Monthly Archives: July 2009

ye old ego


how much joy, power & money have you abandoned to avoid a little dent in your ego?

what an interesting question, posted by harvey griffin on twitter the other day. (it seems like sometimes i get all my inspiration from twitter, doesn’t it?)

oh, let me count the ways! let me, also, sidestep for now the weighty questions of what the ego is, how it is different from “me” and whether the ego is really as great a villain as this question (and my take on it) suggests.

yes, let me count the ways! i have

  • forgone power in order to avoid short moments of embarrassment
  • not taken advantage of financial opportunities because that darn ego told me i wasn’t good enough
  • let go of chances to grab a handful of joy in order to give in to guilt
  • let that ego lie to me, with my knowledge, advising me to hold back, resulting in loss of power
  • not asked for help because i’m supposed to know things, and that gave me grief (not joy)
  • not accepted money because that didn’t fit my ego’s image of myself
  • and on and on it goes.

    of course i could lament some more but i’m not in the mood for it, plus as a counsellor, i’m not supposed to do that. so let’s see how we can balance this out …

    what if …

    we also asked:

  • tell me about a time when you were brave, and that made you happy
  • how empowered do you feel when you don’t care whether you’re “good enough”?
  • have you ever improved your financial situation by simply asking for help?
  • what would you say? what questions would you ask?

    will and willpower

    while my blog was in hiatus, i was not entirely silent. conversations happened on twitter, for example this one regarding the concepts of “will” and “will power”, mostly with gassho.

    i was going to comment on some of these, also give you the tweets of what other people were saying. but perhaps it would be interesting to read this as is? what do you make of it? does it inspire you to think of the ideas of “will” and “will power”?

    (just three hints for those of you not familiar with twitter: 1) read from bottom to top; 2) the “@” followed by a word is to draw the attention of the person you’re tweeting with – in twitter, instead of saying “hey, gassho!”, you write @gassho; and 3) RT means “retweet” – it’s a repeat of what the person with the @ sign has just recently tweeted)

    .@gassho what you’re saying about will makes me think that you see will mostly as some sort of creative force. would that be correct?

    .@gassho @dtclarinet will as “oppositional” insofar as there is a connotation of overcoming obstacles

    .@womanmonk yes but what IS that “will”power? “power=ability to act” – totally agree

    .@gassho i wouldn’t associate the spontaneity of jumping with joy with will power. also can’t see how flower turning to light = willpower

    .@gassho can you give an example of “will” in flora?

    .@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach eg “i will myself to get out of bed”? interesting – hard to think of will other than as an oppositional force

    1 of th reasons why im concerned about “will” is bec “lack of willpower” is often cited as reason for addiction. sad. #mentalhealthmonday

    .@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach we could ask ourselves, “is will different from intention, commitment and drive, and if yes, how?”

    .@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach wikipedia’s entry on “will” is not bad

    .@gassho @johnfw @hrheingold says some interesting things re how “will” is so easily distracted by the monkey mind

    .@gassho @johnfw love the idea of co-willing with higher power/god/buddha nature. q still: what is the will?

    .@gassho what is the personal will? what are its mechanisms? what drives the will?

    .@gassho how would you define spirit-full will power then?

    RT @gassho Just like anything else, will can be & needs to be spiritualized.

    RT @gassho .@moritherapy Just b/c at all levels of society will manifests in macho form doesnt make will macho. Its simply a power.

    .@gassho i guess someone who has studied nietzsche in detail would be helpful to discuss “will”. @akarra?

    .@gassho in german, there’s will as in willpower but the aux verb to denote future is “werden” = becoming

    .@gassho what is “will” then? interesting btw that in english, “will” has two strong meanings (“willpower” and “i will do this”)

    i will now use my willpower to clean up before the carpet cleaners come

    .@gassho … or will power can be a hatchet that attacks more than it creates. not saying it’s “bad” but often misunderstood

    .@gassho “macho” isn’t gender specific either, it’s an attitude. IMO will power can be a fickle tool that gets dull if used too often, or –

    hm – too macho for my taste: RT @mentalhealth1 RT @gassho RT @ScreamingEagle1: “Great souls have wills; feeble souls have wishes” #quote

    a script for mental illness

    life happens despite our best efforts! i’m sitting here, sweating like a pig, mostly because we have a heat wave but also because all of a sudden my mother has moved into the old-old stage, complete with confusion, needing to move into a home ASAP, and all of that happening in germany.

