Posted in Comedy, Mental Health, Psychology

What is Crisis?

A crisis is a life storm or life event

As we live our lives, we experience a variety of life events and storms. Some of these events, such as a: 

  • divorce,
  • death of a loved one,
  • lay-off, 
  • illness and/or
  • foreclosure

are significant while others barely make our radar such as: missing the 3rd light on the way to work and thus delaying our travels by a whopping 2 minutes. 

That’s ok, though, because I have Marauder Radio on my iPod and I have a few minutes left in this eye-popping and soul-opening episode.

This book focuses on 

  • the significant life storms and events. And 
  • the significance of a storm or event is defined by YOU!

Not me or your spouse or children, parents, friends, pastor or even counselor. Oh no, you, and only you, have the responsibility of designating which life events and storms are significant or “blips on the radar.” Taking responsibility for your healing starts now.

The life storms that you designate as significant are similar to natural storms such as tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis. Life and natural storms share two key elements in common.

First, life and natural storms break things.

Second, both leave behind a ton of debris.

Natural storms put cars in trees and boats in living rooms. Natural storms leave behind torn roofs, broken tree limbs, mangled lumber and drywall and tile and carpet that at one time were the components of someone’s home. Now, those discarded components create a pile of garbage in the middle of a flooded community.

On November 17, 2013, a major, late fall storm hit the Chicago area. One of the many mighty oaks in my yard decided to ride out the storm in my home. For once in my life, I actually experienced the natural storm debris field (as I described in seminars, workshops, books and on my radio show for years) in my own home and life. What an ironic and iconic experience. 

See appendix A for some of the pictures.

Life storms break our dreams, hope, faith, marriages, family and security among other things. Life storms leave behind debris piles I label: hurt and fear.

There are two categories of crises or life storms: 

  • On or Off Time Crisis and 
  • Situational Crisis.

An On or Off Time crisis is a life storm that is connected to a time-line. The time-line is often created by society, our family and/or us. Along with the time-line are a unique set of expectations held as “beliefs” by the community, our family, us or a combination of us and our family or community. 

As an example, in the 1960’s the time-line, meaning chronological age, for marriage was pegged at twenty or shortly after high school. Today that age has increased to twenty-seven. As we grew as a society and individuals, completion of college and one’s initial career launch were “added” to the time-line and expectation list thus bumping marriage back a few years to accommodate for the new goals needing to be accomplished.

Following suit, most people start a family in their early thirties or late twenties. If you are forty and not married, you may experience a life storm due to the fact that you are “off schedule” with the life event of getting married and starting your family. 

God help you if you are unemployed or under-employed as well since that would be three strikes. And you know what three strikes means: ________________________________________

(fill in your own answer here)

Time lines are flexible and are altered as societal values ebb and flow. For decades most people married and started their families in their early twenties. Today a twenty-something is not overly worried or sad if they have not married yet. Forty years ago someone of the same age might have felt pressure and even marginalized if they had not “settled down” by their twenty-eighth birthday.

Today, when you meet a couple in their mid-thirties who are without children the natural reaction is to wonder “Why?” Then our minds start to create a host of scenarios from infertility to choice. It appears “odd” to us when someone is off-time with society’s time lines.

Situational crises are the direct effect of a sequence of events leading to a climaxing conclusion. Situational crises are the storylines of movies. The plot thickens and twists and turns until an ultimate breaking point is reached.

Situational crises can take weeks, months and even years to build or can be sudden, dramatic twists of fate.

The death of a loved one can be sudden, in the event of an accident, or the building and developing story line of an illness. One day you are playing golf and laughing with your friends and the next morning your doctors are discussing your treatment options for the cancer that was located during your last routine check-up.

Crises are a time of danger and incredible opportunity.

Crises are a time of danger since some of us choose healing behaviors that are ineffective and unhealthy. For a long time I dealt with the Bullshit of Life through addiction and anger. It was easier to drink and yell and drug and isolate than it was to face the pain, talk about, heal and then learn how to effectively manage the anxiety that came with having lost so much.

Those debris piles of hurt and fear that I discussed a few pages ago require clean-up. Learning our personalized and unique clean-up protocols is hard work and painful. The danger is that the hard work and pain deter us from working our way through to the other side where healing resides.

If we avoid the pain and hard work by taking the “easy way out” and use less than effective and healthy means of coping with the Bullshit of Life, then we can actually make the crisis event or life storm of which we are trying to cope even worse. We can spawn new storms and create new crises. If I turn to drinking to manage the anxiety and heal the hurt that I have after losing my job; I may also, due to my drinking, lose my marriage, connections with my children and friends.

Crises are also a tremendous moment of opportunity to learn who we are and the “stuff” of which we are made. Crises are times in which we develop character and perseverance. We forge our resiliency and develop skills that carry us past this life storm and event as well as through the life storms and events yet to occur in our lives.

