Saturday, December 24

My Second Favorite Christmas Story 12/24/16

       If you missed the previous season-related tale, my third favorite, you can find it here.  
      I wrote the follow-ing in 2011.  You may not be familiar with it. 
      Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas,                         ThInnkeeper

                         ***********************************
     Gather round the fireplace warming the inn.  You may be frazzled by the call of Madison Avenue.  QVC and the Home Shopping Network may be assaulting you with gifts options for loved ones.  Commercials from Radio

Wednesday, December 21

My Third Favorite Christmas Story 12/21/16

WWII photo of the Ardennes Forest
       Good evening, one and all. I hope life is treating you well. For many, this is a frantic, mater-ialistic season.       
             
         Needn't be so.  In the inn, we're having a countdown for the biggest day of this month.  For

Tuesday, December 6

What's Needed to Have Our Love Bank Filled....... 12/6/16

       You've been patient.

       So, here I am.  I know, I've been scarce.  I value your vi-sits.

       I am spinning many plates.  Haven't run much.   I was doing that routinely.  It's been on pause for two weeks.  I'll  run tomorrow, even if it rains.

      When under stress, it's important, taking care of our physical needs.

       It is wonderful, when we bask in the glow of receiving desperately

Monday, November 28

Taking Care Of Ourselves During a Crazy Season: The Advent of Christmas.............. ...................11/28/16

      Now is a good time to slow down.  I know this is the opposite of what we experience, while gearing up for Christmas.

       Many of us need to pro-cess the holidays.  This time of year involves interacting with others.  This includes encounter-ing disturbing people.  Or it may be seeing difficult relatives we don't usually come across any other time.

       When with them, there can

Thursday, November 24

Today, The Biggest and Most Important Day at the Inn ..... 11/24/16

        Many suffer from worry, de-pression, frustra-tion, self-loathing.

         An Attitude of Gratitude counteracts these ills.  Cher-ishing our loved ones, counting our blessings are key to knowing happi-ness.

       Thank you for dropping by.  This is the biggest and most central day of this inn.  May

Tuesday, November 15

Comfortable With Discomfort..... 11/15/16

         So much going on.  But, I am check-ing in.  That's how much I miss connect-ing with you.

      My time has been tied up. This morn-ing I'm making time to visit.  The practi-cal side of me says I shouldn't.  Five cli-ents are on tap for

Monday, November 7

Expressing Our Voice, Revisited 11/7/16

         A marvelous week, this was.  Seeing myself getting stronger, characterologic-ally, nurtures my optimism. Emo-tional dust storms happened this week when relating with others. That's when the fun began.  I'm not saying this because I like drama.  Far from it.

     As we grow in our relationships with others, difficulties become opportunities for spiritual weight lifting.  We learn how to exercise strength.  We apply healthy principles---even with those who are hurtful. 

Thursday, October 27

A Freedom That Helps Us Celebrate Life................. 10/27/16

I created this poster Wednesday for this post.
      It is easy being trig-gered, having our but-tons pushed.

      This can be true when others disagree or are upset with us.This can occur when our thinking does not align with them.  If we were exactly alike the other person, one of us would be unnecessary.  Assert-ing our autonomy and individuality is not a sin.

       Being internally refer-ented helps us to stand our

Thursday, October 13

Healing An Old Wound........ 10/13/16

       I turned around the corner.  There he was, standing near the eggs, in a grocery store.

      I hadn't heard from him in more than two years.  His jowls were baggier.

      His look was that of someone who had been sitting at the

Thursday, September 29

The Three Step Process............... 9/29/16

    Crazy busy it has been.  It explains my absence.  Thank you, for dropping by

     Monday, I spoke with someone.  Dur-ing our visit I began questioning whether I wanted to continue talking with her.  It appeared she was using me as a audi-ence of one, only

Friday, September 9

Answered Prayer 9/9/16

Redwood Regional Park
      Last week, on Wednesday, I ran 14.2 miles (22.85 km).

       In the wooded mountains of a re-gional park located on the skyline of Oakland.  In that time, forty-three stories were climb-ed. Yes, forty-three.

