Friday, June 30, 2006

Shangri-la Diet -- Best Practices

I've been reading and talking with Seth Roberts, and the following is my simplified list of best practices. Most of these ideas are not mine, but come from the experiences of other people.
  1. Start with extra light olive oil (because it reduces cholesterol. "Extra Light" not "Extra Virgin"). Buy it at SAMS or COSTCO -- ten dollars worth will last you half a year or so.
  2. Pour four tablespoons of oil into a glass with about 2 inches of water. Put it on your counter in the bath room.
  3. Drink some water before you go to bed. When you wake up in the middle of the night, swirl the oil and water together and drink them (the oil and water mix makes it go down a lot easier -- just like water alone). Go back to sleep. Don't brush your teeth (oil is harmless) or have any food at this time.
  1. Expect to lose 2-3 pounds a month.
  2. Expect plateaus, they are normal, and eventually you will spend a lot of time where the general trend is for your weight to go down, but about half of the time it will stay the same.
  3. Keep track -- while you may want to weigh yourself every day, do an "official" weigh-in that you write down once a week (Sunday mornings are good) to keep track. Slow weight loss is easy to lose track of over time.
  4. If it works (you will know after 2-3 weeks if it is working or not), just keep doing it until you get close to your ideal weight, then start using less oil until you quit losing weight.
  5. Look for Updates (e.g. here and here)
  6. Finally, see Starting (or starting over) the SLD method.
There is a lot more. That is why I advise people to buy the book. Shangri-la Diet at

But this is pretty much the collection of best practices, as they stand now. For more:

Caveats? Of course. Don't start without your doctor's approval, make sure you get enough protien and vitamins, if you find yourself just not eating, cut back on the oil -- you want to lose weight but not starve yourself. The same if you start losing weight too fast, cut back.

As you get closer to your ideal weight, cut back so you don't lose too much weight. Be careful, pay attention, read the book, listen to your health care provider. Not everyone is "generic" so generic advice doesn't fit everyone.

For oil and protien powder from (if you don't have it easy to find locally):

I welcome comments, questions, ideas and thoughts in the comments to this post. Always remember, the diet is a work in progress, you don't have to agree with me and the best guesses may well change. Tailor the diet to fit your own body and your own needs. For my current thoughts on tailoring the diet to myself: http://ethesis. . .update.html.

Also, I have a post that collects links to all of my Shangri-la diet posts. See also: blogger key word collection for Shangri-law Diet Posts.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mourner’s Kadish

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

Thanks to

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Step Three: Trust in God

Be thou humble and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to all thy prayers. D&C 112:10
I've written my thoughts on grief and the first steps in a twelve step program in terms of trust in God. In a very real way, they are issues of trust, not merely belief.

In many ways, the third step completes the rift between grief recovery and a twelve-step program. In a twelve-step program, people recognize that life has gone out of control because of things they have done and are doing and that the solution is to let God decide (the famous "I can't, God can, Guess I'll let God" mantra). In grief it is easy to see life being out of control because of the pain caused by things God has allowed to happen.

Alcoholics usually have a trail of jobs lost, lies told, relationships ruined because of the choice to drink and the loss of agency about whether or not to drink. Their own will has led them into the abyss and a twelve-step program offers them a path to let God's will rule their lives and lead them out and into sanity.

But many in grief were earnestly seeking God's will. C. S. Lewis wrote of the death of his wife in that context. Dallin H. Oaks had a similar experience when he came to be a widower. In the death of a child, consider David O McKay's son dying soon after he was called to full time service to God.

In this context, it requires seeking God's will in spite of God's will already having taken one through soul wrenching pain, sometimes more than once. Job's words, how he would trust God, even if God were to slay him, sit in that context. It is the challenge to trust God even though he may do the same thing again, a far different call for trust than a twelve-step program usually calls for. In fact, a common source of humor in twelve-step literature (consider the Joe & Charlie tapes, available free on the web, which contain a good example of this) is the baseless fears that following God would involve any pain.

No one in AA expects life to get worse in the will of God. In grief, it is very possible God has worse in store than one has already faced.

