Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Crazy moments’ Category

When Is It MY Turn? Please Pass The Teddy Bear!

Teddy Bear

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago Greg and I attended a counseling retreat – that concentrated on intense communication between married couples.  We got to know several couples at this retreat in all stages of marriage – who had lost the ability to effectively communicate.  The retreat was led by a couple of counselors who had many suggestions to encourage the communication and health between spouses.

One such technique was using a teddy bear.  The spouse that had possession of the teddy bear – could do ALL the talking without interruption.   It was a “safe zone” for the spouse that held the bear.   And as long as they held it – they could do all the talking.  After they were done – they would pass the bear to their spouse and their spouse would be given the same treatment while holding the bear – no interruption – no fear.  This required intense listening – and validation to the partner who was speaking.  The idea being of course, that partner with the bear would affirm the other and say, “I hear what you’re saying….” or “I understand how you could feel that way…” thus verifying that they really heard – and not just sitting there thinking of something else.

Until last night – we had not used this communication technique and had almost forgotten about it.  We were having what you might call a “difference of opinion” and I could see that the “discussion” was going no where – no one really listening to the other at all.  No – in fact – we were both talking at each other – no positive interaction or exchange.  The discussion had pressed some “fear” buttons and immediately we went into a very familiar “dance” of words and programmed responses brought on by what we were interpreting as non-validation.  It was easy for us to slip into, “What???  I did not say that!” or “You ALWAYS say that”  “You’re not hearing me” or “That did NOT happen like that” etc.  This went on for some time until I remembered the retreat – grabbed a teddy bear that usually sits on the pink wing-backed chair in our entry way and grasped him firmly.   I brought him into the family room where Greg was sitting on the couch and announced, “I have the teddy bear”.

Of course this brought smiles and chuckles of recognition from him – but he continued to talk, saying, “HEY – I wasn’t through!”  “You know the rules”  I said, “The one in possession of the teddy bear – gets to speak”.

And so we continued in this fashion – smiling the whole time – but also realizing that there is something to this after all.  A “safe zone” where the one in possession can speak freely without interruption – forcing the other to really listen and NOT say anything.  It forces one to “button the lip” as it were.

It was amazing what happened after that – maybe the mood was different – maybe we both just started listening more – I don’t know, but I do know that we were able to dig a little deeper into some past issues that had been lying dormant – all with the bear on our laps.  And it was not long before the real issue came out and we were able to identify it – with no fear – only validation and recognition.

There is something about a teddy bear.  Ask any child who has one.  They are sweet – and you want to hug them.  They make you smile and feel like a child again.  And you just cannot be mad at a person who is holding one – try it and see if you can!

There are many methods to resolving marital conflict – this is just one that seems to really work – because it is a visual reminder that unless you are holding the bear – you cannot talk – you have to listen, be supportive and validate the one talking.  And I suppose that is at the heart of most miscommunication – wanting to be validated and feel heard.

Next time you have a disagreement – try bringing a teddy bear into the room with you – and suggest that your spouse hold it – and then really listen as they talk.  It will amaze  you as you feel the tension in the room lighten up and you find listening skills you never knew either of you had 🙂

Whose turn is it to hold the bear?

Can you sit still without interrupting until your spouse is finished speaking?

Are you one that encourages and validates your spouse?

Try it today!

God Bless

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With God’s Help, I Shall Be Myself

Cover of "Funny Faces"

Cover of Funny Faces

‎”Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that…Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
–Galatians 6:4-5 The Message

 

Found this passage of scripture yesterday on a page that I subscribe to on facebook.  I love The Message Bible because it speaks with everyday language that I can understand and more easily, apply to my life.

With life’s cares, burdens, stresses and other things – it becomes difficult to even remember who I am – what my calling is – and just how to do it.  And yet I am instructed to – BE WHO I AM.