Saturday, August 27

An Inventory of the Good and Not So Good ................ 8/27/16

      I am doing something not done in awhile.

      Sharing the high and low points for the past week.  This was a regular feature of this inn.  Here they are:

Highs:
1.  Everything is working out as it should.  And by that, I mean well.  I love life.  It is fulfilling, making my life count, getting the most out of it and serving others.
2.  I like that my life continues

Thursday, August 25

Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis ........ 8/25/16

      When it comes to any effort, I do my best. 

        And I leave the results to God.  "My best for today is good enough."  I've learned

Saturday, August 20

Gentleness Towards Self=Enjoying Life Fully................ 8/20/16

    I'm awake.

    It's 2:05 in the morning.  Why am I alert?  I ran eight miles this evening.  I am ener-gized by the exertion and in a good mood, too.

     I have not posted a list of gratitudes in a long while.  Here they are:

1.  For the growing patience I have towards myself.  I am already patient with me.  Re-covery reveals the value of

Saturday, August 13

Greater Serenity For the Innkeeper............ 8/13/16

       It feels good bathing in serenity.  It does.

       It is the result of be-ing liberated from a per-son crazed by his inter-pretations, his assump-tions.  I no longer relate with a man who has a hy-per need to control.   After seeing a thera-pist for more than twenty years--not with me ---he is the worse for emo-

Tuesday, August 2

Guarding Our Emotional Sobriety 8/2/16

         I'm getting stronger. 

      Emotional dust storms hap-pened this week, while relating with others.  That is when the fun began.  I'm  not saying this because I like drama.  Far from it.

Friday, July 29

No Cat and Mouse for the Innkeeper 7/29/16

          I was pre-sent.

          No, I don't mean the opposite of being absent.  I mean I was con-scious and aware while relating with someone.  Not only did we visit when we saw each other that Tuesday night, but

Sunday, July 24

Beyond Codependency, Moving Beyond Getting Triggered 7/24/16

      Innkeeper's Note:  The following has been on a hot streak.  It remains the second most read post this month.  Guests found it in the archives, reading it thousand times.  Here it is:
*********

     I'm thankful for peace of mind. It happens when relating with healthy people.  Calmness takes place when avoiding those who are not.

     I was reminded of this second point recently, at a restaurant. I witnessed a toxic parent in his thirties. He raised the hackles on the back of my neck.  And made my heart pound, like it hasn't, in years.

     Dark emotions from long

Saturday, July 23

Checking In. Happy I Don't Make Assumptions....... 7/23/16

     I know.

     I haven't been around much.  Even so, an average of nine hundred+ guests a day drop by.  All this taking place during this month related to the great-est of all

Wednesday, July 13

Reflections During a Difficult Time 7/13/16

      Tragedy struck the United States.

      Taking place in several states last week.  African Amer-icans killed by police. Five police officers had their lives cut

Saturday, July 9

Creating a Better Today, Especially When Struggling, Revisited .............. 7/6/16

       Beyond pretense.

      A friend of sever-al decades-----a Bal-cony Person of mine, and I lunched.  This was our topic. The growth enjoyed when  facing  vulnerabili-ties. We talked about overcoming our weaknesses by re-placing them with

Wednesday, June 29

Balcony People: We Need Them To Survive Difficult Times.............. 6/29/16

Two are better than one, for they have a rich reward 
for their labor if one falls, he has another to lift him 
up.  But woe to him that is alone when he falls, for 
has not another to lift him up. Eccles., 4:9-12
Balcony People Prevent Us From Falling

Innkeeper's Note:  This post is speed-ing upwards along the sidebar to your right.  It was written nearly four years ago.  You may not have been around, then.  I am re-post-

Wednesday, June 22

An Antidote To The Frenzy of Modern Day Living........ 6/22/16

     Here I am.

     In a matter of time, you'll notice improvements here. In the meantime, I'm behind the scenes, making adjustments.  I am developing, en-hancing, my practice.  Also what I will offer at this site.

      I want this inn to

Friday, June 10

The Only Way Out Is Through ....... 6/10/16

     I'm wiped out.

