Monday, December 27, 2010

Express Love

Today express, radiate LOVE -- in ALL circumstances -- no matter what the outer environment is doing or not doing.

You CAN do it. I KNOW you can.

How do you do it?
#1. By making a firm decision to do it.
#2. By simply stopping to think about what you’re thinking -- by not judging other people and other things to be ‘wrong’.

Remember: There is no right, there is no wrong in the unimportant, insignificant, trivial events of everyday Life.

Remind yourself: Everything is a triviality compared to my mental health. EVERYTHING!!!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Temper Disguised as Humor

There are many emails circulating ‘out there’ which are supposed to be funny or humorous and at the same time they invoke temper, they invite temper -- the judgement that someone or something is wrong.

Here’s one example:

Maxine and Healthcare Reform
Let me get this straight:
We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't,
Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor,
but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it,
and signed by a President who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes,
for which we'll be taxed for four years before any "benefits" take effect,
by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,
and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!
What could possibly go wrong????

The point is, the truth is: Temper causes tension, the tension causes symptoms.
The point is:
If our goal or intent is to feel good, to feel our best -- we MUST eliminate temper.

Is your real goal, your conscious goal, your continuous goal to be

At Ease & In Control??

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stop & Think…

Are the majority of your thoughts helping you? Working for you?
Or are they working against you?
Are your thoughts secure and realistic?
Or are they fear-filled? Angry? Judgmental?

Always remember:
....Each of us has the
.......Freedom and the Ability consciously change our thoughts.

When your thoughts ARE working for you
....You WILL feel At Ease & In Control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The M & M Team

There’s a wonderful story at the beginning of Joel Osteen’s book It’s Your Time. He tells about hiking in Colorado. The sign at the base of the mountain stated it should take about three hours to reach the summit.
After 45 minutes, Joel’s legs are burning, his chest pounding and he’s panting & sweating – a lot. He stops for air, has several I-don’t-know-if-I-can-make-it thoughts, and seriously questions whether he’ll be able to continue on another two hours.

All of a sudden he sees an a older man come around a curve headed down the trail. This gentleman appears cool and calm, not the least bit exhausted. As the man passes the younger sweaty pastor, he says: “You’re closer than you think.” Those five words rejuvenated Joel, and he caught his second wind.

It’s the next part of the story which really caught my attention. Joel states that with every stride he repeated the words: “I will make it”. Even though his body -- his muscles and lungs were quite uncomfortable, he kept walking & climbing, and talking to himself.

What did he do??? What method did he use??? We could call it cognitive-behavioral. He changed his thoughts and commanded his muscles. Over, and over, and over again.
Notice he used his one secure/realistic thought: “I will make it” -- with every stride -- with every step he took. Ten minutes later he reached the top. Total time: just under an hour.

No, this isn’t an example of someone suffering from panic or anxiety disorder. But, it is an illustration of how severe discomfort can be faced, and endured. It’s a demonstration of effort and the willingness to bear discomfort, and not deviating from a goal.
Joel started to talk himself (think himself) out of completing his goal. By changing his thoughts – consciously and continuously – he did what he set out to do.

Working as a Team - Mind & Muscles can and will carry us through.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do you love… ?

While I was reading something loosely related to the topic other day, an interesting question came to my mind.
Here it is: Do you love and support yourself, Rose?
My quick and very honest answer: “Not as much as I should – but I’m starting now.”

When I thought about it further, I was not ‘consciously’ supporting myself the way I very often wholeheartedly support others. The recognition that I was not - didn’t click, it didn’t surface, until I asked myself the question.

A lot of us are natural, spontaneous givers. We support others without question, with no expectation or desire for anything in return. Mothers do it. Fathers do it. So do spouses, siblings, adult children and close friends.
Yet… yet, we often forget?? ignore?? overlook?? our own self-care.
Call it self-nurturing. Call it self-care. Call it self-support. Whatever. It has to do with feeling good, more specifically - making ourselves feel good. Because yes, we can’t and shouldn’t expect others to provide our feeling good.

Well, you’ve heard the question, and here’s my solution: several times a day I spontaneously say out loud,
“I love and support you Rose” or “Rose, I love and support you!”.

Yes, I add my name either at the beginning or end of the statement. I’ve mentioned before how I believe adding your name to a realistic, affirmative spoken thought adds meaning and depth. For me, it makes me pay closer attention. It makes the words a statement, instead of merely a fleeting thought. I guess in a sense I believe it more, accept it more.

So my questions to you are:

Do you love and support yourself? As much as you could be?
If not, I strongly suggest you make a firm decision to do something about it. Soon!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why do people Lie?

Typically I don’t get into “Why” people do what they do. And, since three people in the last two weeks have asked me about it, I’ve decided to address the topic here.

My plain and simple answer is: People tell lies because to them, it’s more comfortable than telling the truth.
No matter what the subject, or who else is involved – the person who tells a lie chooses to – simply because it makes them feel better. They believe, they think, telling the truth would make them feel uncomfortable, more uncomfortable, too uncomfortable – and they choose to avoid being that uncomfortable.

Usually I stop the explanation right there, and since I’m writing now, I’ll add a few more thoughts…

I believe lying has the same effect on a person as a temper outburst, what is often referred to as a symbolic victory. That’s when we express our anger in a quick-tempered, maybe even loud and volatile way. That type of behavior may make us feel good ‘in the moment’, maybe even for a longer time.
BUT, sooner or later, we realize the ‘victory’ was no real victory at all – because we’re embarrassed or ashamed of our behavior – the words and more importantly, the manner those words flew out of our mouth.
That shame, composed of “I was wrong” thoughts, starts up another vicious cycle of thoughts – thoughts of self-blame and self-degradation, which produce more discomfort – physical and mental.
So is anything good or healthy really accomplished by a temper outburst?

