Sunday, June 28, 2015

Special Offer on Amazon
Positivity versus Chronic Pain

By Jennifer Morse, MS PhD

With the increase of auto immune disorders and degenerative disease many people are wondering when faced with chronic and debilitating pain what are the psychological and emotional skills that engender increased functionality, buffer stress and reduce the suffering associated with chronic pain?

From Positive Psychology we know that savoring what’s right and already working well in the individual’s life reduces stress and reduces the perception of physical pain. Additionally Positive Psychology teaches that discovering and engaging personal strengths shifts the focus away from pain and toward the aspects of life that are rewarding and enriching. Savoring the positive and engaging personal strengths diminishes suffering.

To further reduce the effects of chronic pain educating patients to distinguish the difference between clean pain and dirty pain is another technique designed to reduce suffering. Dirty pain lives in our irrational beliefs increasing muscular tension and corresponding suffering. Successfully confronting clusters of negative thoughts surrounding the experience of chronic pain is liberating. This freedom reduces feelings of being entrapped within the confines of chronic pain.

To further reduce the effects of chronic pain let’s learn to teach the patient the dynamics of building a body compass. The body compass is a system of rating tasks and their positive or detrimental effects on well being. 

In conjunction we teach the application of the 3 B’s: Bag it, barter it, or buffer it. Heightened awareness of the detrimental effects of specific tasks and the application of the 3 B’s fosters the power of personal choice while reducing associated emotional pain and physical tensions.

Incorporating guided visualizations, the power of intentional resting and action plans designed to calm and soothe all combine to reduce the suffering associated with chronic pain and encourage us to volitionally orchestrate well being. 

Jennifer Morse, M.S. PhD is trained as a marriage and family therapist. She has spent the last 30 years dovetailing degenerative chronic pain with her journey to wholeness and wisdom.  

                                                               Coming August 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ceremonial Transformation: The Art of Creating Favorable Outcomes

Written by Jennifer Morse, MS. PhD

I’m going to bombard you with questions. Why? Entering the world of Ceremonial Transformation is not for sissies. We are talking about mastery where your Deepest Desires dovetail with life.

So, do you long to upgrade life? Transform negativity? Live with purpose? Are you ready to pull your dreams from wispy realms into the real world? Do you have the courage, discipline, perseverance, and imagination it requires to live your dreams? If your answer is yes! Welcome to the mystical world of Ceremonial Transformation.

Ceremonial Transformation is a process designed to release you from patterns of self sabotage, and point you toward empowerment. Ceremonial Transformation draws a map, providing a plan for you to realize your dreams and goals.

Ceremonial Transformation is the process of releasing what no longer serves you or your purpose. This release from negative conditioning creates an opening for something new, fresh and powerful.

The second step of Ceremonial Transformation is to claim all of the qualities, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs you will have when you are the person living your dreams. When I say dreams I’m not referring to imagining yourself on a perpetual vacation sipping margaritas under the palm trees lining the beach. Living your dreams is manifesting your goals with a purpose that touches your life, and others, with power, beauty, success and health.

In this way Ceremonial Transformation is the process of cultivating positive outcomes. When the totality of your focus and intention is on developing the qualities associated with your positive goals your life will be transformed.

The last step in Ceremonial Transformation is to commit to specific behaviors and acts that will bring your desires, purpose and goals into tangible form. In the three easy steps: release, claim, and commitment: Ceremonial Transformation can move you from a life of meaningless frustrations to one of purpose, dignity, and maybe a little fun!

Jennifer Morse is the author of The Way of the Fairy Godmother and Redemption’s Warrior. Find them at Amazonkindle. Coming soon: Awaiting the Fairy Godmother and Letters from the Land of Midlife Dating

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I’ve decided it is important for me to honor the beginnings from which this blog evolved. Positive Psychology emerged as a  to be reckoned with a little over ten years ago. It marked a shift in the attitude of therapist from what was wrong with people to what was right. What strengths did people have that we could build on?

It turns out when you engage your strengths you initiate a state of flow, time flies by. With practice you increase skill and build mastery. Confidence improves. Strength building is an important part of the foundation of happiness. What are the other components?

In the beginning take stock of what is already good in life. Sometimes in times of need and stress it’s hard. Do you know the power of a cleansing breath? Do you know the quiet of twilight? How do you feel watching the faces of your children peacefully asleep? Learn to savor what is already good.

