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March 2013 Advice Column

Lotus Guide March 2013 column

Q: How do I talk to my teenage daughter about sex?

A: Lectures don’t work well but peer-experiences do. Talk about your own sex ed process as a teen and what you wish you’d known. Or, talk about a case study that illustrates the point you want to make such as condoms don’t prevent contracting herpes sores on exposed parts of the body. Make books available such as the chapter on sexuality in my The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide based on teens’ experiences. Rutgers University has a sex ed website written by teens for teens (http://sexetc.org). Do the talk now before a romance interferes with rational thought.

Ask if she has any questions and offer to exchange questions and answers in writing if it’s too embarrassing to talk in person. When my son started asking about sex, I made a point of explaining how a clitoris is analogous to a penis and should not be ignored. He told his friends so some accurate information went out on the teen grapevine; know that you’re educating more than your daughter.

Q: My wife and I get into disagreements that leave me feeling exhausted and hopeless. How do we break the stalemate?

A: Discuss feelings as they come up. Don’t gunnysack resentments and irritations because when they explode it seems unreasonable. Share your feelings with this formula, “I’m feeling ___ because___ and a possible solution is ______.” Be flexible and open to negotiation. Check out your assumptions with something like “It sounds like you’re feeling_____ because______.” Often your partner will have an insightful clarification that you need to understand. Men are tempted to want to skip the sharing of feeling to get to a solution, but this is shortsighted as feelings can cloud logic and understanding if not acknowledged. Feeling heard and understood, even if not agreed with, goes a long way towards feeling good about each other.

Set aside time each week to listen to each other, just doing clarification and active listening, not inserting your reactions or defenses. Always include appreciations for each other. Give each other praise every day and do something fun together at least once a week to enhance the glue that holds you together. Check the Internet for suggestions on conflict resolution or email me for websites.

Q: My grandson goes back and forth to mom’s house, dad’s house. Both are remarried and both the stepparents are critical and short-tempered with my grandson. Any advice I can give him?

A: I’d give each couple helpful parenting books, such as Jim and Charles Fay’s Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood or Siegel and Bryson’s The Whole-Brain Child, but it’s unlikely you can change them. Focus on teaching your grandson coping techniques such as the visualizations in my CD for kids “Kids’ Mind Power.” Explain that it’s not about him, it’s about the stepparents’ own frustrations and that he’s learning to be a strong boy who can handle difficult challenges. It helps that he feels safe talking with you.

Q: My boyfriend likes his women friends. He’s faithful to me, but I still get jealous. How should I handle this?

A: Be appreciative that he likes women, as some men don’t because of unresolved mother issues. Use the bit of anxiety to be creative in adding romance and interest to your relationship. Also, cultivate and spend time with your own friends.

Q: I work at my desk in front of a computer all day. I’ve read that sitting so much harms your health, but what can I do? I need the money.

A: Many studies find that sitting too much is bad for our health and shortens life expectancy. Get up and stretch and change position at least every 30 minutes. Stand up and squeeze your bottom to realign the pelvis, slightly tighten and release the abdominal muscles, and roll your shoulders back with the thumbs pointing away from the body and then forward. Avoid slumping forward while sitting in front of the computer as forward rotation of the shoulder can result in damage to wrists and carpal tunnel problems. As you sit, keep your chin behind your chest bone. See a YouTube video by physical therapist Kelly Starrett (www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfg_e6YG37U).

A study of more than 6,000 adults found that those that exercised for about 10 minutes were as healthy as those who exercised for longer periods of time, as long as the short exercises added up to 150 minutes a week. [i]Use your work breaks to walk or use a resistance band, available online along with exercises. You might start a trend at work.

For your eye health, look away from the computer or book at various distances. Rub your palms together and rest them over your eyes, visualizing black velvet cloth for two or three minutes to relax your eyes. Gently push in and out in the notch in your eyebrows. Download a Tibetan eye exercise chart to strengthen your eye muscles.

Q: My brother won’t talk to me and my daughter-in-law and I aren’t close. I feel sad but what can I do?

A: Continue to be friendly, send your brother greeting cards, and tell your daughter-in-law what you appreciate about her, but put your energy into creating an intentional family with friends who want to spend time with you. Let go of your expectations of how family SHOULD behave. Wayne Dyer pointed out that, “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than how you think it should be.”

Q: I can’t get over my divorce and my thoughts go round and round like a hamster in a wheel. How can I get some peace?

A: Talk with a trusted friend or therapist about your memories of rejections from your childhood to before the divorce. Clear some of the old unresolved hurt with an energy psychology like Tapas Acupressure Technique. Once you clear the old pain the divorce won’t seem so huge and you can gradually tackle releasing the divorce rejection. For more info on energy psychologies see my blog https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/energy-psychologies. Go out at least once a week where you can meet new people. Find something that occupies your time in the present like taking classes or volunteering. In the long run, we make transitions in and out of life by ourselves so we can’t be dependent on one person for our security. As the Buddha said, life is impermanent and suffering comes from attachment.

Q: I’m having a hernia surgery soon. How should I prepare for it psychologically?

A: Before an operation, ask the body to put anything toxic that it wants removed into what is being removed by the doctor. In your case, imagine a mesh of energetic support to strengthen and integrate the area under repair. Also, mentally prepare your body by showing that part a visualization of what will happen and how you’d like it to react and heal rapidly. Dr. John Upledger, DO, founder of cranio-sacral manipulation, successfully used this technique of instructing the body by visualizing the desired healthy process.

Q: I’ve graduated from university but I’m blocked in my job search. I choked, hard and repeatedly on homework given to me by a prospective employer.  It’s brought me to tears; I understand what needs to be done, but then this blockage comes up and I’m completely unable to function.

A: The block probably comes from previous painful experiences on the job. Your unconscious is trying to protect you from suffering, but tell it that you’ve changed, you’re a college graduate, and more mature person with new skills to interact with colleagues. Try Emotional Freedom Technique. Email me for possible word choices as you tap on acupressure points. Set aside a reasonable amount of time each day for job searches and find a buddy you can call if you resist doing the work.

Q: I make progress in my life and then I lose it and don’t follow through with something good for me. How can I succeed?

A: When you feel like a vortex is pulling you down, imagine being in an outrigger canoe with strong rowers moving you forward over and away from the vortex. Protect yourself from other people’s jealousy or desire to control you using the visualizations described in the answer below. You made need to change your circle of friends if they are caught up in partying rather than achieving their goals and sidetrack you.

Q: As a sensitive guy, I feel strongly about the injustice I see in the world and people treating each other poorly. What can I do?

A: Think globally and act locally. Be proactive in your own personal sphere, modeling the kindness and justice you’d like. Don’t take on other people’s pain, as it doesn’t help them and weakens you. Imagine a protective field around you with catcher’s mitts absorbing other people’s negativity, then clear by visualizing firecrackers blowing up the mitts and put up new ones.

Q: My adult son behaves like an irresponsible self-centered teenager. How can I help?

A: Visualize him surrounded in the light of unconditional love and with clear access to his higher guidance. Use the same techniques as with a child, letting consequences speak louder than lectures. Visit an Al-Anon group or co-dependency group and see how others cope and to get permission to let go of feeling responsible. Don’t enable him with money or other support. If he’s caught up in rebellion to you, don’t give him any advice to resist. Some people need to hit bottom before they’re willing to change.

Q: I’ve been diagnosed as bi polar, but I’d like to get off heavy-duty anti-psychotic drugs that don’t allow me to drive or feel energized or be interested in sex.

A: Get a second opinion from another psychiatrist if you don’t believe you’re psychotic. Psychiatric fads come and go, previously hysteria, then in the 50s depression, and now bipolar. An MD, Allen Frances reports that, “Fads punctuate what has become a basic background of over-diagnosis. Normality is an endangered species. The NIMH estimates that, in any given year, 25% of the population (that’s almost sixty million people) has a diagnosable mental disorder.” Check out online resources created by the Icarus Project including one on reducing medications.