To me, when a person tells a lie, they are not self-led. They are symptom led - led and influenced by fear, their own fear thoughts. And I believe that telling the lie may make a person feel better ‘in the moment’ but somewhere in the future, they’re going to know, realize, and wake up to the fact, that their behavior wasn’t their best – and they’re going to feel bad about it - embarrassed or ashamed or guilty.
That starts another vicious cycle of thoughts – thoughts of self-blame and self degradation, which produce more discomfort – physical and mental.
So is anything good or healthy really accomplished by not telling the truth?

The only thing being dishonest and deceitful achieves is temporary comfort. Very temporary comfort. Realistically, what lying produces is more discomfort. It really has no solid, positive benefits to a person’s mind or body.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rose VanSickle /Peace of Body, Peace of Mind
on YouTube!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Doing Something New

“I Don’t Know How."
I wish you could hear the tone of voice I used when I said that statement this past week. Sort of bewildered, maybe confused…. with a slow but quick movement my shoulders going up & down. Somewhat unsure of myself. A bit hesitant.

We all get into situations where we’re faced with doing something new. And I mean brand new, as in ‘haven’t-got-a-clue-of-how-to’ accomplish this task.
In that case, we have choices-choices in how we think about it.

The facts (the realistic thoughts) are: there will be things we don’t know how to do. Probably for the rest of our lives. No one knows how to do absolutely everything. Another is this: If we’ve never done that certain something – of course we ‘Don’t know how’. It’s that plain and simple.

So what was the subject of my latest “I don’t know how”?
Uploading a video file to YouTube.
I had asked my webmaster if he had any experience doing it. He said no. So I decided I would learn how myself. My reasoning (thinking): Then I will know, and it'll be another "I can do that" under my belt.

I’m happy to report: Mission accomplished!!

P.S. - Now adding a link to a blog entry will be my next “Do Something New”.
Will it be 'add a video' or simply add the link and make the reader click on it??? Hmmm.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spike Lee Says Obama Not Mad Enough

No, I did not read the entire article. Why? Because I could guess at my original response, and it wasn’t pretty (healthy for me).
But, I did calmly discuss my views of the ‘not mad enough’ regarding the oil spill with a couple of people.

So how mad IS mad enough?
Stomping to the podium?
Red in the face?
Neck veins bulging?
Eyes glaring?
Arms failing in the air?
Fists clenched so hard fingernails are cutting into the palms?

Is getting ‘boiling mad’ going to take one single drop of oil out of the ocean?

Is being ‘infuriated’ going to bring an better solution, or any solution for that matter.

Is ‘throwing a fit’ going to make BP move more quickly?

Is being ‘furious’ at something in Outer Environment (OE) going to change anything in OE?

Is being ‘loud mouth and hostile’ going to solve the situation?

Is being ‘nasty’ going to prevent more oil from hitting the beaches?

Is displaying temper ‘required’ to show ‘how much’ a person cares about a topic?

Is displaying a ‘public tantrum’ going to make our President ‘more right’ and BP ‘more wrong’?

Is wildly aggressive ‘better’ than assertive? Not in my opinion. Never!

Maybe what President Obama IS demonstrating is how to be:
At Ease & In Control”.

I applaud the man for that!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

As I Am

One more thing I want to touch on about self-acceptance…
A couple of the popular statements ‘out there’ are: “I accept myself, just the way I am” or “I love and accept myself, just the way I am.” These may have originated with A Course In Miracles and are now an element in lots of different self-enhancement programs.

Somewhere along the years - I can’t remember exactly when it was, except that it was after I wrote Peace of Body, Peace of Mind – is when those were introduced to me. I willingly began using them. After all, I had a good background of changing thoughts – and these were statements I felt could enhance me and my life. So I used them quite consistently for a while.

To be honest, I didn’t feel any ‘big shift’ inside me. I didn’t get the results I thought I ‘should’ get. Throughout the years I would again hear some variation of the affirmation from a new speaker, new author, or in a new technique.
The last time it happened, for some reason (who knows) I took the time to ‘think’ about what I was saying. In fact, it very well could have been when I was writing the words and they were staring me in the face – when I questioned them.

All of a sudden it came to me: "just as I am" is the part that ‘got in the way’ for me. In a sense, it didn’t make sense.
Here’s my logic (my thoughts): I accept myself, ‘just’ the way I am, somehow suggested or implied there was something wrong with me.
Sort of like a computer ‘warning’ message. Defect! Defect!! Something needs to be corrected – SOON!
Just the way I am = Even though this is wrong with me, and I sure wish that was a whole lot different – I’ll accept me.

“Picky, picky, picky-Rose!!” That thought came to me too. Was I being overly sensitive? Too precise? Or was I getting some insight?
How can I accept myself–totally accept myself-if I think there’s something wrong with myself?

Yet, as I sat there and wrote:
I accept myself, just the way I am
I accept myself as I am
I could ‘feel’ the difference of those two statements. The first didn’t make me feel good; the second did.

Try it. which one feels better to you?
I accept myself, just the way I am.
I accept myself as I am.

It truly doesn’t matter which one appeals to you. There is no right or wrong.
Does one ‘feel’ better than the other? And if neither one does – that’s average too.

And maybe an even simpler form of the statement could be:
I accept myself!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learn ‘n Use

This entry is prompted by an email I received regarding the 6/4/10 post which talked about being average & self-acceptance.

One of the person’s comments was: “You'd think by now I'd have learned to be average.”

As I read the sentence, the word that jumped out at me was ‘learned’. I don’t think that’s the way it works.

