Category Archives: LSCI

I can’t keep things nice… Is that true? (A Byron Katie Worksheet.)

(Current mood setting… Vetiver incense… Thank you Molly Sorice… And Aphex Twin ambience… Thank you Skot Jones.)

Yesterday, I sold my car…

Image

And while my car was–just another thing, an object that I wish to detach myself from, an object I wish to remove associative pronouns from, e.g. instead, The CarThe Cadillac, ridding myself from my attachment to it– it is very difficult.

The Car
The Caddy

I was left with a feeling of sheer upset, a nagging sense that something else was wrong. What was it? Why was I feeling so horrible about this? I know that I no longer want a car. I know that I would much prefer the bus and have already purchased my April pass so that I may travel freely about town as I wish without having to pay more than a car would cost and, to boot,– I would be doing my part in environmental care.

So why the empty feeling?

Let me back up…

Why do I even have to sell the car?

Two years ago, during the, “2010 Pittsburgh Snowmageddon,” I had the thought in my mind that, “it’d be fun to see how the Caddy handles in the snow,” and decided to travel from Bellevue to Shadyside to Bellevue. Which, in total, is roughly 18 miles of driving.

I had made it to Shadyside without issue. I even made it back to Bellevue, within blocks of my apartment, without issue. And then it happened…

Damned warning signs...

I couldn’t have, possibly, been going more than 10 MPH at most. But when I hit that bridge, I may as well have been doing 80.  The Caddy did the old, “Kansas City Shuffle,” and the rear end went right while the front went left. A complete 100 degree fishtail into the wall of the bridge in the passenger lane.

(I’m still thankful there were no other cars on the road at the time.)

The front of the Caddy was almost completely destroyed…

"The frame damage alone," they'd said, "is going to cost you more than you paid for this car..."

I know– it doesn’t look like much. But we’re talking about a 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham D’ Elegance and I swear, searching for replacement parts for this car, you’d think they only made 10 of them, and only 5 were still good and I had 1 of them while the other 4 were in Florida.

I knew that I was without option at this point– the Caddy needed to be sold– I couldn’t afford what was needed to pass inspection.

I posted a sentimental add on Craigslist.com asking the potential buyer to, “take care of her.” And I did, actually, pass up a few offers because it sounded as if the person had minimal, to no, intention of maintaining the integrity of the vehicle.

Finally I found someone who was not only a mechanic but also someone who knew Caddies fairly well. I could hear the excitement in his voice, “oh, I can fix that, yeah, I got the tools at home, can’t wait- I want that car, seriously, I’ll be by in two days to give you cash in hand for it.

And so he did just that, and my Stela (her moniker for how incredible she was– you see, Stela, with only one L, is an anagram for Tesla while simultaneously something I can scream at a woman who no longer desires my street car…)

So I went, cash in hand, to the bank, made a deposit and said goodbye to Stela.

I walked into my house with Kitty and fell sullen, depressed and in danger mode. Train wreck mode. Soon, I knew, a depressive episode would come upon me– I could feel it.

I put on a, relatively, terrible movie and decided to, “veg out,” alone with my favorite wine

And then I heard it… Mr. Ego… Mr. Hidden Within…

“You really… Just can’t keep anything nice can you?”

God, shut up, shut up. Not now, I don’t want this now, I can’t… Not now… Not after I just sold the best car I’ve ever had… Not after I ruined my car…”

“Look around you… Look at the black scuff marks on your ceiling… Look at your iPhone- it’s cracked… Look at your body for christ’s sake- it’s a piece of shit and everything is broken on it.”

I can’t take this, not now, not while I’m still mourning the loss of my car and mourning the loss of the future with her.

“Remember when you were a kid? What, 8 years old? Dad let you wear his letter jacket from high school and you jumped a fence– snagging its pocket and tearing it?”

“…”

“How about your motorcycle? You left it parked in the street until it rusted…”

“…”

“Your last computer… The Dell… How did you try and fix the fan on it? By pulling the blades off of it with your leatherman? Which you also, somehow broke. Ha. You can’t keep anything nice can you? I mean- nothing! Look at the hole in the wood paneling in your living room! Look at the state of your body! You’re on an electric stim machine now! You’re body’s a lemon just like you made that car into.”

“…”

“Everyone of your ex-girlfriends hate you too, don’t forget about those lives you fucked up. Your dad hates you, your sister hates you, your friends just pity you…”

“Enough!”

“…”

There is a multitude of ways to derail a train…

And when we feel a depressive episode coming on– there are means to getting ahead of your train and laying down trees, cars, cows, boulders or anything in its path to derail it.