Speaking of children….an important part of happiness is a greater meaning to focus the priorities of life. Hopefully you have meaningful work where you can utilize your strengths. And bringing home a paycheck that feeds a family is another component of happiness. Having a focus of service, purpose greater meaning creating a perimeter around your life. This is important. A context of greater meaning provides definition for life. It encapsulates the qualities, activities, behaviors you value. It also forms a boundary keeping out what is negative or harmful. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

                        Coming late summer                                
                                                                                              Rave Reviews
 Prelude to the Fairy Godmother

Life is like a fairytale filled with insurmountable obstacles, enormous burdens and heart-breaking tragedies. Prior to the arrival of the Fairy Godmother the story is composed of mind numbing monotony….or is it? If fairytales are templates for living a life of wonder and happiness… and who doesn’t believe in fairytales? Be honest. We are all awaiting our happy ending.

So…What went on in Cinderella’s life before the arrival of the Fairy Godmother? How long did she mourn her parent’s death? How many years did she scrub the house, run errands, cook meals, take care of the animals and garden, living with a wicked stepmother, before the entrance of the Fairy Godmother? What goes on inside Cinderella to prepare her for the Fairy Godmother’s arrival? Are impossible circumstances the fertile ground required before the arrival of beneficent-supernatural-aide?

Here is what I think happened. After the death of her parents Cinderella was lost within her grief. She fell into a time I call The Great Silence. She scrubbed floors, dusted the furniture, washes dishes while she felt like she was walking on the ocean floor in cement boots.

Cinderella’s only solace was walking in the woods or working in her mother’s gardens. It was several seasons of pruning roses and tending the vegetable and herbs before The Great Silence let go its grip of Cinderella. Until then soft summer days carried rose fragrance on the hint of breeze while bees hum around Cinderella’s still blank features.

Five times early spring trees renew their green canopy under blue skies then thicken with summer’s heat. Five times seasons change bringing bare branches pristine and stark under winter’s grey sky. Cinderella feels a kindred spirit in the tree’s loss of foliage. She too has lost the comforts of her outer life. Trapped in The Great Silence it is at once hard to care or feel and simultaneously the anguish is overwhelming.

Slowly Cinderella begins conversing with the garden. Beginning with the stirring of power in spring and feeding and grooming the animals she finds she can laugh at their gentle bumps. They press and snuffle against her pockets looking for apples and carrots she brings from the garden.

Returning to the beauty in life, on days bright-edged after rain, Cinderella follows mountain streams. Gathering moss she stores nature’s bandages in her mother’s leather bag she rescued from the trash, thrown out by her stepmother. The flowers embedded and dyed are faded. One day she promises herself she’ll repaint the flowers. She’ll follow the lines and curves of her mother’s design. Lost in reverie, imagining colors, sometimes she feels her mother looking over her shoulder with a smile. It makes her heart beat fast. The moment passes in a flash leaving her shaken and so alone. But Cinderella would never trade the split-second communion for the renewed loss.

As The Great Silence slowly loosens its grip she can breathe freely. Sitting against the trees on the edge of the stream she sighs and dozes. She drifts along the edge of sleep pulling her toward a destiny she can barely remember. The warmth of summer sun softens stiff muscles. Dappled shade fragrant with Bay Laurel, the abundant leaves and tree arms create a lattice. Light shines through in greens and hazy gold. In the safety, the congruency of life embracing her, she dream walks with the Fairy Godmother. Cinderella prunes her dreams shaping them with her Deepest Desires.

Her Deepest Desires buffer her from the gut wrenching pain of living with people who will destroy genuine love without a backwards glance. Cinderella’s antidote is Beauty and Love. She tends the gardens with love. She walks her dog, Blackie, in the forest communing with Mother Nature. When did “communing” become laughable in our task-urgent-time-sensitive culture?

Something has changed. By calling on her strengths each day; morning, noon and night she waits on her wicked family. But now Cinderella does not focus on who she serves. She is engaged in giving and receiving love. She is filled to overflowing with her Deepest Desires to love well. Kitchen and wash rooms are scrubbed. Furniture is polished. Rugs are beaten free of dust. Food is prepared with a prayer. The world under Cinderella’s care shines with love. In this way she is preparing to meet the Fairy Godmother.

