Friday, June 25, 2010


You have heard of the cup that overflowed. This is a story of a bucket that is like the cup, only larger, it is an invisible bucket. Everyone has one. It determines how we feel about ourselves, about others, and how we get along with people. Have you ever experienced a series of very favorable things which made you want to be good to people for a week? At that time, your bucket was full.

A bucket can be filled by a lot of things that happen. When a person speaks to you, recognizing you as a human being, your bucket is filled a little. Even more if he calls you by name, especially if it is the name you like to be called. If he compliments you on your dress or on a job well done, the level in your bucket goes up still higher. There must be a million ways to raise the level in another's bucket. Writing a friendly letter, remembering something that is special to him, knowing the names of his children, expressing sympathy for his loss, giving him a hand when his work is heavy, taking time for conversation, or, perhaps more important, listing to him.

When one's bucket is full of this emotional support, one can express warmth and friendliness to people. But, remember, this is a theory about a bucket and a dipper. Other people have dippers and they can get their dippers in your bucket. This, too, can be done in a million ways.

Lets say I am at a dinner and inadvertently upset a glass of thick, sticky chocolate milk that spills over the table cloth, on a lady's skirt, down onto the carpet. I am embarrassed. "Bright Eyes" across the table says, "You upset that glass of chocolate milk." I made a mistake, I know I did, and then he told me about it! He got his dipper in my bucket! Think of the times a person makes a mistake, feels terrible about it, only to have someone tell him about the known mistake ("Red pencil" mentality!)

Buckets are filled and buckets are emptied ? emptied many times because people don't really think about what are doing. When a person's bucket is emptied, he is very different than when it is full. You say to a person whose bucket is empty, "That is a pretty tie you have," and he may reply in a very irritated, defensive manner.

Although there is a limit to such an analogy, there are people who seem to have holes in their buckets. When a person has a hole in his bucket, he irritates lots of people by trying to get his dipper in their buckets. This is when he really needs somebody to pour it in his bucket because he keeps losing.

The story of our lives is the interplay of the bucket and the dipper. Everyone has both. The unyielding secret of the bucket and the dipper is that when you fill another's bucket it does not take anything out of your own bucket. The level in our own bucket gets higher when we fill another's, and, on the other hand, when we dip into another's bucket we do not fill our own ... we lose a little.

For a variety of reasons, people hesitate filling the bucket of another and consequently do not experience the fun, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction connected with making another person happy. Some reasons for this hesitancy are that people think it sounds "fakey," or the other person will be suspicious of the motive, or it is "brown-nosing."

Therefore, let us put aside our dipper and resolve to touch someone's life in order to fill their bucket.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I am going to talk about myself, not as a measure of self indulgence, but in order to impart some of what I have learned about myself over the years.

I was an anxiety case most of my life. I could not concentrate, sit still or be tenacious, and I suffered nightmares. I think a lot of it was due to my life in the womb and at birth. Add to that my pain filled childhood and it can be understood. But why did I not know about this pain that was driving my life? If much of this took place before I was even on this planet how could I be objective about it? It was just me. And how could I feel unloved in my childhood? I was just me. It was not until I got a little love in my life that I began to understand what I did not get. Many of us do not reach that understanding because our personalities are so deviated from the start that it all seems normal not to get love. For example, my parents never talked to me or said my name. I never realized this until one day age thirteen I was at my friend's house and their mother came down into the kitchen and leaned against the sink and stayed talking to them. I ran home with this epiphany and told my dad that Mrs. Winters was talking to her kids, and not just for giving orders. I simply never knew that parents should talk to their kids. Nor did I know that parents should say their kid's name when addressing them. It was usually "hey you.' When I went down to join the Navy the gray haired lady asked my name. I told her and she said it back to me in an unhurried warm way. I felt something changed inside. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside and did not understand why but it marked me.

It marked me because it revealed a need I knew nothing about. It is why when my patients cry out their needs they are in great pain.

The reason we don't know it is because before we have words, painful feelings are engraved into our system. and they create physiologic reactions that simply feel normal to us. And if we never find love we never know about our unfulfilled needs. Sometimes we have so much pain early in life it crashes our defense system completely and we recognize that we are in pain. That is not the case with most of us. I always thought that nightmares were in all of us. Whenever I told someone I had a dream i always meant a bad dream. I grew up thinking everyone had only bad dreams. And since there was no one to talk to I just went on thinking like that.

It is the rare person who feels unloved during their childhood. We are just programmed by our imprint before birth and birth/infancy lives and we carry out the silent program. We either "dance" fast or slow by our imprint and we never even know that it is an imprint. This is why when we someone hugs us later in life it can hurt. It brings up the need and its lack of fulfillment. Some of us, therefore, avoid hugs. We become a cold personality because it protects us permanently against pain. The pain is lack of fulfillment of need; each time there is a slight fulfillment there is pain. You feel what you didn't get.

