Zoom Out to Get a Different View

Of all the things that could go wrong, the mistake I made yesterday wasn’t too bad.  I had been so excited to be this month’s presenter at the Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education, which is a free monthly event put on by the Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children.  And, it happened.  I shared my ideas and some tools I use in my counseling practice to help clients, especially parents (and teachers) of highly sensitive and gifted children, to improve upon positive coping, and to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.  It felt really good to share some of my favorite tools, and I had fun.

So, what was the problem?  When promoting the event, I provided a link to an incorrect web location.  Pretty much everyone who saw the posting couldn’t find the event.  I didn’t realize my mistake until about two minutes before start time.  I did my best to remedy the error by quickly sharing a working link—but really, it was too late.  My email inbox contains the proof—people who wanted to attend could not get in.  How could they?  They didn’t know where to go.

Yet, it’s not the end of the world.  In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a bad day, in the big scheme of things.  For those who missed out, the event was recorded.

What I need to do now is remind myself how to look at this situation from a different vantage point.  I need to find ways to frame my experience positively.  Each action, whether mistaken or on purpose, opens a door to opportunity I may not have otherwise noticed.

Had yesterday gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have received emails from potential participants who weren’t able to find the login location—and it was certainly good to make those connections.  Also, it was a reminder to be more mindful—a much stronger reminder than the sticky notes I usually use.  And I’ll definitely be more careful when sharing important details.  And hey, who knows?  Maybe this error will prevent a larger mistake down the road, because now I am reminded to pay better attention.  A rough start often lays the foundation to successful venture, perhaps for just this reason.

Yes, changing perspective literally means that you see the same situation from a different vantage point, but the function of this is to help you view the same situation as if it were a new experience.  Let’s apply this concept relationally, and think about how the perspective you carry, the one you naturally see with, influences how you connect with others.  If something isn’t working in a relationship, the power you have is to change yourself.  You can try with all your might to change the other person, but it likely won’t work, at least not for long.  However, changing yourself could be key.  One pathway to transformation is to zoom your view outwards to get a larger picture.  Zoom out can be time-related, like seeing the situation now, seeing how the situation will look in 20 minutes from now, or a day later, or a week later, or a year… you get the picture.  Or, you can zoom out in space—where you get smaller as you zoom, and go as far as you need to in order to alter your sense of the situation.  You might first see yourself in the entire room, then in the building, then in your town, then your country, and if needed, go all the way out to seeing yourself as a small part of planet earth.  Does this give you information about your relationship?  Like squinting to get better focus, you could notice something you might otherwise have missed.  How you view a relationship effects how you respond within that relationship—because it impacts your reactions, and ultimately impacts your beliefs.  You react from a baseline of your beliefs.  Zooming out from a current perspective gives a larger picture—and hopefully allows for a clearer view of yourself within that baseline, within yourself, and within a relationship.

To sum up, the quick moral of the story:  zoom-out, get the big picture, and squinting is optional.

It’s a FREE presentation– about helping gifted kids cope with depression and anxiety!

I’m so excited!

I’ll be presenting at the Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children’s FREE monthly Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education— this coming Saturday, September 22nd, at noon (PST). 

The topic is “Helping Gifted Kids Cope With Anxiety and Depression: Tools For Parents and Teachers”

The event uses the virtual environment of Secondlife as a forum for global connection. My secondlife avatar’s name is TheoSophia.

I hope to see you there!

About the Event:
Exploring the possibilities of Gifted Education in Second Life The purpose of the conference is to cultivate a global virtual meeting, sharing knowledge and experience about gifted education for students, educators, teachers and parents. The concept for these meetings was created by Roya Klingner, head and founder of the Bavarian Center for Gifted and Talented Children and the first meeting was held in August 2010.

The event is open for everyone free of charge.
We hope that you can join us for this global movement for a better future for Gifted and Talented Children around the world.