Being who I am is difficult.  Not so much in my own head – although that can be a problem too after years of masking who I am – in order to fit it – get along with – or remain with the status quo.  Mostly it is hard because the image I project is sometimes very different from who I really am.  And my responses are carefully guarded after so long of being careful not to offend – and not to be rejected for being different.

But in this scripture I am encouraged to be me.  To do a thorough inventory of myself. Not what others see me as – or want me to be.  Not what I have carefully tried to conceal from people and even myself – but to break free from other thoughts and ideas that others would try to project on me – and just be me.

I have many stories from past ministry life that would raise the hair on the back of your neck – how others tried to muzzle me or tell me what was right for me – how to act – what to say – how to dress etc. etc.  It made me very cautious – it made me very conflicted inside.  I wasn’t sure for many years – who I was – or even if I was satisfied with being different.  Even as recent as two years ago I had a situation where again I felt free to be me – only to be blasted because I was expressing that part of me that had been shut up for so long.  I was once again muzzled and felt humiliated for my words  – by someone I thought understood and encouraged me to be me!  What a concept.  I was wrong – and my attempt at being myself and breaking free was met in the end with lack of understanding and rejection.  But the last couple of years have taught me something.  I like who I am.  I like being free to say and do what I like – without having to fit in to anyone else’s agenda or protocol.  And I have lost my fear.  Others cannot hurt me anymore in the same way.  Or silence me.  I have found myself.

And once I was satisfied with who that someone was – something great happened – the most truthful and honest me came out – I then began to evaluate my gifting according to what I had been equipped for and possess – and I began to sink into that work.

When I think about sinking into something – I think about my nice comfortable bed.  Settling in, making myself comfortable and staying a while.  In the same way – I am encouraged to settle in and make myself comfortable – stay for a while with the things and gifts that God has equipped and given to me.

Being an artist and musician – I love the next part of the verse.  I am instructed to do my ‘creative best’ with my own life – the responsibility rests inside of me.

Thank you Lord for creating me with unique abilities and gifts.  Help me find the courage to be myself – lose the fear of rejection, betrayal, and disregard from those who did not like – or did not agree – with who I am.  Help me find the freedom and safety in your warm and loving regard.  Knowing that you are smiling and cheering me on!  As I come closer and closer to being the one who you created with your purpose running through me.

With God’s help – I shall be myself.

 

God Bless

 

Addicted To Love

Addicted to Love (song)

Image via Wikipedia

It’s so great how the ‘lost’ can be ‘found’ – if you wait long enough.  25 years ago, Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette, PA.  We had a small youth group – but with those eight or ten ‘kids’ we developed  deep and lasting relationships – especially with four of the boys.  They were and always will be ‘the lost boys’.  This was my pet name for them – because each one had their own unique set of circumstances and challenging home lives.  We came into their lives in that crucial part of life – when they were teenagers.

You never know how you will affect lives while you are in the middle of your own journey – or what the future impact may be.  We were just simply doing our job and it was easy to love these kids.  And with no other distractions and no children of our own yet – they became our ‘children’.

After moving away from Jeannette in ’86  – we took a position in New Castle, PA and two of the boys came to visit us.  I was pregnant with Ashlee at the time and it was so great to see them!  They told us of some trouble that one of the boys had found himself in – and we wanted to reconnect with him – even back then – but it was hard in those days with no internet.  Sadly we lost touch with all of them and some time later moved back to the west coast.  Because there was no internet yet – or at least very limited – I had no way of finding anyone – but always thought about them and wondered what had happened.  The memory of my ‘lost boys’ was always on my mind.  When we first had internet, back in the late 90’s I tried once more to locate them.  Nothing.  Years passed and I got on myspace and looked.  Nothing.  Then a few years later I got on facebook and tried again.  No luck – until….about 6 or 8 months ago.  I typed in two of the boys names and FOUND THEM!!  It was like a miracle!  I contacted them – one now lives back in Jeannette and the other is in the army and stationed in Afghanistan.  What a thrill to talk to them and catch up on their lives – there’s a whole lot to catch up – 25 years!

