth. Take out the disturbing emotional aspect, and it’s only sound & air.

Yes, the other person may have had a unkind, hurtful ‘intention’ behind what they said. They may have been ‘showing’ their temper. But I say: “So what. My mental health is more important than the sound and air that came out of that person’s mouth!” Besides, it’s ridiculous to be mad at sound & air.

Think that’s a little far out?? Maybe. But if it works for me, if it reduces my temper and tension, and keeps my symptoms to a bare minimum – I’m going to share it.

Notice I used the word sound, not noise. To me, ‘noise’ has a connotation of temper. Noise is not pleasant. Sound is neutral. Also notice I used the word ‘air’ not ‘hot air’ – again for the same reason.

Once temper is lessen, released, erased, deleted – then make a FIRM decision that everything you say and do is going to be done with kindness.

So, this holiday time, do enjoy the yummy leftover food,
just watch it when it comes to leftover temper. I will too!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two Wise Men
~ ~ Two Wise Thoughts

Wisdom to think on:

"A thought produced it, and a thought could drop it.”
Abraham A. Low

“What thought has planted, thought can uproot.”
Ernest Holmes

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, November 16, 2009

Above and Beyond

That’s not trivial!!

Since my last post was about what some would label a ‘major’ life event – I decided that now was as good a time as any to bring up this topic:
When is something not a triviality?

I was taught first to practice on the ‘minor’ everyday events which contributed to me feeling irritated, frustrated, disappointed, out-of-sorts, and upset. But, I’ll tell you, it’s gone way above and beyond that.

The truth is, what one person would consider a triviality, someone else may not. Judging whether or not an event is trivial, insignificant or minor (in the grand scheme of things), is a personal decision.

For me – just about everything is now trivial, No-Big-Deal. No, it wasn’t always that way. At first I followed what I thought were the rules. I followed them closely.

Yet it came to a point when I was confused?, puzzled? about what was, and what wasn’t a triviality. It was then I decided trivial or not – I could and would use my mental fitness tools no matter what the situation, no matter what the event. No matter how ‘BIG’ it seemed. No matter how important it was. If I was uncomfortable or down – I practiced: changing thoughts and commanding muscles. Everything became a “triviality compared to my mental health”.

Bear with me here…
When my Mother passed away 20 years ago, it was my first experience of a parent dying. This is how I dealt with it: The instant my Mother died was not trivial, BUT (and that’s a BIG but) BUT everything else that that was even slightly connected to the event was. Every one of my irritations, frustrations, disappointments, and fearful, insecure thoughts had to be handled. By me.

To be honest, I was scared and felt vulnerable (because I was thinking vulnerable thoughts). I was in ‘new’ territory. I was afraid of a setback. So my practice went into High Gear. Yes, I was, what might be called ‘hyper-vigilant’ of what thoughts were coming into my mind. But I did it for my mental health, my sanity, my inner peace. I didn’t want to ‘fall apart’ completely. And, I didn’t.

On the way to the funeral home for the first visitation, I had one particular sad/gloomy thought: “This is the worst day of my life, I’m going to see my Mother in a casket.” Followed shortly afterwards by: “No Rose. The worst day of your life was when you were terrified to walk from the house to the mailbox.” Oh! That pulled me back to being totally realistic about what I had to face.

Don’t get me wrong, I did a fair amount of crying. Maybe more than an average amount (but really, what is the measuring stick for weeping? Minutes or ounces?). There were a few times I wasn’t able to speak, but simply hug someone back. But, I did not fall apart completely.

This is definitely a case where I was not at ease (who would be?) but I was in control – of my inner environment. You might say I made a mighty firm decision that I would not allow myself to dwell on, or work up anything.
Original responses? Yes, of course – plenty of them. But no lengthy debilitating working-up processes.

As I said – for me, I employ my well-being skills for everything. I found it keeps me calmer and healthier. I do it for my mental health.

What’s more important? Someone’s (or anyone’s) words, actions or behavior, or My Mental Health?

To me the answer is a no-brainer. My mental health! Of course.