We learn that 2+2=4. We learn the ABC’s. We learn to read. We learn a different language. We learn how to use a computer, etc.

When I thought back, I don’t recall learning to be average. What I remember is learning new information, a new & better definition of average, then ‘accepting’ I was average. Maybe it’s all semantics, but I do think it makes a difference.

As with other concepts we learn throughout our lives, learning them-then knowing them is one thing. Using them is Step Two. In my opinion we must USE them – or else we make little or no progress.

Yes, and I still use “I am average”. Typically it’s when I’ve done something… well, let’s say, when I’ve done something unexpected. OK – it’s when I make a ‘mistake' - such as trip on a throw rug, or tip over a glass of water which sloshes over onto my computer keyboard.

The original response (and this IS what I have said out loud in a sarcastic tone of voice): “Well that was SMART, Rose.” And depending on the amount of damage, I may even throw in a: “That was REALLY smart, Rose!!”
So what comes next? OK–You guessed: yet another “I’m not wrong, I’m average”. I know I use that secure/realistic statement more than once a day – every day.

So why am I still practicing? Because. My mental health is my Supreme Goal. If I don’t, and I do know this to be the truth: then those trivial incidents, those trivial mistakes would pile up.

They’d pile up, and pile up, and pile up and pile up, and sooner or later they become ‘proof’ that something’s ‘wrong’ with me. I’d think I was un-average, below average. Tainted. Not as good as.

Nope – I don’t ‘go there’ anymore. My well-being, my inner-peace, is too precious.

Besides, I like feeling good, and I’d much rather be At Ease, and In Control.

PS: There’s more on the topic of self-acceptance. Saving that for next time.
PSS: A Big
THANK YOU to the person who inspired me with their email.

As I’ve mentioned before, if I know something that’s helped me – I am certainly going to pass it along to others.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Can or I Can’t??

If you think you can, you can.
And if you think you can't, you're right.

~ Henry Ford (also attributed to Mary Kay Ash)

He is able who thinks he is able.
~ Buddha

Simple phrases with deep truth within them.

When we think we can’t, we can’t. That’s it. The end!

We won’t even make an attempt.
The door is closed on any possibility.

When we think we can...

Ahh, that’s a totally different point-of-view (thought).

Even if we’re not 100% sure we can – it’s better than an “I can’t.”
The door may not be wide open, but it’s not slammed shut.
At least there is some possibility -
a possibility that with effort & practice
can advance from a possibility to a probability,
and then on to a success.
An “I did it”.
Maybe even a "YEAH! I did it".

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Am I Ready For This??

This post somewhat related to the last one…
When can I tell “I’m ready to take on more” – ‘more’ meaning “should I go back to school, get a job?” Take a leap?

For me that translated into: “Am I well enough to handle it?"
In fact, the question boiled down to: Am I ‘willing’ to bear the discomfort of something new, even when I don’t know what it will be like? Am I ‘willing’ to go ‘through’ the discomfort?

Deciding “I am ready” is a very personal decision, one we can’t ever make for someone else. We can encourage the person. We can tell them we think they’re doing well, well enough to ‘make it’. We can cheer them on from the sidelines.

We can remind them that the same mental fitness tools that got them to this point, will carry them through whatever they choose. It’s always the individual’s own decision, and from personal experience I know -the more firm the decision, the better.

For me when I really, really, really, really did take the ceiling off the amount of discomfort I was willing to bear, life got easier. Easier? Yes, in the sense that I wasn’t always afraid there was there’s some kind of discomfort lurking around the corner.

Does that mean there was no discomfort? That it suddenly and totally disappeared? Heavens no. It didn’t totally disappear at first, but it did diminish. The intensity was not as great. The duration of the symptoms/discomfort was lessened.

For me and thousands of others too over the last 70+ years, no longer fearing discomfort, brought comfort.
Not waiting until we felt comfortable, but doing the things we feared or cared not to do (sometimes over, and over and over again) eventually brought the comfort.
Deliberate practice brought comfort, plus many, many gains.

In a very real sense, it brought us back to Life.
A good, average Life.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is It a Goal?
......or being Exceptional?

Some questions came to me this week… regarding exceptionality, romantic ambition, and whether or not we ‘should’ set limits on ourselves when it comes to what we want to do.

There was a time when I was confused about all this too: We shouldn’t be, or even try to be exceptional, yet we want to set goals, to do bigger and better things in our lives – such as go back to school, get a better job, etc. What’s the ‘right’ way to go about that? What’s the ‘healthy’ way?

OK. Exceptional is a no-no. Ahh, but the fear (thought) “I’m not even average” or “I’m not good enough” or“ I’m not as good as” is also a no-no. For me, I tied that all together with “we strive to be exceptional and fear we’re not even average”. And Yes, I admit, I struggled with the notion of being ‘average’ – with the whole idea that average was good, or even acceptable.

I believe that once we accept ‘average’ is good, that being average - no matter where we happen to be in the moment - we are no longer ‘fearing’ we’re not ‘even’ average.

That’s how it worked for me. For years, please let me correct that - for decades I was striving to be exceptional (Ms. Polly Perfect) ‘because’ I feared I wasn’t even average. I changed my definition of average. For me average was no longer ho-hum, mundane, boring, dull or dreary.

Once I accepted I was average – somewhere between superior and inferior – the Great Fear was lifted – gone (by me changing my thoughts on the topic). No more fear about how-high-on-the-scale I ‘needed’ to be, took the pressure off. You could say: I lowered my standards for who I thought I ‘needed’ to be to be a worthwhile or meaningful human being.