And the minute someone says or shows that they want us we become suckers because we never felt wanted. So we learn about that need when it is filled. I treated promiscuous girls who thought they were bad because they gave sex the minute someone showed an interest in them. Suddenly someone feels wanted. We are so unconscious that we are not even aware that we have an unconscious or that it continually drives us.

When you grow up not being able to concentrate it seems normal and you think that it is just the way things are. You never believe it could be any different. And you don't think about"different" because that is the way things are. I did not think that I could not concentrate because I never knew what it was not what it looked like. We keep making the same mistake in life because what we come to believe is normal warps us. We keep marrying the wrong person because the same need and its deviation continually drives us. We want a dominant man like our father so we can struggle to make him soft and tender; and it never happens. We marry "the struggle." We marry someone hyper critical so that symbolically we can have someone who approves of us. We are redoing and reliving our imprint all of the time.


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his
birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered
as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than
you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using
mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student,
only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that
they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when
a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Did you know that anger brings you gifts you can’t get from any other place? This may sound hard to believe, but all of your emotions bring you specific, irreplaceable gifts; anger is no exception. In fact, because anger helps you set boundaries and take your place in the world, it is one of the most vital emotions you have.

Here’s the problem: We don’t have any permission to listen to or work with our anger! We’ve all been taught to repress, suppress, ignore, violently express, snarkily express, or ridicule anger … and very few of us have been able to break through that conditioning to learn what anger is actually for.

We’ve heard rumors and old wives’ tales about anger, but the emotional truth is this: We feel anger because it has something important to teach us. Each of our emotions has a specific purpose and a specific message, and all of them are absolutely necessary.

We’ve all seem the problems people create with their anger, and after reading the comments from last week’s post, I think we should explore the gifts anger brings you.

The Gifts of Anger

Anger brings you the gifts of healthy self-esteem, well-considered conviction, healthy detachment, the ability to deal with conflict honorably, and the ability to set clear boundaries. Anger is vital, and if you can make good use of it, anger will help you protect yourself and others in healthy ways.

Here’s what anger can teach you: Anger is a sign that your (or someone else’s) boundaries or self-image are being threatened (this is different from fear, which you feel when your physical safety is threatened). If you don’t know why you’re feeling anger, you may repress it and throw its awareness away (this can lead to a loss of your self-image or a stewing resentment that gets in your way), or you may express it rudely or violently and hurt other people. Both choices — the repression and the expression — are injurious, and both stop you from figuring out what the heck happened to you and what you should do about it!

Because our emotional training is so poor, I created specific questions to ask when the anger (or any emotion) comes up (you can find these in my new book, The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You). Asking these questions does three things:

1. It helps you identify your emotions, which is a first step toward emotional maturity
2. It helps you understand what each emotion is for and why it arises
3. It recruits the verbal and rational part of your brain, which supports your emotions and helps you take constructive, emotionally appropriate action

Each of these steps helps calm you down so that you can focus your full intelligence on your emotions. For instance, in the case of anger, you ask yourself: What must be protected? and What must be restored? These questions can help you understand what to do with anger.

If you don’t know what anger is for, you’ll either repress it (which won’t rebuild your boundaries or your self-image), or you’ll express it (in aggression that may hurt other people, but will still not rebuild your boundaries!). And sadly, the next time you feel anger, you still won’t know what it’s for! That’s why I created a third, mindful option, which I call channeling the emotion (which means listening to it and learning what it’s for).

For instance: Let’s take anger. Imagine that you insult me openly: “Karla, you’re acting like an idiot.” There’s no subtlety there; you’re threatening my self image, you’re breaking my boundaries, and I’m going to feel angry about it. What I do with my anger depends on my level of emotional awareness, and on the quality of our relationship.

Repression: I may flush all over and stop what I’m doing, but not say anything to you. Usually, I’ll spend the rest of the day thinking about what I should have said. But I won’t learn anything or rebuild my wounded self image. The anger will be wasted, and our relationship will suffer because you won’t have learned how to relate to me in conflict. When people use their anger properly, they can deal with conflict in honorable ways!

Expression: I may tell you to shove off, and you might increase the intensity of your attack: “No, you shove off, you dimwit!” And so forth. We’ll be expressing all over each other and raising our blood pressure and our cortisol, but we won’t be protecting or restoring anything. We’ll just do more damage to each other and our relationship, and again, the anger will be wasted.

Channeling: I will feel the anger and know that my self-image and boundaries are being threatened. Anger will give me the strength I need to let you know you’ve hurt me, but also to listen to what you’re saying, “Ow! That hurts! You know how much I value my intelligence! Are you saying I’m being stupid right now?” When I can access the strength that anger brings me, I can deal with the conflict and be honest about how much you’ve hurt me. And now you’ll know more about me, about yourself, about your approach to conflict, and so forth. My anger, properly channeled, will protect both of us.

You may continue onward with your attack, but I’ll continue to protect and restore not just myself, but you and our relationship. Anger is a wonderfully honorable and social emotion when we can channel it properly.

When you know what each emotion is for, you can act intelligently and express — not the emotion, but the truth of the situation. So go ahead and get angry … just do it right!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


From Deepak Chopra:

It's not just giving, it's the spirit.

