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Making Change: An Often Overlooked Step

Monday, December 31st, 2012

color_pencilsWhen I was a small child I loved to color and stay within the lines.   I loved getting a new box of 64 crayons and all the projects I could conjure up to create.  When about age 10 my mother came upon a large coloring book of the 50 States of the USA with products, pictures of their Capital buildings, and their agricultural primary crop; I set myself a goal to finish the book cover to cover.   We were on a long car trip and each day I meticulously worked on one page until the book was completed.   As a consequence, I never had to memorize the States on a National Map and I knew all the Capitals.

As I colored I would often use the flat end of my crayon in order to create a darker and precise boundary line around the picture.  I liked how it contained and highlighted the color within the drawing.  It also marked a completion of that segment.   It demonstrated that I was able to stay within the lines.  When my children were taking drawing classes in high school, I learned something new – negative space and I watched them learn how to improve their skill of no line by practicing drawing with negative space.  Their work is so lovely we had them framed and they cover the living room wall in our house.

Making change in our lives is about learning to create with that negative space.  In order to be successful in making a meaningful change in one’s life one has to remove the boundary line that was containing the old concept or idea.  I wish I could say that I could teach a child not to place that darker line around things and experiences, but that line is a survival mechanism that is vitally important.  Most 3-4 year olds can tell one the sex of a chair or a dinner plate, when they are categorizing life, but they have punched holes in that theory by the time they are 5.

When we are making New Year’s Resolutions or changing our eating patterns, we need to punch holes in the boundaries of our old patterns in order to create that negative space necessary to make the change complete or successful.  Those of us who believe in the power of the positive actually avoid looking at those old boundaries and think that just diving in will move us forward and we will not have to deal with the negative feelings.

In my own life I had an extremely difficult time giving up ice cream cones after I was told to stop all dairy products.   No problem with cheese, or whipping cream and I find that I feel so much better having given up on dairy; even chocolate without milk tastes fantastic.  Yet the need for an ice cream cone persists.  I had to poke numerous holes into the boundary around this delight.   I found that the ice cream was consistently bloating and lax.  That was not a big enough hole/discomfort.   I found that I really was upset if others around me were eating ice cream cones and I could not have one.  I sorted out all my rationalizations and excuses – one by one.   Finally, I was at a friend’s house for supper and I was so worried about the ice cream cone making me sick away from home – I DID NOT EAT THE OFFERED DESSERT.   I created negative space around that issue and within a few minutes along came the AH-HA.   I was unable to give up the cone because my Father taking one for an ice cream cone treat was the most loving time of owning his total concentration and attention.  I was eating the treat because I was craving someone to listen and understand me and what I was saying and thinking.  The treat was just the dark line around the need.

It takes time to erase those dark lines and it needs to be an active process which by creating negative space provides the ah-ha faster.   It is the principle behind diet programs or restricted eating systems or LENT.   It is also a leading principle used by folks who might want to control your thinking or sway a political process – even to create religious fervor or control.  No change happens until one punches holes in the dark boundary line around our thinking.

Are you working on making an important change in your life right now?  Are you avoiding the negative space?  Do you think you will have success or do you think it might lead you in another direction?

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If you purchase anything from Amazon  or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket!  Thank you.   Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
5 Forms of Problem Solving and Change 
How We Make Decisions and Change
7 Steps of How We Learn 
Code to Joy


Thursday, June 7th, 2012
girl on trike

Girl on Trike by Barbara Campbell Avanti Press

I am keeping my leg and foot still today.  The pain is sometimes still fierce and I have learned that if I use heat, elevation, and stillness each day we heal by degrees and breath work is more relieving. This is the 4th time I have just needed to sit it out.  This is the 12th day of no knee pain.

As a man thinketh, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

I am having considerable difficulty with BEING still.  Even when I am reading a book, I get up and DO something every 2 hours to move my body, rest my eyes and refresh my mind.  I miss my three mile walk in the mornings.  When I am cooking, I stand for short bursts and then sit down on the stool to stir and blend.  I have watched several movies in order to escape into some other mindset.  I have made lists of the cupboards to clean and the tasks that are not at hand but must be accomplished.  I played a card game and Sudoku on my computer.  I am awake and I just feel a strong need to be DOING.

