5 Ways to End an Argument

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We all know those people that just love to argue, love to get heated and “get their feelings hurt”.  I might sound insensitive, but no! The insensitive thing would be to ignore that these people exist and that their feelings matter.  First of all, if you find yourself in a situation with this sort of person, do the kind thing and give them what they want.  It’s healthy to express our selves, after all.  And you can’t end an argument that does not exist.  So, for the sake of this blog we must have one.  You may be a lover not a fighter, but that doesn’t mean we are always surrounded by people alike. These people could be a best friend, a mother-in-law, a landlord, a sister, a whiny pubescent teenage time-bomb, whatever the case, I find these five tactics may lead to peaceful resolution.

Tactic # 1, Apathy:  Apathy is a wonderful expression because it is neither submissive nor threatening. Simple dismissal or lack of emotion is usually very uninteresting in an argument.  The antagonist often finds this dull and sees no point pursuing an unavailing attempt to fight with you.

Tactic # 2, Sarcasm:  The word sarcasm is derived from a Greek word meant to describe the way wild dogs tear flesh off the bones of their prey.  If you know how to use it, sarcasm is word artillery at its finest. The right comment with just enough sarcasm smeared on it will act fast and hit unexpectedly knocking the wind out of any confrontation. I would not recommend this strategy with authority figures. But for that “quippy” little preteen or adolescent, this is perfect.

Tactic # 3, Patronization:  This has proved very effective with those particular breeds of people that are right no matter what.  The question you want to stop and ask yourself in an argument with someone of this nature is “How many minutes of my life do I want to waste being unconditionally wrong?

A. Until I’m interrupted by a phone call?

B. Until the 3-4 minute song on the radio that I’m focusing all my attention to is over?

C. just long enough to realize I can’t even enjoy the song ’cause they’re talking over it?

D. Until my brain ruptures inside the skull acting as a defensive, self-destruct mechanism?

The answer is C, my friends and the solution is tell them whatever they want to hear and get on with your life.

Tactic # 4, Flattery: Flattery is your man, if you are looking for a win/win situation. You are in the middle of a meaningless squabble with your best friend, a simple complement or act of love puts you one step closer to reconciliation. Point out how nice it is that you have acquired the level of closeness necessary for this relentless bickering. Or comment on a new purse or pair of ear rings they are wearing. Not only does it make them feel good but it makes you feel good to say it.

Tactic # 5, Start to cry: Get those juices flowing. Squeeze out a few tears even better if you can pull off a full-fledged hysterical crying/breathing fit and really make them uncomfortable. Discomfort equals confusion equals defenses down. The situation may be weird for a moment but the awkward silence should end the argument effectively.

Good luck and remember peace is a choice. So love one another.

5 Ways to Enjoy a Red Light

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The world is in such a hurry these days.  In a society running on Starbucks and work deadlines it is tough sometimes not to get caught up in the “go, go, go” of every-day-life.  I think that red lights have been the bad guys for too long.  I think red lights and stop signs and traffic jams all deserve a second thought. And that thought is this: Is it really so bad to pause every once in a while?  Is it just awful to have a second to think, to reflect, or to slow down long enough to notice the extraordinary sunset sweeping across the sky?  Don’t you ever find yourself wishing you could just escape for a minute?  Here is what red lights have been trying to tell us for nearly a century now and five ways to fully appreciate their potential.

Number 1:  Take in the stillness. Take a second and look around and feel the world rush past you.  Be a part of the trees or the buildings, the things that are being still, and appreciate life from their perspective. The masters have always told us to go with the flow, but that doesn’t mean lose yourself in it. You deserve to have moments all your own. Be your own flow. Take a deep breath… and then Go.

Number 2:  Be grateful.  It always feels good to remember all the things we are thankful for, especially if we are having a bad day or stressing out.  You can’t help but stop at a red light (well legally), so even if you are in the biggest hurry of them all, whatever it may be you have permission from traffic laws everywhere to slow down and take a breather.  Take advantage of it, relax, name a few reasons you are happy to be doing what you are doing, even if it’s the fact that you are not doing something way worse like suffering genocide in Africa… Think about what you enjoy about your life and what you are fortunate to have.

