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Trauma of Abuse: The Silent Chaos

One of the most debilitating obstacles in life is the trauma we carry in our bodies. It can haunt us for decades and take root in illness. All people suffer. Some work to resolve it, and some carry it forward. It’s worth the hard work to understand, limit, heal, and use it to bring good to our world.

Trauma has a familiar face. Those who know it see it in others.

Trauma’s outlook is distinct. It completely colors life with the constant presence of fear and the expectation of more harm to come … from anyone, anywhere, at any moment.

The names we give it vary: pain, suffering, abuse, anguish, PTSD, sorrow, shock, grief, a living hell, and more. But they all describe the inner, silent chaos of trauma. All people experience it.

If your trauma is from abuse (intentionally inflicted harm), your story might include betrayal, oppression, atrocity, obliteration, agony, persecution, murder, and more. They all describe brutal violations which God abhors. “And the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)

Abuse defies what is reasonable, kind, and good for all human beings made in the likeness of Jesus, the divine-human. It mocks civility and degrades humanity. Plainly, it is a sin against God and man.

Abuse is the face of evil in the flesh of humans. It forces (demands) submission at another’s expense. The wickedness feeds and transfers hatred into the abused hearts, hoping to repeat itself and keep the evil flowing. It harms every person and every relationship it touches. Abuse is immoral, wicked, and destructive.

Here’s Why

Trauma from abuse blows people to pieces. The damage done is an abomination to the psyche. It is the unfathomable, intensely personal mutiny that wars against everything inside us that’s pure, just, and holy.

The destruction hides inside us, only to rear its ugly head when least expected. A glance, a place, a smell, a sound can bring it all flooding back instantly. Our minds and emotions implode, and we are haunted for weeks or years. It re-injures us on cue (triggered).

The horror confronts our inner workings with polarizing confusion (chaos) and the fact that our world is unsafe and cruel. Nothing is in our control. The internal contradictions of mixed emotions, thoughts, defenses, shame, retaliation, hatred, and injustice are staggering.

Trauma makes parts of us die. Trusting loved ones and those in authority dies away. Hope that the world is safe and good dies. Love dies. Civility dies. Kindness dies. Trauma silences us, numbs us, and takes our breath away. It rolls us into self-condemnation and suffering, again and again. It slowly destroys us. Abuse can feel like murder. In many parts of the world, it is.

For kind and sensitive souls, a lie appears that only self-harm (anger turned inward) can give relief from this horror and pain. Do not become their minion, working for them to abuse you! Fight self-harm with the truth — that God, in His High and Holy place, also dwells with the oppressed and humble, restoring their spirit with courage (Isaiah 57:15). He lives every moment with you, to uphold your given dignity, so you can stand upright again.

Don’t Get Suckered Into Harming

Abuse is as old as the world. It entered humanity when the serpent lied to Eve and continues today. We have passed down abuse (sin) for millennia. How?

Abuse produces anger, giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27) which overflows into retaliation. It rolls on: abuse = anger = retaliation = abuse. Deny evil access by arguing against anger. The Bible is our best weapon, especially the Psalms.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. (Psalm 4:4)

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

James 1:20

Abuse is contagious. Destruction and harm breed more of the same. Those abusing others are likely doing so from their own hidden trauma of abuse. The vicious cycle continues and creates insanity with the internal contradictions (chaos) of justice versus injustice. I hate them, but hate is evil, so I am wrong for hating them. I deserve punishment for hating them, but they have hated me without penalty. It is a double bind that is impossible to escape.

All people can abuse. With the right conditions, we quickly transition from abused to an abuser. Though it may be a lesser evil, our abuse could escalate over theirs. It’s a slippery slope. See verses below.

These truths expose the fact that human beings have free will. Every person decides whether to harm people or not. Some people even tend to harm those who simply disagree with them. Apologies are designed to repair abusive actions.

No one ever gets by with abuse. God sees harm done and eventually brings justice. Each person is responsible for paying for or making right every harmful thing they do or say. (Hebrews 4:13) Jesus took our responsibility and suffered violently, paid the penalty to make it right, and rescued mankind. He offers that free payment to each of us when we believe He is who He says He is: the world’s Savior.