Q: Obviously what we put in our mouths is an important influence on health. What food should I eat?

A: Dr. Andrew Weil advises that we should avoid pulverized food like wheat and whole wheat bread is not a whole grain. Olive oil is the best fat. Avoid sweet drinks above all else.  Agave syrup is 70% fructose; avoid it and other high fructose foods. The body needs fiber to deal with sugars so eat whole fruit rather than juice. The best diets are Japanese and Mediterranean and foods your ancestors would recognize, as Professor Michael Pollan suggests. See my fundraiser cookbook for quick healthy recipes.
Q: I feel guilty because my aging parents are across the country from me, even though I have brothers who live near my parents. Should I feel guilty?

A: You don’t have to be there in person to be nurturing. Talk frequently on Skype and on the phone, and send cards and little care packages of items you bake for them.

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July 2013 Advice Column

Lotus Guide Column, July 2013

Q: My wife is negative and critical about me, the house, TV programs, whatever, but I’m loyal. How can I cope with her?

A: Use behavior modification and consequences. Reinforce any positive exchanges with praise. Tell her that you will leave the room when she starts criticizing and do it consistently. Go out for a walk, read a book, call a friend, or go to an interesting group. No drama is necessary, just say, “Oh, the negative tape is playing. When you’d like to replace it with the positive tape, let me know, and I’ll join you.” If she’ll go to counseling, please give it a try, as we are more likely to learn from a neutral third party who can help her understand her need to control with criticism.

Q: My family consists of evangelical Christians who can’t stand me being homosexual. They’re afraid I’ll contaminate their children, including my brothers. I’m depressed. What can I do?

A: Quote Jesus: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” If they insist on literal interpretation of an allegorical Bible, read my summary of a Biblical scholar’s book (: https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/biblical-schol…ehrman-summary). Remind them that sexual preference is not a choice, it’s genetic. It’s not catching and God created you as you are. Ask them if the essence of being Christian isn’t being loving and forgiving. Talk to family members you care about on the phone to stay in touch. Form an intentional family of kind people and focus on your own goals.

Q: I don’t want to use artificial hormones or cow urine hormones as birth control. Condoms aren’t that reliable. What else can I use?

A: Check out the diaphragm. It can be inserted in the vagina an hour before intercourse along with spermicide. Look for information about it on the Planned Parenthood website.

Q: My co-workers irritate me by bringing their personal problems to work and they don’t follow the established common sense procedures, etc. Is there anything I can do?

A: Lead by your example of conscientious work and professionalism, but they’re probably not going to change. Try thinking of them as sloppy, drooling, panting, smelly dogs and react as if you were a cat. Think meow and walk away without reacting, as chronic irritation is bad for your health and humor is good for the immune system. Or, try this image. Imagine that you’re sailing in a small boat on a calm sea. Then a rogue wave comes towards you. Click your ruby slippers and turn your boat into a ship with experienced crew members so the wave is hardly felt. When you’re in the midst of drama, visualize roses protecting your field, blowing up with firecrackers when they get gunky. Use this challenge as an opportunity to stay centered and non-reactive to chaos–Buddha said we should be able to meditate by a clanging bell. Post the Serenity Prayer in your car and read it on the way to work.

Q: I care for my own kids and spouse and also my elderly parents who have health problems. I’m exhausted and get overwhelmed and anxious.

A: If the well that nurtures the village runs dry, the whole village suffers. Your priority must be as airlines direct, put on your oxygen mask first before you help others. You should feel guilty only if you neglect your own health and well-being. Schedule in regular time for exercise, massage, fun, what ever nurtures you. Also, expectations can be stressful, so give up trying to be Mary Poppins. Delegate, prioritize, and let unimportant tasks go. Check out public services such as Meals on Wheels and nurse visits. When you find yourself worrying, substitute a blessing. It takes a while to counter the worry habit so just aim to be aware of when you slip into it, breathe, and be grateful for all that you have.

Q: I’ve been involved in a series of legal conflicts where I’m clearly in the right, but I always lose in the courtroom. What’s going on?

A: We know that in our flawed legal system, being able to afford an effective lawyer goes a long way. Give your attorney clearly organized evidence that’s as short as possible. If you don’t have an attorney, the county offers free legal help for non-criminal cases–SHARP (Self Help and Referral Program). People respond to the invisible signs we carry, in your case something about being a loser. Read about alpha wolves or chimps, look at photographs of their stance, and match that kind of victor attitude. Or you could think of an alpha human like Joan of Arc or Sigourney Weaver in the film Aliens to help change your unconscious expectation that you will lose. Is there anything you can change so as not to have legal hassles?

Q: I’m a graduate medical student. I don’t trust alternative doctors because they don’t base their advice on scientific studies, right?

A:

Your suggestion that some alternative medicine studies aren’t scientific implies that modern medicine is based on such studies. However, I’m sure your teachers discuss the fact that pharmaceutical companies control the research process, resulting in many unreleased “file drawer” studies that don’t back up their focus on drugs and surgery. This monetary approach results in treating drug side effects with more drugs and neglect of holistic medicine as taught by Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona and in his books and newsletter (drweil.com). Naturopathic doctors learn less invasive remedies widely used by European physicians, such as homeopathy. It’s backed up by over a century of well-documented studies and was used in the US until overridden by Big Pharma. Ayurvedic medicine has been used successfully in India for thousands of years. A scientific medical education would include exploration of non-harmful medicine that works over the centuries, including acupuncture and herbs. A recent study found that 85% of new prescription drugs are of little or no benefit to mental health patients.

     Your teachers probably also discuss the fact that the main cause of US hospital morbidity is physician error, as explained by Gary Null, Ph.D., et. al.  “Death by Medicine.”(see https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/1012/ for sources). The researchers report the number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is 783,936 per year. They conclude the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US! The US spends more on health care as a percentage of gross domestic product than every other country, but it’s near the bottom of industrial nations in healthcare effectiveness. A book by a local doctor, Jeff Loboski’s It’s Enough to Make You Sick provides more information.

     If we just look at the track record of women’s health care, in the 1940s mothers were routinely drugged and unconscious at the birth of their children and told it’s more scientific to use formula rather than breast-feed their babies. Then we had DES and thalidomide babies, Dalkon Shield IUDs, over-prescribing hormone replace therapy for maintaining a youthful appearance, overuse of radical mastectomies, the painkiller Vioxx, artifical food dyes’ impact on ADD in children, etc.

     The National Institutes of Health finds alternative and complementary medical (CAM) treatments worthy of study because they treat the underlying imbalance rather than just the symptom of dis-ease. Respected university hospitals such as Harvard, Duke, Tufts, Scripts, Stanford and UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine treat the whole person in their holistic health centers. Select a doctor who is informed about CAM and study it yourself, as the health insurance system doesn’t leave MDs much time for research (nccam.nih.gov). For the sake of your future patients, my hope is that you will explore holistic medicine after you graduate and provide them with information about it. It would be interesting to look at the texts used at Bastyr college that trains naturopathic doctors or the holistic medicine training at the University of Arizona. Prescription for Natural Cures is a good overview by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler.

March 2015 Advice Column

Lotus Guide column March 2015

Q: I function but I’m depressed a lot. What can I do?

A: Read Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s The Depression Cure. He said the depressed brain is like someone getting the flu who wants to shut down. He points out that a trial of 4,000 people treated with drugs like SSRIs reported without fanfare that only 6% of the patients were better after a year of treatment. His approach is to take 1,000 to 2,000 Omega 3 oil daily because the oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-depression, but not made by the body. Also, use a 10,000-lux light box a half hour a day, plus the well-known benefits of exercise, sleep, and social connection. His sixth step is to limit “rumination,” negative self-talk, by engaging in activity instead. He of course recommends seeing a trained clinician.

Q: I’m a teenager who sees white glow around my teacher. She said it’s her aura. What should I do about this?

