Category Archives: New

You are gifted!

Yes you have gifts. You are gifted with gifts but you may not realize just what gifts you have to share with the world. You need to develop them. Most of us marvel at the skill of the “gifted” athletes at the recent Olympics. Yet, with all their gifts it was often stated that each of them has spent 10,000 hours in training. That is the equivalent of working full time for five years to achieve the level of skill we saw in the Olympics.

You might say I don’t have a gift. Yet each of us has the ability to do something that someone else can’t. Many bright and talented people can’t stand to do repetitive tasks. I got bored driving cross country, especially on the interstates. I would often create fantasies to keep from falling asleep. I am glad I don’t drive for a living.

Ask yourself these questions, what do you dislike doing? What can’t you do that you have to rely on others to do?” then turn them around, “What do you like to do that others don’t? What can you do that others can’t?” Answering these four questions will help you identify your gifts and the gifts you want in others.

Being gifted is not enough to be noted for a talent. I know an excellent Jazz performer. He has played some professionally, but doesn’t. He found the smoky bars and clubs unhealthy. He hated the traveling and odd hours. It was not good for his family. He sought another line of work.

Many of you may have noted that my writing is sporadic. In February and March, I let other things keep me from the computer. To make these blogs helpful for you, I will have to find ways to write regularly.

You may also have noted that I am better with ideas than with putting them on paper. There are words I keep misspelling.В I need to use a spellchecker and proof read the result. Even then I miss many obvious mistakes. I enlist the aid of a proofreader. That proof reader has a gift that I value. They can see mistakes that I miss. In fact I have a program so I can dictate the blog and not have to type it. The program makes fewer typing mistakes than I do.

Once you identify your gift and develop it you need to focus it to some goal. What do you value in this world? What do you want to see happen in the next five years? Then how can you use your gift to make that happen. If your gift is in organizing things many groups need people to keep record and organize their files.В Who is seeking to do what you want to see happen. Approach them and see how you might work together. В You can become an important part of the team.

Martin Luther King led the civil Rights movement. He could not have done it without others to show up and March. Others drove cars to bring supplies to the marchers. Still others cooked and arranged housing for the marchers when they came from out of town. Great things happen because many people join together to make them happen. The glory may go to a few, but they were able to organize many others to make it happen.

I would love to hear what your gifts are, and how you have used them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Is your life in Harmony?

We humans seem to have a unique capacity for music. Birds may seem to sing but each of their songs conveys a particular message. Bird songs are more like phrases. “I am looking for you.” “Get out of my territory.” And other messages,

Some years ago my cousin and I went camping in the Boundary Waters here in Minnesota. As we drove up we listened to a tape of Loon calls. Loons are birds that live on Northern Lakes. They will let out a call and then dive below the water. Thus, as you look across the lake for the source of the call, you feel you are going “Looney”.
Each Loon call has a particular meaning. Since, loons are nocturnal animals. My cousin and I got little sleep as we listened to the messages the loons were giving to each other.
So much for loons. Neither they, nor the wolfs that howl, seek to harmonize. Yet people do, both in our personal lives and our relationships to others.
So, how can we harmonize our lives?
A chorus will have several voices, typically Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Bases. As they construct a chord one voice will sing a note. Each of the other voices will then sing a note that has a unique relationship to that first note. These notes will resonate with the first so that they regularly reinforce and cancel the first one out. This creates an other note. The whole things are pleasing to hear.

Our lives have several parts just like a choir. I divide them into Physical, Emotional, Social and Spiritual. We can choose any one of these to be the basis our life. When we are socializing, our physical body allows us to relate in ways pleasing to others. We adjust our emotions to support the social interaction. (How often do you catch yourself when tempted to make an unwelcomed remark?) The spiritual also takes a back seat to the social.
Like a musical composition the various voices of your lives take turns being the basis of the harmony in our lives. Sometimes we care for our body, like eating or bathing. At other times our bodies have the melody, like in playing sports or dancing.
When the various voices of our lives are not in harmony we get a dissonance. That comes out in the form of physical illness, emotional stress, social discord or spiritual isolation.
How do you find this metaphor in your life?
In future blogs I will explore this metaphor more if you share your experiences I will try to incorporate them into the blogs.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave

Ways to be Likeable

“If you’re unlikeable, it’s you against the world.
If you’re likeable, it’s you with the world at your side.”

This is so true, but how often do we feel liked? What ways might you try to behave to be more likeable? Where might you look for ideas?

