Why I Couldn’t Practice What I Preached


I was a child emotionally for most of my life.  The book “Work Abuse” is important to me because it opened up a world to me intellectually that I would later find extremely useful.  Because I could not stomach the business world I never thrived in my job.  However, I have knowledge I feel  very grateful to have.  If reading a book taught me nothing emotionally it was not the author’s fault, nor his book.

It is key that during my first years of all the harassment and scapegoating, two men stuck their necks out to help and I stepped on their toes.  I was clumsy and I know they understand that I was really messed up.  Nobody else had answers.  People gave up on me or lead me down blind alleys.  I’m grateful I can see so much good that they did.

I want the people who studied this text with me to know that I used the book to survive work.  The thriving part was not possible in my case.  I am just now finding love and compassion in places I never though possible.  I was not able to love while being a scapegoat at work.  It has taken 6 years into retirement to find myself.

I did everything my brain could understand I should do under the circumstances.  I was not an easy person to deal with.  I want to apologize to all concerned for not being sensitive enough to others’ feelings.  I just could not do it because I found the world at the time such a hostile place.

I realize that I got the book somewhat at an intellectual level, but my social status at work made it difficult to be satisfied just to know that the perceived bullies I worked with were not any healthier than I was.  And they sure weren’t!  We were all pawns.

I was fortunate to enjoy retirement because I held a belief that I could fight as long as my husband was planning well.  Also because the lessons in the book helped me reduce my natural enemies (I didn’t make them enemies, they were made for me) to silly school children acting out a soap opera theme based on propaganda created for the survival of our company with which we were all employed.

It isn’t sinister at all though.  It is just a game and we all had a part to play.  I forgive people and I hope they forgive me.  We were all just so misguided.

I wish the remaining study buddies well if they are still employed or suffering in retirement from all the abuse.  It can get better with love and compassion, which admittedly I didn’t have the capacity for when I first read that book.

I am so happy to be in a position to appreciate that I can see the man behind the curtain.  Thank you to all my study mates.

Peace to all.








Reflections after Retirement

I started this site to talk about work stress, and what I perceive happens to people during their  employment.  This is a post-retirement view based on new learning. I see hope on the horizon.

I want to make it clear that since I worked for that place people viewed me differently than before.  I was very pretty and so naive.  I had great friends and we had a lot of fun.  I was viewed as normal happy teen,  and young adult until I was stigmatized a age 25.  I recognize I would have perhaps been in trouble without the job, but work is where I was stripped of my illusions.

I grew up around adults who were not responsible with themselves and with others.  The family was quite dysfunctional, abusive, and I was needy for positive attention. I often wanted to be someone else.

I  married a guy my mother thought I should because I became pregnant.  She spent her life savings on that wedding.  It was for her a justification of sorts. So, when the marriage was cracking, due to my being beaten – because I was the only breadwinner – and because I was the sole caregiver for my son,  I found it difficult to get my mother’s emotional support for a divorce.

My coworkers and boss were very aware of my situation, and I could see that they were concerned about my behavior which was bizarre as I remember it.  I fought to keep the job knowing I had no other place to go. When the harassment started I couldn’t cope.

Many years passed where no one would tell me much of anything to give me a clue what to do.  The people around me had little hope for me, and they said so. Some people gave me clothing for my son, or went out on playdates with us.  Most of my friends had been coworkers and they just stayed far away.

I sought help, and my worrisome nature earned me a clinical diagnosis.  I do believe I was depressed as a child, and certainly not emotionally healthy growing up.  I did well in school when teachers took an interest, but I had poor self-discipline and would “space out” frequently when left to my own devices.  I feel that my inability to grasp algebra was due to anxiety and neglect. I received more neglect at work and in relationships. The basic building blocks to become a functioning adult were not there.  I was criticized for this lacking. A doctor said I was disadvantaged and I felt a great relief.

I knew I had come to the end of the road to ever succeed as I had wanted to.  My son grew up with me working nights, weekends, and holidays. My schedule was all over the place.

I would obsess about what people thought of me, and that my boss said I was on street drugs and that I was thinking of men instead of work.  This was profoundly wrong.  All I could think of was work and I started to feel like I was experiencing battle fatigue at the young age of 25.

I got help and I made it through enough college to be able to tell the difference between my failings vs. others’ failings.  I took prescribed medications at work to make me not feel so much anxiety. This is the thread I followed as I developed a healthier outlook largely on my own.  I made a lot of mistakes but none of them – hurting people as I had been hurt.  I would always be amazed at how people could be so cruel.  Now I know that many people have no idea what they are doing.

