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Mental Kindness begins with...

Monday, April 16, 2012

There are so many starting points to being kind to oneself. However, I'm going to start with one that folks might have vocabulary troubles with of their own (as I do with the "mental toughness" vocabulary).

"If I'm kind to myself, isn't that just another way of giving myself permission to behave however I want?"

Well, no, it's not. I think of mental kindness as mothering my inner child. Good mothers do not let their children run wild. When the child begins to misbehave, the good mother does a little diagnostic work, right?

She determines what's been different about the child's day/week/surroundings and then comes up with a plan that works... FOR THAT CHILD. Because every child is different. The plan *could* be a swat on the bottom and off to a time-out corner or "go to your room and think about it". It could be a mutual distraction: "Go outside and play until dinenr time!" It could be a hug and a shoulder to cry on. A listening ear. And sometimes it's a cookie and a glass of milk! emoticon emoticon

Yes, there is even a place in the life of a child for the occasional treat. But the treat should not become a substitute for the love and careful consideration of what the real need is. The plan doesn't always work, every time, it's something of a trial and error figuring out what works with any given child. So we might change plans the next time.

But if we skip that step of assessment of the real need, and doing something about it, the temptation is to try to "fix" things with food, which is "easy"! Mental kindness is being a good parent to yourself.

Sometimes that good parent is one of Dad's little talks about the way life is... and you can equate that to some of the Mental Toughness lessons. Especially the hard ones: people are watching you, things are expected of you because of XYZ, you are a role model, people are attracted to or make judgements about you based on your size and fitness and appearance. Hard lessons, but true, nonetheless.

And sometimes that good parent is one of Mom's hugs and the reminder that YOU are special, and precious, have value and are worth taking care of... and she's there for you! Sometimes followed by the practical suggestion of something that might help... and sometimes leaving it for the child to figure out what will work that *isn't* the whole bag of cookies!

So... are you being mentally kind to yourself? emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 4/18/2012 1:31AM

    So true. Always a struggle not to berate myself for being dumb and so forgetful.

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COMETER 4/16/2012 9:22PM

    You hit the nail on the head--food taking the place of what we really need. And kindness (combined with wisdom) being the key to working it all out. Nice!

And thanks.


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ALOHAEV1 4/16/2012 5:22PM

    This is one of those, why isn't this on the most read? I know it spoke to me, maybe this old gal can finally learn it's okay to be kind to yourself, outwardly and inwardly.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/16/2012 2:02PM

    What a wonderful blog! It IS like us parentint our inner child. Without assess situations first, you are not sure how to address the challenge. If we take that step, the challenge will be addressed appropriately and a lesson learned.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/16/2012 9:47AM

    I think mothering our inner child is one of the toughest skills to master. We want so badly to be accepted and loved that we sometimes are hard (mean?) on ourselves to try to become what we think other people want/expect.

I have been working hard to mother my inner child for the past few weeks. When I remember (that's the key) to stop and ask myself what it is I need, why I'm feeling this way, why I'm acting this way, etc., I can usually calm myself down and figure things out.

It's when I act first/ think later that I get myself into trouble. Very hard habits to break. But as long as we continue to keep trying, you and I both will be better off for it.

Great blog, Barb. Have a great day!

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WATERMELLEN 4/16/2012 8:04AM

    Really like this! And a lot of the time, yeah! I'm kind to myself. Fresh red raspberries; red cowgirl boots; time to listen to the red-winged blackbirds on the golf course! (There seems to be a theme here: and I'm hoping it's not self-indulgence!!).

Loved your comments on my Spark page about Siebold's "elitist" vocab, the "world class" versus the "middle class" etc. It's a core belief that doesn't work for me either . . .

However:

Siebold tells us most of those who sign up for fatloser.com quit by day 3 or 4: and if not then, at day 13!! You didn't quit.

What per centage of those who sign up for SP lose weight? And what per centage drop out? SP isn't telling: but anecdotally, I see a lot of great people leaving . . . . without achieving their goals. We miss them.