I’m just thinkin’ that I should be DOING something and accomplishing more.  I have one friend who does a whole month of posts for her blog in one afternoon.  I’m just thinkin’ I would enjoy my summer if I did that too and I just need to get DOING.   I am feeling guilty about just staring out the window and watching the trees sway in the wind and the gulls play in the sky.  Why if I was at the beach, I would be looking up from my book and doing just that same gazing and not feeling these feelings.  I would be DOING relaxation away from home and walking, tipping rocks so the crabs come running out from under, and exploring…

The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being ~Car Jung

I am DOING the work of healing this BEING and while I am feeling the heat and raising foot I just need to BE.
To BE careful,
to BE content,
to BE worthy,
to BE.
This is enough.

I am thinking I need to take this time to celebrate BEING and rejoice and be glad in it. Do you ever pause in your DOING to think about BEING?   Do you kindle a light?

Looking forward to your comments

Laurie Buchanan  of Speaking from the Heart just won the Harper One and TLC book giveaway of  COURAGE! 
Thanks for your good comments

A very good thing to DO is to share this post – Thank you

If you order anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Donations are welcome too.

Related Reading:
Search Inside Yourself ~ Meng Tan
The Paper Garden ~ Molly Peacock
Walter’s Muse ~ Jean Okimoto
The Swan Thieves ~ Elizabeth Kostova

Temple Grandin – A Movie Review

Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin

Sam Juliano at Wonders In The Dark has made several requests that I review a movie here at Patricia’s Wisdom.   I do not very often go to the Theatre because it is just too expensive for me right now; I do watch at least one movie a week, through the mailbox system of delivery.

However this 2010 movie just popped out at me as it came up in my “recommended for you” folder week after week,   I had to read the plot summary and then go on line to look it up and discover it was a biography of a rather exceptional person.   NOW, I was interested.

One reason I did not want to watch this movie was I do not like any of the movies that Claire Danes has acted in and that I have seen.   She just screws up her face in the most bazaar fashion, it always distracts and I find myself wondering if she is going to cry or just drop over dead – No such luck.   Danes was too hearty and healthy to play Beth in Little Women and I find myself talking back to her in every scene, the last time I was ill, I just fast forwarded over her scenes in that movie.

At least, she had brown hair in Temple Grandin.  Actually, she was excellent and truly captured Temple’s actions and interpretations.  And then again, Ms Grandin liked her portrayal in the movie too. The nice actor from Chocolate played Grandin’s mother and was so good.

Here is how Netflix summarizes the story:

”Emmy winner Claire Danes stars as Temple Grandin, a brilliant young woman coping with the stigma of autism at a time when it was misunderstood. With the support of her loving family, Temple dedicates herself to learning and becomes a famed animal behaviorist. Her passion for animals gives her a unique ability to understand them, and she fulfills her love of education by teaching about autism and the most humane ways to treat livestock and pets.”

Director:Mick Jackson
Genres:Dramas, Biographical Dramas, Dramas based on real life, Social Issue Dramas, Tearjerkers, 20th Century Period Pieces
This movie is:Emotional, Inspiring, Heartfelt, Feel-good

Here is Temple Grandin’s lecture on TED

Want more Temple Grandin Information?   She has a whole page on Wikipedia and numerous websites.

Temple Grandin understands animal behavior.  She understands Autism and she understands how minds work and knows how we need the whole spectrum of minds, working at their best capacity to make this world a better place.

“Nature is Cruel, so we do not need to be”
Temple Grandin

I watched this movie 4 times before I put it back in the mail box to return.   I cried each time, Grandin gets up to thank her mother for all her efforts and for not giving up on her.  You can read about her mother and she has written a book about her experience, it is called:  A Thorn In My Pocket

I adored the scene where Temple’s Mother confronts the doctor with his diagnosis and then just moves forward on her own to help her child become the best that she can be.  She did not give up.

I do not give up, I am an exceptional mother with exceptional children and I could relate to this movie on so many levels.  It was beautiful storytelling and well worth the effort.


I just love to go to the movie theatre and when the lights go down, I feel myself transported into the world of the film.  I enjoy the feeling of leaving the theatre and the sense of re-entry into the world; it is as though I can see with new eyes.    I do not like going to the theatre and paying to watch all the ads and product placements.   How do you feel about going to the theatre and about all the advertizing?