     For nearly two months my tranquility has been in-vaded.  By a persistent pest.  Circumstances never faced before are making the idea of spending time in a padded room attractive.  My privacy  has been overrun by others only thinking of themselves.

      One person, in particular, does not get it.  She does not see how her behavior harms

Friday, June 3

God Isn't a Spiritual Bell Boy, Revised 6/3/16

This is not God. I'm
sorry if you were
 mistaken.
        Recently, I was schooled in a lesson while laboring on a project.

        A suitcase of tasks related to it was lugged.  Up the steep stairs of unseeable results.  What I did was foreign to me and a challenge.  But I was confident in seeing this task completed.

       Others told me to give up.  Nope.  No can do.  Success often requires faith along with perseverance.

        Faith is going beyond the dictates of reason and circumstances.  When pushing ahead, if we need all the outcomes figured out, where's the need for faith?  How can it unfold its wings?

       Faith is doing what takes faith.

Sunday, May 29

Kisses For a Son 5/29/16

         Some friends and I visited this morning.

        We stood in a circle.  The cool breeze wafting around us, a wonderful respite from yesterday's hot weather.

        Someone new to me walked by, then dropped in, joining us.  Everyone knew each other.  The odd man out was you know who.  That's okay.   The unknown woman had heard about me.  She checked me out.

        No.  Not that way.
      Her pain robbed

Monday, May 23

10 Benefits When We're Gentle Towards Ourselves 5/23/16

         “The six most important words:'I admit I made a mis-
take.' The five most important words: 'You did a good 
job.' The four most important words: 'What is YOUR 
opinion?'  The three most important words: 'If you
 please.'  The two most important words: 'Thank You.' 
The one most important word: 'We.' The least
 important word: 'I.' ”   Author Unknown     

 Image: The California coast: Point Reyes 
        Showing grace
towards ourselves. 

      We are lucky when there are opportun-ities to practice patience. Especially towards ourselves.  Driven and highly motivated, we may be.

Wednesday, May 18

Moving On With Life: The Three A's Revisited 5/18/16

"You can't undo anything you've already
 done.  But you can face up to it.   You can tell 
the truthYou can seek forgiveness.  And let
 God do the rest."            Unknown
 The Value of Awareness

       We celebrate the sanity en-joyed when we look at life real-istically. 

      This is aware-ness.  It's a good start, but incom-plete.  It's eighty-eight percent of the answer when deal-ing with problems.   There's no remedy without first seeing the issue.

       Awareness helps us overcome life's challenges and disappoint-ments.  It helps us see progress.  When our learning curve spikes upwards there's no better encouragement.

       With greater awareness, circumstances that once lingered, for months----perhaps years---are now dealt with quickly.  We begin to thank God for quicker personal growth.

Rooting Out the Problem
The Vital Need for Acceptance

      It's vital going beyond awareness, seeing the problem.  Acceptance takes place next.  This is taking the perspective awareness provides.  

      Acceptance is dealing with its emotional impact.  This step is often ignored.  If we don't take this action, we are only trimming the shrub of our problems.  We are not rooting it out.  The problems will grow back.

       Acceptance is getting in touch with the issue at the visceral lev-el. It involves five steps.  It is:
1.  Seeing the vexing area.
2.  Feeling our re-sponse.
3.  Taking our feelings a step further. We grieve the loss involved.
4.  Letting the negative sentiments go---often through forgive-ness.  Forgiveness is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt.
5.  Seeing what steps we can take next. This is looking at our options.

      Acceptance helps remove ten percent of the problem.  Did you notice?  Acceptance is not acceptance with resignation. "Oh, this is my lot in life.  I'll have to tolerate it."

      Here's a critical point: many go straight from awareness to action. "I see the problem, and now, this is what I need to do....."  and design an action plan.  Bad idea.

      When we respond this way we are only operating mentally.  We are going rational.  The heart level is not addressed. With-out acceptance, the problem isn't rooted out.

      When was the last time we made time, determining why we isolate?  When have we done an inventory of  a perturbing area?  When have we made the time to root out festering resentments?  When have we looked at steps that overcome the torture of self-loathing?

