Are you really connected to your Friends?

Connecting to others is an important source of our wellbeing. Those connections get us thru the tough times and bring us joy and laughter in the good times. Yet it often is the tough times that show us that we lack friends.

Do you really have friends?

If you’re not sure ask yourself these questions?

  • How many people do I look forward to meeting?
  • If I was injured in an accident, who besides family could I turn to?
  • If they were injured in an accident who would turn to me?

Studies say that most Americans find these tough questions to ask and even tougher to answer. Yet, those who thrive in this world don’t have trouble with them. Friendships are one of the very important things to help us thrive.

No matter who you are or where you are you can make friends. I saw this among people who found themselves living in nursing homes and elsewhere.

Years ago as I made rounds each evening, seeing the number of friends around a dyeing man’s bed convinced me that gay men might have something from which the rest of us would benefit. This man was dying of AIDS in the 1980’s. In those days we did not have drugs to stop or reverse the AIDS virus. I could only make him comfortable and treat his secondary infections. Yet, every evening when I stopped by his room there was a half dozen men visiting him. I had never seen this with other patients. So many people willing to take the time to be with a friend.

So, what is a good friend? A friend is not just someone you can turn to in crises. Friends will make you laugh and grow. You are free to be yourself with a friend. Yes, you may differ on some issues, but you appreciate them in spite of that.

If you want better friendships you will need to create them. So here are some ways to get started:

  1. Imagine what you’re ideal relationships with friends, family, lovers, peers and others would look like. Do they support you? Do they encourage you to grow by supporting and offering new experiences?
  2. Review the relationships you have with “friends” now:
    1. Do they meet your ideal?
    2. Could that relationship be nourished to meet your ideal?
    3. Would the other person be receptive to deepening your relationship?
  3. Who else would you like to get to know?
  4. Now find ways to spend time with these people and enjoy getting to know them better. Friends enjoy doing things together and sharing their dreams and trials. Yes, there might be times when you know it would hurt them to say what is on your mind.
  5. Look for the positive in these relationships. Partners in marriages that thrive tend to say 5 positive things for each negative one. This is good advice with all those we meet. Too often we are seeking to protect ourselves and not connect with others. How often have you really been attacked? What was troubling those who attacked you? Was it really you, or something they projected on to you?
  6. Make it a point to connect with some friends regularly. There is not enough time for us to connect with each one of our friends every month, but try to connect in person frequently if only for coffee. Phone calls and emails can help in between times. These contacts will help you to keep up with them.


May you develop stronger and deeper Friendships!


This is the ninth in my blog series on Brendon Bur chard’s book, ref=”

How not to be lonely

We all feel lonely at times. Loneliness results from not experiencing what is called empathy. Empathy occurs when the neurons in our brains are doing the same things that those around us are doing. They are called mirror neurons. It is seen when everyone else in a crowd yawns in response to one person yawning. Empathy however, occurs at an emotional level. Neurons in the limbic system of our brain are in sync with those persons around us.

How can we not feel lonely?

Since loneliness results from our brains not being in sync with the brains of others around us, we need to “get into their space.” Not physically, but emotionally. However, it turns out that doing physical things together also helps. How close do we feel on the dance floor? We are all listening and moving to the same music.

We developed the capacity for empathy from childhood. We all know that babies that are not cared for in an emotional way do not thrive. In fact many die despite adequate food and other physical care. Children, whose parents were emotionally distant while they were infants, often have a lifelong feeling of loneliness.

The good news is that we can be less lonely. That means we need to feel cared for. We do not need others to start the process for us. We can expand the process without depending upon others to step forward.

