The Beauty and the Beast

You’ve seen Disney’s version of the Beauty and the Beast. If you’ve had a toddler, you’ve seen it a thousand times. Did you know that you may be acting it out in your own life? Do you realize it might be ruining everything?

You know the story: a charming young woman falls in love with a beastly man and, through her love, he is transformed into a prince. The ancient Greeks had elements of the plot in their myths of Eros and Psyche and Hades and Persephone. In fairy tales, you have ladies kissing frogs. Then there’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and, in our own time, a variation was developed in the Phantom of the Opera. The hope it offers is intoxicating. The picture of marriage seems true to life. Continue reading

Ride the Ego Balloon

You may be amused, instructed, affirmed, chastened, enriched, or enlightened by my latest video.

The ego is a good tool if you understand its uses and limitations. The ego balloon can make you crazy, but it’s often a good crazy, a necessary madness, provided you can land the thing when it needs to come down.

The Madonna and the Whore

For centuries, men have been putting women, and women have been putting themselves, into two categories, the Madonnas and the Whores. Consequently, they either get sex without love, or love without sex.

The Madonna is serious, pure, virginal, loving, forgiving, safe, and supportive. She washes the man’s socks. She raises his children. He can leave and she will still be there when he returns. She is his mother.

The Whore is fun, slutty, degraded, aggressive, hard, and wanton. She goes away when he’s done. He doesn’t have to wake up with her. He’s thrilled by her. She is his toy. Continue reading

Natural Variations

Take any two people and there will always be a natural variation between them regarding any characteristic.

There will always be one who is more strict with the kids, open to in-laws, careful with money, adventurous in bed, ambitious about career, social, self-confident, flirty, interested in a clean house, closer to family, better at math, permissive, more sharing of feelings, horny, generous to others, and on, and on, and on. Continue reading

What my tennis coach taught me about change

Old Posts

Can reading a blog help you stop the madness?

It can’t.

You can’t learn to play tennis by reading, either. You’ve got to play.

I took tennis lessons once. The coach asked me to show him my serve. I hit a few. I looked over and saw him shake his head. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said.

First, he had me put my racquet down and practice tossing the ball. He showed me what I was doing wrong. I was bending my elbow, causing the ball the ball to go behind me where I couldn’t hit it well. He showed me how to toss it right. “Keep that elbow straight,” he said. He watched me toss the ball until I did it correctly. “There,” he said. “Now toss it that way two thousand times, then it’ll be automatic.”

My tennis coach understood how to effect change. First, he had to break down the process of serving a tennis ball into parts small enough for me to focus. Just the toss. Then, he knew that to break old bad habits and create new ones it is necessary to repeat the new habit over and over again. How many times? I don’t know if two thousand times is the precise number necessary. Suffice it to say, it’s a lot.

So, if you take this process and apply it, not to serving a tennis ball, but to the way to handle madness, you can see there’s a lot of work to do. First, you must know what sanity is and compare it to what you’ve been doing. You have to know how to do it right to know what you’re doing wrong. Then you have to practice doing it right, over and over again, until it’s automatic.

Let’s say you’re an alcoholic. You’ve gone to AA and gotten a list of phone numbers of recovering people you can call whenever you feel like drinking. They’ll talk you out of it. So, what you got to do is to call them when you have what passes for a reason to drink. It’s a very simple operation, as simple as tossing a tennis ball while keeping your arm straight. If you call them once, you’ve achieved a small victory. If you call them two-thousand times, you’ve changed a bad habit into a good one. It may now be automatic.

It would take me about less than half an hour to toss a tennis ball correctly two-thousand times, thus creating a good habit quite easily. It’s not so easy when you train yourself to call your AA friends. You would have to have two-thousand urges to drink and two-thousand phone calls. That would take years. This is one reason why so many people relapse, so many people say change is impossible, and so many people give up. But, change is possible. It just takes persistence.

By the way, my tennis coach went on to show me other things I could use to improve my game, but what really stuck with me was how to perfect the toss. That was the only thing I learned from those tennis lessons. It turns out, that’s all I needed to learn so that I could beat the people I was likely to play. If I ever turn pro, I’ll have to see the tennis coach again to learn the right way to do other things. The same thing goes with learning to stop the madness. Very small changes, if they’re the right changes, can make a huge difference. But, you’ve got to play.

 

How to Get Out of Quicksand

Old Posts

I was walking along the beach one day, having a nice vacation, when I stepped into quicksand. It wasn’t a deep pit like you see in the movies, the kind that can swallow a horse and rider, but it was quicksand, just the same. I soon was in up to my knees, just like in the movies. The more I struggled to pull my feet out, the more stuck I became.

Perhaps you’ve noticed by now that you get more entrenched in your issues the more you try to solve them; just like quicksand. You have a library of self-help books, have seen a score of therapists, attend groups, seminars, and yoga classes, you take medicine, and practice mindfulness. All this and you are still anxious. In fact, you’ve gone from being anxious to being anxious about being anxious. If your method of escaping is similar to my method of getting out of quicksand, you will get more stuck. You’re doing it wrong. Continue reading