Monday, 24 February 2014

Drifting but not Adrift...

This winter has been oh-so-long and grey-skied too often. Everyone is yearning for a glimpse of some rays – just to stoke the fires of ambition. My usual get up and go feels dormant; if I could find out where that weather-wise groundhog is hiding I’d dig up his burrow!

The hustle of the Christmas season, whether merry or not, dissipates into the January blahs, when there’s no hurry about anything!  Come February, optimists get out paint chips samples and dream of herculean efforts to spruce up the house; gardeners lovingly stroke their rubber boots and pore over spring catalogues! Mind and body seem to be in hibernation, waiting for a thaw, watching for “a sign”. I actually heard some crows yelling this morning and maybe we will find ourselves dug out from the snow eventually, thirteen feet is about ten too many.

Sometimes an afternoon reverie curled up under a cozy afghan is just the time inspiration comes winging into our consciousness. If you’re under the covers too often for too long maybe you’re adrift. I must confess I’ve been sleeping too late for my liking, but if there’s temporarily no need to set the alarm, why fret. Somehow we are able to justify most things; sleeping in may make sense but might be senseless! It’s a puzzle these days!

What we learned and experienced in 2013 has grown us into a different person than “same time last year”. It takes a little time to regain one’s bearings – our inspiration for what’s ahead may be a flickering flame that will become an inferno once we get our lists made and thoughts in order. Except I can’t find a match!

Walking is a great way to burn off some lard and feel peppier – watching the Olympians’ accomplishments makes everyone else look like a fossil. Time to heave once again into heavy boots and my parka, the dog is twirling and wants “out”. Maybe I’ll I rediscover that train of thought that’s buried and hop aboard as it whizzes past! 

Today I’m drifting but not adrift.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

How Can I...?

In the February 4, 2014 issue of the Toronto Star, Life Reporter Nancy J. White has penned an article entitled “Chatting with Your Inner Coach”.

She quotes Ethan Cross, lead author of a study result published in the February issue of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that “to think about yourself as if you were another person provides psychological space, which helps people to exert self control”….

The comments are fascinating. Some people make up a list of Pros and Cons to help them with decision making. Others appeal to friends and other trusted advisors to help them quell anxiety and see the probabilities more clearly. Visualizing the person who is stressing over an issue is helpful – if that person is me it can be a challenge to be objective!  

Sometimes just talking it through, aloud, helps me clear the air – but as Associate Professor Kross states “to talk to yourself out loud in the third person violates all sorts of social norms.”

My husband is a great mutterer-to-oneself, which is sometimes more than slightly irritating, but at least he gets the answers he’s seeking! I seem to have noticed that people who live alone also have audible conversations that may seem odd to guests but are nonetheless fulfilling. And pet owners find great consolation in discussing their issues in dogspeak or conferring with the cat!

A close friend of mine, coming up to an important 1st Interview date, is feeling anxious. She has been gleaning and reviewing possible “interview questions” and which responses would be most appropriate.  It seems most probable that if she were to express her thoughts aloud and rehearse in the terminology of “you” – as in assisting a friend objectively, that the technique will instill the self-confidence she doesn’t yet feel.

Nancy White’s article “Chatting with Your Inner Coach” is timely and pertinent when the question we’re deliberating is How Can I…?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Change the Channel...

I heard this nifty phrase for the first time today on the CTV morning program known as Canada AM.  The application inference was more than pushing a button on the remote – its connotation referred to switching one line of thought to another! Almost like a “Time Out” indicator which we’re familiar with when someone wants to make input to a conversation.

Astute journalists and commentators, as an example, are most keenly aware of the flow of news reports and studio interviews, especially “Live” broadcasts. The everyday conversations of people everywhere can carry participants along with enthusiasm, until there’s an inadvertent slip of the lip and smiles go south. We sometimes get so caught up in the chitchat that we miss reading subtle signs of uneasiness or inappropriate thought lines, then a disconcerting jolt when the brakes jam on.

It came to mind that the phrase “Changing the Channel” might be an apt tactic for anyone who finds themselves teetering on the brink of hot water! Parents to recalcitrant children, adult children to unravelling parents, friend to friend or spouse to spouse. One accepted approach to keeping conversation alive is to redirect the focus to sidestep confrontation if the other party becomes overly anxious or upset. This strategy is a lifesaver for anyone who provides care to a loved one suffering from dementia – it’s almost like peering far ahead when driving at night – keenly alert to a possible incident!

Just as we sidestep a puddle or avoid thin ice, we can – rather than use the Mute button - hopefully circumvent discord by Changing Channels.