Yet, whether we turn to God, or whether we are holding to God in spite of everything, the key remains to trust in God. If we can do that, in humility, God will take us by the hand and give us answer to our prayers.

May the Holy One answer your prayers.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gifts of the Spirit -- Sacrament talk by Heather Marsh

This is the talk my daughter gave in sacrament this last Sunday.

Gifts of the Spirit

I have always envied those people who can walk up to the stand and so eloquently distill their thoughts, emotions and promptings of the spirit into simple words. It is something I have never been able to do easily. As such I greatly sympathized with one member of the Quorum of the Twelve who spent many hours agonizing over a talk he was to give to a small stake only to stand up before the congregation and to find himself being led by the Spirit to speak on a different subject entirely, and with far more strength than his carefully prepared script.

The next assignment he decided that he would not take the time but would instead just stand up and let the Spirit guide his tongue. It did not come, due to his lack of preparation. He had a very embarrassed and very short time at the podium that Sunday.

The Lord gives us as many blessings as we are able to receive. As long as our half of the covenant is kept, he keeps his. Should we lack in preparation, we may be unfit or unable to have the Holy Ghost abide with us. This principle extends to more than giving talks. The need to be prepared extends to all spiritual gifts, which are the topic of my talk today.

It is through the Holy Spirit that many spiritual gifts are received. When we hearken to that still, small voice, we are blessed as it guides our steps and we find the paths to peace in the home, understanding in the scriptures and purpose in life. A sense of purpose and place is one of the core gifts of the Spirit.

Another important gift of the Spirit is the love of Christ or charity. We need Charity to find and keep the Spirit. Moroni 7:45 states “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinking no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

These characteristics, these attributes, are the key to gifts of the Spirit and the presence of the Spirit in our lives.

The use of Charity to prepare to receive and keep the gifts of the Spirit seems difficult until you read the shorter definition of Charity in the topical guide: Charity is love. Love is indeed patient, kind and without envy. I f you can feel love in your heart towards your fellow man it is surprisingly difficult to be angry at him at the same time. If anger, fear, distaste or unease are replaced with love, the Spirit can abide.

The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded his inability to translate the scriptures if he quarreled with his wife. When he was able to put aside his anger and resolve his conflicts with Emma, the ability to translate returned. It was when the Holy Ghost could once more reside comfortably with him that his spiritual gifts returned.

So it is for us. We can find Spiritual Gifts, especially the Spiritual gift of peace at home and purpose to our lives when we make the Holy Ghost a welcome part of our homes and lives.

If we prepare by embracing Charity, if we prepare by doing what it takes, if we prepare by being patient, kind and without envy, then we can listen to the promptings of the Spirit an it will show us where we should go, what we should say and how we should be.

We can have all the needful gifts of the Spirit in our lives by proper preparation and by finding and keeping love.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Looking for Utopia

Both free market socialism and libertarian socialism seem to offer better models for the United Order than communism.
Market socialism has also been used as a name for any attempt by a Soviet-style economy to introduce market elements into its economic system. In this sense, "market socialism" was first attempted during the 1920s in the Soviet Union as the New Economic Policy (NEP), but soon abandoned. Later, elements of "market socialism" were introduced in Hungary (where it was nicknamed "goulash socialism"), Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia (see Titoism) in the 1970s and 1980s. Modern Vietnam and Laos also describe themselves as market socialist systems. The Soviet Union attempted to introduce a market socialist system with its perestroika reforms under Mikhail Gorbachev, but this led to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Just a brief return to discussing utopias.

Every time you see a worker managed business, such as small steel mills or some railroads, you are encountering this concept in progress.

It works best in slow economies where technological change has slowed to a crawl. It is why Yugoslavia, before the fall of communism, had food for sale without lines, and stores with goods in them, even though it was cut off from both Russian and American spheres (it was independent of Russia and was communist).

Interesting stuff, for looking forward to times people might live together in peace, or for those who ask themselves if Libertarian Democrats and Big Government Republicans are possible.

