Lucinda Bassett's Blog
July 13, 2011
I was one of those women who often said, I don't need girlfriends, I've got my family. I did. My kids, my husband, my sister, and my mother. I was so busy entertaining all of them, who had time for friends? I didn't understand the importance of making time for friends. And then, I lost my sister, my mother, and my husband… and I needed girlfriends. More than I realized.
God works in mysterious ways, and after opening my heart and making some effort to reach out, I found some amazing, loving, smart, support friends. And of course, there were the ones I "grew up with" who never went away, but just don't live close by… Tammy, Pat, and Carolyn. Wonderful "sisters" for life, who would jump on a plane for me, as I would for them.
Do you ever stop and think about that? Who would drop everything and jump on a plane for you? [image error] No questions, no excuses, just, "When do you need me there?" Who would you be willing to do that for? If you don't have someone in your life like that, it's time to find him or her, or them.
Not long ago on a very busy Friday afternoon, I got a call from a friend who said, "Can you please come, I need your support." I was on a plane Sunday morning after a serious bout with food poisoning on Saturday night. All good. I am so glad I was there for her. And she was there for me many times when my husband died.
Recently I have been making a few new girlfriends. I look for loving, sensitive, supportive women who also have conquered great challenges. We can relate. I [image error]also seem to choose women who are pleasant, calm, optimistic, and who live in the moment, characteristics I am working toward achieving in myself since my husband's passing. They are great examples for me.
Go get a good friend and find some fun. Good conversation and few laughs is a great start. And remember to be a good listener. They need you too.
Till next time…
June 30, 2011
Just recently I was asked to participate in a really interesting party. It was a vision board party. A vision board is usually made of cardboard and consists of a collage of various pictures and words you tear of out magazines or acquire elsewhere that you glue or tape to the board, that define your dreams and desired future. There are no rules, but some believe the right side represents your heart and the left, your mind. I write about vision boarding in my book The Solution as a way of manifesting your dreams, but I have never done it. So, I thought I would give it a go.[image error]
But when the night arrived, things got off to a rough start and I almost didn't go. First, I had invited a girlfriend who canceled on me at the last minute. I would know no one. Second it was an hour and a half drive from my home. Third, I was tired, and I had bad hair. Ugh, so many great excuses not to go. But I am trying to "get myself out there" and experience life as a single person in her… well mid years. So off I went… alone, armed with various magazines I had collected through the months, and, I have to admit, a bit anticipatory about it.
Once I finally got there, "whew"…it was so fabulous. I grabbed some food and sat with a group of people I didn't know. They talked, I listened, and someone even recognized me! That was fun. There were lots of interesting people all showing their vulnerability and talking about their dreams for the future. I felt so honored to be there and to hear and share stories. It was fascinating too, to hear what everyone talked about, and then see what they were drawn to, to extract from magazines, to build their board collage. I even shocked myself. Lots of hidden subconscious desires there I suppose!
In the end it was a great "networking" experience, it was empowering and quite self-actualizing to do and I sit back now in admiration of my board. If any of it becomes real, I will be a happy camper. I suggest you grab a board at your local drug store, some magazines, and take an evening with friend to talk and create your vision board. I'm hoping to do one with each of my kids, but first I'll need to do a vision board of my own about them doing one with me! Yeah right…
Till next time.
June 27, 2011
Recently I was lucky enough to be in a car traveling around the back roads of Northern California with my daughter Brittany. It was an adventure to say the least. We saw the most beautiful countryside.[image error]
It was fun to travel with her. She is Brittany Bassett – Skinny Critic.com and she has achieved quite a name for herself. On our trip she managed to procure some very special reservations for us. We had lunch in cool little café's and dinner in some very interesting and unique places. We also managed a few wine tastings along the way. . . It was wonderful to see the respect she has earned for herself, how she communicates and handles herself professionally, and how mature and articulate she has become. She is after all a wine and foodie and has become quite the writer, writing for local magazines and even Yelp.com. She has come a long way.
A few times I thought for sure we were lost… never to be found again, off the beaten path, on a windy country road, but oh contraire… Brittany, like her father, has a great sense of direction. She just flipped out her nav or her [image error]phone, zipped the car this way and that, and we arrived at our destination. Kids these days.
