Monthly Archives: October 2013

Latest Wow: We Can’t Always Snap Out of It


Brad has suffered from clinical depression for many years. Therapy and medications have helped some, but not entirely and not consistently. There are days when all he wants to do is stay in bed. On other days—his good days—he’s active and highly involved with the world.

Would he like to feel that way every day? Of course. But he doesn’t … pure and simple. And because he feels like a failure and a burden to others, his depression is complicated with shame.

“When it comes to depression,” Brad says, “most the world says to snap out of it.”

Unfortunately, he’s right. The world isn’t very sympathetic toward sadness. We expect people, including ourselves, to be happy all the time.

In our therapy sessions, I try to help Brad be self-accepting—to look warmly at himself.  I remember telling him: “Depression isn’t something you wish upon yourself.” It helped him to hear that.

As for his family, when their best efforts to help fail to produce results, they can grow impatient. That’s normal. And it’s also normal to fall into the same trap of shame—being hard on themselves.

Not long ago, his 25-year-old daughter wowed me with this:

“As a family, we need to see him as having cancer. We wouldn’t get mad at him for that. He can’t help it.”

Depression can be a difficult and oftentimes life-long struggle. Shame is the last thing anyone—Brad or his family—needs as added weight.

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality. 

Another gorgeous photo, courtesy of Tracie Louise Photography.


Filed under General Interest, The Latest Wow!

The Latest Wow: Free to Change

black and white to color

I’m driven to share something!

I received some thought-provoking feedback on my last post (Secret to a Good Life(check out the comment section, too). Some people responded online while others shared their thoughts in person. Jerri’s friend, Mike, had another insightful comment:

“If my expectations of another person are unrealistic then I’m the problem. And thank God! That’s because if anyone else is the problem, I can never do anything about it. I will never be able to control anyone but myself. Whenever I acknowledge I’m the problem, I’m giving myself the power to change.”

Thanks for checking in! Till next time.  Salee


Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free, The Latest Wow!

The Secret to a Good Life

Danger expectations

A comedian uttered this piece of profound wisdom:

“Everyone says communication is the secret to a good relationship. It’s not true. The secret to a good relationship is low expectations.

I take this a step further: the secret to a good life is low expectations.

Let’s face it, expectations run rampant in our brains—many times in ways we don’t even notice. We may expect the sun to shine, the fish to bite, the computer to work, the kids to stop fighting, the plane to arrive on schedule, or we may expect that other people will never disappoint us.

I’m compelled to share an amusing story a client, Jerri, shared with me. We both got a good laugh out of this:

Jerri lives and breathes aggravation toward her ex. High on her complaint-list is how he fails to measure up as a father. One day she griped to a friend about one of his current mess-ups. The friend turned and said: “Look, Jerri, when it comes to dad skills, he’s a freaking buffoon. You keep expecting him to be otherwise when for 20 years he’s shown you repeatedly who he is. Clearly, you’re the one with the problem.”

Our very human tendency is to hang on to our dogged need to have things go a certain way. It sets us up for torment because it’s a futile quest.

When I find myself tripping over inflated expectations, a little voice in the back of my head goes, “Did you fail to notice (again!) that this is planet Earth!? What were you thinking? You know full well that certainty and guarantees are nowhere in the program.”

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.


Filed under Client of the Week, Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Untuck Your Wings


This is one of my favorite quotes:

“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is!”  

— Macrina Wiederkehr, author of Seasons Of Your Heart

Walking along a trail, you see an unusual and stunning butterfly. Perched on a small branch, its richly colored patterns and exquisite gracefulness invite you to pause and absorb the wonder before you. But suddenly something baffling and disturbing happens. The butterfly tucks its wings in tightly, concealing its beauty. Guessing the butterfly was frightened by your presence, you continue on your walk. Unable to put the strange butterfly out of your mind, you return to that same spot several minutes later. Your heart sinks at what you see. The butterfly still hasn’t untucked its wings. You walk away … sad. How many of us, like the butterfly, conceal our beauty—our true nature and worth?  (continue reading) You  just read about Claudia and Heath. A similar post— Don’t Spend Your Life Being Little is about Carrie, who found it challenging to stand up  for herself.

Limping, when fully capable of walking upright, is an act of self-betrayal. It’s felt at the soul level—a sickened feeling deep within.

