V is for Victories, Very big and Very small

If it’s Tuesday, it’s  Purposely Positive – the group-shop (part support group, part workshop) I facilitate for people with chronic medical conditions.  It’s a place where we can moan and groan but ultimately focus on the small and large victories we have during the week.

Every member, well almost everyone!, made a victory box.  You can make one too to help you focus on the Victories rather than the failures of daily life.  it’s easy:

  • You can use any box, basket or container.   Paint it, decoupage it, decorate it or leave it as it is.
  • Every day write down 1 (or more) “victories you have for that day on a small slip of paper.  Date it. It can be a small accomplishment (got out of bed before it was time to go back to bed, took a 5 minute walk, remembered how to get back home from my walk . . .)
  • to the really large (Repainted the house, Purchased a jack hammer with money I saved using coupons, I refrained from killing my . . .Sailed around the world solo).It doesn’t matter what your own victories are.
  • Find at least one victory every day.  At the end of the week read all the victories you’ve had to date.
Here’s some examples of Purposely Positive Victory Boxes.
Variations on a theme.
  • Have your child make one and write or read their victory at dinner or before bedtime.
  • Do a couples Victory Box, a family victory box, school . . .
  • Instead of a box use a journal book or a glass jar (to watch them pile up).
  • Find a Victory-Buddy to share Victories with or help discover Victories not recognized.
Use your imagination.  The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll realize how many small victories there are in each and every day.
My Victory for today:  I only waited at the Post Office 3 minutes instead of 30 to mail a Hypnotic Healing CD.

How to Turn a Professional into a Person

Totally caught off-guard, I was tearfully surprised!

Delicious cookies were mixed on the table with paint and glue and paintings of chronic conditions-love and healing.

Sitting around the table were 6 incredible women, all with their own fear, pain and hope.  It was the last of 8 meetings of the Purposely Positive Support Group/Workshop for people with life-altering medical conditions.

And the sneaky little group  surprised me with love.  A HUGE 22 x 16 framed Thank you picture with messages from each that were so warm and touching I couldn’t hold back the tears.

Hey, I tried.  After all I’m a Professional (note the capital “P”).  I’m a psychotherapist (note the small “p”)  Everyone else is supposed to have feelings.  I am TRAINED to remain calm but curious, engaging but not engaged and humane but not human.

I blew it.  My well-trained psyche collapsed under the weight of love.  Theirs and Mine.

In alphabetical order:

Cindi, Cory, Fariba, Lori, Nancy, Theresa –  back at you.

What’s Dr Phil Got to Do with IT?

Had the very first, out of 8,meetings with a fantastic group of women.  All have life altering conditions that seriously have redirected their lives.  I call this a SupportShop.  It’s a combination of support group and Therapeutic Imagery/Journaling workshop

We started off with introductions. Each participant, without looking, was to pull out a picture from a big box of cut-out magazine images.  Then use the randomly picked image to describe how their condition has impacted them*.

Everyone stared at me. (glared at me?)  I offered to go first to model how to use the picture.

The stares turned to grins as I glared at the picture of Dr. Phil I picked out of the box. How in the world does Dr. Phil relate to my Fibromyalgia?   After briefly being speechless, ( for those who know me I am RARELY without something to say) I used Dr. Phil in a way he probably has never been used.  Here’s how Dr Phil and I have more in common than I thought (or he knows).

I have to be suited up to go to the office,  put on an appearance that all is well and I’m OK.  I can’t moan and groan and complain about how much pain or discomfort I’m in or how my energy is flagging, my feet burning.  I’m there for my clients, not the other way around.

Until several years ago when I gave a keynote talk for National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day I did not share with clients that I had fibromyalgia. When I gave the talk, using the Therapeutic Creative Expression I had used for my own “healing” I felt bald, no protective covering anymore.  My experience, thoughts, feelings were exposed to the world.

I’m now ok without any protective head covering and my exposing my life altering condition has proved to be a blessing for myself and help for the people I see. “It” was right under my nose the whole time.

Everyone stopped grinning. It was their turn to figure out how a cowboy with a clown nose, a femme fatale, a Harley woman biker related to life altering medical conditions.  They all did a good job! I think Dr Phil would approve.

*(This is a projection technique that I teach people how to do in the Therapeutic Creative Journaling workshops.  You can read more examples in other blog posts and on the Workshop page on this blog).

A little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll SupportShop

Click here to hear Donny & Marie sing!


Beginning February 1st I am facilitating a special 8 week Group for people with life-altering medical conditions.  I call it a SupportShop because it’s “a little bit support group and  a little bit workshop” (apologies to Donny & Marie).

It’s called Purposely Positive.

When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I attended a couple of support groups.  I walked away feeling worse than when I arrive.  The focus was primarily people’s anger over their medical treatment (or lack thereof), the things that they weren’t able to do and the despair that it would never be different.

I never went back. They were singing a different tune than I needed to hear.

If you are in the vicinity or know someone who might be interested please let them know about Purposely Positive SupportShop

For the rest of you I will be posting the therapeutic creative expression exercises we will be doing HERE on the blog.

Even though it’ll be only one 1/2 of the duo,  you can still belt out the lyrics (whether or not you can carry a tune).

Rock on!