The way is simple. Believe who he is for you personally, and ask to be saved. That’s it; believe and ask. We are His treasure. He will come into your heart and life and dine with you and you with Him forever. (Revelation 3:20)

Since harmed people harm people, we could have compassion for our abusers. We know how harm feels. We can give them over to their dealings with God: the one who sees. He will read their hearts and appropriately avenge, train, or forgive them. They may have started it, but you can stop yourself and the cycle. We can say, “I’m not gonna be that person,” who retaliates into seething sludge. We were made for better things.

Remember that unaddressed trauma can spark emotional and physical illness beyond reach. It can ricochet into addictions and lodge in our vulnerable spots (throats, lungs, stomachs, brains). It waits in hiding for the moment when kind attention, compassion, and understanding will soothe its toxicity and return the body to rest.

No one creates life by retaliating. This fight against it can seem impossible, but these verses help.

  • Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
  • Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.(Psalm 7:15-16)
  • Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. (Proverbs 3:31-32)
  • Be angry but do not sin; sleep on it, search your heart, and be silent. (Psalm 4:4)
  • But whoever listens to Me will dwell in safety, secure from the fear of evil. (Proverbs 1:33)
  • Most of all, let love guide your life…. (Colossians 3:14)
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
  • God is trustworthy to judge our abusers, and to forgive those who are humble. (Psalm 37)

What do we do with our trauma? How do we control this stealthy, reckless force inside us? Do we ever regain sanity? See my next post, Healing Trauma.

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Healing Trauma

See Trauma of Abuse: The Silent Chaos.

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My desperate search to resolve the silent chaos of trauma led to little healing and mostly re-injury by telling my story to people who were clueless about emotional pain. Eventually, I found help in unexpected places. May these 30 places of healing help you and yours.

1. Changing perspective, switching from victim to powerful, is a penetrating theme to finding healing from trauma. Make it your goal. Abuse is shocking and can stall us for a lifetime. To resurrect and go forward with life can be complicated, but here are fresh ways to change perspective.

2. Separate from the abusers. Don’t walk away; run. You’ve seen first-hand what they don’t know about themselves. Separation ends the abuse. If others around you encourage their deception, get away from them, too. The longer you are away, the more apparent their abusive tactics become. Only go near them if they come clean and apologize.

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3. Consider calling the police. That call escalates the offense and gets a firm report on the books, especially if the abuser is wishy-washy about their wrongdoing. It also gives you solid protection as the abuser knows you’ll call if it happens again. You can choose to press charges or not. Call to nip it in the bud and protect yourself in the future.

4. Do not work to get reconciliation unless you are willing to be slammed on the mat for it. Abusers are blind, and harming others is a way of life. They rarely thank you for pointing out the very thing they work so hard to hide, even from themselves, and even though admitting their wrongdoing could be life-changing for them. Some people won’t think twice about making you the bad guy for their rottenness.

For an abuser, ignoring or fighting their victim is easier than facing their lousy behavior. People often fight their victims (sometimes in court) … and rarely apologize, as we’ve seen from many court battles. Seeking reconciliation (or justice) can take traumatizing to a whole new level. Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Matthew 1:23). Search your abuser for clues to see if they could be humble enough to admit their bad-doing. Otherwise, stay away.

5. Therapists are wonderful, of course. Programs exist to help with costs, and God directs through financial provision. Support groups are yet another gift. Search online or call a hotline. Be sure yours does specialized therapies for trauma. I know QNRT and EMDR are non-invasive and work without the side effects of drugs.

6. Practice The Healing Code, by doctors Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson, which worked for me. If images haunt you and therapists fall short, with a bit of dedication, this practice can remove them. It saved me from my nightmare-haunted sleeplessness and lessened my triggers.

7. Try 2 offbeat therapies that helped me. I use Integrative Manual Therapy in the book Body Wisdom by Sharon Giammatteo to calm my organs and maintain health. Also, Micro Point Stimulation has served my traumatized brain well with its reset protocol for trauma. Search out therapists who use them or learn the systems yourself for a lifetime of health.