One of my preferred methods of derailing my trains is, as I’ve mentioned before, The Work of Byron Katie

Bryon Katie... My Mrs. Hudson.

So… I set out to do, “The Work,” and see what I could learn from this experience. And this post is the process of me going through a worksheet in the moment and not from a copy that I did.

“Don’t do this, you won’t get anywhere with this, this is not going to work and you are going to keep ruining things.”

Use your perceived enemy, to defeat your real enemy.” – Guy Ritchie.

  • I ruin everything that I own, and everyone that I know.

1.) Is that true?

  • As I look around my apartment, I can see a multitude of things that are not only intact but also in very good condition. My Semi-Recumbent bike is something that I’ve been using for a long time and it’s still in perfect working condition–and it’s helped me repair my body. The lamp that I bought from the antique mall down the road is still beautiful and illuminating my living room as I type this- it’s in great shape. My 1950’s radio, my yoga matt, my printing press from 1890, my framed portraits of Billie Holiday– all intact and in great shape. And Kitty loves me, my dad loves me, my friends, I know, love me– and I can’t ruin them, they are all far too strong for me to do that.
  • So… No, this can’t possibly be true.
2.) How do you react when this happens? When you’re internal voice, your ego begins to bully you? What do you do? What do you reach for? How do you stop it?
  • I tend to listen to it and have a drink, or two, or ten. And then I find myself wanting to be alone. I enter into what I call an, “Episode,” what some friends have known to be called a, “Train Episode,” or a, “Danger Night.” I become lethargic, I berate myself, I call myself names, I ask people to leave, to leave me alone, to wait for me to call them. I’m prescribed pain-killers for my spinal condition and when I’m having an, “Episode,” I will sometimes take more than the recommended dose. I try to reach out to people (e.g. dad, Emily, John) but then feel that I don’t deserve their support and I don’t respond to their responses. Etc.

3.) Who would you be without that thought? Without the thought that, “you ruin everything that you own, and everyone you know?” If everything you own and everyone you know were standing in front of you and you couldn’t possibly think this thought– who would you be? What would you think? Who would they be?

  • All of my things would not be my things. They would simply be objects that, well since I can’t take them with me when I die, they would be things that only… exist and that I utilize for the time that I am lucky enough to utilize them. They would all be things that I am lucky enough to be able to spend time using until someone else takes possession of them. They would be objects without ownership. All of these things would just be things, and not my things. I would be altruistic with these things and allow people to use them as they please, I would be helpful to those in need by lending them to people. I wouldn’t believe that things get ruined; because they can either be fixed or modified or turned into art. As for the people who stand before me– I would feel nothing but love towards them, I would trust that they know that my 30 year old story has caused some difficulty in relationships, I would trust them, I would believe in their strength, I would know that regardless of how I treat myself or how I believe I hurt them– they’ll stick with me. I would look at my loved ones, my friends, my companions and I would tell them, “I will always, all ways, do my best by you.”
  • And thus I realize, which is the, I believe, central point of The Work, that it is the thought, the ego, the inner voice, that is causing all the trouble and not the perceived “ruined” objects and people.

4.) Now turn it around, the thought itself… Negate it… And provide examples of why these are more true than the original statement.

  • I don’t ruin everything I own, nor do I ruin everyone I know.
  1. I look at the art on my walls, the art that I have created and I see beauty. These are things that I have not only created but also continue to maintain the integrity of.
  2. My car being sold has required me to tune-up my bike… My bike! I’ve had my bicycle for years! I have kept it in great shape and put at least a thousand miles on it! And I keep it tuned up and oiled. I’ve never allowed it to be broken.
  3. My Rollerblade Twister Pro series– I’ve been using these since college! I’ve kept the wheels greased, I’ve rotated the wheels every 6 months of use. They are still in great shape and I’ve had them for 5 years.
  4. The chair I am sitting on is getting old, very old, and I have fixed it 3 times to where it is consistently useable.
  5. My drill bits are all in their right place.
  6. The desk that I type at was given to me by John Lambert; it was his mother, Donna’s, and after she passed away I inherited it. I loved her more than a blog could express and I keep it, the desk, in great shape. In the front of it I engraved, perfectly centered, the apt word, “Adytum,” and it looks wonderful and describes the desk perfectly. I’ve even modified this desk and added shelves to it and hanging mechanisms for necessary tools and the desk, while cluttered, is as strong as Donna was.
  7. I think of my friend Emily (The Statler to my Waldorf)… Who once said to me, “being friends with you– I knew I was signing up for a team with someone who had problems that I never had– it didn’t stop me from being your friend then, it’s not going to stop me now.
  8. I think of my dad, who would, at the flash of a New Orleans storm, jump in his car to be with me when I am in crisis mode.
  9. I think of Kitty and all her affection each time I’m in a, “Train Episode.” The epitome of compassion… In a scientist no less.
  10. I think of Blake… My brother-in-arms… And how he’d burn red lights and tire treads to be at my side.
  11. I think of Diane, Tiffany, Amy, Jerry, Aunt Wanda and all of my loved ones who have time and again sat with me while I cried and broke down over something affecting me in a anguishing manner.
  12. I think of Skot Jones, the newest of my friends, who has always, each time I called– listened to me or demanded we have drinks and discuss. I think of all the simple things he says that stick with me, “Do easy my friend,” “You have to be the barrier.”
  13. I think of John Lambert and the 11 years he has spent mentoring me and know, that if it weren’t for him, I would be lucky to be alive. (Thank you John).
  14. And I think of how this list, for this turn around, can reach into the hundreds… So I move on to the next.