I'll be back to grief and grief related issues shortly. Probably after I get some comments to give me ideas or direction.


Everyone keeps secrets from those around them. The biggest secret I keep, is, surprisingly, one that I can share on a blog. It is that not only do I love my wife of more than twenty years, I really like her, she makes me happy. When I quit submerging my emotions and began to recover in earnest, that was the most surprising emotion to emerge -- the utter delight and joy my wife gives me.

I can't share that. Everyone says things like that in public, but no one means them. It is like "my husband is my best friend" -- the sort of thing that women say when they can't think of anything positive to say about a guy. Worse, if you mean it, and people can tell you mean it, it sets you outside the norm. It is the one thing I don't share with my mens' group, I don't share with my co-workers and I don't really share at church. It is a secret I keep, constantly. Ever since a co-worker started calling us "the Stepford family" I've been careful not to seem any more alien than I have to.

So I keep a secret.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Finding God, trusting God

It is strange to find faith and belief reduced to numbers, studies and reality. But, in grief, those who seek God in prayer find healing and recovery much more quickly than those that don't. What is interesting, is that the Holy One does not seem particularly picky about how we visualize him.

Issues of gender, person, and attributes do not seem that significant when God's children seek him for help in grief, he responds regardless of our visualizations. Only sincerity and belief seem to matter. So, in a way, the science is a triumph for belief, but not for any specific religion. For most people the results of prayer are not immediate (though there can be moments of inspiration, peace and knowledge that light the way, they are not permanent resolutions), but they are gentle and continuous.

The real struggle is to continue to have trust in God after something terrible has happened, or if it happens more than once. From the outside it is easy to think "God does not save us from being mortal, he only helps us through the experience." That all die and that all experience mortal life, the point being how we react and out making the passage through life. But from the inside, in pain and grief, it is much harder to see the loss of a child, or the loss of children, as part of the natural process for which the world was made, a temporary condition, a brief moment to be healed later in love.

That contrasts with the twelve step's second step where they have to come to believe that a higher power can restore them to sanity. In grief, it is that God can help you in recovery and in the healing that can occur within the walls of the world. In a twelve step, it is that only through God can they recover at all -- and they have to believe that even though God hasn't helped them before, this time he can do it. It helps, of course, that there are millions of success stories and thousands and thousands of functioning groups based on the concept.

But in both cases, you have to find God, find belief in God, and find trust in God to hold onto God. But the path is there and God is faithful to respond to us.

BTW, a useful link for guys who need to wear a tie is the Brooks Brother's Instructions which takes you through all the classic methods.

For diet information, latest posts are here. I've had over four thousand thread views, and there are over a hundred posts in my thread. I'm at another plateau, but making progress, even if it is down to half a pound a week or so (in non-plateau periods I'm at a rate of about 8.5-9.5 pounds a month, in the plateaus it is 3-4 pounds a month. Most people are losing 2-3 pounds a month, and the plateau periods are .5 to 1 pound a month).

What is neat is that in most diets a plateau means failure. All diets work -- at least for 2-3 weeks. There is a lot of good science that just changing what you eat will result in weight loss for a period of 2-3 weeks. Then you plateau, then you rebound. Or, if you hold strictly to the diet, then your metabolism shuts down, then you rebound. As a result, most people react to plateaus by struggling to figure out what they are doing wrong that the diet is no longer working, and over time, react to plateaus with despair.

With the method I am using, a plateau is just a sign of reorganization before my body loses more weight. I now go through them monthly and I'm getting used to having plateaus. The first three or four were strange experiences though, and listening to others react I finally figured out why plateaus were such an emotional event. But, since my metabolism never shuts down during a plateau, I've learned to not take them so seriously.

Now, if I can just keep using the antibiotics and my cornea heals, I'll be fine by tomorrow. After a half day I'm already "seeing" enough improvement that I no longer need the painkillers. Were that all healing was so fast.