And what per centage of people who lose weight keep it off? National Weight Loss Registry says . . . I think . . . 5%. You are not quitting.

So: "objective reality" indicates to me that you're probably and reluctantly "world class" in Siebold's terms! Sorry Barb. I KNOW you don't wanna be "world class", just fully human. And you are that too, yes you are!!

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SUE_2U 4/16/2012 7:59AM

    Thanks for writing this out. I loved it! And agree wholeheartedly. We do all have this inner child that needs some nurturing, and nurturing is not spoiling.
I do have trouble being mentally kind to myself. I rake myself over the coals too often. Sometimes I do things that sabotage myself. Still learning what not to do as well as what to do.
Sparking on! Thank you! And your video was awesome. I loved it!

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Mental Kindness Video Blog

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Video response to Steve Siebold's Mental Toughness coaching sessions from fatloser.com. And I actually say some NICE things about it. emoticon

edited to add:
If you don't want to hit the play button, it's OK... this is the first time I posted a video blog and it's about five minutes long. If I do any in future, I'll probably try to make them shorter!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CURVYELVIESAYS 4/19/2012 10:55AM

    Great blog and will check out the website thank you.

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ALOHAEV1 4/16/2012 5:15PM

    Absolutely loved seeing you...super kewl. And everything that was going through my head has already been said. Except perfectionist doesn't describe me, impatient and queen of procrastination. Now to go back and revisit your blogs.

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SUE_2U 4/16/2012 6:59AM

    It's so very, VERY nice to hear you and see you in video! I can't seem to stop grinning!
Yeah with my hearing I did not get every word but I did get some and that part I think is well said. Spark On, my friend!

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_LINDA 4/15/2012 9:10PM

    Well said, and very well spoken Barb! You have made an awesome debut in a video blog!! Enjoyed hearing your voice and seeing you move, it was like having a conversation with you in my living room!! I couldn't agree more with being kind to yourself. Treating yourself like would treat your best friend is essential to success.
Spark on indeed!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/15/2012 8:56PM

    This is terrific: and it's so great to hear your voice! And see your certificate all printed out!!

The older I get, the more I believe that kindness is the central moral virtue. It never hurts to be kind. And if we are going to be kind to others, we have to begin by filling the well of kindness: being kind to ourselves.

I'm betting, however, that Steve Siebold would not quarrel with anything you say here. He IS kind. Incredibly so. His tone of voice, his facial expressions . . . the very fact that he had posted so much free material on the internet -- all of that speaks to a generous and kind personality.

And gotta say I love the irony (I'm sure you do too) that a video blog on mental kindness by a recovering perfectionist required retakes!!

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EBEAMS 4/15/2012 8:46PM

    THAT was awesome! It was so nice to hear you process information, to hear the rhythm of your verbal communication. It will make reading your blogs from now on even better! I'm totally with you about the need for nurturing to overcome the LOUD critical voice that hammers at my heart. So glad to have someone on my journey who understands ... Thanks for sharing ... you did GREAT!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/15/2012 8:35PM

    Excellent video blog. VERY glad that I viewed it and thank you for posting it.

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MOBYCARP 4/15/2012 8:00PM

    I usually bypass video blogs, but I can make an exception for relatives. emoticon

I appreciate your condensed version of the Mental Toughness course, as right now I'm not finding regular time for serious motivational thought. Perfectionism versus "home weight" deserves some contemplation, too; the idea of being able to not track and maintain is very attractive. I just don't trust that *I* can do it.

My perfectionist tendencies may be weaker than yours, but they're still there. I'm not sure anyone with perfectionist tendencies can ever get rid of them. Perhaps the best we can do is change the focus, and strive for the perfect balance in life rather than striving to be the perfect athlete or the perfect employee.

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CONCHA77 4/15/2012 6:53PM

    Wow, Barb! Crazy Cool emoticon
You did get this right, enjoyed it very much. I want More! haha.
Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see more.