Other than raising a great son and marrying a smart and sensitive man, I felt I had nothing really going for me.  But I loved music!  I picked up a computer for my son and I and I stopped going to college.  I lived online for many years picking up skills in design and networking.  I was too sick to create new employment opportunities from it.  I took classes online for all those years; some college courses were among them.

I just knew it was a healthy activity.  My son taught himself his first job  skills on the computer.  He is 36 and he still does very well in the tech industry.  He and his wife are going to have a baby.

I am retired, but I first had to come to terms with my emotional deficits for the first 5 years.  I am starting to understand what really happened to me.  I still do not process emotional pain well and I struggle to communicate it in an efficient way when I feel in my bones that something is not right.  But I am strong and confident now.  I have found my “mojo”.  I also still dabble on the computer, but not as much.  In an earlier post I wrote that I was to become an artist.  What I didn’t know then was that I do not have enough background to do so, and I am trying to photo paint which is is painting over a clone of a photo.  I am a pretty good designer, but art requires much symmetry unlike doing precise measurements via Photoshop tools.

I demand that people in my  life do not treat me with prejudice and stigma.  So much so that I pick the big fights only and win.  My once estranged family may not be perfect but I am every bit as engaged as they are, if not more.  I have the ability to see issues objectively and now we get along. I go to meditation and art groups and meet people.  I am careful to just make small talk.

I have noticed there are few good books on the topic of stigma, and will write one someday when I finish reading a thick textbook about stigma meant for a psychology class.  I have described stigma in detail to many family members, as I have experienced people stigmatizing me.  I focus just on the behavior and not the intent which I do not know.  It will be a mini book on how to approach stigma, and people who treat us differently from other people.  This goes for any minority. My nephew is struggling with depression and I want to write it in his honor.  I believe I have stopped people I know from stigmatizing me in a profound way.  Enough about that.

As I said I do not handle describing or dealing with my emotions well if I have a lot to lose.  I now find myself sickly and 60, going on 61.  I have given speeches to people who are in pain, about my experiences, to give them hope.  I have read books with stories which cannot ever rival my own.  All because I was taught to view others in a certain way which explains why they behave as they do. Thanks to Mr. Hare and all my studies.  I believe I have something to offer in this niche of stigma.  However, I know doing this task will be difficult to make time for, as well as to execute.

By not being allowed to have important discussions about what others see vs. what I see in my vision is worse than having people lie.  What I mean is if someone is leaving me out of conversations, they may have a reason for doing so.  I can never ask those questions of most people though I perceive the behavior just the same.  That is my reality vs. theirs.

People rarely own up to their behavior toward me if it is how they get away with damaging someone without speaking to them.  Yes, that is possible.  I’ve developed astute observational powers.  I need to learn to harness this and to not scare people away with it.  I can sense hypocrisy, and quite honestly, I often cannot smell the flowers because it is so obvious to me.  I must learn this skill before writing the book.

Other than that I am coping quite well having had discussions with my families, in a way that was clumsy, I admit, but it did get the message across just the same. The results are evident.  There is peace and harmony much of the time.  Just because I communicated my burden to them, of noticing attitudes without words, and correcting those attitudes with pleas over simple misunderstandings which endured for years.  Much of our warring comes from misunderstandings alone.

Could I have made this type of change happen at work?  No, I do not think so. I have not reached that level yet. And for those out there who want relief, I recommend the study of people in work groups. I would be happy to lend a hand in finding great resources.  I believe my company decided that shunning was the way to treat me – which incidentally – hurt their bottom line in the long run. It hurt mine as well.

I’m grateful to have had a job for that long, but I encourage people to flee for their lives the minute a situation goes so sour that they find themselves boxed in with no way out.  I’ve suffered needlessly.  If you find yourself undereducated and overwhelmed with people running you over you, you are not alone. Something can most likely be done.









A better version of my painful life

I was afraid to do this – “do over”.  (See first posts.)

Interesting how one can see matters differently after sufficient time has passed.

All these years since I met Chauncey and his group, I still credit that communication with them for my having coped until retirement (which means early retirement and permanent disability payments). I was after all forced out of my job while I was unsure when I would be ready financially. To be clear; my husband had the most to do with my survival, and the group kept me informed about what was really going on in workplaces.   I was so sick I could barely speak or write when I met those people.  Now I wont shut up. Ha ha.

