Adventures in Marty! 10

waitingroom simon plelow flickr

by Simon Plelow on flickr.com

Huddled together in the waiting room, everyone had the same words in their eyes. They took Leelee into a room, told the family to wait outside. Fear has a horrible taste. Seems to get into the bloodstream. It infects every system the body uses to function. In moments like these even the indomitable human spirit can acquiesce to perceived terror.

Both mothers are utilizing their nurturing skills. Alex is being showered with affection. In rapid fire succession, words of encouragement, are aimed and released at Alex. John sits in silence. Makes eye contact with his son in-law on occasion. Doesn’t say anything. That’s his little girl in there. His concern is written all over his face. John is a devoted father. Adored by his family. He loves his daughter.

Grace worked in the medical field before she retired. She explained that nearly a third of pregnant women experience some bleeding during the first twelves weeks. It often doesn’t mean anything serious. The odds are in our favor. All bleeding is scary. But we have every right to hope for the best. Let’s stay positive. I think everything is going to be fine. She offered a warm smile to the others. It brought a sense of calm.

Alex had been pacing back and forth. He sat next to his mother. She understood his unspoken request. She gladly put her arm around him. Brought his head into her chest. Comforted her son. The circumstances creating this opportunity for affection are uninvited. She is thankful that her man-child is in her arms. She longed. Almost begged. For Leelee not to miscarry. Her  desire to be close to her son, her only child, is penetrating.

Hospitals have a feel. A smell. A reputation beyond their medical services. They are gathering places for people in need. Anxiety permeates the air supply. Pain congregates in designated waiting areas. In just a couple of hours it’s possible to witness every emotion known to man. People accept the best and worst news from people in white coats. Or scrubs. Sometimes strangers tell you the last thing you want to hear about your loved one.

sadness en.wikipedia.org

c/o en.wikipedia.org

Alex spoke. His words pierced the silence that had formed an invisible structure around the four of them. Leelee and I have been talking about God. A lot. I’m exploring. Asking questions. You all know I believe in God. But I have had a problem with the way some things happened in my life. I blamed God for my pain. If He is so loving, why would He allow bad things to happen? Especially to innocent children. They couldn’t take their eyes off Alex. Mesmerized at his openness. They didn’t dare speak. They were hungry for Alex to keep talking.

I buried some difficult things. Stuffed them deep down inside me. I never wanted to talk about them. His mother didn’t know how much Alex is going to reveal. She had done some stuffing of her own. She loved her son as much as any mother could. Her reservations about what Alex would talk about were met with an invitation to get it all out. She wanted a healthy relationship with her son. They were good with each other. She knew it could be much better.

Alex continued. I’ve had some sort of breakthrough. The news of Leelee being with child caused something to release inside of me. The past few weeks have been like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I’m changing in ways I didn’t think were possible. I’ve reached out to God. I want to understand. I want to know Him. I would like to have my questions answered. We can’t lose this baby. Why would God let us lose this baby?

John’s voice was clear and authoritative. Both women started to speak at the same time. Wanting to steer Alex in the right direction. They willingly gave John the floor. Listen to me son, he said. No matter what happens here tonight you are not alone. You have family. People that care about you. God is always with you. He’s with all of us. God isn’t a pill you take to prevent anything bad from happening. He’s the ever-present help in times of trouble. Life is a journey with hills and valleys. Many ups and downs take place over the course of a lifetime. Part of maturing, understanding, and growing involves knowing God is with you no matter what.

femaledr walt stoneburner flickr

by Walt Stoneburner at flickr.com

I hear what you’re saying, John. I still have lots of questions. John replies, that’s good. Don’t pressure yourself to answer all of them tonight, Alex. We are here in this moment together. Our love and faith is interwoven. We are strong together. Whatever we have to face we will face together. As Alex started to respond to John the door opened. The doctor came directly to them. Her facial expressions announced good news before she spoke a word.

Leelee is fine. The baby is fine. Nothing to worry about. The doctor explained why bleeding sometimes occurs and reassured them, all is well. We want to keep her for a few hours more just to observe her. We want to let her finish receiving the fluids from her IV bag. I expect she can go home by early afternoon. Any questions? she asked. Can we see her? Yes. Please don’t wake her. Let her sleep as long as she can.

They squeeze around the door to her room. Leelee looks beautiful. Peaceful. Restful.

Every eye in the unseen world takes note of the All-Powerful at work.

Marty will return next Friday!

 

 

 

5 Ways to Become a Better Thinker

Today I’m re-posting an article I read on LinkedIn.

I’m always on the lookout for sound, practical advice, to incorporate into my daily practices. I found this interesting. Maybe you will too, Rick Amitin.

 

Colleges and universities don’t offer courses in thinking, although it is arguably the most valuable skill anyone can master. When people try to improve mentally, they might aim at increasing their IQ or gain a larger vocabulary. It’s disputed whether anyone’s intelligence can be meaningfully increased, but there is so much else that can be improved if you stand back and approach thinking per se as a skill.

 

Here are five tips that will improve almost anyone’s ability not simply to think but to think effectively in any situation.

 

  1. Use your brain efficiently.

Although thinking is mental, it is intimately connected to the brain, which has its own specific physiology. As a physical organ, the first thing the brain needs is adequate sleep every night. Medical science still considers why we need sleep a mystery, but there’s no doubt that we do. Insomnia needs to be overcome, if at all possible, without sleep aids, because even over-the-counter remedies leave most people feeling groggy and dull the next day.

 

It’s also extremely beneficial to vary the brain’s activity by giving it some down time during the day, which can amount to sitting alone quietly with eyes shut for 10 minutes every six hours or so. Standing up and moving around once an hour refreshes the body as a whole. Using caffeine or sugar to stimulate a fatigued brain is nowhere near as effective as adopting the practice of meditation, which is the best brain “reset” ever discovered, along with a host of other benefits.

 

  1. Check in on your state of mind.

The psychology of thinking is just as important as the physiology of thinking. It begins with knowing what your general mood is. We tend to approach thinking a purely rational and logical at its best, but this conception is not entirely adequate. A bad mood can distort anyone’s judgment and decision-making abilities. Various psychological studies have found that the same is true when we’re in a good mood–people tend to pay too much for things if their mood is either good or bad. Don’t deny to yourself that you happen to be in a certain mood. Only if you recognize your mental state can you deal with it and take it into account.

 

  1. Don’t separate reason from emotion.

Psychology research has found that it is impossible to separate out rationality as a pure trait untouched by emotion. All thinking is colored by emotions, which is especially true with decision-making. People who believe that they are cold-blooded rationalists whose decisions contain no personal element are fooling themselves, which makes their decisions not only suspect but blinkered. Since emotions are always part of the equation, be aware of them; don’t push them away. By the same token, if you see that you are anxious, depressed, hostile, envious, or otherwise affected by negative emotions, don’t make important decisions–or even mundane ones–until you have calmed down.

 

  1. Recognize bad thinking when it occurs.

Although the human mind will never be as mechanically precise as a computer’s calculations–and shouldn’t aspire to be–there are definite flaws that can be improved upon. Bad thinking comes in several major categories, and it’s good to know what they are so that you can avoid them in yourself and others.

  • Conflicted thinking occurs when you aren’t clear about what the topic is and how to clearly define the major terms.
  • Wishy-washy thinking comes from the refusal to commit to a position.
  • Arbitrary thinking is a stab in the dark after a reasonable way to reach a conclusion has failed.
  • Hidebound thinking resorts to old, familiar prejudices, biases, and viewpoints that refuse to change in the present circumstances.
  • Blinkered thinking comes from the habit of not looking at things that make you uncomfortable; you blind yourself either on purpose or unconsciously.

Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest about whether these flaws have crept into your thinking process.  They too easily become ingrained and repetitive if you aren’t watching out. Any or all of them can be labeled irrational thinking, but that’s too vague a term. See the next point below for why so-called irrational thinking or illogical thinking is quite often beneficial.

 

  1. Develop a strong intuition.

Most people discount intuition and its power to improve their thinking. For decades intuition was called “feminine” as a means of disparaging or discounting it, yet almost all creativity is based on intuition. So are “aha” moments that deliver insights and unexpected solutions. Without intuition the mind plods and becomes routine. It can be argued that the deepest source of the mind is totally intuitive, as validated by centuries of meditative and contemplative practices. The validation consists of discovering things in ourselves that became the basis for art, philosophy, spirituality, morality, and the whole concept of truth itself. Labeling these vast accomplishments of the human mind irrational makes no sense, even if it has become a trend today, when computers are held up as an ideal of pure logic. Your thinking will become infinitely richer a/s you welcome intuition and learn to develop it.

 

All of these points are valuable if you want to improve your thinking, but the last point, about developing intuition, is important enough that we’ll discuss it in detail in the next post.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD  and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.  www.deepakchopra.com

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