In The Beginning, There Was Distraction

Phan clutched her halo, rubbing already-tarnished finish. And sighed. If only she hadn’t been so diverted this morning, with the clouds. Then there’d been flowers. Then path swirls -which led right to the end of the lengthy queue…

“Next!” the angel matriarch called.

Phan floated forward. At a scowl, she hastily replaced her halo and hoped it aligned itself. It didn’t.

“Late again, Phanuelle.”

*Gulp*

“There’s only one assignment left; a newer one.”

Phan peered beyond the matriarch at the mostly harmless-looking blue and green sphere to which she must go. Oh, well. Perhaps it would have flowers, too.

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Created for Carrot Ranch‘s writing prompt.

April 11, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers.” You can play with the words, alter them or interpret them without using the phrase. Give it any slant you want — show what it means or add to its  meaning. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by April 16, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Sorry to keep you all waiting. The winner of this week’s terribleness is Molly Stevens.

Ice Cream

by Molly Stevens

Tedious April
A blustery ice cream hops
at the perfect snow

With honorable mention to the prolific poeming of Doug. My favorite of his was:

Untitled piece

by Doug

Spring festival cry
Many at reflecting pond
See each other see

Congratulations, Molly! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Poets this week, including those who referenced seasonal germs and sneezings, wrote some amusing poems. Haiku proved the best of most, however, in that almost all of the poems were too poetic. You’re too good, darn it!

-Not that Molly isn’t a wonderful poet. But she, along with two or three others, crafted a haiku of terrible proportions. I loved the nonsensical nature of hers. It pokes fun at typical spring haiku without smacking me over the head. It’s fun.

Besides being a tad too pretty, the rest of the poets weren’t half bad. Here they are:

In Your Face

by Dorinda Duclos

In your face I sneeze

Springtime, meant to spread disease

Human pestilence

—–

Vernal Haikuz

by Violet Lentz

Grace, Charm and Beauty
The three graces escape me
In mud covered boots

—–

To me, spring cleaning
Means finding out what’s taken
Root under the fridge.

—–

Giai’s hot flashes
Window panes on roller skates
Her prerogative.

—–

Shall I continue?
There are more where those came from.
I’m game if you are

—–

Ode(r) to Spring

by Trent P. McDonald

Gentle April rain
Dog fertilizing the lawn
From poo comes flowers

—–

Untitled piece

by Robbie Cheadle

Dark grey April sky
Shocking us with late snowfall
Yet they call it spring

—–

Odeums to Springums

by Peregrine Arc

The blossoms trail far
Do not tarry, dripping nose
For allergies wait.

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #1

by Härzenswort

Morning meets meadow
Gentle, glistening dewdrops
Fill wee buttercups

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #2

Morning meets meadow
Yellow, glistening dewdrops
Fill wee buttercups

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #3

Morning meets meadow
Creamy, glistening dewdrops
Fill wet buttercups

—–

Untitled piece

by Doug

Trial for heart attack
Collapsed Spring-man on marble
Rose crying on steps

—–

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by Doug

Our exploding Spring
Couples in weeping willows
Release spirit ashes

—–

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by Doug

By meowing lions
Lambs in meadow lake ripples
Spring sneezes deadly mocking

—–

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by Doug

Lunch time in the park
A man gushing blood on tree
Cops jumping Spring to catch him

—-

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by Doug

Probetag für die
kollabierender Mann trist
Frühling weint vorbei

Test day for the
collapsing man dreary
Spring is crying over

——

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by Doug

のテスト日
折りたたみ男
春が泣いています

No tesuto-bi
Oritatami otoko
Haru ga naite imasu

Test day of
Folding man
Spring is crying

—–

The Rose

by Bruce Goodman

Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes a pumpkin.

—–

Untitled piece

by Bladud Fleas

Daylight saving time:
Getting out of bed later
Or too early, d’uh

—–

Sleeping Spring

by Anneberly Andrews

Oh the gentle breeze

And lovely blossoms of spring

Masked in cold degrees

—–

Untitled piece

by Michael B. Fishman

Springtime is here and flow,
ers will soon be blooming – brrr –
winter’s on the way.

—–

Holy Toledo

by Ruth Scribbles

Holy toledo
Spring haiku sprang to my mind
“Whatever,” she said

—–

As always, thank you to everyone for the dubious poetry. Give yourselves a private congratulation for your terrible talent.

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Molly: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Cure for Depression: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

It’s that time again: time to cure our depression. Way back in January, I proposed that curing isn’t exactly possible -BUT I listed 14 ideas that will help. We’ve talked about 8 or 9 others; like connecting with people, eating right, talking to a doctor or therapist, medicating, and doing happy things.

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Today, I’d like to get into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. At least, I thought to get into it. I opened my hand-me-down laptop, typed that big, impressive-sounding word into a search, and then thought, Holy flipping crap! (Yep, I don’t swear often.)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is LEGIT. It has its own, lengthy Wikipedia page.