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SUNNYWBL 4/15/2012 6:26PM

    I finally bought a new CPU which allows me to see and hear these video blogs. It was great to see and hear you my friend!


emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 4/15/2012 6:15PM

    Hi Barb....How cool, watching you speak! I admit, I didn't have the time to watch the whole blog, and will get back to it later. But I just wanted to say, you look and sound great!

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So long to Mental Toughness - Day 21 homework

Saturday, April 14, 2012

So, the motivational slump? Ends in facing the music, right? Went to see my dietary consultant this morning, and fessed up to my bad behavior with food. I know darn well I feel better when I eat better, so I have a one-week plan to start addressing THAT area.

Then I went off to keep my last appointment with the personal trainer (my birthday present to myself last November was a six-pack of PT sessions). It was a good workout, and with machines I *don't* have available at home.

She's moving! Of all things! So this really is my last chance workout with her. She gave me a reference to another gal who is currently on maternity leave but coming back in June, so if I decide I want to continue periodic sessions, I can do that.

DAY 21 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. On a scale of 1-7, 7 being best, how strong is your sense of urgency for getting fit?

This week, about a 3. Trying to get it up a bit. I started out this course fit. I ran a ten mile race the first week. Motivation/urgency has been unraveling the entire series of video, as I find myself emotionally "talking back".

2. What will be the next big goal you will pursue once you get fit?

Why wait? My goal is to achieve balance in my life.

3. What one big dream would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail, now that you're thinking bigger than ever?

I already had this dream before I started, and I am on track to complete it: a triathlon, Sprint distance, this Summer.

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To be honest, I'm glad to be done with this series. A lot of stuff has been swirling around emotionally, and the "Mental toughness" coaching is all about stopping from being emotional. Well, I got news. I am an emotional creature. I have to learn to deal with my emotions, not deny that they exist.

Granted, coach Siebold says one should "motivate with emotion" and "act/decide based on rational thought". But he really doesn't have much to say about dealing with and accepting emotions, so he kind of strikes me as being a "guy motivator", and I did not respond well to his style. Although, in the end, I agree with his conclusions... I have to find different ways to motivate ME.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 4/15/2012 9:26AM

    When I read the first question, I realized that when I first got out of the hospital after the heart attack, my motivation to get healthy was 7 on 7. But it went down to about a 3 about 1-1/2 year later, when I got stuck on a plateau and then started gaining again. It helped me to reflect on that. My motivation is about a 5 right now.

Love your answer to the 2nd and 3rd questions! emoticon

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EBEAMS 4/14/2012 9:14PM

    Congrats on sticking it out. I'm sure that you learned stuff about yourself that you might not have thought about before. Growing, stretching, learning ... it's good for us! Best of luck on all your endeavors! Keep up your fabulous work!

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WATERMELLEN 4/14/2012 9:00PM

    Not so sure it's entirely a guy/gal thing because I . . . . pretty girly, actually . . . . . "read" Siebold as intensely emotional himself. He's so full of praise, of caring, of support, and so motivating! But yeah, he is mentally tough too . . . never seen anyone in action who combines these qualities so completely.

You've done this journey your way . . . and Siebold is all about being willing to consider other points of view (you did that, for 21 days) and then "thinking for yourself" (you've done that too).

Hope you printed out your graduation diploma!

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MOBYCARP 4/14/2012 8:50PM

    Your blogs about the Siebold question have been an interesting and educational echo of his system. I thought about signing up for it shortly after you did, but decided that I was so busy in the rest of my life that I was unlikely to treat it respectfully and get real value out of it. Maybe down the road, if he's really a "guy motivator." But first, I have to get through maintaining diet and exercise during crazy work season.

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CONCHA77 4/14/2012 7:06PM

    Spark On!

