Archive | February, 2011

Be a GROUPIE!!

27 Feb

Is it cliché’ and juvenile or just fun and spontaneous that I proposed to my favorite lead singer of a band last night? I have proof on video. After I did it and was promptly but apologetically turned down with an explanation about some girl, New York, fiance…. he got on stage and announced to the crowd that he had just received a marriage proposal…”Kori…are you out there?” he asked as he scanned the audience. Of course, like the best darn groupie ever, I was right there in front, waving! Someone from the back of the room yelled, “LAME!!” and my heart sunk. But only briefly, because Michael had remembered  my name! He’d remembered it! From only our brief conversation an hour before beginning his set!

After an incredible performance, his band left the stage, and Michael was once again stationed in the same place he was when I’d courageously walked up to him and introduced myself. An amazing lyricist and musician, there were so many things I wanted to say to him regarding his skill and the depth from which he sings, the words of his music pounding into the hearts of those who have overcome and are even  in the midst of trauma and hurt, pain and despair, rapture and confusion.  My goal wasn’t to make a good impression. I was aiming to express to him just how  much his music and talent touches me and how it gets me to think and feel. I wanted to convey to him how much his  music means and how appreciative I am that he shares it with others. I’d gotten some of that out upon our first meeting, following it up with the proposal for some humor (not really– I was completely serious), but I needed to thank him again and say goodbye. 

I did. After pushing my way past a line of people waiting to buy his albums, I thanked him again and I did what every good groupie does. I gave him my business card. I whispered a few things in his ear and let him know I’d like to stay in touch (I had to get close enough for him to hear me over the animated voices of the crowd) and talk to him about coming to Evansville.  Ever the humble performer, he thanked me and said it was nice to meet me again, and we parted ways. Later that evening as I made my way back to Evansville, I posted a status on my Facebook page about the concert. I got a comment about being a groupie.

Hmmm….I thought. A groupie?  I had always considered myself more of a leader than a follower, a trail blazer of sorts.  Wait! Can’t I be both, I thought?  Why would I reject something that others follow just because they’re following it…or him…especially when I believe in it…or him. At the same time, I can be a leader enough to say, “no thanks” or not subscribe to something that a  lot of others might be because I have gathered information, weighed the pros and cons, and am able to make an intelligent decision. Really, this goes for everyone. It’s not black and white. You don’t have to be a leader or a follower. How about you be a groupie! One who groups around what he/she has measured and calculated to be in his/her best interest and the interests of others under the circumstances. In this you’ve got a respect for your own meaning and opinions and principles, as well as those of others.

While at first I was just slightly put off by being called a “groupie”, I am now embracing the title. I’ll wear it proudly.  My best interests were front and center when I met my favorite lead singer, but so were his. He needs a female vocalist as part of his band to be even better….if he won’t marry me, perhaps he’ll include me in his next album.

Cheesy Fingers

24 Feb

I asked, “What big goals in your life have you had that you’ve achieved?”

She stated, “I found the man of my dreams….I have my masters degree….my career is incredibly rewarding.”

“Now,” I stated, “during the work you were engaged in to accomplish these goals, how often did you rely on others to help you? Who did you enlist as resources to assist you along the way?”

She smiled. “No one….I did it all on my own. I expect a lot of myself and feel like I shouldn’t need others to get where I want to go.”

She’s 48 years old. Successful. Striking, with green eyes, straight and lustrous, rich, hair that grazes her chin, and she’s dressed in a stylish patterned jacket and slacks. You can see she is a professional and from the moment she walked in, I was aware that appearance was important to her. She confirmed that she is out in public a lot and meets with many people on a daily basis. She manages a large group of individuals at her office. But she was not confident. On the outside perhaps, but her words conveyed the opposite.  “I am so uncomfortable in this body. I am not supposed to be this weight. I can’t fit in anything that I like. I don’t want to be around people and yet am required to be. I want to be out and feel confident when I am.”

I knew it was difficult for her to come see me and explain her story and what she was needing. She was holding back tears. It was why I asked her how often she has solicited the help of others in meeting her goals. She didn’t need to in the previous situations, but here she was, recognizing that after having tried too many times to count on both hands to lose weight and get healthy, that she needed to call on the expertise, knowledge, and support of another. Not an easy decision when you’re used to being so self-sufficient.