I bet you are like most people. So who do you like? What characteristics do you see in those you that you don’t see in those you dislike?
The first thing I notice when I look at those who I like is they like themselves. They are not sad and upset with themselves. I naturally
want to comfort those who are sad, but I tire of doing it all the time. I would rather be with those who feel happy.

People who are happy seem to be easier to be around. They are comfortable meeting others. They say hi and are offering their hand, if not a hug. They seem kind and courteous. They say Please and thank you, just like they were taught.

Yet they seem to be able to go beyond the simple courtesies our Mothers taught us. They seem to be able to fit into the group. They notice how others around them behave. They don’t cut others off in conversation, unless everyone is doing that. If others always let certain people talk, they do the same.

If you really want to be liked remember,
“It’s easier to see what someone is really like
By how they treat their inferiors, not their equals.”
(S. J.K. Rowling)

Likeable people seem confident. They give an air of positivity. They know they can do what it takes to get the job done. That doesn’t’ mean they won’t get help and recruit others in the task. I would rather join in a task than just stand there and watch, even when the other person can do it by them self.

Some mistake arrogance for confidence. What is the difference between
confidence and arrogance? Both know they can do the job. Arrogant people seem to have an attitude that others can’t do the job, or do it as well as them. This can be difficult for those who have struggled to master a task. You naturally want to show off. When kids do it we praise them, but as adults we need to unlearn this. Otherwise we will come over as Arrogant.

Confident people are also relaxed. They aren’t afraid to let others try.
That doesn’t mean they let others struggle unnecessarily. They might say, “Would you like a hand with that”, instead of “let me do that.”
We tend to like people who we can trust. That means many things but goes back to courtesy. They don’t let us down. If we are trusted, we know what is expected and do that.

When we speak we expect others to listen. Do you like to be ignored?Then don’t ignore others. Some people don’t know when to relax and stop talking. Then we have to find a nice way to ask them to, “let others play, too.”Yet, do you like others that ignore what you just said? Instead

acknowledge what they dais and if you don’t know much, ask a question? Be careful not to challenge their point of view, until you know they won’t feel attacked. There is a time for debate and never a time for argument.

People also like to be known, use their name. If they wish to be formal the be formal and say MR. or Mrs. This goes back to the blending into

the group. Informality may be accepted from some people and not others. I noticed this among fellow physicians. To the general public they were Dr. and to each other we used first names.

People always likes to Laugh. A sense of humor is liked. But this can be difficult if you don’t know your audience. Some people are sensitive about things that others take for granted. Puns usually are safe, but putdowns are very dangerous. They might be offended for an absent friend.
Lastly, we enjoy being with those who enjoy us. In addition to laughing we enjoy being enjoyed.

So if you wish to be liked:
•Like yourself
•Be courteous
•Blend in and accept the group’s standards
•Be confident but not arrogant
•Be trustworthy
•Know who you are with
•Make them laugh, and
•Enjoy them

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Vitamins are they Vital?

Do you feel like the person you would like to be? Do you eat like you know you should? Does your diet lack some important nutrient? Of course you feel the answer might be yes. So take vitamins and you will correct this flaw in your life.

That is why vitamin and mineral supplements are such a big business in the US. The average American spends over $100 a year on such products. In fact I took my vitamin this morning. But then, is that really necessary?

As I have aged my metabolism has slowed. If I eat like I did at twenty, I would really be obese.В In fact I doubt I could avoid obesity if I eat as the dieticians recommend.В I am probably missing some vitamins or minerals.

Yet, much of the vitamin and mineral supplement I take shows up in my very yellow urine. Yes urine is yellow, but not that yellow. If you doubt this stop your vitamins for a week, and then restart them. Your urine will go from pale yellow to a bright yellow.

Is the American diet deficient in some vitamins and minerals?

Yes, the American diet is deficient. That is why milk is fortified with Vitamin D and salt with Iodine.В We debate about adding Calcium to orange juice.В The limited usual dietary supply of these three elements cause health problems in many Americans.

The average person suspects they are suffering from some other vitamin or mineral related ills and takes supplements “just in case.” These illnesses are not as dramatic as scurvy or rickets. Neither are the vitamins or minerals toxic.

There are many problems with this debate. The science lacks the rigor of most medical studies. The products fail the quality standards of prescription medications. The motivation to correct these flaws is lacking.

Faced with all the marketing and uncertainty what are we to do?