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_LINDA 4/14/2012 6:05PM

    That part is just wrong. We are all emotional creatures. Everything we do is based on how we feel. You can't just turn that off. Not unless you are Mr. Spock with pointed ears!!! Even with all our emotions, women are considered mentally tougher then men. Think a guy could ever go through childbirth?? We were designed to take pain and responsibility for the nuturing of life. Nothing more fierce then a momma bear protecting her cubs!!! So get out there and make your cub proud of you and Just. Do. It!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/14/2012 5:00PM

    You have definitely learned a lot about yourself going through that course, and seems to me THAT'S the bottom line. You did good!

I am an emotional creature, too, and guys just don't "get that". I am very lucky to be married to a wonderful man, but he is NOT emotional at all . . . not on MY level, I should say.

Well, have a great weekend. You're the tops!

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MNTWINSGAL 4/14/2012 4:36PM

    Well, congrats on sticking to it, even though you decided that ultimately this program isn't "for you." You gave it your best and now you can move on to the next thing on your horizon.

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KALIGIRL 4/14/2012 3:08PM

    Here's to knowing what works for us and following our own paths to health!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/14/2012 3:05PM

    Just learning what you have about yourself made the journey worth it -- even if you didn't agree with his style 100%. Feel good about the progress you've made. And good luck as you continue to train to achieve your goal of the triathalon!

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Friday the 13th - Days 18 - 20 of Mental Toughness Homework

Friday, April 13, 2012

Perfect day to "get over it", don't you think?

It's Friday. Whether you (I) had a bad week or a good one, it's the perfect day to make into a great one.

Yes, I have continued in my rebellion mode. Still talking back to the guy. Still misbehaving but taking baby steps to make it better. The allergies have been running rampant this week, which leads me back into making excuses, feeling sorry for myself, and continuing the "bad" habits. That said, here are the last 3 days of homework questions. Then I'm off to work!

DAY 18 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. What has been the "cause" of your fatness in the past?

Not valuing myself and my health.

2. How have you confused cause and effect in other areas of your life?

Haven't thought about it much. Kind of drift along accepting things that are.

3. After you reach your natural weight and get fit, what will be your next major goal?

Don't know as I have one. I'm pretty content.

Thinking too much about THESE questions kind of undermines my "oomph"... this guy preaches success on many levels, and I'm not sure I want to buy into that whole philosophy.

DAY 19 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. What are your five strongest beliefs about dieting?

1. I feel better when I eat right, it has nothing to do with trying to lose or gain weight.
2. Nothing is forbidden, but some things once started are hard to stop with, so it's better not to stock them in the house.
3. There is nothing magic about diet... it is simply "what you eat."

2. What are your five strongest beliefs about exercise?

1. If I stop, I have trouble starting again.
2. A little bit is better than none at all.
3. Ten minutes of activity in the midst of a sedentary job contributes to mental, emotional and social health!

3. Have these beliefs contributed to your being fat?

No, these are the ones that are contributing to becoming less so.

I didn't manage to come up with "five"... and that's OK by me. These will do it.

DAY 20 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. Have you hit a plateau yet? If so, how did you make it through?

Yes. I've even had some regains... but I'm not just counting this 20 days, but the whole losing process. I got through it with patience. In some cases I overate for a while before re-establishing healthy habits. It may not be what you recommend, but it worked for me to "keep it green."

2. List the three stages of success for future reference.

The excitement stage.
The season of pain.
The knowing stage.

3. List the three best strategies you've learned or used during the season of pain.

Personal pep-talks, blogging.
Doing the healthy habitual behavior anyway.
Once in a while slipping, forgiving myself, and getting back on the horse again.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEANJEAN6 4/14/2012 10:11AM

    Wow Barb!--This blog really does make me sit up and question why---- Thanks Barb!!--Lotza effort went into that!-Lynda

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MAYGIRL14 4/14/2012 8:32AM

    Food for thought! Will definitely be mulling over much of this as I clean house today. Thank you for sharing!
emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 4/13/2012 1:34PM

    Great blog. These are thoughtful questions about living our lives and connecting to your relationships as well.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/13/2012 11:11AM

    Thought provoking questions. Sometimes you know we don't have to know the CAUSE of something amuck in our life to set about putting it right! See, there . . . now you've got ME talking back to the man! It's true though.