I'd like to talk about the hidden side of giving. People have a vague feeling that God favors those who give. Since Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, tithing became an established practice in Christian life. In India the focus is on karma -- in order to offset their bad deeds, people want some good karma, and giving to the poor is a way to do that. Still, as religious practice fades in every society, giving has become more secular. Few people feel secure in their conviction that giving has spiritual meaning.

I think that East and West are offering the same piece of wisdom: it's not what you give but the spirit in which you give that counts. At the level of the soul there are really three levels of giving:

1. Quid pro quo: you give in order to get something back. Whether you want a bit of good karma or a smile from God, the spirit here is selfish. Tit for tat is the rule. The giver expects to be appreciated. Big donors, whether to a political candidate or a prominent charity, expect to be noticed and praised. In small ways we all harbor a selfish part of ourselves. Imagine how you'd feel if you gave a lavish Christmas present to someone and received nothing back, not even a word of thanks? Suddenly, the act of giving would turn sour. When you give in order to add to your self-image, the act may be generous, but the spirit isn't. It's even common for this kind of giving to involve a good measure of guilt.
2. Charity from the heart. This is giving out of love. The word "charity" comes from the Latin "caritas," or love. In early Christianity caritas became one of the three great virtues, along with hope and faith. By the time of St. Paul it already meant charity in the modern sense, but the spirit of love was always understood. One gives as a child of God to another child of God. In this spirit there is no expectation of return. One may give anonymously or to strangers. Charity is selfless. It leaves the ego aside, if only briefly, with one intent in mind: to add to the sum total of love in the world. The spiritual significance is to expand the heart.
3. Giving everything that you are. This is true generosity of spirit. There is no separation between giver and receiver. You offer up your whole life, and in return life makes you more whole. This isn't just a mystical wish. Once you realize that everything comes from the universe and goes back to the universe, there is no need to make giving be about "me." Possessing nothing, you can give everything. You know that the universe has infinite resources; therefore, life itself can be based upon giving.

Looking around, one realizes that giving everything is the most natural way. You and I are here because Nature stinted in nothing. The air, the sky, the plant and animal kingdoms enrich the earth freely. The creative source that gave rise to life allowed single-celled algae and bacteria to evolve into the human brain, the most complex structure in the known universe. When the spirit of life really sinks in, and we realize the incredible gift we've received, the only possible act of appreciation is to give back with equal generosity.

In other words, giving should be twenty-four hours a day. At the level of spirit you can give of yourself completely. That's the goal we are all evolving toward. At certain moments we sense this, all of us. A mother's attitude toward her infant child is one of complete giving, out of wonder that new life has become hers to nurture and protect. In expanded form, this attitude becomes Ahimsa, a Sanskrit word often translated as "reverence for life." As a doctor I also like the definition for "harmlessness," because a physician's first duty is to do no harm. When you revere life, violence disappears, and it is only natural to do no harm. You are linked to all life, and by magic, every gift you give becomes a gift to yourself.

Friday, June 4, 2010


At the end of a recent post sardonically asking readers if they preferred oil or manure in the water, I mentioned that eating less—and preferably no—meat, eggs, and dairy products can help reduce both manure and oil spills, as it takes 10 times more fossil fuels to produce meat than to produce vegan foods. Since that post, the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) resource panel, has released a report stating that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital if we are to halt climate change and other environmental problems. The U.N. report also suggests curbing fossil fuel use, which can also be achieved by going vegan.

Experts predict that there will be at least 9 billion people in the world by 2050, and global meat consumption is projected to double by that time. Meat consumption has been steadily increasing in China and other countries that once followed a more sustainable diet rich in vegetables and whole soy foods. According to Scientific American, the UN report points out that more than half of the world's crops are currently used to feed animals, and that conserving fuel and reducing pollution and greenhouse gasses will "only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

As things stand now, more than one-third of the fossil fuels produced in America are used to raise animals for food. Massive amounts of grains and soybeans are grown for animal feed (it takes about 700 calories worth of feed to produce just one 100-calorie piece of beef) and are transported to processors in gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing 18-wheelers. More energy is used up operating feed mills and factory farms, trucking animals to slaughter, operating slaughterhouses, and then trucking the meat to processing plants, and so on. (Some of these stages are needed to produce and store vegan foods too, of course, but if everyone goes vegan, there will be no need for feed mills, factory farms, and slaughterhouses—and the multiple tractor-trailer trips between them.)

Much like BP, I don't know how to stop the ever-spreading oil spill in the gulf (although Matter of Trust's "hairmat" program seems worth pursuing), but following the basic "use less, spill less" concept can help prevent future spills.

And since eating a vegan diet can help mitigate climate change, stop forest destruction, and reduce pollution—as well as animal suffering and many human health problems—I hope everyone will finally heed the U.N.'s call to go vegan. As the UNEP's Janet Salem pointed out, many environmental problems can be traced to our choice of food. If you haven't already done so, why not take the 30-day veg pledge and find out how easy it is to be green?