The beautiful images in this post and the previous one, Something Would Be Missing, are courtesy of Tracie Louise Photography.  Her work can be viewed here.


Filed under General Interest, Get Free

Something Would Be Missing


I love this photograph for two reasons. For one, the beauty causes my spirit to go, “Ahhhhh.” Second, it tells me something about our value. Notice the dead tree sticking up out of the water . . . um, it’s hard not to notice, right? That tree was once vibrant with life. Had we known that tree back then, we may have admired its unique features and beauty. But alas, as is true of all living things, its life ended at some point.

But that tree left something behind—its beauty. The beauty has now taken another form, but nonetheless, it’s classified as beauty. Its graceful and random lines add aesthetic appeal to the totality of the scenery. The effect wouldn’t be quite the same without it. That tree—imperfect as it is—adds beauty to the world.

The same is true of each and every one of us.

We add something to the world when we are here, and we add something to the world when we leave.

Something would be missing had we never shown up.


Filed under Contemplations, General Interest

Life’s a Struggle, then We Live

plant breaking through

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

This was said by Frederick Douglass, former slave, social reformer, and author.

Frederick fought obstacles and won, and so did Diana Nyad, who at age 64 became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida.  It took 53 straight hours with no breaks and no sleep. To say it taxed all of her inner resources is putting it mildly. Her haggard appearance after the ordeal attests to that. So does her story of struggle and severe challenges.

In an interview with Oprah, she explains that swimming to her “is never about swimming.” It’s about “never giving up, finding your grit, your will, and a way through your obstacles.” Click here to watch a clip from the interview.

Without struggle, we grow sissified and develop a flabby will. Yes, it’s a predictable and comfortable existence, but not a very satisfying one. Life stands still and we’re constantly besieged with chronic boredom. Doctors prescribe pills for that. The pills serve as a welcome numbing agent. In essence, they keep us numbed to the fact that we’ve deserted ourselves.

The opposite of self-desertion is a relentless, unapologetic determination to follow our deepest yearnings, to push through limits and take action—whatever that means to each of us. In some quiet place inside, we know exactly what that is.

For Diana Nyad, it was swimming one hell of a long distance! For Frederick Douglass, it was living from a place of absolute freedom.

Diana Nyad. Frederick Douglass.  I see no difference.

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Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

The Latest Wow: Let Go and Be Free

Rod cropped

“Any time we try to control something, it controls us. That’s because we’re basing our happiness and peace of mind on being able to control it, on something external that can’t be controlled.”  —Rod Pasko

My son, Rod, came up with that one a few years ago. I usually reserve ‘The Latest Wow’ for comments by my clients. But hey … Rod’s my client, just like I’m his at times. 🙂 I don’t recall the circumstances or why he said it, I just know I flew into another room for pen and paper. His words were just so insanely true!

Haven’t we all been there? We try to control how others act.  The driver in the car ahead of us has the power to enrage us.  We try to control how our partner does things. We try to control our children’s choices, and our friends’ opinions, our spouses tastes. We try to control time by attempting to squeeze too much in, or we try to stop it from marching on. Let’s face it, we have trouble seeing our children leave home, and we have trouble watching ourselves grow older.

So what does all this controlling-effort do to our peace? Havoc. Rod’s right. It robs us of our peace and happiness—call it wear and tear on the well-being. The weather plays a trick on us, and our peace is out the window. Cancelled plans carry the same weight. And we know how thrown we get when someone executes their own will versus our own.

Okay …  we can’t always steer things to suit us, so what can we do? We can choose a different way of seeing things, which is an internal adjustment completely under our  control. No matter what the irritant, as Wayne Dyer says: “You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.”

Instead of being held captive by my irritations, I can acknowledge the fact that my life will be good even though everything doesn’t always go my way. I can also choose to expand the lens through which I view an incident that’s getting under my skin by recognizing its relative insignificance when compared to the tapestry of my entire life … or the tapestry of all life.

A client of mine asks herself this question: Am I even going to remember this incident in six weeks? If not, then she decides it’s not worth another second of her mental or emotional energy.

When all else fails, follow the advice of my granddaughter, Emma: “Just think about pink ponies and butterflies.”


Filed under General Interest, Get Free, The Latest Wow!