I was not treated well at work for the majority of the time I was employed there. 38 years is a long time to be on the shit list. I am grateful to have had a job, but it would have been nice to have my Mom and siblings not tear me down so much, or that Mom would see I needed help and fast!   I had mental problems, and required treatment.  No blame, though; Mom had her own demons caused by her childhood.  Yes, it would have been nice if my Mom and Aunt had believed me when I told them Dad was a peeping Tom.  No blame.  We all do our best with what we’ve got.  I’m not condoning my parent’s misdeeds, because they had good intentions, however skewed their thinking was. I am not blaming myself, as I was doing the best I could.  I worked very hard.

I have previously explained that between being a single Mom, and being mentally unstable, it was impossible for me to successfully grow out of my immaturity and be a socially functioning human being within a group setting. I am so far good at a one-on-one interaction. I have Hubby, Son, and a good friend.  What more do I need?

I  believe that if given the chance I can make more friends of value, and live out my life being proud that I faced up to some pretty inhumane treatment. A psychologist I went to for as long as I knew Chauncey, and friends, said she isn’t sure my staying at that job was such a good idea. I actually found that I would go on to make some of the same mistakes I made while working. Different people, same outcome. It was painful to learn; I do not trust authority, and I especially do not trust anyone who assumes who I am without even bothering to have a decent conversation. I feel “group think” is a dynamic that I cannot get past. Power struggles within a group make me feel paranoid.  I make my own evaluations of situations based on my own set of standards, not what a group thinks.  I get to know people on a case-by-case basis.

It wasn’t my coworkers’ fault. People do what they do, and my problem – or disability is that I cannot work within cliques, and I will never be able to establish a decent working relationship with others unless it feels safe for me, and that is tenuous. It’s how I handle situations that is amiss. It is how I handle stress that is the problem.

I have the distinction of having a therapist in the 80’s talk with my boss who was harassing me.  The therapist is on the front page of Psychology Today last time I looked.  He thought I was being discriminated against, but when he sent me to a lawyer it came down to the fact that the company I worked for would drag me through the mud.  It would be a fruitless endeavor. My symptoms just got worse and worse.

I am flawed; I don’t speak out when I should. At home I am very confident, as my husband spoils me; but I am losing my cognitive abilities according to brain quizzes I have taken, and the brain freezes I experience. My father had dementia. I am writing this to see if I have still got my logic straight, and if it has improved or declined. Also I am writing to see if I make more sense this time to any travelers to this site. After all I am seeking to help.

The first instance of this decline was when I had an enormous mental breakdown. It was building up to a crescendo for quite a while.  I was 25 years old. All I could think about was work. At the movies, out with friends, I was a chronic worrier, and complainer; who at that age could tolerate that from a friend? My family wrote me off as lazy brained, but I really couldn’t articulate my feelings. I had no interests really, just going from class to class, learning about life. My son was suffering because of all that.

I have been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, which is supposedly highs and lows with schizophrenia – namely paranoia. I read once that paranoia is caused in part from a lack of information. It is true for me, as I don’t remember having educational conversations with my parents or my siblings during my life. My sex talk with mom was her saying just to stay away from boys.

I have kindled a relationship with my younger sister, and it is somewhat healthy, She keeps her distance. Coming from mentally ill parents, we are doing our best I am sure. We never had a relationship so this is an improvement.

I am about to embark on learning to do actual pieces of art.  I will have a crafts class among other social activities available to me when we move to a place where relatives have already migrated. This place is a kind of like a condo set up. It is one hour and a half from our current home, and we will need to come back see our regular doctors and such 2 times per month.

My son is doing great, and it is because of my husband coming into our lives when I was 25, I am convinced; my son having a high IQ doesn’t hurt.  Hubby is not his real father (and Dad isn’t doing well, and has worse mental problems than I do, and no Social Security since he works under the table). I may just get to be a grandmother. I am 60 years old. My mother passed on in her 60’s. Was it worth it to delay my gratification for so many years? I’ll probably never know.

What real choice did I have anyway? Live on welfare? Who would have hired me at the rate I was making? We needed the income. I tried other jobs, but there is a big scam going on with employers not paying people what they are worth.

I have a loving family, and son. I will be living in a complex just a short walk to relatives, with a mountain directly behind the building. It’s a nice, clean town with wonderful celebrations every year with fireworks we can see in town and on our mountain. We will be able to travel as much as we want. And we will save, because the payments are so low.  Our bills will be paid off too. Sounds like heaven?


