How do we Practice?


If we examine two concert pianists, two professional athletes, or two people attempting a new skill, how do their practice habits impact their performance?


The obvious habits of dedication, hard work and discipline influence performance in a major way.


Another area we may overlook is the ability to make mistakes, think outside the box.
Trying new things brings a vulnerable, awkward feeling. We desire to be accomplished, proficient and confident. Making mistakes does not feel like that.



Growth, improvement and satisfaction are the rewards for our risking.
We fear embarrassment and that feeling limits our growth.


I worked with a concert pianist a few years back. He tried to be perfect not only during a performance but during practice.

It limited his growth and stole his enjoyment of playing.

With daily focus and acceptance, he agreed that a half hour a day, he would tolerate mistakes.



I suggested he start playing from the middle of a piece and practice a short part of the composition. This was a moment of freedom for him, a big weight removed.
Now, he could enjoy himself, rather than be responsible for pleasing the composer, his teacher and the audience.


I challenged him to speed up, go fast and accept stumbling now, to be more proficient later.


There was no room for his needs or enjoyment with perfection as a goal.


The next day it was like he found a whole new area of opportunity. He could relax and just play for the first time.


If we can not allow ourselves to make mistakes, we limit our ceiling of growth (my opinion).

Can you tolerate being wrong, making a mistake without _______?


Can you tolerate being wrong, making a mistake without evaluating the what if’s.


You know, that intense scrutiny of our actions, feeling emotionally hurt, our “Ego” spanked.


Obsessing for hours, lost in judgment is my usual journey.


Wasted life and imagined guilt is what lies at the core of this.


Who cares if we were wrong?


Our Ego” cares, He/She is the one who worries, judges, doubts, fears and resents being wrong.


Can you let that noise go, the next time you are wrong (make a mistake)?


Can your “Ego” tolerate being human, not in control, vulnerable, wrong at times?


It may take practice, daily focus to accomplish this task.


Acceptance is the path.


Accepting everything about ourselves, right now.


The great, the good, the mundane, the flawed, the excited, the grumpy, the angry and the happy you.


Lots of freedom is the reward.


A mind empty of thought, brilliantly aware of life.

Do your mistakes (losses) consume you?


Example: Many accomplished athletes, multimillionaires, are haunted by their losses, perceived failures. Even if the wins far outweigh the losses, the losses seem to always sting.


“Ego” plays a pivotal role in this behavior.


We do not understand life is a journey, not a goal. An achievement, a prize has nothing to do with happiness (wellbeing).


A mistake, a loss brings disappointment, maybe failure if we so judge.


Why do our mistakes distract us?


Why do our mistakes bring such harsh, personal judgments?


How can one mistake consume so many wins (accomplishments)?


We are perfect at our core (soul), however the physical body has flaws, makes mistakes, ages and dies.


We waste many days of our life worrying about our past mistakes and future embarrassments.


If I am painting, building, writing or competing is my goal perfection?


Best not undertake a task needing perfection.


How will I handle a mistake if perfection is the Goal?


Easy to see as we step back, that this is a losing proposition.


Maybe we need a goal that resembles a life of wellbeing.


Undertaking a challenge that takes discipline, courage and effort does not need adulation or a trophy. The journey of giving our complete effort is the prize.


Not judging the result allows us to enjoy life.


Fulfillment does not come from trophies but by living free during the journey.


Give all out effort, then relax and smile.

The parking lot suicides: They take their lives at the doorstep of the VA

Photos by Jenn Ackerman

Sixty-two percent of veterans, or 9 million people, depend on VA’s vast hospital system, but accessing it can require navigating a frustrating bureaucracy. Veterans sometimes must prove that their injuries are connected to their service, which can require a lot of paperwork and appeals.


Veterans who take their own lives on VA grounds often intend to send a message, said Eric Caine, director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester.


“These suicides are sentinel events,” Caine said. “It’s very important for the VA to recognize that the place of a suicide can have great meaning. There is a real moral imperative and invitation here to take a close inspection of the quality of services at the facility level.”


Keita Franklin, who became VA’s executive director for suicide prevention in April, said the agency now trains parking lot attendants and patrols on suicide intervention. The agency also has launched a pilot program that expands its suicide prevention efforts, including peer mentoring, to civilian workplaces and state governments.


“We’re shifting from a model that says, ‘Let’s sit in our hospitals and wait for people to come to us,’ and take it to them,” she said during a congressional staff briefing in January.


For some veterans, the problem is not only interventions but also the care and conditions inside some VA mental-health programs.


John Toombs, a 32-year-old former Army sergeant and Afghanistan veteran, hanged himself on the grounds of the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the morning before Thanksgiving 2016.


He had enrolled in an inpatient treatment program for PTSD, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, said his father, David Toombs.


“John went in pledging that this is where I change my life; this is where I get better,” he said. But he was kicked out of the program for not following instructions, including being late to collect his medications, according to medical records.


A few hours before he took his life, Toombs wrote in a Facebook post from the Murfreesboro VA that he was “feeling empty,” with a distressed emoji.


“I dared to dream again. Then you showed me the door faster than last night’s garbage,” he wrote. “To the streets, homeless, right before the holidays.”


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Where do I start?

Giving without regard for reward has many benefits.


Giving this way, opens up our compassion center.


Gratitude will grow when you help others, a great side effect.


Life looks and feels different when giving takes over.


If you need a purpose, none better than giving.


Gratitude and giving change us, transforms us, offers us the space where wellbeing and happiness live.


Besides my family, giving is the most precious possession I have.

That awareness has developed with daily meditation and practice.


Besides being a possession, giving is a boomerang.

Throw giving around and watch what comes back.


Even smiles and kind words have enormous power.

Codependency cannot be found in any diagnostic manual: Dr Nicholas Jenner

“At the time of writing, the term “codependency” cannot be found in any diagnostic manual anywhere. It is simply not classed as a recognisable disorder and as discussed earlier, some doubt it even exists in the form we accept today.


This also includes many therapists who like to see it as a symptom of something else and treat it as such . I have had many referrals from other therapists who are not willing to follow their client down the path of codependency. The whole subject divides opinion amongst professionals as well as those who suffer on a daily basis.



I tend to believe that other disorders such as depression and anxiety as well as negative attitude and outlook are symptoms of codependency rather than the other way around. There is no pill that one can take that will cure codependency and maybe that is just as well. We have all seen the disadvantages of the “cure symptoms only” approach that exists in the medical profession.


Codependency recovery is only sustainable when the root cause is found and healed, and the symptoms managed.



Codependency will not give you a sore throat, you will not need to stay in bed or take antibiotics or other medication to feel better. However, in my experience of treating codependents the world over, there is a set of definable characteristics that can be assigned to the behaviour associated with people who have codependent tendencies.



If you assess this against a typical childhood scenario that fosters the development of codependency, you have quite a picture of misery that sufferers go through.



Many codependents are seen as genuinely nice people and they mostly are. They will not usually say no [even though they sometimes want to], they are usually the first to jump in and help anyone [as a martyr, expecting return] and will often anticipate others needs before they do [control and enabling].



They will usually avoid conflict and will only confront someone when their expected return is not forthcoming [control].  However, what you see on the surface is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. What is going on underneath is a melting pot of emotions and core beliefs that drive codependent behaviour. This is where treatment is targeted and needs to be effective.



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Codenpendency: How to give up control and stop Rescuing Everyone



“Dr Nicholas Jenner”

“Codependency is a lot about control and controlling others. I have documented various methods frequently on this blog and how they manifest themselves into the typical dysfunctional behaviour associated with codependency.

Codependents need control to feel secure and are loath to give this power away.


One of the more common forms of control employed by codependents is the “art” of rescuing. Many helpful, caring people, especially those that identify as codependent, impulsively rescue others from their self-imposed predicaments.


They stay far too long in dysfunctional helping and giving relationships even when their resources or relationships are strained, or they enable others’ addiction, incompetence, or irresponsibility and they do this for a very specific reason.


Codependent rescuing means that the codependent retains power and control over the codependent object. They assume that people around them need help and step in even if it is clear they don’t.


Every time this happens, it plays into the “drama triangle” of rescuer, persecutor and victim mentalities that drive codependent


Often when help is pushed onto another person when they don’t really want it, it gives the codependent the chance to become the victim whether the help is accepted or not.


Codependents meet their needs dysfunctionally by adopting the victim role in any situation hoping to attract sympathy and validation from those around them.


Anger, blaming and passive aggression can ensue, leading to the next cycle.


By rescuing, codependents place themselves in a superior role to their victim.


They are saying “You need me and you are helpless without me”.


This leads inevitably to feelings of resentment on both sides.


The key is to avoid “one-up or one-down” behaviours. The following is a list of suggestions to help with this.




1. Be conscious and avoid giving advice unless asked for. Don’t interrupt and listen effectively to avoid assumptions.

2. Don’t help your partner or anyone else without them asking you to do so. You can do this by openly asking “What can I do?”.

3. Offer support rather than advice. “I can help but maybe you need to see what you can do first”

4. Learn to say “No” and set boundaries around your own behaviour and that of those who are willing to let you rescue them.

5. Don’t assume that you need to do 100% of the work to solve any issue. Talk with your partner and promote equality. “I will do this, what are you prepared to do?”

6. Share any feelings of resentment that are building openly and honestly.

7. Recognise when your partner (or anyone) is inviting rescuing behaviour by playing the victim, feigning illness, etc. Counter with firm boundaries.

8. Learn to ask for your needs to be met in a healthy way.

9. Avoid power moves like avoiding responsibility, escalation, shouting, playing the martyr or reminding your partner of everything you have done for them.

10. Avoid “one-down” victim behaviour that manipulates feelings and behaviour from others.

Avoiding power and control games is one of the key issues of codependent recovery.


Many find it difficult to release themselves as the behaviour is so engrained in their personality and thinking.


However, once this is done, codependents can look forward to a life free of the “drama triangle” that has been so devastating to them in their lives”.




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