My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keep Growing in Your Creativity

Part of the continual journey of Living More than OK is tapping into your creativity. I have said it before and keep telling students that we are all creative to some degree. And that degree of creativity in us can grow and improve. Like all aspects of our living to keep life to the fullest we need to keep progressing and growing on our journey. That is so true in creativity. Know which areas of creativity relate to you, writing, poetry, music, drawing, photography or acting. For initial exploring of creativity expressions that fit you explore on the internet websites like ,, or other sites you find on a web search for creativity.

Exploring information like that may give you insight whether you wish to work on writing, music or drawing. Another important help in growing in your creativity is doing it. Make time in your schedule to practice the piano, take photos with your camera or set aside time to write. Is this easy to do? To be honest no. The weeds of activities choke out opportunity to practice the creative arts in our lives. The just getting by, ok life is full of these weeds making our time fill up with unimportant activities that keep us from growing into the more than ok life. The life of flourishing abundance we were meant to live. So we need to in our time schedules do our best to honor our potential possibilities for growth by setting aside time for creativity.

One very important way to grow in our creativity is the being a bookhead approach. My daughter still thinks of me as a bookhead. Take advantage of the great books on tapping into your creativity. I will look at a variety of authors who are expert writers and their books on writing and the arts are like having a personal mentor beside you. You can learn more about creativity and the various art forms by reading their books.

The author I wish to speak of today is Eric Maisel, Ph. D. He is a family therapist as his Ph D is in Counseling Psychology. Another aspect of his counseling practice is he is a famous Creativity Coach. He has written fiction and nonfiction books. His nonfiction books focus primarily on the arts and creativity. As an author he speaks to the heart of creativity in all of us. His books are very practical as well, with exercises and activities to do and think over. I have in my book library his Creativity for Life; A Writer’s Space, and Coaching the Artist Within. What I like is he speaks to all areas of the arts. Personally I am presently trying to grow in my writing side of my creativity. His books have been an encouragement to me as I try to haltingly progress.

All kinds of important topics are covered in his writings: writer’s block, the creative process, self awareness, growth, staying committed to your artwork. These are important areas for all artists to continue to grow in to improve their creative side and keep improving in their chosen art specialty. He also includes writing prompts and thought provoking reflections to help the reader grow in their lives. So if you are desiring to grow in the artistic and creative side of your life Check out some book by Dr. Eric Maisel. You can find out more about Dr. Maisel at his website --

Take some time to explore the above mentioned websites on creativity. What new ideas about creativity did you learn? What area of art do you want to explore and improve in? Check out one of Dr. Maisel’s books at a local library and try out one of his creativity exercises. Write down what yo learned from the experience.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Go for Natural Highs

From my involvement as a Counselor in local drug/alcohol groups and as I think back to my high school days knowing students who used drugs, their quest seemed to aim at getting high. They were bored and they wanted to move beyond more than ok and the booze and drugs gave them that immediate high, euphoric feeling that took them away from the dullness of their existence.

Back in high school as a Christian, I could never figure out drug users and those who drank. Even my oldest brother who was an alcoholic, as I observed him drunk, I did not see what the enticement was. Once in senior high school chemistry I remember two students at my table were laughing about how they got smashed at a party saying how fun it was. One said he drank 12 beers. Out of curiosity how one person could drink that much I asked how could he drink 12 cans of beer? His buddy laughed saying he threw up 3 or 4 times. They were laughing but I did not say anything. I just thought “what fun?!”. I never enjoyed having the stomach flu and throwing up! It sounded like the party experience was that!

In reading books and research articles on boredom I do know that one reason why people do alcohol and drugs is they want that high. They want the feeling of something beyond boring okness. The problems are the crash after the high are headaches, grogginess, forgetting what they were doing while high, (which is often very foolish things). There is also the creation of an addiction to the alcohol or drugs creating anxiety, depression, paranoia, and criminal acts to feed the addiction. I remember always thinking to myself in high school as I considered the foolishness of drugs, that I would rather enjoy myself being in control of my full faculties and knowing what I enjoyed so I can do it again. Instead the chemical high places people in a mental stupor to do foolish and even deadly things to themselves and others all for the sake of fun?? I will take a natural high any day.

What is a natural high? From the website www.naturalhigh.orgthey say a natural high is “ is an activity, art form, or sport that you LOVE to do and makes you feel good inside; A Natural High does not involve drugs and alcohol”. So it is doing a hobby or activity that you really enjoy and brings pleasure to you, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of Flow which I have spoken of before fits well with the going for natural highs. In his book Beyond Boredom and Anxiety he presents the elements of flow. He states that the person is aware of their actions but you are not thinking about how to do the actions. Awareness and action merge into a oneness. Flow happens when a person’s ability is of a level where they can move through the activity be it, playing an instrument, painting, sports activity, or any other favorite activity and not have to think through the steps. They can flow through the activity. There is a timelessness and being in the moment during the feeling of flow. So being in the state of flow is a natural high as a person is feeling a oneness with the activity and not consciously aware. His book reveals how Flow moves us beyond boredom and what I call more than ok..

So what are some ways you can go for a natural high in your life. One important thing to realize is we do not need to be high all the time. As Lars Svendsen, a philosopher in Norway, says in the Philosophy of Boredom -- boredom is. We all experience it. Life is not a Hollywood action movie. So much of our life is in the ok zone and can feel boring. Yet to have a full life and make the most of having joy in our journey and living more than ok overall, we need those high times. We need to realize though that natural highs are the way to go. If everyone is enjoying a life of natural highs there will be no need for the illegal drugs. Going for Natural highs will help lower crime rates and stop the senseless killings as we see presently in the drug wars in Mexico. For the addict they need to see what times and what feelings trigger the use of their substances in the desire to get high and replace them with activities, hobbies, and other alternatives to drugs and then go for the natural highs. For the non addict as wel, l to enjoy more of life they can find flow activities that can bring natural highs into their life experiences.