We saw the most beautiful flowers, trees, and country homes. We ate wonderful food and stayed in a quaint little room with a wood-burning fireplace. We met interesting people along the way who said, "Oh are you mother and daughter, or sisters?" Yeah right. Lucky me… Life is good. I am blessed. Now go live your life…
Till next time…
June 13, 2011
I was fortunate enough to be invited to two weddings recently. At my age, that is unusual! Seems like, once you hit your fifties, more people are getting divorced than married. It is sad and creates a feeling of lost hope.
These weddings were special and restored my faith in relationships. The first one was simple, [image error]probably the simplest wedding I have ever been to, and it was absolutely wonderful. Her father performed the sunset ceremony on the beach. After a brief but loving and playful ceremony, they danced and caressed each other in the sand while friends and family enjoyed the romance of the moment. Then it was off for a wonderful, intimate dinner among a small group of friends.
The second wedding was really unique. We all thought we were attending an engagement party but "surprise" it was a wedding. We were all stunned and very surprised, as the "groom" invited his "bride" to the floor and shared the most beautifully written vows I have heard in years. Then it was off to a spectacular outdoor ballroom with dancing, amazing food, and great people to chat it up with.
Life is good. In these stressful, challenging times, it is always fun [image error]to do something that forces you in to the positive present moment. I sent an e-mail to my friend who had the surprise wedding that said, "In a world where nothing is shocking and most surprises aren't good ones, you managed to pull off both beautifully. Thank you for including me."
People still believe in the Cinderella story… all is well with the world.
Now go live your life…
June 8, 2011
This week we were filled with emotion as we remembered the loss of my husband, partner, lover, and most importantly, my children's father, David, just three years ago. What a difficult and challenging experience, to remember and not get lost in the pain.[image error]
June is a tough month for us. The day of David's death, followed by Father's Day. I wish I could say we handle it well, but we don't. How do you handle it well when your kids are still grieving and lost without the man who had their back? They're heartbroken, angry, and extremely sad. So am I. Where did he go? Why did he leave us? How do we go on without him?
That said, in celebration of David's life, I want to share with you what an amazing man he was. David was always cheerful. He was a giver. David was loving and kind, and was passionate about life. He loved his family more than anything, and was an exemplary father for Sammy and Brittany. He taught Sammy how to be a loving, strong, confident, manly man. He taught Brittany what a loving male partner in a marriage should look like. David taught both children about the importance of integrity, hard work, and devotion.
I miss him so much I almost can't stand it… but life goes on, and so must we. Here is to David, wherever he is. I am sure he is running something "up" there, with a smile on his face and a jovial attitude. Just wish we could have kept him "down" here a little while longer. Sometimes life's just not fair.
Till next time…
April 29, 2011
Just recently my daughter Brittany and I got into an argument.
Funny how your kids are always right! Funny how, as an adult woman, I don't know what is best for me, or her, or even how to plan and prepare our Easter dinner![image error]
In her opinion, anyway.
Recently I was reading an article in the newspaper on anger. It caused me to really think that argument through and wonder – could I have handled it differently?
The article suggested that there is such a thing as a "friendly fight." That two people can agree to disagree in a calm, rational fashion and come out hugging or at least shaking hands at the end. I do teach interpersonal relationship management skills in many of my books and programs. But even I need to be reminded to use these skills, especially when the battleground is so close to heart and home.
I thought it would be helpful to share some these steps to defusing a disagreement with you here today.
A little background on our disagreement: it started with a discussion about who was coming for Easter dinner. I tend to want to invite the whole world, especially people who have nowhere to go or no relatives close by. Brittany was hoping to limit it to our family; a quiet, intimate celebration. And while I tend to be a traditionalist – I just love old-fashioned ham and mashed potatoes with gravy on Easter – she wanted all organic food. (Of course, I had already purchased the non-organic ham.) In the end we found a compromise, but I think we could have saved ourselves some energy and grief by following some basic steps for defusing disagreements.
Stay calm. Whatever it is you are frustrated or angry about probably isn't the end of the world. You will come from a much clearer, more assertive perspective and listen better if you are calm.