What is causing you trouble? Is it the worry or the lack of vitamins? That is hard to tell. Worry and stress are part of our lives. Worry leads to many illnesses. Those illnesses are common and have many causes. They also have many potential ways of prevention. One can’t do all that might be done, without spending so much time worrying as to have the worry become the problem. So, relax. Listen to a trusted source. Try to follow that source’s advice. Being relaxed will often help you better than more or less vitamins or minerals would.

When you get a cold you will want to do something. If you think Vitamin C will help take some. Just be sure to drink plenty of water. The first problem with high dose vitamin C is the possibility of kidney stones. Lots of water will reduce that risk. It is really hard to get too much water, and with a cold mild dehydration is common.В The second is possible rebound Scurvy when you stop. The Scurvy is transient and will be in the form of cracking at the corner of your lips. Now that your worry about whether or not to take Vitamin C is over, you will relax. Relaxing will help your body heal quicker.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Ps. I welcome sharing and commenting.

The Hospice Cure?

People in hospice are living longer than expected, according to a recent Washington Post article. Why is that? It’s because for-profit hospice companies are recruiting less ill patients, or patients not really dying. In my experience as a geriatrician, many chronically ill people have lost most incentives to keep them alive.

Why might Hospice Cure a dying person?

In my experience as a geriatrician, I saw that seriously ill patients often became isolated. As we become ill we cut back on our social contacts. With a cold or flu that is certainly wise. However, after heart attack or stroke there is no reason to avoid social contact. Yes it might take more effort, but can yield benefits that make it worth it. Have you ever gone to a party feeling bad only to enjoy yourself and forget your ills?

As we get older our bodies stiffen up. We are aware of more aches and pains. Most people past 60 have some osteoarthritis but for some people it doesn’t cause problems. Doctors can’t explain this. I have seen very deformed knees that did not ache and seemingly normal knees that were crippling. It seems that some people with osteoarthritis have adapted very well and others not as well. Those who adapted live full lives, the others are shut up in their illnesses.

What are the benefits or remaining active?

The main benefit of an active life is the self-image of health. When I can shop and do other things by using a bus I don’t feel the loss of driving. When I get to the gym I am among others who are enjoying strengthening their bodies.

There is a large social benefit from getting out. I go to a book group regularly. The others bring their printed books. I recall what I heard while listening to the book and my thoughts about the book. In the time I have attended this group I have made several friends. If I had let the difficulty of transportation and low vision stop me, I would have missed out on the friendships.

Those who are shut in by illness are cut off from friends and family.В When people recognize that they are dying, they enter hospice, which brings renewed support. The hospice teams are available in person and by phone. They have a network of supporters who will sit with a person and do chores.

Hospice changes the focus from Cure to Care. This was the biggest change I noted when I became a Geriatrician. No longer could I expect to cure an illness. In fact I often had to decide which symptom to address, recognizing that other illnesses would be left to run their courses.

Our society is very isolating. We no longer live in multigenerational groups. Families are separated by distance. Many divorced or widowed people live alone with personal contacts limited to what they can organize.В If someone misses a group gathering, soon they will be forgotten.В The news of their entry into hospice may bring renewed contacts.

Humans are social animals. Infants who don’t get physical contact with care givers soon die. Kids are always in contact with each other. They wrestle and roll together on the floor. Adults too need physical contact. Hugs are usually welcomed and enjoyed. Even a hand shake can enhance the experience of meeting a stranger. We can take stock of someone we meet by the strength of the handshake. Physical labor makes one’s hand strong and well-muscled. Confidence is communicated by willingness and taking the lead.

Thus the social supports and contacts Hospice Care provides might be just the Cure a person needs.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave,

Author of the forthcoming book: “Recipes for Lemonade (thriving through disability): Dr. Dave

S Personal Recipe”

Stop don’t make New Year’s Resolutions!

That’s right don’t make New Year’s Resolutions that you know you will break before the month is over. We all have things we want to change, but resolutions are not the way. We all know that a lot of resolutions are made, few of which have any chance of happening. If you really want to make a change then you will have to plot a revolution. So, if you want to make change plot a revolution.

Revolutions take a lot of work. They start simply enough with people realizing that a change needs to occur. We know there are changes we should make in our lives. How many of them are worth the effort to do the work to actually create a change in your life?  What would your life be like if that change happened?

We all want to control our weight. What would it take to control your weight? For me it is to change my compulsion to eat when food is around. Since New Years we have had a lot of extra food left over from a party New Year’s Eve. Every time I walk past the dining room table I grab something to nibble on. Tonight to slake my thirst I finished the egg nog; water would have been better. Thus to lose weight I must change the way I respond to the sight of food.

