All posts by Betsy Fecto

What is it that YOU fear the most?

LET”S FACE IT!

We are all afraid of something! It can be the huge, looming protagonist of our nightmares or the tiny, nondescript bug we find crawling up our leg. Fear is powerful. It can motivate us or it can cause us to stagnate and block us from following our dreams. But we can work with our fear and make it our ally.

Artwork by Autumn- Monster

Criminologist Gavin de Becker wrote The Gift of Fear in 1997. Becker wanted us to know that we are all capable of (and responsible for) learning how to protect ourselves from violence. One of those skills is to trust our intuition…go with our guts. We teach our children about the “uh-oh” feeling – an internal cue of “ickiness” that helps the child to recognize when they may not be safe. Parents are encouraged to pay attention when their child reacts fearfully when Uncle Opa comes to visit or when they are left with a new babysitter. We tell them not to comply when asked by a stranger to help them find their puppy, etc. Throughout the book, Gavin de Becker offers sage advice about trusting our intuition and our perceptions of people or events that will likely end in harm or violence, and help to differentiate good from bad, and safe from dangerous. He does so, in part, by reminding us in situations that we have managed well, dreams that have manifested.

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“Like every creature, you can know when you are in the presence of danger. You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations” (Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear, p.6

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Gavin de Becker wants us to know that we all have the capability of and responsibility to protect ourselves from violence. One skill that we can develop is trust in our intuition and this can start in infancy.  It is an infant’s “intuition” that allows them to believe Mama will soon be feeding her. If an infant cries out at feeding time, most mother’s respond as quickly as possible. If ‘feeding time’ is delayed or does not come at all, the infant will soon learn that the parent is untrustworthy and may not adequately develop the power of intuition.

Some people define intuition as going with our gut and we often pass this one to our kids. Parents often speak with their child about the ‘uh-oh’ feeling – an internal cue of ‘ickiness’ that can help kids recognize that something in their environment is wrong and that they may not be safe.

 We teach our children about the “uh-oh” feeling – an internal cue of “ickiness”  that helps the child to recognize when they may not be safe. Pay attention when your child reacts fearfully when Uncle Opa comes to visit or when they are left with a new babysitter. We tell our kids not to comply when asked by a stranger to help them find their puppy, etc. We tell them to ‘run away’, tell a trusted adult but not to go anywhere with them. As parents, we often worry that by talking about safety we are frightening our children but it may be saving them from kidnapping attempts, molestation, etc.

Gavin de Becker offers sage advice about trusting our intuition and our perceptions of people or events that will likely end in harm or violence, and help to differentiate good from bad, and safe from dangerous. He does so, in part, by reminding us in situations in our own history that ended well and those that didn’t.

Fear of violence isn’t the only type of fear you might fear. I did a quick survey on Facebook about the kinds of things that we fear the most. To some people, a fear of spiders is benign…a fear that is easily ‘conquerable.’ But the person with a phobia for spiders may not agree. The sighting of a spider may send them into a panic attack. Intense fear or discomfort may consume an individual. They may experience palpitations, a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, a sense of smothering or feeling of choking, abdominal distress, fear of losing control (or “going crazy”) or even fear that they are on the verge of dying. The attack can be so extreme that they have feelings of unreality or being detached from one’s body. (“This is not happening to me.”)

What do you fear the most? 

 A lot may depend on where you live, sleep, work, or even the society or culture to which you belong. A decade or even a generation or two ago, our fears were different than they might be today. Now women who travel sometimes fear that they will be kidnapped or forced into prostitution or sex trafficking? Does this seem unlikely to you? Trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Statistics vary, but I think we can all agree that it is a valid fear…as is rape. And Cancer.

If you watch the news today, you may wonder how people who live in the  Midwest are surviving the fires that are ravaging their land and homes. The undocumented fear deportation (or separation from their loved ones), we all fear terrorism even though sources tell us that fear will bring our nation harm. Black transgendered women (in particular) fear beatings and death, as do many in the LGBTQ community. People fear the disabling or even fatal viruses spreading my ticks and mosquitoes. Some people avoid going outside at all. Sadly, immigrant women fear to report incidents of domestic violence as it can result in deportation of either spouse.