My meeting with her got me thinking about how many of us often operate with this belief that we need to do everything on our own. How often do I hear my clients say, “I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to bother you….” or “I thought I should try to figure it out myself.” And then how often do they get so frustrated and fed up that they give up? Way too many times than I’m comfortable saying. I cast out my fishing line and reel them back in, asking them to use that thought as a signal to ASK, not withdraw.

I am all for someone initially taking some responsibility and working to figure out a problem his/her own. What I do not agree with is that by asking for help one is weak and lazy and is going to ‘bother’ someone.

Not all of us have many people we can ask for help from. But remember, there are different types of support, from significant emotional (I need you to sit with me and just be with me as I cry) to informational support (Joe, can you tell me where you get your teeth cleaned). Look around AND outside of our circle. This woman asked a friend if she knew of anyone who could help her learn more about nutrition and how to keep weight of permanently. Her friend sent her to me.  I’m outside of her circle, but now she’s creating a bigger support network. She’ll come to classes that I teach, meet the other participants, create relationships there, further expanding her circle.

Don’ be afraid to reach out and ask for help. We can get many of our needs met from the people we are surrounded by. Even a snack here or there. 😉

http://superbowlads.fanhouse.com/2011/doritos-finger-licking/

Ring Around the Collar

19 Feb

Step 1: Remove shirt

Step 2: Examine for leftovers, lunch remnants

Step 3. Apply stain stick

Step 4: Throw in laundry basket with the rest of the lonely, neglected articles of clothing

Step 5:  In a few days ask yourself why you didn’t wash your clothes sooner– you need that shirt for work TODAY!

I have a shirt that I wear for work quite frequently– it’s my favorite one. I don’t wash it after every wear. I’m a clean person. But I noticed recently that it has developed a ring around the collar.  It’s white, so of course this is a problem, and an issue that I need to deal with. How come I didn’t deal with it sooner, I ask myself. Now it’s probably too late!  But I massage some oxy clean into the and around the ring and leave the shirt on the washer deciding to come back to it later and finish the job, distracted by something else I remember I need to do.

A week later I’m rummaging through my closet, annoyed that I cannot find my favorite work shirt. It’s the only one that goes well with  my khaki slacks!!

Then I remember. I dash to the laundry room and almost half expecting it not to be there, there it lies, on top of the washer, exactly as I’d left it, waiting patiently to be washed but unable to be worn when I want to wear it! NOW!

How often do you neglect the things you recognize need to  be done now and tell yourself that you’ll take care of them later? Hit the snooze button and say you’ll exercise tomorrow morning instead. You need your rest.  Hit the Hardeez drive thru for breakfast, thinking as you dig for change between the seats of your car that you’ve  been meaning to clean for the last month, that you know you need to be choosing a healthier breakfast.  Arriving to work in an unorganized frenzy, searching for that paper you jotted a note on before you left, and finding it underneath the piles of countless other important documents that you’ve been meaning to file.

Can anyone relate? Time to stop living life in catch up mode, perpetually wearing a ring around your shirt collar, hitting the snooze button of life, and digging yourself out of what has become the disorganized pig sty that is your brain.

Time to develop a new strategy for getting done what you’ve said you need to for a long time and stop procrastinating. One of my biggest annoyances, is hearing someone complain perpetually about something and yet refuse to not put one foot in front of the other to do something about it. Allow me to lay the groundwork.

Step 1: Recognize: If you see it, and you are cognizant that it’s not so effective, move to step 2.

Step 2: Acknowledge: Don’t dismiss it. Write it down. Get it out of your head. Get it on paper. You might forget it in the moment if you don’t. It may be worth coming back to. If you thought it, it could have meaning!

Step 3: Analyze: Yep, this is where the work begins. Ask yourself where this behavior or thought process has come from, where it’s getting you, and if it’s worth changing. Identify the pros and cons for doing so and if it will make a meaningful difference in your life. Assess whether this behavior is congruent with your goals.

Step 4: Manage: Start creating an action plan for monitoring the behavior and taking the steps necessary to develop a new habit. Secure a support system. Identify how you will know when you’re faltering and a system of checks and balances. Have a contingency plan. Identify other areas of your life that you are highly successful in and assess the skills you use in those areas that can be transferred to this situation.

Each night before I go to bed I make a list of what I want to accomplish the following day.  I have not hit the snooze button a single time in my life.  There’s no time to waste.

Operation: Strategery

17 Feb

She said to me with tears colliding down her cheeks, “I know that there’s an issue, but I don’t know what to do with it!”

Tell me what the issue is.

She stared at me blankly. Silence.

Nothing.

