Monday, December 30

Joy and Gratitude, Even On A Stressful Day 12/30/13

No, these people did not help me move nor
 is this a picture of the inside of my house.
Besides, we wore jeans.
       Good evening,

How are you?  I've been busy, moving, today.  Something I haven't done in years.  But, I'm glad.  The venue is

Friday, December 27

Codependency 12/27/13

My Gratitudes for Friday: 

1.  I'm thankful for this year.  I've had many wonderful adventures and have met many kind and thoughtful people.  I love my life.   
2. I like having my mind challenged. No two days are the same.
3.  I appreciate that each day, each week, each month and each season, I grow. I am not the same person I was

Wednesday, December 25

A Christmas Musical Treat 12/25/13

       Back to Christmas. I leave this with you as a treat for this special holiday.  Please click on the image above and take in the passionate performance of

Tuesday, December 24

Thoughts On Someone Who Tried to Intimidate 12/24/13

      Hello it's me.  My previous post captures my Christmas thoughts.  This post has nothing to do with the holiday.  I'm sharing a recent experience with a client I'll call "Bob."

      It was interesting being with a violently hostile person.  He used several approaches, justifying behavior that is not in his or his family's

My Favorite Christmas Story 12/24/13

Taken from my favorite Christmas book,
The Christ Child, Illustrated by Miska and
 Maud Petersham 
     Wishing you a Merry Christmas.  I hope each guest of this inn has a lovely day.  I know I will.

     What is Christmas?  Nope, it isn't about gifts.  It's about one Gift,

Sunday, December 22

My Second Favorite Christmas Story 12/22/13

     In keeping with our countdown for Christmas, I'm presenting this story.  If you missed the previous season-related tale, my third favorite, you can find it here.  

     I wrote this in 2011, presenting it on Christmas Eve.  I'm making it a tradition, bringing it out last year and this.  Many of you may not be familiar with it, not being guests back then.  The story calls to mind the meaning of this season.  If you have kids, you might be fun sharing it with them.

    Wishing you a peaceful and loving Christmas,  The Innkeeper

     Please gather round the fireplace that warms this inn.  You've been frazzled by the siren call of Madison Avenue, QVC, the Home Shopping Network, Radio Shack, Best Buy and commercials about Macy's.  You may be overwhelmed

Saturday, December 21

My Third Favorite Christmas Story 12/21/13

WWII Photo of the Ardennes Forest
     Good morning, one and all. I hope life is treating you well. For many, this is a frantic and materialistic season.       
       Needn't be so.  In the inn, we're having a countdown for the biggest day of this month.  For this, and the next two days, stories I've written related to this season, will attempt to

Thursday, December 19

The Telling Quality of A Safe Person. Also, Time With a Son, Revisited.

My son and I ate at IHOP.  The only place open late. I had
lemon chicken  My son ate this along with bacon and sausage.
      Good evening everyone. The gratitudes posted are today's, as well as my comments about Safe People.  The part about character, is something posted before.  I hope you're enjoying this Christmas season.

1. I'm glad God allows me to see beyond my perspective.
2. I'm happy observing God at work in and through my life. It's a privilege, being able to serve others, making my life count.
"I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."  Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. I celebrated someone's birthday today, treating him to dinner.  I love the connection, honesty and authenticity we shared together.

        The past month, with clients, I've unveiled material developed over the past three months.  It's about bonding, creating community, Safe and Unsafe People, including information about barriers that preventing connection with others at the soulish level.  I thinking about sharing some of this information with you, my guests to this inn.

        Helping others is deeply satisfying.  The material is creating clarity and they are tentatively bumping up their friendships to a deeper, more fulfilling level---to that of a Safe Person.

        Many that I work with thought their friends were such a person.  I ask if these people know the intense, inner struggles they are wrestling with, the depression they battle or the fears that still plague them. Without exception, the answer has been no.

        When we have a Safe Person in our lives, they are aware of these vulnerable areas. And are there, supporting us, loving us, even when we are at our most psychotic, unattractive and vulnerable.