I'm home sick, so I took a web poll too. Here's my first to post:

I Am A: Lawful Good Elf Paladin Ranger

Lawful Good characters are the epitome of all that is just and good. They believe in order and governments that work for the benefit of all, and generally do not mind doing direct work to further their beliefs.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Paladins are the Holy Warriors. They have been chosen by a God/dess to be their representative on Earth, and must follow the code of that deity, or risk severe penalties. They tend towards being righteous, but not generally to excess.

Secondary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Tyr is the Lawful Good god of justice. He is also known as Tyr Grimjaws, Wounded Tyr, the Maimed God, and Blind Tyr. He appears as a warrior, missing his hand. Followers of Tyr are concerned first and foremost with justice - discovering the truth and punishing the guilty for their crimes. They wear blue and purple robes with a white sash, a white gauntlet on the left hand, and a black gauntlet on the right, to symbolize Tyr's lost hand. Their preferred weapon is the warhammer. Tyr's symbol is a set of scales resting on a warhammer.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Fighter - (-4)
Ranger -- XXXXX (5)
Paladin - XXXXXXXX (8)
Cleric -- X (1)
Mage ---- XX (2)
Druid --- XXXX (4)
Thief --- (-6)
Bard ---- XXX (3)
Monk ---- XXX (3)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Finding validation, finding God

In grief, we learn to recognize:

  • That we are in grief; everyone is vulnerable, grief is not just for other people, it is not avoidable. Denial is not a solution.
  • That we can feel what is happening to us. Extreme grief is so intense that internal circuit breakers kick in and submerge or isolate the feelings we have, but grief is not gone when that happens, and feelings will happen.
  • That what we are going through is a part of the human experience for everyone who has loss. The validation of that type of recognition is very important, and it is one of the most valuable things that members of a grief support group provide each other: validation that the terrible stresses and emotions we feel are normal, human and real.
We can find validation in grief, if we reach out or are reached by others. I write, in part, because so many people have written me to let me know that in things I have written they found the first steps of recognition, validation and understanding in their grief.

Recognition in grief is vastly different from recognition in a twelve step program. In a twelve step program, the community exists to say "we see through your denial, but you can recover if you will just embrace honesty." In grief, the community exists to say "you aren't alone, you aren't going crazy. You are not ok, but you will be ok, you can live through this."

In grief you will find recognition as a part of validation. No twelve step program I am aware of exists to validate the behaviors they seek to overcome. All grief groups exist to validate grief.

That is why the second step of a twelve step program, which is the key to a twelve step program, is merely a part of the journey that is grief work. God is a tool for recovery from grief, not the core requirement.

This early separation is why grief communities lose interest in twelve step programs. There is no sudden enlightenment that draws us irrevocably out of grief. No one walks into Compassionate Friends and walks out free from grief, many suffering from alcoholism walk into AA meetings and emerge sober, if not their first night, within ninety days.

Alas, grief must be lived through, must be worked through, it is not something we are rescued from, regardless of moments of enlightenment along the way.

But I'll return to the topic, because further in, twelve step programs have tools and realizations that are useful for grief work, useful for life, useful for recovery. While it is only a tool in grief work, the realization that God can help us work through our sorrows and grief is important to grief work.

When responding to grief, it appears that God doesn't care how we visualize him, what our faith or tradition is, or how we pray, as long as we sincerely seek God. (There have been a number of good scientific studies on God and grief recovery). AA's "God of your understanding" is very true of the merciful and kind God who aids those in grief who honestly seek God. Which brings us back to places twelve step program applications are useful.

But remember, God is faithful and kind to those who seek him in grief, gentle with them according to their understandings, hope and faith.

May faith, hope and love attend you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Off topic, talking Judo

My first throw in randori was Sumi Otoshi. It was always one of my favorites when I was younger, though my take-away throw was one that looked like Harai Makikomi or Koshi Guruma, including a variation that looks like hip check Osoto Gari which I used in wrestling. Both feature a high grip around the neck (with the neck caught in the crook of the elbow) and a pulling/twisting throw. I used that throw a lot as a kid.

Now that I'm relearning everything, I'm finding that with such a change in the amount of strength and balance that I have, I'm probably going to have to develop new favorite throws as well. On the other hand, now that I've realized that I need to start over completely, that only makes sense.