I believe that accepting averageness of ‘self’ is in a very real sense, self-acceptance – accepting yourself, just the way you are. Not for who you want to be someday. Not when you get off disability. Not when you make more money. Not when you get married. Not when you lose weight, etc., etc, etc.. Not then. Now.

Self-acceptance now – not later.

Once the fear is gone, it really is easier to set realistic goals, to get ahead in life. In my life it was (and still is) set this goal, reach it. Set another goal. Oh yes, there have been times when it followed this path: set the goal, don’t reach it; set another goal, or an entirely different goal, or set some intermediate goals to ‘get’ to the final/bigger goal.

Come to think of it, all of life is set a goal, an objective, accomplish it, set another goal. Think about it. From the time we get out of bed (which is a decision or a goal), with all the things we do all day long, until the time we go back to bed, we make decisions, set goals, move our muscles, accomplish what we want or need to do, and then it’s on to the next item or task or goal.

And so it goes – on, and on, and on.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Her want…

A few months ago a good Friend, a dear, dear Friend, decided to go into hospice care. She made the choice with a clear mind. In her words: “I suffered more from the treatments than from the disease itself.”

When I heard the news I wanted to go back to see her. She was on the east coast, I’m out west. Her request was that no one who had not seen her in the last year, including me, not come to see her.

I mulled over that just a bit. My thoughts: I wanted to see her again. I strongly wanted to see her again. I wanted to hold her hand. I wanted to comfort her. I wanted to reminisce about all the good times, the ‘spiritual highs’ we enjoyed when attending the same church.

It wasn’t very long at all, and these words (this thought) came to me: “It’s her want – honor it Rose.” That could fall under the realm of being ‘group-minded’. Yet, it was so much more. That one word ‘honor’ lifted being group-minded to a much higher, a much deeper level. Honoring her request was in a very real sense - my gift to her.

This event also reminded me that we can honor another person’s wishes, wants, desires & requests even when the situation is not as serious as this was.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ancient History

Just what does that refer to? Stuff that happened long ago and the temper is still lingering. The ‘hurt’ is still there, because the temper – the judgement of ‘that was wrong’ and ‘still is wrong’ in our minds (our thoughts).
The ‘long ago’ could be two months ago, two years ago, 22 years ago or even longer.

Here are few examples:
A teacher (let’s call her ‘Beth’) who finds herself feeling insecure in her profession knows her insecurity is rooted in an event which happened a long time ago. Back in third grade her grades weren’t the best. School personnel were concerned, and offered two options: either move Beth to the next grade, or have her repeat the third grade. Beth’s Mother decided the best route would be to have her repeat the grade.
More than 30 years later, when thoughts about this far away event come to mind, they still bring up shame (fear) and the idea (thought) that her Mother’s choice was wrong. Then of course, Mary’s insecurity increases.

Right now ‘John’ is having some money problems. Every once in a while he remembers the fact that right after high school when he got his first job and was still living in his parent’s home, they ‘made’ him pay rent. John still resents that rule his Mom & Dad came up with. Thoughts such as: "Paying rent in your own family’s home? That’s not right!" come to mind even now when he finds himself ‘short on cash’.

And here’s one from me, which is really where I came up with this notion of taking care of ancient temper. When I was seven years old I made my First Communion, had a party, and received some gifts of money. I wanted a new bike. My girlfriend’s had shiny two-wheel bicycles their parents bought for them. Me? I ‘had’ to spend ‘all’ my gift money if I wanted a bike. It’s the decision my Father made.

Every time that event came to mind – and it may have been only once every few years, it still ‘hurt’. Everybody else’s parents bought them stuff, why did I have to spend my money? I thought my parents were being mean to me. And that childish ‘thought’ stayed with me, that childish ‘temper’ stayed with me well into my 30’s.
Until, until one time it came up again, and I dismissed the temper. I released the judgement. They were not wrong, they were average. And, I was not wrong, I was average for not liking it. Done!

Yes, I still remember the incident (obviously, I’m writing about it). But, it doesn’t ‘sting’ anymore. It doesn’t bring up the resentment (temper). It doesn’t bring up the ‘that wasn’t fair’, it’s no longer connected with, ‘they didn’t love me as much as those others kids parents loved them’. I have to say, it does feel very good to be rid of the distress around that incident.

The point is – temper, is temper, is temper. And temper causes tension, and tension causes symptoms. No matter when something happened, no matter if the persons involved are alive or no longer on the planet, the temper can be and must be eliminated, or else the tension will continue – and escalate

Why go through the trouble of neutralizing that stuff from the past when it comes up? My reason –simply to FEEL GOOD … To be At Ease and In Control.
I’d rather be happy and at peace. Wouldn’t you?

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, May 8, 2010

.. .Taking Them Off Is Up to Us!

Recently I talked with a dear, dear Friend I met when I first started attending RI meetings. We had been out of touch for more than a decade, and it was so good to connect again. We reminisced about former days and our conversation was sprinkled with Recovery language.

During the course of our phone visit he mentioned something we had never talked about before. Early-on in his practice, he chose a goal - to be able to go out/be in a public situation for two hours – no matter how strong his symptoms might be. I thought WOW – that’s a really good target to strive for! He added: “You can do just about anything in a two hour time span – go to church, a movie, out to dinner, visit friends or relatives at their home, etc.” When he was talking about it, I thought – what a wonderful idea!!

The sad part is, 20+ years later, he remains at his two-hour limit. Two hours is the ‘most’ discomfort he’s willing to bear. He talked about wanting to fly pretty much across the country to see friends, and had been hesitating and in duality about it for more than a year. “I want to, but I don’t think I can bear that much discomfort.” The time it took to get to the airport, the extended time in the plane, then the ride to his friend’s home - when he calculated all that time, he labeled it ‘too much’. Plus, he would be in a ‘strange’ place for five days. Too much discomfort to bear!! He wasn’t ‘willing’.