Here are four action areas you can try out to reduce your loneliness:

  1. Care for yourself. it turns out when we treat ourselves well we feel it. But some of the things that our bodies need are not junk food and other treats.
    1. We need adequate water. That is just plain old water. While the exact amount of water is not clear, we have all felt the sensation of drinking enough water mid gulp. So several times a day drink until full. If you do it before meals you are less apt to over eat.
    2. We also need sleep. How often do you feel tired during the day? This is because we have not had enough sleep over night. Most people function best with 8 hours of sleep a night. Allowing at least this much each and every night will leave you more energized during the day. Increased energy will help you get more done.
    3. Our bodies were made for activity. We need to get some exercise regularly. A hard physical workout several times a week gets the kinks out and makes our bodies work more efficiently.
    4. Relax and connect with what is going on around you. The things I am talking about are natural things. Our breath is the most convenient thing to connect with. This process is called meditation. When we get into deeper practices our brains actually grow new neural connections.
    5. Watch out for caring. You will notice yourself and others caring for people around you. Acknowledge yourself for the caring you do. See how acts of caring make others feel.
  2. Care for and about others. That means watch them and offerassistance. Don’t you feel good when youare able to help someone else? You have connected with their need and actedaccordingly.
    1. Yet we as humans need so much more. If we can be curious about what others are doing and feeling we will automatically connect. But don’t just get the facts, get the feelings, too.
    2. Make new friends. As a physician I noted how so many people in nursing homes were lonely. They were separated from or had out lived their former friends and family. Those who could make new friends were not lonely. Making new friends is a lifelong task.
  3. Let others get close to you.
    1. Helping is a two way street. If no one let themselves be helped, who would you help? If they noticed you needed help they were paying attention to you. Now you can find out more about them. you might just find a new friend
    2. Reach out to others. How much do you know about those people you meet each day? Why not suggest that you get together for a cup of coffee or a meal. These will be opportunities to connect on a more personal level.
    3. Ask for help. Are there tasks or other things you struggle with? How often have you seen friends who go shopping together? If you watch them in the store you will see that they are sharing not just the shopping but the other things that weigh on their minds as well.
  4. Take time each day to reflect upon your life. What did you do? How did it make you feel? How might you connect better with others?

There are many other things you can do to be less lonely. What are some of your favorite things that make you feel less lonely?

So, “when you seek out others, you enjoy others.”


Note: this is the eighth blog in my series based on Brendon Burchard’s book, The Charge. You can read the rest by clicking on the link to the right.

Feel free to share this with the lonely ones in your life.


Shape of congruent triangles

How to become who you want to be.

You can’t always be the person you want to be. When a disability makes you less capable than you were, you often feel like a fraud. You do things but know you aren’t doing them as well as you’re used to. You want to correct that but don’t always know how. You can change that by becoming “congruent” with yourself.

Congruence is a need we have that helps us thrive. It is that feeling of being who we want to be. No, not acting that way, but really behaving as that person we want to be.

Who do you want to be?

A couple of weeks ago I talked about creating a dream of who you want to be. Now we need to live out that dream. We need to act congruently with that dream. If you have forgotten how to create that dream go back and do it now.

Now let’s put some emotion into it. What would it feel like to be who you want to be?

  • Take a few minutes and write down all the words that come to you about who you want to be.
  • Now pick out three words that best describe who you want to be.
  • Try them on for size. Walk around the room a couple of times thinking about being that person.
  • Did it feel good and right? If not find new words.

Just feeling who you want to be is not enough. You need to act like that person. Let’s become the persons we want to be.

  • Take a few minutes and write down all the words that come to you about how the person you want to be would act.
  • Now pick out three words that best describe how you want to act.

Thinking about whom you want to be and how you would act is not enough. How would you feel? If you want to seem confident yet feel a fraud, how do you think you would come across to others? Would you really want to feel like a fraud? When you were walking around the room as the person you want to be how did you feel? Put aside that feeling of confidence and look at the other feelings you had.

You now need to find ways to be true to your new self. When you say you will be true do something to follow thru with your intention. That way others will not come to think of you as a fraud.

Becoming the person you want to be is work. The person you were before disability did not come about overnight. In creating that person you had a lot of help. The adults in your life were role models. You will need to find new role models. The Disability Freedom Podcasts will offer you some recommendations of people you might want as your new role models.

Ways to become the person you want to be.