We Reveal Our Character with Every Breath

    The other night, I had dinner with my oldest son.  It's deeply satisfying seeing him develop as a young man. I celebrated with him that he is finishing college this quarter
     I loved the heart-felt laughter and the warmth shared between us. He revealed what's going on in his life.  I'm glad he's forgiven me for my ineptitude as a young father. Being the oldest, he was the guinea pig when I practiced my initial attempts at parenting.

    Watching him yesterday, from across the table, as we ate, my mind transposed to the image of the cute little boy with chubby cheeks I used to play with. Now, his hair is receding. He's university educated and the president of an organization.

    He had a midterm today, Monday, and a paper due, also. Yet, he made time for dear old dad, last night. Thanks son, for loving me as much as you do.
"Many think they reveal their character by their words and their overt actions. Not knowing that we reveal our character or lack of it, in every breath we take."          Ralph Waldo Emerson
     Thank you, son, that as you rubbed your bacon into the strawberry sauce that covered your pancakes and smiled at me----as you chewed and swallowed it----you said more to me than words could express. You allowed me, once again, to see the impish little boy I once knew.

     Thanks for making time, so we could talk and enjoy the bond we have. I'm proud of you and cherish you as a son.

 Gratitude number four:  I'm honored that my three sons want me as their friend.

Tuesday, December 17

Creating New Material---Having Fun 12/7/13

Image: "Cumbria: Mountain Gateway" by Tim Blessed.
Copyrighted photo. Used by permission. 
    Good morning.
Monday night, I worked and here I am, later than normal.   How are you?  I'm tired but happy.  Material that my clients want---how to

Sunday, December 15

Latest Adventure

Not my bike, but it gives you the idea.
 I don't have fenders
     Hello everyone.

I just got in from watching the new Hobbit movie. While enjoying the film, someone stole the back wheel to my bike, as it was locked up to a pole on Park Street, in front of the Blue Danube cafe.  Yikes!

     A young policeman took the report and gave the rest of the bike and me a ride home.  It would have been a mini challenge, carting it home by myself, with a laptop and books attached to the rear rack.

     I still think I'll watch the Niners game later, this morning with my family.  Afterwards, I'll see about getting a new wheel and tire. Wow.   How's that for a how-do-you-do?

     What am I grateful for?
1.  For perspective.  If a stolen wheel is the worst for this week, I'm doing well. For not allowing the petty things of life to detract from all the riches and blessings my life has.
2.  For the kind help from the police officer.
3.  For my health and happiness. They can never be robbed. I still have them.

     I'll check in with you later.

       A surprised innkeeper

Saturday, December 14

The Ebb and Flows of This Week

   Good evening, everyone.  I'm sitting inside of Peet's Coffee on Park St., waiting for the new Hobbit movie to start over at the Alameda Theater, at 10:20, tonight. The 9:25 p.m. showing was sold out.  I'm meeting with a friend.  Time to give myself a mental break.

   How are you handling the holiday season?  I'm doing well. Tomorrow, my day will be easier than normal, allowing me to catch a Niners game. Ya ay! I'll watch it in San Leandro, with my family, at the Englander's Sport Bar and Restaurant.

    Here it is, Saturday.  You know the routine.  Time for sharing the high and low point for this concluding week. Here are mine:

High Points: 
1.  Keeping my sanity in the midst of competing demands.
2.  Seeing God at work in those I serve.
3.  Spending time, writing.  I'm developing material to help others find and develop Balcony/Safe People in their lives.  I'll use it this upcoming week. If I hear enough interest, I may post it here. What do you think?
4.  I've found a satisfactory place for me to stay in Alameda, as I look for a more long-term solution.
5.  Today was my day off. Thank God for rest.

Low Point: 
1.  I routinely relate with an unhappy person who is not nice.  His affect and character doesn't disturb me much, but it would be better if he was kind. I'm glad I'm not externally referented.

How About You? 
What are your high and low points for this week?