Work Stress

The most common stress complaint that I hear is about work. This isn’t uncommonly uncommon as I do manage one of the biggest Work Related Stress & Well-being groups on LinkedIn. But nonetheless, it is an area I have worked in for a long time and have yet to be un-curious to discover the delusional dichotomy that my clients play out on their mind. I will never cease to be amazed at the desire most people have to focus on what stresses them, in sacrifice to what inspires them. In historical terms, the human sacrifices of our civilization is the individual – ourselves.

I’ll never forget the day when I attended a ‘Workplace Stress Management’ seminar presented for a few stressed-out employees of a national television company. It was astonishing. The instructor actually promoted the idea of taking five minutes an hour to find a quiet place where you can hide (from your boss) and do some breathing exercises. I mean, seriously? That means, as an employer, I’m paying you to sit in a corner and cry for 40 minutes a day. In case you didn’t know, you’re fired.

I remember when I first picked up Dr. Hans Selye’s book ‘Stress’ wherein the introduction he stated his gratitude for his lifelong companion (stress) for all it taught him about life. The Doctor of Stress himself praised stress for its ingenuity, compassion and transformative agenda. This moment, remembered inside a small book store in Ottawa, Canada, validated everything I had come to know about the angelic devil that we name stress.

Stress has such a wide variety of applications- spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, family, social, physical- and a wider variety of coping mechanisms. A coping mechanism, being a mechanism, is innately bound to fail as all mechanical things wear out and need repair. So for me, whenever I hear the words ‘coping mechanism’, I tend to laugh a little bit inside. I don’t mean that as a critical punch to some great people doing great work in the world, but intentionally to the person who feels they need to cope with a feeling they themselves create.

Let’s be clear. Stress is not something that comes out of nothing. It’s an effect of a cause and for most people’s expression, that cause is always external. In truth, the cause is internal. Stress is not an effect of the world on to you, it’s an effect of how you respond to the world you perceive. That means, coping mechanisms are only ever used to try and cope with yourself and your preprogrammed reactions to stimuli you label stressful.

I’ve met more people who are stressed about their job, their relationship, their finances and all other areas, than people who are in love with what others stress about. But they do exist. Some people thrive in stress. They love it like a child discovering a new way to play, but they still experience it. For me, the fact that these people do exist, tells me that stress is not a wrong state of being any more than a right one.

But what makes them different? How do some people seem to handle stress better than others? I’ve studied this question both professionally (through others) and personally (through myself) and came to conclude that those who handle it better tend to do more of what they love doing. They persistently and relentlessly delegate as much as they can that doesn’t inspire them. They remain focused on their own state of mind, being and vision or chief aim and they act and react in ways that keep them authentic and progressively profitable towards their lifelong dreams. They take care of their bodies and eat nourishing foods and fill their mind with things that inspire them. They make choices for themselves first and then those they care to serve. They’re strong enough to see that stress is a part of life, so you might as well do whatever you can to live a great one.

This being a true observation, in every case, tells me that stress isn’t a wrong thing to experience, but actually a right thing that we need in order to survive.

My personal truth is that if you’re not doing what you love, you are dying doing what you despise. It’s not easy to do what you love. In fact, it’s likely the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but your life does depend on it. I’ve just scratched the surface at doing what I love and even that has been stressful. Because of that, in my personal view, stress is a guide. Not a guide in the sense that it’s telling you who or what to escape or stay away from to avoid feeling stress. But it is a guide that tells you where you need to grow. What decisions you could make that could help you. What actions you could take that could empower you. What you need to learn in order to understand and have gratitude for the world around you.

It’s rare that I ever meet someone who is expressively stressed by doing something they love doing. Stressed people generally are doing things that don’t inspire them. This is what makes workplace stress so interesting. If the ‘stressors’ weren’t there, people would still be doing jobs they don’t love. That’s why I consider workplace stress, especially when it’s cause by people (external), to be such a hideout for a more core challenge – that you aren’t doing all you can for the life you dream of living.

Now, that’s not all the time. Some people are doing what they love and are still stressed. But the difference is, at the end of the day, they are doing what they love regardless of what stress they have. Imagine that. What if your ‘fall-back stress coping mechanism’ was living loving what you do?