A good place to go for new ideas on natural highs are websites like the previous one mentioned or another website I discovered that focuses on natural highs –
At those websites you can view testimonials on the personal enjoyment of natural highs. Also there are videos and blogs on the topics as well. With these websites and personal brainstorming on natural highs that fit your likes and desires, there is no need for anyone to go for the false, damaging highs of drugs and alcohol. And I strongly say damaging for the individual addict, their friends, and family not to mention the cost to employers and society. That goes for marijuana too, the darling drug of Hollywood and rockers. I remember working with a student once who told me, “Sir they say marijuana is not addictive but they lie. It is” He had started smoking it at age 12 and by the time he was in college he was hooked. He told me his addiction to marijuana had dulled his learning ability. It had also sapped him of passion for a career. Instead the addiction tempted him to just hang around, do nothing, and be high. The best way to combat the drug problem is to give young people and everyone alternatives to drug induced highs and that is by supporting and promoting natural highs.

Take some time to explore the websites below on natural highs. Tell others about them as well. Then take 15 minutes to brainstorm natural highs you wish to go for in your life.
Websites on natural highs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pursuit of Good Habits

Living in a border town with all the news of the drug trade continuously brought me recently to think of habits. The senseless killings and lives destroyed stem from the demand of drug usage in the U.S. As a volunteer at a local Drug Abuse Center I have attended many drug and alcohol abuse meetings. Listening to the stories I hear of lives ruined due to the drug habit. Drugs and alcohol are bad habits as the regular use of a substance ruins the life experience of the user. Smoking cigarettes is another bad habit. I had an older brother who died of lung cancer due to a life habit of smoking. It has been good to see in American society fewer people smoking. Those who do should observe someone dying of lung cancer so they can rethink that habit.

Dr. William Glasser points out these habits come about through people’s wrong choices in searching for happiness. Their choice of drugs for happiness does provide initial good feelings but but in the long term in the stories I have experienced their choice of drug and alcohol habits leads to misery. Dr. Glasser in his book Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom states, “ If we can not create a society in which more people are happy, we will never come close to reducing these destructive and self-destructive choices,” (referring to drugs and alcohol).

Knowing the personal ruin caused by drugs and seeing in the news the thousands killed in the drug wars in Mexico upsets me when I see how Hollywood and some rock, pop, and hip-hop musicians glamorize drugs to youth. The lack of critical thinking in those who want something that destroys people legalized is sickening. In my eyes those who glamorize drugs and want them legal have the blood of the thousands of Mexicans and the thousands of ruined lives here in the U.S. on their hands. If only the media would place this truth in the face of those promoting drugs so people would stop using drugs. Then there would be no demand for drugs therefore no drug war. The drug cartels would effectively be out of business.

In the meantime what can be done to better create a society Dr. Glasser is speaking of in the previous quote? Positive psychology is about presenting life principles to help build up happiness in people without having to turn to drugs. I see in positive psychology the emphasis on building up positive natural highs instead of chemical highs. Also as I have mentioned from my Christian viewpoint, I believe living a life that focuses on the spiritual helps in promoting natural highs as well, As we create habits that are spiritual in nature instead of popping pills and snorting chemicals into the body we can live happier and more fulfilled lives.
It all goes back to the habits we have in our lives. I had a sociology professor in Chicago who started out each lecture reminding us that humans are creatures of habit. Practically all we do in life relates to our habits. We take the same roads to work. We park in the same parking spot and become upset if someone is parked in, “our spot”. I enjoy mentioning to students in my university success course there is no seating chart like in high school but if they notice they usually sit in the same seat each class session – habit. I had a Professor in graduate school one night after three weeks into the semester tell everyone to get up and change seats. Everyone was initially frozen as no one wanted to give up “their seat” – habit. So if we are honest habits control much of our living.

To have a more than ok life, to maximize our living, to build natural highs into our living, we need to evaluate our habits and make choices to create good habits in our life. Jack Canfield in his practical book on life success, The Success Principles, has this to say about habits. “Negative habits breed negative consequences. Positive habits create positive consequences.” I have never met anyone who admits to wanting negativity in their lives. Yet look at all the personal problems and relationship problems in life. Through personal choices many are creating negative habits with ruinous results in their lives and lives of those around them. So a bad habit is an activity ritually being done that is causing negative effects in your life. To get rid of the bad habits we need to choose to replace them with something else. That is one reason habits are hard to break. People just stop the habit. Since there is nothing to fill the void the person rushes back to the bad habit often defeated and building negative self talk of. “Well I tried and failed so I guess I just can’t stop”. So before stopping have a positive habit ready to take its place.

IF you look into new habit creating on the internet most statements point to the need to do something 21 days in a row to create a new habit. I remember in a Positive Psychology class I took the professor emphasized make a commitment for 30 days to get the new ritual habit firm in your life. So if you feel your are negatively affected by spending several hours a night in a habit of watching tv you may want to create a couple new habits of exercise and painting to fill up the time. Think of things you would enjoy doing that will have positive consequences in your life.

Are there any negative habits dragging your life down to just ok existing? Write down two new habits you would like to begin in your life to better improve you daily experience.