We develop confidence in our own intuition and our ability to predict and anticipate the outcomes of our healing behaviors. 

We learn that we will survive and be stronger. 

Our relationships to people, places and things will grow deeper and more intense and become the bedrock on which we build our healing platform. As Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying ballad suggests, we “love deeper” and life is “sweeter” and we live more fully as human beings.

Video by Bob on Mental Wellness After a Crisis
Posted in Comedy, Mental Health, Psychology

More on What is HEALING?

Healing is the natural process by which we triage the trauma that is ushered into our life as a result of a life storm or crisis event. 

In my books, workshops and seminars and even on my radio show I discuss healing in a linear fashion. Meaning that I describe (1) life events that rock our world, (2) the trauma those life storms create and (3) how healing helps us rebuild, reboot and reinvent ourselves and lives. 

Books, workshops, seminars, videos and even the podcasts are linear: a point to point straight line discussion. Hence the limitation of media when it comes to exploring the vital and life giving-back process of healing. 

Life is a process. Life ebbs and flows. Life moves forward then backwards then sideways and even diagonally. Life is up then down then up again and down once more. Sometimes the ups are high and the downs very low. Some ups are just ups and downs just downs, nothing dramatic.

With this in mind I take a linear look at why we heal and how we heal. I call all of this The Art of Healing. You may choose to apply what you learn from reading this book by engaging in the process of living your life, the process of the Art of Healing.

Life Storms happen.

Crises occur. 

Our lives rocked. 

The trajectory on which we thought our life was traveling is suddenly altered. Sometimes subtly and sometimes violently.

Each and every day we are confronted with the events and situations that create the scenes of our life. These life events, some of which grow into life storms, impact our lives. We are also expected to cope with situational life events from hitting every light on the way to work and thus being late for the big meeting to the fact that no one in your home saved you a plate of dinner and post that late meeting you arrive home with the kitchen cleaned and dark and the family on the couch watching DVR fodder. 

The other choice is to not cope, not manage the situational life events that challenge our mental wellness and psychological fitness skills. You can always dig a hole, crawl in and stop living so that you stop experiencing daily occurrences that challenge your mental wellness. Go on. Yell at the family for sitting on their collective asses watching television as you are forced to microwave a pasta bowl because no one had the forethought to save you a plate.

How rude.

No one loves me.

No one cares that I am out slaving away late into the evening.

Shit. Spilled pasta sauce on my new tie.

Life storms, which are known as “crises”, break connections we have with vital people, places and things in our lives. When a divorce occurs, the connection between husband and wife; parent and child are broken. A connection to a dream of a happy and content family, awesome and loving marriage, romantic get-a-ways is broken. The connection to trust and faith and honesty is broken. Life storms break the connections we build and maintain that make life not only possible but rich and full.

Life storms also come with plenty of debris. As with a tsunami or tornado or hurricane debris and destruction are side effects of the life storms or crises in which we endure. Life storms leave behind the debris of fear and hurt. 

When we lose our job we have a broken connection to coworkers and identity and a sense of productivity. We also see piles of debris: fear and hurt. We are afraid that we may never find another job like that ONE. God, how we loved that job. What a great team of people. 

We may fear that we may lose our home due to a lack of financial income. Now what? Small one bedroom apartment for the five of us. Ok. We’ll put the kids in the bed room. We have cots and sleeping bags. My partner and I will sleep on the sofa sleeper we’ll pull out of some garage sale. Beats a refrigerator box under the highway bridge.

We may be hurt that after 25 years of dedicated service we were dismissed in a thirty-minute meeting with human resources then handed a small, paper box in which to pack up 25 years of history. And Gladys from HR. Crap. We had her and her husband on the boat last summer. BBQing burgers, fishing, tubing. And wow. No emotion. No heads up. Shit.

When a life storm enters our lives, thinking about all of the broken connections, new connections that need to be made, and the process of reconnecting, rebooting and rebuilding, trigger emotional responses (that debris of hurt and fear) as well as physiological sensations.

The emotive response (hurt and fear) and the physical sensations are TRAUMA.

Trauma is triggered when our mind and imagination interprets the facts that our brain is collecting. 

When you stand at the bedside of your child who battled leukemia so bravely for five years and your brain begins to realize that “this is the end” and your mind assembles those facts into a clear picture that your child will soon die, your soul and body respond. 

Trauma is the real time, in the moment, right here and right now emotional and physiological response we experience when our mind interprets the world around us. 

Trauma is ALSO the immediate, in the moment emotional and physiological response we experience when our mind memory recalls and paints a vivid past life experience.

Trauma is ALSO the immediate, in the moment emotional and physiological response we experience when our mind imagines the “future”, a future scene that may never play out.

Most people enter counseling, go to their church, turn to drinking and/or drugging, become angry, become isolated, spending days on end in their underwear in the basement of their home watching Netflix and playing Xbox while eating Cheetos. Only to come above ground days letter looking like an Oompa Loompa. 