4… Continued…) Can you think of another way to turn this around? To the self? To the other? If there is an other?

  • Things can’t be ruined, people can’t be ruined.
  1. I’m immediately drawn to cite the Conservation Laws of Physics which states that, “no energy can be created or destroyed, it can only become something else.” For reasons that would take a whole other post, I have a tendency to not believe in reincarnation, but imagine the idea of the reincarnation of objects. A typewriter is destroyed or becomes useless over the years and is taken apart and sculpted from. Calcined clays, calcium carbinate, pryogenic silicas, talc, vinyl, oils, aliphatics, various stabilizers and emulsifiers are all “ruined,” or “destroyed,” to make paint which an artist uses to create something stunning. My car is gone and it has gone to a mechanic who respects Cadillacs and plans on repairing it to a condition that I could not afford to do… My time with Stela is done and she has a new life to attend to.
  2. In October I am eligible for an upgrade on my phone and will be able to afford a new one.
  3. People who have been, “hurt,” by me have, I hope, grown from the experience.
  4. People can not be ruined, they can grow, learn, succeed, thrive. Even if and when they grow heart broken– it’s as Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack, a crack in everything– and that’s how the light get’s in.”
  5. I can’t ruin other people– no one has control over my emotions and actions besides me and this goes for everyone, I simply do not posses this power. If I did– we’d all find beauty everywhere…
  6. Even in death people can’t be ruined. I think back to Robert M. Pirsig‘s “afterward” in his book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” where he, regarding the tragic death of his son, states–

“[…]Now Chris’s body, which was a part of that larger pattern, was gone. But the larger pattern remained. A huge hole had been torn out of the center of it, and that was what caused all the heartache. The pattern was looking for something to attach to and couldn’t find anything. That’s probably why grieving people feel such attachment to cemetery headstones and any material property or representation of the deceased. The pattern is trying to hang on to its own existence by finding some new material thing to center itself upon.Some time later it became clearer that these thoughts were something very close to statements found in many “primitive” cultures. If you take that part of the pattern that is not the flesh and bones of Chris and call it the “spirit” of Chris or the “ghost” of Chris, then you can say without further translation that the spirit or ghost of Chris is looking for a new body to enter. When we hear accounts of  “primitives” talking this way, we dismiss them as superstition because we interpret ghost or spirit as some sort of material ectoplasm, when in fact they may not mean any such thing at all.[…]”

And now? What is the point? What is the outcome? As with each time I complete a worksheet of Byron Katie’s I find myself feeling uplifted. Some say that the idea is a form of, “Circle Logic,” that life requires suffering (which is something I sincerely disagree with).

What I know is that after I complete Byron Katie’s methodology- I feel relieved- I feel the proverbial bricks fallen from my shoulders.

I often do these worksheets in private but wish, due to this being a mental health blog, to emotionally expose myself and do them here from here on forth to share with, and show, others what sort of self-improvement and discovery may come from it.

It does, however, go without saying that those worksheets involving identifiable people will either have one of two things happen; the worksheet will remain in my private handwritten journal or, upon their approval, names will be changed and the worksheet will be done as a blog.

Moreover, I do plan on experimenting with other forms of methodologies devised by those self-help authors, psychologists and others that I respect (See also: Brené Brown, Melody Beattie, Paul Tillich, Seth/Jane Roberts, Bashar/Darryl Anka) and openly posting the results on this blog.

