Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

Finding Meaning In Grief

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It is natural for the mind and soul to focus on pain. When something hurts, it draws our undivided attention. Be it a knee swelling from overuse on a hike, a migraine blocking our ability to complete a task, or the death of our child when we are in pain, physical or emotional, the mind focuses on it-intently. And the strong the pain the more intent the focus.

The mind seeks healing for the pain as well as understanding. A child’s death is difficult for the mind to comprehend then integrate into the greater storyline of our life. And until the mind can understand and integrate it will continue to focus on that pain. Rolling it around. Twisting it. Looking at it from all sides. And until we begin to move from “why did this happened” to “here’s how I choose to respond” the mind will continue to focus on the intense pain we are experiencing.

When people are ‘stuck’ in the WHY phase of healing, they will often ask, HOW do I find meaning in my child’s death (or the loss or losses that they have experienced). The problem here is that the emphasis is on the wrong “sa-lable”.

Aren’t we supposed to find meaning in our child’s death or any loss for that matter?

Simple answer: YOU ARE NOT!

Our child’s death is a horrible, unacceptable, event that is now historical. That event, their death, will always exist in the history of humanity and in our storyline. The focus of healing and finding meaning after a loss is NOT ABOUT WHY the event occued.

There is nothing that will make a child’s death “OK” or even remotely acceptable. That pain is chronic. We can only hope to “dull that pain” with on-going and life ling healing strategies that allow us to function.

Too many people, in the name of ‘healing’, try to find meaning in their child’s death or other significant losses when the focus needs to be on their healing, their actions, their response to the event, the crisis, the loss. Yes, we seek to understand (another word for ‘why’) because the mind is programmed to learn. We learn so that we avoid pain. When we are in pain, the mind is triggered to learn about why that pain occurred so that we can avoid “that bullshit” in the future. The “Life Lessons” we learn from loss is about learning not meaning. It’s about acquiring knowledge for he purpose of avoiding pain not finding solace or healing. Healing comes when me stop asking why and start doing.

In Existential Philosophy and the work of Viktor Frankl, a existential psychiatrist, the focus is on us and our suffering not the event that causes our suffering. Frankl discussed being in a concentration camp yet meaning, survival, overcoming that horror was based on his actions, choices, and response. So, if you are really searching for meaning after a significant loss, such as a child’s death or any loss, that search must be focused on you and your healing process. Most people, and it is understandable, miss this subtle yet vital point.

Let me keep it simple, if you want meaning/purpose in your life after a significant loss (divorce, job loss, medical diagnosis, bankruptcy, death of a loved one)… focus on to how you respond to the significant, painful, terrifying, and horrific event(s) of our life that drive both emotional and physical pain that plague our soul, body and minds.  

If you have a headache and you respond by taking medication your suffering and pain may go away. It may not. And if it does not, you seek the assistance of a physician. Intuitively our body will heal. When we inadvertently cut our finger, the body begins a healing process. We intuitively bandage the cut, hopefully we have cleaned the cut before we bandage it. Or we seek medical attention. These are choices. These choices drive actions. This is how we respond to pain and being wounded. And, even when we act, we choose to respond to the pain and seeking and start healing, that pain may not go away instantaneously. Sometimes it lingers. So, we keep at the healing process until the pain subsides and/or we can function with the level of pain we experience.

In short…. finding meaning comes from choosing HOW you respond to the pain and reasons that the pain exists. Healing does not just show up on our doorstep one day, as the author alluded to. It’s the byproduct of work period it’s the byproduct of trial an error. Some things will bring about purpose and meaning as we go through our unique and personalized healing process while other things will fall far short of our expectations. Yet overtime, with consistent effort and attempt to respond to our pain, meaning, healing, growth and understanding slowly are integrated into our worldview and our life story leading two greater mental wellness.

Posted in Comedy, Mental Health, Psychology, Self Help

How Anger is Made

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Welcome to The Church of Anger! If you’re seeking healing then you have come to the right place. Take a seat and let’s rock.

