Posted tagged ‘psychology’


May 14, 2021

ICBetween the years 2005 and 2010, I filled two large portfolios with drawings and paintings (plus a few that ended up on my office walls).   The impetus for this surge in creativity was something called art journaling, which I first came in The Artful Journal – A Spiritual Quest by Maureen Carey, Raymond Fox and Jacqueline Penney.  When I found the book I had been doing Morning Pages (a form of freeform written journaling recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way) for years.   Morning Pages is three pages of longhand writing done first thing in the morning, stream of consciousness, no stopping, nothing off limits.  Connect the brain to the pen and go.   There are many good reasons to do Morning Pages but the one I want to talk about is silencing the fellow who provides the title of this post, I.C. – your Inner Critic.  We all have one, that voice in our heads who is fond of telling us we’re not very good at things, especially that first attempt at a poem or short story … or a first watercolor or drawing with pastels.  Why?   Well, According to Hal and Sidra Stone in Embracing Your Inner Critic, it started out when you were a child as a guide to meeting the standards of those around you, correcting you internally before you get in trouble.   But somewhere along the line, it tries to take over, becoming a specialist in telling you what you can’t … and shouldn’t … do.  Mostly by telling you you’re not good enough. (more…)


October 23, 2018

stagesOne of the primary reasons I write is that it leads me to insights that get lost in the maelstrom of thoughts often swirling in my mind.   An insight can appear at any time, dropping unexpectedly into the a.m. ramblings I call Morning Pages or appearing in a nostalgic piece on my high school years.   The latter was the case this week on my legacy blog, A Dad’s Legacy, also known as the best written blog nobody reads (yeah, I know … call the whaaambulance).  Looking back on my high school years coming to an end, I wrote, I don’t recall graduation as a big deal because I have always been a man who is ready to move on to the next phase of life.    (more…)

For Singing Out Loud

January 13, 2017

savy-singerMy granddaughter Savannah’s favorite gift this Christmas was a karaoke machine.  Once all the presents were opened and we each went to our corners to play with our favorite gifts, she switched on the machine, turned it up to full blast and began to sing … over and over … Call Me Maybe by Carly Ray Jepson (yes, I had to look that up).  To these old ears, Call Me Maybe sounds like a corny pop tune aimed at pre-adolescents in the midst of their first crush.  It’s harmless enough, easier to listen to than what Kohl’s plays over their sound system in the stores on a regular basis but … played more than five times in a row … it could be used in place of waterboarding.   I would conservatively guess Savannah sang it thirty times Christmas morning.


The Committee in My Head

September 18, 2016

entertainHave you ever heard someone speak of The Committee in My Head as a way of describing the assortment of thoughts that can seem to appear out of nowhere in your mind, especially in difficult situations?  As you’ve tried to reason your way though such a situation, have you been surprised by the unproductive and sometimes downright nasty  thoughts that turn up?  According to Barry Gordon in an article in Scientific American, We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. And if that isn’t bad enough news for those of us who would like to be clear and rational thinkers, Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner says that vigilantly struggling not to think about something or someone forces part of your brain to be on guard for that thought. Holding it there, even subconsciously, keeps the thought alive, and sometimes it escapes out of the prison it’s being kept in and erupts into your active thoughts. This is mostly likely to happen when you’re under stress, mentally overwhelmed or just plain exhausted.   So, if we can’t control our thoughts … and trying can actually make doing so harder … what is an over-thinker to do? (more…)

As If

January 20, 2016

as ifI have a good friend who, when asked how he’s doing often says, I’m living the dream.  He usually says it with a twinkle in his eye and during the course of our time together, he’ll tell me what’s really going on, be it the dream or not.  They call that Fake it ’til you make it in my men’s meetings.   Another friend told me he’d had a Terrific Tuesday and when I gave him  a questioning look, he said, Don’t you believe in Acting As If?   It’s that old notion that if you want your life to be a certain way, act as if it’s already that way until it happens. Do I believe it?  That depends. (more…)


