Ego–his, hers, mine.

…I made a conscious effort to think like a person who doesn’t put himself at the head of the universe. ~ Sam, in “Skipped Parts” by Tim Sandlin

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time.  I’ve done a little research on “ego vs. healthy self-esteem.”  Little is the key word here. I even listened to a Q&A session with Eckhart Tolle in which he discussed this topic.  I find him rather difficult to listen to even though I do respect his writing and his opinions.  There is a great deal of information “out there” about ego.  So much, in fact, that my mind got boggled by it all.  Alright, I admit it, it doesn’t take a great deal of something to rattle my brain.  I read a little and came to the conclusion that my opinion is just as valid as some of those I read online.  Hehe.  How’s that for ego?  Or is that self-esteem?

  • self-esteem–How much you respect and accept yourself.  Your concept of how worthy, valuable, lovable and capable you are in society.
  • ego–An inflated opinion of yourself often accompanied by a belief that you are superior to others.

I’ve been trying to understand how or whether ego contributes to or causes divorce.  I think it could do both.  (I’m in way over my head here and I’m trying to find a graceful way out.)  The best I can tell, healthy self-esteem is a good thing.  Ego is not.  And if my self-esteem goes too far in either direction, the ego takes over.  Once my ego takes over, I do things that are not good for me.  If what I’m doing is not good for me, then it’s probably not good for my relationships.

So…When D started to have an affair with S, he started avoiding and neglecting me.  Over a period of time his inattention eroded my self-esteem.  Once my self-esteem became wounded (unhealthy), I started acting in a way that further damaged our relationship and our marriage.  That’s one scenario.  Another might be that I was already operating on too much ego and that might have been the reason he strayed.  Or maybe not.  I don’t really like that scenario.  (Ego?)

Bottom line–I can’t analyze, in retrospect, the ego of D, nor of S, nor even my own with any degree of accuracy.  Therefore this exercise in self-esteem/ego is a waste of time.  To quote an elderly priest D and I used to listen to when we were on the road together: “It matters not how the donkey got in the ditch.  Just get him out.”

I hereby promise myself that I will give up the search for what caused it and just get myself out of the ditch.  I mean it!


Imago therapy according to Pat.

So your rose garden needs a little work?  If you are aware that your relationship needs help and your partner is willing to work with you to achieve harmony, count yourself lucky.  I’m sad to say that my marriage had already gone south before I recognized how bad it was.  So bad, in fact, that D was telling me he wanted a divorce.  I knew right away that I would need some help whether or not we were willing to go together.  A friend of mine told me of a therapist she and her husband had worked with some years previous.  Dr. A was a certified Imago therapist for individuals and/or couples.  My friend had told me a great deal about the Imago approach and it made sense to me, so I called up and made an appointment.  What did I have to lose?

Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., developed the Imago method of counseling.  The following is a quote from Dr. Hendrix which describes briefly why he thinks we’re drawn to our partners:

Psychologists say that “chemistry” is really our unconscious attraction to someone who we imagine will meet our particular emotional needs.  What we unconsciously want is to get what we didn’t get in childhood from someone who is like the people who didn’t give us what we needed in the first place.

I had to read that paragraph several times to get the gist of it.  I’m accustomed to shorter sentences. 🙂  Seriously, I have read most, if not all, of Dr. Hendrix’s books and his logic rings true.  Here’s a summary of what I understand Imago therapy to be:

  • All of us are born whole and complete.
  • We become wounded in our early stages of development by caregivers.  (Most parents don’t do this on purpose.)
  • We have in our unconscious an image of all the positive and negative traits of our caregivers.  This is the Imago.  This image gives us the blueprint for whom we should marry in order to have our needs met.
  • We then marry someone who is an Imago match.  This is someone who matches the composite of our early caregivers.  Since our parents (caregivers) are the ones who wounded us, they are the ones who must heal us in the form of our primary love partner.
  • We choose our romantic partner using a selection process based on who will be able to heal us and help us grow.
  • At some point after the “honeymoon” is over a power struggle ensues.  Both partners are seeking healing and growth.
  • The conscious mind doesn’t choose this struggle.  It’s the unconscious mind seeking healing.
  • With conscious effort and dialogue, the Imago love mate is the one most compatible with us and the one most capable of helping us to resolve unfinished business with our caregivers.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about all this now.  I wonder a little myself but I think I know the answer.  Back before D and I physically separated and he was still living at home with me, and after I had seen Dr. A a few times, I asked him if he would consider going to a couples weekend of Imago Therapy.  I explained it to him as Dr. A had explained it to me.  It’s a good way to get to the heart of who you are and why you’re attracted to certain people.  Whether or not he and I decided to stay together, we both would have learned some important things about ourselves and our relationships.  I became very hopeful.  D had to go on a business trip and took a copy of “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix with him.  He came home and told me he had read the book and some woman on the plane asked him about it and he just gave it to her.  (Can’t help wondering who the woman was.)  This I learned from that experience:  Something in the reading touched a chord.  D had a meltdown.  He cried and cried.  I’m still not sure what all the crying should have told me.  I do know that he decided a few days later that he didn’t think he would be able to go for a weekend with me.  And he moved out and the rest is history.  I know now that his girlfriend had given him an ultimatum, he had promised her that he would leave me and he did.

“Thank God and Greyhound” he’s gone–a very funny song by Roy Clark.  I don’t mean that to be ugly.  I simply realize I’m better off and maybe he is, too.  And life is good.

“The tongue…kills without drawing blood.” ~ Buddha

I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it. ~ Flannery O’Connor

I try not to look back with too many regrets but occasionally I can’t help wishing I could ride a time machine into my past and take back some of my more poisonous words.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing a link between my brain and my mouth.  Back in elementary school I would usually bring home a near-perfect report card except for one small area which never seemed small to me.  I almost always got an X in a section that said “Refrains from speaking and acting hastily.”  I wondered for a long, long time what that meant. I remember asking my mom about it.  She told me she thought it meant I talked too much.  She’d had some experience with my incessant talking. 🙂 She didn’t know any education jargon so it’s reasonable she would have thought that.  I’ve learned since that neither speaking nor acting was the key word here; the important word was hastily.

When I was a child riding a school bus every day, our buses, supposedly for safety reasons, had a governor that kept them from going over a certain speed.  I’m thinking my tongue could use one of those.  I still blurt out whatever comes into my mind sometimes.  I’m glad for some of my blurt-outs but sorry for others.  If I’m to be honest here, some of them are probably not so accidental.  For me, now, it’s a matter of impulse control.  And as an adult I can have pretty good control when I want.  But I’m also known for speaking plainly and without sugar-coating my words.  I naturally avoid pretense.  I’ve always been that way.  I think there’s a fine line between being tactful and lying.  Always tell the truth! was hammered into my head as far back  as I can remember.  How does a child always tell the truth without insulting some well-meaning aunt or grandparent?  My role models didn’t always hit that target.  Their inadequacy further complicated the issue and would probably make for an interesting post at another time.

This post has taken a somewhat different direction than I originally thought it would.  (Just like when I’m talking.) I had intended to cite some of my more heinous breaches of polite language.  Instead I will close with a word-to-the-wise about my tongue–a reminder, if you will, that I can choose to wound or heal, soothe or agitate, make laugh or make cry.  I can choose.  That’s the important message.  If the pen is mightier than the sword, the tongue is mightier than either.

I will speak with a straight tongue. ~ Chief Joseph, Nez Perce   

I will try very hard to speak with a straight tongue. ~ Pat

Some things I’ve learned…

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s  not.  ~ Dr. Seuss

I like to have a project in the works.  Now that I’m working on this banner for the Spanish community church service, I awaken in the morning eager (after I’ve had my coffee) to assess the previous day’s work and to determine what part of it I’ll do today.  It’s a joy to watch it unfold.  It gives me a goal, albeit short-term, and it engages my artistic bent which is a more dominant force now than it was in the past.  Well, I guess the bent was always there but I have more time to devote to it than when I was working and taking care of my children.

I’ve been thinking lately about the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.  I believe that he taught us so much more than reading.  The Seuss quote above comes from his book The Lorax, 1971.  It’s a powerful environmental message.  If we had learned it back in ’71 when he wrote it our planet would be in better shape than it is today.  I don’t know whether it’s on any academic required-reading lists, but it’s certainly on mine.  When I was married to D, I had my very own Lorax (environmental conscience).  I’m happy to say he’s better looking than the one you see pictured here on the book cover.  🙂  D was a recycler long before it was the thing to do.  He cared “a whole awful lot” and tried to make it better.  I thank him for that.  He raised my consciousness several levels by being that way.  I don’t think he saved any of these beautiful “Truffala Trees” but I’m pretty sure he saved some other kinds.

