Posts Tagged With: Psychology

Expectations of Spitting Dinosaurs

images“That wasn’t as cool as I thought it’d be.”

My grandson had expected the dinosaurs to spit at him. The ad promised there would be spitting dinosaurs.  But he had his cities confused—not at this particular exhibit.

Expectations. They can ruin our day.

Unmet expectations are bad enough—unacknowledged expectations can create a real ball of knots.

Let’s say a couple has the same argument over and over (who among us hasn’t?), and neither knows they’re working off different unacknowledged, unexpressed expectations. He expects she’ll go back to work after the kids are in school—why not?, his mother did. She expects he’ll do half the housework—her father did. Can you hear the arguments?

We run full blast, smashing up against our expectations, only to be disappointed. It’s no fun. If we have expectations that are met, well, we just think of that as things going along quite nicely, thank you.

Disappointments? Like the song says, “I just pick myself up and get back in the race.” That’s life.

But imagine running a race with poor eyesight—or, insight, as we say in psychology—learning to see inside oneself. Introspection. Self-awareness.

Back to my grandson. He got over his dinosaur disappointment in as long as it took to bounce to the next thing, which was ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory

At the Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory was born when, my first ride on my brand new 1200 Custom Sportster, I hit a pothole—a big one—smacked it so hard I thought I cracked the rim on the spoked wheel. The thing was, I was out in the country, no other vehicle in sight for half a mile in any direction.

Why did I hit it? It’s not that I didn’t see it! Reason: I was trying to avoid hitting the pothole, but I LOOKED AT IT TOO LONG!

When I took the Department of Transportation class to get my motorcycle license, I learned about this phenomenon. We go where we look, where we focus our attention. Therefore, when riding a motorcycle, one has to change one’s focus every so many seconds, or our body follows our focus, where we have our mind and our eyes. So to avoid hitting an obstacle, don’t look at it too long!

This was a great metaphor to pass along to my psychotherapy clients, since I’m constantly helping them THINK in more productive or deserved ways to drive BEHAVIOR that works better for them. Hence, Dr. Eastin’s Harley Pothole Theory.

One client said, “Of course, why do you think so many drunks cross the centerline and hit the oncoming car? They’re trying to avoid it and staring at it!” Another client, a pilot, told me it’s called TARGET FIXATION.

So, on a motorcycle, what you look at is where you go. (Don’t I know!)

And in life, what you think is how you behave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A friend gave me the book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman.

The term art is painted with broad strokes. Freeman’s scripture-based premise is that we are God’s image-bearers, his artwork, and as such, it’s our task, our privilege, our terror, to find and live the individual artistry God has placed in each of us for His glory and the benefit of others. Everyone—even Dorothy, “the meek and small,” as she describes herself to Oz, The Great and Terrible—is God’s artist.

I’ve just started the book, but here’s a sentence that stopped me in my thought-tracks:

We’re desperately afraid of desire, terrified that if we consider for too long what we most deeply want, we will be confused about which desires come from us, which ones come from God, and how to tell the difference.

Bull’s-eye!

Daring to dream is God-given. And not following those dreams might be a waste of one’s purpose at best and disobedient at worst!

This same friend once said, “Are we going to be accountable for our unopened gifts?” Hmm.

I’ve known that God made me me for a reason: allowed me to develop certain interests, skills, and passions. Freeman gives us a gentle nudge, or kick in the pants, in the direction of doing something about it.

All right then—ready, set, GROW.

Categories: Christian Life, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Beautiful?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This wisdom was penned by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her 1878 book Molly Bawn, though the phrase has floated in some form through our literary history since about the third century BC. Truth in the perfectly crafted sentence.

Example: My dad thought his pug dog was beautiful. Sorry, but there’s an ug in pug. (Don’t go all schoolmarm on me—I know it’s u-g-h.)

Glaucous-Winged Gull

Glaucous-Winged Gull

Another example: My brother-in-law refers to seagulls as “winged rats.” True, they’re messy, noisy, and pesky, but I  find them captivating.

The day I took this shot, I must have taken a dozen photos of the raucous Glaucous. Then I tweaked and cropped those photos so I have enough for a gallery show.

Last example: I’ve actually heard snakes called beautiful by some misguided, weird, downright blind people. Believe you me, you won’t find a picture of a snake on this blog!

Categories: Photography, Psychology | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Thinking + Thinking = Nothing

Strange math. But it’s true.

I learned this equation from a psychotherapy client years ago. She proved the theorem when she was trying to lose weight— she said, “Thinking + Thinking = Nothing.”

Seems obvious. No action, no results. An equation that applies to just about everything.

We still don’t know for sure how Stonehenge was built, but we do know the builders didn’t just think about it, they did it! An amazing accomplishment.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

But Thinking + Action = Accomplishment doesn’t have to be gargantuan. Look what a friend did. Aren’t they gorgeous! She wanted to knit, and she did. Diane inspired me to take knitting action too. It’s not as hard as I thought.