“Compared to my mental health”… Put in that perspective, I can’t imagine anyone answering anything else.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, November 14, 2009

One Wise Man
One VERY wise man

Within the last month there was a news report…
The parents of a television personality in the Chicago area were murdered. On the way to his parents' home after he was told of the murders, he asked himself, "Why me?" After driving several more miles, he said to himself: “Why not? I'm not special. It happens to 500 people a year in Chicago."
He changed his thoughts.

“Why not?” This so much reminds me of Dr. Low explanation that mental disorders/conditions are “fate appointed”. They happen! As soon as I read and accepted that explanation, I stopped digging and digging into my past to find out “why”. I also let go of the notion that it was so very extraordinary to have “nervous” problems. It helped me re-directed the energy I was putting into “poor me” and use that energy to help myself instead.

Another point from the news report: It was only a day or two later that this same television personality, announced that he had already “forgiven” those responsible for the event. And this was before any suspects had been apprehended.

In my eyes – what he did was “excused rather than accuse”. He did it to preserve his sanity. He did it for his mental health. Those may not be his thoughts, reasons or motivation at all, yet somehow he knew that it was THE best thing for him to do.

How wise of him to
#1 – Forgive/excuse quickly.
#2 – Do it before he ever saw the perpetrator(s). Because when he does eventually face who was responsible (either in photos or in person) – he can go back to his thought, his firm decision: “I’ve already forgiven.”
#3 – State his forgiveness publicly. Doing that kind of act so openly would very likely keep most anyone from later on retracting or withdrawing it.

One wise man. One very wise man. I applaud him.
Lots of knowledge to be gained from his decisions (which were in fact thoughts, before they were spoken) and his actions (carried out through his muscles).

We may never, ever be in that very same situation.
But we can learn from his story.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Say it Like You MEAN it!

It does make a difference! A whole lot of difference.

I totally admit it. In the beginning, the tone of thought/voice when using what I call – verbal tranquilizers was ‘weak’. Maybe because I didn’t really believe what I was telling myself. Let’s cancel that ‘maybe’. I really didn’t believe those strong physical sensations that were a part of my panic, anxiety and the depressive thoughts were “distressing, but not dangerous”. I didn’t accept that they were scary, but that I was safe.

To be honest, I don’t recall how long it took before I began saying them with any force, any conviction. But when I did “say it like I meant it” it made a huge difference in my rate of progress.

To think that anxiety symptoms were dangerous – was a mistake. My mistake. I had to convince my brain that there was no danger. I had to convince my brain that I was coming up with the wrong answer/conclusion.

Here’s my analogy:
You’re teaching a 5-year old about addition: 4 + 5 = 9.
The child, for whatever reason, doesn’t ‘get it’, and his answer is 4 + 5 = 8.
You point out the ‘mistake’, and repeatedly repeat the correct answer – until the child accepts/memorizes the correct answer.

Another point: when you’re teaching a child, you are (or should be) outwardly patient. Patience lends itself to more successful outcomes. Impatience leads to frustration for both the child and the one doing the teaching.

When we’re learning and practicing a ‘new’ anything, in any field – it’s average to make mistakes. And it’s also true when we’re learning new ways of improving our mental health through healthy thinking. We make mistakes and go back to the old thinking, the old habit of thinking.
Lingering thoughts of impatience – “this is not working! I’m not feeling any better, it’s useless!” are simply mistakes in thinking, that can be corrected. With practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Impatient (fearful) thoughts slow progress. The antidote (secure thought) could be something such as: “NO! I AM making progress. I can’t really see or feel it, BUT I know every effort I make in changing my thoughts IS making a difference”.
It really is an accumulation of secure/realistic thoughts that make a cumulative, collective difference.” I assure you, one day that scale will tip in the right direction, as it did for me and thousands of others. You will accept and believe the healthy thoughts you’ve been telling yourself. The old, destructive habit pattern will be replaced.

So, back to ‘How’ you change your thoughts. I found that when I made my secure thoughts as strong as my insecure thoughts – it made a remarkable difference. With practice, the meek and weak, turned to assertive and strong.