For a person with high anxiety or panic, extending personal limits of how much discomfort to experience is how we operate at first. Little by little is the method of building up our nerve resistance. That’s how I did it. In fact, I called them ‘baby steps’. A little at a time. And I consciously chose to extend the time. Yes, I actually kept a written log. How else would I truly/accurately know if I had exceeded my last objective?

Dr. Low referred to taking off the limits, with this phrase: Take the ceiling off the amount of discomfort you’re willing to bear.
In order to be able to do literally anything, I learned in time that I couldn’t simply keep raising my ceiling inch by inch – or quarter hour by quarter hour – I had to take OFF the ceiling.
I had to take off ALL then limits I was setting for myself.
No one else was holding me back, but me.
I had to say: “I don’t care how uncomfortable I get – I’m going to do this”. (and for the record: I did say that aloud to myself)

Sooner or later, if we really, really, really want to reach the ‘final cure’ we all have to make that decision for ourselves.
Rather than “It’s soooo uncomfortable, we have to learn to say:
So! It’s uncomfortable.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Can’t Do Everything!!

That’s right. You can’t. None of us can. We’re people, not machines. Even computers have their limitations. We can’t be ALL things, to ALL people ALL of the time. This is especially important if you’re the major ‘doer’ in your household, or you’re single and there’s only you to do all the things that need being done.

When it ‘feels’ like we have ‘too’ much to do, it’s because we’re ‘thinking’ we’ve got too much to do. When we have scattered ambitions - thoughts about what should be done and where to start - often, nothing or next to nothing gets done. Then the self-blame sets in. The “I can’t do everything” is joined by “I can’t get motivated” or “What’s wrong with me?” or “I’m so disorganized” - thoughts with the theme of “I’m wrong”.

It’s important to know your limitations, and HONOR those limitations. And, it’s just as important to get moving.

The solution: Pick and choose – then move those muscles. Parts acts. Do this. Then that. When I follow that process, I’m always pleasantly surprise how much I can accomplish

Lots of experts tell us to prioritize first. That’s good advice, and sometimes necessary or wise, especially in a work situation. And here’s another suggestion: when there are many things to do, just do one. Then do another. Then do another. Then do another.

Resoluteness and determination come from our thoughts.
Think: “I CAN do this, I WILL accomplish something” plus move the muscles. The muscular action of ‘doing’ may be mechanical at first, but then you’ll get into the swing of things.

Move da muscles. Move da muscles. Move da muscles.
My motto: Maybe I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Smile More

This is something I picked up on along the years. Can’t recall even approximately when, but I do know that now it’s a habit. And, I consider it a good habit, a healthy habit. Plus it really fits in with the dictate “Move your Muscles.”

Smiling is a muscular act – and we are the ones who control and command our muscles. Of course there are times we smile spontaneously – when we see something we like, admire or even appreciate.

But what about those times when we don’t feel like showing any joy? When we’ve lost our spontaneity? I can remember that happening to me – more than a year when there was nothing to feel good or happy about. When my mood did lift, there still wasn’t a whole lot ‘out there’ to smile about, yet I made it a point to smile more and more.

There are some pretty amazing stats about the benefits of smiling:
~~ Smiling triggers our bodies to release natural, beneficial chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, and even natural pain relievers.

The combination of those makes us feel good. And who doesn’t want to feel good? Plus those chemicals boost our immune systems.
~~ People react to us more positively when we smile. Think about it. Would you rather interact with someone who looks gloomy, or someone who looks cheerful?

From those two statements alone we can see the simple act of smiling benefits our bodies and our minds, as well as influencing those around us in an uplifting way.

From the beginning, smiling can seem strange, a bit odd, almost uncomfortable - like anything we do that is ‘new’ can be. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long at all to get over the strangeness of it.

Chances are you may not feel the difference immediately, but the long-term effects are wonderful. Make a firm decision to start and keep it up! Do it, even when you are feeling good – you’ll feel even better. Do it for the sake of doing something positive for yourself.

There’s an old expression: It takes just as many muscles to smile as it does to frown. To be honest, I really don’t know if that's true. But I do know I feel better when I smile. Which is precisely why I do smile.

Don’t wait for ‘something’ good or spectacular to happen in your outer environment to put on that smile. Do it. Now. Right now!

Smile More. It’s good for you!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fearful Anticipation…

is typically, usually, generally much worse than the actual event.
Another way of saying that is: It’s almost certainly not going to be as bad as you think it will be.

Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - Thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.

These photos arrived the other day in an email.

Trust me – they’re totally tame.

The Headline:
Polar Bear Attack in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Underneath the photos this statement:
May your troubles always be smaller than you imagine!

We all have times when we initially expect the unpleasant or the worst. Dwelling in that mode, that mindset, is what creates the fearful anticipation and the unpleasant bodily symptoms too.

Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.

And lots of times that fearful anticipation can take up more time and more energy than the actual event. Let’s say you have something to do – something that’s not the most pleasant thing in the world to you. You can spend hours, and even days just about consumed with the idea of danger –about what kind of symptoms you’re going to have and/or how intense they’re going to be.

Reminders: nervous fear is the fear of discomfort. We are afraid of feeling afraid or uncomfortable. Another thing to remember is that it’s not people, places or things that ‘cause’ our symptoms, it’s our attitude (composed of thoughts) about whatever it is in the outer environment. Of course an event can ‘trigger’ symptoms, trigger an original response, but we are the ones who keep the response alive – increasing it or exterminating it through our thoughts.