Consider this. We all have smart-phones with video recorders now, or at least we know someone who has one. Borrow it and record yourself ranting about what is stressing you about your life. Now ask yourself, honestly, if this person (you) came up to you and started saying exactly what you just said, would you take them out for coffee or would you try and run away? Now ask yourself this question – are you inspired by the words that come out of your mouth on that video recording? If not, change. We either learn to control our responses to stress and stay focused, internally and expressively, on what we love, or we play the never ending game of stress, hoping that some day it will just stop.

A hard truth – stress never gets smaller, but we can become bigger.

Exercise: Look to the future – What specifically is stressing me? Can I admit to myself that I am the one creating my stress response? Yes? Good. How is my stress and the initiator of my stress, benefiting me? What’s it helping me do? What options is it giving me? What is it focusing me in on? What is it getting me to think about that can help me? What am I doing that stresses me and how can that action help me achieve my dreams?

How is my stress helping me be greater?

At the end of the day, stress is just your own inability to adapt to an environment that is changing, challenging and supporting. When we see more challenge than support, more negative than positive, more bad than good, for criticism than praise, we create stress because we can’t see the benefits. But there are benefits, they are just sometimes hard to see at first. I’m not saying stress is a choice, because we’re generally not taught how to ask questions to help our brains balance out the day. But I am saying that it is our choice to learn the right questions to ask and the right actions to take to help our being and those around us, live so that our next moment be greater and graceful.

Stephan Gardner is a Stress & Emotion Specialist with a luminary understanding of human behaviour, emotions and life transformation. Educated at The Demartini Institute and a proficient student of personal and spiritual development, his mission is to inspire you to new levels of life fulfilment through work, wisdom, and love.


Emotional Validation

I want to share my story with you and the insights I have gained since those days of working in a toxic environment as an administrator.

Anyone who has felt disrespected or abused in the workplace can understand the emotions I felt. I remember anger, frustration, betrayal, and hopelessness as being prevalent. What I found even worse was the lack of support from my employer and some mental health professional’s inability to grasp the issue.

Imagine, here I am having gone through a very traumatic experience and I was being told that the problem was me and I needed to learn how to cope with difficulties. Are you kidding me? I was not the one being rude, yelling, constantly criticizing, flipping rules, micromanaging, etc.

Over time, what I really learned is that they were partially right – I was part of the problem. I would not change my ethics and standards to accept such bad behavior, and just coping in that environment meant that I was giving my approval; but it was still my choice whether I accepted the situation or left.

What I discovered to be more important at the onset was having my emotions validated as being real and appropriate for my experiences and abilities, it meant that I was respected as an individual – something this experience takes away. I was not looking for someone to agree with my perceptions, but I wanted someone to respect my feelings. I have no doubt that our emotional reaction is already justified based on our level of understanding. The life experiences, skills for dealing with difficult situations, personal ethics, and goals all play a role; and just how positive emotions can tell us things went well, negative emotions can tell us we need to learn some new skills, including when to leave.

I truly believe that our emotions are a critical piece to our growth, but first we have to embrace them to understand them. When we respect our feelings, we also respect ourselves. It does open up the understanding and ability to learn new skills. My business partner Edna, who is developing a program to assist office support staff has just published a video called Emotion Commotion at http://youtu.be/9UOO_YSKpNA, which can help us to further understand our emotions. I hope you find some value in her words, and remember you are important.

Cheryl Ericson offers Virtual Office Services at https://www.creativeoffice.ca and has an extension to that business where she is developing a program to help Office Support Staff (receptionists, administrators, etc.) with their soft and practical skills through the VIP Connection.

It is completely different, a combination of a Google Office and Walt Disney, in order to make it fun and attract a specific audience. Edna (her puppet) is involved in that part of her business.

You are never alone, even your darkest hour

Sometimes it’s hard to feel part of the whole, especially when everything in your life seems to be tearing you apart. When you are seemingly under attack from enemies and friends alike and you appear to be completely alone. But this is just an illusion. Perhaps a very convincing one, but an illusion all the same. And it can be hard not to fall for it and lash out. It can be hard not to take things personally and try and fight it

But if you do nothing, and let your thinking subside… because that’s where the separation lies, not in the real world… then you will rise again to the surface and you will feel whole again. Now I’m not one for giving any practical advice about any of this. C’mon, the last sentence even says ‘do nothing’… but I will say that when this happened to me very recently, I was aided by saying the following sentence over and over again: “I love you”.