Intense, firm, heavy-duty, forceful, powerful, determined – whatever adjective you want to use – my best recommendation is to:

Say it like you mean it!
© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comments on Comments

The online news headline: House Passes Healthcare Bill
Below it: What do you think?

Please DO note – MY comments below are made without the least bit of temper. They are simply realistic, rational, sensible, level-headed, reasonable, factual.
My response to “what do you think?”:
“Does it really matter what I think – what my opinion is?
It’s already a bill. Signed. Stamped. Delivered. Passed.
It is, and I can’t change it.”

How boring Rose! Yup – I agree. Boring, and healthy.

~ ~ ~ ~
Asking for comments is asking for opinions. And in my opinion, asking for opinions is something that very often generates anger, temper and even fear. Pure and Simple!

Does it really allow people to simply “blow off steam” and get rid of their anger/judgments? Does it put them at ease about the topic?
Or, is it a working up process that adds anger on top of anger? Another thing, “out there” to be afraid of or angry at.

In the case of online comments that have to do with a controversial subject, I’d say: “to type it up is to work it up”.

The words on the screen were first thoughts in someone’s mind. Yup – it’s all about the quality of our thoughts. We think ‘em before we speak ‘em. We think ‘em before (and as) we’re typing/writing them.

Don’t get me wrong – free speech is good. In fact it’s precious.
I just wonder how many people know that when they spew out their angry views and opinions, they’re hurting themselves?
But heck – that whole thing of expressing what “I think” is a whole lot more exciting and stimulating than sitting back and simply enjoying life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. At least that’s what a whole lot of people think.

Until you try it, it’s a strange notion to be peaceful and excited at the same – about something good, or joyful, or just plain nice.
But I guarantee – it IS possible.

Lots and lots of positives are possible when a good portion of the fear and anger thoughts are no longer constantly in the picture.

Agitated? Or pleasantly energized?
Emotionally upset? Or, emotionally happy & peace-filled?

Thank You – I’ll choose the second!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Don’t Know

Several months ago I was at an on-the-premises estate sale (where the entire contents of home are sold off). The real estate sign in the front yard also had a big SOLD sign at the top.

There were several other people in the garage area where I was, and I overheard two men talking. From the gist of the conversation, I concluded that one of the men, probably in his early 70’s, was somehow associated with the sale. Perhaps a relative? I was not paying really close attention, but I did hear the second man ask: “What are you going to do now?” In a calm, even tone the first man answered: “ I don’t know.” And, he did not elaborate. Boy was I impressed!! How wonderful for him to be so at peace when he doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for him. “I don’t know” – to be able to say that and be totally comfortable, totally ‘at ease’.

Here comes another one of my “I remembers”…
I remember when “I don’t know” was a scary thought – as in “Yikes, I don’t know”. One that kept a vicious cycle of fear alive. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m thinking it could be one of the ultimate thoughts that causes fear to continue going and growing.

The first scary “I don’t know” could simply be concern. Keep the thought alive and it will turn to worry. The imagination fires up – with the level of symptoms escalating in direct relation to the number of thoughts.
Worry produces headaches, an upset stomach, neck & shoulder tension, backaches, and/or a hundred and one other physical sensations/symptoms. And let’s not forget confusion – which I would consider a mental symptom.

When people are worried, rarely do they think of positive outcomes. The “What-if’s” that pop-up are typically gloom & doom, insecure thoughts which paint a grim outcome. And I do speak from experience here. I remember when…

How grateful I am that I learned that “to know, that I don’t know” could be, and is in fact, an average, rational, and realistic thought – as in: “Oh, I don’t know.”

Way back when, my nickname could have been Regimented Rose. “I must know how things are going to turn out next. I must anticipate anything & everything. I must be ready, and have a solution!” I wanted to have all the answers. And guess what – that’s NOT possible.

How carefree and peaceful is to be able to truly say, “I don’t know” whether the question concerns what might be termed a major thing or a minor one.

Where am I going to live in six months? How am I going to make my house payment this month? Is my company going to downsize again? Will I have a job next year? I don’t think I’ll have enough money to buy all the items on my grocery list.