      We need to connect at the gut level. If we want to heal our pain.  That doesn't happen if we go rational, as most of us do.  Negative feelings just don't disappear, if ignored. 

      It is wise looking for the payoff for our unhealthy behavior.  When have we investigated our thinking, checking for false beliefs?   It's emo-tionally healing, uncovering our motives.  We don't do anything if there isn't a reward.

       There's a key point regarding acceptance.  We don't have the psychological or emotional distance to clearly see areas needing growth.  We need friends who accept us.  When we fail, they are compassionate.

       We thrive when surrounded by friends who loves us.   Yet they challenge us.  With hard questions.  This is what's needed if we want to dig out problemed areas in our lives.

       We cannot experience healing if we go it alone. 

The Shoe Leather of Personal Growth

        Awareness of what triggers us is helpful.  Handling the emotions that surface---meeting the needs beneath them is critical too.  That's acceptance.

        But next step is critical.  It is applying the shoe leather of practical action.  We want to make efforts that support meeting our need for thriving, balance, and peace of mind.

        Donning the shoes of practical principles and actions help us.  They protect us when we are out walking in the street of life.  Principles assist us in handling life's demands.

        They enable us to overcome the vulnerable, co-dependent parts of our personality. We want to apply healthy alternatives.  We want to move away from unhelpful default modes.  We want to replace unsuccessful former approaches with new and better behavior.

        Practical principles permit us to tread upon the gravelly aspects of life without being harmed.

       Action is the remaining two percent needed for handling painful areas. There you have it, the Three A's.  Awareness deals with the head, acceptance with the heart and action with the feet (what we do).  Applying healthier alternatives---staying in the solution---helps us move beyond what were once monuments of our past pain.

       We will enjoy better relationships, sanity, serenity, emotional health, and ease.

How About You? 
Which of the three A's are you using to deal with a rocky area in your life?

Sunday, May 15

Inventorying The Past Week ........... 5/15/16

       Highs for the past week.  This is an inventory of the last seven days.
Highs:
1.  Confronted fears.  I did not allow emotions to overrule common sense.
2.  I ran five miles on Monday and walked for another six on that day.  It has been years since I have run this far.  Good news: didn't feel sore at all, afterwards.

     I walked for six miles for four days.  I ran for 4.5 miles for the remaining two.  It feels good.  It is de-stressing me.
3.  Enjoying teaching a couples workshop.  Last week was the fifth week.  This week it ends.   I love what I do.  Even better, I am thrilled for how the workshop is helping others to draw closer to their partner.

     They are learning how to truly be intimate: being present, authentic, and saying what they feel and want.
4.  I took charge over an area that was overrunning me.  A manipulative person was affecting my serenity.   I detached from the situation.  I looked for my options.  I felt much better, not letting her to disrepect me by her controlling behavior.
5.  I was texted by someone.  Not replying right away makes me happy.  I enjoy not letting social media consume my time or dictate when I will reply to texts or e-mails.  I love the freedom and autonomy I exercise when I do not measure up to the expectations of others.

    I live my by internal standards.  How others consider me or what they expect from me does not determine what I will do.  I am internally referented.

    Monday, I will update this and share my lows for the previous seven days. 

Wednesday, May 11

Agitated .............. 5/11/16

        I'm growing.

        Against my will, I am encountering a lot of instant learn-ing.  This happens when we are assault-ed with many demands.  It occurs when we experience a multitude of failures.  Being the Attitude of Gratitude guy, I see things from a positive point of view. Even during the roughest times.

        Failure and disappointment do not define us.  Instead, resilient people look at setbacks and learn from them. Then move forward.

        If thrown back once again,and they fail, IT IS NO BIG DEAL.

        I don't care for it, but I am facing disappointment and pressure.  Taxed---emotionally, mentally, physically, as I have been, for two weeks.

        An awkward and wobbly elderly person leaning on a walker to get around paints the picture of the steadiness in my present world.

         Topping it off, I was sucker punched Tuesday.  Shocked.  After-wards, throughout the day, I reeled.  And mourned.  As distraught as a cat caught in an alley jammed with feral dogs, I felt.  Couldn't think straight.
        Fear filled every pore.