Diane's Norwegian mittens.

Diane’s Norwegian design mittens.

Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Little More Couple Psychology

If you want to be in a better couple relationship—here’s a news flash—BE NICER!

Happy Ever After

Happy Ever After

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Men and women have been bickering since that incident with the apple.

I often tell my couple psychotherapy clients that I’d like to stamp three words on their foreheads—backwards—so they can read them when they look in the mirror.

  • RESPECT
  • KINDNESS
  • CONSIDERATION

There are way too many people who are disrespectful, mean, and self-centered. I like Dr. Phil’s bluntness: “How’s that workin’ for you?”

Marriage should be a safe haven.

Now, I believe the principle that everything makes sense—it may not work, and you may not deserve it—but there’s a reason people think, feel, and do everything.

We think and act based on anger, hurt, fear, lack of self-esteem, arrogance—a pile of junk—some of it old, some of it new.

The point is, even if it’s familiar, neither you, nor your spouse deserve it.

The first step is to recognize what isn’t workin’ for you—and then start changing what you think and what you do.

BTW, I didn’t say that would be easy—just worth it.

For more about couple therapy, read “A Little Couple Psychology”.

Cristine Eastin © 2013
Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Rant on Technology

I’m steamed. Technology has its good points, but it’s also making life increasingly stressful. Not news, but do we do anything about it?

Here’s what I mean. Remember, I’m a psychotherapist—a client related frustration about her teen’s time on the phone. It seems the girl and her friends were all sitting in the back seat of the car texting, not talking to each other—just one example of the phone excess. I asked the mom if she’d ever considered putting limits on the young teen’s phone use, like no calls or texts after a certain time in the evening. It had never occurred to Mom. I asked if the girl’s phone was in her room at night, alerting her to every text message at all hours. Mom said, “Maybe that’s why  my daughter doesn’t sleep well.”

Then the next day another client related not sleeping well in general and being upset in particular by an email that pinged in during the middle of the night. She sleeps with her phone on the bed by her head.

Now, I’m not breaking confidentiality here because this hardly describes any specific person any of you would recognize. It’s an epidemic. These are smart, responsible people—but a little like lemmings rushing en masse off a cliff.

I even suspect, though I’m not the medical expert, that we haven’t begun to see the neurological consequences of all this cell phone use. The young, developing brain has got to be affected. The brain actually continues developing into young adulthood and never really stops working on itself like we formerly thought. So was popping popcorn with cell phones faked? Or does it matter since excessive cell phone use can’t be good for us anyway?

It’s not just cell phones close to the brain for hours, it’s the constant bombardment and stimulation. Years ago research determined the number of images per second the brain could absorb. The number we’re exposed to now in commercials and videos must border on enough to create a flicker rate to trigger an epileptic seizure.

This issue is similar to violence. Since the 1960’s research has shown that violence begets violence. Thank you, Albert Bandura. But has that consistent research finding done anything to alter the violence portrayed to children? Far from it. In fact, at a conference at which a friend presented on this topic to titans of the industry in the ’80s, the consensus was—they didn’t care—violence sells.

Technology sells.

Then there’s inattention while driving. How did it ever happen that one can talk on the phone while driving? Split attention doesn’t work while hurtling in a guided missile of a vehicle. Oh, that’s right—it sells.

We doomsayers can wail all we want. Isolation in the guise of social media. Instant messaging (or whatever the current buzzword is) means instant relationship, means not a real relationship. How does empathy fully develop in the absence of body language and eye contact?

Wailing isn’t going to do any good without action. My generation, the if-it-feels-good-do-it generation, is reaping what we sowed in serial attachment figures for our kids. Those kids, now parents, are afraid to tell their kids “No” for fear the kids won’t love them. No wonder. What’s the next act of the drama?

A teenager, who shall remain nameless, was playing a game with me; she picked up her cell phone a few times to fire off no doubt meaningful replies to just-received texts. I suggested she put the phone away. “Auh,” she said with a huff, “That’s the way we are. Get used to it.”

No thanks.

Which brings me to referring you to a blog I read—Dr. Dennis Hensley, director of the professional writing program at Taylor University. Doc Hensley  is nothing short of a writing guru, if you take the second definition in my dictionary— an influential teacher or popular expert. Read what he has to say about technology. I like his choice of the word “vapid”: offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.

One last thought—an ad on the side of a bus read—”Ignore your teeth, they’ll go away.”

Cristine Eastin © 2012
Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudade, A Deep Longing

Saudade–I have a bad case of it. Wikipedia defines this Portuguese word as, “…a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.”

Sigh.

My saudade sighs are for England.

In my mid-twenties I lived in Beaconsfield, England: halfway between London and Oxford. This was my house—minus the two-story addition on the right where the brick is darker and plus masses of tall Queen Elizabeth roses. My house must also have a new name, or no name, since one chimney was removed. The Post Office once directed a friend visiting from Geneva to my house when the friend said, “I think her house is called ‘Two Stacks’.” How quaint.

