Category Archives: Self-Discovery

What The Muppets Taught Me

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Is it odd to love The Muppets more than the average bear?

While it’s true, my family thinks there’s something seriously wrong with memuppet when I express overt enthusiasm for this peculiar gang of characters, I can’t help the goofiness they bring out in me. And I’m flat out gaga over the return of The Muppet Show this fall on TV. But more than their whimsical antics that string along my amusement, The Muppets have meted out some good horse sense.

Here’s what The Muppets taught me:

 

1. Stay playful

The Muppets peddle humor. Stress has no audience when I allow the child in me to be her goofy self. Any weight on my shoulders disappears at the arrival of laughter and silliness.

Laughter is the best medicine. In addition to helping the mind to stay positive, laughing triggers the release of endorphins in your body–the feel good chemicals and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Stay merry my friends. Engage in laughter is what the muppets taught me!

 

2. Use encouraging words

kermit-54237_640Kermit, the philosophical frog and ringleader, isn’t your typical skipper. He cares so deeply for his buddies that he thinks of ways to be helpful and encouraging, especially if any one of them is in a jam.

He’s the wise guru for a gang of seriously off-beat oddballs. He believes in the genuine goodness of the world. And that reminds me that I do, too. His consistent quest keeps me more aware that people need encouragement and compassion. And, being different is a rare and good thing.

 

3. Rock outmuppet3

Music makes my soul want to dance. It’s a power that lifts my spirit. It moves me. And who can go wrong with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem? A band stuck in the 60’s. Me, too!

muppet2When it comes to tickling the ivories, Rowlf the Dog plays piano like my good friend David Longo. He also has a pretty good singing voice. Rowlf, not David.

But nothing beats Kermit sitting on a log in a swamp, playingkermit1 the banjo and singing The Rainbow Connection, for lovers, and dreamers, and me. La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh

 

4. It’s okay to suck as a cook

I’ve pored over most of the gibberish cooking advice from the Swedish Chef. I’m relieved that food and utensils flying through the air is not as bad as I muppet1previously thought.

Thank goodness jogging back and forth along the kitchen counter is perfectly normal.

And to make a word salad, you simply talk to yourself or hum a nonsensical song. At last, a chef I can relate to! Bork! Bork! Bork!

 

5. Spread love. Pass it on.

It’s impossible to look at a Muppet and not feel some goodness in life.muppet5

Jim Henson created The Muppets in 1955 with a visionary passion. When he died in 1990, Disney eventually bought the rights to The Muppets in 2004. I’m thankful for the vision of love, morals, humor, and hope Henson played out with all his created characters. All the qualities of a well-played life, human and otherwise.

In 2006, Kermit the Frog was credited as the author of the self-help guide “Before You Leap: A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons” — an “autobiography” written from the perspective of the Muppet himself.

Life’s greatest lessons. That’s what The Muppets taught me.

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

My Counselor by Dr. Sandy Nelson

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The Lord is my Counselor

I shall not wig out.

He makes me aware of my gloom and tainted motives.

He leads me to reality.

He restores my heart and mind.

He guides me on the path of
self-respect,
purpose,
and concern for humanity.

He teaches me to
think clearly,
be helpful,
and take responsibility for my choices.

He makes me calm and passionate.

He enables me to remember the people I am not to control,
and to control myself.

Even though I walk through the valley of
frustration,
pessimism,
and indifference,

I am not influenced,

For thou art with me.

Thy devotion and goodness encourage me.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of daily enemies:
pride,
dishonesty,
self-pity,
fear,
and helplessness.

He anoints me with
gratitude,
self-confidence,
and acceptance.

No longer am I defeated; neither am I unsupported.

My cup runneth over with
enthusiasm and determination.

Surely, peace and blessings shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell on making a difference in this world forever and ever.

Amen!!

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Finding Happiness

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FINDING HAPPINESS – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Finding Happiness. The individual pursuit of humanity.

Is finding happiness a mood of euphoria, or a state of contentment in the sum of life? Is IMG_3192it the attainment of possessions, or a rewarding career? Is happiness the affection of love or is it charitable giving? Is it peace in the world, or on the street between neighbors? Is it health and long living? Happiness is any combination of all these attributes.

Finding happiness makes you lighter on your feet, and more kind and generous. It prompts more smiles on your face and makes you more eager to help others. Happiness brings a sense of gratitude to life.

IMG_1918Finding happiness just feels good and it’s good for your health as well. According to a The Huffington Post article: More and more science is revealing the depth of our mind-body connection. We know now that cultivating a positive state of mind isn’t just good for your mental health — it can also keep your body healthy and protect you from disease. Positive emotions have been shown to boost the immune system, to improve sleep, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, among other physical health benefits. (You can read the entire Huffington Post article here.)

The most significant facet for you in finding happiness is what you believe about your life. That’s what will determine if your pursuit to find happiness will be successful.

Every day you live according to what you accept as being true. All your daily IMG_1925choices, thoughts, feelings, and actions about yourself and your life are based on what you agree is fact. It’s impossible to conduct yourself for a period of time in contradiction to your opinions—to what you believe is true and fact. You can not act in a manner inconsistent with the way you view yourself and life.

People who are steadily gloomy and indolent believe that life is a constant struggle. Their outlook is to put into life only what is expected and yet they blame other people for feeling trapped and unhappy in their day-to-day routine. The weariness and apathy in their thoughts fade only when resentments surface. For a time anger rises and takes the place of indifference. People who view living as a wrestling match experience the outcome of that belief–unhappiness.

IMG_0942Those individuals who are consistently positive and jovial believe life is a miracle which has happened to them. Far from viewing life through rose-tinted glasses, they experience misfortunes but respond to them with the belief that they are isolated incidents. They see and believe the best in life before acknowledging the worse. As a result they expect good events to happen to them and this keeps them on happiness road.

Pay attention to the content of your attitude towards yourself and your life, and make the necessary attitude adjustments. Finding happiness will be easier.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Fear of Disapproval Remedy – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the Introduction to A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson writes Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.1513222_879994992058784_1395873912393926812_n

I agree. This is a fear we are all acquainted with.

Fear is what we learned when well-meaning adults physically punished us for our childhood mistakes.

Fear is what we learned when our honesty was disapproved of by the showing of rejection.

Fear is what we learned when our trust was violated thanks to the betrayal of others.

Fear is what we learned when we made our well-being dependent on anyone but ourselves.

IMG_2957The more we need someone’s agreement in our lives, the more consumed by fear we become when we sense their disapproval or rejection. There’s enough scary aspects of life today that we have little control over. But we don’t have to be scared of someone’s opinion of us or fear someone’s disapproval.

The more anchored we are in the vast amount of love we’re born with, the less we care about what others think. The fear of someone’s disapproval doesn’t have to rock our boat when we are focused on our own self-respect and significance.

Try it. When you have a different opinion than someone else today, express it calmly and kindly. Then ask the other person why they hold the opinion they do. Seek to understand and allow the differences between you.

Respect and honor YOUR views and your self-respect will increase. Seek to understand and respect the opinions of other people and they will admire you. Soon your fear of disapproval will fade and you’ll be less dependent on the approval of other people.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Got complaints? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Malcolm S. Forbes says: The best vision is insight. However, a lot of people have placed their vision on sights outside of themselves—on other people and mostly on what other people are doing wrong.IMG_3247

We will not improve the world by lecturing other people how they should be better while ignoring the responsibility to better ourselves. Obtaining insight requires us to look within ourselves for those traits that hamper relationships, fuel resentments, and assist in our misery.

We will have better self-respect when we have a better self to respect. We will have better relationships when we have altered the parts of ourselves that pump doom into them. We will have a better planet when we take responsibility to correct the mind-set in our private world.

IMG_3277The transformation of your life begins with an examination of your thoughts. In Everyday Grace, Marianne Williamson writes: Our thoughts, not just our actions, create our experience. If you’re not happy and successful, investigate your thought content. Look for hidden complaints, resentments and grudges. When you stop railing against other people and stop blaming other people for your lack of prosperity, your mind and heart are then in a position to receive the happiness and success you desire. Instead of asking what’s in your wallet today, ask yourself what’s in your head.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Every Year a Wiser You – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Bu6nh22IIAEeGyKEach of us grow up wanting what we were taught to want. Adults teach children the very same priorities and opinions that they as parents hold. My mother loved the color pink, so she taught me to love the color pink also, and therefore I wanted pink stuff as a kid. My father loved to read, so he taught me to love books. I still have the first book I fell in love with as a kid—Half a Team by Maxine Drury.

Well respected Psychologist Erich Fromm said: Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.

When reaching adulthood, many people never stop and look at what they were IMG_1622taught to believe growing up so they could then decide if it’s true for their individual and unique self. Do I actually love the color pink? No. But, if I did not stop and examine my own preferences and opinions as an adult, I’d be in pink today. Do I love to read? Yes, so that lesson learned early in my life is true for me today as an adult.

Are there things in your life at this moment that you have or do because that’s what you picked up from someone else, or that’s what you were taught to have or do? Each birthday that comes along is a good time to review your own opinions, preferences, and needs. Examine if those opinions still apply to your life. 

IMG_1165I think birthdays are special days that need reflection; to ponder on what you’ve learned the previous year and how that knowledge has aided to your wisdom. To have every birthday find you a better human being is to receive an awesome gift from life. So on your next birthday, take time to look backwards. Review your beliefs, preferences, and opinions. Make it a point to remember experiences that enhanced your love and compassion for people. Recall situations that resulted in making you stronger and more resilient. Review what every misfortune gave you in wisdom. If you do this with every passing birthday, you will age not only gracefully, but also with a wise and loving heart.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do Men Owe Women? Part 2

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What women have learned about intimate relationships does not come from a recorded history of loving partnerships with a no-fail list of do’s and do not’s. ext (1)There are few chronicled examples of conflict resolution, problem solving, compromise, or the other behaviors required to sustain an intimate relationship. Today women get confusing messages about love from society, Hollywood, books, and even The Holy Bible. They are spectators of quite a paradox. Women witness romantic interludes and passionate exchanges on the TV or movie screen with the devoted couple living happily-ever-after; and it leaves within them a hodgepodge of exciting expectations about the meaning of love.

Then they sink into despair when their Knight in Shining Armor fails to act like the leading man on the screen. Alas, there are no rose petals leading to a candlelight dinner he prepared as a surprise. Women read a romance novel that leaves them enchanted with the charming and thoughtful male character they have decided looks like Brad Pitt. Then, their fantasy is interrupted by the belch heard two rooms away from their not-so-thoughtful male counterpart in the kitchen.

The Bible is another basis for confusion. Religion, past and present, does not IMG_2234seem to replicate the same attitude towards women as Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated throughout His life. Jesus displayed high respect for women, unlike and despite, the people and the law of the times. Women were valued and esteemed by Jesus—all women. He approached women, listened to women, hung out with women, blessed women, thanked women, healed women, loved women, and treated them identical to men.

Yet, most of the authors of the New Testament failed to imitate and practice this example in their writings. In fact, any women who pursued the mission of Christ after the crucifixion would have been excluded by the authors of Scripture, not by God’s bidding, rather from man’s unyielding prejudices when writing it. The Apostle Paul, who is credited for writing a significant part of the New Testament, especially disliked women. Paul believed that man came from God, but woman came from man (1 Cor. 11:2-9). This leaves women with the suggestion that only man was created in God’s image, and that meant women were sub-standard.

Professor Joseph Francis Alward, at the University of the Pacific in California, states:

No teaching in the Bible is clearer, more consistent, than the one which teaches that women are inferior to men. If it’s true that the Bible is God-breathed, and therefore an all-powerful, all knowing God of the Bible exists, then women are not as righteous as men; are not clever enough to enter into contracts; are to keep silent and seek answers in private from their husbands, and are to treat their husbands as if they were God. (http://www.thegloryofman.com/) also (http://www.usurpingwomen.com/)

There are many theologians today pounding the pulpit condemning women’s interest in equality with men. However, there are just as many religious leaders (thank God) that uphold a woman’s sameness with men. In Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong writes:

For Paul, women were clearly inferior. Yet, he could say in Galatians that
in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28), and these words
occur in his powerful argument to demonstrate the inclusiveness of all
people, especially the gentiles, in the Christian movement. He also, in this
same passage, said that “in Christ there is neither slave nor free.” The fact remains that Paul accepted uncritically the patriarch attitude of his day
toward women, and the cultural reality of the institution of slavery. …
He viewed women with something less than enthusiasm. …He exhorted women to keep silent in the churches …women were not permitted to
speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. …The God who is
love cannot be approached except through the experiences of living out
that unconditional quality of love. That is why the church must be broken
open and freed of its noninclusive prejudices. That is why slavery,
segregation, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia tear at the very soul
of the church.

1800-1920History leaves a mortified trail, twenty centuries old, of men born with the primary purpose to receive unquestioned civil liberties and privileges from women that had nothing to do with love, and women legally helpless to prevent such mistreatment. Just 167 years ago, a small group of New York women got together and took on the toil and resistance from society, the government, and men to make changes for woman’s equality that would not begin to materialize until 72 years later. A woman’s right to vote (her first right) just occurred 95 years ago.

The far and few between love relationships throughout history that were based on mutual respect and regard have not been enough to leave us footprints to follow on the healthy relationship path. There are too little cases of love’s ideal union. Instead there is an abundant history of relationship conflict, disappointment, criticism, blame, rejection, resentment, betrayal, murder, and historical lines of broken hearts.

When women study the relationship patterns of their ancestors, they can see charles-landseer-94058_150it is filled with female dependency and woman inferiority. Are women still living under the unjust roof of inequality if only in their minds? Are there traces from history, so deep-rooted, that still want women to believe they are not worthy, they are inferior, and they do need a man? Beliefs well-remembered that refuse to be forgotten provide a steady rhythm that contradicts female self-respect and self-confidence. It is no surprise then, when women look at the disillusioned relationships in unions today, that they can be found confused and angry.