Aaaaand I’ve just barely heard about it.

Hopefully, that means that all of YOU readers are nearly as clueless as I was, and will be impressed and amazed at the paltry light I’ll be shedding on this topic.

So, first: What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often abbreviated to CBT. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (hereafter referred to as “CBT,” for the laziness of the writer) is simply a bunch of exercises to teach our brains better habits.

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Second: Why do we need it?

Let’s say that you’re a little kid playing with a hose out in the mud. You, sweet little unsupervised thing, have full command of an entire patch of mud and have decided to make trails and paths and mountains and mudpies. It’s a glorious, messy afternoon!

Using only the best sticks you find laying around, you begin digging waterways. The hose water follows. You’re a kid, so are not quite the best at design and such. Some of your water pools at places, overruns its banks at others, and ultimately empties right into the neighbor’s back fence and washes away their freshly-planted flowers.

Oops.

An adult comes over to help. He says he’s Dr. Civil Engineer and is also licensed in psychology. “Let’s turn off the water first,” he says. “Now, my good friend and trusted colleague, CBT, is going to gently help you with mud-forming.”

You aren’t exactly sure what a colleague is, or CBT. You just want to play in the mud, and get the neighbor to stop yelling at you about flowers. Don’t flowers need water? You shrug, and watch what CBT starts doing with your mud. CBT builds up a turn, repairs an overflow area, and (most frequently) digs new paths into less destructive directions.

What’s more, CBT tells you what it is doing and how you can do it, too.

Third: We need this. Professionals say so.

My paid friend keeps telling me that my brain has learned behaviors (almost all negative) and I need to stop and complete them with the more-positive truth when negative thoughts come up. Psychologists refer to these learned behaviors as cognitive distortions. Like the mud and water analogy, our mind forms automatic reactions to situations or thoughts or feelings in order to handle them next time; and, like our first, unguided attempts, they’re not always the best.

These automatic reactions are like cringing when hit in sensitive areas, crying when our nose gets hurt, or kicking our leg when the tendon below our patella is hit.

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CBT is training to get over knee-jerk reactions. It’s still having the jerking, but toward somewhere that doesn’t actually kick someone and, especially, with the result of leaving us feeling happy that we kicked our leg instead of then kicking ourselves for reacting.

Fourth: How does one CBT?

Doesn’t CBT sound fantastic? I think it sounds a bit difficult, myself. How do we get started? Can we actually change how we think? I am not very successful at self-run things, and (yep) I tell myself that I’m not very successful.

I highly recommend getting someone professional to run this for you. CBT is the most common therapy of its kind. However, like many major startups, it has spawned subgroups of more specific subjects, die-hard zealots of original teachings, and side-therapies of similar names run by leaders who couldn’t get credit for starting the first one. Some professional navigation of those twisty roads will help you.

If you’re poor, shy, or just starting out, there are self-help options. A blog I somehow found recently lists online worksheets. Other sites exist, as well as books you can purchase.

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Fifth: No, really: does it actually help?

CBT really does help. My counselor is of the camp that minor mental issues are wholly the result of years of negative thought processes and reactions. Psychiatrists advocate for mostly medical measures, no matter how minor. I think the farmer and the cowman can be friends and meet us halfway.

Most health professionals agree that medicine and therapy, together, are the winning combination for fighting mental health issues.

Our bodies become resistant to medications and substances. Our hormones and brain chemistry change with time and stressful situations. Our motivation becomes dependent on that boost we get from outside stimuli, like prescriptions, drug overuse, and stimulants.

CBT is very nearly the silver bullet of therapies. It empowers YOU. It teaches you how to better handle your own brain -which is great because that’s what you’re stuck with all the time! Even doctors, as empathetic or sympathetic or knowledgeable as they are, cannot EVER understand exactly what you feel and experience. They have their own brains, not yours.

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Sixth: How about a run-through?

I’m getting a bit long here, even with shortening Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to CBT so many times, but can’t leave without some practical advice for all y’all. Here’s one type of CBT method you can run through, from wikihow:

  1. Notice when you’re negative.
    My therapist had me make a list what I know about me. It was about 80% self-critical and even the positive items were less-complimentary.
    Or, meditation is an option. Take at least ten minutes without distraction and pay attention to where your thoughts and feelings go.
    Think about a situation in the past that was negative.
  2. Recognize the connection between your thoughts and your feelings.
    Obviously, if you were dropped from a speeding airplane by members of the mafia into a boiling volcano, you had little control over feeling dead afterwards.
    But most situations, even sucky ones, do not cause our bad feelings at the end. WE cause them. YOU cause them. Your natural, poorly-designed mud paths caused the overflow of emotion.
    See the connection, and tell yourself that you felt bad because you had bad thoughts.
  3. Notice automatic thoughts
    All during the day, stuff happens. Automatically, we have some sort of reaction to the stuff.
    Let’s say I went to the store and realized I forgot my credit card. It’s back home in the freezer or whatever. An automatic negative thought from my brain would be, You’re always forgetting things. Further, I would think, Now you have to put all the groceries back. You should never come back to this store again.
    ALL THOSE are not good.
    I need to stop, drop and roll -er, *ahem* I need to stop that thought, way back when it started. Then, I tell myself it’s negative. Finally, I decide to tell myself something more like, Oops! I’ll look for some cash. I’l ask the cashier to hold these for me while I look, or drive home. Heck, I’m not the first person to forget payment; they’ll work with me.
  4. and 5. Talk about core beliefs. Specifically, about tying the automatic cognitive distortions to faulty internal beliefs.
    I’m not in favor of this step, because it’s self-analyzing. Getting into my terrible self-esteem and my potentially-damaging childhood without assistance sounds like a worse idea than the ones my mind comes up with.

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  1. Identify cognitive distortions. This may help with stopping the negative thoughts. Like, you can tell yourself, “I’m not a terrible person! I’m just overgeneralizing. It’s a typical misconception.” Common distortions listed on wikihow are:
    -Catastrophizing by predicting only negative outcomes in the future
    -Having all-or-nothing thinking
    -Discounting the positive
    -Labeling something or someone without knowing more about it or them
    -Rationalizing based on emotions rather than facts
    -Minimizing or magnifying the situation
    -Having “tunnel vision” by seeing only the negatives
    -Mind reading in which you believe you know what someone is thinking
    -Overgeneralizing by making an overall negative conclusion beyond the current situation
    -Personalizing the situation as something specifically wrong with you

Hopefully, this first method of 6(ish) steps works as a starting place for you. The wikihow article lists two other methods as well.

Seventh: A different initial approach is also helpful.

Besides these suggested steps, I’m a big proponent of creating an initial positive environment. I feel like I’m constantly in a negative haze, self-protected and negatively-pressured to the point of not sticking a toe out into the world.

A suggestion from my counselor was to think back on a time when I felt happy or good. Then, I was to keep asking myself, “Why?” until I traced it to a core emotion. For example: I said I’d felt happy driving to the appointment. Why? It was sunny and warm outside and I was alone. Why did that make you happy? I like feeling warm and comfortable. -Holy crap! I like being comfortable. Comfort was my core emotion.

One may also repeat a mantra each morning and evening. Something like, “I am of worth. I love myself;” or reciting an uplifting poem.

Morning meditation is good as well, or prayer.

Whatever activity you do, the goal is to create a positive atmosphere. We want to start our thoughts in a better direction and keep them going that way. Over time, your brain will form better neural pathways. You won’t flood anyone’s flower beds. You’ll have the practice and skills to handle past habits and fight new triggers.

And don’t get discouraged. You’ve had your entire life to build these habits; you can’t change overnight but you can change.

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Photo Credits:
Artem Bali
Pixabay
Pixabay
Sharon McCutcheon
Pixabay
Wikimedia Commons
Tyler Nix

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

Glad Tidings of Nymble

Nymble didn’t stand so much as gently flit above the waving grass, the first of the season’s signs of change. Leaning back as much as her grass and sunlight mote companions; she drank the deep, fresh air.

“Spring,” she whispered. She breathed.

A smile tickled her dimples. It pushed at her mouth-corners. As she looked out and over the gathered folk and fae, the smile spread to every feature of her pointed face. She grinned and opened her arms to hold the warm sun from toe to wing tip.

Atop the eminent rise, she addressed the expectant crowd. “SPRING!”

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Announced for Carrot Ranch‘s writing prompt.

March 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses the word eminence. It’s a rich word full of different meanings. Explore how it sounds or how you might play with it. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by April 2, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by jhx13 from Pixabay

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, Episode 20.

If you’re new or need directions; read my how-to on terrible poetry. Although I sometimes choose a winner who wrote about terrible things; what I seek above all is terrible meter, satirical tropes, and other poetic clichés.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. This week’s Topic is Springtime Haiku. I gave a brief tutorial in haiku back at Contest #3.
  2. Since it’s haiku, you all know the Length is roughly a syllabic 5-7-5.
  3. Haiku doesn’t Rhyme. Do it, and you just might have nothing happen since this contest is about breaking rules.
  4. Our #1 Rule that is always listed at #4 is to make it terrible. Since I witness haiku getting butchered all the time, you’re not likely to have trouble making yours cringe-worthy.
    Just in case you need the motivation, however, I’d like your ode to nature to
    Force quiv’ring blossoms
    To shiver downy snowflake stuff
    In terror of you
  5. Japanese poet-masters are rarely pushing boundaries. Keep things G-rated or gentler.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (April 5) to submit a poem.

If you are shy, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, just to be certain. That way, I will be able to tell you whether I received it.

For a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

 

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Photo credit:
michael podger