“Eat, Pray, Love” – Advice from Penelope the Pig

Penelope and I met a few years ago.  I went for a carton of milk and there she was, an albino pig, in a grocery store.  She was in a dangerous situation – it was only time before she ended up on the meat aisle. (OIY VEY)  So for $9 I took her home with the milk.

I gave her a bit of color and a bow and she went to live in my therapy office.

Very few clients ever commented on her.  I always suspected new clients didn’t quite know what to say and my long-term clients knew me well enough that they didn’t need to say anything.
 
Penelope retired the same time as Freddie Parker but she still has a lot of good advice: 

How to Live Life to the Fullest

by Penelope the Pig, CPT, RET

  • EAT greedily all the delectable things life gives you.

  • WALLOW in what’s soothing & cool.

  • SNORT at those who are not loving.

  • CELEBRATE how delicious you are.

  • PRAY you will not be eaten before your time.

May you all PIG OUT on LOVE,

Penelope the Pig, CPT, RET

Certified Pig Therapist, Retired 

Know a Narcissist? Blame their brain

I am fascinated by our newfound ability to study the brain in real-time.  For most of my life the only way the brain was studied was by  autopsy.  

For decades, I’ve explained to clients that “feelings” are not psychological constructs but a neurochemical phenomena. I had no proof – just  trickles of brain research I read. Now that I’m retired the evidence is mounting.  I’d love to be able to say “I told you so!”

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In psychological “terms” the proportion of outward behavior is a measure of internal feelings.  Examples:  Do you know some one who is a “control freak”?  Of course you do.

The more someone tries to exert control over everyone and everything it is usually (read “always” – I’m trying to be “politically correct, ahem . . .)  a direct measure they internally/unconsciously feel out of control.  People who “feel” in control don’t have to prove they are in control – they can collaborate, give others credit etc.

Know someone who is a narcissist – the earth revolves around them, not the sun?  Of course you do.

The more a person needs to boast about themselves, point the finger of blame at others etc. . . . the more insecure they are.  Read about some interesting brain research that substantiates this that on a neurological level.

Read more: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/07/a-neurological-level-narcissists-are-needy.html

I TOLD YOU SO!

Frankly Freddie – Eat, Pee and Play

My Human-being  always had very thoughtful clients (the others fired her when they figured out she doesn’t do well with people who aren’t nice).

Margo, who is very nice and extremely wise, hand-made this retirement present for my Human-being.

You’ll see why Margo is so wise when you read what she put on the back cover.

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Front Cover 

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Back Cover
Back Cover

I make my human-being read it everyday and take her own advice.  

You should read it too, particularly about how to handle stress.

Frankly yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Canine Dog Therapist, Retired

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

 

Ebola Revitalizing a Country?

I am sustained by my Baha’i belief that pain, suffering – any type of crisis – is an opportunity for learning, changing and growing.  My professionally and personal experience backs my belief as I know, without a doubt, that pleasure, ease and happiness do not promote growth.  

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t seek out pain and suffering but when it happens to me or in the world I do look for the good that can evolve.  

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Pain, Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

When I read this interview with the Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ebola Revitalized her Downtrodden Country it was an example of what I believe is possible in the world.

Here’s an excerpt – The entire interview is worth a quick read:

“Do you think the image of Liberia has changed through this [Ebola crisis]?

“Yes, I think it has. We were the poster child of everything that could go wrong: disaster, death, destruction all over the place. We too, as a result of Ebola, had a re-energizing of ourselves. We saw a new opportunity to turn this crisis into something that will be good for the country. And it’s not just the leadership, It’s also the people in the communities. They were the victims but they became the victors because they were the ones who took responsibility. They all had a role to play. And because of that, we see this as a new resurgence. Our success, we think, has been heralded. If you look at the predictions that we faced in October, I mean, by the end of January there will be 1.4 million people dead. That was a wake-up call for us, a call to action. Our people rose to that.”

 

 

I should’a announced retirement 10 years before I retired – A Valentine Love Letter

I’m a bit upset with all of you who have e-mailed me or commented on my retirement with such incredibly loving, affirming messages and gifts.   I’m upset because it’s now too late to use all of you for testimonials to promote my services.  Where were you when I could have taken advantage of you?  I could be retiring a millionaire.

There are so many people who have touched my life I can’t begin to list them all. These are just a few in recent time:   Sherry, Lisa, Linda, Margo, Susan, Joyce, Bryan, Adele, Liz, Peggy, Cathy, Doug, Chris, Ramesh, Paula, Ron,  Kathy, Denise, Ann, Rich, Nan, Kate, Erin, Alma, Kathe, Ruta, Lyn, Abbie, Jackie, Jan, Ida, Jan, Alma, Rosemary, Denise, Fariba, Margi, Diane, Vivian, Christine, Theresa, Mike, Becca, Carolyn, Vandi, Kim, Daru, Bernice, Deborah, Laura, Tessa, Hank, Jamey, Carol, Theresa, Mary, Blair, Barry, Sandyha, Marc, Cindy, Sam, Laurie, Sally (if I’ve left anyone out please be forgiving as there are literally hundreds and hundreds). 

I have met the most wonderful people in my life and career – people who dedicate themselves to helping others, giving to others, people who have gone through painful, frightening, confusing times only to come out stronger and wiser and more loving on the other end.  You all have been an inspiration to me and I say that from the bottom of my tired, irregularly beating heart.

I’ve been a psychotherapist for 30+ years and needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) it’s been a huge part of my identity.  I painted this canvas a few decades ago when I was in another “identity” shift – 

Acrylic on canvas

Acrylic on canvas

struggling with who I was as a person with a chronic medical condition.  The picture was done in about 15 minutes, spontaneously, without planning or forethought.  It surprised me.  It is symbolic to me of emergence and hung in my office.

It’s probably time to paint another and see if I’m growing a third head.

With love and gratitude to each and every one of you who have touched my life,

judyJudith

P.S.  I suggest you consider announcing your pending retirement or your demise (which ever you think may come first) as soon as possible so you can enjoy the nice things people say . . . . and find out who is keeping mum .  . .

In case you missed my announcement: Are the rumors true I’m retiring?

DRINK UP! – A Lesson on Chronic Stress

When I was a shrinkling listening was not automatic.  Thirty years later I’m on auto-pilot listening simultaneously on multiple levels: What clients are saying, what they are not saying, how they are experiencing it, what their body is saying, how what I’m hearing is connected to feelings in the last few days, years, lifetimes;  Listening for patterns, connections, disconnections  . . .

 Logic would have me think  it was more stressful being a psychotherapist in the beginning of my career.  So why, after just sitting and listening, I’m a zombie for days afterwards?  

This explanation about chronic stress might explain some of it (I agree with everything, except for the conclusion):

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‘”A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’  She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.”

“She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.”
 
“If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”‘
 
“She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”‘
 
“‘As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.  So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.”
 
P.S.  I still blame much of my zombiehood on the fibromyalgia.  After all what else is fibro good for – it never listens.
Thanks Susan!

Learn what many therapists don’t tell you – You are not your thoughts.

Listen and learn how to control your thoughts so they don’t control you – Not good enough . . . I’ll always be alone in pain . . . not smart enough . . . no one will ever understand me and . . .  dark, dark thoughts. 

Do listen to this excellent (and entertaining) NPR broadcast.  Worth your time and it’s cheaper than a therapy appointment.

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/09/375928124/dark-thoughts

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