  • Write down the three words that describe who you want to be.
  • Write down the three words of how you want to come across to others.
  • Review these six word several times a day.
  • Think of people whoВ resmble the person you want to be. Are there biographies of them?
  • Think of people with your disability. How do they live like the person you want to be? Check out biographies of such people.
  • Start a journal and write in it each evening.
    • How well you lived out these six words
    • How you might have lived out these six words better during the day
    • Think about how you will live them out tomorrow.
    • How were you emotionally today? Did you live out the person you want to be?
    • What might have prevented you from feeling like the person you want to be?
  • What are five things you will do in the next sixty days to live out the “new” you.
  • If you haven’t posted a picture of your dream, do it now.

Congratulations! You are beginning to thrive. Yes, thriving is not easy, but it is fun. Enjoy it!

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Note: this is the seventh in a series of blogs based on Brendon Burchard’s book,The Charge. To find the others in this series click on the Making a Disability your biggest gift category.

Also, you are welcome to share this series.

How you can be competent with a disability

One of the key things we lose with a disability is our competence. There are so many things we can no longer do. Tasks we mastered years ago are now impossible. How can you ever expect to do the things you used to do? Or even do some of the simple things that would help you get through the day?

I used to feel that way, too. I felt incompetent. Then I looked around and found many people doing many things that I did not think were possible. Yes, blind people don’t drive cars, but there are so many other things they can do. Recently I found a blind internist (that was the role I performed as a physician). If I sought him out I am sure I could learn his tricks and regain my clinical competence. There are ways to get your competence back!

What is competence?

Brendon Burchard defines Competence as, “our ability to understand, successfully preform in, and master our world.” As adults facing a disability most of us still understand our world. Yes, we discover that there are many things we had overlooked. How others respond to my disability has been eye-opening. I feared that others would take advantage of me. Instead I discovered that most people wanted to help.

What disability takes from most of us is our ability to perform many tasks. We don’t lose all of our abilities, but many key ones. The loss of abilities can cause us to feel that we lost our identity. I used to see myself as a runner. Now when I have trouble seeing obstacles and responding to them in a timely manner when walking, I am afraid to run.

Want to regain your competence?

What parts of your identity have been stolen by your disability? Pause and make a list. Include in that list the areas of personal care needs, job talents, and professional/social skills.

Why is competence important?

This may seem like a silly question. As you began the review of your list of lost skills you probably felt a loss of confidence, too. When we find we can’t do something we are afraid to do other things. When I couldn’t run I was afraid to ride a bike. In fact I did ride a bike and managed to crash it and hurt myself.

The loss of competence leads to a loss of confidence. This loss of confidence can also lead to many other things as well. When I couldn’t do one thing I hesitated to try other familiar tasks. There is a light switch that needs replacing. I have yet to try this familiar chore.

I have done many fix up chores around the house. To spend time among others I went on a Habitat “Build” project. There I was teamed up with another man to cut and install the floor molding. He had never done this before. I found myself trying to tell him how to cut the molding. Cutting molding is complicated because you have to visualize how the peace will fit with the others and then figure out how to cut it. Often you have to place the board upside down or backwards to the way it will ultimately fit. After a while I found myself just cutting the boards. Yes I feared I would cut a finger. but all ten fingers are still intact.

This experience gave me some of my confidence back. I found I still possessed a competence that was valuable. I started the day seeing myself as a helper and finding myself as the leader.

With the feeling of confidence we are apt to try new things, or try old things we were afraid to do. I discovered new ways to hammer a nail when I couldn’t see how to hit the nail on the head.

Competence also determines how quickly we bounce back from setbacks. When I watch football, I see this all the time. When a team makes a first down, it is apt to keep making progress. After that, there is usually some event that stops the drive. It is not the fault of the offense, but a sack, penalty or interception. Success breeds success.

Want to regain your Competence?

Make a list of things you know you can still do. Which ones can you do masterfully?

Acknowledge yourself for what you can do. Doesn’t that feel good?

Now let’s build our competencies up even >

A few weeks ago I talked about our dreams. What are your dreams? Now let’s start to make them come true. Make a list of the things you would need to do to achieve your dreams. Which ones are on the list of competencies you just made? Which ones do you need to develop?

Now make a plan to develop those competencies. Here is how to do that.

