Listen, Learn, and Love - 3 Keys to Harmony

Dr. Joan's Advice

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Dr. Joan's Advice

Date: 12/25/2014

By:

Subject:

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Date: 12/13/2014

By:

Subject:

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Date: 11/23/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: FORGIVENESS SWEEPS AWAY GUILT

Dear Pat:

Thank you for writing about your battle with guilt over your missteps in your marriage. Your husband seems to have taken a few missteps himself. Each of you broke your marriage vows, although at different times over the last year, and wove a complicated web of lies between you..

You say you both are opposed to divorce and want to stay in your marriage. That is the hopeful aspect of all this mess. The two of you have the same goal: to stay together. Sorting out your problems will take time, maybe months, or years, but it is do-able.

Here is a first and crucial step forward to the recovery of your mutual respect and love:

ABSOLVE EACH OTHER OF GUILT.

Guilt is debilitating and harmful to recovery. Guilt casts a cold shadow on your relationship. Tell your husband you forgive him, and he will tell you the same.

The idea of mutual forgiveness and banishment of guilt is expressed beautifully in this quotation from Vera Nazarian:

“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.”

So, dear Pat, help each other to get up, do the hard work of recovery, and focus on a bright future.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Forgiveness is like a broom. It sweeps away guilt.

Date: 11/19/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: WHAT IS YOUR PK RATING? - PRACTICE KINDNESS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Dear One and All:

Here is today’s question: What is your PK rating? PK stands for PRACTICE KINDNESS.

From the writings of ancient thinkers, we read the assertion that human beings are innately kind. That is, we are born with kindness built into us. It is natural for us to treat others with kindness.

Yet we know, from observing others and from our own lives, that sometimes kindness is subverted.

What happens to our natural kindness? You can answer that question. Let’s hear your replies.

Would you say that JEALOUSY overpowers kindness? When we make JUDGEMENTS about another person’s behavior do we throw kindness out the window? How do we react when our children misrepresent the truth, or LIE? Do we forget kindness when we argue about MONEY, POLITICS, or RELIGION?

Since those ancient thinkers mentioned above, and probably since the beginning of time, human beings have been struggling to PRACTICE KINDNESS. We can even give our battle a name and measure our progress as we campaign to PRACTICE KINDNESS. We can call it our PK Rating.

Every time you PRACTICE KINDNESS, even the smallest of kindnesses, make a mental note. Thank yourself for your kindness. Others will thank you too. And the kindnesses will multiply, begetting more and more kindness. We need it.

So here’s the question we started with, and it is question for all of us to ponder:

What is your PK Rating?

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: One kindness hitchhikes on another kindness.





Date: 11/19/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Re: WHAT IS YOUR PK RATING? - PRACTICE KINDNESS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Here is a touching clip of life showing kindness being given:

A Lesson in Kindness: Seventh-Graders Form a Lunch-Buddies Club for Classmate with Autism http://www.people.com/article/lunch-buddies-help-teen-with-autism

Date: 08/23/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Children Need Space & Solitude

Dear Mom and Dad:

So your 11 year old daughter writes and illustrates stories about animals that talk. You’re worried she spends too much time fantasizing. She quit soccer and gave up piano. At school, she is a top student, has no behavior issues, and was elected chair of the safety committee. After school, she does homework and then goes to her room to work in what she calls her “personal volume.”

Here are points to ponder: Does your daughter have close friends her age? Does she engage in pre-teen social activities like texting, calling, and visiting with friends? Even though she quit soccer, does she get exercise with family and friends or even by herself?

If you answered “yes” to some or all of the points, then chances are your daughter is leading a stable life according to her standards. She feels secure in the way she divides her time between formal education, social exchange with friends and family, physical activity, and quiet solitude where her imagination can explore and expand.

Each of us has our own internal make-up. Parts of us may pull us one way or another as we develop and age. Your daughter is feeling a strong need to explore her creative mind and feelings and prefers to write and draw in the privacy of her room.

I want to quote Ursula Le Guin, prolific writer, now in her 80s, who grew up in the 30s and 40s. She was interviewed by Bridget Huber for an article in California Magazine, Spring 2013. Here’s an adaptation of part of their conversation:

Huber: I was struck by your description of teenage summers you spent wandering the hills alone. You said, “I think I started making my soul then.” Why are experiences like that important for kids?

Le Guin: It does seem that today’s children get little solitude. Things are provided to do at all times, and the homework is so much heavier than what we had. But the solitude, the big empty day with nothing in it where you have to make your day yourself, I do think that’s important for kids growing up. I’m not talking about loneliness. I’m talking about having the option of being alone.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Each child born needs space to grow and solitude to bring forth ideas.

Date: 06/19/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Tell Someone You Appreciate Them

Dear Discouraged:

You don’t say why you feel in low spirits, but rest assured, dear friend, your feeling of discouragement is perfectly normal. We all feel “down” at times. The important thing is to guard against slipping into despair.

Try this simple recipe which may transform your pessimism into feelings of hope.

Find another person, anyone, who may need a word of encouragement from you, or may need to know that you are thankful for something that person did. Tell that person you appreciate him or her. Mention something specific about what you admire. Did that person help you in some way? Did that person smile at you? Did that person do a favor for you? Did that person call you on the phone, or send a letter, or send an email/text, or mention you on social media?

So ... step out, step up, and tell someone else that you appreciate them. Do it today. You will experience uplift beyond compare.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Appreciation spreads like warm butter.

Date: 05/17/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Your Manner of Speaking Impacts Relationships

Dear Yeller:

You betcha. How you speak to others impacts the nature and quality of your relationships. Your female companion accused you of yelling at her and so you’ve adopted the nickname “Yeller.” Here’s what you admit: that you raise your voice; that you assail your girlfriend with unflattering adjectives; and that you're alone with your girlfriend when you're yelling at her.

Let’s talk about legal aspects first:

1) FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Mr. Yeller, you have freedom of speech, just like every American. Based on what you’ve told me, I hesitate to even bring up freedom of speech. So remember, just because you have the right to speak to her the way you do, I do not condone the way you speak to her.

2) DEFAMATION: Also keep in mind that by virtue of the fact you mention you are alone with your girlfriend when you yell, you must realize that if anyone else hears you, you could be charged with defamation of character. Defamation is a common law tort which is governed by state law. I don’t know where you live, but you’d better read up on two forms of defamation: libel and slander. It sounds like your manner of speaking to your girlfriend might bring trouble raining on your head.

Now for the just plain human aspects related to how we speak to each other:

1. HONESTY: Always strive to speak the truth. When you talk to your female companion, are you being honest? Or are your words so driven by anger that you fabricate accusations? Mr. Yeller, stop before you speak and ask yourself, “Am I speaking the truth?”

2. POLITENESS: Every person deserves to be spoken to politely. By that I mean with common courtesy. Focus on asking questions in a quiet manner, rather than casting blame. Use expressions which demonstrate your respect such as “Thank you for telling me that” or “I want to listen to your explanation.”

3. KINDNESS: People respond positively to speech that denotes kindness. When thinking of kind words, perhaps they are words that uplift others. Before speaking, ask yourself, will my words uplift my girlfriend? Will my words enrich her life? Then speak words of kindness.

4. HARMONY: Words that bring harmony to a situation are priceless. Do your best to achieve a manner of speaking which promotes harmonious relationships. By using words which soothe, calm, and bring peace to others, you, in turn, will sense those same harmonious feelings within yourself. Practice in the mirror.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: May words from your mouth melt snow on the highest peaks.

Date: 05/08/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Conducting Productive, Harmonious Meetings

Dear Ruffled in Reno:

So your meeting went haywire! One person dominated discussion around the table and you were unable, as chairperson, to, shall we say, shut him up. This person interrupted you and other members of the committee, raised his voice, called someone a name, and generally disrupted the order of business. People gave up, stopped contributing, and discussion was stifled. Nothing was accomplished, everyone was upset, and you, with your feathers ruffled and fuffled, adjourned the meeting, to be rescheduled at a later date.

I have no idea what relationship exists between the committee members, or what their positions are on the committee or in the company. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you, as the chair, must take three basic steps before the next meeting. Then consider establishing three ground rules at the beginning of the meeting.

BASIC STEPS BEFORE MEETING

1. Send out an agenda. Clearly outline the order of what will be discussed and the purpose of each item.
2. Establish a time schedule and emphasize that you will stick to the schedule.
3. Ask for feedback on the agenda and make adjustments based on the feedback.

GROUND RULES TO SET AT START OF MEETING

1. We are all adults. We will act and speak like adults to each other. No name calling, no yelling.

2. We will follow accepted rules on how to conduct a meeting. As chair, I will follow the agenda, move the meeting along within the time available, and call for motions, discussion, and voting.

3. Everyone has a voice on this committee and will have an opportunity to contribute if desired. Since we are on a schedule, I, as chair, may limit the time each person has to speak. Thus, everyone has the right to speak, without interruption, with the exception of being interrupted by the chair due to time constraints. Another possible reason the speaker may be curtailed by the chair is if the speaker fails to abide by Ground Rules 1 and/or 2.

Let me hear from you about your next meeting. I hope these ideas help you.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Notice the ants in one ant hill. They work together.

Date: 04/21/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Name-Calling is a Form of Abuse

Dear D-A:

Why are you calling yourself a D-A? Ok, I get the picture: You’ve adopted the name for yourself because your neighbor, in a fit of anger, called you a Dumb-A. As a retort, you hurled a label back at him by yelling “heel” when he turned on his heel and hurried into his house to get away from you.

Both of you need to cut the name-calling, right now. You are engaging in a form of passive abuse, but nevertheless, it is a digging way of hurting each other and one that sticks in the memory for a long time.

What is behind the name-calling between you? If it is the simple fact you need to leash your dog, then for goodness sake, leash the animal. Most municipalities have a leash law. Is yours one of them? I’ll bet it is and that’s why your neighbor is riled when he finds your roaming pet in his yard, digging up his flower bed.

Here are my suggestions to calm the waters of your neighborly relationship:

(1) Apologize about your laxity in leashing your animal and declare your good intentions to keep your dog on leash.

(2) Offer your hand and apologize for calling him a “heel.” My guess is he will apologize for calling you a Dumb-A. Then you can drop the D-A moniker and get back to whatever your real names are, like Sam and Jim.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Leash the tongue, as well as the dog.

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