Tuesday, December 10

A Happy Innkeeper 12/10/13

      Good evening, one and all.  How you be?  The week has been sensa-tional.  Better, my relationships are sustaining me,  even while I'm pressed on all sides.

My Gratitudes for Tonight:
1.  Balance.  After hectic days, I'm making time for

Sunday, December 8

Highs and Lows 12/08/13

   Hello, how are you?

Thanks for dropping by.  I'll share the highs and lows for the past week, something I'm wont to do on weekends.

High Points for This Week:
1.  I've had a rich time with special friends, especially on Wednesday.  The acceptance, appreciation, belonging, caring and closeness we

Thursday, December 5

Not Going It Alone: Getting Support 12/05/13

    Good evening,

I liked what I wrote last night.  I can't top it. That's okay. My best for this evening will be good enough.
Have you taken time to thank God? You'll be glad you did. 
A home in my neighborhood
Not Alone While Weathering a Emotional Storm
         Yesterday, I spoke with my friend Charli while strolling through my neighborhood for an hour. She's in her seventies, whose insights I respect. A notepad and pen were on hand, while I walked and wrung wisdom from this wonderful woman.

          She's the definition of pithiness.  Jotting down her comments

Wednesday, December 4

Calmness In the Eye of the Storm, Part V.................. 12/4/13

       Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from 
     your own actions [and I would add, choices]. Dalai Lama 
        I am relating with an un-friendly man.

       He is unhappy and an emotional vampire.   As a child he suffered abuse.  His face is the mask of pained anger.  It is what you see in portraits of Beethoven.

        Both were chil-dren of an alcoholic.  (See footnote for the source of Beethoven's anger.)  This unhappy person suffers from the malady that afflicted the composer.  He has tinnitus---constant ringing in his ears.

        It is a result of persistent screaming he endured from his mother while young.

        Over the past two years and four months this person has transformed.  He's gone from being mildly civil and occasionally nice to just plain mean.  The other day he issued a written com-mand.

        I was incredu-lous.  I live in the United States.  I am not accustomed to others telling me what I can or cannot do.  I was certain I misunderstood.

         I hadn't.

         I told him I would not com-ply.  He used classic Anglo Saxon words.  My need for respect, tran-quility were violated.  That was disappointing because I was kind towards him during our interaction.

        When he uttered obscenities, I told him, "We'll talk when we can discuss this issue as adults."  I excused myself and left.

          It is not our job to please unpleasant people.  

         We don't need the applause of others to feel good about ourselves.  Emotional constancy---is the fullness of love re-ceived from Balcony People.  It sustains us during tough times.  We can count on it.

       Not caving in to emotion-al abuse allows us to maintain our equanim-ity.  Even when what is spewed out at us is nasty sewage.  Ninety-six percent of our population is codependent.  It is surrender-ing our values because we fear the anger or rejection of another.

         This fellow's biting remarks normally hits its mark.  Ninety-six percent of the time he causes others to react.  Not me.

          But for codependents, tension usually gets their buttons pushed.  The nature of codependents is pleasing angry people.  We do not have to.  In fact, it  only makes matters worst, when we submit to emotional tyrants.  We enable them.

        Instead, it is better using emotional aikido.  When we do, we avoid bullish behavior.

         With recovery, we maintain our serenity when con-fronted with an intimidating face.

          Given the silent treatment can be ig-nored.  It is seen for what it is. Manipula-tion.  It is an attempt at controlling us.

          We can move be-yond codependency.  Recovery makes it possible to not yield to others. We do not ignore our needs.  When we respect others, we equally respect our wants, too.

          Recovery prevents us from living in the margin of our lives.   We are internally referented.  When relating with angry people we stay in our power.  We remain true to our values.

    We can stand for ourselves without standing against oth-ers.  We feel the enormity of our emotions.  But we are not over-whelmed by them.

       Recovery allows us to say our "no" as gently as our yes.  We don't get triggered by others.  We are not re-sponsible for other people's emotions.