Next post, back to normal blogging.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Recognition of the Unmanageable

All 12-step programs begin with the recognition that you can no longer control your life. Where a twelve step program and grief recovery part ways is that in a twelve step program your life is unmanageable, out of control, because of a compulsive or addictive behavior (such as alcoholism or drugs or overeating). In grief, things are out of control because the pain is so intense it overwhelms your habitual coping mechanisms and breaks or severely derails them -- at least for a time.

In both situations, recognizing what is happening is a major step. Time will dull grief and restore you to control, but it takes a lot of time, and without attention and effort you will not find recovery (I'm not sure that is the right word, but I'm not sure healing is the right word either). In grief it is the scope of the devastation that causes people not to realize just how bad it is, that, and modern society fails to prepare us for acknowledging and understanding grief. In compulsive behavior situations it is usually accumulated denial that prevents one from understanding. In both cases, recovery is as good a word as any to describe the pathway back to life.

I'm thinking of doing a series of essays about various twelve step concepts vis a vis grief. Had the Oxford Groups not disintegrated, I'd probably be talking about their six steps instead, but I think the twelve steps, and the goal of recovery, are probably more useful for grief than the drive to find a true spiritual experience (as core as that is). There are a lot of places the two part ways, but many insights that are useful.

As an aside, a key communication skill: use the word "and," never use the word "but." Never "that is a good color on you, but ..." instead, say "that is a good color on you, and ... " If you can't substitute "and" for "but" in whatever you were going to say, it probably needs not to be said. For some more pointers, you can visit

I am still really enjoying returning to Judo, though I'm convinced I just need to start over from stratch, as if I'd not worked out before. I'm lucky to have the best instruction I've had in my life in Judo, and some of the best martial arts instruction I have ever had. If you are in the metroplex, I'd recommend Dallas Judo to you. I'm going to be in the adult novice classes for a long time, but hope to see you there.

On a political note, Conservative should mean '-Concern. Conserve. Constitution. Consistency. Conscience. Contriteness. And, always, always - Consequences.-' After all, "Once upon a time there were real "Conservatives." They believed in fiscal and political responsibility. They expounded on the virtues of getting government out of people's lives. They talked about caution with regard to the use of military force and foreign intervention. They even promoted a policy of governmental accountability." I may not agree with much that is said by others, but I can agree with "Concern. Conserve. Constitution. Consistency. Conscience. Contriteness. And, always, always - Consequences" (note, I'm changing the quote, just a little, then quoting what I agree with, which is the changed quote).

I'm not happy with the way the right or the left are going. One seems like a drunken uncle, spending the rent money, the other seems like a crazy co-dependent aunt, overun with cats (and no, I didn't have a drunken uncle or a crazy aunt in real life, but I had friends who did). Of course I may just not understand.

But I'd like to see more care, concern and compassion.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

life is a test; life is a trust; life is a temporary assignment

In my experience the major problem people have -- the problem that stands most stubbornly between them and a good and satisfying life -- isn't that they're wicked. Usually the Big Barrier is that they're totally disorganized. They flounder around, getting nowhere, and the years go by, and they panic. This book, even when the reader doesn't always agree with the religious doctrine presented, will go a long way toward fixing that. It will put a floor under the flounderer.

By Ozarque talking about a book she wasn't going to recommend, but does, I think, in part, because of this: "three choices from the Bible -- life is a test; life is a trust; life is a temporary assignment -- and to discuss each one."

She also provides a link to a counterpoint. Guess I'll read the book, after I think about the metaphor.

But what do you think: is
life a test; is life a trust; is life a temporary assignment? I'd love to hear, to read, to touch what you think life is. Comments are open.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Count your blessings

There is an old song I learned as a child: "Count your blessings."

Yesterday I was talking with a mediator in Poland, Emmy Irobi, and he mentioned that the song was running through his head.

I found a lot to admire listening to him, and we shared memories about the song and things related to it until a judge called and I had to go. It is good to talk with people who count thier blessings and find joy in that.