  1. Make a relearning schedule: Pick small tasks that you feel unsure about being able to do.
  2. Write them down in as specific a form as you can. How can others observe your progress? When will they be completed?
  3. Get a coach to help you. This can be a friend or a professional coach, (those focused upon life, career or health will have the most expertise in helping you).
  4. List those reasons that come to mind that make you feel you will not be able to achieve them. Now, with the help of your coach address each of these excuses.
  5. As you make progress, celebrate. This is very important because we need to see that what we thought was impossible we are getting done.
  6. Keep all this in a journal. That way when you feel stuck you can review and see your progress, reflect on the strategies learned and create new ones to overcome any new obstacles.

Now you are on your way to regaining your competence!

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

  1. Share this with anyone you know who might feel incompetent. Let them know that this is part of my series on how to thrive after a disability. You can find the other blogs by clicking on the category link to the right. If you have not signed up for my Newsletter do that too, and be sure not to miss any of the Upcoming blogs and other helpful materials.


How not to disturbed disturbing relatives

No! Don’t avoid them; meet them, those disturbing Relatives you must meet over the holidays. Neat them where they are intellectually and emotionally.


Why are those relatives so disturbing in the first place?


We care about them. Relatives are the ones we are related to. When you identify yourself you use names that connect you to your relatives. You don’t use words that connect you to your job or town in the same way. Thus they are important and give you your identity.


You have a long history with them. They are the ones you learned to relate to most intimately. That means you made mistakes and found ways to relate.


But the pains of those mistakes persist. You failed them and they failed you. Those failures left you with mistrust and defenses.


Do those defenses serve you or your family now? Probably not. Those defenses are where we restart when we meet again over the holidays.


We need to deal with those defenses, because we will be relating to these people for a long time to come. It was with these people that we learned to relate to others. And it is with them that we can learn to relate better with others.


When we meet people casually we don’t expect the relationship to last forever. Yet with relatives our relationships will last. Many of them were at your birth. You met most of them in your youth. They are expected to come to your funeral or you to theirs. That means these will be the longest lasting relationships you will have in your life.


So you need to make them the best relationships you have. No, I don’t say we should live only among family. Yet, it is among family that we can try out new ways of relating and see how our family members face the consequences.


Many of the problems we have among families mimic those we have among casual relationships.


So, why not use the holiday gatherings as a time to find new ways to relate? Ways of relating that work for everyone.


One of the biggest things people want out of relationships is respect. When we feel disrespected we have been taught to confront and demand that respect. The U.S. is fighting many wars because we don’t feel that others respect us. Our fellow citizens have been attacked because they are Americans.


On the personal level, what makes us feel respected?


The feeling of respect comes from being understood and how do we understand each other? Is it not by listening?


Listening is a skill that many of us could do better. In school we learned to parrot what the teacher said. But there is much more to listening than just the words that are used.


When we talk and act there are reasons for doing so. Those reasons stem from needs and wants. Often we cannot put words to those needs and wants directly. We are sending coded messages.


When we decode those messages incorrectly others don’t feel heard. Yet, we never pause to check if we are hearing correctly. I often find I am more in a duel, trying to mediate situations where what they say will be untenable. Does such a contest develop understanding and respect or antipathy?


If we wish to understand we need to let them expand on what they are trying to say. Questions like, “tell me more.” “How would that work out in a way that would be even better?”


While you are listening you need to ask yourself such questions as, “What does this person really need from me?” “How can I meet that need?” if you focus your attention on these issues and not try to defend yourself you will learn to understand why your relatives choose to vote for the other guy, or believe differently from you on the many social issues that divide us.


If there is time, ask them to tell you how they came to their stance on an issue. You may then be able to share your stories without saying one another might be wrong.


How else might you talk with your relatives in Peace while saying your own piece?


I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,


How to reestablish control in your life after a Disability

When a disability enters your life you will lose control. There will be things you are no longer able to do. That is what a disability is. However control is essential for thriving in life.

Why reestablish control in your life after a Disability?

Control is one of the drives that are essential for one to thrive in life. Brendon Burchard in his book, The Charge, calls this being “Charged.” He lists 10 drives that are essential. This is the first blog about these drives.