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8. Create something. Creativity gave me dramatic new perspective like nothing else. Healing was fun and provided a unique view from behind a camera lens. It switched out the trauma memory in my brain and magnified the good life that lived on the fringes of the bad. Dancing, music, making things, painting, decorating, organizing, and blogging also called me from the mire, too. It works deep, fast, and effective. Creating life heals us. Try your own art-form of choice to birth a beautiful story from hideous ashes.

9. Tell compassionate people your story. Work to get the pain out of your body by telling those who listen well. It helps to verbally interact about it and grows us through it. However …

10. Caution: Retelling can re-injure if the hearer is not listening intently or responding kindly. Why tell if not heard? Or you’re injured again by a rotten response? Get a good read before exposing your pain and vulnerability.

11. Writing can order confused thoughts and emotions, easing inner chaos. Write like a news reporter or with the intent to say goodbye, and get it behind you. Bringing these other places of healing into the battle multiplies progress.

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12. Create a circle of wonderful input (friends, acquaintances, pets, books, blogs, social media, and TV) that builds kindness into your world. Soak it up. People have delightful humor, creativity, and compassion that can speak life, understanding, and happiness into you. Dive in and swim a while.

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13. Get outdoors. Enjoy beauty, sunshine, and movement (even swinging). The earth has healing effects (the fresh wind on our face) and grounds us. (I Corinthians 10:26) Walking outdoors is a welcome time to tell God what’s on your heart. It’s a holy sanctuary of tender honesty and discussion with the One who cares the most. He’ll give insight and act on your behalf.

14. Try Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy) is a flower mixture used for any crisis, physical or emotional. It helped me through horrific days, taking the edge off so I could pretend to function like normal. Households benefit from this first aid.

15. Apologize to yourself. Abuse can bring shame and sadness that people hated you enough to thoroughly degrade you and poison themselves. The abuse was wrong, and we may be afraid to admit it. I could have stood up for myself or called 911. I’m sorry I didn’t. I am God’s child and worth protecting and defending. I’m sorry.

16. Give compassion to ourselves. It mends us. It’s ok, friend. This is anguish, it’s abominable, and it makes me want to vomit for what I have endured. I treasure me and am so sorry this happened to me at the hands of such blind, self-absorbed people. Hug yourself and rock a while. Treat yourself like you would a treasured friend.

17. Understand the cycle of abuse. Abused people seem to abuse people. What did they suffer in life to justify what they did to me? They have no excuse for abusing others and could have dealt with their trauma and fought the enslavement, but they didn’t. Perhaps the pile of abuse began as young children, causing lifelong blindness. If God is not sought, chances are slim that they can overcome their continuous cycle. They likely wounded you from their wound. It’s all they know.

18. Forgiving abusers is a big step and can go on for a lifetime. Forgiveness is deciding not to hold their offense against them and retaliate instead (to anyone). Forgiving sets you free. God gives treasures in His Word to help us forgive. Search for and cling to them in your process.

C.S. Lewis says that trying to forgive is forgiveness. Just practice when the injustice angers you, I forgive you, I forgive you…, times a hundred. Your life will follow your words, little by little. Forgiving comes in bits, but adding it together equals forgiving and inclines your heart over time.

19. Apologize to others. Perhaps someone has been injured from your responses to them during your abuse, and you had no idea. If you were rude, it’s worth a discussion and a simple apology for your part. You can easily own your-bad since you are now more sensitive to injury. A clear conscience is a breath of fresh air and brings life.

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20. Talk to God. Dig deep into your pain each day and tell Him all you find there. The dark stuff exposed to the light is what He’s after. Anger never threatens Him. He is the only kind lover of our souls who delivers us from evil. He sees us, hears us, and acts on our behalf. He invites our tender intimacy. Ask Him to come in and walk with you through the rocky steps of recovering. Before you realize it, He will put your hinds feet on high places. (Psalm 18:33)

21. Let God renew your self-talk. Take time to be still and listen to Him. He speaks in many ways (through people, Jesus, nature, experiences, pain) but primarily through His Bible. If you want first-hand truth and love, read it, remember it. Carry verses in your pocket to glance at throughout your day. It will morph your broken pieces into wholeness. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

22. Choosing to suffer on another’s behalf is hidden inside forgiveness. This situation is what it is. If I suffer to bring Christ’s love and redemption into the world, so be it. It reverses the wickedness and turns it into good. Jesus suffered and died for all. When we suffer, we become a type of Jesus for the history books of heaven.