But I do count my blessings. One by one by one.

Home alone

At Ozarque they are having a discussion about letting kids roam, how they used to when they were kids, how no one does it now. In Olden Days. I used to roam around a lot, on my bicycle or on foot, in the places we lived, Texas, Alaska, Newfoundland, Nevada. Not so much Idaho (Mountain Home AFB was pretty bleak). So did my wife in Walnut Creek, but not in Brazil.

My kids have roamed a lot less. I thought about that this morning. I'm part of a men's group that meets at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Usually there are no conflicts, but Win got stuck in surgery this morning (her replacement was late, and a CRNA can't just walk out on the surgeon). My seventeen year old was with friends (they had a sleep over, her best friend is leaving in a week or so), which left me with the six year old. Who I knew would sleep until nine, but I just couldn't leave her alone. Maybe if I didn't own so much space in a cemetary, but I just couldn't do it. So I skipped.

But in many ways, God leaves us alone to roam, but with tethers. Not quite like a parent with a cell phone. And just like I had to force myself to let the seventeen year old do things, like join rifle team and keep up her dressage lessons when we were in Wichita Falls, God lets us take risks, fall and hurt ourselves, and keep making our own decisions, leaving only in his hands that he takes us home in the end.

Friday, June 09, 2006

62 pounds lost on the Shangri-la Diet

Ok, I've moved the diet blogging and comments to: topic=188.0 (the diet has a board of its own run by Seth Roberts and I'm there).

Also, if you are interested in "how to" I've got a link collection here: Diet Link Index

While I'm pretty much blogging on other things (besides the diet) now, I was really excited for myself this morning, so I thought I'd post.

The only down side is that I've got to pick up some 32" belts and they are hard to find.

Back to normal blogging shortly. My parents put down earnest money for a house half a block from mine. I'm so excited about that! I've also got more posts on grief and recovery.

But, I'm having a happy morning.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

People don't want to get rid of their defects of character Steve, they want to get rid of the problems those defects cause while holding on to the defects themselves. That is why they aren't willing to have God help them rid themselves of their personal defects. It is like the old Russian proverb: "everyone prays that 2 + 2 will not equal four." They don't want to change causes, they just want to escape consequences.

Hearing that made me think. It reminds me of when I tell my six year old to apologize and she doesn't mean it. The "I'm sorry I have to apologize" look, if you know what I mean, rather than the "I'm apologizing because I'm sorry" that I want.

The comment gave me an interesting way to look at motives, problems and change and what it means to want to change or to be willing to change.

Speaking of changes, my parents have decided to change their address and move to Plano. They are getting older and will need help, and we can use the love. Yes, I admit it, I love my parents and really enjoy having them around. The time they spent out here at my oldest daughter's graduation was really neat.

I'd never expected that they would want to move, none-the-less think about it and I do look forward to it. They were pleased with me, at least with the amount of weight I've lost (funny, I think I've gotten more positive feedback on losing weight than anything else I've done, even at work. JL was commenting on how she could be just about ABD on her PhD and people would notice how thin she was over that. It doesn't just happen to adult women, it happens to 50 year old guys too).

May you have good changes in your life. (Which reminds me, needs an update -- he's had good changes after all).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

For Guys Only

The following is for guys only, it is about women, and applies to many (though not necessarily most or all) women.

Women are different from men, in a lot of ways. But, your wife is not:

  • Your co-worker
  • Your mother or your sister
  • Another guy

Lots of guys think they know all about women because they have female co-workers. That just is not true. You will discover that there are many things about being married that are completely different from working with women.

Lots of guys think they know all about women because they have a mother or a sister(s). That just is not true. You will discover that there are many things about being married that are completely different from having a mother or a sister.

Lots of guys think of a wife as just another guy. That is just not accurate. Guys are pretty simple. Food, sports, sex and sleep. Kind of like having four food groups. Guys generally do not have hidden agendas and, there are lots of ways guys relate to each other that just don't work with women.