I was saying it to myself, to the Universe, to the people who I felt had ‘wronged’ me, to everyone in fact. And I guess it doesn’t really matter whether or not it helped speed up things or not, the fact that it is a loving thing to say somehow made it all OK anyway, even in the midst of despair.

So I wanted to share this story that a lovely friend of mine, Rachel Norwood sent me:

“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. ”Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”
Click on the link to get to Author Damian Smyth’s new book.  There is a Kindle version as well.

We all encounter stormy times of our lives

We all encounter stormy times in our lives. The good news is no storm is permanent. They all dissipate. The question is, how do we handle them? What are some healthy coping mechanisms that help us to weather the stressful times?

I love to tell stories. I’m a storyteller by nature. Martha is a busy lawyer with a husband and three children. She has all the responsibilities of a career woman, a mother, and a wife. One evening she broke down in tears over her life situation. How could she cope with it all?

Her twin sister, Mary, did a planned intervention. She confronted Martha with her situation. She encouraged Martha to find healthy coping mechanisms to help her deal with stress.

Coping mechanisms come under two categories. One is called unhealthy coping mechanisms. The other is healthy coping mechanisms. Let’s take a look at three mechanisms under each category.

Unhealthy coping mechanism. I call this the terrible threes.

1. The top of the list is addictions. I succumbed to depression, anxiety, and psychosis when I was a teenager because I adopted a lifestyle of an addiction to sugar in response to my father’s alcoholic proclivities. It gave me solace at the time and it filled the need to be loved. But it caused me a lifetime of illness. My poor brother, Jack, lived to deeply regret his addiction to alcohol. Again, it brought him the love that he needed. It also caused serious cardiac difficulties that nearly killed him at age thirty eight and brought serious health issues for the next forty years.

2. Number two is a tendency to lead rushed, chaotic lives. Yes, this is exciting. But it also leads to problems with stress and anxiety.

3. Number three involves becoming isolated and lose connections with others. This limits our options because others can serve to help us through our problems.

Healthy coping mechanisms. I call them the terrific trio.

1. Number one of healthy coping mechanisms is a connection to a higher power. We cannot do everything alone. God, as we understand Him is there to encourage, exhort and lift us up.

2. Number two of healthy coping mechanisms is to network, network, network. When we connect with people, especially emotionally healthy people, we have a greater number of coping resources.

3. Number three of healthy coping mechanisms is the ability to observe and emulate healthy behaviors. Those of us who observed unhealthy behaviors can benefit from watching the way healthy individuals interact.

If you are someone you know is suffering from major depression, showing signs of depression, is manic depressive, or is looking for how to deal with depression please subscribe to Barb’s blog. She has advice on such topics as, coping with depression, teen depression, anxiety and depression, depression in children, and other types of depression disorders. You can visit her website at http://www.depressiontorecovery.com/

Please click on book cover to get your copy of Barb’s book!

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Does your work environment require a mobile morphine drip?

Sometimes we find ourselves in a work environment that calls for a mobile morphine drip just to get through the day. I know; I’ve been there—when you’re working with people whose ethics would make a vulture retch; when you’re tempted to amputate your boss’s limbs with a very blunt scalpel—and no anesthetic; when the thought of another day in that hellhole makes you want to jump off the nearest building. But because of your circumstances, you have to hang in there just a little while longer. Keeping your self in sight at times like this can be challenging in the extreme. But it can be done.

Rule #1 Resistance is an invitation to push against you harder. Disconnect mentally and emotionally from the person or situation as often as you can. Buying into it will allow it to suck you in, contaminate you and make you an active participant. Your body might have to temporarily be there—but your mind and emotions do not.

Rule #2 Shift your perception. This job is not using you—you are using it—to get where you really want to go. Refuse to become the victim. Use the experience to motivate your momentum towards something better.

Rule #3 Stay in alignment with your principles as much as possible. Lead by example. Be the change you would like to see, regardless of what’s going on around you.

Rule #4 Develop an escape plan—study, apply for other positions, teach, research, gather information, strengthen your weak links, explore all the options, network, collaborate or develop a second income. Let this be your place of inspiration and affirmation. While you may not be appreciated in one environment, what you gain in satisfaction is valuable beyond measure in another. Your passport to freedom is reclaiming and developing the only thing you have absolute control over—you.