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Suffering is universal. It builds compassion and understanding. In Jesus, God is very familiar with it. We become like Jesus — Take up your cross daily, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Those we suffer for eventually come face to face with God. God sees the situation and implants justice in them, whether for redemption or judgement—they decide. They can learn about His loving discipline, and their sinfulness or not. As we suffer, we experience firsthand some of the pain Jesus endured for our wrongs by bearing another’s wrongs (sins). It completes Christ’s work on the cross in us, pays that work forward to others, and brings the cross of history into present-time, making it tangible. But it still hurts.

23. Name those you’ve suffered for (list them). There is a nuance of suffering that hints we do so for others over a lifetime. The list of those we suffer for can include parents, siblings, spouses, children, best friends, narcissistic leaders, power-hungry coworkers, soggy Christians, and more. Try listing yours for a good overview.

24. Name who’s suffered at your hand. Besides Jesus suffering to pay for our sin, others have suffered for our thoughtlessness and perhaps abuse. Who has cried over our piece of work in their life? When have you offended, retaliated, tricked, lied, put down, harmed, controlled, judged, and not kept your word to others? God can name them with you. When you know you’ve caused pain, apologize to Him and maybe them (AA).

25. Pray for those who abuse you. Perhaps pray this prayer. Dear God, please forgive them because they apparently have no idea what they are doing. Show them, let them admit it, and heal them by Christ’s tender heart of love that has healed mine. Keep them from harming others. Let me never do what they have done. May they know your heart firsthand, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

26.Try telling God thank you for your suffering. Dig up the reasons but here’s one. There’s a golden thread of good hidden in the fabric of trauma that drastically changes our perspective and deflates the abuser’s power: thankfulness. It puts trauma in the rearview mirror and God back in the driver’s seat, trusted and dependable with our lives. It is extreme faith in the midst of horrific suffering which gives tender affection to God. See it as a lesson that keeps you from the same bad actions. Our story is unique in history and is worth gratefulness. Daily thanksgiving has been my greatest ally in suffering.

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27. Ask God for Joy. I’ve found the profound sadness we carry from trauma can only be conquered by God. Nothing I did brought joy back, except God’s gift of it. It makes the day new, and the light shines again. Pray for His deep abiding joy for others, too.

28. Help abused people heal. One purpose for trauma and suffering is to grow compassion in our souls. Serving others in trauma heals them and us bringing good from rottenness and making us like Jesus. We become the Good Samaritan in the present, and our dry bones are risen from the dead and exchanged for a new life that can change the world.

If you are listening to someone’s abusive story, you can be a healing force for them. Let them know how awful, terrible, stupid, painful, abusive, narcissistic, and wretched their situation is. Agree with their pain and help them put names to it. Kind listening defuses the power of evil that trauma holds. Encourage truth and any of these places of healing for them. Ask probing questions. Be thoughtful: remember them, pray for them, speak life into them, laugh with them, and do something tangible to help them. Connect often to check up on them. You are helping them fly again.

29. Protect yourself. You know the signs of abuse. Stand up for yourself on every side. When a line is crossed, kindly push back and hold to your, No, you aren’t going to hurt me, whether you say it or not. Even kindness is a confrontation. Create distance and confirm your self-respect. Practice your responses. It stinks you’re having a bad day. Try that again with a kind voice. Do you really want to start a fight? When you decide to be kind, I’ll talk to you.

30. Speak up. When you see narcissism or control freaks, stand up to them. It’s rampant today in people, companies, hospitals, schools, churches, and everywhere. When you say no, you are exposing them, and they tend to pay attention, but they won’t like it. They may not be your friends, but they will taste their limits. The world may change because you have acted truthfully.

Healing trauma can bring a more peaceful, more free existence. Resolving even pieces of it helps us understand and love others. The world is better.