For two years “Two Stacks” was home. I arrived a young, naive woman and left with a heart full of the love of friends—a heart that’s got a chunk of it shaped like England into which only England and things English will fit.

I long to return: a longing so strong it feels as if it might pull my heart right out of my chest and stick it to some place in England.

I run back to England as often as I can—to the dreary weather, the quaint houses, the endless footpaths, the English way of life—and to friends.

Almost every day a friend and I walked our dogs here. Public access to private land gave us miles of hill and dale for the dogs to run, providing the dogs didn’t bother the livestock. The only time that almost went wrong was when I watched helplessly as a stud donkey chased my dog. Fortunately my dog ducked under the fence an inch ahead of the hoofs.

Sigh.

I long to walk in England. Tramping the sidewalks in my rabbit warren urban US neighborhood doesn’t cut it. Nor does walking the Department of Natural Resources land near my house where they’ve just clear-cut the woods to make way for a prairie restoration. “Progress!” she spat out in disgust.

Sometimes my English friend and I ate lunch here, both dogs resting under the table—the Royal Standard of England. I had already had a taste of living overseas by this time, having lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two ski seasons, but the Royal Standard was an eye-opener. I understood why England viewed its American step-children as unappreciative of history. Part of the Royal Standard was 900 years old. I had no sense of history like that.

England has changed  tremendously since I lived there. The pace of life has almost caught up to the US, horrible blights on the architectural landscape have gone up, economic stress is rife, and the country struggles valiantly with ethnic diversity. The butcher shop that brined my corned beef for me and the butcher that gave my dog treats are gone, replaced by a huge, convenient grocery store.

Yet I can’t wait to get back. It makes me feel righted somehow—like my bones have fallen into place.

I know all this saudade silliness flies in the face of  Paul’s wisdom: “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content,” (Philippians 4:11). It’s not that I’m not content in the State of Wisconsin. But, for some reason, God put this love of England in me. I do know that my next novel will be set in Scotland and England. If I can’t live there in reality, at least I can live there in my imagination.

If only they wouldn’t drive on the left!

Cristine Eastin © 2012
Categories: Christianity, Psychology, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buck Up, Little Camper

We all need encouragement now and then. I think this seldom-used, maybe archaic phrase is so cute. “Buck up, little camper.” I picture a little kid getting a parental chuck under the chin. The kid’s lower lip pulls back in place, and parent and child smile warmly at each other. “Now run along and play,” says the parent.

This picture of grandpa and grandchild that I took in Mevagissey, Cornwall, England, has that sweetness about it. (Hurray for telephoto lenses.)

Today I read Christian author Jan Watson‘s blog. She talked about “recharging” in God’s Word when your battery’s low.

Here’s the verse I’ve been plugged into lately, reading it over and over—Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I relax when I get to “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I’m reminded that I can’t get there myself and therefore don’t have to. Ah, what a thirst-quenching drink.

Then, since we are what we think, I repeat “trust, joy, peace, hope” to drill those words into my thinking and thence into my doing.

But what do you do when you’re too tired to even drag yourself to the well? Tired unto tired out. No self-condemnation, no despair. Lift your chin toward your heavenly Father for that encouraging, “Buck up, little camper.” And lean your tired head into the Father’s hand and rest.

* * * * *

BTW—to you women who love Christian historical fiction, you MUST read Jan Watson. Her series starts with Troublesome Creek. Jan is clearly anointed to write for us.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
Categories: Christian Life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Get the Picture You Want

If a picture says a thousand words, here’s the story behind this photo, taken while on a walk in Lyme Regis, England.

In the dark age of cameras I used a single lens reflex camera, and I got pretty good pictures—I knew how to get the photo I wanted.

Reluctantly and belatedly, I joined the digital era and decided to try a digital happy snapper. It was light and easy to travel with. But frustrating. I’d see the photo I wanted, push the shutter release, and by the time the message got to the pea computer brain of the camera to actually take the picture—the moment was gone—and I got some other photo. Like the one below.

I did my research and switched to a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR). It’s heavy, but worth its weight. Duh, most of you are thinking. Bear with me.

Then the other photography problem I’ve always had needed to be dealt with—just take the darn picture and stop hoping for something better, before I lose it altogether. So when the calico cat looked at me in a mirrored pose of her concrete buddy, I immediately snapped the photo without worrying if her eyes were in focus or if I had it composed the way I wanted. I got it! A little post-photo cropping, and I had a photo I was thrilled with.

The two photo examples were taken with my DSLR. In this case I actually did want the shot with the kitty’s head in the fountain. I decided I’d better shoot before the cat jumped down and I lost the opportunity for any cute shot. And then I was rewarded with her look at me before she took off.

There’s a metaphor for life in here somewhere. Take the darn picture—make the decision—and don’t over-fuss with getting the details right, or the opportunity may pass—or something like that.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
Categories: Photography, Psychology | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.