Fantasy in Marriage

"Happy ever after" is an unrealistic yet useful fantasy.

“Happy ever after” is an unrealistic yet useful fantasy that can motivate us to connect with another.

I’ve met people who think their mate is their “soulmate” – a rather nebulous and undefined term that invites unrealistic fantasy. Unrealistic fantasy is a perfect setup for disappointment. Disappointment is one of those emotions that triggers a plethora of other emotions, including guilt, anger, grief, and resentment.

I have lots of fantasies – from dreams of the perfect garden to hopes of winning the lottery. Some fantasies are completely impossible yet can motivate me to connect with another in a meaningful way. These are useful fantasies – yet fantasies nevertheless. Continue reading

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Exit the Clown – Thank You Robin Williams

Exit the Clown!

Thank you, Robin Williams!

The clown’s job is to present a mirror to the people so they can laugh at themselves.

The report of the death of Robin Williams got me to thinking about the role of the clown versus the life of the clown. Robin Williams brought laughter to a lot of people during his lifetime – even while he suffered deeply from many common personal issues including depression.

Although Robin expanded into acting in dramas (thankfully, never horror), his “gift” was comedy. I feel gratitude for his service to humanity. Continue reading

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Altruism and Suicide

Suicide thoughts can hypnotize a person into believing they will save the passengers by sinking the ship.

Suicide thoughts can hypnotize a person into believing they will save the passengers by sinking the ship. It’s wrong and altruistic.

Many folks I know consider suicide an extreme form of selfishness. This is based on historical societal “norms” and religious dogma rather than on real research into what goes on inside the mind of a person considering suicide.

As an unlicensed hypnotherapist, my experience with clients considering suicide was to first make them an appointment with a licensed professional who I knew successfully dealt with suicidal patients. Then I’d make a contract with my client that they would put off their suicide plan for a while – in every case, the licensed professional did the same. Then we’d delve into the reasons why my client felt that suicide was their best or only option. Every such client reported altruistic reasons for their intended actions.

Contrary to prevailing beliefs about suicide, most suicides are performed because the person feels that it is the best or only option that benefits those they care about. They don’t think, “I’m going to kill myself, which will hurt those around me.” Rather, they think, “I’m going to kill myself to SAVE or HELP those I care about.” In other words, they wish to kill themselves because of an altruistic intention.

Tunnel vision created by mental pain tends to shrink consideration of alternatives – options. As the pool of options shrinks, the ability to consider options shrinks – it becomes a hypnotic squeeze, in which fewer and fewer options remain until there is only one option left: “It’s the only way,” or “There’s no other way.” Hypnotic because we become mesmerized by and to it. Without intervention, suicide becomes its own trance state around which we build a kingdom of positive justifications based on less and less information and strengthened by the confirmation bias (“See, I told you it’s the right thing to do.”).

I’ve watched movies in which someone invariably says at a critical juncture – usually when all seems lost or hopeless – “Let’s do [some action] because it’s our only hope,” or “We have to [perform some action] – there’s no other way out…” and etc. In most of those movies, I’d watch and think to myself, “Why didn’t they just [do some other action]?” For example, fighting Godzilla with pistols and automatic weapons or even atomic weapons didn’t seem to harm the beast much but they kept at it anyway. Nobody thought to try to get to know Godzilla – to learn how he communicates and then maybe communicate with him. Instead, the only option was to destroy him – “there’s no other way.” Fear had tunneled options down to one.

Sometimes, this shrinking thinking process is brought about by chemical imbalance or disease in the brain. Mental illness is by far the most common cause of suicide. That’s why it’s important to connect such clients with licensed help as soon as possible – and to follow up to make sure the connection stays intact until the client is out of danger. It’s also important to acknowledge that the client has noble intentions, that suicide is to them an act of altruism rather than suicide. Shame does not help – in fact, shame may push the person to rush into suicide sooner.

Instead, working with licensed professional help, a plan can be devised in which the chemistry is balanced, disease is addressed, and the positive intentions of the client are marshaled to effect real lasting change that benefits the client and those he/she cares about.

Resources:

Comedy and Emotion

The best laughs feel good and are shared with others.

The best laughs feel good and are shared with others.

It’s a marriage made in heaven – comedy and emotion. Successful comedians manage to link their comedy with emotion. Further, larger audiences tend to make their comedy even funnier. In other words:

“Research shows that we laugh not so much because something is objectively funny, but because we want people to like us, or we want to feel part of a group that’s laughing – it’s all about making connections.” (Miles)

Previous studies and maybe your own experience proves out that a good laugh is good for you mentally and physically. We humans thrive on emotion and when that emotion is coupled with something we feel is objectively funny, we get a rush of healthy chemicals throughout our body. When we experience that with others, the healthy effect is multiplied.

So, laugh it up – with others!

Resources:

  • No greater foe? Rethinking emotion and humour, with particular attention to the relationship between audience members and stand-up comedians, Tim Miles, Comedy Studies, doi: 10.1080/2040610X.2014.905093, published online 31 July, Abstract.
  • Additional source: Taylor & Francis news release, accessed 1 August 2014.
  • McNamee, D. (2014, August 3). “Comedy succeeds ‘when humor and emotion are linked’.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280528.php.

Balance in Nature

Nature is always in balance regardless of how we imagine it to be.

Nature is always in balance regardless of how we imagine it to be.

No matter how “bad” or “destructive” humanity behaves, we are still part of nature. It’s not “we” vs “nature” – it’s always just “nature”. Nature is just the condition of things as they are right now. Let’s say humanity nukes the planet’s surface, destroying all life on it, then THAT will be the nature of nature at that time. Everything affects the balance of nature as it is was, but now is always in balance – it just is. “Imbalance” is a human invention intended to promote someone’s agenda (“shoulds”).

For example, there is no doubt in my mind that humanity is changing the climate of the planet – and when/if that eventually kills off all the homo sapiens, there will be another era without humans. THAT will be the nature of things then – in perfect balance just as it is now.

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