We have sought to control our lives since infancy. When we learned to say “No” we used it constantly. It drove our parents crazy, but gave us control. We could stop what was going on. As soon as our parents realized how we would respond they asked questions so our response would be aligned with their wishes. Then they, too, had control again.

As we grew we sought to control more of our lives. This lead too many confrontation’s with our parents. We would refuse to go to bed even though we were just about to fall asleep where we were.

When we lose control we try to control what we can. When I rotated through Pediatrics the children suffering from cancer would choose who would draw their blood and do other things to them. This was one way they could control part of their lives. They would still feel the pain of a needle, but they would have someone of their choosing using the needle.

As my eyesight failed, I knew I would have to stop driving. For years I would fail the eye test and get my eye doctor to fill in the form. I realized that this would only work for a while. I decided that I did not want to hurt someone else due to my poor eyesight. Thus, after a very close call, I prayed on the issue. The answer came almost immediately with another near miss.

By choosing to stop driving I still maintained some control. I found resources that I did not know existed. A neighbor offered me rides to a civic group we were in. Others also offer me rides.

How to assess your level of control?

You can ask yourself three questions to assess your level of control (rate them on a scale of 1 to 10):

  1. How in control of your life do you feel?
  2. How in control of your emotions are you?
  3. How in control of the immediate world around you are you?

True, control is never absolutely all or nothing. There are times when no one can see – the lights went out. Even in the dark we can visualize what we feel and hear.

Since control is relative we need to establish references. But these references can either serve to trap us or let us thrive. If we choose references that trap us, we will be limited by them. When we choose references that let us thrive, they give us energy.

I could choose to define my eye sight as not as good as an athlete, or as it used to be. Or, I could say it is adequate to get around. And I can find the tools I need to supplement my poor eye sight. The latter lets me feel in control.

It is this feeling of being in control that is important. That is why the second question. Choose a reference that will let you score a 10. Don’t choose to compare your mobility to jelly fish.

Controlling the immediate world is what the kids on the pediatric ward were doing. By making choices and having them honored they were able to undergo things that could have left them in a tantrum and tears.

So, how do you get control of your life after a disability?

  • Look at your attitude: as the old phrase goes, “Shit happens.” What is shit anyway? Is it the bodies waste or fertilizer?
  • Do something new! As children we were always trying new things. Doing new and different things is “the spice of life.” Always doing the same thing is boring. So change your routine; eat something different, use a different route to get to the store, meet someone new.
  • Control what you can. It might be simple as choosing who does the procedure, but find a way to control.
  • List the things you can do.
  • List the things you just did.
  • Schedule some simple tasks before the hard ones.
  • Challenge yourself to come up with new and novel ways to do things.
  • Add to this list.


As all Ways, Seek Joy,


PS, when you are in control you are ABLE!

How to Envision your Dreams after a Disability

As we fight to recover from a Disability we need to envision ourselves again. Before the disability struck we all had a vision of who we were. When the disability struck, that vision ended up shattered. The self-vision served us. Now we need to create a new self vision.

Why is a self-vision important?

Self visions are important because they serve as a reference when we need guidance. How did you see yourself before your disability struck? You were probably capable and self-sufficient. You might have been a leader or a caretaker. If you saw yourself in those roles, you would feel comfortable doing those things.

As someone who was self-sufficient you did not ask for help. You would step forward and do what you needed to do.

As a caretaker, you would step forward and help others. You would take opportunities to learn how to care for others. Did you take first aid classes? Would you step forward and offer that first aid to those in need? If your help was rejected, would you take it personally? I did.

Now that you are disabled can you still help others? Is it hard to accept the help of others? These feelings come about because you can no longer live up to your self-image.

Your self-image gave you permission to do and act in certain ways. When you acted in those ways you felt good about yourself. When you failed to live up to your self-image you felt bad about yourself. That is one reason you feel bad when you are disabled – you can’t live up to your self-image.

How to create a new self-vision

Our self visions come about from the messages we receive from others. I was the oldest child, and thus told to look out for my sister and brother. When my sister started school, I was responsible to walk with her and be sure she got to and from school safely. Now, that our parents have passed on, I am even more aware of how they are doing. I still think of myself as the big brother, and now also as the Patriarch.

