The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

Feeling Blue? Try donating your blood

Giving blood can be surprisingly uplifting. I donate every eight weeks or so because it feels so good to make that immediate positive impact.

From my personal and professional experience, I have come to understand that searching for happiness is a somewhat bleak cause. Happiness can be fleeting, flimsy, fast. Instead of searching for happiness, searching for ways to feel useful and peaceful are much better drivers for feeling good, which can lead to more joy — which is long lasting and not based on external stimuli. Feeling useful and peaceful is the foundation for all good things in my life.

Giving blood checks off so many boxes, plus according to Tim Ferriss’ research (THE FOUR HOUR BODY), donating blood successfully lowers your probability of getting cancer. This is because when you donate blood, the iron stores within your body remain at a more healthy level. Studies have shown that a lower iron store level in the body is connected to a lower cancer risk. This has several significant benefits for health and longevity.

In sum, giving blood is a total WIN/WIN event…you get a sweet bump up for feeling useful and peaceful plus you lower your odds of getting cancer💙

💥 INTO ACTION? You can easily make an appointment here: http://www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. 💥

Don’t take my word for it, be a good scientist in the laboratory of your life… make a donation and just observe how you feel afterwards.

Onward and Upward✨

Lisa Wessan

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UP NEXT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills (DBT) new semester on Mindfulness and Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Once again I am delighted to be entering a new semester of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills training.  Here is the DBT flyer for the next group: DBT FLYER FOR AUTUMN 2021

Fast Facts:

  • All 90-minute groups are $65/Week (private pay, no copays.)  Students with PPO or Out of Network benefit can be reimbursed AFTER they submit my Superbill to their insurance company. 
  • Students pay in full prior to start of group. Personal checks, money orders or PayPal are used for fees. All fees and forms must be completed by 9/17/21 to gain entry to this group.
  • My students are 95% well mannered, high functioning and convivial.  For those who occasionally tend to demand more attention, want to give inappropriate feedback and/or act out in any way, I do have a strong “Respectful Communication Policy” in place and several useful group rules which help to maintain a safe, harmonious and cohesive group atmosphere.  All are welcome, but there is no allowance for rude or harsh behavior.
  • Group members will continue to process their unresolved traumas in their individual therapy, not in this group. This is a therapeutic psychoeducation program. (It is NOT group therapy.)
  • Group size ranges from 6-12 students.

May this serve you or your loved ones well🌟

Onward and Upward,

 Lisa Wessan

PS – there are currently two spots still open for this group. If you know someone who could benefit, please tell them to contact me quickly. 

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Say Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything, by Viktor E. Frankl

Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Viktor E. Frankl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I appreciate the succinct and compact composition of this unabridged audio book. As much as I loved Frankl’s earlier book, Man’s Search for Meaning, this one extracts the essence of Frankl’s Logotherapy (the power of meaning and purpose in life). He provides valuable ideas and interventions geared towards Solution Focused therapy.

I continue to be touched, moved and inspired by Frankl, on ever deeper and more meaningful levels💙



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Just for Today, by Sybil F. Partridge

1.  Just for today I will be happy.  This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

2.  Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.  I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

3.  Just for today I will take care of my body.  I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

4.  Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind.  I will learn something useful.  I will not be a mental loafer.  I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

5.  Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways;  I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out.  I will do at least two things I don’t want to do as William James suggests, just for exercise.

6.  Just for today I will be agreeable.  I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

7.  Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once.  I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

8.  Just for today I will have a program.  I will write down what I expect to do every hour.  I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.  It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.

9.  Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax.  In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.

10.  Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

If we want to develop a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, here is Rule #1:

Think and act cheerfully, and you will feel cheerful.

Written by Sybil F. Partridge   1916 and printed in
How To Stop Worrying, And Start Living, by Dale Carnegie, 1951

LW: Whenever you set a new intention, or want to develop a positive new habit, or break an old negative habit, start something new, always remember, “Progress not Perfection.” Old ways are tough to change, but it will get done. Slowly, slowly, you can do it. Never give up💙

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The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment. ~ Unknown

During my morning hike I came across this beautiful field of dandelions…

Weeds or flowers?

I choose flowers💕

The Dandelion Story

A man bought a new house and decided that he was going to have a very beautiful lawn.  He worked on it every week, doing everything the gardening books told him to do. His biggest problem was that the lawn always seemed to have dandelions growing where he didn’t want them.  The first time he found dandelions, he pulled them out. But, alas, they grew back. He went to his local gardening store and bought weed killer. This worked for some time, but after summer rains, alas, he found dandelions again.  He worked and pulled and killed dandelions all summer. The next summer he thought he would have no dandelions at all, since none grew over winter. But, then, all of a sudden, he had dandelions all over again. This time he decided the problem was with the type of grass.  So, he spent a fortune and had all new sod put down. This worked for some time and he was very happy. Just as he started to relax, a dandelion came up. A friend told him it was due to the dandelions in the lawns of his neighbors. So he went on a campaign to get all his neighbors to kill all their dandelions.  By the third year, he was exasperated. He still had dandelions. So, after consulting every local expert and garden book, he decided to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture for advice. Surely the government could help. After waiting several months, he finally got a letter back. He was so excited. Help at last! He tore open the letter and read the following:  

“Dear Sir: We have considered your problem and have consulted all of our experts. After careful consideration, we think we can give you very good advice. Sir, our advice is that you learn to love those dandelions.”[De Mellow, A. (1984). The song of the bird. New York: Image Books.]

This is a story about Radical Acceptance, and learning to accept the things we cannot change. Radical Acceptance is a lifelong process that you experience each day, in many opportunities and forms. Notice all the dandelions in your life. Some might be close family and friends, others might be strangers. Most important, do not judge your judging – just observe and let it go🌟


	
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Possible Covid Cure found in Israel

I love to share good news…here’s something to tuck away for self soothing and look forward to in 2021.

May this article help you turn your anticipatory anxiety into anticipatory JOY!

Has Israel just found the cure for Covid? – ISRAEL21c

Good health is wealth, go for it💙

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Learning to Live in AMBIGUITY with peace, even joy

Voting super early in October…
Here’s gratitude galore to artist Sam Durant (b. 1961 – ), for this powerful piece, Like, man, I’m tired of waiting, 2002. It’s currently on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford MA. (The Wadsworth is definitely worth a trip!)

So here is my Cultural Appropriation du jour…I hope Mr. Durant does not mind me borrowing his racial justice motif for these politically toxic times…Mea culpa, mea culpa, I just can’t resist.

I know that learning to live in ambiguity with any measure of peace — even joy — is a clear marker for how healthy I am inside.

To improve your mental state, I ask you to find ways to feel more useful. To that end, I think it’s ALWAYS more effective to replace the WHY questions with the HOW questions. Let me unpack this a bit…

When you ask WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, you never get a satisfying or truly acceptable answer. Plus, no one really knows exactly WHY harsh things happen. Oh yes, there are tons of theories, but ultimately, it’s never quite known for sure. There are too many complicated, multi-dimensional issues to pinpoint “The Reason Why” something – or someone – is in such a negative state.

That’s why I think that asking the HOW questions is going to give you a big payoff. For example, asking “How can I be helpful? How can I be useful? How can I make this better?” in your micro world, at home, work, school, will shift you into taking positive actions. Then you will start to feel as if you are part of the solution, as elusive as it may seem to be at times.

Plus asking “How can I help?” takes the focus off of you…dare I say it? So much mental anguish comes from the Pity Party we have for ourselves. Moreover, too much self absorption leads to the impulse issues being activated, such as drinking, drugging, food binges, shopping, gambling, porn and so on. As I’ve heard it said, “Poor me, poor me, POUR ME A DRINK!”

In sum, compared to sitting and watching the news on your digitals, having a depressing Pity Party, marinating in fear and anxiety, asking the HOW questions is surely a better path.

Here is the beautiful and amazing 5D Flow…Peace in your heart can bring peace to the world. Yes, as you feel more peaceful and useful, you radiate that energy out and it definitely has a ripple effect.

As it is written:

Peace in my heart brings peace to the family.
Peace in the family brings peace to the community.
Peace in the community brings peace to the nation.
Peace in the nation brings peace to the world.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
~ Author Unknown ~

Best of all, when you ask HOW questions, you are no longer feeling like a victim! When you ask “Why is this happening [to me]? ” “Why don’t they just blah blah blah?” You feel powerless, impotent, ineffective and probably a tad depressed or anxious.

Ideally, with good inner work. you could become bulletproof to the news. At your best, you want to feel all the feelings in the grief-rage-sadness spectrum, and then move on quickly to what you love. Why? Because as I have learned from many teachers, what you focus on INCREASES…where your attention goes, your energy flows. If you focus on hate and all the haters, you will feel more hateful and angry. Simple, but not easy.

Finally, you’re probably tired of people reminding you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, but truly, that is a big part of the solution here. Learning to ask How can I be useful, coupled with a daily — even HOURLY – gratitude list, could carry you a long way during these challenging cockalocka poo poo slinging times.

❤Here’s to learning to live in the WAITING ROOMS of life with more peace and joy❤

Related Reading:

On the myth of closure, ambiguous loss and complicated grief by Lisa Wessan

The Art of Living is the Art of Waiting by Lisa Wessan

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.
www.LisaWessan.com

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Walk and Talk Therapy featured on Boston Chronicle with Lisa Wessan

Lisa Wessan featured on Inside/Outside episode

09.09.20 – ABC News/The Boston Chronicle, Inside/Outside episode. Finding Peace in the Great Outdoors. I was interviewed by great team from the Boston Chronicle concerning my work with Walk and Talk Therapy. This was part of a longer story about how we are taking our work outside during the pandemic.

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Reflections on Juneteenth 2020 and the Evolution of Consciousness

Evolution of Consciousness

“One discovers the light in the darkness, that is what darkness is for.”  
James Arthur Baldwin, novelist

I have felt crushed and overloaded by the recent events of our times, but still feel peaceful and hopeful that we are having a wonderful new beginning.  History teaches me that the Dark ages are followed by the Renaissance, Saul becomes Paul, the heroin addicted sex worker becomes an addiction counselor, on and on. This is the emergence of consciousness, over and over here at Earth School.

The Program is designed to move us forward until we realize and accept our Oneness with each other and the Universe.  But what a long journey it is…probably many lifetimes of learning are achieved before we totally get it.

During the crisis, the saying goes,  “When one door closes, another one opens, but it is hell in the hallway.”  I’m the one who tells my clients “…It doesn’t have to be hell in the Hallway.  You can choose to create a different kind of experience during ambiguous times.”  Yes, I do believe that is still true. Yet during these past few months the Hallway has been brutal. Each day, it is a struggle to stay focused on solutions and find some joy, despite the chaos around us.

This pandemic chaos and  racism crisis also remind me of the Chinese word for crisis, which is made of two symbols, Danger and Opportunity.  In each crisis, we are totally at risk, and yet the opportunity for a new and improved consciousness is here.  That’s the good news. Again, it’s part of the Program for the evolution of our consciousness.

As much as I want to discuss ways to live in ambiguity with peace, even joy, today I feel the need to be quiet.  I am sitting with the grief, and processing the harsh reality of the racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of tribal cognitive distortion that are still infecting our world in tandem with COVID-19.

Here are two resources which have been particularly soothing, uplifting and informative recently:

“Bleed the Same,” with Toby Mac and Kirk Franklin.
This song captures exactly what I am feeling, and what needs to be said now.
No other words say it so perfectly.

⭐ Tim Ferriss’  interview Coach George Raveling, 82,  “This Unique Moment in Time, How to Practice Self-Leadership, Navigating Difficult Conversations and much more” .

In the throes of feeling this intense outpouring of emotion after George Floyd was murdered, and under the suffocating history of  racism,  I appreciate hearing how this wise black man frames this moment.  This wide ranging interview will give you an intimate view of Raveling’s extraordinary journey from being born in the basement of a segregated hospital,  to becoming a world class coach, and how he navigated his life in this ocean of racism all these years.

At one point, Raveling says “We are both the problem and the solution.”  Yes, I love that dialectical view for each of us. We are ALL accountable for this situation. We need to step up and take a stand to create a world worth living in, with “Equality and justice for all.”  Simple, but not easy.

So I invite you to listen to “Bleed the Same,” and Raveling’s interview.  I think your heart and mind will be moved to a new level of awareness, acceptance and then action. 

YES, you can be an agent of transformation, and turn this Hellish Hallway experience into a magnificent corridor for the evolution of consciousness!

Onward and Upward❤

Lisa Wessan

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

 

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Pandemic Retreat Tip 4 – Allowing time for Daily Grief Work

avoiding-5-stages-grief-visibility-program

Our culture has difficulty sitting still with feelings.  There is too often an attempt to keep busy and ignore the discomfort of our negative feelings. It has been my experience that many otherwise healthy people want to bypass their phases of grief and jump into positive thinking, avoiding those dark and mysterious pathways of  emotion.

Now we are faced with micro and macro levels of Ambiguous Loss and Grief.   Ambiguous Loss is when you lose someone but not all the way.  For example, you could lose a loved one to illness, such as Alzheimers Disease, Alcoholism, Cancer, Food Addiction/Anorexia. Your loved one might be lost at sea or on a mountain.

Ambiguous Loss is most painful when you live with someone who is “here but not here.”  If your loved one watches multiple hours of Netflix, or video games, and you miss them, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss.  If your loved one is slowly deteriorating from any illness or addiction, and you are watching them slowly disappear, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss. When you break up a relationship, divorce, move away, you experience Ambiguous Loss, “here but not here.”

Today we have the Ambiguous Loss of our culture and daily routines. By not seeing the people, places and things that make up our life, we develop anticipatory anxiety of what will come next.  The anxiety then quickly morphs into Anticipatory Grief.

What is Anticipatory Grief?

I defer to Scott Berinato who unpacks our micro and macro Anticipatory Grief so usefully in his recent article in the Harvard Business Review (23 March 2020).  Berinato interviews David Kessler, who is one of our leading grief experts, and explores Kessler’s overview of our current pandemic existence. Learn more here: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.  

You may  think you are lonely, or exhausted, or anxious. That may be true. But I would agree with Berinato and Kessler in that you probably have unexpressed grief (and rage), which is clogging up your inner world.

It’s exhausting to repress grief and “act as if” you are perfectly fine. Yet we are called upon to buckle up and deal with life on life’s terms, so there is no binary solution here. We are asked to grieve our current losses and future losses PLUS carry on and live our lives.  So how is this possible?   By scheduling some Grief Work time into your calendar. Allowing time to release and let go will enhance your life as you release the inner pressure. Give yourself permission to unravel a bit.

Tears are the language of grief. Something I frequently suggest to my clients is  “Make some time to do your Grief Work.  Let it flow out of you.”  Most people resist this process and just hope by keeping super busy (or medicated or numbed with screen time) they can bypass the Grief Work.  Nay, nay, it must be done.  Cry now or cry later, but crying will help release those grief-balls that are jamming you up.

CS Lewis grief (2)

When we begin to honestly defrost our grief with each other and then seek solutions for our dilemmas, we start to feel a little better.  I am a fan of the stoic philosophy, but just focusing on solutions and keeping a stiff upper lip all the time is not helpful — something within shuts down and can go numb inside from repressing all that emotion.

Perhaps one of the silver linings from the Corona virus is that now, in this time of profound herd vulnerability, we will be more authentic with ourselves and each other?  Simple, but not easy. This is a practice that takes as long as it takes, perhaps lifetimes.

I have come to believe that your vulnerability is your superpower.  When you are brave enough to be vulnerable, you release, let go and successfully move on.  This is part of the multidimensional journey to wholeness and deep fulfillment💙

References:

Berinato, S. (23 March 2020). Harvard Business Review. That discomfort you are feeling is grief. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Mitchell, S. (1988). Tao Te Ching. New York: Harper Collins.

Wessan, L. (05 JAN 2019). On the “Myth of Closure,” Ambiguous Loss and Complicated Grief.  Retrieved from https://mirthmaven.blog/2019/01/05/on-the-myth-of-closure-ambiguous-loss-and-complicated-grief/

Helpful Scriptures for increased bravery and courage for your Grief Work:
Psalms 23, 31, 46, 126
Deuteronomy 31:6
Ecclesiastes 1:18
Proverbs 14:13

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

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