Two days ago another blogger, lifeandothermisadventures, commented on my post about forgiveness.  She mentioned a book that she said was helpful to her.  The book was When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.  The same day I went down to my local book shop and found that book and several others by Ms Chodron.  I sat down to examine them and determined that I needed the one called Taking the Leap:  Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears.  My thinking was that 1) things fell apart quite a long while ago and 2) I still have habits and fears that I don’t want to foster any longer.  In the book that I chose there is a chapter entitled “Getting Unstuck.”   This title jumped off the page, I think, because my daughter and I had recently been discussing the fact that sometimes we get stuck in our “recovery” and we can’t seem to continue the progress we have achieved up to that point.  Old habits feel too comfortable and we are afraid to take that next step.  I’m always amazed when the stars seem to align and send me a powerful message.  The last star in this alignment was a statement in my morning uplifting message which I read in Spanish.  (I read in Spanish to try to keep my language skills up to snuff.)   I read that “too often we sit back and wait for others to change instead of taking stock and figuring out how we need to change.”  Of course I knew this already but how easily I slide back into my old habits and let my old fears consume me.

In summary, the things I’ve learned are:  I am much happier when I have a project.  I care a whole awful lot about the environment and about how I treat other people.  I can’t change others; I can only change myself and how I react to them.  I could probably use more structure in my daily routine.  And last, I’m going to Peru in May, 2012!  Woo hoo!

Learning to forgive…again…and again.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.          ~ Martin Luther King

Some lessons are harder to learn than others.  Sometimes I think I’m a really slow learner.  For example, when I learn to do something new on my computer or my cell phone, if I don’t repeat it in a few days time, I won’t remember how it’s done.  I think that learning the lesson of forgiveness works the same way for me.  It would be nice if I could simply say, “I forgive” and let it go and never have to revisit that issue again.  I certainly always mean it when I say it.  I think what happens to me is that the hurt is multilayered and has many facets.  That means that just as I let one layer fly off on butterfly wings, another layer takes its place.  Maybe the human mind is that way for a reason.  Or maybe it’s just my mind that’s weird in that way.  What I have begun to understand is that each new layer is sneaky.  I may have to wrestle with it for days before I recognize what it is.

I don’t know how accurate my self-diagnosis is but I know I need to change my approach.  I just noticed that I used the word “wrestle” in the paragraph above.  I think that word might be key to my solution (my healing).  Why am I wrestling?  My new mantra will be something like this:  “I’m relaxing into forgiveness today and every day.”  I feel better already.

An addendum:  I have written before about forgiving.  I write about it in order to sort out how difficult it is for me to manage sometimes.  I hope I don’t sound as if I am the only one who has something to forgive.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I won’t bother to list things I’ve done that I hope will put me on the receiving end of forgiveness.  Such a list would depress me beyond repair.

Blackbird, fly.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night                        Take these broken wings and learn to fly                         All your life                                                                         You were only waiting for this moment to arise.             ~ The Beatles

Sometimes I can see more clearly when I walk at night, figuratively speaking.  I can hear better too.  As I walked one night recently, I kept hearing the words “in the dead of night” in my mind and then I started to hum the tune  It took me a while to come up with what it was in the dead of night.  By the time I made my neighborhood jaunt twice around, I realized–“blackbird singing.”  Of course!  Blackbird singing in the dead of night.  As I pondered the notion of a bird singing at night, I noticed a waxing moon rising over the rooftops juxtaposing the street lamp, looking like the very opposite of what they actually are in terms of size.  I didn’t know what, if anything, the blackbird had to do with the moon/lamp photo, I just knew I needed to snap the scene.