January 13, 2016

blah-blahMy wife, Muri and I, went to the movies last Saturday night.  The film we saw was The Big Short, the semi-documentary about the mortgage lending collapse of 2008.   Shortly after we selected our usual aisle seats, three women settled into the row behind us, leaving open seats for their husbands who showed up a few minutes later with popcorn.  The ladies chattered loudly through the commercials passed of as pre-show entertainment and continued when the lights dimmed for the previews.  I leaned over to Muri and whispered, I hope they stop talking when the movie starts.  They didn’t.  At dinner before the movie, a family had just settled in at the table next to us when a someone from a nearby table came over to say hello.  She stood there at their table for 25 minutes and didn’t stop talking once, annoying everyone around her and getting in the way of the wait staff.   The Yakkers were out in force. (more…)

Throwback Thursday – Perspective

November 12, 2015

Finding Perspective is a lot like meditation. It is hardest to do when you need it most. Reading this post, written in easier times back in 2009, I realized that it was time for me to retreat into barbecue corner again and put my life in perspective.   Once again, I need to see all the ways in which I am blessed.

Early yesterday evening, I was helping my son with a creative writing project for school. He is a late bloomer who has suddenly become a serious student, and it’s fun to hear him begin to talk like a writer. He likes the way I write and asked if you can learn to have writing come so easily. I told him that it takes time to find your voice but once you do the words come more naturally. I also told him there’s no substitute for simply writing a lot. (more…)

Where, Indeed?

October 10, 2015

hallwayThis week I received a (very) short email from my friend, Barry.  Older Eyes, he said, where have you gone?  I’ve been wondering that myself.  I’d gotten used to him hanging around in the hallways of my mind, looking out through my older eyes for interesting things to write about.  In a way, he is the best part of me, another way of saying something I’ve often said … I’m best on paper.  I don’t know if that means that writing makes me a better person or that my writing skills make me sound better than I am.   But I like myself better when he’s around, so perhaps the point is moot.  Moot.  What an odd word. No?  Say it over and over a few times.  Moot.  Moot. Moot.  See? (more…)

(Good) Morning

July 19, 2015

Do you see life as one stream of light interspersed with nights of dark or as one stream of darkness interspersed with days of light?  Though there will never be an answer, what we believe about the nature of life mattersMark Nepo in The Book of Awakening

I awoke this morning with a case of the case of the blues.  That is not totally uncommon … I have a dark side and it is fond of sneaking out as I sleep.   Thisbushy one was a little darker than usual.  I could feel the first chill breezes of a spiritual winter.   It doesn’t matter that nothing has changed since yesterday morning when I awoke, as my Mom used to say, Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed.  It doesn’t matter that the gratitude list I wrote yesterday morning is just as valid today as it was then and that before the morning is over, I’ll write it again. (more…)

Seventy Talks to Forty

June 17, 2015

rothman_advice_postOK, I admit it … it’s seventy-one.  What’s one year between friends?

Monday was June 15.  If you are self-employed, it is likely that you know this as the day on which your second installment of estimated taxes is due.  Therefore, Monday afternoon, I found myself standing in line at our local post office waiting to mail my payments to the United States Treasury and the California Franchise Tax Board.   Paying money.  Standing in line.  In a post office known for its not-so-pleasant workers.  Not a formula for happy but at seventy-one, I’m pretty good at distracting myself from potentially annoying situations.  In this case, I was looking for an old Linda Ronstadt song on You Tube on my smartphone.  When I made it to the counter, I handed my two envelopes to the postal worker and said,  Since it’s June 15, you probably know where these are going.  She glanced at the addresses without expression and asked, Are you sure you don’t want a signature on delivery?  Oh, I don’t care if they get it, I said, I just want to be able to prove I sent it.  Still no smile. (more…)