Some of us, me included from time to time, attempt to triage trauma felt in the moment. There are times when I recall the death of my children. Kyle died in 1996 and Dakota in 2002. Yet, when my mind plays those dusty newsreels or my imagination creates a sequel feature of what could have been, what SHOULD have been emotions and physical sensations launch immediately when the memory or imagination play in the drive-in theater of my mind.

Those emotions are deep, dark, powerful and completely unwanted. The physical sensations are my brain’s attempt to protect the body by launching the fight, flight, freeze response and taking my defenses to defcon 5.

Those toxic and boiling emotions and physical sensations designed to help me run my ass off to move away from danger or to kick the shit out of something in response to being threatened, must go somewhere. And if I cannot run or fight, those emotions and physical sensations build and build and build until all hell breaks loose and the fit hits the shan.

Those who effectively and in a healthy way triage their trauma do so through the development of a set of psychological fitness skills that ultimately lead to a happy healthy life. 

Those who don’t continue to suffer with trauma. 

Healing is, by its very nature, a natural attempt to triage the trauma we feel in the moment so that we may heal what our wounds and manage what frightens us so that we may live a happy healthy life. 

Trauma is a waving, warning flag, flashing signal, bullhorn and huge neon sign that screams “healing” that tells us each and every day we need to heal. Miss the signals and stroll head on into a train or on-coming traffic.

To avoid being crushed by an on-coming train or traffic, we must learn how to triage trauma in the moment it is experienced. Thus, we need to develop a set of psychological fitness skills that become the manner in which we manage the fear that we experience and heal the wounds that cause us pain.

We must also develop our own and customized unique healing and grieving plan. No two grieving and healing plans are the same. All of us are uniquely crafted and uniquely made. We all have a unique personality and temperament as well as a one of a kind life story. Thus we must work hard and persevere so that we may overcome adversity by building our own unique healing and grieving plan.

Video Bob Produced that is Available on Amazon
Posted in Comedy, Mental Health, Psychology

What HEALING Really Is

Hard Work

I am fond of saying…

“when it comes to healing from the ‘bullshit of life’ there is a four-letter word ending in ‘k’ that best sums it all up”:

W O R K!

This little book is at times, INTENSE and even PAINFUL

Healing (which I also refer to as “grieving”) is not for wimps or the weak of heart. Truly healing the wounds of the past while managing the fears of what is yet to come is overwhelming. This is why grief and healing are often avoided and skipped when at all possible. And for good reason. Who in their right mind would engage in something that guarantees pain?

Prepare for a rough ride.

If healing was easy everyone would do it. Then at least the world would be rid of assholes and jerks and drunks and addicts and isolated people who take learned helplessness to new heights and…well you get the idea. 

Then, I’d be out of a career.

I’d be driving a cab.

This little book will be communal & real world in that you and I are interacting through this medium. We have an immediate connection, a community of two. Even though I completed the book and am probably on to other projects, you are now reading what I wrote some time ago. You may connect to the concepts I present through reading and understand the words printed on the page. You may think about what you are reading or have just read and digested. You may find and/or meaning to what you are reading or have just read. This interaction may alter your cognitive processing.

You, in an effort to heal, make connections to various people, places and things contained in your life. Thus when not reading the book and when connecting with people, places and things in your life may be reminded of something of which you read or interpreted as a result of your reading this little book. The book, you, me and your connections are all now aspects of your healing community. It takes a village.

There is no “secret” to healing. 

Healing is work. 

There is no answer the universe is going to “email” or “text” you if you toss a question or request out there in some intuitive like manner through the power of your mind. 

Let’s get real. 

We are wounded and become fearful in a real world and thus real world answers and options are needed. Connectivity to the real world of people, places and things is vital for healing to take root and grow.

This little book will be skill focused since genuine healing is all about finding the “things” (a.k.a. activities & connections) that work best for you. I attempt to teach you how to build then use a customized healing plan through the “trial and error” implementation of a variety of psychological fitness skills.  Skills/things: activities and connections that you and you alone select and put into action.

This little book will be educational as I am hoping that you learn something new about yourself and the Art of Healing simply by interacting with this small book THEN using your interaction to stimulate thought and a new perspective. At the end of the day, Hell is “between the ears.” How you take-in, reflect upon and apply meaning to the events of your life drives 99.9% of how you feel about your life!

Well, shit, make that 100%. 

I hate to say that anything is an absolute as I believe in miracles and the off-chance that something may buck the system and offer the world an “ah ha” moment; however when it comes to the Thinking-Feeling-Acting matrix, there is an absolute.

This little book will be entertaining as I am hoping that you laugh, are shocked, actually stop reading at times and think 

“hmmm, crap, never thought of that.”  or

“Shit, I have thought that before!”

Enjoy this little book because healing, as a standalone behavior, can and often does suck ass. We need humor in our healing plans for those plans to be successful.

Ready? Buckle up.