(Yes, I do realize the ads pay for the movie making – but they have become overwhelming to me recently)  The ads did not detract from the important story being told.

I would also ask if you know what the definition is of the “exceptional child”   in the world of education?  I have used that definition intentionally in this review.

Here is my review Mr. Juliano – I have a few more coming up in the new year.  I still like reading the books best because then I choose how the scene looks and how the characters appear – my imagination likes to play.

Related Reading:
The Smartest Women I Know
Shiny Objects
Off the Map
Momma Mia
Julie and Julia

If you purchase anything from amazon from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

No one paid me to review this movie, nor did I receive any compensation for mentioning her mother’s book.

A Gift for my Readers and Commenters!
Yep!  Come by and make a comment on Patricia’s Wisdom on Nov. 24,25,26 because I am giving away a lovely, beautiful gift to one of my readers that day!

You Are Not So Smart ~David McRaney

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The author of this book, David McRaney, is a rather smart guy who has taken every psychological study he can find and written about it on his blog.  Along came a publishing house representative and discovered the blog You Are Not So Smart and persuaded the blogger to turn it into a book.

I think this book could be a valuable tool for psychology students and graduate students for easy reference and discussion of all the trials and studies that have been administered to college students and sold to corporations, advertisers and politicians.  Some of the findings are very old, and some are of the current trials and hoops that are being used by the spin doctors to manipulate and persuade people to buy, buy, buy and vote, vote, vote.

I liked the format of the book.  It presented a Misconception: You choose to accept or refuse an offer based on logic.  Then stated the Truth:  When it comes to making a deal, you base your decision on your status. Following up with 4 to 5 pages of the testing done to complete the discussion and demonstrate the truth in action.  I liked being reminded of these studies and learning about new studies being done and it made me think.

About half way through the book, I got angry.  The author did not give us any hope of “fixing” these responses and I did not like the feeling of being duped by so many forces using these results to make money and manipulate people – en masse.   McRaney was so smart about reporting and interpreting these studies because a psychology teacher in college had taught him how to think.  The non-thinkers were fated to live out their lives by being classically responsive to various stimuli created by the folks who instigated the tests.  I felt that the writer was cynical in his approach and I wanted him to be pro-active in helping us discover how to teach others how to think and overcome.

I have 8 pages of notes of statements that will help me market my blog Wise Ears my professional listening services  –  I found value in the book.

I began to understand how some individuals in my own life have such driving “control” needs and why I worked so hard to free myself and not become their victim.   I comprehend that we clearly need to identify people with such high “control” needs earlier in the cycle in order to change abuse and bullying.  I could integrate enough of the studies and information to see that what we presently do is hindering and encouraging the bully/the abuser and how our society rewards these individuals often with great amounts of money.  (Think of large banks and oil companies as Abusers.)

I would not advise anyone who feels helpless or depressed to dive into this book.

I would recommend that everyone attempt to turn off the television and news shows for at least a month and test if this would make a difference.    I have found the books which offer suggestions of how to change a habit or a process along with the studies more helpful.   I would feel encouraged if I thought more people were training themselves to think and question.

It is a very interesting book and it has value and merit.

My favorite quote turned out to be on the jacket:

“In an idiocracy dominated by cable television bobbleheads, government propagandists, and corporate spinmeisters, many of us know that mass ignorance is a huge problem.  Now, thanks to David McRaney’s mindblowing book, we can finally see the scientific roots of the problem.  Anybody still self-aware enough to wonder why society now worships willful stupidity should read this book.”  ~David Sirota, author of Back to Our Future.


I am not going to read this book a second time, but I am going to keep the copy I received from TLC Book Tours and Gotham Book Publishers as a reference.
If you purchase anything from Amazon from my site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Do you ever feel as though you are being manipulated and controlled?  I wish I had some quick response or funny quip to roll off my tongue, but have often found the only strategy that works for me is getting away from “ them”.  I do not have a TV for this reason and I do not randomly or recreationally shop because I can be a producer’s dream!  How do you ignite the circuits of your thinker?

Related Reading:
Eat to Live
The Procrastination Equation
The Social Animal
You Are Not Your Brain