There is a way to cancel out those worry thoughts, with a straightforward, realistic thought: “I don’t know how good or bad I’m going to feel”. Better yet, “I don’t know how I’m going to feel”. Another secure thought I always used in the beginning was: “I have some tools, some secure thoughts to use now, plus, I CAN trust my basic functions to carry me through.

The most common argument I hear against/about that ‘trust your basic functions’ one is: “Well once upon a time I was so bad off from a panic attack I got carted away in an ambulance.” That’s a totally average thing to go through. Lots of us had that happen. Why did that particular past incident get so scary and the symptoms intense enough to make us think we needed emergency help? Because the fear thoughts overtook our minds. I for one can attest to the fact that when I had my ‘worst’ panic attack – danger thoughts were the ONLY thing going on in my mind. I made ‘it’ worse. I kept the panic alive. I kept the symptoms growing.

The only way to stop the fearful anticipation, either before or during a stress-filled event is to change to secure thoughts – Consistent and persistent, determined and relentless practice.

Practice. That’s the only method I know that keeps us At Ease and In Control, or in some cases at least ‘somewhat’ at ease and in control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, March 28, 2010

'Average' is Good

What an EXCELLENT reminder that ‘Average’ can be Good.
Very Good!!

Eliminating fear and anger thoughts certainly help us perceive Life just that way... Wonderful !!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not Perfect
..........but Still Wonderful

...............What a GREAT reminder that an 'Average' Life,
...............even without any 'exceptional' accomplishments,
.............. can be Good. .VERY Good!

.............. Very, Very Good!!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, February 26, 2010

We Use Them A Lot

Here’s a partial list of what we do with them:

Wonder.....Wish......... .Plan
Scheme.....Hope....... ...Concentrate

Our Thoughts form our:


When we have an idea – that Idea is a Thought
When we have an opinion – that Opinion is a Thought
When we worry – the Worry is composed of Thoughts
When we judge someone or something right or wrong, or good or bad – that Judgement is a Thought
When we talk – we are speaking/expressing/vocalizing the Thoughts we are thinking

Even before we move our muscles, we think thoughts that activate commands to them.
Let’s take a simple example:
You want a glass of water, and decide to pour one for yourself.
The ‘want’ is a thought.
The ‘decide’ is a thought.
Those thoughts trigger commands to the muscles to carry out the act(s) to produce the end desire: A glass filled with water.

Thoughts, we do use them a lot.
The truth is–we wouldn’t do much of anything without our Thoughts.
They truly are the Central Components of Life.

Now, that’s something to think about!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the Same Page

“You can't always control which thoughts come… but you can decide which ones you allow to stay around.”

Now, you might guess that statement was spoken by someone in the mental health field. I would have at one time. After all, our own Dr. Low said something very similar. As I was taught: We are not responsible for the thoughts that come in, but we CAN accept, reject or change them. In my opinion, Low’s version is a bit more definite, more clear cut.

I know, I’ve written on this topic before (12-08-09 blog entry) – and I DO believe it’s important enough to mention again. We are NOT responsible for the thoughts that ‘come to mind’.

What does the statement do for you? For me – when I accepted it fully – it meant RELIEF! Relief, as in: It’s not my fault – I’m not wrong, I’m average for having anxiety thoughts, or depressive thoughts, or “unusual” thoughts. (‘unusual’ is the most neutral/moderate adjective I can think of at the moment.)

You are not wrong for the thoughts that come, so you can stop blaming yourself, and place the effort into changing them.

Actually, the quote at the beginning of this article came from Joel Osteen, the minister of the mega-church in Houston, TX.
And it’s really not that surprising the words are coming from someone outside the mental health field.

Lots and lots and lots of self-improvement, personal development, self-awareness, enlightenment, higher achievement, and spiritual programs teach about being mindful of what we’re thinking.

Our Thoughts – they’re important.
We DO need to pay attention to them!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, February 22, 2010

Park It!

Park it? Yes, park your tongue!

I learned of this stop-those-thoughts method a couple of months ago. The article I read had to do with quieting the mind for meditation – stopping the mind-chatter, which in our language would be: stopping the racing thoughts.

The technique is to stabilize your tongue by resting it lightly on the roof of your mouth. ‘Park’ it there (my terminology). It’s a Zen technique believed to cut down on subvocalization – which is when your tongue moves slightly with the thoughts that pass through your mind.

Well, I’ve tried it and it DOES work. Also passed it along to a few people who I knew were having difficulty with racing thoughts. They reported back that it has worked for them too. One person mentioned it was especially helpful when going to sleep at night.

Try it – it’s a form of muscle control. And, if after a time you do notice the thoughts floating back through, do re-check to see/feel what position you tongue is in (this comes from personal experience). Simply re-park your tongue to the top of your mouth, and enjoy the moments of relaxation and/or relief which stopping those thoughts can produce.

Give it a chance. Don’t blame yourself if you have to ‘park it’ time after time. Like any strategy, it takes practice.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, February 13, 2010

THE Voice

More than one cognitive modality for anxiety & panic suggests the technique of giving racing thoughts a name – “The Voice”.

The idea is to One: help you recognize the thoughts that you’re having; Two: to assist in reducing the fear.
If you use this technique, and it does indeed help reduce or stop insecure thoughts – that’s wonderful. Do continue using that method.

If you’ve been calling the thoughts – “The Voice” and it’s not been helpful, or it’s lost it’s positive effect, maybe it’s time to let go of “The Voice” – time to let go of calling it "The Voice".