I've dealt with alcoholics and gamblers in my life. The point . . . once they've identified that it IS a problem in their life, the energy has to be spent getting back on a sensible path . . . not necessarily KNOWING exactly what triggered it. I think that comes along the journey as you discover more about yourself.

Ok, anyhow, wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Got a letter from DS yesterday. **SIGH** He has been sick (bronchitis) for 1-1/2 weeks now. On the right meds (finally) and feeling better. So, for that I'm grateful. Just wanna feed him chicken soup! DANG. It's hard being a parent long distance, and I KNOW you get that. But at least the last line of his letter (written 2 days after he'd seen the Dr. again) he was feeling much better. Apparently his whole unit is sick. Great. No chance he'd get away without getting the virus I guess.

Hugs, Barb.

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_LINDA 4/13/2012 10:43AM

    Being successful at one goal is supposed to give your self confidence a boost so that you can focus and be successful with other goals.. I can see that if I wasn't so busy trying to be a successful maintainer!!! Here is to getting over ourselves and our binges (potato chips) and moving on with no looking back, only forward!!

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MNTWINSGAL 4/13/2012 10:17AM

    Missed you r blog the past couple of days....I'm glad you are back!

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KALIGIRL 4/13/2012 8:14AM

    Here's to "Once in a while slipping, forgiving myself, and getting back on the horse again"
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What happened to the Mental Toughness blogs?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yeah, I've been missing for three days. Part of this has been personal crash and burn, talking back at the guy, and misbehaving like crazy, dropping the good habits and justifying my behavior to myself on various levels.

Some of the things he talks about got me into rebellion mode! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! And I had this emotional melt-down over Easter and son being away... that's been mitigated a bit since by some minimal contact. I have to wonder how people did it old-school when their loved ones went away and we didn't have the internet, telephones, etc.

So I'm guilty as charged of emotional thinking. Something our Mental Toughness coach denigrates. You see? Rebellion.

However, all that said, time to get it back together. It's OK to have those melt downs from time to time, but in the end, I'm still happier when I'm following the lifestyle of the Spark! So... lunch packed, oats simmering... pep talk in progress... and breathing!


DAY 15 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. Are you more of a logical or emotional thinker?

Sometimes one, sometimes the other, depends on the topic. I determined years ago, though, that the really important decisions in my life were made emotionally.

2. On a scale of 1-7, 7 being best, how good are you at controlling and manipulating your emotions under pressure and stress?

Depends on the day.

3. What emotions are you currently allowing to run wild when it comes to weight loss and how can you fix it?

Worry about my child's safety, self-pity when I don't hear from him, and eating to comfort/calm myself.

Fix? Recognize that's what's going on! Do something else that I find soothing.


DAY 16 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. On a scale of 1-7, 7 being most powerful, how strong is your will power when it comes to dieting?

Varies. 7 on a good day, probably most days. Slips over the weekend, particularly, or under stress.

2. Do you believe you are 100% responsible for your own success?

Yes.

3. What level of thinking do you use most: negative, positive or critical?

Not sure. Going to have to monitor for a while. I was trained to be a positive thinker in my youth. Exposed to a hugely negative thinker in my spouse, and a mainly critical thinker in my brother... my predominant style varies by topic. At work, I am a critical thinker.


DAY 17 QUESTIONS / ACTION STEPS

1. List the 5 best habits you've developed in your life.
* Dental hygiene (brushing and flossing and all that).
* Sleep time consistency (early to bed, early to rise).
* Active breaks from work (walking, not eating).
* Packing healthy lunches.
* Wearing comfortable shoes.

2. List the 5 worst habits you've developed in your life.

* Procrastination.
* Self-pity.
* Trying to live vicariously, will others to do what I think is best for them.
* Worry.
* Messiness / disorder.