Multiple levels, is one of the places where a wife is different from a guy, a difference in relating. All of the things a wife is not come together once or twice a year if you are going to be married to a woman, because you can expect to have meltdowns, flash-overs or similar things as life adds up. Your partner will have times when she is either very angry or very sad or very hurt. But knowing about it is only a start, "What do you do when your partner is raging because they are hurting?"

Said otherwise, "What does a guy do when his wife hits that point of raging (driven by hurt) that happens when the stack of issues his wife has builds to overflowing, no matter how she tries to acknowledge, accept, nurture or heal? When it comes to head once or twice a year?"

With co-workers you will never see it. I've had lots and lots of female co-workers in the last thirty-five years. Never had an event like that. Female co-workers did little to prepare me for marriage. I've got a mother and a sister. Most guys with mothers and sisters never deal with meltdowns.

None of the guys I know act that way -- they don't have meltdowns. however, I'm in a men's group, and when a guy who was married for the first time late in life brought up this question -- thinking it was happening only to him -- and every guy in the room just smiled. We let him know he was not alone.

There are two sub-sets of times that your wife will get upset that are useful to know about.

The first is "'bumps in a crowd' sorts of collisions or hurt feelings" -- those small, accidental things that happen. Generally, the guy thing to do if someone points out that you've done something is nod "ok" and go on. The best way for a woman to look at it is like playing backyard basketball or walking down a crowded street.

Minor collisions or fouls are just nodded at and shrugged off. Most women shrug them off too, unless there is something else going on (and think the ones who don't shrug them off are drama queens or need Prozac). For a guy, you need to remember that if your partner says something about something like that (e.g. "hey, it hurt my feelings when you put the peanut butter in the fridge") you need to stop, look them straight in the eye (stopping whatever you are doing) and say "I'm sorry, it was my fault, I'll try not to do it again."

If they were bothered enough to say something (and they aren't a drama queen or just unhinged -- this is general marital advice, not psychotherapy and I'm not responsible if you married a drama queen), then you need to take it seriously enough to give a real apology, no matter what it seems like.

There is a three part apology message. Unlike the rule in basketball (where you don't stop what you are doing) or a crowd, if your partner feels she needed to say something, then if you want to care for her, you need to stop and pay attention to nothing else.

Then you say
  1. I'm sorry
  2. It was my fault (no excuses) and
  3. I won't do it again
(Hidden trap in number three: you may need to say I'll try not to do it again -- though you need to know if your spouse is from the side of the street where they expect you to try, or the side of the street where they use the word "try" to mean "I'll make a failing effort and do not really care." That makes a big difference out of a little word. Some expect it, some see it as diminishing anything you say).

The second type of time is "what do you do when the problem isn't the real problem (which is often why your wife is complaining about things that don't seem like real issues -- it is a warning sign)" -- and part of learning to be a guy is learning that when you deal with women their stacks are going to overflow (the old computer analogy) and it is all about to hit the fan. Part of what you sign on to when you sign on as a husband is to deal with those incidents with kindness and care.

You need to know first, that whatever the reason it is, since it is causing an emotional meltdown, the reason is "good enough." Second, that it may not be your fault (though we've all heard the message "it is always the guy's fault") and third, it may be your fault. Fault and justification aren't that important in your first response, the first thing you need to do is to not treat a melt down as an attack.

You start by realizing that meltdowns are going to happen every-so-often no matter what. It is just part of life.

Then, what you do is you find a way to react to a meltdown with kindness towards your wife and yourself.

Find a pattern that works. If you followed my advice about back rubs or foot rubs that have nothing to do with making a pass or sex, you can often rub her back (if she is willing to be touched). Or take her for a walk. Listen to her. Listen without defensiveness and without offering solutions. A guy complains to you, or a female co-worker complains, they want a solution. Your wife complains to you, she wants you to listen and acknowledge. She probably does not want a solution and offering solutions will probably not make things better.

A good pattern is to go for a walk or to have your wife sit and talk to you while you do the dishes. Find a way to go for walks whenever something like this happens or seems to be building up. When what is happening is that someone is lashing out because of pain, and that will happen, the key is to not take it personally, let it expend itself while you listen without adding fuel to the fire, and then reassure them of your love (remember that three part pattern, or recipe, about telling your wife that you love them?).