Acknowledge the other person's frustration too. Communicate that you understand their position and that this is difficult to talk through.
Talk in "I" messages, not "You" messages. This expresses how you feel. When you use the word "you" it sounds accusatory, as if you are saying it is their fault, they made you feel a certain way, etc. When you say "I feel bad, or I feel confused because…, or I feel misunderstood or hurt…" you are taking the responsibility for your feelings without placing blame. You could even say, "I am sure it wasn't your intention to hurt me, but I felt when…")
Ask them their point of view and LISTEN. Do not talk over them and don't defend your point of view. Just be quiet and LISTEN. They just want to be heard, or vent, or they may even have a valid point, so let them talk. While you are listening be mature enough to listen for truth in what they are saying. If you hear it, you can say, "I hear what you are saying."
Tell them what you need or want, but be kind. "I would appreciate your taking more time to listen to me when I am talking. I would appreciate your giving me more notice when you want to suggest whom we invite or don't invite. I would appreciate you helping me do the shopping if you want specific items for the dinner party." This is your opportunity to tell them what you want, but you will get much further with them and de-escalate tensions by using kind words, a controlled temper and voice tone, and by allowing them to share their feelings.
Try to end the discussion with a compliment or a thank you. "You really listened, I appreciate that. I appreciate your time, thanks. I understand why you were upset, and I am sorry, and glad we took the time talk it through."
By the way, if there s some old unresolved anger lingering from your holiday it's not too late to talk it through and resolve and dissolve it. Life is too short to be angry.
Till next time…
April 12, 2011
Lucky me, I just interviewed yet another amazing trauma expert. Dr. Peter Levine holds doctorate degrees in Medical Biophysics and in Psychology. During his thirty five-year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific and popular publications.
He was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the Space Shuttle, and has taught at treatment centers, hospitals and pain clinics throughout the world. His bestselling book, Waking the Tiger; Healing Trauma, is published in 20 languages.[image error]
Dr. Peter Levine's most recent book is titled In an Unspoken Voice. His new book is based on the idea that trauma is neither a disease nor a disorder, but rather an injury caused by fright and loss that can be healed by engaging our innate capacity to self-regulate high states of arousal and intense emotions.
He is amazing; brilliant, left-brained, sensitive and very spiritually tuned in.
I love to interview people from all walks of life. It is such an intimate thing, like a dance really. It is so rewarding to me to hear someone's story or point of view and engage in the exchange of ideas.
This is going to be one of the stronger elements of my next book, Emotional Muscle, personal intimate interviews with real people who have been through challenge and trauma, and come out on the other side. Some of the interviews will be with well known people who have been through extreme adversity. Other interviews will feature the lives of everyday Americans; people who have experienced unimaginable challenge and loss.
It is an honor to interview a true intellectual and expert like Dr. Levine; we could have talked for hours and the "flow" – as he would call it – was "divine." Dr. Levine believes that the capacity of self-regulation holds the key for surviving trauma. He described how human beings could learn a lot from the animal kingdom in terms of how to survive and then thrive following a traumatic experience.
Consider the evolved survival mechanisms of the rabbit… Rabbit's are FOOD to countless predators and each day is a fight for survival. But the rabbit exits his burrow day after day to forage, feed and multiply – even after a hundred attempts on its life.
It was a fascinating discussion about how animals in the wild accept and process the "overwhelming" symptoms and emotional discomfort of being traumatized. We could learn a lot from the rabbit; allow ourselves to experience these normal but extremely uncomfortable physical symptoms and then at some point, move on – back into the moment.
But it's human nature to do whatever we can to avoid pain and fear, especially those of us with anxiety disorders. The physical symptoms of trauma, which Dr. Levine refers to as… "shake, rattle and roll, tremor, shiver, and quake (I love that!) are what scares us most. Who wants to "feel" all that physical intensity?
According to Dr. Levine, it is part of the process of healing from the trauma. If we don't allow ourselves shiver, quiver, tremble and quake, we will remain "stuck" in the process, unable to heal, move on, or live in the moment. In fact, keeping these symptoms contained actually produces the unfortunate likelihood that the trauma will continue to haunt us in various ways; through panic attacks, PTSD, fear, depression, feeling of impending doom, sleepless nights, anxious days, and what if thinking, possibly for years to come. This explains so much to the anxious personality type who can't seem to stop running from their fear.
