Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Today's blog seems forced. I have no topic in mind, no great wisdom to share, and only a few minutes to write. The weather is beautiful here in Austin, Texas, and I'd rather be outside. I just came from a walk, but who can get enough of perfect weather. Unfortunately, I have to work--paperwork, yuck.

Shouldn't there be some rule like, "Paperwork is not allow if it's between 70 and 80 degrees, there's not a cloud in the sky and flowers are popping out as you read this rule?"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Big Life Change

So, after much exploration of places to go for my birthday, I began planning a romantic, adventure vacation to Kauai, Hawaii. I did my research, found flights and hotel, decided we would "take flight" on a helicopter on my birthday and would spend New Year's at a luau. WOW! A real dream of a vacation.

So, I was ready to press the botton and book the trip because I had it all planned out in my head. I always plan, plan thoroughly and tenaciously. I have to know what's coming, and I take great joy in fantacizing about what is to come. The planning is as important as the trip itself. All our trips are basically planned by me. Yes, I can be spontaneous, but only "planned spontaneity."

Then it hit me. If I really am looking for a life change, not planning would be the more obvious way to go. Oh, the agony of giving up a lifelong habit, a good habit, but any habit can be a curse. It's hard to believe, but I've decided to wait until the last minute to plan this trip. Last minute deals are all over the internet.

I'm "flying blind" on this one and I'm having withdrawal. I just can't help myself. I keep checking vacation deals and then catching myself. Reluctantly, I shut down the website and walk away from my computer. Ugg!

"Old habits die hard, and I need a jump start." Carolyn C. Martin

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Origins of Happiness

So, as I thought about going to see Lucy, my long lost relative and the origin of humankind (refer to the last entry), I've been thinking about the origins of happiness. What made Lucy happy? My lack of knowledge about humans in that time period makes it hard to imagine what made her happy. However, in such a primal state, I would guess that having safety, food, and shelter for herself and her young was what made her happy. But as humans have evolved, we have developed other ways of finding happiness once our basic needs are met.

"I believe that satisfaction, joy and happiness are the ultimate purposes of life. And the basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion, and love." The Dalai Lama

Monday, March 3, 2008

Birthday Experience

The search for my 60th birthday experience is still on. I've explored Africa, the Med, the Caribbean, and Central America as possible birthday vacations. Each has a lot to offer.

Since we're talking about celebrating my birth, I thought it only proper I find my long lost relative, Lucy. For those of you who are unaware, Lucy is the name of the oldest remains of a human. She was found in Hadar, Ethiopia and is on display in Houston until some time in April. The belief is that Ethiopia is the "birthplace" of humankind. While I could just go visit her in Houston, I'd rather go to Ethiopia where it all began.

Tandem hang gliding is on the list of things to do. It's the nearest to flying, my effort to recapture my childhood dreams of flying. But I also have discovered rainforest canopy adventures in Costa Rica. Straight out of one of my favorite movies, Medicine Man, I've found the real-life experience that thrills me everytime I watch this movie. Flying through the trees on a belay has now caught my attention.

But what about the name of this blog, The Secret Life of a Butterfly? Let us not forget that there are over 1,000 butterfly species found in Costa Rica and they are everywhere in the air year round.

And, also, "being" in the presence of lions, tiger, elephants, hippos etc on a safari has always intrigued me. I guess another movie is responsible for this--Out of Africa. My husband keeps warning me of the polical unrest in Kenya. Dear, I'll never "own a farm in Africa." Can't I at least see what I'm missing.

Then there's another experience, again, straight out of a movie, Gorillas in the Mist. As my husband keeps reminding me, Uganda and Rwanda are in political unrest also. But to sit as Dian Fossey did, just watching the gorillas, would delight the child, educate the psychologist and enlighten the human in me.

The Med, well, I just have always wanted to take a cruise, see Cairo, Morroco, and Greece. On the other hand, the Caribbean is has perfect weather for a December birthday.

I also have been trying to remember that we'll be on the trip during New Year's. So, where do I want to start 2009?

Time is slipping away fast. I started thinking about this 1/1/08. Somehow, it's now 2/2/08. So I've been thinking maybe I could just start celebrating now by visiting Lucy in Houston. She's got a neighboring exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science--the Butterfly Habitat.

"Life comes at you fast." Commerical for Geico Insurance
"Orange is the new pink and now is the new yesterday." --Carolyn Martin

Divorce--Stay or Go?

Marriage is a lot of work sometimes. And, even though you may have worked hard to make things go well in your marriage, there sometimes comes a point in time when you have to make a decision — the decision between staying to fight for your marriage, or moving away from the marriage to find happiness and peace.

In order to make the decision, you may need more information or someone to help you process what you're going through. Gathering information from books, magazines, the internet, etc. can help. Talking to a friend or relative may help. Or seeing a professional may be helpful.
The important thing is to make a decision. Being in "limbo" is a horrible feeling because you can't really get rooted if you are in limbo... all you know is that you aren't happy and don't know what to do. You may feel stuck in a rut or feel as if you are wandering aimlessly.

When trying to make a decision whether to divorce, consider the following:
1. Have you gone to marriage counseling? Many marriages that seem doomed can actually be saved.
2. Have you gone to marriage counseling, and it didn't help? Every therapist has their own style and belief about how marriage can be saved. If you did marriage counseling before, and it wasn't helpful, there may have been a miss-match between you and the therapist. Isn't your marriage worth trying again?
3. Have you and your spouse taken the time to talk and isolate the real problems of the marriage without blaming each other? This is hard but can be very worthwhile.

I often hear:
1. "But we're just friends now. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Friendship is the basis of the best marriage. If you need more in the marriage, you and your partner can work on that.
2. "We fight constantly. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Conflict is normal and natural in any relationship. The trick is to learn how to have conflict that brings you closer together instead of further apart.
3. "My partner won't change. Does that mean I should divorce?" Change isn't easy sometimes. It takes time and patience. See my page on Why Do People Change?
4. "We're not in love anymore." If you still love each other but aren't "in love," the marriage very possibly can be saved, and you can bring the romantic love back.
5. "I don't trust my spouse anymore. Isn't that a dangerous sign?" It could be. Trust is the foundation of all good marriages. If you don't have it, you don't have much, but many times the trust can be revived.

The following facts can also help you decide whether to stay in your marriage or divorce. No matter what your decision, these things may also help you decide how you will conduct yourself in either scenario.
1. Divorce is always painful for children, no matter how old they are. But it's not always traumatic.
2. Divorce does not end the relationship between you and your spouse, it just changes the rules of the relationship.
3. The divorce takes place psychologically for children on the day of the separation.
4. Two people living apart cannot live as cheaply as two people living together. Almost always both partners' standard of living drops.
4. Unhappy parents cannot raise happy children.
5. When parents live apart, children have more opportunities to manipulate them.
6. Divorce is a process, not an event.
7. There are no winners in divorce.
You're considering divorce can reach me at 512-795-0402 or visit divorce counseling on my website.
I am located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759

Marriage & the New Baby

Ah! There's nothing like bringing a new baby home. You fall in love with that beautiful angelic face, and your heart just melts. What could be more delightful than holding that precious bundle you've been waiting on for nine months?
You bring Little "Johnny" or "Suzy" home and start your new life as a family. But did you know, according to research done by John Gottman, Ph.D. at the Relationship Research Institute,

1. Within three years after the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility.

2. On the first birthday of a child, his/her parents have a 67% chance of reporting that they are unhappy with their marriage.
3. 50% to 80% of new mothers and 30% of new fathers suffer depression – the result of dramatic drops in couple intimacy?

4. Couples often forget or are unaware that their relationship needs nurturing just like their new baby needs nurturing, and therefore, often find themselves neglecting the relationship.

"We now know that the couple's emotional life is the real foundation for a baby's development. A hostile parent-parent relationship holds lasting negative effects on the baby' emotional and cognitive development. These long-tern effects mean that a majority of American children are experiencing a tragic loss of family connection long before they ever enter school." says John Gottman, Ph.D.

Research shows that when a parent is depressed, babies:
1. become less responsive, emotionally withdrawn and lack joy.
2. won't explore their environment and won't experience new events with delight.
3. develop brain wave patterns that resemble those of its depressed parent.
may have developmental delays.
4. have an inability to self-soothe and attend to play.
5. show lower scores in areas of intellectual development by age four.

When a parent's relationship is distressed, babies
1. have more negative interactions with their parents than other babies.
2. withdraw from their fathers.
3. are at risk for developing mental heath problems.
4. are less physically healthy and sick more often.
5. are at increased risk for developing behavioral problems.

If you, your spouse or your relationship is experiencing distress due to BRINGING BABY HOME find a therapist trained to deal with this issue.

"The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you. The real cradle that holds your baby is the emotional world between the two of you."John Gottman, Ph.D.

I am a Certified Gottman Educator for the Bringing Baby Home Workshop also. For more info about the Bringing Baby Home Program see If you would like to work in this area, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or on my website at Bringing Baby Home