And soon, I will say the next post, I will continue with either the story of my mother or how I had the magnificent opportunity to teach a group LCSI the other day while being given the chance to incorporate my research on ASL facial grammar and the problem it causes due to mirror neurons and microexpressions.

Until next time…

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Waving a Red Flag

There are, essentially, 3 types of “red-flags” embedded within the Red-Flag Crisis.

The Red Flag Carry In

  • When a student, youth, parent, friend, lover &c. bring a problem from one setting (e.g. home, school, bus) to another setting (e.g. work, dorm, car) even though the problem has no connection to the new setting, the problem creates a new problem in this setting. As problem piles on problem, as the response of other piles on the response of others we reach a red-flag crescendo where those who were not involved, now are. This is something we often see in individuals afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder; an inability to, so to speak, leave work at work and home at home. A red-flag carry in is one of the ways the dog gets kicked.
  • The Red Flag Carry Over

  • Similar to the carry in, the carry over brings a problem from a place to a new place in the same setting. This is where the dog would really get kicked. Imagine a problem that you are having with your spouse and you then, after leaving the room, come across one of your children in the process and you, consequently, end up yelling at the child. Same setting, new place. Troubled youth do this all of the time when they are mad at a staff member at their RTF and, as a matter of cause and effect, break a window in their bedroom or break a bone in another student.
  • The Red Flag Tap In

  • Have a repressed problem regarding your 10th grade teacher that is unresolved? Why not dig it up and smash the window of your current teacher’s car? A tap-in is utilizing an unresolved conflict as fuel to add to a new, unrelated, conflagration that you have already put a match to.
  • Regardless of which red flag you encounter, the main point is to provide for the youth and understanding that someone (e.g. their parent, their teacher) understands their real problems. But first, how do we get the youth to understand that they are displacing their feelings onto someone else?

    With a “Red-Flag” we have the students perception:

    “Everyone is against me! No one understands what’s going on with me and no one cares! I can’t take it anymore!”
    LSCI Institute

    And then we have the process by which the teacher is supposed to approach the situation:

  • Recognize that the student’s behavior is different today
  • De-escalate self-defeating behaviors and determine the source of the intense feelings and behaviors.
  • And most importantly, make sure the adult is in control of his or her personal counter-aggressive feelings toward the student while working through the multiple layers of resistance.
  • LSCI Institute

    And the process is fairly simple as defined by the LSCI Institute. First we have the 3 Diagnostic Stages:

  • First, allow the student to drain-off their feelings while the adult remains in control of their own counter-aggressive feelings.
  • Second, establish a reverse timeline of the events that led to the outburst.
  • Third, establish the central issue that is causing the youth to have the out burst.
  • And then we have 3 Reclaiming Stages:

  • First, establish insight into the students specific self-defeating behaviors.
  • Second, apply new skills that will help the student develop new social skills that will allow him or her to overcome self-defeating behaviors.
  • Third, application of the new skills. What they call the transfer of training so the student may generalize and strengthen their new tools/social skills in the classroom or home setting.
  • This is a fairly succinct way of explaining what a “Red-Flag” is. But how to we get at the central issue?

    I’ve always appreciated the method given by Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) in obtaining the central issue.

    First off, TCI is,

    “a crisis management protocol developed by Cornell University for residential child care facilities.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeutic_Crisis_Intervention

    The method that I’ve always used was what they call an IESCAPE. An acronym, obviously, that stands for…

  • Isolating the youth. And not as in, put the kid in the closet and lock it. This isolation is just to remove the youth from the situation that is overstimulating or difficult for them. Isolate them by going to another room and sitting at a table with them and talk to them, like an adult.
  • Explore their perspective on everything that happened, really listen to them– actively.
  • Summarize their perspective back to them so that they fully know and trust that you’ve been listening.
  • Connect their feelings to their behaviors. Most children, hell most adults I know, don’t have the power to do this on their own.
  • Alternative… That is, have them come up with an alternative response they could have made that wouldn’t have caused such a severe outcome.
  • Practice it. Really role play it out with them. Become the other student, the friend, the girlfriend, the teacher, the peer they are upset with and play out their alternative actions.
  • Engage them back into routine with their new skills.
  • Now, this is an incredibly effective means to establish new tools for a troubled child in a “Red-Flag” situation. It is essential to follow these steps, with personal adjustments of course, to get the youth to understand their displacement of feelings onto other people. And to teach them new tools to no displacing this anger.

    (Ah-ha! Feeling displacement. Now, where have I heard of such an approach to feeling dis-displacement before? Coming up next…

    How I learned to love Byron Katie…)

    LSCI or How adults may grow into children…

    Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI)…

    What is it?

    LSCI.org states that it is an

    “advanced, interactive therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for children and youth with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors. LSCI views problems or stressful incidents as opportunities for learning, growth, insight, and change. This non-physical intervention program uses a multi-theoretical approach to behavior management and problem solving. LSCI provides staff a roadmap through conflict to desired outcomes using crisis as an opportunity to teach and create positive relationships with youth.”

    In conjunction, think of the Kanji symbol for crisis; within the symbol for crisis are two other symbols.

    20111229-131348.jpg

    The symbols wēi and jī. Danger and opportunity. Together they mean crisis.

    From my work in the mental health field and utilizing LSCI as a tool to, “teach and create positive relationships with youth,” I have encountered a myriad example of each one of the 7 probably crises that a child may experience at any given time.

    #1 The Red Flag

    To paraphrase, The Red Flag crisis is exemplified by seemingly out of place outbursts and self-created, and thus fulfilled, no win situations. A troubled child will have an outburst with an effect of breaking the nose of a classmate that has nothing to do with his troubled emotional state. Instead, what his troubled state is, for example, is something that happened on the bus, at home, in the dorm and elsewhere. The student has, in other words, carried over a red flag from elsewhere.

    #2 Massaging Numb Values

    This crisis leaves the youth feeling guilty, remorseful, shameful or inadequate over what they’ve done because, sadly, due to a history of abuse and belittlement, this is all they have ever been taught to strive for. Shame and guilt have always been the consequence of their actions. And this is usually the result of the parent making illogical or irrational choices for their child.

    I’m reminded here of a quote from, the fictional, Dr. Gregory House, “Acting on your [emotions] is easy. Acting [logically] is hard. That is why all parents screw up all children.”

    #3 Reality Rub

    The Reality Rub tends to be when a youth expresses, only, a fairly subjective view and unwavering belief that their reality is not only true but also unchangeable.

    And while this may be true for all, the reality that a child has may reflect a difficult, estranged, sometimes maniacal worldview that will only hinder their self growth and improvement.

    #4 New Tools

    Without using any names, I will take a quote regarding a student of mine in order to explain this one.

    “He does try to interact with his peers in a fashion that he believes will get him what he wants. Only, sometimes his responses to his peers are ostracizing and offensive; he snaps at them, yells, he has jerks in his shoulders and arms when he is even remotely upset, when interacting with his deaf peers he attempts to communicate but drops his hands and resorts only to speech when he is angry. He does have interests that, while some kids share, are eccentrically executed. For example, his drawings are a reflection of a disjointed world that no one else can see or experience or engage in yet he tries to get others to understand them and when they are incapable of doing so- he becomes upset.”

    A New Tools crisis is simply that the student does not have the proper abilities to utilize in order to act in a manner that is socially acceptable or accepted by his/her family, friends or peers.

    #5 Symptom Estrangement

    Simply put Symptom Estrangement is believing that it always someone else’s fault and, “I am often, if not always, the victim.” See also: the way the student next to me dresses forces me to act angry. See also: the rules you expect me to follow are stupid, and I should be able to remake them. See also: I have no remorse for insulting people. See also: I have no remorse for physically hurting you, you deserved it.

    If only LSCI would have a date with Byron Katie… This whole crisis would be settled.

    That was meant, partially, to be humorous.

    #6 Manipulation of Body Boundaries

    This crisis has always been an interesting one to me. In short, a child will lie, sneak, manipulate and cheat in order to get one of his peers to do something viz. blow-up, start a fight with someone, scream during class, break a rule in school. Because this way, a Manipulating Body Boundaries child gets to experience all of the fun and none of the trouble.

    #7 The Power Struggle… The most dangerous of the crises…

    The power struggle is when adults turn into children. When the adult is faced with one of the preceding 6 crises and can only cause the child to spiral further into the cycle of crisis that has been spun among them. See also: I’m the mom, that’s why! See also: screaming at the child to sit down while you’re standing. See also: telling a child that he is lying, stupid, strange, unwanted, careless etc. See also: arguing (for the sake of being right) with a child instead of listening to them.

    I will devote individual, more in depth, posts in the future regarding my thoughts and work with each of the crises as defined by LSCI. Among, I’m certain, many tangents, I will specifically focus on two areas; first, how it relates to children and how they may be resolved and second, the telling signs of adults who experienced these crises growing up and the consequences behind this.