Anger can be the easiest or most familiar way we attempt to get our needs met, which is why you and I return to anger over and over again. We want our needs met and we want them met, NOW!

When we act (behavior), shit happens.

It is cause and effect.

The Bullshit of Life” (an outcome of our behavior) is neither good nor bad; right nor wrong. “The Bullshit of Life” is just that: Bullshit!

The Bullshit of Life” can belong to:

  • you,
  • your lover or spouse,
  • your boss,
  • your friends,
  • your children and/or
  • anyone for that matter – including the hot chick at the gym that you believe is “checking you out” –

anyone with whom you are connected in some way as you lead your life and engage in the world around you.

The Bullshit of Life” is THE reason you lose your spouse, scare your kids, get fired from your job, get your house foreclosed upon, have your car repossessed and have NO friends. “The Bullshit of Life” is THE reason people attend my anger workshops, seminars, listen to my radio shows, and participate in therapy groups.

Our lives turn to shit for one reason: the outcomes of our anger behaviors are ineffective and unhealthy!

The ineffective and unhealthy outcomes of our behaviors or everyone: “The Bullshit of Life” are the focus of this book. When we act, our behaviors can lead to these dramatic, life altering, ineffective and unhealthy outcomes including (yet not limited to) our:

  • marriage ending,
  • children fearing us,
  • boss firing our sorry ass,
  • friends leaving us behind and
  • local police arresting our dumb-ass.

There are many, many more ineffective and unhealthy outcomes that could be listed here.

Add your own outcome:

What “The Bullshit of Life” event led to you reading this blog post?

__________________________________________________________

Your answer here:

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

The Upside of Anger

Welcome to The Church of Anger! If you’re seeking healing that you have come to the right place. Take a seat and let’s rock.

Anger can be the easiest or most familiar way we attempt to get our needs met, which is why you and I return to anger over and over again. We want our needs met and we want them met, NOW!

Powering up.

Forcing the issue.

Going for what you want no matter the damage caused is part of the American culture and narrative. We learn it early. We use it. We are allowed to continue to use it by people in our world who don’t know how to or fear trying to stop us from bullying our way through life. So we do. Until we destroy our world or we are destroyed by someone bigger, more powerful. Then, it is too late.

Also, sometimes anger, as a behavior, WORKS.

Sometimes when we use anger behaviors, we get what we want, or so we think that we are getting or going to get what we want. Sometimes anger behaviors work – yet at what cost? Marriage? Children? Job? Friends? One must ask one’s self, “What am I willing to pay to get what I want?”

Sometimes it all blows up in our face, thanks to our anger behaviors, and we end up in the back of a squad car, in the ER with injuries and awaiting an assessment for possible hospitalization, divorce court, meeting with child protective services, being escorted to the human resources office and you see your boss holding an empty carboard box and two security guards staring you down or a host of other ineffective and unhealthy outcomes that you, I and no one wants in their life.

The goal here is to lead a life that FOR YOU is healthy, effective, and enjoyable, as well as a whole lot of fun. Gotta have fun.

About Me and My Style

As you may have already determined my writing style is rooted in the art of catharsis

a purging of pent-up and socially unacceptable cognitive and emotive tensions through artistic expression.

That means people, that my writing, radio shows and live stage presentations are roller coaster rides through my mind and soul and feature commentary denouncing my human folly of vice-driven behaviors leveraged and rolled-out all in the name and good faith of healing. You have just signed up for a cathartic mayhem of stream of conscious rants and raves about life, love, loss, sex, family, music, movies & hockey AND HEALING! 

I expose and comically explore the manner in which I interpret the world. 

I lampoon and parody the psychological and theological status quo which directly impacts the manner in which I interpret the world and thus directly effects my healing plan.

I boldly encourage myself, and thus others vicariously through my artistic expressions, get my head out of my ass and my ass off of the couch. So, I encourage you to get your head out of your ass and get your ass off of the couch.

Why? 

To heal! 

And live a life desired and not only dreamed.

Come on people!

Live mentally well.

Enjoy the ride. Laugh often.