Have you forgotten fairytales are designed to impart wisdom? They are a map to living a life filled with wonder. But who, exactly, is the Fairy Godmother? Some say she is a magical creature. For her prolonged exposure to the toxicity of modern life is lethal. Negativity, pollution, deceit, conflict and duplicity these are deadly for you too. Her home is in the ether realm of Fairy. But out of her deep and abiding commitment to share the qualities of love, beauty and virtue she occasionally penetrates our mortal world to teach us.

Cinderella’s first encounter with the Fairy Godmother takes place in the lush rows of the vegetable garden in early evening. The air is beginning to cool. Lengthening shadows bend color. The garden reflects the deepening colors of plants and trees saturated in twilight. The Fairy Godmother often appears at twilight. Within the balance of light and dark, transitioning day to night, night to day, sunlight to moonlight, while the trees sigh and take their breath, the Fairy Godmother slides into the mortal world.

Cinderella’s eyes pass over the Fairy Godmother and back track. Startled by the Fairy Godmother’s perfection Cinderella is jarred out of pessimism and the weight of her depression. Why? The Fairy Godmother is complete in herself. She is whole, in a totality, both unique and magical. Practical and specific to her goals and dreams, she is unshakable in her optimism. The light and color of a million rainbows fragment and permeate to surround her.

Cinderella’s eye fell on the Fairy Godmother standing within the green leaves and tassels of golden corn. How many times had Cinderella’s eye slid over and away from the Fairy Godmother before she was able to hold her vision steady? She knows society will say the Fairy Godmother does not exist. Rational people do not see Fairy Godmothers hanging out in the vegetable patch.

Have you ever noticed when you are shocked or terrified suddenly your priorities change? Cinderella’s world tilted. When she looked again the Fairy Godmother stood next to her wearing a dress made from the silk of fairy dust spun together into living oscillating threads of light. Her face filled with ineffable beauty takes Cinderella’s breath away.

How does the Fairy Godmother teach? We each vibrate at the rate and frequency of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. The Fairy Godmother is incontrovertibly positive. For generations, millennium after millenniums, she lives an uncompromising, radiant happiness creating acts of beauty. Her lifestyle is dangerously optimistic. As a result she expedites miraculous outcomes. Can you imagine being around such a presence?

She teaches as she lives; authentically. In her presence Cinderella can hear the ring of truth. Knowing the sound she will never forget to listen for its reverberation. The Fairy Godmother is aligned mind-body-spirit-action. Understanding this congruency Cinderella can achieve it. In the future she will recognize discrepancies, incongruence’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

In the presence of the Fairy Godmother Cinderella is jolted into self-awareness. When we are in the presence of someone like the Fairy Godmother, who knows their strength, knows their skills and engages these resources to manifest Positive Possibilities: hope awakens within us. We no longer vibrate at the frequency of our problems. Instead we vibrate at the frequency of hope.

The Fairy Godmother paid no attention to Cinderella’s difficulties or ugliness in her life. She shifts Cinderella’s attention from what’s wrong with her life (for example living with a wicked stepmother and two selfish stepsisters with their never ending demands sucking Cinderella dry of every ounce of life each day.) Instead the Fairy Godmother asks Cinderella to define her Deepest Desires. Why? The seeds of our happiness are embedded in our Deepest Desires.

There is a time to grieve the past, calm and soothe trauma, comfort and explore the depths of pain. But when you are ready for change and the Fairy Godmother appears it’s time to focus on the future. It’s time to find and define our Deepest Desires. Entwining our Deepest Desires with our personal strengths ushers us into a state of absorption and flow. We are lost in the pleasure of our growing mastery. Our Deepest Desires ground us in our essential self and the beneficence in our dreams is larger than our problems.

When we are disconnected from our Deepest Desires life is a cardboard imitation of happiness. Think of the people living in the beautiful homes, with full access to opportunities and yet they are unhappy. All women want to become queen. Cinderella’s stepsisters are in a competition to become queen. For them becoming queen means they will not have to do any work. People will line up to do them favors and bring them gifts. They will have the most beautiful clothes and their jewelry will outshine every other woman in the land.

Cinderella doesn’t want to be queen in the “I’m more powerful than you” sense. She wants to fulfill her Deepest Desires living within the warm glow of realizing her ambitions. She wants to interact with life from her strengths. Her actions will bring beauty to her world and touch the lives with those she loves with beauty. True power is our ability to create beauty. True power is our skill, our capacity to choreography, while engaging our strengths our life with well-being.