    and with all of this i’m happy to be back blogging again! what an eventful 5 weeks. my husband was absolutely wonderful in healing this blog, i hardly did anything myself. it’s almost completely back to normal, just a few hiccups left. the people at dreamhost, my new host, were also incredible.

    so that’s the hot, sticky, confused and bloggy side of life.

    now on to something else.

    talking about mental illness!

    this is something i’ve discussed before, here and here for example. the question is: how do you talk about mental illness?

    how’s that for a conversation:

    “how are you?”

    “not so hot. i’m on the downswing again.”

    if you suffer from depression or bipolar illness, how many people do you know with whom you could casually have this exchange? zero? one?

    the thing is, we don’t have a script for this. most casual conversations have a loose script. like

    “how’s little lydia?” (script: ask after person’s kid, spouse, dog, etc.)

    “oh she’s fine. bit of a problem with math at school but otherwise great. really enjoys skating. and doug?” (script: answer the question, give a bit of detail but not too much. then ask a similar question.)

    but there’s no script for mental illness – not in “polite society.”

    we all know this needs to change, for so many reasons. the biggest one that comes to mind has to do with isolation. isolation of two kinds: the isolation of stigma is one (because mental illness is not supposed to exist, and if it does, it needs to be swept under the carpet). the other is the isolation that is built into many types of mental illness. in many ways, experiences like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or anorexia – to give just a few examples – are illnesses of isolation. the sheer act of opening the mouth can seem almost impossible when one’s throat is constricted with fear; the effort of sending forth a sound can so often not be mustered when depression has laid a leaden blanket over everything.

    it is in those moments that we need others to help us out of isolation. and once again, there is no script.

    in a way this is exciting. those of us who want to change this state of affairs are in the position of helping to open up the world to create a script, maybe even a whole language of mental illness.

    who wants to contribute to this new language? what’s your experience with talking about mental illness?

    blogathon 2009

    hello everyone – well, i’m cautiously optimistic that my blog is stable now, at least with the bare bones.

    still have to figure out all kinds of things; how to get the images to do what i want, how to get the plugins back in; it doesn’t want to do that yet. but the posts and comments seem to work, and that’s the most important part!

    thank you all so very much for your patience! i’m particularly moved that the people who have been suporting each other on the anorexia recovery chat page have been so patient.

    today is the day of the blogathon. i’m not participating directly with writing 49 posts in 24 hours but i’m doing my best to support my blogathoning friends here in vancouver. the list is below. please visit them, donate a few bucks if you can, maybe tell them i sent you 🙂

    1. raul pacheco the BC cancer foundation
    2. rebecca bollwitt – miss604 the union gospel mission
    3. duane storey the union gospel mission
    4. tiny bites (team effort) the vancouver food bank
    5. 604 foodtography the vancouver food bank
    6. shane gibson the vancouver food bank
    7. barbara doduk the richmond animal protection society
    8. mehnaz thawer the tumaini children’s project
    9. fraser valley pulse the langley animal protection society
    10. worldwidewatercooler the BC SPCA
    11. developmental disability association for their own cause (i believe)
    12. justin yang BC children’s hospital foundation
    13. liberation bc for liberation BC
    14. bluefur team diabetes
    15. shane’s world theatre terrific
    16. think referrals burn’s bog conservation society
    17. brady v BC children’s hospital foundation
    18. langley politics the united way
    19. beth snow options for sexual health
    20. karen fung vancouver public space network
    21. april smith community education resource society
    22. ganga narayanan canadian hard of hearing association
    23. matthew naylor canadian mental health association
    24. aidan BC children’s hospital
    25. iris dias MS society of canada
    26. mitch baldwin – the salvation army, camp sunrise
    27. catherine winters – canadian cancer society
    28. neil parker – weekend to end breast cancer
    29. jael – big sisters

    i’m baaack!

    after over a month of problems with my database, it looks like we’re 90% done with fixing it. there’s still a bunch of redirecting and domain transferring going on but i THINK the blog can be used now again – just in time for the blogathon!

    can you send me some comments to let me know whether this works so far?  thanks!