         I am worn-down.  The result of hard work.  There is much to do besides sessions with clients.  Poor sleep breeds weariness, too.  I have demands shout-ing for attention.  Including improve-ments that will take place here.

       Gearing what I offer in new ways----in a fabulous direction, is taking its toll on me.  The laundry of my life is being re-sorted.  Making me disoriented.  All this is happening as I am taking steps that will help me better serve those I work with.

      Tuesday, for several hours, visions of doom took over.  Not my usual state of mind.  Making it worse, there appears to be no answers for my troubles.

       Except for two.

1.  Slowing down.  I need to be deaf to what clamors for my attention. I need to take care of me.

     I am in HALT.  I need to slow down. I will dictate how I spend my time.  Not the e-mails that assault me daily.  Nor the text messages and phone calls that barrage me throughout the week.

2.  Realizing I am powerless.  I've no control over any of the pronouns in my life: people, places, and things.  This is Step One, in recovery.  It hits hard.  Life is unmanageable.

      Growth happens when I embrace negative realities.  It is a mark of resiliency.  In the meantime, I am curious what wild things are wanting to hug me.

Saturday, April 30

The Man Who Would Not Move 4/30/16

      Experienced drama last Sun-day.

      Spent the morn-ing with friends.  Afterwards, a chum and I drove to the Englander Restau-rant in San Leandro.  Everyone squeezed into the place, sitting shoulder-to-shoul-

Saturday, April 23

Celebrating Life, Enjoying Abundance ...... 4/23/16

The Fairmont

      Just got home from visiting San Francisco.

      We made a birth-day person feel special.  Celebrating life packs a positive punch.  It invigor-ates the week. It transitions it from ho-hum to sublime and fun.

Sunday, April 17

Saying What We Feel and Want: Being Present: Not Letting Others Poop On Us........ ...................4/17/16

     Someone puts your soul into a storm of turmoil. It looks like the clouds in this pic-ture to your left.

    Their put-downs make you want to find shel-ter and hide.  Embar-rassment

Sunday, April 10

Making the Right Choice, Part II 4/10/16

      This past Friday I knew what I had to do.  I am a mandated reporter.

       I was on my cell phone, walking around my neighbor-hood.  Getting support, talking with a friend.

      Still, I needed to process what I experi-enced that morning.  I disagreed with some-one.    The fellow used a hammer to punish himself.  He struck his head with it.  While in my

Saturday, April 9

Making the Right Choice................ 4/9/16

      "Whack, whack, whack, whack."

       That was the sound I heard.  It happened as I walk-ed away from him.  He was pounding his head with a hammer.

        When I heard it, I thought, "This can't be.  He must be hitting the couch he is sitting on."  When I returned to the room, blood poured from the top of his head.

        It ran down his nose.  Into his eyes.  Unto his white T-shirt.

Friday, April 1

Calmness, Patience, Grace, Firmness: Overcoming Defiance.......... .................. 4/1/16

       She sat there with a sassy atti-tude. Her blonde hair in her eyes.

       Her mother con-vinced her she only had to see me for ten minutes.  After that, she could leave.

       According to her mother, it took more than two hours for this teenager to ap-ply

Tuesday, March 15

Not Being Moved When Life Is Threatened ... 3/15/16

   Difficult times are opportunities for us to stretch and grow.

·        We don't need to panic
      o   Instead of catastrophizing, we surf the waves of our present circumstances.
           o   We remind ourselves we can handle what we are facing.
           o   This is emotional resiliency.
·         We comfort the wounded child within.  We do this by:

Sunday, March 13

An Interview With the Innkeeper ..... 3/13/16


     This is a special day today.

     Today is the fifth anniversary of this inn.  Please celebrate this day with me.  I'd love hearing from you. For this anniversary I'll do something never done before: I will interview myself.

What have I liked best about being the innkeeper? 

   1. Seeing the many sources of  joy I have.   Research reveals that those with a cheerful attitude are healthier, live longer are more resilient and relate well with others.
   
       Looking at life with an attitude of gratitude is a result of practice

Saturday, February 27

Being Present: Freed From the Curse of Thinking 2/27/16

     Descending from cloud nine.

