•July 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment



Answering An Email on the Statistics of Parenting.

•July 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A lot on my mind over the last few days. I have not been around much, real life seems to be consuming me these days and lots of changes happening. I had an email from a reader who was asking me about an article on statistics that I did in relation to the workshop series I am doing with a group of local parents. I answered his email and am sharing that answer here as I thought it might have some relevance for others:

I never use statistics – except to discuss their relevance. I would not use statistics as a point of argument, or to bolster my position – it is a personal choice. All the work I do is based on trying to get people to reconnect with the value of their own experience, their own knowledge … and to trust that. I think it is too easy to believe numbers when, as I have stated before, we do not know always who commissioned the study, how it was conducted and what their intent was. When science is coming to terms with the fact that the intended outcome of the researchers/scientists – even in the most strict of scientific studies – can influence the findings … you begin to take a step back from “evidence.” and realize this is not necessarily the font of all truth. And secondly, percentages are funny things – there is danger in believing in 98% “don’t” if you are the 2% that “do.” So I NEVER use statistics to back my arguments.

One of the things I have learned in travelling the world is that people are very different in many ways – in how they view things and how they interpret those things. It is what makes us so darn fascinating. All the emotions and needs are the same but our cultures, the countries we live in .. they have a huge impact in how we interpret life and it is wonderful to gain new insights and perspectives on how to approach things.

Listening to the people I work with over the years have convinced me that answers lie .. not in providing trite answers of “this is how it should be done” but in supporting the process of discovery for each person as they make sense of what is going on. Indeed, trauma is experienced when our normal sorting out processes are not able to deal with the issues that are going on. Sitting in judgment of whether a situation for someone else is difficult is ridiculous. We all process things in very unique ways. My first husband could administer CPR to a bloodied body without batting an eye … he cringed when his daughters asked them to help him put their pierced earrings on. It is what it is. I could not tell him that pierced earring were nothing simply because for me .. they weren’t.

Life is a journey we make and the discovery of answers comes to each of us in different ways at different times. I frequently remark at how different my husband and I are in life experience and yet we share similar understandings – each of us brought to them by very different journeys. Family counselling works well when we disregard the books on parenting and take the focus back down to the family. Empowering mom and dad and validating the stresses they are feeling, moving them past the worry and guilt into action that changes the experience is step one. Reconnecting parents and kids so that discipline is not about a punishment exacted but more about love. When a child knows and believes they are understood and loved, it can go a long way to making that part easier. How to do that takes time and attention to the specifics of each situation. Parents and kids need time together but when most of us were raised – hurried through childhood – and planted in adult responsibilities up to our necks .. we forget about the joy of play – of creativity and living.

What works for one family, what works with one child, may not work with any other. It does not matter. If there was ever a time we needed to forget about gathering a consensus on “the right thing to do” or “the right way to do it,” it is with our children. They are not a new electronic gadget – here is the owners manual.

NOT Clusters.

•July 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment


I am not sure why men can’t listen to what you say to them. I mean I make eye contact, I move my mouth really slowly just in case he is actually deaf and has somehow managed to get through life reading lips and it is discovered one day and everyone goes “wow that is an amazing story” and they make one of those mini movies they send around to your email with music and fluffy kitties and people pretend they have something in their eye while they type in the names of 343 of their closest friends to send it onto so that they don’t die a horrible death, lose all their money, have a loved one die in a car crash and have a chance at something incredible happening in exactly 343 minutes. I worry if they ever make that movie I might not come off so good cause every movie, no matter how short, needs a villian .. so I speak very slowly ….

I said … “Get the cereal that has the granola clusters … not the flakes. See they are almost exactly the same … but one has flakes. Say NO to flakes … You understand? ”

He waved me away with his hand and said something about having better things to do and did I think he was stupid which I used to answer but then he told me that was a rhetorical question and there was no need to answer and I said well then there is no need to ask we will just negotiate an agreement on your stupidity. He left for the grocery store. I know .. what the hell was I thinking??? But every once in awhile, usually after either a couple glasses of wine, great sex, or a shot of morphine, I get really euphoric and think anything is possible and that I love everyone. I can’t really share what actually happened to cause this moment because I signed court documents promising to stop discussing our sex life in these blogs …

I know, I Know … you already can see what happened. He sooo came home with flakes. Yup .. and I am like .. “WTF? What are these?”