Changing the way I respond to food requires a lot of work. The simplest would be to create ways to avoid seeing the foods. I put the box of triscuits in the cabinet.  I could try reprograming my brain with affirmations. If that fails I could go to some exploration of the history of food in my life. Why does food, or at least certain foods, have such an attraction for me?

Which of the New Year’s Resolutions you made are you’re ready to make happen? Are you ready to make a Revolution in your life?  Do you need help plotting your New Year’s Revolution? A coach might be the person to help you plot and implement your revolution.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Disability interventions, how can you confront a disabled person?

When we intervene in the lives of others, we do so because we care. We love. How can we communicate that care and love?  We intervene in the lives of others daily, but these are in usual social situations like holding a door. When we note that someone is becoming disabled it is harder.

The idea of a formal intervention became popular several years ago with people who had addictions. Since then, the popular media has applied the idea to other situations. With disabilities interventions often occur when parents intervene to get assistance for a child. I would like to talk about intervening in the affairs of another adult whose abilities are failing.

It is normal to lose some abilities as we age. Most of us realize that we can’t play sports like we used to. That is not a problem unless our identity exists around that. Most adults see decreased abilities as a problem of old age. However, life and diseases often make that a reality before we think we are old. 

When someone we care about struggles to do things, we are tempted to intervene. When someone struggles to carry something, it is natural to offer to help. However, other situations arise that aren’t so simple. How can we intervene in the poor driving of another?

Driving is just one of many situations where we might feel obliged to intervene. Other situations can arise at work or in usual activities.  In such situations we expect the person to make major changes in the way they do things. Intervene in Things such as stopping driving. These changes will not be popular.

How might we intervene without becoming unpopular?

The problem of confronting someone with bad news is hard. We fear becoming the focus of any anger associated with the message. We easily get trapped by such anger. Communication experts suggest that one start such conversations by saying such things as, “When I see you do such and such, I get scared that something bad will happen,” and then making a request for the change we would like to see.

By starting this way we first express our need. That means we have opened ourselves and expressed our pain. That usually elicits a desire in others to help.  Such desire can easily get lost when we start with the request. We have not exposed our personal pain. Most people don’t want to hurt others, so they hesitate to get angry at a hurting person.  The conversation now revolves around the problem and not feelings.

Such approaches can be used in the workplace as well.  When dealing with a friend or family member it is easier. In the workplace legal and economic consequences exist. In either situation resources exist. I will talk about options when dealing with a disability in future blogs.  Today, how have you confronted someone else’s disability? Do you have experiences or other ideas?

I appreciate comments and your sharing this blog with others.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave,

Author of the forthcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (Thriving through Disability): Dr. Dave’s Personal Recipe”

Loneliness: how to overcome Loneliness

Everyone feels lonely some time, but how can we stop feeling lonely? Researchers investigated this in a study recently reported on by NBC news. The question was does loneliness make us seek things or do things make us lonely? They found for some it works both ways, but not for all. Do you use shopping as a way to combat loneliness?

Loneliness is surprisingly common, with 20% of Americans saying their lonely at any one time. About one third suffer from chronic loneliness. Loneliness increases stress high blood pressure and possibly premature death. So how can we combat loneliness?

In this study they divided people’s approach to material items into three groups. There were those who liked having things for the sake of the things themselves. Second group like things for the social status they brought. And the third group never felt they could have enough stuff.

Those who like things for the sake of the items tended to be happier and not as lonely. For them getting new things did not make them lonelier nor did loneliness seem to make them want more stuff.

For the second group that sought items for social status shopping brought only short-term gains their increase in social status was short livedВ and they soon felt lonely again. В This seem to be a recurrent spiral. Loneliness made them seek things. Things eventually made them lonely again.

The third group seemВ to beВ stuck in loneliness. Buying things did not make them happier. And being unhappy seem to cause them to be alone with the things. They could neither have enough stuff or enough friends.

How can you become less lonely?

We can think of several ways to be less lonely. Shopping was the example in this study. But we can think of the lonely man sitting in a bar. Or “all those lonely people” sitting in a church in the Beatles song. These may be attempts to get ourselves out among other people but are they really satisfying our need?

What lonely people seek this connection with others. While watching a movie in a theater may seem more connected than watching at home is it really satisfying our need? Isn’t what we really need, getting together with those people and talking about how we feel about the movie and how the movie made us feel?