This is what Cinderella means when she wants to be queen. She wants to give and receive love in a mutually beneficial loop of reciprocity. She wants to share with her Prince. Their strengths will dovetail. Together they are more powerful than when they are apart. Returning to the garden landing with a jolt in the here and now, Cinderella sighs. “It seems impossible…look at me dressed in rags.”

The Fairy Godmother startles Cinderella with her laughter. “This is what Deepest Desires looks like with everyone! They seem unattainable. The obstacles are insurmountable. The burdens are enormous.” The Fairy Godmother smiles at Cinderella. “By clarifying your Deepest Desires, a relationship with the Prince, Cinderella, you make contact with your authentic self.

Creating beauty and positive outcomes in the midst of stress is at the heart of the Fairy Godmother’s teachings. The Fairy Godmother is in her way a transcendent quintessential radical. Yes, her teachings are revolutionary. Awaken to the teachings of the Fairy Godmother and prepare yourself. You too may stumble into transcendent happiness.

Friday, June 5, 2015

                                                                                       Coming this summer

One of the many things I love about my goldendoodle Aidan? He does not live life at cross purposes. He doesn’t bark friendly and then attack. He doesn’t rush up to greet me and then growl. He doesn’t beg for food and then walk away from the bowl. His intentions are clear. His behavior and intentions match. In fact when he’s hungry and I don’t understand he finds some Kleenex and than pantomimes eating it to get my attention. Did I mention he’s smarter than the average bear?

His loyalty is undivided. I really appreciate he does not barter reality in service to his ego. He doesn’t say one thing and mean another. He is not a historical revisionist. He listens better than any child or man I’ve known. And he even follows directions.

When I get up in the morning he is so happy to see me awake he actually levitates. And he is easy to please. Preparing to take a walk is cause of great celebration and racing around the house. A little extra cheese on his food makes his meal a pleasure. The promise of a treat reaps good behavior.

There are many times when he is busy sniffing a tree, chasing a squirrel, running after the occasional white tail deer or investigating the toads the come out in monsoon season and I ask him to stop what he is doing and come with me.

And he does. He sets aside what is important to him and comes with me. He is congruent. He lets me know I’m the most important person in the world and his behavior matches.

In psychology we call intentions that match feelings which than reflect in matching actions, congruency. There are benefits to congruency. We feel safe with the person or animal whose behavior, feelings and intentions match. Congruency builds trust. It is like making a deposit in the bank of well-being for your relationship.

If congruency is important to the well-being of relationships what’s the significance of incongruence? There is nothing that will make you crazier than interacting, living, with a human being who says one thing and than does another. You know the businessman who proclaims his integrity while cheating consumers. The husband or wife who kisses their spouse goodbye then engages in the extramarital affair at the office is betraying the morning kiss to their spouse. Incongruence can be as simple as the promise to be home at 5PM and arriving home at 9PM.

We all have unavoidable delays, distractions that keep us one place when we’ve promised to be another. I’m talking about lifestyle choices. Another form of incongruence is talking out of both sides of the mouth. As the Native Americans used to say, “White man speaks with forked tongue.”

My husband gets really cross when I confront him on incongruence. Can you imagine? He does something incongruent. I point it out. He gets angry at me! It turns out I was naive to believe pointing out incongruence will resolve the issue.

Once I gave Aidan a toy, not well made. After handing it to him I realized he would tear it up into a million pieces for me to sweep up. To avoid the clean-up I took the toy away from him. He gave me a look that told me in that moment I was the lowest of the low. I had earned his complete and utter disrespect by giving and then taking away.

I knew a man who made giving and then taking away into an art form. For example, he promised his wife a house as a wedding present. They moved into a house he owned. He regularly required accolades for providing such a generous gift. When she pointed out the house was in his name alone and therefore not a gift to her he got angry.

Eventually, a couple of years later, he put her name on title. Now the gift that was to be hers was theirs. It was closer to a gift and she didn’t confront the issue. Within six weeks of being on title to their home her husband refinanced the house and took the equity out to finance a business deal. It turns out there are many ways of giving a gift and then taking it away.

It begs the question how far are you willing to go to confront the incongruence in your relationships? My rule of thumb is if my dog Aidan would be offended by the incongruence than so will I.