       It's nice knowing that the behavior of others is a statement about them, not us.  We can be glad we are not externally refer-ented.

My Gratitudes:

1.  I'm happy that I am thriving while suffering loss----loss of respect, dignity and kindness from another, the emotional Beethoven in my life.
2.  I'm encouraged joy is not related to how others treat me.

Witnessing a Beautiful Scene
      I've been working with one person for nine months. She's quiet in social settings.  I knew she was elo-quent.  The problem was she doesn't believe in herself.

      Tonight, she spoke at a gathering. She did so, impeccably.  I couldn't stop the tears that flowed as I watched her smile and speak of the growth she's enjoying.  I was so proud of her.

Serenity, Community and Joy
Applying Healthy Principles When Relating With Others

       I was touched by an amazing time.  I met with seven friends to-night. It was uplifting, being with positive others.They apply practical, recovery literature in their lives.

      The people gathered respect Al-Anon Family Group principles.  These guidelines have gone from being information to wisdom applied each day.  The knowledge has moved from the head to the heart.

       Each person who attended tonight are overcoming their vulnera-bilities, strengthening their character.
"We admitted that we are powerless over alcohol [in another], that our lives had become unmanageable."                                                  Step One
      Tonight was soothing. I nurtured me.  I was at an Al-Anon Family Group meeting.  We discussed Step One.  It reminds us it is not our job to change others.

      We are powerless over alcohol's grip on loved ones.

      We learn to take care of ourselves.  We handle the havoc alcoholism creates in our lives. Boundaries are used to deal with bombastic or out-of-control personalities.

      We use creative ways to overcome tension.

      We learn how to deal with the rage of others.  We do not take on the shame of the alco-holic or that of anyone who troubles us.  The behavior of another is never a statement about us.

       This step has another perspective, too.  It's not our right to dissect others.  We don't judge those who trouble us.  Nor do we do we gossip about them. We do not violate their anonymity.

      That is not keeping the focus on ourselves.

       In recovery, we learn to not let others rent territory in the property of our minds. Their behavior or values are not our issues.

      We can substitute the word alcohol, in this step, with any other situation.  The book, Hope for Today, p. 164, in Al-Anon Family Group literature says so.  We can admit our powerlessness over our fear, anxiety, depression or anything else.

      Like the rudeness of others.  Or our procrastinating tendencies. Detaching, kindly is often the answer.  Especially in our relationships with difficult others.   The acronym for this word is: Don't Even Think About Changing Him/Her (or the situation).

      If the issue involves ourselves, we do our best to apply healthy al-ternatives.  We turn our struggles over to God.  We rely upon Him for the results.
We entrust the growth or welfare of another to God.  We don't evaluate those who disturb us.  Even when we are certain they are wrong.  It is impor-tant remembering all judgments are never experienced.
        They are imagined.
      Our job is seeing what we can do to have the life we seek.  We keep the focus on us.  Compassion is way better.

       Even for the Beethovenish guy mentioned above. Our life can be dif-ficult.  If we don't detach from unpleas-ant behavior.

"Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with."    Peter Marshall
How About You? 
What are your three gratitudes for today?  I'd love hearing them.  You contribute to the community we have here, when you post what makes you glad and upbeat.

Footnote: The Rest of the Story
    Beethoven's father was a minor musician, often staying out, late at taverns, getting drunk. Frequently, the young composer's father trotted friends from the tavern to the home, at two or three in the morning. Ludwig would be awakened, his parent demanding he perform for the guests.

     Play he would.  And how. If, however, the young boy made a single wrong note, he was tossed down the cellar stairs, locked inside for the night.

     Now you know this, and other abuse he received from a bombastic, narcissistic father---and the chaos he endured as a child----was cause for his serious mug. 

Monday, December 2

Highs and Lows for Last Week. What Are Yours? 12/2/13

      Good evening everyone,

Yes, I've been absent for awhile, longer than normal. I slowed down for the holidays.  On Thanksgiving Day, until 11:45 p.m.,  I didn't have

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.