My brother and I used to listen to bird sounds in the early summer evenings.  We would try to imitate them.  One of our favorites was the Northern Bob White.  It’s a type of quail and despite its name it’s very prevalent in the southeastern United States.  The Bob White’s call sounds like its name so J and I would whistle and wait expectantly for the bird to answer.  That would mean that our calls were fairly authentic, or so we thought.  Both of us were pretty good whistlers but in the world of whistlers my brother was one of the best I’ve ever heard.  He always told me that he got more responses and I agreed because he was my older brother and I adored him.  Another favorite was the Eastern Whip-poor-will  onomatopoeically-named for its call.  Again, J and I mastered the call and whip-poor-wiiiiled until the bird stopped responding or Momma called us in.  We often heard a variety of owls.  Sometimes the hoo-hoo of a Barred Owl which is the sound most people think of when they think of owls.  Occasionally we heard the eerie sound of a Screech Owl.  My brother, being the bigger wuss, was sure something was coming to get us and headed for home.  I still laugh when I think about it.

So…do blackbirds sing in the dead of night?  Indeed they do.  The male sings to claim his territory, to attract a female, or sometimes a young bird will sing just for practice.  Typically, dawn is birdsong time, but it seems that in urban areas the street lights create a false dawn and the cacophony starts early–in the dead of night.

An interesting aside about this Beatles song:  Paul McCartney said the blackbird is a symbol for the black man in the Civil Rights Era in America.  He said, “We were totally involved in the whole saga which was unfolding.  So I got the idea of using a blackbird for a black man.”  If you would like to hear the Beatles singing this song, click the link above.  Sarah Mclachlan does a beautiful version, too.  Click here if you want to hear her.  I prefer Sarah’s version.

A stroll down memory lane.

The leaves of memory seemed to make         A mournful rustling in the dark.                     ~ Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

Yesterday afternoon I took a little trip to my old neighborhood.  The one where D and the girls and I lived for a long time.  This was our home when we first got married.  The primary reason for this little excursion was to visit our next-door neighbor and friend A.  I don’t think she would mind my saying that she is now elderly as age goes.   She’s anything but elderly in her mind and in the way she acts and interacts with others.  She looks wonderful physically.  She stands straight and tall and she still moves gracefully.  We were, both of us, so very happy to see one another.  We hugged and hugged and then hugged again.  We talked and laughed and reminisced.  I must have stayed for an hour or more as we caught up with all the neighborhood news and our families.  The fact that we have both lost our husbands put us on common ground.  A’s husband died a while back.  You know about mine already.  Although A is of my mother’s generation, it’s as if she and I are not separated in any way by that now.  We both grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, she in Virginia and I in North Carolina, so we have very similar backgrounds and experiences.  It was a lovely visit and she is a lovely woman.

The rest of my memory stroll was rather dry like the autumn leaves that “make a mournful rustling.”  It didn’t make me sad, just pensive and maybe grateful.  I knocked on the door of our old house and met the young woman who is living there with her dog and her husband/boyfriend.  She was very nice and we had a brief chat after I told her my name.  She’s renting the house from D as he still owns it.  I had not been on the property in years, not since our daughter lived there.  I could not help noticing that the lawn and shrubs were in a bad state.  The brick walk that D laid when we lived there was overgrown with weeds.  The lawn hasn’t been mowed recently and I would guess that it’s been years since anyone has  mulched the beds.  I didn’t go in the back yard but I imagine the brick patio looks like the walkway.  And from A’s house I could see that there was a tree down and apparently it has been for some time.  Sad.

Before I left the neighborhood I drove around the circle and found that the rest of the street looks very much as it did years ago.  The trees and shrubs are taller but the houses are neat and the lawns well-groomed.  A tells me some of the “old” neighbors are still there.  Others have moved on and new (to me) families reside within.  It’s still a respectable area with everyday people and all the houses are different.   No two alike.  No “ticky tacky” on that street.  I’ve always liked that about it.

As I drove away from that little oasis and back into the traffic of the city I gave a little sigh of relief.  And yes, I felt grateful that I no longer live there.  I’m not sure why.  I imagine the state of the property was a factor.  But that’s not quite it.  Maybe it’s because I really have moved on.  I remember wonderful, happy times in that house.  But life has changed and we’re all different and You Can’t Go Home Again as Thomas Wolfe so succinctly put it.

Getting to the bottom of the bag.