While you listen, realize that while you may not be at fault and should not take it personally, there may be things you are doing wrong. Regardless of when those sorts of things come out, you need to address them. Maybe you leave your dirty clothes on the floor instead of the laundry hamper. It isn't a big thing, but you might as well change that (you should have outgrown it by the time you were twelve, anyway).

Maybe there are other things like that. Little things, but they add to the friction in life. It just isn't worth it not to reduce the friction, but most women won't really mention them unless they are upset enough at life to let it all out.

On the other hand, maybe there isn't anything, except you've gotten a little out of synch. That just means spending more time communicating.

Maybe it is just build-up and you need to get past it. Or maybe there is also a real issue, like the anniversary of when her dad died, or the time you buried your child, or something similar. Maybe this never happens in your life (or never did until something real happened) or maybe you really didn't notice, being a guy, until recently that it does happen in your life. But it does, it will, and you can either make it better or worse.

Making it worse is treating it as an attack, fighting back or being dismissive and suggesting that she just take some Prozac and get some sleep, better diet and exercise. (I'm not suggesting that any of these are bad things, just that suggesting them is futile, dangerous and doesn't help).

Making the situation better is noticing when emotions start to build up and addressing those emotions with love, attention and support -- by being a husband. You listen, you are patient, you do something positive and you express love.

You have a duty to be patient, to be long suffering, to love and to serve, to care for your wife as Christ would. That is what it means to husband. Not to be in charge, or to exercise dominion, but to be kind and caring and to be responsible. The priesthood is the primal call to service, to be like Christ, to be the servant, not the master, to be a caretaker and a protector, to be a man.

This is one way to make sure you are doing that.

Zydeco Singrays

AllGood Cafe had the ZYDECO Stingrays playing last night. It was their first gig, though the lead singer/squeezebox player has been a DJ for fifteen years with Zydeco music.

They were very good and we enjoyed the Cafe as well.

Zydeco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some people ...

Some people you can either shoot or ignore, but there isn't much else to do with them.

When someone has displaced anger because they have serious life issues that they can't or won't face, and won't even admit, you have one of two choices.

One, you can tell them what their real problem is, in terms they can not misunderstand. You might as well shoot them, given that there are reasons for denial that have nothing to do with Egypt ("De Nile, it isn't just a river" is an old saying in some parts of the country). The sister who is upset with her life choices and her husband, but who won't admit it and who can't do anything about it, so she gets angry with everyone else is a good example.

Two, you can treat the outbursts and the venting like you would Tourette's Syndrome. or some else's three month old baby who is crying because of a full diaper.

There is no point in taking them seriously, or taking what they say to heart if they vent in your direction. As long as they can't do you harm, the right response is to feel compassion and let them vent like you would someone passing gas by accident. Don't dwell on it.

And don't worry about disabusing them either. Try it two or three times and then recognize what is going on for what it is -- displaced self-anger. In my own experience, having thought someone just had mistaken anger and having worked them through their resentments several times until they decided they didn't want to talk with me again (they needed their resentments and coming up with new ones was hard), all you can do is be kind.

Or, you can shoot them. Point out that they are wrong on whatever they are venting about, then tell them bluntly the real source of their anger and challenge them to deal with it. Do it in a way that informs those around them of the issue as well.

I can give examples. People in grief sometimes act this way, but most of them grow out of it, and those that don't usually are grateful to find help in recognizing the displacement so that they can find recovery. The tools are useful, the problem is that people who have problems from other sources (e.g. the hyper-competitive mother whose kids aren't that smart, good-looking or athletic, or the guy who is too ugly but wants pretty girls not to judge him on the same criteria he judges them, or the person who is married to a spouse who isn't bad enough to divorce, but who isn't as special as they thought, or ...) are not ready to respond to them.

Until they are ready to come into the light and quit lying to themselves, there isn't much you can do. I wish there was. Not every tool should be used in every situation.