A: Practice looking at people’s energy fields by focusing a little to the side and drawing what you see. Take notes and see if they’re patterns in what you know about the people—introverts and extroverts, or sick and well. Your teacher might be easier to see because she’s projecting energy to the class. Search the Internet for descriptions of the aura and look at Barbara Brennan’s book Hands of Light. My Essential Energy Tools discusses chakras and how to keep them healthy.

Q: I’m newly in love, thrilled but terrified of getting hurt or him changing his mind. I’m reading the book How to be an Adult in Love (David Richo) that helps. I see myself with him for a long time but it’s scary. It’s super exciting…just scary. How can I keep from getting burned?

A: Take it one day at a time. I’d repeat a mantra like “I’m deeply grateful for creating the loving relationship that I deserve and am ready for. Neither of us is perfect but we can evolve together.” Keep in mind your default reaction is to worry. Say hello to that subpersonality, and then call on your wise adult self to keep you centered and grounded.

Q: There’s lots of cancer in my family. How can I prevent it?

A: My notes on alternative methods are listed on my blog, including turmeric and green tea. To stay healthy I have fun with daily exercise, essential oils, mantras, slow deep breathing, acupressure points, food supplements and juicing, Reiki, doing something helpful for others and meditation. Come to my Mind Power workshop for demonstrations. Avoid sugar and other toxins. An urban legend tells about a boy who successfully visualized PacMan eating up the tumor. Read You are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza to learn more about the power of thought.

https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/remedies-that-claim-to-fight-cancer/

Q: We worked very hard at getting pregnant. Now that I have my baby I feel badly that I haven’t fallen in love with him and kind of resent him. What’s wrong with me?

A: People should warn new parents that babies are agents of torture, waking us up frequently, preventing us from getting simple tasks done, inhibiting spontaneity. A father I interviewed for 50/50 Parenting said having a baby is like getting hit in the head with a golf ball. But, wait until you get your first smile. Love at first sight is rare, and know that the baby will sleep longer once he starts eating solid food around six months. Be sure and start baby sign language now as it’s bonding to be able to understand each other. It may take six months before the baby signs back, but keep at it.

Q: I’m a nice guy, a model and athlete, but I can’t make relationships last with women who seem so emotional. Any hope for me? I’d like to settle down.

A: We pick the familiar so you probably grew up with a drama queen mother. Try EFT with the problem statement, “I’m only attracted to drama queens.” Go slowly when you find yourself quickly attracted to a new woman. Be warned that when you meet a stable woman you may feel bored, so plan to consciously create fun drama by going on little trips to new places, acting out adventures, etc.

Q: My daughter-in-law is crazy and rude, but I need to get along with her for the sake of my grandkids. How?

A: Relate to her as a business partner with politeness or relate to her emotional age, say 12. Praise her when you can and minimize contact. It’s easier if you have a routine time to see the kids that doesn’t require negotiation. Remind her you two are on the same team working for the good of the children.

Q: My boyfriend is emotionally unstable and sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees, but he resists my efforts to keep him healthy. He’s also rude and hangs up on me a lot.

A: Instead of saying, “You should take your vitamins,” ask a question, “Do you think taking your vitamins would be a good idea?” Let him know when he hangs up on you that you understand he doesn’t want to talk to you for the rest of the day and don’t call him back.

Q: My family is selling a large commercial property. What should I do with the money I’ll receive?

A: I believe in a diversified portfolio, land, green mutual funds (I like Pax World, socially pure and profitable), some gold coins such as US Gold Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs, and a savings account for liquidity. If you have kids in your life, open a college saving account for them sponsored by states—it doesn’t have to be the state where you live. You could set aside some of these assets for your favorite cause so your money keeps on doing good after you pass on. You can do this by creating a life insurance policy with the charity as the beneficiary to bypass probate. A financial advisor and tax expert can save you money.

July 2014 Advice Column

Ask Dr. Gayle Lotus Guide column July 2014 column

Q: I’m having trouble communicating with my girlfriend. Seems like we misunderstand each other. Solutions?

A: Do not use texting or email for emotional discussions!! Since 80% of communication is nonverbal, we need to see and hear to understand the full message.

Q: I haven’t had great success in selecting boyfriends. Suggestions?

A: We pick the familiar in terms of our childhood experiences with our parents, so work with a therapist to identify your patterns. When you find yourself attracted to the old type, be very mindful and cautious. Men who have controlling dominating mothers tend to be withholding because of their fear of losing their masculinity, unless they’re open to working on their fears. Guys whose mothers expected them to share in family work and do their own laundry make good partners. Gorgeous men and women can get spoiled and expect their partners to do all the relationship work. You can also compare your natal astrology charts to see where connections tend to be easy or challenging. http://www.alwaysastrology.com/learn-astrology.html

http://alabe.com/freechart/

Q: I’d like to age well, keep my energy and health up. Suggestions?

A: Daily exercise is an essential key to mental and physical health. I need to go to gym classes because I wouldn’t do yoga, Pilates or Pump for an hour on my own, while gardening provides sunlight and Vitamin D. You can buy a pedometer and aim to get in 10,000 steps a day. Fruits and veggies are essential too, along with fiber and healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. I cheat by including powdered greens and fruits in my smoothies. Having a clear purpose helps us live longer, including a feeling that you’re helping others along the way. For me, it’s writing books, doing energy work, and helping care for my little grandson. Gratitude is also uplifting. I thank my roses and veggies every time I pick them and I chant mantras when I’m gardening or driving. Structure in time for fun and nurturance, for me that’s dancing, hiking, and getting massages. Get ideas for increasing happiness from http://www.happify.com and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Scientists report that only 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances such as wealth, while the rest is due to our attitude and activities interacting with our genetics. Worry and negative self-talk harm the immune system, as does repressing emotions. Take my Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center to get ideas about how to stay balanced mentally and emotionally.

Q: How do I develop clairvoyant abilities?

A: My Essential Energy Tools book, CD and videos are a start. (Kids’ Mind Power is my CD for kids.)

Q: I’m in love with my toddler’s mother but we can’t live together. She’s always creating drama, often screaming and hitting me in front of our daughter. I want to be her rock but I want to get on with my life. I’m feeling like I should run away to an unknown place, far away, and just forget the reality. Sometimes it can be the small things in life that makes the whole cup to overflows. Some days, life just sucks so bad. Any hope for me?

A: Read about borderline personality disorder, then read about co-dependency to realize you probably can’t rescue such a neurotic person. For the sake of your daughter, I wouldn’t spend time with her mom because parental conflict damages kids. Make sure your daughter is in high quality childcare so she has structure and is observed by experts. If you feel like your ex is abusing your daughter, then you need to report it to child protective services and seek sole custody.

Q: It’s difficult for me to be assertive, to speak my own truth. How can I get braver?

A: Imagine matching the energy of an outspoken person such as Angelina Jolie. See some of her action movies to get the feeling of being powerful. Ground and center (see gaylekimball.info), and visualize speaking to people through a filter that clarifies and enhances your message. Assertiveness training workshops and books are available, as are self-defense classes that could teach courage. Start practicing standing up for yourself with small conflicts or misunderstandings and you’ll get stronger.

Q: I get tense about deadlines at work. How can I be more relaxed?

A: When ever you start to get tense, or every hour, breathe in for the count of 8, hold for 8, exhale like holding up a feather as long as it takes to empty your lungs, and don’t breathe for as long as comfortable. The latter resets the energy field, according to breath expert Gay Hendricks. Stretch and walk around to keep your body from getting tense, squat and stand (see Joan Vernikos, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals). Post relaxing pictures in your work space and imagine being in a beautiful place. See http://www.helpguide.org/mental/quick_stress_relief.htm

Q: A good friend of mine died suddenly. How can I cope with my grief?

A: You can still communicate with her, imagine conversing with her. Rituals are helpful in life transitions, so you might want to get together with friends and create a simple goodbye and celebration of his or her life. Hospitals offer grief workshops; it’s helpful to have a support group that understands what you’re going through. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is the expert on death and grief. She says, “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but, you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

Q: I’m having procrastination problems big time. How can I get myself to take action?