     A fantastic evening spent with family. Went from the ago-ny of deep dread to beyond ecstatic ela-tion.

      I took in a win.  It happened in the last 3/5 of a second of the game. Slapped hands with many in the crowd at the Englander Restaurant.  I was

Monday, February 22

One Cause for Unsafe Relationships 2/22/15

     Who doesn't want to be happy? That is possible when we have great friend-ships.
   
     Without them, we feel "incredible im-mense pain," as one client told me this week.  We may feel like a failure, like this

Saturday, February 13

The Six Benefits of Loss, Revised............ 2/13/15

     Tomorrow, Valentine's Day,  we turn our hearts to-wards love.

      I related for several years with someone astonishing.  Her letters reached my

Wednesday, February 10

Embracing Differences, Revisited and Revised............ 2/10/16

     Who likes tension in a rela-tionship?

     Wouldn't it be good, learning a skill that reduces that pos-sibility? Embracing differences hon-ors anyone trapped in the web of a contentious relationship, too.  It helps when having difficulties with loved ones. This practice prevents the two forms of inauthentic relating: evasiveness and indirect communication.

     Can you imagine what it would look like, clearing the air with someone who irritates us?  Would it not be great doing so without judging each other?  Wouldn't it be encouraging, arriving at answers we never dreamed of?

        This practice steers us away from assuming, analyzing, interpreting others.  This skill helps us stop assessing the behavior and words of those we relate with. When exercising these four possibilities, we lack being present.  We are controlling and manipulating.  Ouch!

     Embracing differences promotes intimacy.  It helps us understand. It lets others know us.  It is a truth skill.  Using it dis-sipates fears.

      We can embrace relation-ships fearlessly.  Judgment will not take place.   We do not deny who we are.  This is something we often do to keep a relationship.
Defining the Skill
     Embracing differ-ences is taking in several points of view at one time.  We consider them in relation to one an-other.   It is listening without judging.  It is empathizing with differing opinions. 
     All the while we remain grounded with our boundaries and perspective. 
       This skill reminds me of a quote:
"Our mind is like a parachute.  It only works when it is open."
I add a corollary: we don't want our minds to be so open that our
brains fall out.

     This skill is step-ping away from black and white thinking.  Typically, we react when an individual has a different perspective. We say they are wrong.

      This practice prevents that.  In many cases, when there is a differ-ence we think there are only three possibilities.  We can flee.  We can yield.  Or we resort to fighting.

      This truth skill provides another option.  We expand our vision.  We can hold different positions without seeing anyone as wrong.  We all fit in, as we are.  There are some sacrosanct moral areas: murder, stealing, lying, etc.

      They are never right.  But other than these moral values and a few others, the sky is the limit.

      Our perspective is broadened.  We move beyond preconceived notions when exercising this skill.  Narrow-mindedness is reduced. Right-sized, we are.  We become aware that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, when relating.

       In recovery, this is Tradition Two.  We operate by consensus---everyone's voice has to be heard and considered before coming to conclusions.

       Did you notice what is absent?  Dominance, ego and pride. Instead, there is mutuality, reciprocity.  We are able to level.  We will be more honest.

       Using this skill, no matter how old we are, we continue to mature.  Authenticity, integrity grows if we keep this perspective.  This skill provides a win-win situation.  Apart from it, conflict easily arises.

       No longer is it our way or the highway.  We move beyond passivity, too.  It is critical expressing our feelings and needs.  Embracing differ-ences is a terrific antidote to the sickness of codependency.

       In this post, the subject is detailed.  For a one sentence definition, codependency is surrendering our opinions or values because we fear the anger or rejection of another.  I no longer suffer from this disease.  A slave to it, I was, for decades.  Freedom from its shackles happened after working intensely on this weakness of character for three years.

        I have maintained this freedom for another nine years.  I use re-covery.  I attend Al-Anon Family Groups.  I take in principles learned from relationships developed within that fellowship.  Its literature for-tifies me .

        Anne Wilson Schaef's book on this subject is an enormous help. So is the book Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend.

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.

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