Wednesday, December 31, 2014

3 Steps to Make Your New Habits Stick this Year


Whether we like it or not, this time of year cues our minds to reflect and think about habits we want to change.  If you’re reading this blog,alive possibel odds are one of those habits are bringing mindfulness into your life more and allowing this to be the year where it sticks. Or maybe you’re also looking to change other habits that run alongside your values like being more self-compassion, living alongside your values, playing more or creating more mastery in life. All of these are basic elements that help uncover happiness.

Whatever the habit is that you want to make, here are a few practical tips to help make your changes stick.

  1. Know the practice – If you’re trying to integrate the ability to become more present in your daily life, choose what you want to practice. You may want to integrate more formal practice that would come in the form of a sitting meditation or mindful yoga. Or maybe you want to integrate more informal


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

About Kelly Clark (deceased)

UPDATE:  Sadly, Kelly passed away on December 17, 2013 while being treated for serious medical issues at the Mayo Clinic.  He was 56 years old.
“The opportunity to advocate for abused children and for adults who were abused as children, and to walk alongside them as they heal from their abuse, is one of the great privileges of my life. To see these people go from victims to survivors to thrivers never ceases to amaze and inspire me,” said Kelly Clark, a partner at O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP and one of the leading child-abuse lawyers in the nation.

Kelly was a trial and appellate lawyer representing individuals, families and businesses against large or powerful institutions, public and private. He was recognized for his courtroom skills, for his knowledge of public, constitutional and child-abuse law, and for his tenacious and creative litigation strategies. A former two-term Oregon legislator, as of 2009 Kelly practiced before or against some 85 federal, state and local government agencies. He brought cases in state and federal court on civil rights, voting rights, education rights—including pioneering wins for charter schools—as well as cases on religious liberty, free speech and property rights. He had been the legal counsel to numerous political campaigns, including legislative, congressional and gubernatorial candidates.

Most centrally, for nearly twenty years Kelly Clark was a leading advocate for victims of child abuse: first while in the Legislature, co-authoring Oregon’s child-abuse statute of limitations and the ban on child pornography, and then representing hundreds of children and adults abused as children by trusted adults, including Catholic priests, ministers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders, teachers and police officers.

Kelly’s 1999 win against the Archdiocese of Portland in the Oregon Supreme Court changed the law in Oregon and gained national attention for its landmark theory of liability for “institutions of trust” whose employees abuse children, and his 2008 win in the Supreme Court against a local police agency operating an Explorer Boy Scout post was significant for its elimination of special immunities in the law for governmental child abusers and their employers. In 2010, he was lead counsel in a Portland trial against the Boy Scouts of America that featured, for the first time ever, the so-called “Perversion Files” kept by the BSA about known pedophiles within their ranks.
Kelly P crop(1) About Kelly Clark (deceased)The result of that trial was a jury verdict of nearly $20 million against the Scouts, including $18.5 million in punitive damages—as well as an eventual Oregon Supreme Court ruling in 2012 requiring that the Perversion Files be publicly released as evidence of the history of abuse in Scouting.  In September 2012, he argued to the Oregon Supreme Court that the Oregon laws giving special protection to public school teachers in cases of child abuse should be struck down as unconstitutional and is currently awaiting that decision. Recognized by his peers for his expertise in this area, he wrote and spoken widely on child abuse topics to professional audiences.

Mr. Clark was active in his community and charitable endeavors, a sometime-adjunct Professor at George Fox University, and in 2012 received a Master’s Degree in theology from Australia’s Melbourne College of Divinity. Often asked to lecture and teach effective public speaking, Mr. Clark was frequently in demand as a speaker and writer on the topics of child abuse, law, public policy, faith, and recovery from abuse

He prosecuted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic Church as well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How to Approach the Holidays When You’re Depressed



It’s a myth that suicide rates skyrocket between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The truth is that the month of December has the fewest number of suicides than any other time of year (Karr, 2012). What is interesting to note, however, is that there is a significant increase of suicides right after Christmas — a 40 percent increase.

From the studies that have been done on depression, suicide, and the holidays, it seems that the winter holidays insulate many from suicide, but there is a sort of rebound effect that occurs once the holidays have passed (Karr, 2012).


There are several reasons why we might see an increase in suicide after the holidays, but isolation and loneliness seem to be the most obvious ones. A Canadian study of patients treated at a psychiatric center during the holidays suggested loneliness and lack of family as stressors (Karr, 2012).

Loneliness is a modern-day epidemic. Neurologically and emotionally, humanity is wired for human connection, yet we often don’t experience it in a fulfilling way. Sometimes we even sabotage or run away from true connection. Loneliness is a signal that we need to reconnect. But often that signal goes ignored because the possibility of being hurt or rejected is scary.





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

       Coping Skills

 There is a story about a lion cub that was born among a herd of sheep.  His lion mother was killed, so the herd of sheep took him in and brainwashed him into thinking he was a sheep.  Did they tell him this maliciously to trick him?  No, they were ignorant.  They knew how to be sheep and that’s all they knew.   Although they did not mean to hurt him he grew up thinking he must be a sheep.  The skills he learned were garbage and did not help him cope with his difficult life.  Being a lamb was not his true identity.  As he grew he heard a tiny voice and had a feeling he was not a sheep.  This tiny voice told him to “Eat the sheep.”  He did not listen to this inkling in his head.  Eating the sheep went against everything he had been taught.  Then there was another tiny voice that said “Don’t eat the sheep; they are your brothers and family.  They raised and taught you.  They love you.” 
 The two conflicting voices and instinct were his real internal Self and his environmental external Self.  Since his external Self (what he was taught) does not match his internal Self (what his instinct told him), the lion cub became very anxious.  In fact, he became quite neurotic because he believed he was a sheep, but the voice to “Eat the sheep” kept driving him crazy.  He was trying to believe the lie.
 When the lion goes out into the world, away from the herd, what will happen?  Will he be nervous?  Of course he will be.  It’s quite silly though!  The lion has all the coping skills to deal with the world he will meet.  Out in the world away from the herd is where he belongs, but he was brainwashed with lies.  The lion is very worried because he knows lambs can’t survive living with a lion.  If he covers himself up to look more like a lamb he thinks he will gain confidence and help him overcome his fear.
 Perhaps he could roar loudly—like a lion with a bad temper—or talk too much.  An even better cover-up would be to put on a real lion skin fool everyone into thinking he’s powerful—like a person who has a superiority complex.  But who would he really be fooling.  How ridiculous, a real lion wearing a lion skin!  Why, because he believes the lie about his true identity and tries to fool everyone with cover-ups.
 This is how we were taught—to be a lamb when we were and are a lion.  The long road lies ahead and Dr. Ellsworth (my therapist) and I took months and months before I was committed to finding out who I truly was and re-teach the lion how to be a lion without eating any lambs.  It was hard finding out for myself with--Dr. Ellsworth’s help—what lions eat, what do lions do and where do lions sleep.  It was well worth the difficult path, but well worth it.  I just now need to keep honoring myself as a proud, beautiful lion (human spirit) by treating myself well, nurturing my inner lion—the lion raised as a sheep—and nurture her the way she was not nurtured as a Supreme Being.  No, I’m not getting cocky.  We are all supreme beings at different levels of knowing that and treating yourself as this Supreme Being, the lion.  Reading Dr. Ellsworth’s book has shown me that I am a lion too.
 This story from Dr. Sterling Ellsworth’s book. How I Got This Way and What to Do About it, points out how we have all been taught bad information by our parents, friends, other family members, anyone who wants us to think we are less than what we are.


Please click the link below to order the book:

How I Got This Way: And What To Do About It [Kindle Edition]

Sterling G. Ellsworth

Kindle Price: $4.99