Often, “I don’t know” is the healthiest thought we can have. Besides, if we don’t stay level-headed in the present, it’s almost a sure bet that we’ll be really rattled when an ’unpleasant’ situation does appear in our lives. And the reverse is just as true: Stay as level-headed as you can, and you’ll have a greater chance to receive & recognize insight as to what to do. What’s that old expression?? “Temper blocks insight” which equates to: low or no temper means an abundance of insight & choices.
“I don’t know” keeps us moving in the direction of our goals – short-term and long-term. Being frazzled and upset can keep you in such a state of mind that you feel incapable of doing anything

A “Right now, I don’t know” is calming in all types of situations:
“Right now I don’t know” - the results of those medical tests (whether they’re your own or anyone else’s). “Right now I don’t know” what college my daughter is going to be accepted to; what the weather’s going to be on our vacation; for sure how many children will show up at little Johnny’s birthday party; if the mechanic can be done fixing my car in time for me to get the tire repaired on my lunch hour, so I can get Haley to soccer practice right after work; if I’m going to be able to fall asleep at a decent time tonight,”
The list IS endless.

“I don’t know” – the scary/insecure kind – can also be disguised as: “I hope everyone likes the new casserole I’m making for tonight’s dinner”; “Boy, I sure hope the new minister is as good as our old one." Again, a simple, matter-of-fact “I don’t know” will put a mind at ease.

For major worries it will take repeated (and maybe relentless) “I don’t knows” to calm down. For the minor ones, it may take one or two, or maybe a few. Practice. Practice using “I don’t know” and it will become both a comforting, and a comfortable statement.

Oh, by the way, there’s also the fear of social reputation of “What are people going to think of me if I answer - I don’t know?”

So go ahead. Ask me: “Rose, when’s the next post on your blog going to be?”
“Right now, I don’t know.”

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Honesty = Self Leadership

While trying to hide their ‘condition’, people suffering from anxiety and/or depression often get into the habit of not quite telling the truth.

It’s part of covering-up-syndrome - why you ‘can’t’ do what other people do. It’s difficult to say: “I feel too panicky” or “I’m too depressed” to go to the movies, church, an outdoor concert, to the grocery store during the day when it’s crowded, to a ‘big’ store like Wal-Mart, etc. There are hundreds of places & events, and hundreds (maybe thousands) of excuses for avoidance behavior.

I remember my “I can’t” days – when I truly believed I “could not” do something. They were not at all pleasant. I remember ‘bending the truth’, and to be honest – I didn’t like lying. There, instead of dancing around with more gentle words, let me label it exactly what it was: lying. Lying to avoid feeling uncomfortable. BUT, sooner or later, we end up feeling uncomfortable anyway.

The fact is – we don’t feel good about ourselves when we lie – whether it’s a big lie or a “little white” lie. All of them add to the misery we’re already in. It adds to the vicious cycle of “There’s something terribly wrong with me.”

Once I learned that anxiety & depression, plus all the symptoms that go with those two disorders (and others as well), were ‘average’ and ‘fate appointed’ I felt better about myself. I wasn’t weird, different, or crazy. I had a condition. I had symptoms. And most important: I COULD GET WELL. There was a "cure”. Take away the shame and fear, and there was no need or reason to make up stories

Honesty and self-leadership include doing what you say you’re going to do. It means following through on commitments or appointments – or at least informing the other people involved that something’s come up, or you’ve changed your mind. It’s the group-minded thing to do. And, it’s certainly something to endorse for. Uncomfortable? Yes, sometimes. But, totally endorsable.

It’s so very refreshing now to be honest – both with myself and others. It’s another natural/automatic way to maintain good mental health & inner peace!

Best Regards,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, November 2, 2009

To Talk it up…
(it works both ways)

For a long time, because I learned that “to talk it up is to work it up”, I did my best to religiously avoid complaining about my symptoms. Report about them? Yes. That’s all. What was even more important was not “talking up” my symptoms to myself – in my mind. I learned that every insecure/fear thought I continued to think was attaching danger to the discomfort. Those thoughts, my thoughts of danger, were the very reason the discomfort turned to stronger panicky feelings, and if I didn’t actively change my thoughts, the physical sensations would grow more severe, and I ended up feeling worse. Much worse.

