Tag Archives: boundaries


I went to see a Black Curtain showing of the play, Distracted by Lisa Loomer. I am glad it was the Black Curtain showing.  The play was awesome, and I really enjoyed just focusing on the lines and the characters.  After the show one of the actors was saying what it would have been like with full staging.  The script calls for an amazing amount of stimulation – big screens, lots of movement.  Indeed, this would fit in terms of distracting; however, for me I think it might have been too much.  I liked just seeing and hearing the actors.

The play is a  funny, heartfelt and thought-provoking look at a mother’s journey dealing with her 9 year old son who is struggling with hyperactivity and difficulty staying focused.  The mother talks to the teacher, the psychologist, the doctor, a Homeopath and various other experts.  The mother is trying decide if medication is the best avenue.  The script is written through her eyes, but there are many windows into the husband, who at times seems like a man avoiding the problem but ultimately reveals his own inner beliefs that he is the problem.

As a child I would have been considered ADHD along with some other learning issues (dyslexsia). Later in life, as a mental health professional who worked with “ADHD” kids I appreciated the script on many levels.  I do think there is much too much medication distributed not just to children but to adults.  I also believe that children with ‘ADHD’ may not have a disability.

The play did a wonderful job of tracking the mother’s process.  The pain in not knowing what was best, the frustration in discovering that the experts really did not know more than she did, and the challenge of maintaining a marriage when dealing with something that is not easily solved.  It was clear that both for children and adults our solution is all too often medication.  It is amazing how many medications are out there for ADD, OCD, depression, bi-polar, anxiety etc….  Of course, it is also amazing how over-stimullated we are with TV’s, Blackberries, computers and everything available 24/7.  Are we ADD or AOL (Attention OverLoad)?  Are we depressed or simply out of contact – well connection not just text messaging.

When I ran groups for ADHD kids I apparently had an amazing success rate.  I had some other professionals wanting to know the secret and asking to observe.  It was interesting though when they came they could not stand the group dynamics.  My ‘success’ was simply was too chaotic for them.  The groups were often very active sessions where everyone had a drum.  There were strings that each child used to create a space and those boundaries had to be respected.  But other than that I was okay with quite a lot of noise and interaction.  In the end, each of the groups found their way to move forward.  When I interviewed the kids after the group, they all seemed to have learned the most from each other and what seemed to convince them to settle down and focus was their own desire to connect to each other.

Though the groups were successful, without any real science, the positive results were simply not taken very seriously.  However, the parents all seemed to get the idea.  They had been trying so hard to help ‘control’ their out-of-control child that may be they needed to join them sometimes in being a little on the wild side.

The play Distracted provided an equally refreshing conclusion.

Maybe a diagnosis helps sometimes. Even medication might be useful for a short period to assist someone.  But we have taken that WAY too far and stopped looking at the bigger picture.  All these ‘disorders’ may just be trying to tell us something else.  What might happen if we stopped drugging and turned off the over-stimulation and sank in and connected.  I am guessing at first that would be very uncomfortable and in the end I believe we might just discover there is an important message to be received when all the noise stops.

Adding a New Member to Our Pack

Apparently winter is not the best time to get a puppy; however, our lives have crossed paths with an adorable little rescued boxer named, Moose.  I love dogs and currently have a wonderful companion, Sooke.  Sooke is nine and reaching the age where left with just us she would prefer to sleep, rest and become less mobile.  Yet when she is with other dogs she plays,  gets a better workout and seems to love the company.  Our vet recommended getting another dog as a buddy.  But we just haven’t found the ‘right’ one – until Moose.

Actually Moose showed in our lives about a week ago when we were out walking in the woods nearby.  We crossed paths with two women out walking their four Boxers and little Moose was scooped up in one of their arms when we showed up.  Of course we admired the cute puppy and as we were ready to leave one of the women commented she was fostering him and looking for a good home.  We wished her luck and off we went.  No name – no number.

Once home we both commented on the puppy and wished we had talked more to the woman.  We had no idea who she was or if we would be able to relocate her.  But we put out signs, near the woods, at the dog park and alerted our vet that we were looking for the Boxer’s foster mom.  After a week we were prepared to give up and then we got a call asking if we were the ones looking for Moose.

Last night we introduced Sooke to Moose.  I wouldn’t say Sooke fell in love – Moose is twelve weeks and only wants to play and Sooke is nine  and looked a bit impatient with the constant playful intend of Moose.  However, they did play in waves and Sooke set some limits.  Moose respected the boundaries at least long enough to let us know they could work this out without anyone getting hurt.

Now we need to really get serious about our decision.  A puppy is a lot of responsibility and a boxer is an additional bundle of muscular energy which will demand training and lots of play and exercise.  As the energizer bunny of our household, I could look forward to a running buddy and a companion for longer hikes and activities.  I am not as certain about being the dominate leader of the pack but I think CrisMarie commands that role quite well.  Between the two of us, Moose should get all the exercise and leadership he needs.

We still aren’t a shoe in as parents. Because Moose is a rescue dog we have to apply.  I took a look at the questionaire and Jane, the rescue coordinator is quite serious about who she lets adopt.  We will have a home visit, an interview, need three or more references and our vet to endorse who we are.  Of course I am happy to see that so much care goes into finding the right home.  Last time I got a dog I just went an put down some cash and home we went.  For Moose’s sake I am glad there are a few hoops to jump through.  He has already had enough disappointment for being only twelve weeks old.  Did I mention he started out in Connecticut?  He was suppose to have a home in Minnesota but things did not work out.  Fortunately, Tracey his foster mom has stayed right alongside him.  She owes three Boxers so he has a temporary pack helping him learn.  Now he’s out here mainly because she is and won’t be heading back East until early spring.  Tracey would prefer to find a good home before that trip is needed.

It’s a big decision. I can think of many reasons not to introduce a puppy into our lives.  Yet Moose did sort of magically capture our attention and that we found him again makes me think there is a reason Moose showed up.  I know there will be an adjustment for Sooke.  My biggest concern is that she know we even started down this road because we want her around longer and to have a buddy.  For awhile it may seem like more work then fun.  But pretty soon with some dedicated attention and lots of loving and play – I can picture the two of them being a good combination.

Myself I just want to make the best decision for Moose at this point.  We have a great little pack.  I would enjoy finding a buddy for running and more extreme outdoor activities.  But I must importantly I want to know this is the ‘right’ way to go.  It would be great if there was a way to get that confirmed.  But life isn’t like that,  the best we can do is check in and then commit fully if we decide to bring Moose home.  I will keep you posted!

Dealing with My Internal Eruptions

Every once in a while I have these extreme reactions to things.  It is like a volcano is erupting inside.  Often the external events do not seem to warrant such a hugh reaction and I do my best to cover up the internal storm.  Yet I know I am not one who hides emotions well.  Too often I can feel my nostrils flaring and something will come out of my mouth that is loaded with intensity and energy.  I am getting better at noticing the signals and therefore try to regulate.  I do have to live with the consequences of my transparency.  Yes I have wished often for a better facial mask or easy skills at compartmentalizing until later.  But no – that is not my gift or charm.  I am the ‘reactor’ and can not hide when something seems incongruent to me.

Yesterday I had one of those moments.  As I was running a Board meeting, a topic surfaced that quickly resulted in a boiling point inside of me.  I did my best to navigate through the meeting without too much damage.  However, I am left wondering why was I so bothered.  The issue involved a history of allowing folks to ‘pay over time’ or give services in exchange tuition (this was a school Board).  The school has  struggled with financial issues but this has never been enough of a concern to stop the process.  At today’s meeting a new case was presented and it seemed the decision was going to be different.  This time the answer was ‘no’.  I am not sure why I was so angry but I was.  I guess because this had been such an incongruent process to date and frankly for me it seemed unfair that suddenly the ‘norm’ was going to be changed.  I did my best to deal with my reaction but left just needing to get some space.

Later I found I would quickly return to the same strong feelings and realized I was dealing with a significant level of resentment.  I had clearly not spoken over the years as the policy had been set and established to allow some to not pay or do very creative arrangements around payment.  Sure there were some real issues and reasons for me to be upset.  However, even know I get I am still avoiding the real issue.  None of this would bother me so much if I was okay with my own boundaries and commitments to the school, the Board and the folks involved.

Long ago I had learned that anytime resentment surfaces the key is to look at my own boundaries and discover where I was not honoring myself.  I have helped many people of the years shift from being resentful and angry simply by having them address their own unmet needs and unset boundaries. Generally once that is done the resentment vanishes.

For me I know I enjoy my volunteer work at the school.  However, I often spend more time focused and assisting the school then I do moving forward on some of my own important projects and dreams.  No one is making me do that but me.  I think I find it easier to help someone else or some other cause move out into the the world then myself.

Even as I write this the eruption inside subsides.  Indeed I do need to address the incongruent behaviour.  It is just not the school’s behaviour I need to be focused on.  First I need to work on my own.  Make time for my projects and be sure I am scheduling the time and support I need to make my dreams happen.  I am guessing once that alignment is right I will find an easy way to talk about the policies of the school and I doubt my nostrils will be flaring.