Parents suffer from fears involving themselves and their families.  Many fear that they will predecease their child, that they will be forced with their family into poverty and homelessness. They are afraid their children will go hungry. Even home invasions.

Children fear the ‘monster under the bed”, getting lost, a parent(s) dying (which they also consider an ‘impossibility’), parental divorce, being kidnapped or abused, fire. But they also share many of the fears of grown-ups.  Some scientists believe that the concerns of the adults present in our children’s lives can be genetically passed on.

I have an acquaintance who does not want to be touched by another human being. Ever. He stiffens at the chance of a handshake or hug, whether it is that of a stranger, close friends, or even a romantic partner.   A little research brought me to a little-known phobia called haphephobia. Touch is unbearable. A similar phobia called mysophobia involves a person obsessed with protecting their personal space. Phobias can arise spontaneously or in response to touch that was harmful (abuse/battering), burglary, and even seemingly benign experiences.

Here is a quick look at some other unusual fears and phobias- some you may have heard of and others so rare that even a diligent search may not identify them:

  • For those of you who are werewolves (as well as, ordinary people) there is a fear of the moon. It is referred to as Sellenophobia.

Coulrophobia is a more generalized fear of individuals wearing makeup, wigs (often orange or red) and big red noses. CLOWNS. Author Stephen Kind propagated this fear in his novel, IT.  This evil clown pitch was a recent media hoax of killer clowns supposedly hiding in our forests and the edges of parking lots. Sightings have been reported in both the United States and the United Kingdom. This is often not an actual phobia and can be easily avoidable by staying away from circuses and other clownish events. Some individual did die as a result of the chaos the hoax caused. Coulrophobia does not typically interfere with our daily functioning as the fear of rain might.

Trypophobia is relatively rare and is a term coined on the internet in the mid- 2000’s. It is a fear of clusters of holes. I will write a bit more on trypanophobia in my forthcoming article about how fear affects our brains. I believe that I suffer from this visual myself as this image sends shivers up my spine. Seriously!!! So what is it about such images. Popular Science offers a “test” to see if the reader might have trypophobia. You can take it yourself to see if this might be something that can impact your daily functioning. Interesting stuff!

So  perhaps you are contemplating marriage or cohabitation, and you are trying to  get to know your partner. You know that she leaves her socks all over the floor and that he needs a lot of “space,” perhaps even a man cave on the premises. You ask all of the right questions in a most endearing manner. The topic comes up about whose responsibility it is to cook dinner in the evening as you both work 9 am-5pm at equally stressful workplaces.  Your partner has Mageirocophobia. Are you compatible? Are you destined to take-out meals every night? Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking. Salads are still good, you consider, as you sign on the dotted line of your new “lease for two” and hope for the best.

But what about the fear of red lights? If you live in America, red lights help to control traffic, indicate that you should pull your car over because something is malfunctioning, and red identifies when you should or should not enter a room. Tapping a red button might mean that you hope to annihilate tens of thousands of people. Starting a nuclear war???? (This has been rumored, but I cannot state that it is true.) A fear of red lights is called Ereuthophobia. At least now you understand why the woman behind you is beeping her horn.

Why would someone be fearful of bald people? If you search google images, you could find hundreds of photos of Gene Simmons when he performed with the 80’s band, Kiss. I can understand the first image of Gene Simmons “in the day.” being terrifying to some. Search a little harder, and perhaps you will find a photo of Simmons now bald.  Fear of bald people is referred to as Peladophobia. Babies are bald. So is Gene Simmons.

 

Some would say Simmons looks much less frightening with no hair. But not the folks who suffer from Now, he looks far less frightening. But I think is female companion may have a phobia against bright lights. In one small research project it was determined that people with an aversion to ‘bright lights’ suffer more panic attacks that others with this disorder.

 

 

 

 

 

Failure can be paralyzing. It can keep us from moving forward, of achieving our goals. Sometimes people with atychiphobia unknowingly sabotage their own efforts because they worry that they will not succeed.

Although I will address ‘triggers’ in my next article, some of those who develop this phobia grew up with overly critical caregivers and carry that negativity into their adult life.

The fear of failure can catapult itself into mental disorders. Some of these disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, depression, social phobias, depressions and OCD.

Cracks in the sidewalk? Fear or phobia? Always consider the following when attempting to determine whether fear or set of behaviors has developed into one of the true phobias or a mental disorder (inclusion in the DSM-5):

  • Is the fear or associated behaviors outside the norm?
  • Does the fear cause distress in your life?
  • Does it impact how you function on all or most days?

The list of fears and phobias is extensive, perhaps, unending. If it exists, someone probably fears it. Fears sometimes develop around Halloween. The paranormal world provides us with ghosts, ghouls, poltergeists, shapeshifters, skin-crawlers, and other non-worldly entities. It is a holiday that can be a lot of fun or a holiday that is terrorizing for some.

     I mentioned briefly that fear can be our “friend,” especially in situations involving the potential for violence- emotional, physical, psychic, etc. Can you think of a time when you felt threatened even before you were approached by a potential perpetrator? I get frightened if I have to use an ATM at night or when the ATM is accessible to anyone. If there is someone else present, I am likely to withdraw less money figuring if I get “robbed” (which feels ‘imminent’ to me) they won’t get much money. My imagination is stirred up, and I begin to consider what I would do if someone insisted that I empty my bank accounts and give them the money. Or even more hideous…if they threatened or assaulted me.

So what good is having this gut feeling of fear? How does it keep me safe? Fear is a teacher. It has taught me to only use an ATM during the day in a busy area where a robbery is unlikely. So, as Gavin de Becker says, “Fear is a Gift.” I learned ‘avoidance’ of a particular set of circumstances.

Survivors of domestic violence often express that they knew intuitively when they may receive a beating.  Take, for example, a wife returning home after a stressful day at work. She is tired and grouchy. Her partner had not started preparing dinner but was bathing the children. She slams her briefcase onto the kitchen table and yells at her partner to come get their dinner in the oven. Her partner promises he will after finishing bath time. The wife goes into an immediate rant of how hard she works and that since her partner gets home an hour earlier than she, dinner should be on the table. When her partner refuses to continue arguing and keeps shampooing their child’s hair, she comes into the bathroom and begins to beat her partner with an antique hair brush. The child screams and scrambles to get out of the tub. Her partner is left with extensive bruising and a deflated ego as her response was to protect the child and bear the brunt of the assault.

What do you suppose would have happened if her partner acknowledged the instincts that provided the knowledge she needed to avoid an assault? She must have known that her partner was already in a bad mood that would likely worsen when she did not respond immediately to her demands, dry off the child and get dinner in the oven. But perhaps, in this case, all of the ‘gut feelings’ may not have allowed her to circumvent the assault.  Perhaps her instincts told her to remain with the child and not join in the aggressive rant. Perhaps she knew that unless she ‘fought back,’ injury would occur. Where can we find the gift in these circumstances? Perhaps it is a gift of a future without violence. Maybe she would leave.

               So I’ll wrap this up with the promise of FEAR TWO…a discussion about how our brains are impacted by the high emotion of fear. We will examine how victims of stalking may react when they are first convinced that they are being stalked and more about how your survival signals can protect you from violence. No matter where you live, how much money you do or do not have, whether you tend to be quiet and live a predominantly isolating life or you are a “social butterfly”…no one is exempt from the possibility of victimization. You probably have already been a victim/survivor.

 

I WOULD LOVE SOME FEEDBACK AND SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO PROGRESS TO FEAR TWO. DID ANY OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS POSTING SURPRISE YOU? FRIGHTEN YOU? SHARE WHAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE DOING…YOU CAN ALWAYS SEND ME A PRIVATE MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK OR AN EMAIL AT fetsybay@yahoo.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Betsy of Betsy’s Beaten Path.

 

Can we link mental health to our creative selves?

creativity image

What is creativity?

Creativity happens when an individual makes new connections between thoughts or objects. It is the architect who figures out how to build a 3 story high handicap ramp and the scientist who breaks another DNA code. Creative thinkers explore the unknown, sometimes without ever needing to leave their front porch. He or she may “produce” something that has never been produced previously. Their achievements provoke us, tantalize, entertain or teach those of us whose minds are open to the experience.

Some say that creativity is unique to human beings. I don’t.

spider web

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Is there a link between mental illness and creativity?

A link between the two has been theorized. However, only a few studies were felt to have established that link. I worry that some of signs/behaviors often displayed by persons with mental illness are the same behaviors that you might see in a person described by many as “eccentric”. Creative people are often perceived as just a little bit different than the rest of us. In fact, there is no doubt that creative persons share some of the psychological processes that you might see someone in a state of madness.  Additionally, creative individuals often exhibit unusual thought processes and affect, personality treats (disorders?) and characteristic behaviors.

So what does all of this mean?

            Consider an extraordinary opera star who truly rose from the dust of ordinariness. For those who believe in a connection between creativity and mental disorders, genius cannot exist without the presence of madness.

Ever since I first started studying psychology, I was impressed by the seeming enormity of creative persons who suffered severe mental illness. I’ll give you just a few names:

  • Vincent Van Gogh-
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Ezra Pound
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Robin Williams

Artists, writers, scientists, philosophers, composers, sculptors…. just about any over-achiever. Some suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, personality disorders, etc. Their illness is severe. But please consider that there are many, many more creative geniuses who are also emotionally healthy.

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Does this suggest that emotional instability is key to creativity?

Perhaps for some but I believe that mental instability is detrimental to creativity. It certainly did in my experience…and I am no ‘creative genius.

For most of my life, I have suffered from Major Depression and sometimes required hospitalization in a psych unit. I may, at that point, been stripped of many things including my privacy and freedom. But I did have pens and paper and I put them to good work. From the deepest depression, I wrote my deepest, darkest, most disturbing yet illuminating poetry. I did not have the focus to write a short grocery list, yet……………??

My gloomy affect and attitude oddly lended itself to my feeling more motivated whereas just a few weeks earlier, I would not have been able to life a pen. My mood began to lift. My imagination was intact. The darkness was inspiring. The feedback I received on my dismal poetry was that it hurt too much to read it. No, I’m not a creative genius. Not even close.

I think the safest thing to say is that, yes, my journey through many years of therapy did unleash some creative abilities and interests. The subject matter for my poetry often came to me in the form of nightmares and flashbacks. Fighting off traumatic memories brought my past to the forefront. My illness may have provided me with ‘gist’ for the mill. Depression was not my friend but at times it was my inspiration.

That Old Creative Madness

So, would I have to “stay sick” to be creative

Can I try to live my life with the hopes that life itself will now provide me creative ‘gist” for my writer’s mind?

The relationship between creativity and insanity may simply be apocryphal. (defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, apocryphal is defined as “of doubtful authenticity:  spurious)

I am quite sure that there are musicians, writers, poets, and many more creative individuals who have led emotionally stable lives who are simply creative geniuses. A few examples, include Albert Einstein, Duke Ellington, William James and the Carl Jung. Perhaps creativity should be linked to mental health!

Even more conflict between viewpoints

               Did I need my depression in order to pump up my creative side? Is mental illness a must or is it simply incidental to the creative process? Do different types of mental illness serve as inspiration? Some believe that persons with psychotic disorders display an ability to see the world in a novel form.

Creativity is non-negotiable. Life has been hard. But it is “precisely what will help you fight the darkness of the soul and the demons of the ordinary” (Pavita et al. 2007)

 

References

K.S. Pavita, C.R. Chandrosheker and Partha Choudhury. Creativity and Mental Health: Profiles of

Writers and Musicians. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. (2007). Jan-Mar; 49 (1): 34-43.

Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899997/.

Staff. Merriam Webster Dictionary Online. n.d. Definition of apocryphal.

Linking Creativity with Mental Health

Hello Readers!

It seems like months since my last blog. I am finally writing again after a prolonged period of writer’s block. During that time away from my blog, I braved a total knee replacement (my third) and experienced a challenging recovery.

It’s true. I am back!

I will be finishing up the article Linking Creativity with Mental Health by the beginning of the week, July 11th…or perhaps even sooner. Writing on this topic has been challenging but a good place to re-start this blog. I’ve completed a ton of research and I am now attempting to piece together two very opposing viewpoints.

So stand by!

Bets

 

A WARM FUZZY TALE

     Way back in the 1980’s, I worked in a shelter for women who were battered and their children. It was the first shelter in our area and I acted as the “Child Advocate”. I worked with the children while they were at the shelter trying to meet their many needs, entertain them and offer comfort and safety. I had come across this story (which I have adapted for a specific purpose) in literature about transactional psychology. I have found it over the years to please and benefit “KIDS” of all ages. When working in the shelter, listening to the story of and then creating beautiful “warm fuzzies” was a week long adventure. You will understand more when you read my adapted story. The original author, Claude Steiner shared this story in many languages with children around the world. They had a common language. And whatever you called these creatures known as Warm Fuzzies, you knew what it meant when you gave a Warm Fuzzy to a friend or acquaintance. It meant that you would get that warm and fuzzy feeling in your belly and your heart. 

My reason for once again re-writing this wonderful tale is as a sort of “community building tool” for the community wherein I reside. Conflict has torn the small apartment complex apart making it very stressful for many of the tenants to continue living here. I was hoping that through the use of humor that will hopefully remind folks of what “community” really means. So, welcome to my tale of the Warm and Fuzzy Tale.

A Warm and Fuzzy Tale

Not  long ago, in a place not far from Near, there was a tiny village where everyone was Happy. ( joyous, content)

Why were they so Happy? Each time a newcomer entered this lovely community, the Village Manager gave them a leather pouch.  In the pouch, there were 3 (three) Warm Fuzzies. The tenants of the village were encouraged to share their Warm Fuzzies because surely there would always be enough for everyone. Warm Fuzzies re-generated themselves each time you gave one away. On the other hand, if you hoarded them, they were not able to duplicate. Isolation is just sometimes like that. 

Warm Fuzzies produce those warm and fuzzy feelings that you get inside your belly and your heart when someone gives you a special gift, shares their cup of Fuzzy Java, offers hugs, handshakes, nods of approval, a welcoming Hello, a shared laugh, a random act of kindness or even tells you that you smell good.

 There were many variations of Warm Fuzzies but most looked something like this:

clipartfuzzyOne day, a very wicked witch snuck into the Village that was not far from Near. She (or was it just a sorceress in drag?) tried to cast evil spells. Some say she turned a man into stone but no one has ever found him so perhaps that is just a “Witch Tale”? She tried her spells again and again but none of them worked because the people in the Village were just too darn happy. After all, they each had a pouch full of unending Warm Fuzzies. Each time that they shared a W.F., another one would grow so they had no fear of running out.

The villagers felt free to exchange their Warm Fuzzies every day…or at least every other day.

But then the wicked witch consorted with another wicked witch and they came up with a very, very bad plan that could change the very nature of the small village (not far from Near). The wicked witches (or perhaps they were sorceress’ in drag or perhaps one witch and one sorceress. Does it really matter?)

Anyway, they designed phony Warm Fuzzies that were really COLD PRICKLIES.

Now, a cold prickly delivers a real punch. It can shape-shift to a Warm Fuzzy simply by adding a snarl. Cold Pricklies look like this: 

 clipartprickly

Unless the counterfeit Warm Fuzzy was snarling, few could tell the difference.

 His eyebrows were a dead giveaway, however, no one seemed to notice. 

Unlike Warm Fuzzies, Cold Pricklies show up at the oddest times and make you feel pretty shitty inside. They can come in the forms of insults, being ignored, silent treatments, gossip and downright rudeness. Nobody wants Cold Pricklies.

SO anyway,

Those wicked individuals came by night when the villagers were asleep, and stole all of the Warm Fuzzies and replaced them in the pouches with Warm Fuzzy look-a-likes or Cold Pricklies.

Oh, NO!

The very next day, the villagers arose and began just another Happy Day. It was hardly noticeable at sunrise, but there were a few grim looking clouds overhead and everyone appeared a little “testy”. Their eyes had lost their shine, their backs were hunched and the kind words they said came out all

However, they still began their day by offering each other a Warm Fuzzy.  Hey, how are you? Did you sleep well last night?”, “You look well today?” “Thank you for loaning me those warm and fuzzy socks.” “Can I get you anything at the store for you?”, “If you need some help just let me know?” “Gotta quarter for the washing machine?”  ETC, ETC, ETC.

But the villagers were not smiling. They were not feeling warm or even a little bit fuzzy. Many walked away with confused or downright sad faces; some went inside and would not come out again. Even the words “please” and “thank you” went unappreciated.

WHAT COULD BE WRONG??????

This went on for hours, days, weeks and then months. The little village became much too quiet or much too loud. People hurled insults, withdrew from neighborly relationships, and became ensnarled in adding to the great misery that showered them like acid rain. Every “Hello” felt like a burn, every “thank you” felt fake, every offer of help was received like the bubonic plague. The villagers did not trust each other- they could not accept a Warm Fuzzy without considering that it could be a Cold Prickly.

Oh, my…..

Then, one day in early Fall, an outsider came to the village. He did not look like a witch or a sorceress. In fact, he looked more like a prince. Anyway, he was greeted by a few of the villagers who continued to come out despite the threat of the Cold Pricklies. They had Faith.

One of the villagers offered what she hoped was a Warm Fuzzy to the prince-like person. She prayed that it would be a W.F. and not a C.P. but she was wrong.

The prince-like person stepped back from the pouch and exclaimed, “How dare you offer me a Cold Prickly”

“I am so sorry”, she said, tears running down her pale face. “My bag used to be full of Warm Fuzzies but now there appear to be counterfeit Warm Fuzzies that feel like Cold Pricklies. I do not know what to do?”

The gentle prince-like person knelt down beside her. “Empty your pouch out beside me. Do not touch them.
She did what she was told.

“Ah- Hah!”

said the prince-like person with the golden blond hair, blue eyes, and a generous dimple on his right cheek.

From his velvet coat-pocket, he pulled out a beautiful Warm Fuzzy, the fluffiest fuzzy that they had ever seen.

bigwarmfuz

 

“This, my lady, is a true Warm Fuzzy!”

Next, he compared the Warm Fuzzy that had come from his pocket with the counterfeit that lay beside him.

“Now, can you tell the difference?”

 

“T E R R I F I C!” cried the villager.

“Now all that we have to do is get rid of the counterfeit fuzzies and replace them with our old, good-feelings Warm Fuzzies. But, oh, where shall we find them? And who will believe me?”

“Here, here. I have a whole sack of them right here. I have more than enough to give each villager 3 (three) Warm Fuzzies to begin growing their own. 

And so, the lovely villager took the first chance, knocked on each door and offered a Warm Fuzzy from her pouch. Now there was much resistance at first…people were tentative about accepting the Warm Fuzzies for fear that they were Cold Pricklies instead. What if the “come sit with me!”, warm blueberry muffins, thank you’s, compliments, “you smell nice” ETC, ETC. ETC were taken the wrong way. What if the Warm Fuzzy was sinister like a bad joke???

BUT SOMETHING MIRACULOUS HAPPENED THAT DAY!

The pretty little villagers told her story of the prince-like person and how he generously filled each of their pouches with W. F.s and the C. P’s were destroyed. Everyone was off with a clean slate, a renewed capability of accepting (tolerating?) each other and trusting the goodness that could be shared.

 

So this is the tale of the WARM FUZZIES and COLD PRICKLIES adapted by me, Betsy, from the original WARM FUZZY story written in the 1960’s by Claude Steiner-

 

SO…..what do you keep in your pouch?

Being Grandma

Happy Grandparents Day  

chuckswiftfb

Another Grandparents Day comes to a close and I am feeling heavy. With all of the joy of watching a child there is sometimes pain.  We all know that parenting is the hardest job in the world but let it be said that grand-parenting is not far behind. We (Grand-ma’s and Grand-dads, Nanas and Papas) now have two generations of children to care about and love. That means that there are at least 3 hearts that we want to save from heartbreak.  Blood has tethered them to us forever but Life has taught us that there are times we must cut them loose to make their own mistakes, experience their own joy, create the life for themselves and their children that they really want because they only get one life to create and it passes so quickly. I’ve often thought that it would be great if we could transfer our own learning via some sort of transfusion process that is silent and undetectable. But then I recognize that we may have made bad choices in our own parenting life and what would stop those mistakes, poor judgement, etc. from being transferred as well. So…I guess we are left with communication – a huge and sometimes scary task that often means taking risks. But I am a Grandma after all and time is a wastin’.

For all Grandmas and Granddads, Nanas and Papas, I hope that you had a wonderful Grandparents Day.

May the Force Be With YOU!

Photo by Chuck Swift…check him out on FB

No Matter How Tasty

image for TASTYGrandma packs her paltry belongings in a rag bag – more rag than bag. Folded neatly is a worn flannel gown mended only to last “one more year”. The spigot from their first sink with running water from their old farmhouse down country is wrapped in a paper. At the top of the bag, she places a carefully bound 2-page scrapbook holding news clippings from the day Papa bought the Keller farm plus one faded photograph of their wedding 50 years prior.

Now Papa was not an ambitious man – a dozen coops in the backyard with cages too small for the hens. Papa had one expectation. Each day the hens would lay one egg. No egg; chicken soup. She could barely keep the pot full. When Papa died, the chickens stopped laying altogether. No eggs; chicken soup.

The mortgage came due and Papa’s small nest egg was gone. The bank would not accept Grandma’s offer of payment by chicken soup. The bank foreclosed.  No chickens; no eggs. No chicken soup.

Grandma moves to the County home.  

betsy mcdermott fecto

Whoa…I am way behind

Just wanted to say a quick hello. I had promised some blogging about chronic pain and mental health. I started taking an intense 30 day writing course and I am finding it to be very time-consuming. I’m doing a lot of writing…just not on my blog. I will return come September and in the meanwhile I may post some of the prose and poetry that I have been writing. Soon, then…bets

Just for FUN

Before I began this blog, Betsy’s Beaten Path, I underwent some tutoring with a WordPress expert. He tutored me in the “fine art of word press blogging and I, in exchange, provided him with some creative writings on the topic of OWLS. I am providing you with a link to our combined project not only because I think you may find it fun (be sure to listen to the various sounds I discovered made by different species of OWLS) but because it helps to show you where I want to progress to with my blog. I wrote the text, he set up the site and he is a dynamo as you will see. So…check out:  The Owls of Maine . 

You can check out the whole site by visiting each tab.

Let me know what you think! Bets

Chronic Pain & Creativity

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The Institute of Medicine estimates that there are over 100 million individuals suffering from Chronic Pain in the United States.

In this blog, I TALK ABOUT HOW CHRONIC PAIN CAN IMPACT YOUR CREATIVITY, as well as, how our creativity is affected by chronic pain. I have mentioned in previous postings that there are many treatments for chronic pain, some more effective than others. but few treatments have long term benefits with the exception of getting in touch with our creative side. 

Continue reading Chronic Pain & Creativity