After learning to control the intensity and duration of the strong anxiety symptoms, I used “to talk it up is to work it up” as a tool to not complain about something ‘bad’ that happened to me (or to anyone else for that matter). It’s interesting… Have you ever listened to someone talking about something that upset them, and actually observe the tension they’re feeling as they speak about the incident? Talking about a unpleasant past event can and does bring back the same kinds of symptoms, and the sensations are experienced again in the present moment. The right/wrong, good/bad judgments are once again in the here and now, and so is the tension. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

The Flip Side: It was several years before I discovered that “to talk it up is to work it up” works both ways:
Talk up the ‘bad’ stuff, and you feel bad.
Talk up the ‘good’ stuff and you feel good.

When we spew out our problems, other people often ‘feel the pain’ and worry about us. It brings them down. I know I can get that first response of concern when I hear or read about a not-so-pleasant event.

There’s nothing I like more than hearing about something good & happy. I love to see the joy on people’s faces as they tell about something pleasing!! It brings me Joy. Joy with a capital “J”. It makes me smile. It makes the other person smile. In a very real sense it’s passing along some joy.

And smiles are happy things… which come from happy thoughts. Yes, it all goes back to our thoughts.

Now, especially in casual encounters when I’m out and about, I make every attempt to steer comments or brief conversations to pleasant, happy, enjoyable, nice topics. I do it for my mental health. And the other person’s mental health too!

Would I much rather spread joy (comfort) or gloom, doom & sorrow (discomfort)??
I’ll let you guess what my answer is.

Best Regards,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Call me Mildred

I’m laughing. Still laughing!!

This morning I was multi-tasking, and it reminded me of Mildred in Mental Health Through Will Training. She was multi-tasking before the word was even created.

Yes, there was ‘hummingbird food’ cooking on the stove; was at my computer cutting and pasting, and printing some single-page documents I had promised to mail to a friend. And, I thought I was also washing a load of towels in the utility room. What’s that? You ‘thought’ you were washing them?

Well, the water was in the washer, so was the detergent. I had added chlorine bleach as the washer was filling. Didn’t want to put the towels in until after the washer filled completely, so I went back to the computer and printer. By now you can probably guess… when I did remembered the washer, it was in the rinse cycle. The water was happily sloshing around – all by itself.

My first thought: Yikes! A second later I was laughing. Whatya gonna do except start all over again?? And, that’s exactly what I did (plus stand right there this time). Many moons ago I would have scolded myself for forgetting, wasting water, soap and bleach, and it would have certainly been a ‘sign’ that I was ‘forgetful’ or worse. I would have then listed all the other things I did ‘wrong’ in the past week, or month, or year.

Will I continue to multi-task? You bet. With balance. I can tell when I’ve got too much going – I find myself rushing. And that’s when I slow the muscles way down.

Best Regards,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fear and H1N1

Those of us who live the Recovery Method have personal knowledge and experience on the topic of the power of our thoughts – more precisely, the power of insecure/fear thoughts.
Below is an interesting piece.
I will add no comment to it, other than to say –

it made me stop and think.


There is an old, it may even be an ancient tale, that’s told…
about a wise old man in India sitting at the edge of a road under a tree. The spirit of the plague moved by, and as it did the wise man spoke out: “Where are you going?” The spirit of the plague answered: “I am going to the town, where I will slay one hundred people”.
Three months or so later, the wise old man again saw the plague as it returned from the town, and again he questioned it. “I thought you said you would only take one hundred lives, yet travelers who pass me throughout the day have told me you took ten thousand”
The spirit of the plague replied: “I did slay only one hundred.
Fear took all the others.”

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My sweet 86 year-old neighbor is going to have hip replacement surgery next month. Yesterday she told me that one of the instructions is for her to bring regular ‘street’ clothes to wear while she’s in the hospital. We both mentioned how being dressed, rather than staying in pajamas or a gown, is psychologically healthy. I take that to mean it’s good for a person’s mental health.

