Tag Archives: Psychology

Expectations of Spitting Dinosaurs

images“That wasn’t as cool as I thought it’d be.”

My grandson had expected the dinosaurs to spit at him. The ad promised there would be spitting dinosaurs.  But he had his cities confused—not at this particular exhibit.

Expectations. They can ruin our day.

Unmet expectations are bad enough—unacknowledged expectations can create a real ball of knots. Continue reading Expectations of Spitting Dinosaurs

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory

At the Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory was born when, my first ride on my brand new 1200 Custom Sportster, I hit a pothole—a big one—smacked it so hard I thought I cracked the rim on the spoked wheel. The thing was, I was out in the country, no other vehicle in sight for half a mile in any direction.

Why did I hit it? It’s not that I didn’t see it! Reason: I was trying to avoid hitting the pothole, but I LOOKED AT IT TOO LONG! Continue reading Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory

We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A friend gave me the book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman.

The term art is painted with broad strokes. Freeman’s scripture-based premise is that we are God’s image-bearers, his artwork, and as such, it’s our task, our privilege, our terror, to find and live the individual artistry God has placed in each of us for His glory and the benefit of others. Everyone—even Dorothy, “the meek and small,” as she describes herself to Oz, The Great and Terrible—is God’s artist. Continue reading We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

Beautiful?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This wisdom was penned by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her 1878 book Molly Bawn, though the phrase has floated in some form through our literary history since about the third century BC. Truth in the perfectly crafted sentence.

Example: My dad thought his pug dog was beautiful. Sorry, but there’s an ug in pug. (Don’t go all schoolmarm on me—I know it’s u-g-h.)

Glaucous-Winged Gull
Glaucous-Winged Gull

Another example: My brother-in-law refers to seagulls as “winged rats.” True, they’re messy, noisy, and pesky, but I  find them captivating.

The day I took this shot, I must have taken a dozen photos of the raucous Glaucous. Then I tweaked and cropped those photos so I have enough for a gallery show.

Last example: I’ve actually heard snakes called beautiful by some misguided, weird, downright blind people. Believe you me, you won’t find a picture of a snake on this blog!

If You’re Not All You Want to Be…Yet

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMzgl0nFj3s&w=560&h=315]

If you’re not all you want to be…yet…as this hysterical video says, “Be more dog.”

I love cats, but sometimes they’re not…well…dog enough. So having a dog too rounds out my dog versus cat need.

But what about when I’M not dog enough?

Get up, get going, kick yourself in the pants, reach for those goals, just do it, don’t quit…you’ve heard all that before.

So…

Like I tell my psychotherapy patients, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Someone should have told Walter Mitty, “Thinking plus thinking equals nothing.”

Thinking + Thinking = Nothing

Strange math. But it’s true.

I learned this equation from a psychotherapy client years ago. She proved the theorem when she was trying to lose weight— she said, “Thinking + Thinking = Nothing.”

Seems obvious. No action, no results. An equation that applies to just about everything.

We still don’t know for sure how Stonehenge was built, but we do know the builders didn’t just think about it, they did it! An amazing accomplishment.

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

But Thinking + Action = Accomplishment doesn’t have to be gargantuan. Look what a friend did. Aren’t they gorgeous! She wanted to knit, and she did. Diane inspired me to take knitting action too. It’s not as hard as I thought.

Diane's Norwegian mittens.
Diane’s Norwegian design mittens.

A Little More Couple Psychology

If you want to be in a better couple relationship—here’s a news flash—BE NICER!

Happy Ever After
Happy Ever After

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Men and women have been bickering since that incident with the apple.

I often tell my couple psychotherapy clients that I’d like to stamp three words on their foreheads—backwards—so they can read them when they look in the mirror.

  • RESPECT
  • KINDNESS
  • CONSIDERATION

There are way too many people who are disrespectful, mean, and self-centered. I like Dr. Phil’s bluntness: “How’s that workin’ for you?”

Marriage should be a safe haven.

Now, I believe the principle that everything makes sense—it may not work, and you may not deserve it—but there’s a reason people think, feel, and do everything.

We think and act based on anger, hurt, fear, lack of self-esteem, arrogance—a pile of junk—some of it old, some of it new.

The point is, even if it’s familiar, neither you, nor your spouse deserve it.

The first step is to recognize what isn’t workin’ for you—and then start changing what you think and what you do.

BTW, I didn’t say that would be easy—just worth it.

For more about couple therapy, read “A Little Couple Psychology”.

Cristine Eastin © 2013

Rejection #l

The wait is over. After three long months, the ten semifinalists, out of 102 entrants, for the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest were announced; the list did not include my name and the title of my novel.

Rejection #1. I can start the official count.

I’m disappointed, but not as much as I thought I’d be. I’m familiar with this process. I once responded to the psychological projective questions of—”I am___, People are___, Life is____,”  with “Life is an audition.” I have what seems like a life-long history of competitions and auditions—waiting for results. Now I wait for the critique and the score on my novel. Then I revise again.

In the meantime, I get busy. Since I now know the OFN isn’t the door I’ll go through at the moment, I keep preparing—developing my platform (social media), identifying agents for the query phase, trying not to fall off the path.

Rejection can do one of two things—discourage me and get me to quit, or galvanize me to action and improvement. I choose the latter. I remember the first time I was videotaped in preparation for a speech contest in high school and really saw my performance. I learned to welcome critical feedback and use it.

Rejection never feels good. But it doesn’t feel quite so bad when you trust the source of the rejection. The CWG is committed to helping writers do their best.

So, congratulations to the ten semifinalists. I know they worked incredibly hard to get where they are and that they’re obediently using the gift of writing the Lord gave them.

Cristine Eastin © 2012

Rant on Technology

I’m steamed. Technology has its good points, but it’s also making life increasingly stressful. Not news, but do we do anything about it?

Here’s what I mean. Remember, I’m a psychotherapist—a client related frustration about her teen’s time on the phone. It seems the girl and her friends were all sitting in the back seat of the car texting, not talking to each other—just one example of the phone excess. I asked the mom if she’d ever considered putting limits on the young teen’s phone use, like no calls or texts after a certain time in the evening. It had never occurred to Mom. I asked if the girl’s phone was in her room at night, alerting her to every text message at all hours. Mom said, “Maybe that’s why  my daughter doesn’t sleep well.”

Then the next day another client related not sleeping well in general and being upset in particular by an email that pinged in during the middle of the night. She sleeps with her phone on the bed by her head.

Now, I’m not breaking confidentiality here because this hardly describes any specific person any of you would recognize. It’s an epidemic. These are smart, responsible people—but a little like lemmings rushing en masse off a cliff.

I even suspect, though I’m not the medical expert, that we haven’t begun to see the neurological consequences of all this cell phone use. The young, developing brain has got to be affected. The brain actually continues developing into young adulthood and never really stops working on itself like we formerly thought. So was popping popcorn with cell phones faked? Or does it matter since excessive cell phone use can’t be good for us anyway?

It’s not just cell phones close to the brain for hours, it’s the constant bombardment and stimulation. Years ago research determined the number of images per second the brain could absorb. The number we’re exposed to now in commercials and videos must border on enough to create a flicker rate to trigger an epileptic seizure.

This issue is similar to violence. Since the 1960’s research has shown that violence begets violence. Thank you, Albert Bandura. But has that consistent research finding done anything to alter the violence portrayed to children? Far from it. In fact, at a conference at which a friend presented on this topic to titans of the industry in the ’80s, the consensus was—they didn’t care—violence sells.

Technology sells.

Then there’s inattention while driving. How did it ever happen that one can talk on the phone while driving? Split attention doesn’t work while hurtling in a guided missile of a vehicle. Oh, that’s right—it sells.

We doomsayers can wail all we want. Isolation in the guise of social media. Instant messaging (or whatever the current buzzword is) means instant relationship, means not a real relationship. How does empathy fully develop in the absence of body language and eye contact?

Wailing isn’t going to do any good without action. My generation, the if-it-feels-good-do-it generation, is reaping what we sowed in serial attachment figures for our kids. Those kids, now parents, are afraid to tell their kids “No” for fear the kids won’t love them. No wonder. What’s the next act of the drama?

A teenager, who shall remain nameless, was playing a game with me; she picked up her cell phone a few times to fire off no doubt meaningful replies to just-received texts. I suggested she put the phone away. “Auh,” she said with a huff, “That’s the way we are. Get used to it.”

No thanks.

Which brings me to referring you to a blog I read—Dr. Dennis Hensley, director of the professional writing program at Taylor University. Doc Hensley  is nothing short of a writing guru, if you take the second definition in my dictionary— an influential teacher or popular expert. Read what he has to say about technology. I like his choice of the word “vapid”: offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.

One last thought—an ad on the side of a bus read—”Ignore your teeth, they’ll go away.”

Cristine Eastin © 2012

Saudade, A Deep Longing

Saudade–I have a bad case of it. Wikipedia defines this Portuguese word as, “…a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.”

Sigh.

My saudade sighs are for England.

In my mid-twenties I lived in Beaconsfield, England: halfway between London and Oxford. This was my house—minus the two-story addition on the right where the brick is darker and plus masses of tall Queen Elizabeth roses. My house must also have a new name, or no name, since one chimney was removed. The Post Office once directed a friend visiting from Geneva to my house when the friend said, “I think her house is called ‘Two Stacks’.” How quaint.

For two years “Two Stacks” was home. I arrived a young, naive woman and left with a heart full of the love of friends—a heart that’s got a chunk of it shaped like England into which only England and things English will fit.

I long to return: a longing so strong it feels as if it might pull my heart right out of my chest and stick it to some place in England.

I run back to England as often as I can—to the dreary weather, the quaint houses, the endless footpaths, the English way of life—and to friends.

Almost every day a friend and I walked our dogs here. Public access to private land gave us miles of hill and dale for the dogs to run, providing the dogs didn’t bother the livestock. The only time that almost went wrong was when I watched helplessly as a stud donkey chased my dog. Fortunately my dog ducked under the fence an inch ahead of the hoofs.

Sigh.

I long to walk in England. Tramping the sidewalks in my rabbit warren urban US neighborhood doesn’t cut it. Nor does walking the Department of Natural Resources land near my house where they’ve just clear-cut the woods to make way for a prairie restoration. “Progress!” she spat out in disgust.

Sometimes my English friend and I ate lunch here, both dogs resting under the table—the Royal Standard of England. I had already had a taste of living overseas by this time, having lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two ski seasons, but the Royal Standard was an eye-opener. I understood why England viewed its American step-children as unappreciative of history. Part of the Royal Standard was 900 years old. I had no sense of history like that.

England has changed  tremendously since I lived there. The pace of life has almost caught up to the US, horrible blights on the architectural landscape have gone up, economic stress is rife, and the country struggles valiantly with ethnic diversity. The butcher shop that brined my corned beef for me and the butcher that gave my dog treats are gone, replaced by a huge, convenient grocery store.

Yet I can’t wait to get back. It makes me feel righted somehow—like my bones have fallen into place.

I know all this saudade silliness flies in the face of  Paul’s wisdom: “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content,” (Philippians 4:11). It’s not that I’m not content in the State of Wisconsin. But, for some reason, God put this love of England in me. I do know that my next novel will be set in Scotland and England. If I can’t live there in reality, at least I can live there in my imagination.

If only they wouldn’t drive on the left!

Cristine Eastin © 2012