He is like .. “Cereal. “… cause he is quick like that.

And I am like, ‘ But I told you clusters not flakes?’
‘ No you didn’t.’
‘ Yes I did?’
‘ No you didn’t.’
‘ Yes I did.’

And then he like takes the box out of my hands and says .. “Let me see.” and he actually squints his eyes and reads the ingredients like the big picture on the front of the box with the flakes falling into the bowl are confusing him or something. So he hands me back the box and says “I can’t see the difference.”

“Umm ..well you see this? This is a flake ..note the flat shape? And this thing on the old box that is all round and big and NOT flat? This is a cluster.”

He shrugged .. Like a “who cares” shrug … and I am like “you did not just shrug at me.”

And he is like, “Well I don’t see what the big deal is.”

And I go, “None!! No big deal at all! And I am sure you will enjoy eating these for breakfast and then going back to the store and getting me my clusters.” And I pulled out the bread mixing bowl and dumped the whole box in it, poured milk over it and got him some honey.

So he comes to me later and asks if he can ask a question and I say, “no.”

He asked anyway because men just talk out of training .. It has nothing to do with communicating. BUT … in fairness …I wasn’t facing him when I said it so…. Legally, in a court of law he could make a case for he didn’t hear me …

“What do you have against flakes?”

“They taste like something grandpa used to feed the cows.”

” Well how am I supposed to know that I have never tasted cow food …”

“Yes you have.”

” Nope never.”

I picked up the empty box of cereal and pointed to the flakes and the little dingy grey pellets in the spoon on the box … “Cow food!”

He thought about it for a moment, “You ate the cow food at the farm?”

“NO that is how they smelled?”

“How do you eat a smell?”

I gave him the look and he shrugged again and said I was being ridiculous. I don’t think he appreciated my mooing at him as he walked away …

See this is why I like the idea of using hand puppets when trying to explain things at times like this .. not only can you simplify communication and illustrate your point .. you have the added bonus of having your middle fingers of both hands extended at all times….

Promise Yourself – You Do Not Owe Anyone Your Soul.

•July 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

You can have the best intentions, you can do everything you are asked and more, you can always be there, you can always take the higher road but sometimes, when people lie, misrepresent, abuse or use you …. It is time to let them go.

People waste themselves – their talents, their time, their energy with people that do not take responsibility for themselves, who use other people and who do not really care about you at all. These people are geniuses as making you feel responsible for their short comings and always laying the blame at your feet. Don’t get caught up in it.

There are blurred lines in life and they are perhaps some of the most dangerous lines for human beings. You want to be loving and forgiving – you also do not want to be abused. You want to be helpful and kind – you also do not want to be drained. You are happy to help and share your talents, hard work, ideas and advice – you do not want someone else taking credit for them. You want to give water from your own cup to those who are thirsty – you need someone to care when your cup is almost empty.

This is when the right brain thinking becomes dangerous because it is acting without regard for the input from the left brain – logic and facts. We have to learn to be whole brain thinkers and not just surrender one side to the other. Break it down to this … how do you feel right now? If the answer is “miserable,” then the next question is, “Is there anything more that I can do to change this situation with this person?” If your answer is to do more of what you already are doing, the answer is “no.” Nothing is going to change this because YOU are not the problem. The other person is the unknown quantity that you have no ability to control.

Sometimes, even when you do not retaliate a person forces your hand insisting that you close the door. Close the door. There is no sense taking a higher road when the person keeps trying to drag you back down in the mud with them.

This is not to say the other person is all wrong or all bad, but the other person has a set way of behaving, that despite your best efforts to communicate that it is not acceptable, continues to do so. It is really not personal – as much as you might think it is. It would not matter who was standing in your shoes right now – they would probably be doing the same things with that person and probably already have done it before. The fact your previous attempts to address the issue resulted in no change in behaviour is proof that this person’s behaviour habits are ingrained to the point where they are habit and these kind of habits are the glue that keep our dysfunction in place.

When someone is impervious to your need for give and take, equal work load distribution, equal respect, equal responsibility, equal emotional time and attention for both of you, you have to look at their narcissistic nature and realize this person may not be capable of a productive, grown up relationship. YOU have a right to be happy, to be loved, to be appreciated and respected in all your relationships. Whatever you choose to do, you cannot be left feeling like you must always care for the other person at the cost of your own well being and surprisingly – this also applies to business as well as personal relationships. You cannot be a diminished you because it makes the other person feel better about themself. Your choosing a healthier environment and relationships for yourself actually go a long way towards healing this in society. These negative, draining relationships carry a weighty toll on all of us and they go on because we allow them to. We become prisoners of being made a victim. BUT, like so many things, we have to give our permission for this to happen. We do that by overlooking one thing after another until we look around and see there is only darkness .. Somehow we left daylight and happiness far behind…

Canadian Melders. We Canadians are Everywhere – Check it Out!

•July 6, 2011 • 3 Comments

canadian eh

You know it is cool to watch everyone hanging in their groups .. Groups by country, groups by language, groups by sexual preference, groups by avi types .. and then there are the Canadians .. We just sort of hang with everyone .. melding, mixing …. yup that is us .. “The Canadian Melders.” We have uniforms and everything … mounty jodphers, beaver hats, hudson bay blanket scarves, cable knit sweaters with a moose head on it, maple leaf underwear and muk luks. The secret team handshake is a not hand shake – that is the secret – it is a head nod and “eh?” You will see us everywhere hanging on the periphery … in fact .. some of you have probably asked … “hey isn’t that a Canadian over there .. hanging … on the .. um … periphery?” And your friend probably said … “No … that’s actually Grandma …. don’t know any “Periphery” … grandma’s name is “Doris.””

Yes Canadian melders on the periphery of life.

Ya we are the ones hanging with the French people.  We know enough French to be able to discuss road signs and label contents for food confidently.  We also are experts with extravagent gestures.

We are the ones with the Italians dipping their fabulous pizza into ranch sauce, drinking their wine out of the bottle and adding a little ketchup to the pasta.

We introduced the concept of clogging to ballet and arm movement to river dancing.

We are the ones in the crowds at the concerts going YEEEEE HAWWWWW!! and then politely saying “excuse me, was that too loud?”

We convinced the Scottish to share their haggis.

We negotiated peace between mosquitos in Manitoba and Canadians so now the mosquitos only eat foreigners.

We convinced Canadian Geese to share their shit with our US neighbours.

We are the ones standing on the perimeter of all your groups photos at places like Disneyland etc .. Yup that guy on the side there with a beer in his hand smiling … Canadian!! The guy in all the wedding photos and you have no idea who he is, or who inivited him? Canadian!! The guy in the cubicle at the back that no-one ever rememebers hiring and no-one knows what he actually does there?? Canadian!!!

That guy with his hand up Grandpa’s dress in the old army photo? Canadian!!

We are everywhere doing everything ….not really part of the group but kind of hanging .. hoping someone might say “hey …. Wanna get some beer?” I think that is one of the reasons we get along so well with Australians .. They have beer with them all the time. We like that. It is one of the reasons we respect them so much .. That and the fact they gave us “blooming onions.” We were running out of things to dip into our ketchup until that one came along ….

In Second Life we are never the Gorean master .. The guy who is holding a towel for the apprentice to the Gorean master, and a couple of extra silks and a knee pad for the women kneeling … Canadian!

The guy in the war games who keeps trying to group hug everyone and ask why we can’t all just be friends? Canadian!

Miss Congeniality? Almost always Canadian!!

The Guy in the Red Cross Uniform standing by at your local BDSM dungeon …. soooo Canadian!

We have the little white round houses and ride horses. We hang out in the lumberjack camps. We like to sit on the fences around SL a lot and are happy to get out of the way if we irritate people … we understand why people might be irritated with us, and know exactly what to do.

The point is .. We Canadians are everywhere … look around you will see us … and you will think to yourself .. “Damn … just like the movies … real life “extras!” ” We may not be the stars but what would a movie be without the extra’s? Epic war movies would just be two guys fighting on a big battlefield. Crowded city streets would be deserted and hard to get lost in a crowd when you are sans the crowd ….Life is like that .. You need extras .. Hence the Canadians.

Hug one today.

Ask Auntie Bliss about Table Manners and Sharing the Mirror.

•July 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Auntie Bliss would like to thank all those who have written with their scintillating ideas and offers that have involved strange objects, penguins, my attending them and their naked bodies while they show me rashes, warts, appendages and “the magical love wand.” Unfortunately, my nurses uniform is unavailable until further notice .. Something about it being critical evidence and NDA or AND or DNA or something…..

Dear Auntie Bliss;

My teenage children have terrible table manners ..it is so embarrassing. I can hardley stand to sit at the table with them … they chew with their mouths open, eat with their fingers, put their elbows on the table … this is not the way they were taught. What do I do??

Well … have you considered that maybe the obstacle giving them difficulty is the table itself? I just throw food onto the floor for my teens …no plates, no utensils. I tell them not to worry their mouths are actually close enough to their food they can just lick it up …. and if they use their elbows it is quite convenient to just kick those puppies out from under them … faceplant ….

If that doesn’t work then I recommend trading place … abandon the table to them and you move to the floor … it is cooler down there in the summer anyway …

Dear Auntie Bliss;

My boyfriend is such a douchesicle. He is so self-centered because he is always looking at himself in the mirror and thinking he is hot. I get lots of offers from other guys and they notice me so why can’t he stop looking in the mirror for 5 minutes and pay more attention to me? I don’t even think he is that hot really. What should I do?

Is it male menopause? Cause some men do suffer hot flashes you know? You really cannot presume to tell someone else that they are not hot when they say they are. Have you taken his temperature? I recommend a rectal thermometer. This can accomplish a couple of things .. One you can definitively prove his body temperature … honesty is the first step towards recovery from any problem .. you can show him the thermometer and say “nope ..not hot at all ….” and two … you might find his head up there while you are at it and then you could help excavate it …This could be a meaningful intervention that bonds you for life ..

Auntie Bliss would also like to announce that I have had to cancel the sock puppet play featuring Binky and Winky .. the anatomically correct sock puppets in a pseudo shakespearian, anne rician, james bondian. mr beanian thriller about how babies are made ….

Binky’s penis fell off and has been irrepairably damaged ….

keep those questions coming …

Your Compass.

•July 6, 2011 • 4 Comments

moral compass

Everything in this world is energy. Some of the energy vibrates at a much slower rate and gives the appearance of something solid while others vibrate at such a high rate as to be invisible. Life itself is motion – we are constantly in a state of flux and change. The fuel for that motion are the feelings we have and the ensuing thoughts that follow. These then create our emotions.

Major changes at one time in the world seemed slower and easier to handle. Today, with the huge shift in consciousness going on in the world those changes are accelerated and people are being smacked up against wave after wave in their lives, often leaving them feeling like there is no rhyme nor reason – only chaos. Physics defines chaos as a temporary state bridging a state of known or existing harmony to a higher state.

To navigate our lives we do have help. There is a sense within all of us of what feels right for us. If we have lived an authentic life we are very attuned to that, if our life has been filled with fear and guilt we might be miles away from it and need to do some work clearing the debris from our lives that keeps us from our authenticity. This sense is our compass and it can guide us towards the right things to do in times of chaos. The problem many of us have, is that the world has taught us to worry about what everyone else is doing and that can often pull us off track and we lose the connection within ourselves. Our compasses can speak to us of things and actions that make no logical sense to others – however they feel completely right to us.

Think of how you use a compass – you look at it, you begin to walk in the direction it points, after walking a while you hold it again and walk in the slightly corrected direction. The point here is to simply become immersed in what your compass tells you right now. You may find that next check of the compass readjusts you a bit however, in doing what is right here, right now, you ARE moving forward and bridging the chasm of chaos. You may not see the whole picture or understand all the little reasons of how this will fit together – but once safely across and on the other side you will be amazed how perfectly your inner compass works … when you let it!!