One of the ‘boys’ suggested that we use Skype to talk to each other using a webcam on the computer and seeing a real face in front of you while you’re talking.  We had never used it before and after a lot of bugging on his part – Greg finally downloaded Skype.  Last week we were able to call him.  I can’t tell you how it felt to see him (this was the one that had some trouble in his teens after we left) and to see that he’s all right.  During the conversation I said, ‘You know Randy – you were the original ‘lost boys’ – you were like our kids’  and without missing a beat he said, ‘Well in many ways – you were our parents’  That was so nice to hear.  That ‘lost boy’ is 40 years old now.  And he has never forgotten us.

Two of the other boys were found from this blog.  I wrote an article about a year ago – still looking for these ‘boys’ and wrote their names in an article hoping someone would see them.  Someone did.  One of the boys himself –  who was not on facebook – was using ‘google’ to find another one of these boys and my blog popped up!  He commented on the article and gave me his email.  That was amazing too!  He told me news of he and his brother and what a journey their lives had taken.  Randy and I pushed and pleaded with him to join facebook – and he finally did!

Here is a video I made for the four ‘lost boys’.  This song has much meaning – it was an ’80’s tune that played on the radio ALL THE TIME back then and Bill use to ‘sing’ parts of it and make us all laugh.  Good times, good times.

Here’s hoping that whatever  you have ‘lost’ – will someday be ‘found’.

Enjoy!

I’m Not Crazy – I CAN Carry My Own

Grocery Store Madness

The craziest moments seem to happen to us in grocery stores. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because so many people come for a quick stop at the store – hoping no one will see them (like me) – or maybe it’s because all the tabloids are right by the register where you can’t help but read them while you wait in line. Or maybe it’s because at some grocery stores they have what is getting more and more popular – (and more and more annoying) the ‘self check out‘ line. This approach to ‘simple checkout’ is always hilarious for us – as every store seems to have different machines to operate. And for some reason we never can operate any of them successfully!

I know I just CAN’T be the only one who has felt like an idiot while trying to ‘scan’ my items over this tiny little ‘electric eye’. And I know I CAN’T be the only one in the universe that has to scan her items several times to get the blasted thing to ‘beep’, right? And then to add insult to injury – usually I forget to put the item where it should be – and the lady’s voice keeps repeating, ‘please put the item in the bag’. Why? I’m not done yet! But saying this does NOT help. Sometimes the machine does not know what to do with me – and the ‘real’ person comes flying in – to my rescue and presses buttons really fast (the machine likes her – not me) and then I can continue on. I think the machine is possessed. And not in a good way.

Maybe it’s the fact that one time a few years ago on our way out-of-town for a vacation – we stopped at a grocery store to pick something up. Greg decided to go to another part of the store – and I was getting gum or mints – something very small. I remember paying for it and the check person (male) asked me if I needed ‘help out with that’? I stood there for a moment – looked at my one purchase and decided to have a little fun. “Do I look like I would need help out with this”? I said. Rather embarrassed – the male check person (about 18) said, ‘we’re required to ask that, ma’am.” As if that settled the question – once and for all. Well of course it didn’t – not for me! I said, ‘well – you better tell your people that it’s insulting to ask that question – it makes us feel stupid or something – I mean, come on! Help out with a pack of gum?”

Well I can tell you – that it must be some kind of rule or something – because every time I’m in the store – even with Greg – (that’s the really funny part) they always ask it! Greg always laughs and says, ‘that’s why I brought my wife – she’s the pack-horse‘ (har, har) – but these people never think we’re mentally qualified or physically able to carry a couple of bags to our car. Pretty funny. Anybody else out there feel this way – or is it just me?

No I’m NOT crazy. And just for the record – I CAN carry my own!!

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