You prepare a feast [table] for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 25:3
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Beating Viruses: My Favorite Easy Win

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.       

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Raising children introduced me to terrible viruses. It took years to find answers. Today I’m wiser and more experienced. This is what I do now.

I get a jump on preventing viruses by taking a homeopathic that’s been sold for two decades in health food stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and even department stores across the country. It’s Oscillococcinum and is as broad in effectiveness as in name. I first learned of it in Homeopathic Medicine at Home, where it’s recommended for viruses and replaces other less effective measures. There is a reason it sells well enough to warrant all the shelf space for all these years.

When I anticipate sickness, I take a small dose immediately (a capful for 130# me) . This was very effective with my children when they were throwing up and I was hosing everything down. A dose to each of us ended the flu crisis with the one person who started it.

The anticipation of being exposed has also worked well for traveling. I take a dose when I walk in the airport, both ways, for a worry-less trip.

For that unknown exposure, the second I notice any usual symptoms I take a capful of Oscillococcinum, then, one to everyone around me. If a symptom returns, repeat usually up to 3 times, then done. What an obstacle remover!

Be aware: never wait a day or you will still get sick and only shorten the sickness or take the edge off. This stuff works best with the onset. If you’re in the thick of sickness, you’re probably too late. Try a dose, but move on to other things.

Work on Viruses from Your Insides Out

Don’t believe everything you read about how we build the immune system by getting sick. Viruses can do lasting harm. Try to limit them.

One help for preventing viruses is a new discovery for me: l-lysine. My brother’s house was getting reconstruction. The contractor showed up sick, excused himself saying he needed to run home to take his lysine, and then came back and worked a full 8 hours more of hard labor. We were convinced. My family has been taking l-lysine this winter with no illnesses throughout this heavy flu season. Yahoo! More life. Less bummer.

In the thick of a sickness, one specialist directed me to the need for calcium capsules to fight illnesses. She told how it helps the body’s systems to communicate that the illness is present, instructs the body how to respond, and enables all the systems to work together and follow through. I have found it very helpful over the years to keep that circuitry open and well functioning during illness.

If the virus is affecting your lungs, any essential oil is amazing for deep breathing. I snort (plug one nostril and breath it in deeply) my essential oils and rarely dilute and apply them. It’s amazing how low into the lungs these oils can take my breath. My favorite snorter is lemon, for now. If your nostrils burn, you’re too close to the bottle. Go gently with your body. Research your essential oils for best results. They really help with breathing.

Elderberry is a popular antiviral. I do love the Old Indian brand for adults. Herbs for Kids brand is great for children. Elderberry is very soothing, but research it yourself for best understanding.

I do regularly use wild cherry bark (WBC), especially the Old Indian brand, for overcoming the hazards of city living on lungs. The bottle is luscious to hold. Wild cherry bark worked wonders on my son’s asthma (caused by mold). It was remarkable how it stopped attacks for him as a child. At that time, Herbs For Kids was the best brand for him. WCB works for all things lungs, as well as other things. Research it for more info.

Aloe Vera is great to drink if you think you could hurl. I like to add papaya juice to boost its benefits and make it mild. It is a blood purifier, antiseptic, and has great healing properties. Burns repair fast with pure aloe. It’s astounding! I only buy Lily of the Desert organic gel, even for drinking. Follow label instructions and do your research.

Another drink that normalizes the body’s PH and ultimately fights illness is kombucha. Our Ph is a big factor affecting what illnesses we catch out there. Only use homemade or those without the word probiotic (which means dairy was added). China has brewed kombucha for centuries and never added dairy. Go with the centuries old, tried and true (proven) brew. Make it at home or buy one that is.

Ah, Vitamin C (my good friend). This vitamin, as I learned in health class, is for build and repair. It really works. Don’t expect an orange slice to do the trick. How many oranges do you eat? It takes 2 to meet the minimum requirements each day. We can go weeks without oranges. Virus is crisis, and more is needed. Take a buffered capsule or liquid when sick, knowing you are meeting your body’s needs so it can repair well. Follow label instructions and research Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize Winner for his work with Vitamin C).