If you repeatedly find yourself in miserable situations, be they relationships, work, communications, financial or health related, have you considered that the source of these problematical patterns might originate inside you? Okay, I can hear you scream are you insane? My spouse is an abusive monster, my boss behaves like a rabid buffalo, my work’s as stimulating as studying the mating habits of snails, people I try to communicate with act like I’m speaking in a foreign tongue, my finances lurch from crisis to crisis and my body is staging a  full blown rebellion! So I’ll repeat the question have you considered that the source of your problems might originate inside you? Why does this pattern keep repeating; would you like to change these experiences?

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Obey! The hidden and not so hidden messages at work

After reading Chapter two of , “Work abuse: How To Recognize and Survive It”, by Hare and Wyatt,  for the 5th time, I could have sworn it writes about today.  It’s relevant now.  I am not the author, so I can merely write my interpretations of what I’ve read.

I’ve previously written blogs about my work experiences; mostly negative ones.  I’m tempted to take them down for fear of what those blogs must say about me. Don’t get me wrong; those situations did injure me.  I was not treated right in my mind.  But were the people who carried out acts against me really conscious of what they were really doing?  Were they conscious of the impact they had on me?  After reading about norms today, I suspect not.

I asked someone once, who had offended me, if she could put herself in my shoes for a moment.  She said she had never been able to do that.  I’m guessing she is not a very aware person; particularly of the consequences of her actions, and how they may affect others.

At work, we are often this unconscious.  We obey the norms of the organization or work group, often without hesitation.  For example, about competition among coworkers.  I think the book questions if fierce competition between employees or managers is productive.  We accept it, and comply.  We obey even if at first, we disagree.  What about the norm of silence?  We read from the Challenger accident, as referenced in the book, that this norm can destroy people’s lives, while throwing a lot of money, hopes, and dreams down the drain. Why do these situations happen?  Peer pressure is one reason.  There are many reasons.  The system that is in place has to change, but no one person can change it.

I read that people are really not to blame in the system.  It is hypnotic, pervasive, impossible to ignore, yet we rarely realize it exists.  It is a top-down, authoritarian system, according to a man named Deming, as referenced in the book, who researched Japan and America–the workforces–side-by-side.

The system punishes us if we do not obey.  I learned that because I could never really follow the norms.  I was getting beaten down, time after time.  I gave up so many of my ideals, beliefs at work, but I clung to some, and it was noticeable enough to my coworkers.  In my opinion, the norms in most workplaces are dysfunctional.  That means to me that I’d be dysfunctional to actually assimilate and eventually enforce those norms on other coworkers, according to what I interpret from the book.

Survival for me was to act as if everything was normal, because I couldn’t adopt the belief system that the people I worked with had.   That worked for years.  Coworkers caught on eventually, and this is one reason I believe the time of being treated well ended.

it is implicit– it is mainly a silent process.  My situation  big news, compared to the Challenger accident, but it did hurt deeply.  After many years of one job I am left with a terrible social anxiety.  It’s getting better, but not without help.

Herein lies the answers to humanity’s problems…

Herein lies the answers to humanity’s problems…

I watched Andrew Marr’s a ‘History of the World’ last night on television. He made some interesting points about the future of humanity, all based around how we deal with the world’s problems: pollution, greed, poverty, politics. Ironically, I had attended, that very same day, a conference in London, where the answers to all of these problems had been discussed openly and lovingly. The ‘problem’ there, was how to share it, so that it could be heard and utilised most effectively.

This always reminds me of the cartoon, where the man who is really really busy, is being shown a ‘time saving’ gadget by someone – and is shoeing them off, saying “I’m too busy for time saving gadgets!”

You see, all of the problems in the world, whether they are environmental, personal, political, or otherwise… are ‘thought’ problems. No one can have a problem, unless they have a thought about it. In India, it is customary to throw away rubbish where ever one feels like it. I remember asking a taxi driver once who threw a plastic bottle off a bridge into the Ganges, where he thought the bottle would end up. “I don’t know and I don’t care” was his response. If it does not exist in our thoughts, it does not exist, for us. Climate change, whether it exists or not, will only be a problem when it enters our thoughts (usually via a storm, or snow in May, or a tsunami in New York).

Yet there is already a way, a process, a scientific explanation of a way to look inwardly for the solutions to all of these problems. Yes, even climate change! Why, because climate change is not the problem, greed is the problem. The answers are to be found inwardly, because if nothing exists in the outside world, unless we have a thought about it, it is those thoughts that are the key to the solutions, not the circumstances. And the way we think about things is (currently) as if those outside circumstances are calling the shots. But they aren’t, we are.