Number 3: Be friendly.  Notice the people around you.  Smile at a stranger.  Study your fellow beings.  Barge into their lives a little and let them know they are not alone.  Making someone smile is a simple gesture that often takes you further than you could ever imagine.  ” I don’t even know you, I don’t know what you do for a living or what church you go to or whether you’re a Stealers fan or not, but I’m going to smile at you.”  How could that not feel awesome?

Number 4:  Quiet your mind.  This can be extremely rejuvenating and enlightening.  I call it minute meditation.  I’m sure we can all relate to streaming and unyielding thinking marathons that just never seem to stop and yet never seem to get us anywhere. You’re just thinking about nothing and everything at the same time and maybe you feel like you wish you could just turn your brain off.  Your favorite song is on the radio and you can’t even enjoy it ’cause it’s so loud between your ears.  This is when you stop and simply think to yourself “I wonder what my next thought will be?…” (The only way to know if it works is to try it) But I would not suggest doing this while driving, which is why red lights are wonderful!

Number 5:  Red lights are the perfect time to do those little things you should do and always forget to, like you’re Kegel exercises! This is not a joke. Doing your Kegel exercises strengthen the PC muscles, help in treating urinary incontinence and increasing sexual gratification. This is a good exercise for both men and women. And depending on your sex and age may have many other helpful benefits.

So, instead of being impatient and stressed or bored and stuck with nothing to do but read the bumper stickers on the car in front of you. You now have five productive mind, body and soul enriching techniques to practice at your next red light.

Enjoy and rejoice because red lights are part of your life too!

5 Secrets of Bad Days

There is a blue sky shinning outside your window, a fresh cup of coffee in your hand, you’re off to a routine day at a job that may not be great but is however great to have, especially in these times of economic instability. There are really no real problems in your life, yet there is this nagging perhaps even intrusive urge to just flip the eff out! If this is you, today or on other days, I first want to congratulate you on being totally, unmistakably and awesomely human. Just like the rest of us, who are however, having a great day! Secondly I am here to offer these secrets of bad days or if you are too disgruntled to appreciate them then at least a momentary distraction from your life that sucks.

# 1 You may just be stunned by monotony. Maybe there really isn’t anything wrong and you are just subconsciously trying to add a little excitement to your dull everyday routine. Perhaps if you think about it you’ll realize you’ve noticed an almost numbing boredom resonating in the back of your mind as you move swiftly and effortlessly through your day-to-day life. Then, just in time to rescue you from another flawless morning, the bad day blues come charging into reality. You start by imagining your hair looks bad, then, you start noticing things you never notice on good days because everything is just going so damn good. You notice your coffee is too hot to drink, your Grapenuts are stale or that your boots have a hole in them. Your running late (probably due to all the extra noticing you’ve been doing) It only takes a few things to really get the wheels turning and then whoosh, off you go in your premeditated boo-hoo-mobile! (Deep down inside you are thrilled however, over how bored you aren’t being.) If you feel this may be the kind of bad day you are having, take control and remedy it with a controlled twist that leaves you feeling excited (but not like, excited to kick in a bathroom stall and then hide sobbing in the corner excited) Do something different to spice things up like go somewhere new for lunch, listen to a comedy routine on your mobile radio account, maybe make it a netflix night when you get home, instead of just dragging your sorry, tired and uninspired ass, in through the door after a long day of work, just like you always do! Reward yourself rather. You deserve it!