A: Start with behavior modification: Give yourself rewards for taking action. Put one task that needs to be done on an index card with the steps to achieve it written on the back. Sort the cards by high priority and just focus on the high priority task so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Establish a routine where you allocate say an hour a day to work on the number one task. You’ll get more energy once you complete your goal. You can adopt the successful model of 12-step programs for addicts and find a buddy who can support you, check on you, and encourage you to get past the feeling of powerlessness. Also, talk to your inner child subpersonality who may be sabotaging your success. Imagine that you are having a conversation with an encouraging fairy godmother. What would she say to the recalcitrant child in you? Here’s a useful article on procrastination.

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/how-to-stop-procrastinating?utm_campaign=FIRST%20LOOK&utm_source=2015%20First%20Look%20Launch&utm_medium=email

Q: My adult children are upset that I asked their drunk father to move out. They have drinking problems too.

A: Sometimes tough love is in order. Attend Al-Anon so you have support to continue doing the right thing by not enabling addiction. You have no obligation to spend time with adult addicts.

Q: I don’t have any hope for my future, no girlfriend, am a single dad with money issues and little free time after a physically tiring job. How can I feel better?

A: The billion hungry people on the planet would love to have your problems, as would infertile couples, and the unemployed. Write down one thing you’re grateful for each morning as studies show gratitude and meditation improves mood. Email me for my ebook on mental health remedies and check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s books and website. Avoid depressants like alcohol and toxins like tobacco. Exercise is the best natural remedy for feeling better, worth getting up a half hour earlier to structure into your day. Eckhart Tolle suggests, “Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. . .this will miraculously transform your whole life.”

Q: My boss is irrational and controlling, not supportive in many ways. I like the people I work with but not my boss. What can I do about this problem?

A: You probably can’t change your boss but you can change your reactions to the problem. Add humor and playfulness, as by silently giving your boss points for the most irrational event of the day. Amusement provides perspective. Think of your life as a pie with slices. Reduce the amount of energy you give to work. Snap your fingers when you leave work to separate from it emotionally. Create fun and adventure in areas where you have more control.

Q: How do I save money?

A: First, keep track of every expenditure for a month, determine a realistic budget and stick to it. Limit your use of credit cards for non-essential purchases. See what you can cut out, such as not buying drinks, rather making coffee or tea at home and bringing it with you in a thermos. Buy household cleaning items like vinegar at a dollar store and recycled clothes at second hand shops that fund charities. You can negotiate the price of subscriptions to the Internet, newspaper, etc. If you have a yard include a few hens to eat your leftovers and fertilize your garden (Rhode Island Reds are steady egg producers) or join a community garden. Bike instead of drive. With the money you save, give to your favorite causes and if you itemize your taxes, deduct your donations. For more ideas, see my goddaughter’s books, Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less and Bring Your Lunch: Quick and Tasty Wallet-Friendly Lunches for Grown-Ups by Califia Suntree. Author Suzy Orman also provides many resources for money management and emphasizes the importance of compound interest on your regular savings plan. I like Pax World mutual funds for savings because they’re “green” and perform well.

Q: My partner is mean to me and every request is a demand. How do I change him?

A: Model the kind of behavior you’d like. Use “I feel…because… and suggest…as a possible solution,” so he’s clear what bothers you and what he can do about it. If he won’t go to a therapist to learn better communication skills, you may need to leave him as it’s difficult to change people. Live is too short to be miserable and we all deserve to be treated with kindness.

Q: I’m a recent college graduate, very pessimistic about a job search. How can I get motivated?

A: It’s true that 44% of recent grads are unemployed, and many will find work in jobs that don’t require a degree, but the job growth is in jobs that require a college education. College grads earn a lot more on average than high school grads. It only takes one good job and 66% are getting jobs. Change your self-talk from “I can’t” to “It just takes one job, I’m in the 66%.” Your irrational pessimistic self-personality is running the show. Read Voice Dialogue about how our sub-personalities operate and the importance of encouraging the rational self to run the show.

http://voicedialogueinternational.com/pdf/The_Basic_Elements_Of_Voice_Dialogue_Relationship_And_The_Psychology_Of_Selves.pdf

Lotus Guide October 2014 column

Q: I’m having trouble communicating with my girlfriend. Seems like we misunderstand each other. Solutions?

A: Do not use texting or email for emotional discussions!! Since 80% of communication is nonverbal, we need to see and hear to understand the full message.

Q: I haven’t had great success in selecting boyfriends. Suggestions?

A: We pick the familiar in terms of our childhood experiences with our parents, so work with a therapist to identify your patterns. When you find yourself attracted to the old type, be very mindful and cautious. Men who have controlling dominating mothers tend to be withholding because of their fear of losing their masculinity, unless they’re open to working on their fears. Guys whose mothers expected them to share in family work and do their own laundry make good partners. Gorgeous men and women can get spoiled and expect their partners to do all the relationship work. You can also compare your natal astrology charts to see where connections tend to be easy or challenging. http://www.alwaysastrology.com/learn-astrology.html

http://alabe.com/freechart/

Q: I’d like to age well, keep my energy and health up. Suggestions?

A: Daily exercise is an essential key to mental and physical health. I need to go to gym classes because I wouldn’t do yoga, Pilates or Pump for an hour on my own, while gardening provides sunlight and Vitamin D. You can buy a pedometer and aim to get in 10,000 steps a day. Fruits and veggies are essential too, along with fiber and healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. I cheat by including powdered greens and fruits in my smoothies. Having a clear purpose helps us live longer, including a feeling that you’re helping others along the way. For me, it’s writing books, doing energy work, and helping care for my little grandson. Gratitude is also uplifting. I thank my roses and veggies every time I pick them and I chant mantras when I’m gardening or driving. Structure in time for fun and nurturance, for me that’s dancing, hiking, and getting massages. Get ideas for increasing happiness from http://www.happify.com and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Scientists report that only 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances such as wealth, while the rest is due to our attitude and activities interacting with our genetics. Worry and negative self-talk harm the immune system, as does repressing emotions. Take my Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center to get ideas about how to stay balanced mentally and emotionally.

Q: How do I develop clairvoyant abilities?

A: My Essential Energy Tools book, CD and videos are a start. (Kids’ Mind Power is my CD for kids.)

Q: I’m in love with my toddler’s mother but we can’t live together. She’s always creating drama, often screaming and hitting me in front of our daughter. I want to be her rock but I want to get on with my life. I’m feeling like I should run away to an unknown place, far away, and just forget the reality. Sometimes it can be the small things in life that makes the whole cup to overflows. Some days, life just sucks so bad. Any hope for me?

A: Read about borderline personality disorder, then read about co-dependency to realize you probably can’t rescue such a neurotic person. For the sake of your daughter, I wouldn’t spend time with her mom because parental conflict damages kids. Make sure your daughter is in high quality childcare so she has structure and is observed by experts. If you feel like your ex is abusing your daughter, then you need to report it to child protective services and seek sole custody.

Q: It’s difficult for me to be assertive, to speak my own truth. How can I get braver?

A: Imagine matching the energy of an outspoken person such as Angelina Jolie. See some of her action movies to get the feeling of being powerful. Ground and center (see gaylekimball.info), and visualize speaking to people through a filter that clarifies and enhances your message. Assertiveness training workshops and books are available, as are self-defense classes that could teach courage. Start practicing standing up for yourself with small conflicts or misunderstandings and you’ll get stronger.

Q: I get tense about deadlines at work. How can I be more relaxed?

A: When ever you start to get tense, or every hour, breathe in for the count of 8, hold for 8, exhale like holding up a feather as long as it takes to empty your lungs, and don’t breathe for as long as comfortable. The latter resets the energy field, according to breath expert Gay Hendricks. Stretch and walk around to keep your body from getting tense, squat and stand (see Joan Vernikos, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals). Post relaxing pictures in your work space and imagine being in a beautiful place. See http://www.helpguide.org/mental/quick_stress_relief.htm

Q: A good friend of mine died suddenly. How can I cope with my grief?

