Now and Then

Author and Unlicensed Opinion Expert

There’s a lot to be said for today’s counseling and emotional therapy practices.  So much progress has been made in digging into our character flaws, dysfunctional behaviors and relationships, addictions and successful coping methods.  Medications are wonderful too when prescribed correctly and monitored. I can see how helpful some of these healing strategies have been with grief, turmoil, depression, mental health, family dynamics and moving through painful life experiences.

At the same time, I wonder what previous generations have done to cope with these same life issues? What do other cultures do for answers to these same ailments? How do poor people get expensive, so called essential counseling? I wonder.

Last week, a friend and I were talking about World War II and the horrors of that whole era: The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, war, the Holocaust and the Atomic Bomb.  How did that generation get past their grief, pain, trauma and suffering?

I don’t remember hearing many stories of people seeking counseling or for that matter, a whole lot of money available for counseling even if that were sought.  There was the introduction of the Twelve Step Program for Alcoholics Anonymous.  There were accepted and consolidated therapies from Freud and Carl Jung with analytical psychology.  There were churches that provided teaching and comfort by seeking God.  All wonderful salve for wounded souls.

What I observe today though, is a propensity to seek professional advice and guidance for life issues. So much so, that I wonder if people are losing their ability to believe that they can make decisions without the advice of a therapist.  I truly believe that those in the ‘helping profession’ have good intentions for all of their clients but I am also questioning the ’empowerment’ that seems to elude their unsteady clients.

While promoting introspection with self and comfort in community support groups, I’m beginning to believe that counselors are delaying the healing process by administering a short sighted agenda. I believe their agenda is to identify the clients pain or dysfunction, instruct on new coping methods and follow up with updates and check in’s. But there doesn’t seem to be any impetus to advance. No emphasis on momentum. Instead, they are encouraged to stay in each phase of recovery as long as the person desires.  I believe this prolongs, postpones and damages true recovery.

I remember when I was growing up and a person took a hard hit, physical or emotional, I heard things like brush it off, climb back on the proverbial horse and ride again or have a good cry and then move on.  I believe that in the end, the same result is attained – one quick and the other prolonged.

While we discussed this difference between todays therapists and yesterday’s coping with similar traumas, my friend said, ” Well, I think those generations that included the Pilgrims, the Pioneers, the Frontiersmen and the citizens of those developing nations, just got on with it.

In my own final analysis, I tend to agree.  Taking too much time, staying stuck in grief, self pity and indecision all postpone healthy recover.  I am much more of the belief that we would do best by focusing attention on learning about whatever your crisis or trauma may be, discover a variety of successful coping  and healing processes and then….just get on with it.

Move on. Keep your momentum going. Get unstuck. Get on with life!

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Street Art Nº 27

Houston, Texas June 2017

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Observing Friday

Wall art: Parastou Forouhar, Friday, 2003
Taken with iPhone7 at The Museum of Fine Art, Houston

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Restaurant Review: Riel (Houston, Tx)

Is there a 4 1/2 rating?  There ought to be.  I really struggled with this review because this is the kind of dining that I love and I want the Chef and owners to succeed. We’ll stick with them as they adapt because we loved the place. Everything is done so well that it really hurts me not to give the full 5 star rating. But I have to be honest with my reviews and Riel was a fabulous experience, falling just short of my highest ratings – and I HATE to do it.  I give RIEL 4 stars. Regardless, I loved the place!

Please stick with me – I’ll explain what makes Riel so wonderful in a minute but what held me back from the full rating was the mainly the Hanger Steak.  It was cooked perfectly and came with delicious potato and cheese pirogues,  a swipe of horseradish cream sauce, grilled onions and green beans.  It was slightly over salted and it was a bit tough. For the price, it should have been perfect. It almost was but fell slightly short of a fabulous dish.

Now for the good news! This restaurant is EVERYTHING that I want a new restaurant to be. Upscale casual, roomy, chic, excellent service, exciting culinary creations and savory discoveries. Riel was all of that. Matt, our server was extremely knowledgeable of the menu and how each item was prepared.  You have to be a true foodie to describe each dish as well as he did.  Kudo’s to training the staff!!  It is appreciated!  Service: 5 Stars!

I stared with one of their crafted cocktails – the  Yoda-Lei made up of Rum, Manzanilla Sherry, Pistachio, Lemon, Tiki Bitters $11. Uh-maz-ing!  We shared additional dishes. each time getting new plates and tableware: Burrata (blended cheeses) with heirloom and specialty Tomato, Pea Shoots, Grilled Peach, Lemon Olive Oil – to die for ! ; White Fish Crudo ( not the right name but sushi style white fish, creams, sweet vinegar, radish, razor thin pickle, blood orange, etc) – beautifully presented but this dish fell short of wowing us, too. We shared all three plates and overall were quite satisfied.  We were handed a gourmet popsicle on our way out which was the perfect dessert – light and equally full flavored.

I’d like to see that main entré improved and I’ll be happy to update this review.  We sincerely loved Riel. We were most impressed with our waiter and his superb knowledge and attention to service. The presentation and creativity of each dish was over the top wonderful. The atmosphere and ambient music/noise level was perfect.  The drinks, plates and menu choices were superb. We will definitely return and look forward to a changing seasonal food choices and exciting new discoveries. Keep it up. We love what you’re doing!

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The Dragon Slayer

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Life Hack: Telephone English

Life Hack: Telephone English

Last week, I watched a movie about Temple Grandin who battles (and wins!) against autism. Its a wonderful movie and an inspiring story. Claire Danes plays the role of Temple. Watch it if you get a chance.

Anyhow, my reason for writing about it was what I took away from the movie…and made it a theme for my Boyz Roadtrip with my grandson, Maddox,  these last 2 days.

Temple said that people with autism are overcome by all the noise, touch, sights – its just too overwhelming for them. She said that all of those freeway road noises, or the clapping from an audience, or the bright lights….it’s all too much. Temple said ‘the normal mind drops out the details’. The autistic mind sees and hears them all.

So, my challenge to Maddox and his friend ( and to myself, of course) is to be alert for the details in our lives that we learn to block out. As a photographer, a writer, or as a music lover I make myself look for those little unusual things. I challenged Maddox on our trip to find the unusual, the unique and the hidden treasures in our daily lives that we might tend to take for granted. A smile. A spicy burn of a cheesy enchilada. The COLD water of Barton Springs. The storm clouds in the distant sky. The slurred words in a song. All the kinds of things we’ve learned to ignore.

One of our captured moments was with a couple we met from Scotland (aka. New Best Friends Jordan and Bethany who hung out with us for an afternoon. We had to concentrate pretty hard at times to understand their thick Scottish accent. When we talked about that, Bethany laughed and said, “And I’m even using my ‘telephone English!'”

My Telephone English. What a clever way to put that – how she is slowing down and annunciating her words in more of an American version of English. Just like we do when we talk on the phone since you can’t see the face or the lips, we tend to pronounce our words more clearly.

Telephone English. Today’s Life Hack.


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