So what is the answer? Simplified, it is learning to accept the feelings and physical symptoms as you process the experience. You have to permit the waves of the experience to pass over you rather than suppressing the experience. It is very important to have the help of a counselor with specific expertise and training in the field of surviving trauma. As you take the steps to process the traumatic experience with your counselor, slowly but surely you will begin to live in the moment once again.
If you or someone you love as been through trauma, please reach out to trauma specialist; it is so difficult to heal by trying to go it alone. Also, pick up Dr. Levine's book, In an Unspoken Voice. It is a beautifully written guide to understanding and moving through trauma. Now go live your life.
March 21, 2011
Just recently I had the privilege of interviewing H. Norman Wright for my next book Emotional Muscle, which focuses on challenge, change, loss and related trauma.
Dr. Wright is a truly amazing man and a leading expert on trauma and grief. He is also the author of numerous books including The New Guide to Crisis and Trauma Counseling and Reflections of a Grieving Spouse. [image error]
The irony was that just two days after I interviewed him I received a call from someone asking for help and support for a traumatic event that was so devastating and "unspeakable," I can't even begin to imagine her overwhelm. This person had been so victimized and abused she couldn't share it with anyone. I felt so grateful that she was able to open up to me. I was even more grateful that I had just spoken with Dr. Wright; I had tangible advice to share with her.
First, she opened up, and once she realized she was safe with me, she just sobbed. It made me realize how little help she had found for herself, how fearful she was to even share her story and ask for help, and how anxious and debilitated she still was over something that happened two years ago. It made me wonder how many people are out there, just like her.
So I wanted to take a moment to talk about trauma. First, trauma is any stressful occurrence that is outside the range of the typical human experience and would be markedly distressing to almost anyone. According to Peter Lavine, author of Waking the Tiger, it could encompass any of the following experiences: "serious threat to one's life or integrity; serious threat or harm to oneself or one's children, spouse, or other close relatives, or even friends, sudden destruction of one's home or community, seeing another person who is or has recently been injured or killed as a result of physical violence.
I thought it might be helpful to share a few of Dr. Wright's suggestions here for people who are dealing with trauma past, or present, to get help immediately.
First, you want to seek help from a trauma therapist; someone who specializes in trauma specifically. Second, tell your story; to your therapist, to a friend, to someone you trust. He referred to it as someone who can "walk" you through your trauma. I will refer to it in my book Emotional Muscle as "your walking partner." Someone who will listen to you repeat the story and your thoughts about it over and over again, because you will, and that is part of the healing. Third, write the experience out, but "handwrite" it. Journal and keep writing. According to Dr. Wright, this exercise will help "release" the negative energy of the trauma and is an important part of the process. And finally, when you are experiencing anxiety as a result of the trauma or recalling the trauma, Dr. Wright suggests that you count down from 100 by "7"s. Yes it is difficult and that is the point. It will calm you down and distract you. It works. I like to call it the "countdown to calmness."
Most importantly, seek help and support. If you have been traumatized, please know that you are not alone.
I hope this has offered hope and healing… until next time.
March 1, 2011
The one thing about life that is certain: it will bring you many opportunities to test yourself.
I had such an opportunity recently when I was asked to visit Delilah's studios in Seattle, Washington. You know Delilah. She is the nationally syndicated radio host who dominates the airwaves in the evening hours with her soothing voice, unique blend of story-telling, sympathetic listening and encouragement. Delilah's 8-million dedicated listener's call-in to share their story looking for hope, inspiration and insight – trusting Delilah to dedicate the perfect song to their loved one.
She is wonderful to listen to and even more wonderful to spend time with.[image error]
I think the world breaks down into two basic types of people; givers and takers. Of course, most of us do a bit of both to get our needs met, but generally speaking I think the individual tends to lean toward one camp over the other. Delilah is the consummate giver, her passion and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children worldwide is remarkable. She is the Spokesperson for Together for Kids, a national alliance of nonprofit children's hospitals caring for sick and injured children, regardless of their ability to pay. Delilah is also the Founder of Point Hope, an organization serving as "a voice for forgotten children" in the US foster care system and children of West Africa.