A: You can still communicate with her, imagine conversing with her. Rituals are helpful in life transitions, so you might want to get together with friends and create a simple goodbye and celebration of his or her life. Hospitals offer grief workshops; it’s helpful to have a support group that understands what you’re going through. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is the expert on death and grief. She says, “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but, you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

Q: I’m having procrastination problems big time. How can I get myself to take action?

A: Start with behavior modification: Give yourself rewards for taking action. Put one task that needs to be done on an index card with the steps to achieve it written on the back. Sort the cards by high priority and just focus on the high priority task so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Establish a routine where you allocate say an hour a day to work on the number one task. You’ll get more energy once you complete your goal. You can adopt the successful model of 12-step programs for addicts and find a buddy who can support you, check on you, and encourage you to get past the feeling of powerlessness. Also, talk to your inner child subpersonality who may be sabotaging your success. Imagine that you are having a conversation with an encouraging fairy godmother. What would she say to the recalcitrant child in you? Here’s a useful article on procrastination.

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/how-to-stop-procrastinating?utm_campaign=FIRST%20LOOK&utm_source=2015%20First%20Look%20Launch&utm_medium=email

Q: My adult children are upset that I asked their drunk father to move out. They have drinking problems too.

A: Sometimes tough love is in order. Attend Al-Anon so you have support to continue doing the right thing by not enabling addiction. You have no obligation to spend time with adult addicts.

Q: I don’t have any hope for my future, no girlfriend, am a single dad with money issues and little free time after a physically tiring job. How can I feel better?

A: The billion hungry people on the planet would love to have your problems, as would infertile couples, and the unemployed. Write down one thing you’re grateful for each morning as studies show gratitude and meditation improves mood. Email me for my ebook on mental health remedies and check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s books and website. Avoid depressants like alcohol and toxins like tobacco. Exercise is the best natural remedy for feeling better, worth getting up a half hour earlier to structure into your day. Eckhart Tolle suggests, “Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. . .this will miraculously transform your whole life.”

Q: My boss is irrational and controlling, not supportive in many ways. I like the people I work with but not my boss. What can I do about this problem?

A: You probably can’t change your boss but you can change your reactions to the problem. Add humor and playfulness, as by silently giving your boss points for the most irrational event of the day. Amusement provides perspective. Think of your life as a pie with slices. Reduce the amount of energy you give to work. Snap your fingers when you leave work to separate from it emotionally. Create fun and adventure in areas where you have more control.

Q: How do I save money?

A: First, keep track of every expenditure for a month, determine a realistic budget and stick to it. Limit your use of credit cards for non-essential purchases. See what you can cut out, such as not buying drinks, rather making coffee or tea at home and bringing it with you in a thermos. Buy household cleaning items like vinegar at a dollar store and recycled clothes at second hand shops that fund charities. You can negotiate the price of subscriptions to the Internet, newspaper, etc. If you have a yard include a few hens to eat your leftovers and fertilize your garden (Rhode Island Reds are steady egg producers) or join a community garden. Bike instead of drive. With the money you save, give to your favorite causes and if you itemize your taxes, deduct your donations. For more ideas, see my goddaughter’s books, Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less and Bring Your Lunch: Quick and Tasty Wallet-Friendly Lunches for Grown-Ups by Califia Suntree. Author Suzy Orman also provides many resources for money management and emphasizes the importance of compound interest on your regular savings plan. I like Pax World mutual funds for savings because they’re “green” and perform well.

Q: My partner is mean to me and every request is a demand. How do I change him?

A: Model the kind of behavior you’d like. Use “I feel…because… and suggest…as a possible solution,” so he’s clear what bothers you and what he can do about it. If he won’t go to a therapist to learn better communication skills, you may need to leave him as it’s difficult to change people. Live is too short to be miserable and we all deserve to be treated with kindness.

Q: I’m a recent college graduate, very pessimistic about a job search. How can I get motivated?

A: It’s true that 44% of recent grads are unemployed, and many will find work in jobs that don’t require a degree, but the job growth is in jobs that require a college education. College grads earn a lot more on average than high school grads. It only takes one good job and 66% are getting jobs. Change your self-talk from “I can’t” to “It just takes one job, I’m in the 66%.” Your irrational pessimistic self-personality is running the show. Read Voice Dialogue about how our sub-personalities operate and the importance of encouraging the rational self to run the show.

http://voicedialogueinternational.com/pdf/The_Basic_Elements_Of_Voice_Dialogue_Relationship_And_The_Psychology_Of_Selves.pdf

Q: I’m having trouble communicating with my girlfriend. Seems like we misunderstand each other. Solutions?

A: Do not use texting or email for emotional discussions!! Since 80% of communication is nonverbal, we need to see and hear to understand the full message.

Q: I haven’t had great success in selecting boyfriends. Suggestions?

A: We pick the familiar in terms of our childhood experiences with our parents, so work with a therapist to identify your patterns. When you find yourself attracted to the old type, be very mindful and cautious. Men who have controlling dominating mothers tend to be withholding because of their fear of losing their masculinity, unless they’re open to working on their fears. Guys whose mothers expected them to share in family work and do their own laundry make good partners. Gorgeous men and women can get spoiled and expect their partners to do all the relationship work. You can also compare your natal astrology charts to see where connections tend to be easy or challenging. http://www.alwaysastrology.com/learn-astrology.html

http://alabe.com/freechart/

Q: I’d like to age well, keep my energy and health up. Suggestions?

A: Daily exercise is an essential key to mental and physical health. I need to go to gym classes because I wouldn’t do yoga, Pilates or Pump for an hour on my own, while gardening provides sunlight and Vitamin D. You can buy a pedometer and aim to get in 10,000 steps a day. Fruits and veggies are essential too, along with fiber and healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. I cheat by including powdered greens and fruits in my smoothies. Having a clear purpose helps us live longer, including a feeling that you’re helping others along the way. For me, it’s writing books, doing energy work, and helping care for my little grandson. Gratitude is also uplifting. I thank my roses and veggies every time I pick them and I chant mantras when I’m gardening or driving. Structure in time for fun and nurturance, for me that’s dancing, hiking, and getting massages. Get ideas for increasing happiness from http://www.happify.com and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Scientists report that only 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances such as wealth, while the rest is due to our attitude and activities interacting with our genetics. Worry and negative self-talk harm the immune system, as does repressing emotions. Take my Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center to get ideas about how to stay balanced mentally and emotionally.

Q: How do I develop clairvoyant abilities?

A: My Essential Energy Tools book, CD and videos are a start. (Kids’ Mind Power is my CD for kids.)

Q: I’m in love with my toddler’s mother but we can’t live together. She’s always creating drama, often screaming and hitting me in front of our daughter. I want to be her rock but I want to get on with my life. I’m feeling like I should run away to an unknown place, far away, and just forget the reality. Sometimes it can be the small things in life that makes the whole cup to overflows. Some days, life just sucks so bad. Any hope for me?

A: Read about borderline personality disorder, then read about co-dependency to realize you probably can’t rescue such a neurotic person. For the sake of your daughter, I wouldn’t spend time with her mom because parental conflict damages kids. Make sure your daughter is in high quality childcare so she has structure and is observed by experts. If you feel like your ex is abusing your daughter, then you need to report it to child protective services and seek sole custody.

Q: It’s difficult for me to be assertive, to speak my own truth. How can I get braver?

A: Imagine matching the energy of an outspoken person such as Angelina Jolie. See some of her action movies to get the feeling of being powerful. Ground and center (see gaylekimball.info), and visualize speaking to people through a filter that clarifies and enhances your message. Assertiveness training workshops and books are available, as are self-defense classes that could teach courage. Start practicing standing up for yourself with small conflicts or misunderstandings and you’ll get stronger.

Q: I get tense about deadlines at work. How can I be more relaxed?