Then a barrage of uncomfortable feelings, situations at work, problems with her weight, complications with children….

And the issue is………?

That seemed a logical place to start. In my mind.

How was I to reign this woman in…..this scattered, overwhelmed, sobbing, scared, vulnerable woman?

Thus began my initially covert OPERATION: STRATEGERY

She couldn’t see what my mind was doing….linking her present problems with the manner in which she dealt with past ones…watching for critical errors in thinking that were perpetuating her already very black and white thinking…formulating a game plan for where we would start and how we’d proceed. But she was filled in on these things throughout our session, and at the end, she was in command of the operation, setting forth the goals that would lead us through to what she had carefully and with much thought identified as how she would have it be if it were exactly as she wanted. In thoughts. In behaviors. In her relationships with others.

She examined what she’d change. Looking at how her life is presently, she laid out, in positive terms, what she would make different. Once that groundwork was established, we began developing a foundation and drawing up a blueprint for how to accomplish those things.

A goal is only as good as its action plan. Do not expect results without a strategy.

She left with a smile, feeling hopeful and empowered. “Thanks for helping me identify the steps we’ll take.”

Get Inspired!

15 Feb

Got a new phone yesterday– the HTC Inspire. Whew! What a departure from my Blackberry Bold 9700.

In a frenzied rush last night before teaching, I was on the phone with the AT&T rep who was helping me set it up.

I was impatiently trying to navigate the new interface, the settings, the wi-fi set up, the date/time…AHH!

I had to quit in the middle in order to take care of my class participants and couldn’t get back to it for a couple hours. At home, in between chopping veggies and shredding lettuce, I would go back, tap on the “home” button, and try something new and undiscovered. Again, I’d get interrupted by something….charred bell peppers this time….and my anxiety and sense of frustration would resurface.

I went back and forth between bites of my dinner learning the new typing, scrolling, and accessibility skills. At 10pm, when I realized if I didn’t go to bed I’d only get 5 hours of sleep, I found myself squirming around the couch like a spoiled child…muttering under my breath…asking myself why electronics had to be so freaking complicated…why it had to be so late….it was like a snowball turned into an avalanche rolling down the Bighorn Mountains!

STOP! That’s life! How often do we get interrupted, our attention being dragged in another direction than where we want it to be? It happens to me all the time. Last weekend my mom called when I was writing the summary of my final signature paper for my class. What was my immediate reaction? I felt ANNOYED! Like tight chest, give a whine, a sigh of exasperation, and say out loud, “I HAVE TO FREAKING GET THIS DONE!!” I didn’t have to answer the phone! But I did, and then I was back in junior high with my sarcastic, bugged, I-can’t-believe-you are-expecting-me-to-drop-everything-and-talk-to-you tone. How horrible! And I recognized it and actually said, after taking a big breath, “Mom, I’m sorry. I know I sound annoyed. I’m in the middle of my paper, and you  know how I get when I’m interrupted and I’m really focused on something…”

You know what she did? She laughed. She said, “Kor, it’s okay.” I could tell she was smiling. “I am the same way.”

Despite her acceptance, I couldn’t just leave it at that, I went a bit further and explained, “Thanks for understanding, Ma, but it’s not cool. It’s sick how because you’re my mom I feel like I can treat you like poop!”  We both started laughing pretty hard, and the tension was diffused.

I was inspired to write this post for a few reasons:

1. Every single day I am presented with opportunities to exert a tremendous amount of patience. It’s not and never has been a virtue of mine, but I can tell you it has improved! I can fight against everything vying for my time or learn to roll with it! What do you think sounds easier?

2. We regress into childlike, juvenile, old and ineffective behaviors when we’re tired, frustrated, anxious or not getting our way. It’s quite humorous how a woman in her 30’s could revert from an intelligent, career-minded, driven woman to a whiney, complaining, tantrum-ready 7 year old in two seconds! We can anticipate this and watch for signals to change our behavior!

3. My mom is a freaking rock star for putting up with me. Your parents and caregivers, family members, and friends are rock stars too. They don’t deserve the worst of us! I’ve been inspired to act toward my family and friends with the best of me. No matter what. You’re going to slip, like I did, but you can get back up. You can apologize. You can flop around in the water and ask them to throw you a life vest! They may not want to, but if they can see or hear that you’re being genuine, I bet they will!

PS: I love my new phone.