3. On a scale of 1-7, 7 being most often, how often do you think for yourself as opposed to following others blindly?

I like to think it's higher than it really is. Probably around a 4-5. I think for myself. I don't often voice my thoughts when I know they won't be popular, except around smaller groups I think might agree.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 4/14/2012 8:56PM

    Such candour: such logical analysis of your emotional situation (and understandable: what mother would not be worried in your situation?). Such precise "working through" of the homework questions!

I'm reading a "critical thinker" at work here!



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COMETER 4/13/2012 11:09PM

    Well, I'm sorry for your meltdown, but want you to know that I'm learning from it.

I LIKE your rebellion. And I like the way you work it!

Hang in there. And keep wearing the comfortable shoes--smart!

And I hope your son stays safe.

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OVERWORKEDJANET 4/13/2012 7:40AM

    Interesting questions.

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CONCHA77 4/13/2012 7:36AM

    Just so you know, I DO miss your blogs when you skip out. Look forward to reading them. Hope you are feeling better. Hugs.

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LEANJEAN6 4/12/2012 7:28PM

    Oh Barb!!!--YOU-----having a melt-down?-----Poor you!!You know--They ALWAYS come back home-----so-enjoy your own time---Anyway--I'm happy to see you are back Sparking----You are such an inspiration to me!! Lynda--and lotza hugs going yer way !

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MIZCATHI 4/11/2012 4:01PM

    Wow, I can relate to the melt downs and stress, especially on the topic of emotionally charged. I am definitely experiencing that! I am reaching for food in response sometimes, but my thoughts set me straight and I usually behave. It's funny that you mentioned your son and ...

"Worry about my child's safety, self-pity when I don't hear from him, and eating to comfort/calm myself."

Trust me, this happens even when they aren't shipped out. I worry about the safety of my son constantly, especially when I don't hear from him, and he's only 20 minutes away.



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_LINDA 4/11/2012 1:31AM

    So very sorry about your stress and melt down :(( It is very hard to deal with something you have absolutely no control over :(( Welcome back to your healthy lifestyle and sanity!
May your son be safe and may he contact you more often to give you peace of mind..


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DEBRA0818 4/10/2012 2:41PM

    It's amazingly difficult to break the addicted brain of the idea that food will help whatever ails it, but fortunately for you (and hopefully for me too), our rational minds can get involved too! Glad you're on track with yourself!

Happy Easter!
emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 4/10/2012 12:11PM

    Hooo boy, Barb, this Barb is also struggling with the missing and worrying about my son, too. BUT yesterday was letter day, so feel better. In the meantime, there is nothing remotely resembling a trigger food in this house because I'd just inhale it. so, just won't have it around.

Sometimes when things strike a nerve with me, I go into rebellion mode as well. BUT eventually if I let the rational side of the brain out I can figure out WHY it happens to strike such a cord with me and move on. Melt downs? Yup, they're going to happen. So, as you've done, the thing to do is live through it, think about it, make your plan and work your plan. We're human. It's gonna happen.

HUGS, Barb . . . you're not alone.

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MNTWINSGAL 4/10/2012 10:44AM

    Glad to see you back Barb. Yes, holidays make it hit home when it comes to missing our loved ones. Heck, I felt that way too, and mine is just living the life in paradise! I can only imagine what it feels like when they are deployed. Not something I'm looking forward to!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/10/2012 9:51AM

    I was wondering where you were. Sorry to hear you had the mini-meltdown, but glad you're back "at it." Keep up the good work, Barb!

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KALIGIRL 4/10/2012 9:02AM

    Thought provoking... we're starting a 'Crucial Conversations' session @ the office, where we move those questions into our relationships - are we moved to silence or violence by confrontation and do we
Start With Heart
Learn To Look
Make It Safe
Master My Stories
State My Path
Explore Others Paths
Move To Action

Namaste my friend

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