Her home is warm and loving; filled with kids, dogs, and birds. She is an extremely bright and confident woman with a wholesome dedication to making the world a better place.
She was kind enough to interview me about my book, The Solution, you can listen to the interview here: Delilah Radio Show Interview.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with such a special woman. She is someone I aspire to be more like, in many ways. It is always good to spend time with people who make you want to better yourself in some way. And that's my message to you today; surround yourself with people who possess qualities that you admire. Spend time with people who inspire you to grow and become a better person. Emulate the qualities that you admire most in other people. Listen to them, learn from them.
If you haven't discovered Delilah yet then it's high time you jumped on the bandwagon with the rest of us. Visit www.delilah.com to find out how you can connect to her life affirming message of love.
That's it for now. Stay grateful, and in the shadow of those who inspire you to be the best you can be.
Now go live your life…
February 14, 2011
I have been getting a lot of e-mails from people reading the book who identify with this whole concept of 'core story.' To review, our core story is the coalescence of our experiences in early development; including environment and upbringing, our personal experiences and even genetics. As an adult, your core story is revealed in your belief system; the hard wired re-active attitudes and actions that determine how you think and respond to situations in your life.
I am excited about all of the feedback I am receiving regarding the core-story concept because in my next book (Emotional Muscle, January of 2012) I elaborate on this in a way that I think is really empowering and unique.
Once you peel back the layers and come to truly understand the dynamics of your personal core-story, the underlying take-away is the importance of being pro-active in your life, and more importantly, in your thinking. Let me explain.[image error]
When we fail to fully appreciate the influential gravity of our individual core story we easily fall into a trap where we typically respond re-actively to life's challenges. And more often than not, impulsive, knee-jerk reactionary behavior will create non-productive, even downright destructive, end results. Re-active people appear emotional, insecure, angry, and are easily overwhelmed. They get tired, disappointed, scared, and worried. They react to people and situations defensively or immaturely. And when the conditions are stressful and alien enough, 'personality collisions' with reactive people can get downright ugly.
In short, we make instinctual (rather than intellectual) behavioral decisions which, when examined objectively, go against the very nature of what we want and need out of a given situation. "Faulty programming" sabotages our ability to react in ways that bring us what is healthy and good for us, resulting in a zero-growth equation.
Truly successful, emotionally mature people operate quite differently from your typical reactionary. When you observe these connoisseur's of human development you see people who when faced with a challenging situation react in way that is calm and calculated in fashion. Rather than ruminate and flail against the imagined purveyor's of Murphy's Law, these people get busy, get energized, and get creative with problem solving. Those that are successful in life deal with challenge and change in a pro-active way. They quietly contemplate on the best possible outcome of a given situation, no matter how dire things look on the surface. They get good advice from trusted resources and well-intentioned friends. They put together a plan of action and get themselves in a pro-active frame of mind. Their mindset alone tips the karma scale towards the best possible outcome so even when things don't work out, the damage or fall-out is tempered by the force of their good will and productive intentions.
You know by reading the previous two paragraphs what category you typically align with. Disempowering, re-active living is a bad habit, engrained by our failure to recognize and fully appreciate the dynamics of our own core story. The good news is: pro-active living is a skill that can be learned and incorporated into your life almost immediately. And anyone can do it!
This week become an observer – of yourself and the people around you. Notice who in your life is re-active and who is pro-active. Notice the difference in quality of life between the two different camps. Make a list of the re-active behaviors you recognize in yourself and look for ways in which you might flip the switch from being re-active to pro-active.
How do you know when you are being pro-active? It's simple. Pro-active thinking and living creates feelings of empowerment. Pro-active thinking and living typically brings positive end results no matter the initial perspective. Pro-active thinking and living puts you in control… you will FEEL it. And it feels GOOD!
Now go live your life…
P.S. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I will be doing a book signing at the Barnes and Noble store in Westlake at the Westlake promenade on Saturday March 5th at 2:00 p.m. Come and see me, tell me your story, and share in the positive energy!