Arrogance Control

13 Feb

It’s human nature…unless we’re consciously aware, we’ve carefully removed our blinders and slipped on our ultra-sheek x-ray vision glasses, and are prepared to sit down for the full viewing of how wrong we really are, we believe we’re right. Most of the time.
It’s called confirmation bias. We’ll look for, search for, be more vigilant in noticing those things that confirm what we believe to be true.  If we’re experiencing dissonance, guess what our next step is? Get someone to let us know that what we did is all right.  Find the research to confirm that we made the best decision. But never ever look for evidence that we stepped the wrong way, should have considered an alternative direction, or not have made such an impulsive decision.
Example: a friend of mine has moved in with her boyfriend. He had asked her after so many nights of staying progressively later, eventually leaving some clothes there, getting an extra toothbrush, and finally securing her very own drawer in his dresser, to move in. They’d talked about marriage and gosh, she thought, I can save money, we can be together more often, no more hassle of going back and forth…sweet!
Rose colored, arrogant, there’s no way this could get any better glasses have been donned. But they’re a fad!
I asked her about all the stats that reveal the high likelihood that they would get divorced.
Huh?! Not us. We’ve talked about stuff, we love each other, I’ve got friends who are happily married and lived together first. We’re committed-we’ll be fine.
Arrogant. I don’t mean in the outright sense. But unaware. Her way is the right way.
The scientific method is used to combat the very nature of this problem! We design experiments not to prove that we’re right but to show also that our hypotheses, theories, guesses, and decisions could legitimately be wrong. How often does anyone try to punch holes in their own theories though? Justifying their behaviors seems a heck of a lot easier. But by facing reality don’t we gain a whole lot more? Opportunity to weigh the pros and cons. The chance to learn and grow through some obstacles and oftentimes prevent disaster from occurring.

Some quotes to get you thinking about how often you’re pulling the wool over your own eyes.  Time to be the analyst of your own motives and behavior!

Arrogance diminishes wisdom

When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities
David Hume

Ooh ee oo ah ah, ching chang wala wala bing bang….

9 Feb

No one has ever accused me of being unemotional.  In fact, in my workplace, it’s me and two men, and when I first moved to Evansville to take this position as mental health guru (yes, I’m shamelessly self depracating) and wellness director, my apparently all-too-often-emotion-ridden sentiments created some deer-in-the-headlights reactions.

Imagine Kori, welling up at a reference to a child suffering a hardship in school, perhaps having experienced a bullying attack (in all honesty, I cry more easily out of anger and disgust and a heart-wrenching desire to take action than out of sadness or grief!), and my colleagues standing there, mouths agape, motionless, desperate for words that just…..won’t…..surface.

A few things have changed:

1. I’ve hardened up. Not in a bad way– I’m tougher, more resilient, but still just as outspoken and activist-oriented. I just don’t want to be subject to stale, exhaled air.

2. Behavior can change: my partners here feel confident in responding to me when they see tears. They are able to laugh at my idiosyncratic, almost cry-on-command behavior; they can and often do respond empathically and from a logical, positive place; and they have learned to approach the situation as one that signifies concern and care on my part rather than weakness and a need to be saved. (Here you can see my feminist bent on behavior coming out. And please do not misconstrue “feminist” as meaning WOMAN POWER! Feminism means inclusion, diversity, and everyone being appreciated for their uniqueness).

3. I went from avoiding moments in front of them that were accompanied by a tightness in my chest and a throbbing in the middle of my head and what felt like a lemon caught in my throat to just being me and trusting that with me, I’d be okay, they’d be okay, and we’d all be okay together. In fact, we’d all be better than ever because now we were all just real and genuine and messed up and “normal.”

And a few things have been learned too:

1. It’s the idiosyncratic nature of personalities that make a person attractive. There’s a reason why we are drawn to some people more than others. Whether it’s their humor, their drive, their arrogance, whatever, our uniqueness makes the world go round.

2. If we can’t be ourselves, as raunchy sometimes or as depressed or as silly as we are, who can we be? And how long can we keep up that masquerade? Take off the mask!

3. Find people to surround yourselves with that you truly trust, who you can be vulnerable with, open up to, spill your guts around, and feel safe among. We need this. We need to feel connected and meaningful to find our power and to feel truly alive.

 So I’m going to go cry in front of my co-worker and just relish in knowing that he’s thinking, “Oh, that’s just Kori…” and then start singing “Ooh ee oo ah ah, ching chang wala wala bing bang….” and know that he’s thinking, “what the heck?!” but also know that he won’t reject me or criticize me, and we’ll both be okay!

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