Later, as I was thinking of our conversation, I remembered the days way back when, when it was difficult for me to do almost anything – when anxiety and depression ruled my life.
There was so much – “I just don’t wanna.” Or, “I don’t feel like it.” Or, “I don’t feel up to it”, meaning I thought the effort was too great for me to handle.

Thankfully, I learned to make firm decisions and ‘command’ my muscles to move. My motivational statement at the time went like this: “I’m doing this for my Mental Health.”

Stage One Practice:
At first it was usually the mundane things such as getting dressed and making myself presentable. Why should I do my hair, get out of my bed clothes?? I’m not going anywhere today.
A firm decision + the motivator: "I’m doing this for my Mental Health" got me moving.

Stage Two Practice:
Actually going out and bearing more discomfort (taking along my mental fitness tools) plus my: "I’m doing this for my Mental Health" aided me in first walking farther away from my home, then driving longer distances, going for a haircut, sitting through an entire church service or movie, and so many, many, many more activities.

Stage Three Practice
Past the stage of doing the thing I “feared and care not to do” and into not really something I feared to do, but something that would fall into the category of “I’d rather be doing something else”. It could also be an “Oh, this can wait” obligation such as balancing the checkbook, cutting the grass, etc.

I’ve learned that often it takes less time and energy to complete whatever it is, than the time and energy spent in putting it off. How so? The nagging “should” thoughts when I delay doing what should be done are bothersome. distracting, annoying. They’re uncomfortable! Kept up long enough, they will cause tension. So, for me, I command the muscles and DO.
Even now sometimes I still use “I’m doing this for my Mental Health”. Interesting, now it’s kind of fun.

Then again, sometimes there’s more effort in –

“I WILL save this for tomorrow”.
And… that’s another topic, for another day.

Warm Regards,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle All rights reserved

Monday, October 26, 2009

At Ease & In Control…
that’s what everyone wants – to be at ease, to be and feel in control of themselves, and their lives. And, that’s exactly what the Recovery Method can teach you to do for yourself – Be at ease & in control. That’s what it’s done for me and scores of other people too.

Reminiscing, Gratitude & Practice

This month is Special in my life, and that’s why I’m choosing to launch this blog now – as part of my Celebration. It’s been 28 years since I attended my first Recovery International (RI) self-help meeting, and my l life has changed enormously since then.

I immediately began practicing what I learned that first evening. Granted, it was only one of Dr. Low’s bits of wisdom. It didn’t work instantly – it took practice. It took conscious and deliberate effort on my part. Yet I knew – that was ‘my part’, my action to take. The tools were there, I had to use them if I was going to feel better, if I was going to reach my hope, my aim, to be fully-functioning again.

Recently I was reading what I would label a spiritual self-help book, and came across this sentence: “Now you know it – USE IT!” I smiled and thought: “How true that is”. Immediately it reminded me of Dr. Low’s: Knowledge tells us what to do, but practice shows us how to do it. Information, is good, and it’s crucial in any self-improvement endeavor. But by itself, knowledge does next-to-nothing for any well-being process. Knowing the RI phrases, knowing precisely where to find them in whatever book is great – but if we don’t use them while/when we’re upset or in symptoms, frankly, they’re useless. The mental fitness techniques were not developed to be used only at weekly meetings.

I think of it this way: If I want to play the piano, and study how-to books over and over again, and for years watch educational videos that teach correct hand positions, etc. and yet I don’t actually use those instructions on a real keyboard – over and over and over again – I will never, ever be a skilled piano player, much less an amateur one. I will not accomplish my ambition by simply ‘knowing’. Only by ‘doing’ – utilizing what I know – will I achieve my goal.

I am so very grateful for Dr. Low’s Method. With it, I’ve changed my life completely. And, I am so grateful for the circumstances in my life back in 1981, which caused me to work so hard at getting well (more on that topic may be revealed in a future post).

Warm Regards,

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved