Month: January 2014

Have Crystal Ball Will Travel!

Mankind through the ages has been fascinated with mind-reading, dream interpretation, hypnosis and all things unknowable. Religion, science fiction, crystal-ball gazing, palm, tarot card and tea leaf reading all share some common elements: wanting to know more than what is immediately before us. We humans have a desperate desire to stretch beyond the realm of our own minds beyond the limits of our own realities. From time in memorial our species has carried on a love affair with the ephemeral, with things of the imagination. Whether we are talking about Galileo or Thomas Edison history is filled with tales of those who radically changed our world by challenging the unknown. We are intrigued with stories about remarkable coincidences that turned out to be true, with parapsychology, psychic phenomena with unique mental connections between people.
Women spend endless hours trying to ‘psych-out’ their boyfriends and husbands, trying to translate their behavior. “What he really means is…” “The reason he acts this way is….” We spend endless hours trying to figure each other out without, I might add direct conversation. As the holiday season approaches people struggle with selecting gifts that their friends and loved ones will just cherish. Magazine and TV ads tempt us to extend our credit limits with ‘life-changing’ gift selections that promise perfect happiness and love. Unfortunately, more often than not this backfires. Sometimes we don’t and can’t anticipate what that person will actually think about that gift and how they will react to it. An innocently chosen item can result in emotionally charged reactions, all this boils down to the fact that we are not mind readers.

Recently I had occasion to select a gift for a friend and was shocked to learn that the friend not only hated the gift but had a slew of beliefs and projections associated with it. As the story unfolded the gift carried negative messages about the value of the friendship itself especially as compared with other friendships that had more value and thus the emotional entanglement took on a life of its own. Contrary to my patients’ beliefs that I’m a ‘mind reader’, this example clearly demonstrates the opposite. No instead of being a mind reader I’m just good observer with a fairly good memory. All this goes to show that knowing how someone’s mind works is not easy and certainly not magic. It requires hours of communication and continuous feedback or the expectation/disappointment cycle will escalate into a self-fulfilling and nearly unstoppable whirlwind. So, stop guessing start asking and by all means publish a disclaimer somewhere that unequivocally states “I am not a mind reader.”


The Wonders of Technology

While there are times when I complain bitterly about people blathering into their cell phones in public and the ‘privacy invasion’ trends in TV commercials, I have to admit that some of these ‘newfangled’ inventions are pretty cool. I love my smartphone, my Kindle HD and my keyless car. And thanks to my most recent ‘techie’ acquisition, my Keurig Mini, I have begun a new morning routine. Sitting at the ready with its shiny new buttons, my little red Mini brews me a ‘cuppa’ anything I pop in with no effort at all. And I’m happy to report that you CAN ‘teach an old dog new tricks’! With the right incentives you can modify nearly anyone’s behavior and my newest ‘reinforcer’ has me getting up earlier, sitting down at the table, maybe even eating a little something as I start my day. Not only has it changed my morning rituals but it created something of a counter-top revolution! In order to make space for it and the little carousel I got to hold those cute little K-cups, I ended up reorganizing my counter space. Now I have to make room somewhere else for the things I removed from the counters to make space for my new Keurig Mini. I find my kitchen just doesn’t have enough counter space for all the things I need to put out on them so I’m going to need more under the counter space for the things I take off the counters. Now I find don’t have enough storage space under the counters for everything I need in my kitchen so somehow I’m going to have to get more cupboard space. There’s no room in the room for another cupboard so I’m going to have to expand the space some other way.
Remodeling the room is the only real option! I’ll need to have all the cupboards removed, they’re old anyway, all the counters will have to be replaced; the old ones won’t fit with the new cupboards. Of course then I’ll need to repaint the room, replace the floors, buy new appliances and have all the lighting updated because once everything is torn up none of the old stuff will fit anyway! Soon, thanks to Ikea or American Kitchen Concepts the entire room will undergo a much-needed top to bottom facelift including doors, walls and windows all because I saw an ad in last Sunday’s paper touting the joys of a red Keurig Mini on Sale at Macy’s for $99.99!