#2 Sometimes the harsh and honest truth is, we are just being whiners. Whiners, looking for attention or wallowing in our own self-pity.  Perhaps we just want someone to laugh with or in this particular situation cry with. “Boo-hoo, I’m having a bad day there’s a hole in my boot, please notice me!” What I hate about these kind of bad days is, I usually am a very upbeat energetic and loving person, always excited to put a smile on someone else’s face but when I get stuck in this pity pool that has been filled with my own sad, sorry tears, I am like the person that I wouldn’t even want to try to cheer up. This is a sad and annoying realization but if this is you on a bad day, you just have to fess up and come to terms with it. Only then can you start getting the attention you are really craving.  I hate to sound like a Positive-Patty here, but positive attention is better than negative attention. So slap yourself on the back or in the face depending on how whiney you were being and get ready to get your nice on! What I’ve learned is: people either really like nice or they are totally creeped out by it. But either way I promise you the attention you get will far surpass the attention or avoidance, that sour-puss pout you’ve been pointing at people all day has gotten you.

#3 Sometimes we are just off kilter and can’t seem to get balanced out no matter how ridiculous we know we are being. This is my personal worst bad day. I have had many days like this. They are my least favorite and no amount of chocolate or yelling at the children or episodes of Dexter can cure it. That’s when you have to really just stop and start over. Your whole life, just start over, move to a new town and find a new family, a new dog…No! I mean start over get back to the basics.  The basics are as follows: sleep, food, water, in some cases sex. All those things in the core of your brain that our primitive ancestors learned to thrive over.  Most of the time my bursts of bad behavior are a result in a hormone or nutrition imbalance. So, when I feel like I’m being ridiculous and there is no outside drama causing me to react the way I’m acting, I stop and think is it possible I haven’t been drinking enough water or eating the right food or enough food, or taking my vitamins, have I had time to myself lately, or time with my honey? Sometimes you just have to take a few deep breaths, drink a glass of water and make yourself a PB&J, while you convince yourself you didn’t get enough sleep last night and everything is fine, you are just over sensitive due to your frail condition.

#4 Sometimes we are being resentful and it slowly starts to unravel into the end all to be all. Suddenly! It happens! Some stupid petty thing sneaks into the daily deliveries truck. You find yourself stuck with a frustration that you were in no way prepared for. Maybe your spouse decided to move an entirely large unneeded piece of furniture in without consulting you first and it has pushed you into a passive aggressive piss parade, maybe the disappointment of the loss of an eBay bid on a one of a kind pair of shoes, or an unexpected call from your nagging, self-righteous, control freak, grandmother has opened Pandora’s box of vigorous triggers to all your self-sabotaging habits. You’ll know if this is your secret of a bad day if ten minutes ago you were perfectly fine and now your head is spinning and you want to run as far away from where the spinning started as fast as you possibly can! Everything that  comes out of your mouth is condescending or served with a side of sarcasm and you’ve made it through half a bag of Dove chocolate and are even too peevish to believe all the sweet little notes on the inside of the wrappers like you usually do. In this case it is important to catch on as soon as possible. Otherwise the resentment monster living on your shoulder will send you crashing miserably into everything and everyone you meet all day. Find a quiet place. I suggest locking yourself in your car for a few minutes. Or if you don’t have a car, then lock yourself in the bathroom and pretend it is your car Close your eyes, and imagine the horrible petty thing that happened, it’s all wrapped up in a pretty little brown package. You scoop it up in your loving, logical hands and take a good look at it, accept it fully for what it is and when you are done soaking in its inescapable existence, look up at the sky and say “Universe, this package sucks. I do not like it, but I accept it and will not let it ruin anymore of my day than it already has, because this feeling or situation will eventually pass and then I will have only wasted my time being resentful.” Then if your eyes are still closed take your package and imagine getting out of your car and placing it on the ground behind your car. Then open your eyes, turn the car on, and back in and out of your drive way 5 or 6 times. If the act of the package killing and resentment freeing doesn’t work, see paragraph three-sentences one and two.