  Carry a small bag so you don’t have to carry too much weight.  Heavy baggage damages your shoulder and your neck and your back and your psyche. ~ Pat

My daughter and her family brought me this little bag from Hawaii where they recently spent their summer vacation.  It’s hand-painted and embroidered and quite lovely to look at.  It has just enough space for my essentials which are minimal.  I’ve learned that if I carry a small bag I’ll fill it up or if I carry a large one the same thing happens.  I definitely prefer the lighter weight.  Back in the day when I needed a super-sized one to carry diapers, training pants, etc., I found that everyone in the family had something they needed me to carry because I always had room for one more item in the giant atrocity.  I usually trailed behind in the airport and now I wonder if they knew it was because I was carrying such a heavy load.

Have you ever noticed, when you carry a heavy burden like the one mentioned above, it can be very difficult to get to the bottom of the bag to unload the one thing that you need to remove?  I find life to be much like that, too.  If I carry around every bad, sad, unfair thing that has happened to me, it’s not easy to find and deal with things that may really need my attention.  Just as the physical load can damage my body, so can the emotional baggage overload my psyche, my ability to deal with everyday strife.

When I get in a philosophical frame of mind like this I start to realize that my divorce probably did happen for a reason.  Maybe it was Kismet if you believe in that sort of thing.  I’m not sure I do.  Even though D traveled for a living when we were married, and I had plenty of time to deal with all the problems that were me, I was able to avoid them.  I could focus instead on his chronic illness, our latest conversation or lack thereof, and what he said, what I said or didn’t say.  I wrapped too much of myself, my life around what he was doing, thinking, or  not doing, thinking.  He never asked me to do that.  Maybe I did it to avoid looking at my core issues.

I realize now that I carried a lot of baggage from my family of origin.  I had a victim mentality long before the divorce hit.  Also a fear of abandonment.  Both probably came from my mother and her insecurities.  (I’m not blaming her.  She did the very best she could.)  If we become what we think, then it was inevitable that I would become the victim of divorce and abandonment.  And so I did.

The happy side of this story is that today when I look at myself I’m okay with who I am.  If I see something I don’t like I try to change it.  If it’s so resistant to change that I’m wasting too much energy on it, then acceptance goes a long way.  And life is good.

A note that has nothing to do with this post:  I was sitting on the couch a little before 2:00 this afternoon, my feet and legs resting on the coffee table.  Suddenly the table started to move, tremble.  It went on for maybe 30 seconds.  It dawned on me that it was an earthquake, a very rare event on the east coast.  The epicenter was near Richmond, VA, but it was felt far and wide along the Atlantic Coast states.  It was a very eerie feeling, one that I had not experienced before.

“Salute her when her birthday comes.”

Bow down to her on Sunday                                                          Salute her when her birthday comes. ~ Bob Dylan

One year ago I wrote my first post for my spanking new blog.  I was so proud of myself that I wrote twice that day.  Writing journals in long hand no longer gave me what I needed.  I needed a voice.  From the moment D said he wanted a divorce and I had no hope of changing his mind, I had no voice, no choice.  My life was careening down hill, gaining speed and the brakes were stripped.  No matter how hard I pushed the pedal I couldn’t stop it.  And how I did push!

In acknowledging the conclusion of my first year here, I have been looking back at some of my earlier posts–a sort of retrospective introspection, I think.  When I started blogging I remember wishing and hoping to be totally honest about the facts and my emotions.  In other words I want to write for me, to help me first, and not for some unseen reader.   That last sentence isn’t meant to be harsh.  What I mean is that if I visualize some imagined audience or readership, then I might not be able to be honest.  I don’t want to address a post to anyone in particular.  (The post to A about the death of her mother is an exception.)  I want to write it out, whatever it is so that I can sort and prioritize and assimilate my own words and feelings.  If, in the process, my words can be helpful or amusing or occasionally interesting to a reader, then that’s a bonus and it makes me very happy.  Another bonus that I’ve discovered is receiving comments from many of you.  As a rookie, I had no idea how much I would look forward to your writing and your comments.  I now feel as if I have a whole world of blogger friends who support me and care about me as I do them.

I have averaged 2.5 posts a week and in the process have learned some things about myself.  I’m surprised at how often the same things keep coming up.  The alone/lonely debate arises fairly often.  I sometimes embrace my alone-ness and other times it doesn’t feel one bit embraceable.  I think that’s because I like people.  I get energy from interaction with others, especially in person.  Other times I like being alone.  I think that’s just life and not necessarily because I’m divorced.