Try adding an echinacea tincture or extract to the regimen, but always after taking your Vit. C. Echinacea boosts the immune system, vitamin C gives your body the strength to work. A dynamic duo. Do not take echinacea endlessly as the immune system needs a rest. Follow label instructions.

All these items can be found at natural foods stores or grocers with staff to answer questions. Avoid department stores that have brands that are mass marketed and have proven to not contain what is marked on the bottle. I like Fresh Thyme in my neighborhood, but my small health food store owner has advanced experience. They carry reliable, honest brands. We have lots of resources available to us every day so… you guessed it, do your research.

Good, happy food and movement that builds health into you is a good general strategy to fight virus onsets. Harmful choices (smoking, alcohol, sugar, gluten, caffeine, drugs and sad food) kill crucial nutrients and add stress to your already stressed body. The weakness makes you more susceptible. Work with your body, not against it. Nourish it (even in capsule form) and keep it strong for good work against viruses.

Pay attention to digestion when sick. My favorite foods to combat sickness are watery, light, and easy to digest. Baby greens, papaya (train yourself to like it as medicine) and fruits, cooked veggies, any winter squash, broth, and diluted juices. Pick what sounds good.

Save heavy meats for wellness, but fish and poultry might be ok. Don’t consume dairy products when ill as they are mucus forming. Let your stomach rest during viruses.

To help stubborn viruses, sometimes digestive aides help the stomach eat the impurities. Try papaya tablets or digestive enzymes formulated for proteins.

Finally, for a broader approach, ozone machines are good for airborne viruses. We turn ours on before leaving for work and come home to a fresh house. Afterwards, crack open the windows to air it out, clean the counters, and vacuum. All is well. Ozone machines are for empty houses only, so read instructions carefully.

Prayer is a very natural occurrence with sickness.We tend to unconsciously pray when we feel beat. Use the quiet to soak God into your pain. Speak to Him with core honesty about how you feel, your life, and what to do differently for health. Free yourself from carrying burdens. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13). Health is most likely near. He will speak to you, so listen gently.

When your virus is gone, help someone else get through theirs. You’ve licked it and can help without fear.

Establish a plan to navigate viruses. The key is to nip them in the bud before they start. These ideas and those you discover for yourself will help. Ask others for their successes (side-effect free). Tell us your healthy findings.

Live long and prosper.

An Alternative to Seat Punching

Flying is public transportation, not a personal vehicle (I think of planes as livestock transport and occasionally let out a spontaneous moo!). The space is shared, and works best for everyone involved if people are kind in its ups and downs (pun intended). Cooperation and civility can benefit the ride and create a good life.

As a self-proclaimed ethnographer, I love weirdness. What beliefs make people do what they do? What lies beneath the actions of a culture? Airplanes are a microcosm of our world at our fingertips. It is fascinating.

This recent Seat-Punching drama in the media tells us about communication in our day. Don’t talk to strangers–punch them instead. Don’t talk to people we may have conflict with, insult them, record the reaction, report them, and then sue each other. But never have a civil conversation with kindness and consideration. That would take too much civility. Seat punching makes for an educating series of avoidable, life-changing hassles, costing us trouble. But we will learn about human behavior, especially ours.

To forgo this explosion, decide what you’ll do before boarding. Here’s one idea, tried and true for me. Think about it, no one likes an abrupt movement in their face to infringe on their space. Get in their shoes. A six foot 200 lb adult needs different accommodations than a 5 foot youngster. Consider them.

Before laying your chair back, look behind you to assess the situation. Who is the person? Big or little, old or young, sleeping or working, a laptop open, or what? Is it going to be a big disruption for them? Do you want to start a fight?

Most seats have dual back adjustments. Once you see if there’s room to negotiate the space, move slow and sweet to try the first notch, or even the second. If groans erupt, a quick return to first notch says I heard you and am aware. It informs the person that you are not doing everything you could be doing, you are cooperating in the limited space, and you are being considerate.

Be kind and courteous. It prevents people from feeling bullied for the 10th time today and covers it with goodness. Kindness is as contagious as bullying. Don’t give them reasons to go home and kick the dog.