A: When ever you start to get tense, or every hour, breathe in for the count of 8, hold for 8, exhale like holding up a feather as long as it takes to empty your lungs, and don’t breathe for as long as comfortable. The latter resets the energy field, according to breath expert Gay Hendricks. Stretch and walk around to keep your body from getting tense, squat and stand (see Joan Vernikos, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals). Post relaxing pictures in your work space and imagine being in a beautiful place. See http://www.helpguide.org/mental/quick_stress_relief.htm

Q: A good friend of mine died suddenly. How can I cope with my grief?

A: You can still communicate with her, imagine conversing with her. Rituals are helpful in life transitions, so you might want to get together with friends and create a simple goodbye and celebration of his or her life. Hospitals offer grief workshops; it’s helpful to have a support group that understands what you’re going through. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is the expert on death and grief. She says, “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but, you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

Q: I’m having procrastination problems big time. How can I get myself to take action?

A: Start with behavior modification: Give yourself rewards for taking action. Put one task that needs to be done on an index card with the steps to achieve it written on the back. Sort the cards by high priority and just focus on the high priority task so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Establish a routine where you allocate say an hour a day to work on the number one task. You’ll get more energy once you complete your goal. You can adopt the successful model of 12-step programs for addicts and find a buddy who can support you, check on you, and encourage you to get past the feeling of powerlessness. Also, talk to your inner child subpersonality who may be sabotaging your success. Imagine that you are having a conversation with an encouraging fairy godmother. What would she say to the recalcitrant child in you? Here’s a useful article on procrastination.

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/how-to-stop-procrastinating?utm_campaign=FIRST%20LOOK&utm_source=2015%20First%20Look%20Launch&utm_medium=email

Q: My adult children are upset that I asked their drunk father to move out. They have drinking problems too.

A: Sometimes tough love is in order. Attend Al-Anon so you have support to continue doing the right thing by not enabling addiction. You have no obligation to spend time with adult addicts.

Q: I don’t have any hope for my future, no girlfriend, am a single dad with money issues and little free time after a physically tiring job. How can I feel better?

A: The billion hungry people on the planet would love to have your problems, as would infertile couples, and the unemployed. Write down one thing you’re grateful for each morning as studies show gratitude and meditation improves mood. Email me for my ebook on mental health remedies and check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s books and website. Avoid depressants like alcohol and toxins like tobacco. Exercise is the best natural remedy for feeling better, worth getting up a half hour earlier to structure into your day. Eckhart Tolle suggests, “Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. . .this will miraculously transform your whole life.”

Q: My boss is irrational and controlling, not supportive in many ways. I like the people I work with but not my boss. What can I do about this problem?

A: You probably can’t change your boss but you can change your reactions to the problem. Add humor and playfulness, as by silently giving your boss points for the most irrational event of the day. Amusement provides perspective. Think of your life as a pie with slices. Reduce the amount of energy you give to work. Snap your fingers when you leave work to separate from it emotionally. Create fun and adventure in areas where you have more control.

Q: How do I save money?

A: First, keep track of every expenditure for a month, determine a realistic budget and stick to it. Limit your use of credit cards for non-essential purchases. See what you can cut out, such as not buying drinks, rather making coffee or tea at home and bringing it with you in a thermos. Buy household cleaning items like vinegar at a dollar store and recycled clothes at second hand shops that fund charities. You can negotiate the price of subscriptions to the Internet, newspaper, etc. If you have a yard include a few hens to eat your leftovers and fertilize your garden (Rhode Island Reds are steady egg producers) or join a community garden. Bike instead of drive. With the money you save, give to your favorite causes and if you itemize your taxes, deduct your donations. For more ideas, see my goddaughter’s books, Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less and Bring Your Lunch: Quick and Tasty Wallet-Friendly Lunches for Grown-Ups by Califia Suntree. Author Suzy Orman also provides many resources for money management and emphasizes the importance of compound interest on your regular savings plan. I like Pax World mutual funds for savings because they’re “green” and perform well.

Q: My partner is mean to me and every request is a demand. How do I change him?

A: Model the kind of behavior you’d like. Use “I feel…because… and suggest…as a possible solution,” so he’s clear what bothers you and what he can do about it. If he won’t go to a therapist to learn better communication skills, you may need to leave him as it’s difficult to change people. Live is too short to be miserable and we all deserve to be treated with kindness.

Q: I’m a recent college graduate, very pessimistic about a job search. How can I get motivated?

A: It’s true that 44% of recent grads are unemployed, and many will find work in jobs that don’t require a degree, but the job growth is in jobs that require a college education. College grads earn a lot more on average than high school grads. It only takes one good job and 66% are getting jobs. Change your self-talk from “I can’t” to “It just takes one job, I’m in the 66%.” Your irrational pessimistic self-personality is running the show. Read Voice Dialogue about how our sub-personalities operate and the importance of encouraging the rational self to run the show.

http://voicedialogueinternational.com/pdf/The_Basic_Elements_Of_Voice_Dialogue_Relationship_And_The_Psychology_Of_Selves.pdf

January 2013 Advice Column

Ask Dr. Gayle Lotus Guide column

Q: I was deeply in love with a woman of another religion. Her family and community would never have accepted me, so we broke off our relationship. I married on the rebound because my wife wanted to and I went along with it. How can I make my marriage more loving?

A: Keep your love for your ex in your heart and pray for her well-being, so you don’t deny the reality of your caring or expend energy in repression. With your wife, tell her something you sincerely appreciate about her every day and decide to explore her psyche as if you were writing a book about her. What makes her tick? Think of ways to add to her happiness with thoughtful little gifts, volunteering to do work around your home, giving her hugs, and spending time checking in with each other. See The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman to see what is most important to each of you. If you believe in karma or destiny, ask yourself what do you two need to work out together?

Q: I have a hard time finding good gifts for people. Suggestions?

A: Create a gift box or file drawer. Keep your eyes open for gifts throughout the year when you’re shopping anyway. Thrift stores like the Shalom Free Clinic’s store in Chico recycle materials, give to a good cause, and have some unexpected gems. Consider gift certificates for services like my coaching sessions or DVDs or those provided by Lotus Guide advertisers. The best gifts are made in your kitchen or otherwise handmade. Here are some suggestions to get you started: http://www.bhg.com/crafts/easy/30-minute-projects/super-quick-gifts-to-make/#page=4

Q: Sometimes I get so frustrated I want to yell at my kids or smack them. What are more effective discipline techniques?

A: The most important principles that work for me are to let consequences teach kids rather than relying on lecturing, which they tune out. Give them lots of healthy choices so they feel they have some power and don’t have to rebel. Non-Violent Communication emphasizes understanding the need that underlies the behavior, maybe just the child’s need to relax and have down time or get undivided attention. Take regular time to listen to each other and have fun together. Colleges are talking about fragile “teacup” students who fall apart under pressure because they were overprotected and their time overstuctured by their helicopter parents, so let your kids make some decisions. Useful books are Parenting with Love and Logic; Children: The Challenge; and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. (Readers, other favorites?)

Q: I agonize over making decisions, and agonize over agonizing. How can I simplify making decisions? It takes too much time and energy to proceed like this.

A: Write out the pros and cons of each option using logic. You might attach more points for factors that mean a lot to you. Sleep on the list and then feel which choice feels best to you. It may be useful to think out loud by asking a neutral friend to pretend to be a judge. You act as attorney for each option, changing chairs or hats as you defend each option. Also be aware of subconscious personalities that make it difficult to make decisions, such as a critical inner judge who makes you afraid that any choice you make will be wrong. Listen to that subpersonality and bring its concerns up to the light of consciousness, and then call on a more rational part. It may be best not to discuss the process with many others unless they are experts, as their opinions can muddy the waters. After you decide, stick to an agreement with yourself to wait a month before evaluating the choice. If you start to second-guess your plan, remind yourself “What is, is” and wait until the evaluation date.

Q: I’ve lived with the same partner for around 30 years. He’s very critical and controlling, but I care about him and am comfortable with our familiar pattern. Is it too late to start over without him?

