The difference between courage & desperation

This week while chatting with my therapist, she repeatedly tried to compliment my courage in facing several challenges. But she & I had different perspectives of the same situations. Where she saw courage, I knew I was just desperate.   I finally got my point across using the classic 80’s movie “Officer and a Gentleman” where Richard Gere’s character is being harassed by his drill instructor to drop out. He breaks down, crying out “I’ve got no place else to go.  This is it!”  I’ve felt that way several times since the stroke- I have to be able to eat. I have to get up & stand on my own.  I have to be able to walk around the house.  I have to be able to put my brace & shoes on.  I have no place else to go.  This is it!  So I have to do whatever’s necessary to be able to do these things.  It’s not a matter of courage but of desperation.  The alternative is too scary to even think about.

A sigh of relief all across the internet…

If I understand the reports correctly, the FCC voted on Thursday that broadband ISPs were common carriers that could be regulated using Title II.  The importance of this decision can’t be overstated.  The internet is what it is today because it has been left alone to grow independent from governmental or commercial regulation or interference.

If ISPs were allowed to use their captive markets to monetize delivery of content, it would have harmed not just the customers of the ISPs but the entire ecosystem of the internet.  The internet is probably the purest example we have ever had of a truly market driven economy anywhere and anywhen.  The success of any idea is determined directly by consumers.

While Thursday’s decision by the FCC is reassuring, the internet faces other threats which we have to continue to be vigilant for.  The growth and success of the recent Arab Spring movement is directly connected to the internet.  But other governments continue to try to manipulate the internet to further their own interests; most significantly, the governments of China, the US and North Korea have attacked internet users and continue to do so.  We need to rebuff the efforts of these governments and protect this valuable global resource.

Procrastination & other expressions of anxiety

Before I get into my diatribe, I have to share this joke:  I’ve been meaning to post about procrastination but never got around to it…

I’ve had a problem with procrastination all my life.  I remember as a child staying up late many nights doing homework that had to be turned in the next day.  But I’ve never understood why I procrastinate.  I’ve always felt powerless trying to overcome it.

Recently, my therapist and I have touched on my issues with procrastination while discussing other stuff.  Her comments have prompted me to dig a little deeper into why I procrastinate and it looks like the more detrimental episodes of procrastination result from anxiety and avoiding stuff that provokes anxiety.

That makes sense historically; I remember one term in college where I flunked one course where the final grade was determined by the term project and another class that I got a C because the final grade was split 50/50 between exams and homework.  I was so anxious about my homework that I couldn’t bring myself to go in the labs to work on it. My grades mystified my professors and teaching assistants.  My exam scores were so much higher than everyone else’s, they deformed the curve so much it couldn’t be used to assign grades across the class.  Given my exam grades, they couldn’t fathom how I could possibly earn only a C final grade for the course.  If I turned in virtually any homework, I ought to have a B and given that I could score so high on the exams, I couldn’t possibly be that wrong on the homework.  The problem was that I couldn’t get myself to do the homework – My anxiety made it impossible to face the labs where it’s done.

This is a very insidious kind of problem to have because if something provokes anxiety, procrastinating  about it will make the problem worse which will cause even more anxiety.   It’s a vicious circle that starts almost before you know it; certainly before you can head it off.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to help me derail the procrastination when it becomes a problem.  But I haven’t come up with anything that will work in spite of the anxiety that triggers the procrastination.  So I’ll explore ways to deflate my anxiety that might enable me to oversome the resulting procrastination.  It seems like the anxiety is a bigger nut to crack than procrastination.  But it seems that I can’t face the procrastination when I’m severely anxious.  So I need to defuse the anxiety so that I have a clear enough mind to handle the procrastination.

Solving this problem might also help my daughter that appears to have inherited my anxiety tendencies.  Her anxieties can completely overwhelm her so much that she can’t get out of bed. Now that I see my own anxieties inside me, I need to let her know that she’s not alone, it’s not her failing and she can find a way to be okay with it in the long run.

George Clooney received Cecil B DeMille Award at the 2015 Golden Globes

Check out his excellent acceptance speech:

http://youtu.be/j7I1i9Ysncc

I think he hit every possible point, from thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press to commiserating with the other attendees, 80% of whom will be “losers” tomorrow. pushing for support of “small” films, highlighting the “Je suis Charlie” campaign supporting free speech and of course telling his new wife how much he loves her.

Was Ronald Reagan this smooth in his Hollywood days? Despite Clooney’s protestations, I think he would do very well in politics.

Found a photographer I like…

baybridgeatnightcpleblow had this picture of the Bay Bridge at night featured as the background of the tumblr login page.  That lead me to his tumblr blog and other photos he’s posted.  I don’t know how good he is but I like a lot of what I’ve seen, especially his shots of the Bay Area skyline.

Living in the left brain sucks!

One of the better known books about dealing with stroke was written by a brain scientist who survived a stroke.  She described her post stroke reality in almost mystical terms…  She felt one with the universe; could feel time flow around her; she was on vacation from her detail-oriented life.

She experienced a “left brain” stroke that caused her brain to rely more heavily on the unaffected right side of her brain.  My experience was less mystical…

I had a “right brain” stroke causing my brain to use more of my unaffected left side.  In addition to the functions lost as the areas that handled them were fried, I also found that my subconscious way of looking at stuff changed from “big Picture”, “intuitive” to “step by step”, “detailed”.  Instead of seeing everything as a whole that connected everything, I saw everything as a bunch of parts which may be connected, although the connections was not as important as each of the separate parts.

It’s impossible to realize how thoroughly it affects how you look at the world, view yourself and relate to others.  I don’t like this new reality and really wish I could go back to my old reality.  I now have to separate myself from the way my brain works.  Kathy often hears me apologize “Sorry, that’s the way my wiring works now.”  She doesn’t always buy it but it helps me remember my values and how what I am isn’t defined by how my brain works.  I just need to remember to consciously think and act the way that I want to.

I suppose that we could think of this like changing all my habits at the same time…  When you’re changing a habit, you have to consciously think about what you want to do instead of automatically following the habit.  Eventually, the new habit will replace the old habit and you won’t have to consciously think on what you want to do.  I can  only hope that this is applicable, at least somewhat, to my situation.

If you have any comments on this, right brain vs left brain or how this compares to habit changing, I’d love to see your comments…

Happy New Years 2015!

I pray that everyone will have an excellent 2015.  May you have wonderful stuff happen for you and unhappy events pass you by.

Last Sunday, the discussion in Sunday School turned to New Years being the beginning of a new cycle and that it’s natural to anticipate how it will unfold, what will be new or different.  As part of that anticipation, we think about what we will do differently. and this is why New Years resolutions have become a tradition.  If we think more about the doing different for the cycle, the year,and less about how it’s a resolution we just made, it’s more likely that we will follow through on our resolutions and less likely to abandon them.

I shared a resolution with the class that I’ve made for 2015.  It’s similar to other resolutions I’ve made in the past that never took hold so I’m more than a little nervous about this one:  I resolve to post on my blog every weekday in 2015.

There- I’ve published it for everyone to see. We can all watch to see how long I can keep my resolution.  If you have any thoughts on my resolution or New Years resolutions of your own to share, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.