I now am disabled and not in contact with my sister and brother very often. They live in other states and care for themselves and their spouses. They would probably say they worry as much about me as I do them. Both ways, that worry does not take up much of our time or effort.

Day to day we need a clearer self-image. How I interact with my wife and those people I meet each day is the real result of my self-image.

Some questions I had to ask myself as I accepted my disability are:

  • Would I admit to be disabled?
  • How would I react to others help?
  • Would I fear others taking advantage of me?
  • Would I still seek ways to help others?
  • Would I still accept responsibilities and serve in organizations?
  • What would I do at home?
  • How would I do these things?

As I pondered these questions, I allowed myself to act in various ways. I resisted carrying a white cane. Then I realized that I could not walk about and feel safe without it. Carrying it told others that I was different (it is surprising that not everyone knows what a white cane is or means).

We fear that others will take advantage of us because we admit to being blind. I was asking for help, when I was used to being the helper. I am pleasantly surprised how comforting it is to have others looking out for me. Yes, I feel guilty about accepting a seat on a bus, when I can stand just as well as others. Also there are places on the bus where it is easier to hear the driver announce the stops than in the front. They have PA systems. I also like to sit facing forward. The sideways seats strain my back.

To find out whom you are after a disability you need to try out the various roles. You need to evaluate how well you feel you do in those roles. Are their skills you need to master? Should you just let those roles lapse? How do you feel about those options?

How do you see yourself now? Do you want to be happy and self-confident? Or are you willing to be a crippled shell of who you were? Now that you have some idea of whom you will become,

How will you use your new self-image?

Self-images have many forms. There is the mental and emotional image I have been talking about. However, these images show up in many places. Every time we post on Facebook and elsewhere on the web our photo appears. This might be called a logo or avatar. It shows others how we want to be seen.

How often do people replace their headshot with a photo of family or friends? Some even replace the photo with another image. That is the way they show up each time they post on Facebook. It is their avatar.

While we don’t use animals or other images on Facebook, they are convenient ways for us to see ourselves. What animal were you? Take a moment to put a name and recall that animal.

Now what animal are you? Is that the animal you want to become? If not what animal do you want to become? How does that animal act? How do you feel when you think about being that animal?

Once you have decided upon what animal you want to be, what attracts you to that animal. How would that animal act? Do you need to change anything about your present self to become that animal?

This envisioning is what Life coaches help people do. If you want help with the process set up a consultation and see if I would be a good Life coach to help you with this. There is a sign up box in the right sidebar.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Reviving your dreams after disability

Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.

You should not revive your dreams after a disability

Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.

I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.

As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?

How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.

Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?

Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.

You should dream anew after a disability.

As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?

I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!

I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.

When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?

Share your dreams old and new.

Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?

Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,


Do “Shoulds” make you feel Guilty?

We should not feel guilty over our “Shoulds.” Yet, it is the “shoulds” we have that make us feel guilty. They are what convict us of our failures to live up to our expectations. This guilt makes us tense.

The “should” are the rules we have to live by. They help us decide how to live. Yet, how often do they make our lives’ miserable?

Why “Shoulds” make you feel guilty.

Actually the “Shoulds“ make us feel guilty only when we don’t follow them. I know I should get started on the blog early in the week so I can get it posted by Friday. Yet, I usually find a reason to put off starting the blog until about Wednesday. By that time I feel enough guilt to make it a top priority. This week I finally felt that this blog was more important than an optional breakfast with a group in which I am only marginally involved. If this gets posted by Friday morning the combination of “Shoulds” and resulting Guilt will have served me well.

Often the guilt overwhelms us. Then we get stopped or do a less than ideal job. Can we find a better way to get things done?

Where did the “Shoulds” come from in the first place?

The “Should” that I must start each week’s blog on Monday or Tuesday comes from my experience that I must process and rewrite it several times to get it to flow reasonably well and be free of major typos. I must get the ideas down and then let them sit for a while. When I come back I can see problems with the prior version.

A few weeks ago when I returned I decided that I needed to totally rewrite the blog. The final one got out a week late. The first version served to let me process the issue.