A: Life is short, so much to learn, experience, give, and enjoy. You will want to face the end of your life looking back with contentment. Confront your partner using effective communication (“I feel __ when __ and I suggest ___ as a solution we can negotiate”). Don’t blame as in “You always ….”) Do this each time he offends you in order to give him the opportunity to change, although it won’t be pleasant. It’s important that you learn your lesson of being assertive and taking good care of yourself so you don’t have to repeat it in another context.            It’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks, so start quietly looking for new home and saving money for moving if he isn’t kinder. Change can be scary, so acknowledge your fears of going out on your own and address them. Hopefully you have a trustworthy friend who can listen to you and provide encouragement. I’m at energy balancing and mini-readings every Wednesday at the First Congregational Church, available to encourage you to take good care of yourself.

Q: My boyfriend ended our relationship, but I still have loving feelings for him that keep me from opening my heart to a new guy. How can I move on?

A: Parents love more than one child, so you can keep your deep caring for your ex and also open your heart to getting to know a new man. It’s not either/or. We learn from each relationship, so I’d explore. We can learn and grow from each partner.

Q: I retired and am spending a lot of time in my pajamas without establishing a new routine. How can I get going in a positive direction?

A: Going to a gym every morning, or going for a walk or bike ride, can provide a new healthy structure to get going in the morning. It helps to have an exercise buddy to get started on your new routine. Explore volunteer opportunities that put your skills to use and help you feel you’re doing service for others. Take a class at the college or recreation center to learn something new, a good strategy for keeping your brain young. Where would you like to travel? Make a list of activities you wished you’d been able to fit in while working fulltime, and start investigating the top interests on your list. Do something constructive every day.

Q: I just got engaged. I’m still in shock, particularly when I start to think about the planning of a wedding! Can you help me get started?

A: I’d delegate tasks like food preparation to family members and friends, using guides for reducing wedding expenses that can be found on sites like frugaldad.com and forbes.com. I’d save money for a great honeymoon trip or house down payment rather than have a lavish wedding. The beauty will be in the depth of feeling, the ceremony, friends and family, and the dancing afterwards, rather than expensive catered dinner and alcohol. I’ve performed weddings on a ski slope, on Mt. Lassen, in backyards, and in the park that were very meaningful and inexpensive.

Q: I have panic attacks, am anxious, and have trouble sleeping. How can I get on with my life and feel better?

A: When you feel a panic attack coming on, instead of resisting and fearing it, acknowledge it. Walk it out, swim it out, do something physical as you would deal with a muscle cramp. Exercising every day can help relieve some anxiety and also makes it easier to sleep. Natural remedies are suggested by Kathi Kemper, MD, in Mental Health, Naturally: Eat breakfast and whole foods, avoid caffeine, take vitamins B, C, D3, and minerals including calcium (not citrate) and magnesium, fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids, GABA, and Theanine found in green tea. Dr. Kemper also recommends Tryptophan and 5-http, and calming herbs like chamomile and valerian. Julia Ross provides more natural remedies in The Mood Cure.

Q: I’ve gone off anti-depression meds after 15 years and am getting overwhelmed by feelings. How can I cope?

A: Your emotions have been suppressed and need to be acknowledged and released. Be aware of the grief or anger and breathe into it. It helps to physically release in a safe place, as by kicking cardboard boxes or pounding pillows or watching a touching movie and crying. It helps to have a caring neutral listener, a good friend or therapist so you feel safe. I always recommend EFT (http://www.garythink.com/eft/). Re-evaluation Counseling also provides simple ways to discharge our fears and anxieties. Accept the release of sadness, anger, guilt rather than being afraid of them, just as you accept vomiting if you eat toxic food. Find a therapist who is comfortable with you releasing old negativity.
Q: I have trouble saying no to any request from others, so I’m feeling depleted. Also, I have trouble getting organized. Suggestions?

A: Think of the highest good of others; if you rob them of the opportunity to learn how to do a task, you deprive them of a needed lesson. Think of yourself as a deserving part of the creation who deserves good care. Read about codependency to be more conscious of the compulsive feelings behind taking responsibility for others and neglecting yourself.

Buy a bunch of folders, sort your papers in them in a box or filing cabinet, and keep them in alphabetical order. Any new paperwork that arrives is immediately acted upon and then filed. Do not let piles accumulate. If it’s a bill you can’t pay, put it in a folder for pending accounts.

Q: I’m a middle-school student. I can’t get myself to turn in assignments or to care about doing well in school. Any hope for me?

A: You may be making an unspoken statement to your parents about something you’re unhappy about in your family. Is there something that bothers you that you can explain to your parents? Do you have test anxiety? I put together a guide to test success that I’d be glad to share with you and readers–just email me. Think about future careers that appeal to you rather than just what your parents want in the good grades department. You will need a good job to help support your future family. Does your desired field require a college education? Most high-paying jobs do. Although it seems far away, you’ll soon find yourself applying for college and will want options that school success provide you.

Q: I’m in a custody battle with my son’s mother. She does everything she can to make things difficult for me and speaks badly about me to my son. How can I win this fight?

A: She probably won’t change, so you need to change your reactions. As long as you expect fair and rational behavior from your ex, you will be disappointed and upset. Expect her to obstruct in any way she can and be amused at how creative she can be in creating conflict. Separate yourself emotionally by viewing the conflict like a chess game, anticipating moves your opponent might make and how to counter them. Try to have some humor about how she and her attorney operate. Also, remember that our difficulties are small compared to people living in Afghanistan, South Sudan, or urban slums anywhere or under the bridges in our town. It’s not good for your health to be upset and angry. Also, talk to your attorney about the illegality of alienation of parental affection. See http://www.cadivorce.com/california-divorce-guide/parenting-through-divorce/parental-alienation-syndrome.

Q: My husband did the classic mid-life crisis event of leaving me for a younger woman. I am devastated. Will I recover?

A: In the long run, you’ll think good riddance. In the meantime, allow yourself to grieve but also kick up your heels and do what you’ve wanted to do and couldn’t. Eat lemon meringue pie for breakfast and enjoy your freedom. Plan a trip to someplace you’ve always wanted to go with an interesting group. Get support from friends, a therapist, a grief group, and a massage therapist. It’s always harder for the spouse who feels rejected because it brings up our unresolved feelings back to middle school dances when we didn’t get asked to dance by the cool guys. Use your current pain to clean up these old residues with a therapist. Finally, make sure you have a good lawyer and stay involved with the legal dissolution.

Q: I beat myself when I make a mistake. How can I give myself a break?

A: We’re on the planet to make mistakes because that’s how we learn. Since no one is perfect, it’s part of the human condition. The point is to not repeat them, and to think before we act, although core issues usually need to be repeated imperfectly until we get it.

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Q: I’m planning a large conference and get anxious.

I continue to have difficulties with multidimensional dreams messing with my certainty that I am fully embodied.  Oh well.  My sister in law says I should just go with it, and enjoy my multi-dimensional, Escher like translations of reality in dreamtime.  Or just accept and enjoy the idea that consciousness/ co creation is a lot like a cross between beautiful soap bubbles and barnacles/coral. Gag!

I think all you can do is make sure you spend some time with him weekly with the intention of grounding him to the earth in Chico, and help him clean out stuff bit by bit…

Hey Gayle, I worry about my father’s mental stability. He is so disconnected from reality, driven by fear, manifested into hoarding and outbursts of anger. Any thoughts? Jen

Hey Gayle, I just had a heart to heart with Chris and he doesn’t want kids. I’m giving him time to soul search, but I know the end result….another break up. We’ve built so much together, and I should have known. I really feel stupid we just bought the house. I was really in it for the long haul, now I have to start over… I’m devastated! Any thoughts, what do you see? Jenn

Q: I feel empty, without feelings, without beliefs. What can I do to find meaning?