It very well could be that labeling thoughts as “The Voice” you’ve inadvertently given it some power, some authority – when in fact the thoughts are harmless. Thoughts are distressing, not dangerous – unless we attach danger to them. It’s our interpretation, the interpretation of threat and danger that makes them feel scary, and makes us feel scared. And that fear (thought) causes tension, and the tension increases the intensity and duration of symptoms.

A Secure & Realistic interpretation makes thoughts benign – harmless. And we are the ones who, after we have a thought, label and categorize it as either good or bad. It’s just a thought – it has no Power, no Control.

“The Voice” is not another entity – it’s not ‘something’ trying to ‘get you’.
“The Voice” is thoughts. Thoughts. That’s all, just thoughts. Simply thoughts. Insignificant thoughts with NO Power, NO Control.

The thought comes: “I’m going to be nervous and end up miserable when I have that medical test next week.”

Your comeback, your response, to that thought could be: “I don’t know how I’ll feel. And I don’t have to believe what the thought is telling me.
Realistically, the test is not going to be a picnic. There’s going to be some discomfort – and whatever that discomfort is – I can handle it.
My basic functions will carry me through."

The Power and Control are resident within us. We get to choose to use our power to accept, reject or change our thoughts – and that’s often one thought at a time.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Fatigue

I noticed that term in a headline a few days ago.

As soon as I read the words Snow Fatigue I thought Snow Temper.
Temper at the snow. Temper at so much snow. Temper at being inconvenienced by the snow. Temper at whoever for not clearing the snow off the roads. Temper at ‘having’ to go to work in the snow or else using up personal time. Temper at ‘the store’ for not having any de-icer/salt to put on the sidewalks or driveway. Temper at having to shovel the driveway, the sidewalk or move the mound of snow that the snow plow created around your car parked in the street. Temper at the schools being closed. Temper at the people and businesses who didn’t shovel their sidewalks. Temper at having to stay inside.

The other day I had an email from a friend who lives in one of the places where it snowed a LOT in the past week. Here’s part of it:
“How are things? Here, they are cold and snowy, but I can change my thoughts about it and that is AWESOME!!
You should hear all the moans and groans from everyone at work, kind of funny really.”

Now this is a person who takes his mental health seriously. I know him well enough to confirm that fact. Has he had his share of hassles? You bet he has. Yes, the weather-related irritations and frustrations came. Plenty of annoying ‘things’ happened, including being without power for two days and having to find a place for his family to stay. And ALL those ‘things’ he encountered were “trivialities compared to his mental health”. He knows that, and that’s the way he handled them.

Did he feel stressed at times? I’m sure he did. Did he get “stressed out”? Nope – he practiced his mental fitness tools – consistently and persistently. He had “average original responses” and chose to work them down, instead of working them up.

The remark about his co-workers? My friend observed what was going on – with no judgement. Because like many of us – ‘before' he would have also gotten into all ‘drama’ of what was going on in the Outer Environment.

He kept things in perspective with realistic/secure thoughts.

He stayed away from ‘talking it up and working it up’.
The outcome? He was (and is): At Ease & In Control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, January 24, 2010


“The” computer has had a few viruses and other problems in the last two weeks. Somewhere during that time the idea came to me to start calling it – THE computer, instead of MY computer.

That one word change assisted me in putting it even farther out into OE – Outer Environment. Waaaayyyy out there in OE.
A form of non-attachment? Detachment? Separation? I think so.
For me it was. It loosened my tie to the difficulty.

Try it, and take note of how your feelings change.
Instead of: MY car has a problem, THE car has a problem.
Instead of: MY water heater has a problem, THE water heater has a problem.
Instead of: The heating element in MY clothes dryer isn’t working, The heating element in THE clothes dryer isn’t working.

It makes a difference. A little thing? Yes.

But another tool to keep At Ease & In Control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are you TRYING?

I love this quote:
Do, or do not. There is no 'try'.
……………. Jedi Master Yoda

Simple. Direct. To the point!!

There is NO TRY. Either we’re doing, or not doing.
There is NOTHING in between.

If we’re doing – we’re putting forth effort.
If we’re putting forth effort (and each of us knows when we TRULY are and are not) then hand-in-hand with that, it’s time for some silent or not-so-silent self-praise.

If we’re doing and haven’t yet accomplished a ‘final goal’ – where or what we want to be – we keep doing and keep applauding ourselves.

If we’re not doing – we need be honest, straightforward, mature and truthful enough to admit that to ourselves.
Then we choose. Either we are going to do, or continue not doing.

There is no TRY!
When we toss out ‘trying’, it makes us accountable – to ourselves.
It’s uncomfortable to face that we haven’t been giving something our best effort, or even a good-average effort. That discomfort can be a plus – driving us, motivating us, to take or increase our self-responsibility. It can stimulate us into practicing, more consistently. Not time and again.

But again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

There is no TRY!
Trying is one of those nebulous, vague terms – no way to measure or grade it. And trying has a somewhat negative connotation – as in: “I am doing BUT not succeeding.”

When we toss out ‘trying’, it really is refreshing to see that we really ‘are’ and ‘have been’ doing. It brings a realistic viewpoint front and center. We can celebrate: Wheeeeee!! “I’m not just trying, I Am DOING.” That IS reason to cheer and be glad!!
And proud too!!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Sabotage is knowing “what” to do and choosing not to do it.

Let’s say your health care professional told you to regulate your sleep habits, get into a set pattern – meaning go to bed about the same time every night and not only wake up, but get out of bed, around the same time each morning. You tried it for a while and it worked. Now you’re not following that suggestion/direction, and once again you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

When we recognize our sabotaging action (or inaction) we have really have two choices:
1. Make a Firm Decision to do what it is you know IS good for your mind and body
2. Blame (and continue to blame) yourself for being inconsistent in practicing what’s good for you (sabotaging) and wallow in those thoughts.