This excursion into how my “should” that, “I must get each week’s blog started early in the week”, came about serves to show us that “Should” are summaries of our experiences and desires. My goal is to publish a blog each Friday so you can ponder it over the weekend. This “should” is clearly evolving, but most of our “shoulds” are deeply engrained.

Where did most of our “Shoulds” come from?

Our “should” serve as rules to make our lives easier. Yet, they make us tense too. This tension arises when a desire to not follow the rule also exists. I would rather do other things than write another blog.

The blog rule exists because I wish to help you to get over things. The things I seek to help you with are such things as, “I should not feel pain.” I should not feel guilty that I am ill.” “I should not let my personal limitations prevent me from meeting my obligations to others….” These are all more important than just getting the blog written for a few readers.

So, what is making you feel Guilty?

Where did that “should” come from?

Does that “should” still serve you, how and how not?

Is there a “should” that will serve you better?

The “shoulds” that I suggested you ponder will not yield their answers easily. As you begin pondering “why I feel guilty that I am ill.”, many memories around illness will emerge. You had to learn when to stop and go to bed and when to push through a cold or other discomfort. What obligation did you miss by giving in to the cold? How well did you perform while pushing thru the cold? Do you recall any other options? Are there remedies you might try? Are there other ways to meet your obligations?

By pondering these and related questions, have you gotten to know who you are better? Can you accept yourself more? Will you be less tense next time?

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)

As All Ways, Seek Joy,


Want to Thrive with a Disability?

Thriving is what we all would like to do, but when you face a disability you worry about how you can just survive. But you should; not settle for survival! You are now freed from the binds that kept you from thriving before!

We can divide the ways people see their lives into three categories; trapped, tamed or thriving.

Have you been trapped in a life that did not serve you?

If you were trapped you probably knew it. Here are some ways you might have described your life, stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. All these similar feelings come from a mindset that does not let you be free. There were beliefs that held you back. They made you a prisoner in your own life. Now the musts, should and ought’s that governed your life can be put in their place. When one of these gilt-producing ideas comes into your mind, you can say, “the disability won’t let me…”

If you were lucky, you led a Tamed life.

A Tamed life is one where you find it easy to get along. You do what you must to get what you need. The shoulds, musts and ought’s get met without effort. You had a job, friends and family. If so, you are lucky friends and family are still there for you now that a disability dominates your life. True the disability has put its own set of demands upon you. They too are met with little effort.

When my eye sight got too bad for me to drive, friends and family stepped up and I could still get around. In fact a neighbor I barely knew offered me a ride to a community group we were both in. I still lived a tamed life.

But is a tamed life what we really want? Is it the life that will be best for all those around us? Tamed people are plane people. They don’t make waves or get tossed by them. Are they fun to be around? Do they make you a better person?

The Thriving life is one where we not only get our “needs” met but also our wants. Few of us really want for our basic needs of food, clothing shelter and friends. True, the food we could get in a soup kitchen is not what we are used to or want to resort to for support. It is there if we are willing to set aside the self-image and pride we have and get it. The same is true of shelter, clothes, family and friends. No matter whom I have met they have always had these available. Those who lived on the streets still had some sort of friends. I might not want them. Call me a snob, but then there are many people I would rather not have as friends.

When a disability strikes your old life gets destroyed. We will miss it, but once we realize that we can’t go back, what is there to do?

We must make a new life for ourselves. Few of us consciously created the life we lived. It resulted in many decisions that others made for us. We did not choose our parents. They chose the communities we lived in and the schools we attended. They shaped our attitudes and beliefs about how we should live and how the world would be. Now, much of that does not work! The disability prevents us from believing such things as, “if we are good only good things will happen to us.”

I lost my eyesight due to no fault of my own. I was diagnosed with the disease early on. I went to one of the world’s experts in that disease. I followed his orders. Yet my eyes got worse. I could see less and less until there were major things I could not see and do.

With the help of a coach I now know I have choices. These choices can change my life. I can take charge of my life and Thrive. So can you!

What dreams do you have? If you could be any animal, what would you be? Let’s talk about those dreams and our animal personas.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave