Pretend and Mend?

Accepting an apology that was never given frees us to move forward in peace and strength. – T Judson Starkey

Ponder upon that thought. What will happen when we pretend that a person who hurt us did apologize? Accept that apology, because whether or not it really happened it is really holding you back from peace and progress.

Extra Credit: Here’s a great Psychology Today article by Author, Psychotherapist, Interfaith Minister, Mindfulness teacher, Public speaker, Blogger Nancy Colier on why never-sorry people are that way (and how we need to move ahead anyway!)




“What you see and what you hear depends a good deal on where you are standing.”

        -C. S. Lewis (The Magician’s Nephew)

In both literal and figurative ways, ‘where you are standing’ matters. It can change what you see or hear. Here are a few images that have interesting perspectives:tree-1750784_1920.jpg

We tend to see tall verticals when we walk through the forest. Looking up (shifting perspective) can definitely change what we see!


I find value in reflecting what I (think I) heard to someone else. If I restate the idea in my own words to another person, they can help me know whether I understand the intent of what I heard. In general, sharing our thoughts with a trusted friend is always a good idea.

Two faces or one vase? Eyes and other ears can see and hear things differently.

The next line of that C. S. Lewis quote, sometimes offset from the first by a period and sometimes offset by a semi-colon, is “It also depends on what sort of person you are.” In the story, the children hear the voice of Aslan as sweet and soothing and the Magician hears the very same voice as harsh and grating. In the story, I think Lewis is trying to make the point that at least sometimes, what we hear has much to do with what’s inside us to begin with; our biases, our preconceived ideas and perceptions.

Please be sure not to hear my words as judgmental. I have no interest in labeling people as good or evil, but in acknowledging that my perceptions and my perspective can limit me if I’m not careful.

My wish for you and me is that we would sufficient courage to be willing to open our hearts and minds to appreciate other perspectives, other ideas. Other ideas won’t fix us, because there is nothing to fix. But other ideas might help facilitate change. And I hope we can agree that change is essential for our growth and well-being.


Snap Out of It?

Thousands of texts, dozens of faces, various groups, several places – each week I share and often the topic is change in some way shape or form. I want to be sure that when I talk about change, people don’t hear me saying “snap out of it” (and I’m never saying “man up!”) Change can come and I want to help change come, but it doesn’t always come like a light bulb turning on!


There are some things that some people can just snap out of. Some people, some things. Not all people, not all things. And just because one person can do something, doesn’t mean that another unique individual can do the same thing or do it in the same way. We’re different on a molecular level and a million ways. And when one person’s success evolves into impatience or intolerance of another’s struggle, we’ve lost our way. “I did it, so you can too” can be a hopeful message, but it can also be a delivered in a way that’s counter productive if it sounds like “I did it, so why haven’t you?!”

When addiction, depression, and anxiety are involved, I’ve often observed that impatience. Even when a person has a chemical imbalance or genetic predisposition, some change and growth are possible, even without medications! (I said some change – not necessarily a cure.) But I find that some people are unable to see the possibility of growth and change because they’ve been judged, scolded, and treated impatiently. They know longer believe that change can come. Professionals in my field often see ‘learned helplessness‘ as an impediment to growth and recovery. But if people have learned helplessness, isn’t it safe to suppose that someone or something in the environment is teaching it?

Change is always possible – I insist upon believing that is true. Sudden change is possible. B. J. Fogg, psychologist and founder of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab, recognizes that epiphanies happen, but suggests that rather than waiting for an epiphany, there are some specific ways we can invite and create change. (I’ve raved before about his Tiny Habits approach to change. Check it out!)


Perhaps the impatient sounding folks who say things like “snap out of it” are expecting an epiphany. Maybe they had one themselves and I guess that’s great for them! But if their unique experience leads them to become narrow-minded, impatient, or feel superior, they can detract from the environment where change and growth happen.

So I’m going to keep talking and teaching and texting about change (in part because I need the reminders) and I hope you always hear my words as encouragement or invitations to stretch and strive. We can all help each other move along whatever journey we are on by being patiently persistent with ourselves and each other. Patience, persistence, and acceptance of our uniqueness makes for a fertile soil for growing, changing seedlings. When we treat ourselves and others with kindness and patience, anything is possible – even change!




In Defense of Pollyanna

Perhaps you’ve heard someone described as a Pollyanna or as being Pollyannaish. Perhaps you’ve described me that way (which makes me glad.) The term is usually used to describe a person that is foolishly hopeful or even annoyingly hopeful.

Pollyanna is the heroine of a 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter about an orphaned  girl who was forced to lived with her rigid Aunt Polly. Shortly before her father’s death, he taught her the “Just Be Glad” game, which challenged her to look for the bright side of any circumstances.

I strive to hold hope at all times and fall short for sure. Remaining optimistic is tough sometimes, and constantly hopeful people may even rub us the wrong way. But I’m not going to stop dealing hope, which requires that I dig for it. If I choose to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, the fact remains that some tunnels are longer than others. But I think that sometimes it’s the digging, the mining, the harvesting that is helpful for me personally, because sometimes it requires me to enter one of my favorite states – curiosity!

I start to feel better the moment I pull on my deerstalker, grip my magnifying glass, and ask,”Where’s that silver lining?”


The act of searching requires an assumption – a default setting – that there is hope to be found. As far as I can see, that is a decision – a choice one makes. And once you make that choice, the game is afoot! Sifting through the manure pile can seem like a game once you decide that there’s a pearl in the pile. Curiosity fuels that pursuit and curiosity feels good. Try it! If nothing else, it momentarily gives you something else to think about.

If your default setting is not “there is hope,” feel free to change your mind. Who knows what else you might change by doing so?

“Once you start looking for the happy things, you don’t think about the bad ones as much.”                                                                                                                     – Pollyanna


p. s. ~There’s actually some pretty solid science to support that optimism is healthy and because I’m a hope-dealer (not a dope dealer) I’ll share more about that in the future. (Hmm… feeling curious?)  




On my way to the car this morning I noticed a nasturtium bud in the window box on the porch. The pointed flower-to-be, poised on the end of it’s gracefully curved ‘neck’ looked oddly like a creature in a scary sci-fi movie. Perhaps you can guess which one.

While the focus isn’t perfect, you can still probably see why this soon-to-bloom nasturtium made me think of a creature from outer space.  

I smirked as I continued to the car and headed to work. I pondered… Does a blossom feel alien as it enters a new world or a new state of being? Might it feel worried about its unknown future? Might it be excited about finally be able to unfold and spread out? I was feeling curious. Curiosity is a feeling that is almost always accompanied by a smile or smirk on my face. I glanced quickly into the rear view mirror and, seeing a smirk, smiled broadly.

Then I got thinking about feeling worried (like an unopened bloom might feel) and feeling curious. I love to feel curious, but worrying is no fun at all. Because my brain likes to categorize, sort, and stack stuff, I sometimes envision feelings arranged on a scale or ladder – ranked in a way. So how far apart are worry and curious? If I’m feeling worry, how might I be able to move toward curious? The word “worrious” came to me – starts like worry and rhymes with curious.

I’m going to try to remember that word! If every time I realize that I’m holding worry, I think of the word worrious, I might be able to shift toward a more comfortable state of being – halfway between worried and curious. It’s rather like the idea of ‘northeast’ being in between north and east. If curious is easier to tolerate than worry, let’s at least turn our being in that direction, right? So I hereby #DoubleDogDare you to adopt this new word.

For those who may be curious, here’s what that nasturtium will look like in a day or two (unless it’s abducted by aliens!)

And if you never wondered how a flower blossom was feeling, try it! Putting ourselves into someone else’s shoes (or soil?) is a good way to move past or away from an uncomfortable feeling of our own. While I’m a proponent of FEELing, not FLEEing, there are definitely times when a quick shift of perspective can get the gerbil off of the wheel.

Thank you for taking good care of you!



Remember QuittersWin is Searchable!

Remember that even on days when I don’t post, there are plenty (over 350?) posts here to keep your head busy. Like most web sites, the blog is searchable and by typing into the box by the magnifying glass icon (in the black bar above) you can quickly find all of the posts related to a certain topic.

For new folks here, especially if you’re interested in understanding any sort of addiction, may I suggest you begin by searching for the word “BESOCHEMPS!” Yes, that is an odd word indeed, but once you read the posts about the 5-Headed Dragon, you’ll have a unique and comprehensive way to understand addiction. When people use the BESOCHEMPS model of addiction versus tobacco, their success rates are drastically increased!

And no matter why you visited this site, I think it’s safe to recommend a gratitude search. Have a beaYOUtiful day!


Music is mighty and I can’t imagine a day without music! Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have said “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Mistake or not, life would certainly be bleaker without the sounds and vibrations of music.

Midway through the week, let’s ward off the bleak with some intentionally selected music. Maybe music is medicine you can hear! Feeling lonely? Tired? Sad? Mad? See what 5 minutes of upbeat or inspiring music does for that mood.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”  – Maya Angelou

May music accompany you wherever today leads you.

Do It Scared

There are certainly times when we may (in our right mind) feel no fear. To have that internal calm makes action easy. But there are also times when we cannot get in touch with a sense of peace about action before us. But if the action before us is certainly for our good – if we know in our bones what the next step is, we cannot allow fear to keep us from good.

Perhaps a ‘healthy dose’ of fear can keep us from taking action in pride or arrogance. Maybe fear protects us. After all, buckling our seat belts or wearing a helmet may have at their core a tiny speck of fear, disguised as cautious reason. But when we now that fear is limiting us – keeping us from a future we know is right for us – we cannot afford to let fear hold us back.

So while I would love to wish you a #FearlessFriday, my friend, I hope that even if facing fear, you will find the courage to act, even in the face of fear. When you know in your heart that it’s time to take positive action towards a worthy goal, do it – even if you have to do it scared.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.      – Nelson Mandela


As a personal favor, PLEASE take a minute to save this phone number in your contacts NOW. Yes, please do it now. By having this number handy you may have an opportunity to truly be a lifesaver!

1-800-723-TALK (8255) is the National Suicide Hotline. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Often, when a person is having a suicidal crisis, a simple simple question and a small act of support can change an otherwise tragic trajectory. Have the number handy. Save it in your phone now.

More often than we may realize, there a persons in a suicidal crisis around us. This number (and the compassion you show when you share it) can be a game-changer! You can be a life saver!

Thank you! And while we’re at it, why not ask a couple friends to save this number to their phones, too? You never know who may need it!

Thanks for being awesome!

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