A: Depression is associated with feeling hopeless and empty. The question is which is the chicken and which is the egg? Consciously separate from unhappy relatives and friends by imagining each person in his or her own energy bubble of light. Know that you can’t heal a parent or other person; you can offer support as a good listener but only as long as you don’t feel sucked into their distress. It’s easy to get depressed over human nature with over one billion people living in abject poverty, ongoing wars and destruction of the environment, so focus on the heroes who are making a difference in your community and globally, as described on http://www.youth-leader.org/. My personal belief about the meaning of life is that just like all creatures we are here to evolve, plus provide service for others, and enjoy the creation. Difficulties are an opportunity to get stronger, especially be aware of patterns you attract as they point out a lesson your unconscious mind wants you to learn.

Q: I’m working long hours and have two young sons, feeling drained and tired.

A: Make a list of what nourishes you, simple things such as a bubble bath, a nap, a walk in nature, or buying flowers. Schedule these activities on your calendar so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Spiky energy from trauma, listen to classical and new age, print out heartmath coherent, be conscious of spike

I don’t believe that I can make someone else happy. It has to be internal. Rich people aren’t happy, so having things doesn’t bring joy in the long run. Maybe you need to take some anti-anxiety herbs. Look under anxiety in the attachment. Keep me posted.

Can’t sleep. When I close my eyes I see fragments of my sad memory of my mom crying, the things she had to go through. All the sad stuff. The pain is excruciating and suffocating. Can’t breathe easy.  Why everything was the way it was? Why did god place wrong destinies to our lives? I am nothing close to the son she needs now. If god had given her a different son, the son she wants, who would bring her all she needs, then she would be happy now. Why me? Why put me in the wrong place? I am supposed to help her but I can’t do anything now.

Q: Hank: I grew up in a guilt-based religion with critical parents, so I carry around some fear and anxiety about not doing things right. As a middle-age man, how can I get free of this old pattern?

A: A simple mantra is to say today’s date.

Q: I get into drama when I have single roommates and feel lonely when I live with a couple. How can I find an enjoyable living situation?

A: If patterns repeat, there are a mirror to an unresolved kink in your unconscious, so examine if the drama has a repeated theme, like feeling left out or having different comfort levels with chaos. If you understand what draws you to certain people, you can make wiser decisions about roomies.

Q: I’m overweight, have diabetes and hypertension, plus an injury that keeps me from working and having health insurance.

A: Can you swim as a form of daily exercise to lower your weight, which will help with all your physical ailments? The Shalom Free Clinic is a wonderful weekly source of medical care where you can get some free medical attention.

July 2014 Advice Column

Ask Dr. Gayle Lotus Guide column

July 2014

Q: I love my toddler’s mother unconditionally, but she doesn’t want to be a family. I don’t know how to let go. The messed up part is I know she still loves me. She tells me that when she spends the night and we cuddle so I don’t understand why we aren’t getting back together. I feel like I’m falling apart. What can I do?

A: Believe her when she says she doesn’t want to settle down although she cares for you. Consider that you love the dream of family– Mom and Dad and baby– more than you love the actual rebellious person. It’s crazy-making to continue bonding actions. I’d treat her like a drug addiction. No touching, no spending the night that keeps the addiction going. It’s like an alcoholic can’t go in a bar. I call it paper clipping, as a clip will break if you bend it back and forth, but not if it says in one position. Exchange your daughter someplace other than your home, like preschool or a park, as discussed in 50/50 Parenting. Post this on your refrigerator: “We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” Margaret Mead

Q: I can’t stop worrying. Any way to stop?

A: Snap your fingers, clap your hands, or snap a rubber band on your wrist every time you catch yourself worrying. Take a deep breath, exhale an extended breath to expel the habit, and say a prayer or affirmation to replace the worry. Post the Serenity Prayer: “God [or higher power or inner wisdom], grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

Q: I’d like to learn more about holistic medicine. Are there schools?

A: Dr. Andrew Weil’s program offers courses for medical professionals with degrees and other online courses for the general public.[i] Search “integrative medicine training online” and American Holistic Medical Association for many other university online courses. Read books by Weil and by Dr. James Balsch to start, also my Essential Energy Tools. Check the Lotus Guide directory for local programs. Check out my monthly Mind Power workshop.

Q: My husband has lost interest in sex and me. He just comes home from work and wants to sit by himself in his chair and watch TV. We’ve been married a long time and I don’t want to have to break in a new man. Any hope for us?

A: Encourage him to have a medical check up and let him know how you feel. Request a weekly date night where you get out of the house to spark romance. Don’t depend on him for sparkle in your life; perhaps take a dance class where you’re getting some male contact. Read Mantak Chia’s book Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy. Life is short; if he declines to try to correct his inertia with the help of a counselor and doctor, you may want to do a trial separation.

Q: I lost my joie de vivre after my boyfriend betrayed me to please his mother. I lost all my happiness as if eternally. I am deeply grieved and am fighting for my confidence, my existence, my faith in myself. After a year apart, we got back together but I’m still struggling to feel OK. How can I regain happiness?

A: Erich Fromm in The Art of Loving says love a verb, it takes action.[ii] It’s the same with happiness. I would suggest regular exercise because it enhances endorphins in the brain, the best natural remedy for depression. It could be dancing, walking in nature, or what ever interests you. It’s useful to join a gym and have a regular schedule. I’m not disciplined enough to do something like Pilates by myself for an hour, but I happily follow a teacher. Also keep a daily gratitude journal. Dr. Robert Emmons’ studies proved it does enhance well-being.[iii] Also, help others, watch funny videos, listen to happy music, and pay attention to what pleased you.

Your boyfriend has been programmed to obey and care for his mother, so I wouldn’t be too harsh or ask him to choose between you and her. She must have done something right to produce someone you love. You’re going to need to forgive him to heal yourself and the relationship, especially because no one is perfect.

Q: I’m still suffering over a divorce I didn’t want. How can I stop the pain?

A: Meditate on Kahil Girbran’s The Prophet: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy. . . .”

Express gratitude for the good years you had with him and focus on what you want to manifest now and in the future. Remind yourself the past is water under the bridge. It’s not coming back. The best technique for clearing stuck negative patterns is acupressure tapping such as Emotional Freedom Technique. I can show you how at our weekly energy clearings at 1010 Mangrove, Suite D, or in a private session.

Post this: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Alan Wilson Watts

Q: [A 22-year-old female student from India] The gender inequality has suffocated me, while awake, while dreaming, while bathing, while eating, while laughing…. I cannot tolerate dependent and household women who have no stand of their own, no boldness.

A: Sexism prevails everywhere, even in Scandinavia that has the most egalitarian countries. Look at the thousands of stories of sexism in the West on The Everyday Sexism Project and #YesAllWomen. Perhaps your karma or dharma is to help elevate the status of women and to have compassion for how they were socialized. You might find work with an NGO that works with women, such as the 50 Million Missing campaign. Realizing we live on a kindergarten planet helps to be less judgmental about the less evolved, especially when they were brainwashed into their dependency. So shift from judgment and sadness to resolve to make a difference in the lives of younger women. I imagine there any girls at your school who need your encouragement to think for themselves?
Q: I have a new friend who is always creating drama, up and down, back and forth and she’s controlling as well. What’s up?

A: Read about borderline personality disorder and read Wilhelm Reich’s personality typologies, including “psychopath”—he uses the term differently than the usual meaning. You’re not going to change her.

Q: I love my boyfriend, but he’s very stubborn and not willing to work through our problems. Should I stay with him?

A: The bottom line of a relationship is the willingness to compromise and work through issues. If he’s not able to do that, the relationship is not going anywhere. If he won’t go to counseling, you should explore codependency to find out why you stay in an unsatisfying partnership.

Q My grown children are like mice nibbling on my resources, asking me to bail them out. I’m getting irritated and depleted. How can I stop them and still keep good connections between us?

A: Every time they ask for money, say, “You’re an adult. I trust that you will find a solution on your own.” Ongoing rescuing prevents them from learning their lessons.

[i] http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/education/online_courses.html

[ii] http://www.allthingsif.org/archives/481

[iii] http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons/PWT/index.cfm?CFID=347917&CFTOKEN=42069955

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