#5 The totally awesome life changing event that is disguised as your worst nightmare. We all have expectations in life, even though we are told its best not to. Most of the time we are just expecting the basics, like to make it to work without getting in an accident, or to not be betrayed by our closest friends or family, or we expect to have enough money to cover all our expenses. But then something unforeseen happens and we are immediately panicked or forlorn. Perhaps a F150 smashes into you on the way to work, or a friend or lover betrays your trust, a check bounces or you are injured and stuck with an immense amount of medical debt. All these things could ruin any day. But eventually you will come to terms with it all.. the sooner we do that the better. As hard as it is to see the positive in situations like this, we must try. The best way to do this is to turn to gratitude. You may be thankful that the accident only damaged your car or that injuries did not result in taking your life, you may be thankful to know that you have the choice to choose who is in your life and who isn’t, maybe you are thankful that although it may seem like you do not have enough money at the moment, there are still literally endless possibilities for money and resources to manifest themselves in your life, if you would only acknowledge the possibility and appreciate all that is present, from love and family to a roof over your head and a meal in your tummy. On top of all you have there is always the possibility that this one horrible thing is the stepping stone to an event or an action on your part that will change your life for the better. You may never know but there is no harm in feeling good, even when you are not supposed to!

The 5 B’s of Doingness

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#1 Beginning- I have to admit it is kind of intimidating staring at the blinking curser as it prods almost intrusively at my skill and ability to write. I just dive in. It seems characteristic of me, like jumping off the roof when I was 12, into the make shift snow mound.  Now, just like then, a second of uncertainty is less uncomfortable than the thought of standing there feeling frozen and unsure.  When I try to stay in one place and think it over patiently and rationally, I often just talk myself out of things.  I’d rather just take a chance and see what happens than spend too much time second guessing myself. I’m not afraid of mistakes.  I am afraid of feeling stuck.  So here I am.  I’ve begun to write. I’ve already gotten through a paragraph and it all seems relevant and thought provoking, which is after all what I was going for when I sat down to write my first piece for potential publication.

#2 Baby steps- I’ve never done this kind of writing but I’ve always wanted to.  “Well,” I think to myself “anyone who’s done anything has never done it before at one point.” This thought is very reassuring to me and so I press on.  I have found that whenever I do anything new or exciting, whether it is life changing like a move to a new place, a break up, or perhaps less serious like deciding to take a class or start an exercise routine, it’s best to just take it one tiny step at a time and not get all hung up on the final project.  As the saying goes “It’s progress not perfection.”  Most of the time nothing turns out the way you thought it would anyway, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t turn out wonderful.  The fun part is often getting there and the little-by-little-stuff can be just as exciting as the final step into your original pursuit.

#3 Breaks- I stop writing and go to the store with my honey, due to late night BBQ cravings (an excuse to be outside and around the fire really).  All along I’m writing this in my head as we browse the isles at Fred Meyer’s for short ribs and salad dressing. Then I stop. “Wait, this is nice. I should enjoy this”, I think to myself as I grab my honey’s hand.  Sometimes we forget to take breaks when we are excited about doing something for the first time. I often get over involved forgetting to travel back to the surface of reality, for a breath of fresh air or a warm moment of clarity.  A deep breath is waiting for me here, between all my nerve and ambition, the sound of crackling embers or the plot of my four year old daughter’s day spilling out in broken words and infectious laughter.  When I step back into the project later I may have something more to bring with me than if I had just stayed and obsessed.

#4 But-what-if’s- I look over what I’ve already done. I start to get anxious and self-critical and then I stop myself and remember that mistakes are also great teachers.  It’s not enough to start something if I’m not going to give it my all. Sure it’s true not all things are meant to be, but if you don’t try your best and do everything you can to make it work you will never know.  I guess that brings me back to the “doing-ness” factor.  In the first place, it is tough sometimes to just get out there and do the stuff you’ve always wanted to do.  Whether it’s starting something or ending something. I don’t know exactly what makes it so difficult. Maybe it’s a case of relentless what-if’s rooted in our fears of failure and disappointment?  All I know is I’d rather be disappointed than disenchanted any day!

#5 Balls – I believe we should do the things we want to do even if others warn us not to. Isn’t that what all the greatest do-ers and revolutionists in history have done?  We are ordinary people but we can do extraordinary things and lead extraordinary lives, just by indulging our simplest dreams and want-to’s.   So I am doing this. Writing a blog is one of the many things I’ve always wanted to do and I appreciate you being a part of it. I bid you all a good week full of opportunity, change and mistakes to urge your quests to do stuff.