For the receiver of a seat back in your face, it can be more complicated. The person in front of you has acted with little consideration for you. In some cases, they paid extra for the roomy seat. If they explain that, it’s hard to argue your rights.

An aggressive return can land you in court. Some people will take us to the mat for the sake of a win. Years of stress is not worth an aggressive reaction.

Some ideas to test? Ask them if they could help you survive the flight with your bad case of the flu. Ask how you can work with a seat back imprint on your forehead, or your fingers pinched in the laptop. Ask if their mother would like to switch seats with you on this flight. Ask if they’d like to switch seats for half the flight. Or … if they can split the difference and move the seat up one notch. Negotiate.

Test these ideas for ethnography purposes. What did you learn? File that away in your psyche under Wisdom for the Ages. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is not to see others as they are, but to see them as they might be with a little coaxing.

Other ideas? Tell us all.

All Foods Fit 2 Categories?

One big obstacle to creating a personal best life is health. Food is a major part of that win.

No matter what we know, believe, or feel about any food, there are really only 2 kinds of food: those that make us feel good and those that make us feel down-under.

Happy Foods nourish us. They are alive (have internal energy) and will rot with time. Our alive-ness is fed by theirs. Within an hour after you eat, you are strong, alert, perky, ready to work and tackle the job at hand with success! And it’s all accomplished with good humor and kindness. Our energy level and our health is affected by the gas called food put in the tank of energy.

For most people, Happy foods are pure plant and animal foods: low on processing, chemicals, and laboratory additives. The more true to food’s original form, the better the nutrient value. The more we eat from our refrigerators and not our cupboards, the better our outlook. Eating homemade versus restaurants gives us confidence to know the quality of our choices. Respectable quantities and calories help keep digestion happy, too.

Sad foods are processed foods. The more manufacturing steps used in making food, the more nutrients are lost, resulting in less energy for our day. The body must work hard to find desperately needed nutrients from non-digestible foods that we just put in our bodies to help us function for the next 3-4 hours. Processed foods are not nourishment. They are sad choices bringing down days.

Sad Foods are not fun. As mostly-dead foods, they only serve us when traveling or starving. Sad foods harm us, resulting in illness. Back to back over time, they make us fall short of a personal best life.

These dead foods make us feel sad, lazy, and often angry, even for days after (food hangover). This varies by person, season of life, and quantity. It’s hard to start a full day of work when you’re already depleted from breakfast. That scenario requires stimulants and begins a vicious downward cycle. Avoid sad foods for alert days.

Sad foods are nearly impossible for the body to digest and distribute. Gluten, sugar, food substitutes, chemical additives, and some processed dairy foods can silently harm digestion. Eat with caution. Organic might make them better, but read labels to compare and find what’s best.

The stomach and intestines (the second brain) are fragile and need to be protected at any age. Taxing the stomach with non-digestible food does not create health, but burdens the body. The GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) effect is at work here. Input effects output.

Sad foods are a huge category in the grocery store. Most everything not on the perimeter of the store (produce, refrigerated, frozen) might be questionable. Some oils might work for you, herbs and spices (except those burning mucus membranes), even processed meats might be ok in small quantities. But, the aisles with dead prefab crackers, cereals, cookies, chips, desserts; boxed, frozen, and canned meals, and on and on, don’t serve anyone well. We will be crabby and tired, eventually. Fresh is best.

If depression or chronic illness challenges you, act now. Skip the sad food and see what changes. Ask yourself, “Will I feel happy or sad after this goes in? Will this energize me or pull me down?”

Do you want to be more happy and energized? Try happy food choices. This one discovery could create a new life.

How can we know for sure? Test your suspicions.

Eat a meal and observe how you feel. What was the culprit? Pizza, french fries, or dessert?

Eat one food (bread, chicken nuggets, or ice-cream) and see what happens. Happy or sad? Mark it, remember it. Try a new improved version like organic or a new brand. Still a downer? Skip it next time and observe again. The change you see over a week can be very exciting. Three months will bring new vision for you. Several years may allow you to eat it once in a while with few bad effects.

If health or happiness is an obstacle, good food can help. Don’t worry…. doo, doo, doo, … Eat Happy!

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

― Hippocrates