I didn’t mean to make a ramble out of this post but I will add one thing that seems really significant.  I love and miss my NC mountains.  I am going to add this to the top of my priority list.  I need to be in the mountains in the summer.  My goal will be to arrange trips to the mountains more often in summers and autumns to come.  They are a vital part of me and I cannot, must not ignore this fact in the future.

Help!! I’m in a rut.

In a rut.  Going in circles.  If there’s a difference, it eludes me.  Either way it’s uncomfortable.  I checked out all my I-can-help-you sources and discovered that they all say the same thing and it doesn’t really matter what your problem is .  Granted, they don’t use exactly the same words but the meaning is the same so I’m left to pick the one that speaks the language I best understand and tackle the job.  Time’s a-wasting.  And so, with my tongue in my cheek, let’s get started:

1.  Focus on the present.  Now why would I want to do that?  My present is in a rut.  If I look back I can get angry.  When I look forward I get scared.  So let’s see now, would anger or fear help more?  I’m thinking anger works better for me.  No, maybe fear–fear that I’ll be in this rut forever.  Come to think of it I am pretty comfortable down here.

2.  Spend time with fun, energetic people.  Are you kidding me?  What fun-loving person wants to hang out with a down-in-the-dumps whiner?  Won’t I just bring them down to my level?  No, wait, their fun and good times will pull me up.  So…I will have to pretend I’m happy to get their attention and then they will let me hang out with them.  Hmmm.

3.  Set goals or challenges.  I think the theory here is that if you don’t give yourself a challenge, you will do whatever you do in a sorta half-a$$ed way.  Day in and day out just getting along, not accomplishing much.  That leaves me to wonder if I’m in a rut because I didn’t set clear goals or did I not set goals because I was in a rut and couldn’t make myself do it?  Shall we continue?

4.  Do without some everyday things.  This one makes me giggle.  I’m thinking I can go without my bra like I did back in the 70s.  Bras are everyday things, but alas, I think the idea here is to do without something that will make you change your pattern/schedule.  Maybe like not turning the TV on when you usually do, so that you’re forced to do something different or more productive.  I guess that means the bra-less notion is not so good.  That would cause me to stay home and hibernate or isolate more than I already do.  Bad idea.

5.  Do something for someone else.  I interpret this to mean volunteer or help a neighbor.  I have to approach this one cautiously.  Why?  Because I have, in the past, volunteered myself right into that volunteer rut.  Hey!  I never thought of this before but maybe I’m a little OCD.  How else does one get in a rut volunteering?  I must keep moderation and balance in mind.  If not, I’ll forget to take care of myself.  This is harder than I thought.

6.  Look at things or people from a different perspective.  I think this means that when I think about my situation and how I’ve been treated, I’m supposed to have more patience and tolerance for the other side of it and recognize that maybe D did what he thought he had to do to save himself.  I’m biting my tongue here.  See how nice I can be.

7.  Learn a new skill.  I get credit here.  Every Sunday morning I walk in the church as if I know what I’m doing (I seriously don’t.) and I sit down at the computer and I proceed to try to keep track of which song, which verse, which prayer, etc. should be on the screen at any given time.  Talk about a challenge for a brain that is accustomed to flitting from topic to topic like a monarch butterfly on milkweed.  I am learning to focus for an hour plus once a week.  How impressive is that!  And I’m doing it all in Spanish.

8.  Don’t keep listening to your own thoughts.  I don’t know about you but for me that’s an exercise in futility.  I am very repetitive, especially about negative things from the past that I can’t change.  I can beat the hell out of that dead dog and then revive him and beat him some more.  Even though I know it’s a waste of time, I still find myself slipping backward and making the rut deeper.  Duh!

9.  Don’t complain.  Quicherbellyachin.  Don’t whine.  Nobody wants to hear it.  NOBODY.  The right to whine has expired.  I’m trying to remember that.

10.  Look for humor in the mundane.  Humor is the greatest healer I know of and I try never to forget that.  I get an A+ for this one.  It has been my saving grace.

Feel free to adapt these suggestions to suit your situation.  Pick and choose.  Take what you like and leave the rest.  Life is good.  Smile.