Here are some information how to join us:
1. Please create an avatar in secondlife (http://secondlife.com/whatis/avatar/?lang=en-US)
2. Send us your avatar´s name (info@gcgtc.com)
3. To participate in this meeting you need a headset.
4. The meeting will take place in http://slurl.com/secondlife/Degar/229/86/59

Goal of the Event:
Exploring the possibilities of Gifted Education in Second Life The purpose of the conference is to cultivate a global virtual meeting, sharing knowledge and experience about gifted education for students, educators, teachers and parents. Additional lectures by different presenters are planned.

Pleasure as a Remedy

Pleasure is utterly necessary and in no way a luxury.

When someone comes to my office, seeking help because the suffering, the sadness and loneliness, or the seeming need to hide away– the stuff that constitutes depression– is too overwhelming, I usually notice that this person also has forgotten about pleasure.   Forgotten that pleasure exists.  Forgotten what it looks like, what it feels like, how to find it, and especially, how to create it.  Utterly forgotten.

What is pleasure anyway, and what does it have to do with suffering?

Merriam and Webster call pleasure a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction; a pleasant or pleasing feeling, or an activity done for enjoyment.  This definition is so small, it makes me want for more.  I like to think that pleasure is a delight to the senses– like breathing in wafts of ginger and curry sizzling after a long, tiring day.  Or maybe it would be more surprising, like a sudden tickle, a soothing touch, or an unexpected breeze on hot, sweaty skin.  I like to think that pleasure can also be a feeling that stems from other positive feelings, like hope and love.

If pleasure is a feeling of happiness, then it would be in opposition to feelings of depression.  It would be difficult to hold pleasure and sadness or worry at exactly the same moment.

If pleasure is enjoyment or satisfaction, it would be a feeling that has the potential to help open awareness; to let things in.  Other feelings do this too, like feelings of acceptance, contentment, and peace.  These each help a body let go, relax and simply be.

Pleasure provides a break from the daily grind.  It is literally a physiological relief from the symptoms related to depression, stress and anxiety.  While experiencing pleasure, muscles relax, breathing deepens, and tension dissolves.  Hormones that bring on rejuvenation and energy are released.  Good feelings arise.  That is pleasure.

Now is the time to let pleasure in.  Now, I remind myself to look for, and find. moments of pleasure in even the smallest of things.

New Beginnings

I am so excited about starting this blog! A new beginning!

My first blogging attempt failed in 2007.  I didn’t really understand blogging, and my focus was on my private practice, parenting, family life, teaching, homeschooling, and all that other business of life.  That poor first blog was doomed from the start.  I am still focused on my private practice, parenting, family life, teaching, homeschooling, and all that other business of life, however I have changed.  My circumstances have changed too.  I am now more comfortable with sharing my thoughts on the web, and have several ways to access the internet– a laptop, smart phone and tablet – so I’m much more plugged-in!

I’m more plugged-in?  Yes.  Yet, this blog is about being unplugged.  What I mean by that is this will be an informal and relaxed setting to share thoughts, reflections, and general musings on therapy, mindfulness, acceptance, transitions– really all those important elements of life that revolve around personal growth.

A different sort of new beginning is that just a little over a month ago I moved to a larger office space.  I was experiencing growing pains at my Martinez office, where I would squeeze art supplies, sand tray figures, and occasionally whole families into my cute but cramped office.  Sometimes people had to sit on the floor because there simply was no room for more chairs.  My search for a larger office began over a year ago.  If you’re wondering, the answer is yes, that is a very long time to look for an office!  It turned out to be worth the work and the wait, though.  I love my new, spacious yet cozy and comfortable office!  My clients seem to like it too.

Another recent, new beginning was my opportunity to present at this year’s SENG Conference in Florida.  This was my first time presenting at SENG, and so it was sort of a big deal.  SENG 2013 was also the “coming out” for my project—the Gifted Identity Project.  My research partner, Sharon Duncan, and I had so much to say that it took three workshop sessions to share our material.  You can find more information about the project at Gifted Identity’s FaceBook page.  Also, Sharon and I have big plans for the project, including a new blog—I’ll keep you posted!