Enough.

IMG_0502(2) - CopyWomen in our time say they want a relationship in which they can experience respect and equality in a partnership. However, how many women today respect themselves, and believe in their independent right to have opinions, needs, happiness, and success? What women say they want, and more importantly deserve, is slow to be taken seriously even among themselves. How can women obtain a cultural shift in attitudes towards the female capabilities if they doubt themselves to achieve it? Women need to believe in what they deserve. That belief is one that only women can accept.

Do men owe women?

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What it takes to prevail

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Do you know what it takes to achieve what you want and succeed in life?

No one else determines your rise in the world but you. Your expectant attitude, your driven actions, your bold determination, your loyal beliefs in your abilities—these are powerful allies in the pursuit of the good life.

IMG_2171Author Ralph Marston wrote: The biggest factor in your success is you. Knowledge, information, skills and resources all play a part, to be sure. Yet success hinges mostly on your will to make it happen.

Gripping the belief that you deserve success is necessary gear to get ahead. Self-doubt, blame, anger, and negativity are enemies that will render you ineffective and keep you stuck in mediocrity.

Are you conscious of the beliefs you hold about yourself? These beliefs are the most significant opinions you will ever outline. What you believe you can do, or can not do, how worthy you are of happiness and success are all determined by your beliefs in who you are.

If you believe that you are unique, deserving, and skilled, then you will IMG_2342
experience a life defined by those beliefs. If you have the opinion that you are flawed, inadequate, and undeserving, then what you experience in your life will support that belief.

This is why the opinion you hold of yourself and the one you embrace is the most determining clue of your future.

Based on what you are experiencing in life, what is your opinion of yourself?

The world will not believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Examine your thoughts today and determine if they are powerful allies or sabotaging foes.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you hang out with someone who degrades you?

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If you had a friend who, on a daily basis, called you degrading names and criticized your actions, would you continue to hang around with that person?

IMG_2337It seems odd to me that we tend to become upset, angry, and hurt when someone else mistreats us, but we think nothing of it when we mistreat ourselves. We would rarely seek the company of people who are critical and unkind towards us, but we can criticize ourselves with unkind words, and somehow that’s okay.

Self-depreciation is not a new problem in human existence. It’s not even a new issue in human history. Sir Thomas Browne, was a mid-16th century genius is the areas of science and medicine. He wrote, But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world; yet every man is his own greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner. 

This is not okay in the 21st century.

Our worse enemy is the unnoticed, subconscious inner critical voice that resides in each of us that’s ever diligent to create insecurities within us from our mistakes, condemnation for our flaws. and unworthiness from our limitations.

Whether its origin is the outcome of original sin, a fallen world, or the devil’s IMG_2344lies, it’s that inner critical voice that will not allow our success, security, or happiness until we become mindful of its presence and stop its destruction of the self-confidence and self-love we all were born with. Our fight and our opponent is the echo of self-degrading comments that sneak into our minds, under the radar, and then undermines any thoughts and feelings and actions for the good in life. It arrests any belief in our dreams, and any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people.

Stay aware of what you’re thinking about and what you’re saying to yourself. Your life depends on it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday?

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Margaret Bonnano¹, famous author of seven Star Trek novels, wrote: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

Do you live day-to-day? There’s much attention placed on the catch phrase “One day at a time,” but do we really live that way? Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday? Our brains feel like a swarm of bees bringing back and forth to the hive worries about yesterday’s fiasco, and tomorrow’s anxiety about money. All this buzzing going on while we try to face today’s demands while sustaining sanity.

IMG_0702Most of our blunders from yesterday, last month, or last year are rubbish–we forget them. We make mistakes, we learn, we grow. The End. But sometimes, the memory of a past fault creeps into our minds and tortures again with its pain and regret. It makes us feel shame, depressed and unworthy. Don’t let that memory of the past have its reign over you again. It’s true that we face the future with our past. But a huge part of who we are today, what we stand for, and what we believe about ourselves and life comes from the lessons we acquired from screwing-up, yes, even those major debacles. Those of us who show up everyday in life expecting the best, doing our best, and giving our best have not been discouraged by yesterday’s failure, or reduced in value by its hurt.

IMG_1614Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan² once said: Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more. Doesn’t that describe most of us? There’s enough to sort through, solve, organize and work-out in one day, imagine if we were expected to handle the toil of two days in 24 hours? There’s enough to be concerned about today so adding worry about tomorrow and regret from yesterday isn’t a good use of time and energy.

Monitor your thoughts and notice how much time you’re spending dwelling on yesterday and how much you’re thinking about tomorrow. Deal with what’s happening now and what needs attention now so that when you awake tomorrow morning you’ll have energy to do it again.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

 

¹http://www.margaretwanderbonanno.com/
²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com