Let me clarify here in the following words. The words I will write allude to a truth, but only your own connection to the understanding of this truth will clarify it for yourself. No two people reading these words would have the same experience of their meaning. And therein lies a clue. We all live in thought created realities. What we see is what we get. Over the centuries, sages, mystics and gurus have alluded to a world inside that holds the key to our existence. It’s what’s inside that counts. We are in an age where what is ‘outside’ is seen as more important than what is ‘inside’. What we ‘have’ is more important that what we ‘are’.

I am certain that more and more people are waking up to a universal truth, that this is not the way it works. That the only solutions are to be found inside. What we, as humanity, have been missing, is to really be able to point ourselves back in the right direction with some factual, scientific evidence, that we can trust and believe in. It’s all very well for the spiritualists amongst us to point us back inside, when what is happening outside is hunger, death, fear and poverty. However, making its way, slowly but surely into the spotlight, are three basic facts that people can share. Three fundamental principles that point to the science behind our existence.

At first, they may seem to be too simplistic and maybe even irrelevant. But it is not in the words that their meaning lies. For words are humanity’s tools with which to pass on ideas. Like blood that carries oxygen to the brain, it is not the blood that keeps the brain alive, but the oxygen. So too, these words are the messenger, but they are not the message. It is your own wisdom that is required to decipher the message and understand their meaning.

These three facts are as follows:
Fact 1: We are alive. We have life. That life appears to have an intelligence built into it, so that we do not have to ‘work’ at healing ourselves when we have a cut, or to think about growing new skin. This is a fact, and, like gravity, it is a fundamental principle. No one can argue that life does not exist. And whether you believe it or not, it is still true.

Fact 2: We are conscious. No one can have an experience if they are not conscious or aware of it. Consciousness is the principle that brings life to our own awareness. This too is a fact. Whether you believe it or not, it is still true.

Fact 3: We think. No one can have an experience of their own life or anyone else’s, through their consciousness, unless it is brought to them by a thought. Whether you believe it or not, it is still true, but you would need to have a thought about that first, if you wish to disbelieve it!

OK, that’s it. I said it was simple. I also said that the meaning was not in the words. So let me attempt to point you in the right direction and give you an explanation (from my own point of view) as to what these words allude to and why they are so important.

Everyone on this planet lives in a thought created reality. No one can have an experience of anything, unless they have a thought about it. Let me say that again. No one can have an experience of anything, UNLESS they have a thought about it. Nothing that happens in the outside world, happens FOR US, unless we have a thought about it.

And no one can make us feel anything. We are the only ones responsible for our own feelings. WE… are the ONLY ones responsible for our OWN feelings. Because we HAVE to have a thought about it first. Now you might well say that unless a circumstance occurs in the first place, then we would not have had the thought. This is true, but what is also true, is that no two people would have the same thought, and more importantly, we cannot be made to feel anything that we do not think. I could not think your thought and you could not think mine. I could not feel the way you feel and you could not feel the way I feel. We have to have the thought to get a feeling and that thought is ours and ours alone. The missing link in the process (from circumstance to feeling), is thought. No thought, no feeling. No thought, no anger. No thought, no happiness. No thought, no problems. No thought, no war.

Now, out of the myriad of infinite thoughts available to anyone at any given moment, how many people do you think currently wrongly misunderstand that the one they are thinking is coming from the circumstance, and not from them? “He made me do it…” How many people currently think that this is the ONLY thought available to them in that moment? If people knew the process behind how we create our realities, and they knew that they were the ones creating thought, and that new thought is always available as long as we allow the room for it to enter first, what would happen?

Instead of reacting to things, we would get reflective. Instead of getting ‘angry’ (thought), we would get curious. Do you see the difference here? If everyone on this planet knew that they were the ones responsible for their own reality, their feelings, then the focus would switch from the outside in, to the inside out. Do you see that in a few short paragraphs I have given you the inklings of the key to humanity’s desperate attempts to look inside? These principles are so simple and yet so profoundly important to the future of humanity. If everyone knew how the human operating system worked, and that it’s not WHAT you think, but the fact THAT you think, then we could start to heal the world. This subtle switch… this small shift, is all that is required. I say all, but that’s 7 billion subtle shifts.

But as the saying goes: If you want to change the world, start by changing yourself.
The author is Damian Mark Smyth

"Do Nothing", by Damian Mark Smyth