It would seem that the solution to loneliness is in connecting with people and sharing with people. Not in just being around people. How do you connect with others?

As always feel free to comment and share this blog.

As All Ways, Seek Joy

coach Dr. Dave

author of the upcoming book “Recipes for Lemonade (Thriving through Disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”

Your Doctor Won’t Cure you

Ever wonder why doctors don’t talk about curing their patients? No it is not that is an ethical to advertise that you cured somebody. No it is not that they are afraid of setting themselves up for a malpractice suit. When I practiced medicine I couldn’t cure the patients. It is not that we don’t know what will cure you. D

Western medicine works on the model of disease. We believe that what makes you ill is a disease. We can give you an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that is giving you a pneumonia. We can cut out the cancer. However in both cases your body will have to clean up the mess. What the doctor did allow your body to heal itself. Together Western medicine and the patient affects the cure.

Why then do alternative medicines often talk about curing you? Alternative forms of medicine see illness differently. They see illness as the result of the body’s inability to fight disease. Chiropractic medicine sees the body as being out of alignment. Acupuncture sees the body is needing to focus its energy. Homeopathy sees a spiritual connection in the material you drink with the illness. Faith healing sees a spiritual dimension to what ails you.

Western preventive medicine does some of this. Immunizations like the flu shot teach the Body how to fight the infection when it comes along. Public health measures such as ensuring safe drinking water and nutritious foods allow our bodies to grow and be healthy.. However Western public health is still trapped in the disease model. In fact it was pioneers in public health who helped to establish the disease model.

In upcoming blogs I will explore more of these ideas of health and illness. Be sure to subscribe in the box to the right. Then you will not miss any of these.

What do you think of these ideas? How do you view health and illness?

As All Ways Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Author of the upcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (thriving through disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”


The reasons for disability coaching

Coaching somebody who’s facing the possibility of disability may seem like a waste. However, most people with the disability have many abilities. To bring those abilities fourth requires help and perseverance. There are many people willing and able to diagnose, retrain, or assist in daily tasks. None of these people have the focus and perspective of helping a person find a meaningful life with a disability.

Disability coaches are health or life coaches whose focus is on helping people with disabilities. Unlike a wellness or health coach who paints a rosy picture of life if you just do this or that. a disability coach knows you will have struggles. Disability coaches know you have good days and bad days. Disability coaches know what it’s like to struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Disability coaches know you’re not superhuman. Disability coaches are willing to roll up their sleeves and help you grapple with the down and dirty of life.

Disability coaches know life is not a matter of a simple fix. Life is a matter of struggle compromise and perseverance. It involves the whole of ones being. The disability coaches not just interested in one aspect of your life but the whole of your life. The whole of your life includes your physical well-being your emotional well-being your social well-being and your spiritual well-being.

Health coaches for the most part focus on your physical well-being. They are usually paid for by insurance companies. The insurance companies justify paying them because your medical bills will be less. However, are you interested in what it costs to find a way to do what you need to do to live?

Mental health professionals are trained in helping you get your life back together. They are good at dealing with depression and other mental illnesses. They too are paid for by insurance companies. Their goal usually is in helping you function. If you are depressed and can’t get out of bed, your ability to get dressed and visit their office is a success. However is struggling to get out of bed get dressed into an appointment really living? Disability and health coaches want to see you live to your fullest potential.

Spiritual coaches usually come from one spiritual tradition. Thus, there are Christian coaches and coaches from other faith traditions. Other spiritual coaches seem to have great trouble in explaining what they actually do.

There are job coaches out there. Their job is to help you find and hold onto a job. They had many tools to figure out what you’ll be good at and what the market wants. But having a job and working is not just a matter of skills; it is also a matter of getting along with people. If the attitudes of your employer and coworkers make you feel like an outsider, your ability to concentrate and perform well will be limited.

Disability coaches know you have limitations. Disability coaches focus on the whole of your life. Disability coaches work for you. Disability coaches know living with the disability is an ongoing challenge. Many disability coaches call themselves chronic disease coaches because the chronic disease is what is causing disability.

As a health or life coach focusing on disabilities, I am using my experience going blind to help me understand this process better. I am working on a book called, “recipes for lemonade thriving through disability: Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”. I am also surveying those who have a disability to discover the breadth and depth of the problems disabled persons face. If you wish to participate in this survey you may go to
As always seek joy
Coach Dr. Dave (disabled)