You can probably figure out that making a Firm Decision ‘to do’ is healthier of those two choices. A firm decision is not “I’ll TRY”. A FIRM decision is: “I WILL do _____.”

Sabotage is lack of self-leadership. Self-leadership is doing what you say you’re going to do. How do you “do” what you say you’re going to do? By moving your muscles.

No excuses! No, “I don’t feel like it – because I’ve got a whole list of things to do today, and most of them I don’t want to do.” No excuses. Move the muscles. And those precious muscles will help re-educate your brain.

Mind and Body, Thoughts and Muscles – they’re a TEAM.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Find Yourself Being More Forgetful???
.......... especially now that you're Older??

The truth is everyone forgot things & information when they were 11, 23, and 36 years old – they simply don’t remember. Now it’s a big deal. “Somebody” has made it a big deal – and I won’t point fingers, because whoever ‘they’ are – they’re not wrong they’re average.

Good news alert: The once long-held alarming view that 40% of brain cells are ‘lost’ has been reversed. Hurray! That’s one more fear thought, which seriously terrified millions of folks, we can promptly toss away. Now scientists confirm that our brains continue to develop through and beyond middle age. And what’s ‘middle-age’? That too is a matter of opinion. It’s been altered/ adjusted. Now they’re saying the span is from 40 years of age into the late 60’s.

Can’t remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? So what! It’s a triviality compared to your mental health. Yah, and here come those But’s: but remembering is part of my mental health; but I last week I couldn’t remember what the boss asked me to do; but yesterday I bought some fish at the market and can’t find it, etc.

A couple of months ago my sister and I were talking about our Father’s funeral, and she mentioned something I had no recollection of – no recollection whatsoever. Does that mean I’m going to worry, be mindful of all the times I forget, start keeping track of them, and start diagnosing? NO. NO. NO. Absolutely NOT.

By the way: Using labels such as ‘absent-minded’ and ‘scatterbrained’ are a form of attaching danger and diagnosing. Those are insecure thoughts.

Sorry – I refuse to attach danger to forgetting a name, a date, a specific word, something someone else remembers about an occasion, a very close friend’s birthday several years in a row, or anything else. Period. Exclamation point!

My rationale:
1. It’s AVERAGE to forget.
2. I’ve got a lot more information tucked in my brain today than I had when I was 35. That thought is realistic, and because it’s realistic, a fact, it’s also a secure thought.
Another fact: secure thoughts cancel out insecure thoughts. Always.

I guarantee you: the more you worry about forgetting, the more forgetful you’ll notice yourself becoming. Why? Because your mind is occupied/busy with fear thoughts, and what you’re trying to remember can’t come through.

And now I’m laughing… while writing this piece I took a break to check email. Received one from a friend I had dinner with in mid December. He was away, traveling over the holidays. Here’s part of his note: “I think I told you at our dinner that I would try to get some info for you. Not only did I fail to do so, I forgot what I was to obtain. Can you remind me?”

And here’s the humorous part of my side of it: I don’t remember, so I can’t remind him. The best I can come up with is that it ‘might’ be about a spiritual book he was reading or had heard about. But, I’m ‘not sure’ of that either. Maybe something will ‘ring-a-bell’ and maybe I will remember. And if I don’t, that’s OK too. TOTALLY OK.

My Supreme Goal is MY mental health, which to me means being

At Ease & In Control. Right now.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Friday, January 1, 2010

Purpose in Life

What’s your Purpose in Life? A lot is said on the topic – about ‘finding’ your purpose, ‘having’ a purpose, how important it is.

In his infinite wisdom, Dr. Low - creator of the Recovery International Method - spelled that out for us. “… when you are ill your main and all-absorbing purpose must be the will to get well. All other purposes, no matter how inspiring and exalted, must be subordinated to the one leading and supreme purpose of getting well an keeping well.”

“Getting well and keeping well.” If symptoms dominate your life – the supreme purpose is ‘getting well’. For those of us who have regained our mental health – our supreme purpose is maintaining our health – ‘keeping well’.

Note the term Supreme Purpose. That’s more than a goal. It carries more weight than an intention. It’s the Ultimate Aim – the Fundamental Objective. Perhaps we can call it the Core or Central Objective. It’s the Highest. It’s Number ONE!

Yes, being a parent, a good average parent, is important. So is making a living. So is being a good spouse, sibling, daughter, son, friend, neighbor, boss or co-worker, solid citizen. But the fact is – no matter what intentions we have when it comes to family, work or spirituality – without good mental health, we can’t be successful. It’s impossible.

We don’t and won’t find fulfillment in life when we’re filled with anger or fear. It’s not possible. Take away the fear, take away the anger consistently (which translates to: putting your mental health FIRST – your sense of Inner Peace FIRST) and the rest of life will flow – much, much more easily.

Putting Mental Health FIRST has fringe benefits – which spill over into EVERY area of life. Want to be move loving? Put your mental health/inner peace first. Want more creative self-expression? Make mental health/inner peace your ultimate goal. Want better relationships? Work on your mental health/inner peace first. Want to feel better? Be happier? Be more content? Serve God, your fellow man? Get/have more meaning to your Life? Feel more spiritual? Deepen your connection with the Divine of your understanding? Feel good about yourself? Have more self-confidence? Self-Love?

ALL those goals, plus more - ARE achievable when we’re calm and clear-minded. And what’s another term for being calm and clear minded? Good mental health. They ARE one and the same.

On this first day of a New Year – I invite you to consider, seriously consider, your Supreme Purpose.

Peace and Blessings to YOU for this New Year,

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved