Saying Im Sorry Is Hard#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Gracefully confronting someone with a wrong, and navigating an apology can be very tricky, and very painful. Recognizing the difficulty of the action while at the same time honoring our own need to hear it, is the trick.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 1:29:08 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
G-Spot Anxiety? #
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Do you have a G-Spot? Does one even exist at all? What do you think? I have my take on it...
Monday, January 11, 2010 11:05:17 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Altering the Fear with Drugs; A Good Thing?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Can drugs help change your experience of trauma? Oops, wait, does PTSD really exist? MPD? Gosh, so many of us are just stupid aren't we Paul McHugh?
Saturday, January 09, 2010 12:57:57 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The real purpose of the Holiday Season#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Christmas vacations and skiing with the entire crew is a fantastic adventure as well as as healing crucible.
Monday, January 04, 2010 5:41:52 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Brittany Murphy's Tragic Death#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Anorexia kills silently, and its not the ultimate cause of the death. Usually it's something that has been lingering below the surface for years.
Monday, December 21, 2009 4:07:12 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Tough Times#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Times are tough. If we are among those who have lost everything we can lose our sense of our value. How do you keep it?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 7:14:38 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Compassion for Tiger#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why is it we are so upset with Tiger for being what he was well known to be? Mostly because of our own fantasies...
Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:34:30 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Men are Pigs and Other Lies#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
There is a growing belief in the generality that men are somehow less than women... more vulgar, stupid and incapable...
Monday, December 07, 2009 10:07:48 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Tiger Woods Brain#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Wow, Tiger lost it. We have come to expect him to be able to soothe his primitive brain... but he hasn't made the connection between what happens with his wife and he and golfing.
Monday, November 30, 2009 12:14:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Case Against Selfless Love?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What is "selfless love"? Why do we convince ourselves that it's a nobel, altruistic thing to do for someone else. What is the price of that?
Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:17:04 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Julie and Julia Inspired Me#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
The beginning of my 365 series of blogs. Can I do it? I don't know for sure, but I'm going to try. In honor of Patrick Swayze, and of course, Julie and Julia...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 5:37:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Women Perpetrators? Is it a far fetched Idea?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why do we have such a hard time imagining women as perverted sexual offenders? In our culture we are set up not to believe that women are capable of such horrors, but I think we are just as capable and just as frequent perpetrators as men.
Thursday, April 16, 2009 2:24:08 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [4]  | 
The Case for Speaking Truths#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Speaking hard truths is difficult, but even more difficult if we dont' do it in a compassionate way.
Monday, March 30, 2009 11:29:08 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [3]  | 
Domestic Abuse Myths#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend, Rihanna. The article on Newsweek's website today would have us believe that Chris is some kind of a monster. But is he?
Monday, March 09, 2009 10:15:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Medical Excuses for Not Being Sexual#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Medical conditions often make sex seem impossible. Why do we accept this death sentence? Many people accept the idea that they sex is too hard and just give up on it altogether.
Sunday, March 08, 2009 4:24:01 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Kerrville New Folk Loses Yet Again#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Michael Kern, musician extraordinare and Camp Bungie Budda is gone and I, for one, cannot imagine what Kerrville will be like without him...
Friday, February 13, 2009 10:18:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Women and Mid-Life Affairs#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Women are said to rediscover sex in our 40's. Does this mean we have to have affairs? What's the alternative?
Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:27:21 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Case for Lasting True Love#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
The New York Times report that scientists now say that "true love" can last decades. What makes "true love" last? Why don't most of us experience that?
Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:55:44 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
San Diego Plane Crash Victim's Amazing Compassion#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
A young Korean man lost his entire new family in an instant and holds no blame or revenge for the perpetrator of the incident. What does it take to do this?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:30:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Dr. Phil, Please Get Some Help!#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Dr.Phil's "Retreat" exploits human tragedy for his own gain. Its unethical and immoral find out why I think so...
Thursday, November 20, 2008 12:40:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [5]  | 
The Seven Day a Week Church Challenge Begins!#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Fellowship Church's Ed Young's challenge to have sex every day for one week begins today. Married couples are up in arms not under sheets... well, they should be under the sheets (or on top) having the time of their lives... if not something is wrong.
Sunday, November 16, 2008 9:14:33 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Seven Days of SEX, in a row!!!#
by Mike Henricks - Melody's husband, partner, and Co-Author of "Oh Wow, this is Great Sex"

It is splashed all over the media, Fellowship Church’s Grapevine, TX pastor, Ed Young, is challenging his married parishioners to have sex for the next seven days. Why is this news? Most religions encourage and honor sex in the sanctity of marriage. Even a stodgy group like North American Mission Board, an arm of the ultra conservative Southern Baptist Convention emphasizes the importance of good sex in marriage (see Sexual Response in Marriage).

What I find really surprising is the public, or at least some of the media figurehead’s reaction. Sex. For SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT! They don’t think its possible and they sure don’t seem to think its really desirable. One CNN anchor even suggested that pastor Young would be an accomplice to rape since the women would have to be having sex against their will.

Based on the short video segment I saw, I think Young was trying to do two things: Expose the obstacles to a good, intimate relationship that included joyful sex AND suggest that sex every night is a reasonable and attainable goal.

To all of the nay sayers, I have to ask “Why not plan on having sex every night (and some mornings).” Here’s the deal, if you are really taking care of your partner, taking the time to enjoy them, how can you not end up having lots of great sex?

This is a topic that is near and dear to Melody and me. In fact, you can expect to hear much more about this from us in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, are you having the kind of sex life you want? Do you think it is possible to make sex and the rest of your relationship more joyful? Please email or leave us a comment so we can include what you think is important.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:19:35 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
John McCain concedes, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States#
by Mike Henricks - Melody's husband, partner, and Co-Author of "Oh Wow, this is Great Sex"

Politics is high drama. It relies on the Drama Triangle to label the good guys and the bad guys and prove we are the wronged victims. We are entitled to do whatever we need to regain our stature, property, or rights. Obama used it, McCain used it. So did Napoleon, Hitler, Yamomoto, Churchill, and the Roosevelts. Sadly, they have to because it works.

Concession speeches usually fan the dying embers of their cause’s victimhood. They aim to bank the fire so it can be used to ignite the next run for office.

As Barack Obama said in his victory speech, there are few who have endured more than John McCain. I don’t know how you survive the hatred and inhumanity of nearly dying in the Hanoi Hilton. But McCain did. And he was a driving force for establishing economic and political relations with his former captors. He escaped the usually life long handicap of wallowing in his mistreatment by letting go of his victimhood and forgiving his captors.

He showed his character again last night. His concession speech was not about him or his cause. Respect and admiration for Obama were evident in his words and his actions. This is the McCain that we have known and respected for decades, whether you think he should be president or not. America made a choice. They didn’t pick him. Still, he doesn’t see himself as a victim. How many of us could say the same?

Posted by Mike Henricks
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 12:58:28 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Emotional Contagion#
by Mike Henricks - Melody's husband, partner, and Co-Author of "Oh Wow, this is Great Sex"
Emotional contagion or marriage as it is supposed to be
Monday, November 03, 2008 8:15:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
What ME a Sex Addict?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What makes for addictive sex? Perhaps it is what some experts would say, a thing that is so pervasive it happens in the beds of millions of women refusing their husbands.... or vice versa...
Saturday, October 25, 2008 6:39:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Enemies a Love Story#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Should you stay or should you go? It's a daily question. Not just a relationship end point question. When you think about your partner as the enemy have you already left the relationship?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 7:39:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton - Like-able Candidates Need Only Apply#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
How should we pick a candidate? Should we base it on how much we like them and they are like us? Why do we tend to do that?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 8:26:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Clueless Men and Unsatisfied Wives#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why is it we have such a hard time connecting with each other? We all have this urge to connect but end up clueless and lost. Askdanandjennifer.com forum questions illustrate how common this is...
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:42:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Struggle to Say What You Want#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why is is so hard for us to say what it is we really want? We even fake orgasms rather than tell our partner what we want and what we like.
Thursday, September 04, 2008 2:53:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Trading Sex for Services is Biology??#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
A CNN article says women's history of trading sex for services is a biological thing. What is it we are doing? Why?
Thursday, August 28, 2008 3:02:58 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Primitive Reactivity Prevails in Olsteen Lawsuit#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Joel Olsteen's beautiful wife Victoria got her feathers ruffled on a flight in Houston and now she is on trial. Now she is getting flap for being "un-Christian" is this fair?
Thursday, August 07, 2008 2:16:36 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
The Ethics of Compassion#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
How are ethics and compassion related? The heart of ethics is understanding how to be compassionate with the people in our lives. But why is this so hard to do?
Monday, August 04, 2008 6:57:58 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
A Bitter Sweet Good-bye#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
An unexpected summer guest leaves my family with an even more unexpected gift.
Friday, August 01, 2008 7:15:28 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Immunity for Abu Ghraib & Iraq Torturers?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Torture is an inhumane practice and surely there are "criminals" we should prosecute? But wait, what it there is another perspective? What if we give them all immunity?
Monday, July 28, 2008 9:29:08 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Practice of Compassion#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Talking to a group of teachers this morning made me think about some of the evolution of my teaching the Cycles of the Heart. It started with a "calling" at 13...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:58:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [3]  | 
Why the Rush? Five Killed by Speeder#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Five people were killed as a result of "bad choices". We all make them, but why? Understanding how we get caught in the Cycle of Egocentrism can help us sort it out.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2:02:12 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Short on Empathy? #
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Many of us experience empathy deficits. Why does empathy matter? What difference does it make if we have it or not?
Sunday, June 22, 2008 5:17:00 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
6-7-08 Kerrville New Folk Changes Forever#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
My experiences over 13 years of camping at the Kerrville New Folk Festival have shaped my life and the lives of my kids. This year had something surprising in store for us and Kerrville will never be the same.
Monday, June 09, 2008 10:26:30 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Rape of Girls OK'd in Texas FLDS Case#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
CPS may have gone in under the wrong precedent... but isn't having pregnant teens who say they are "married" (illegally) precedent enough? There may be no 'bad guys" but there are clearly some victims here. I have a better idea...
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:10:39 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Conflict in the Workplace#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Workplace conflict is a costly and time consuming issue for any company. Understanding how to avoid it is more than just learning rules and steps. Making a paradigm shift can transform conflict at work.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:38:36 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Wow, what kids I have!#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
With three of my daughters graduating this year I have earned some bragging rights. How they got there was not always easy, they certainly had no charmed life.
Thursday, May 22, 2008 1:30:48 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Is Incest Insanity?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Is incest a reasonable insanity plea? When Fritzi's lawyer started to say he thought Fritzi was mentally ill it got me to thinking. Could he be right?
Monday, May 05, 2008 9:23:26 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
The Bizarre Enslavement of Elizabeth#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Bizarre and horrific behaviors have rational and understandable roots. Most of us don't want to think so because it helps us see ourselves as so different. But how different are we?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 7:37:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
A Cult is a Cult is a Cult#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Cults can brainwash members into believing the way the leaders want the members to believe, and yet the members are as much "Victims" as the children they end up hurting. How can we sort this out and have empathy for ALL the abused?
Friday, April 25, 2008 8:31:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [5]  | 
The Pope Owns Up#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why is it so important that the Pope met with these survivors of the priesthood's abuse? What is it about this that makes a difference to anyone other than the affected, now adult, victims of the horror of sexual abuse by a priest?
Monday, April 21, 2008 7:02:47 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Dilemma of the Mormon Sect in South Texas#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Cycles of abuse continue in a hundred year old culture. Are we really so different in ours? In what ways does our culture repeat the cycles?
Sunday, April 20, 2008 2:53:42 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
What are You Projecting?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Projecting our desires and our wounds on our partners can cause all kinds of damage in our relationships. What are you projecting?
Sunday, April 06, 2008 5:23:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Al Qeada Doesn't Kill Innocents? #
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
In a typical self protector comment, Al Qeada's 2nd in command issues a statement that they don't kill innocent people. How can we make sense out of a statement like that?
Thursday, April 03, 2008 7:22:49 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Good Girls Acting Badly#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
When women feel like a victim there is no telling how they can react these days. Actress Teri Garr is a role model for bad behavior.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008 10:15:21 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Senator Kean's Gay Tirade #
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Senator Kean stood on a soapbox and raged about how dangerous Gay's are to America. What would motivate this kind of tirade?
Monday, March 31, 2008 5:21:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Father Says Son's Killer is "Normal Kid"#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Jamiel Shaw, Sr's son was shot down and yet he turns to the community with a message of compassion. Could you do the same? Is this the right response?
Sunday, March 30, 2008 5:53:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Scientists Confirm Runner's High#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Is running a positive addiction? Are their positive addictions? What is the cost of addictions in our lives and in our society?
Friday, March 28, 2008 9:18:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Don't Hold Back Your Anger#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Wow. Its official. Expressing our anger helps us live longer. But does that mean it's okay to dump our rage on people?
Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:45:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Can You Think Positive and Have ALL Your Feelings?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Positive thinking training sometimes gets us to thinking we "shouldn't" feel the "bad" feelings and keeps us away from exploring our emotions. Is there a good reason to let ourselves feel that "bad" stuff?
Monday, March 24, 2008 6:09:45 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Virtuous Giving#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Why do we give? What we are taught is to give without regard for self. Is this right? What is it we are really called to do?
Saturday, March 22, 2008 3:50:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
The Spitzer Blame Game#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Playing the blame game in the Spitzer ordeal is part of the fun of the media frenzy. But what purpose does this serve and how does it help deal with the aftermath?
Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:26:24 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Potty Training Parents#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
"Potty Training" is what parents need, not kids. When we try to "train" our kids through manipulation or control what is it we get? Is the result what we really want?
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 8:52:48 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Barack Obama's Preacher Problem#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Barack's friend and supporter blew it. He tried to frame Obama as the poor helpless Victim and ended up betraying the person he was trying to help.
Monday, March 17, 2008 7:51:52 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Giving Movement#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What is at the root of the Giving Movement taking place these days? Is it altruism or something else?
Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:10:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
The Problems of Our New Vets by Melody Brooke, Author, Conflict Coach#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
In the US we have not always treated our veterans well. How are our new vets going to handle things as they are today? How did we set ourselves up to view them the way we do?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:49:37 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
CNN reported this morning that many of our water supplies are polluted with drugs they don't know how to filter from the system. What are the effects and what are the causes of this happening? We are always looking for drugs to medicate our way out of our pain.
Monday, March 10, 2008 9:03:00 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Power Washed Kid by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Author, Motivational Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
How much do we need to establish our "authority" over a child anyway? If we think of a child as something we should have control over then we have no choice, but if we think of a child as a fully formed human being, it's different.
Sunday, March 09, 2008 10:14:38 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
England's Child Abuse Horror by Melody Brooke, Author, Conflict Coach#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Discovery of nightmarish abuse in England brings to question whether this happens in the U.S. It has been uncovered here, but then swept under the rug. What happens when we set ourselves up to look for "the bad-guys"? Is that what they really are?
Tuesday, March 04, 2008 9:10:48 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Texas Election Results Matter by Melody Brooke, Speaker, Author, Conflict Coach#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Do we pick someone to rescue us from our current administration? Are we to set ourselves up to be victims again? Or can we take ownership of our choices. GET OUT AND VOTE.
Monday, March 03, 2008 9:28:29 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Domestic Violence and Men by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Counselor, Motivational Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What is the answer to domestic violence? Is it locking up all those "evil s.o.b.s"? What if we, as women took our power back by not keeping ourselves stuck in the "victim role?
Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:02:08 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
"Not the Steven I Knew" by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Jessica Baty, the girlfriend of NIU shooter Steven Kazmierczak says her boyfriend was not a monster and she still loves him. How can someone display such radical personality changes?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:16:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Split Illinois Shooter by Melody Brooke, MA, LPC, Author, Conflict Coach#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Kazmierczak Dissociatve?
The details about this man who shot 20 people and left 7 dead are beginning to unravel.  This mornings AP article talked about the contradictions in his behavior.  They sound, in my experience, very much like those of a Dissociative Identity Disordered individual.
Evidence?
Kazmierczak was hospitalized in the past, for what condition we don't know. One of the issues he dealt with is that he didn't like staying on his meds.  Many DID clients are mistakenly given anti-psychotic medications which cause them side effects and are inneffective in managing symptoms.  Voices that come from being split into alter personalities cannot be silenced by drugs.
Another issue he struggled with was self harm, a common symptom of DID.  Reportedly he was a "cutter" (someon who cuts themselves).  "Cutters" do this in an effort to manage internal pain. Our bodies release endorphins when we are injured and these endorphins coursing through our system relieve pain in much the same way opiates do.  This is one of the reason's it is so difficult to stop "cutters" from cutting.  It becomes quite addictive.
Kazmierczak's pain
Most of the people who knew him had little to say about him that sounded like he was suffering in any way.  They saw him as a nice guy, though some suggested he struggled with intimacy problems.  He had a girlfriend who reports say he sometimes engaged in physical altercations with, though it never involved hitting.  He would physically restrain her during arguments.
The night befoe the shootings he talked with his uncle making plans for playing a game of chess with him.  None of this sounds like someone in psychological distress.  Though there are reports of his possibly haven broken up with his girlfriend.
What could have happened to him?
It's doubtful that we will ever know what happened to him to have created the kind of turmoil he was clearly experiencing. Family's of these type of perpetrators rarely admit to having knowledge of their having been abused in any way. Why would they want to acknowledge what they might have done to contribute to these people's horrific behaviors?
Cho Seung-hui, the gunman who killed 32 students at West Virginia Tech, had sent many more clues as to his misery. He was reportedly on anti-psychotics and also had been hospitalized for mental illness in the past.  But his writings certainly indicated trauma history.  He wrote repeatedly suggestive statements of his having been sexually abused, and his intense anger about it. Could he have been split, too? It's not so clear with him since his behavior was more consistent with the profile of someone who would do this sort of thing. But he was certainly suffering from some kind of traumatic history.
Traumatic splitting
Traumatic splitting occurs, generally in childhood, when a person is subjected to some kind of traumatic incident that is overwhelming to the child. While the trauma is happening the child energetically leaves their body, looking down on themselves as if from above.  They then look at the child being traumatized as being separate from them, as if it were happening to someone else.  This kind of splitting, when it occurs frequently enough, becomes DID. At least, that is one of the paths to the disorder.



The faces of evil or the faces of pain?
Looking at these facese is spooky, perhaps because we know what happened to the person behind those eyes. But even without having known what these men did, we could easily see that something is missing in their eyes. Could it be dissociation? Could these hollow expressions carry the blankness of one's mind being split so completely as to carry out such horrific behaviors? Let me know what you think when you see these faces.  Could this kind of pain be behind the attacks? Comment below.



Sunday, February 17, 2008 10:17:20 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Happiness at What Price? By Melody Brooke, Motivational Speaker, Conlfict Coach, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Sadness Phobia
This past week there was a great article in Newsweek about the value of sadness. Funny thing is that of course, depression and "sadness" are not the same thing. We have become so phobic of depression that we obsessively label anyone with normal sadness, stress or grief as being depressed. We even say that about ourselves don't we?
When we get down we say to our friends "I'm a little depressed today." Depression is such a catch all word. What does it really mean? In the DSM for clinicians it means more than a bit of sadness or even prolonged grief. Depression is when we lose the capacity to function at normal levels for prolonged periods... not weeks, but months or more. When we can't sleep, can't eat, lose interest in our favorite activities and lose awareness of our appearance and it goes on for months; that's depression.
Showing Sadness
When we allow our sadness to be seen by others, we risk being labeled as "unhealthy" or "depressed" when what we are feeling is NORMAL. Isn't it normal to be upset if our cat dies or we lose our jobs? Isn't it normal to grieve for a loved one over a period of years? What happens if we don't allow ourselves these feelings?
I read something recently about a new trend in Japan among business managers. Japanese workers are REQUIRED to keep a smile on their faces at all times. The result is that the incidence of depression, anxiety disorders, suicidality and alcoholism have radically increased.
Toxins
Our bodies are designed to release the the pain we feel through our tears. Tears actually release toxins created from the pain. Tears from watery eyes are not the same, chemically, as tears from pain or sadness. When we stuff these feelings and or pretend they are not there, the result is like a toxic waste dump in our bodies creating stress and illness in that show up as a variety of illnesses.
Being sad or suffering from grief is what makes us human!
My clients often feel they are "wrong" for feeling sad about sad things. Yet isn't this what separates us from the psychopaths of the world? Because we can feel sadness when something horrid happens, we know we have heart. How would you feel about someone talking about the shootings in Northern Illinois with no sadness about them? Someone who could hear of horrors like these and not feel something is missing a piece of their humanity.
Isn't this what we do to ourselves?
We limit our own ability to process or grief and sadness when we tell ourselves we "shouldn't" feel something we feel. This week a friend of mine said, "I was driving home from work today and just started crying. I don't know what is wrong with me." Yet this very friend was going through a painful divorce, moving into a new home and having to deal with her children blaming her for the divorce, and her mother died last spring. I said, "Your are kidding me! You have every reason in the world to feel sad. I want to cry just thinking about what you are going through."
When we minimize or deny our very real sadness we set ourselves up for depression. Depression, as it turns out, is less about being sad than it is not being able to BE sad. When we keep ourselves from having our sadness we are much more at risk of depression. 
Let yourself cry!
Allow yourself to have your feelings, and better still, let yourself cry on someone's shoulder. A man I know recently realized the career choices he had made have limited him so much he now feels trapped. He turned to me and said "I just want to drive up to my sister's have have her hold me while I cry." "Do it!" I told him. This would be the healthiest thing he could do for himself. Oh, wow, this changes everything, when we let ourselvs feel our pain.
Therapy
Therapy is largely about helping clients connect with and release the feelings they have stored up in their bodies perhaps for a lifetime. Therapy works as well as antidepressants for depression, and it's effects last longer.
But you may not need therapy, you may just need the shoulder of someone who loves you.
Do you let yourself cry?
Let me know what you think. Is it too hard for you to let loose with your tears? If so, what do you think this has cost you? Maybe you think these emotions are best avoided. Let me know, comment below.

Saturday, February 16, 2008 2:59:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Empathy on OPRAH by Melody Brooke, MA, LPC, Conflict Coach, Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Empathy requires us to step out of our shoes to see things from another's eyes. Some of us do it too much, what happens then?
Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:22:13 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Patty Hearst Wins at Westminster! by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Speaker, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Good for Patty! She has overcome a horror that is surreal and now look at her. What makes personalities split like hers, like Herschel Walker and others?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:51:30 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
My Article on Helium.com by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Author, Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Melody's article is available on today front page of Helium.com. Check it out. It's relevent to PTSD and Veterans.
Monday, February 11, 2008 3:53:19 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Heath Ledger's Tragic End by Melody Brooke, Speaker, Trainer, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Heath should not have ended up this way. He was talented and in pain. How does our way of coping with pain affect everything?
Saturday, February 09, 2008 3:44:38 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Blame seems to have started this tragedy, and it appears to be the defenses case as well. What does blame do and why do we engage in it?
Friday, February 08, 2008 8:29:23 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Man Stomped Baby to Death a Monster?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
When someone does something this horrific how do we respond? Do we think of them as a monster and have no empathy? What really happened to this man?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:54:27 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Vatican Encourages Exorcisms#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
The Holly See now encourages the practice of exorcisms among priests. What are "demonic possessions? Is it really Dissociative Identity Disorder? Could any of us be "possessed?
Monday, February 04, 2008 8:40:48 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [3]  | 
Suicide Rate Up Among Soldiers in 2007#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Vets suffering from PTSD often return home in terrible shape and little support, resulting in abhorrent behavior. They attempt suicide, they beat their wives and their children, and are generally violent and angry. What happens if someone else has these behaviors? Could we consider that they may be in pain too?
Sunday, February 03, 2008 7:07:26 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Get Brittney Some Real Help!#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Will someone please help this girl? Her behavior indicates someone in real trouble, most likely Dissociative Identity Disorder. What causes this and what needs to happen?
Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:35:15 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Ethnic Fear Fuels More Kenya Violence#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What is it really that drives this kind of violence? Calling it hatred makes it something we cannot relate with doesn't it? But when we recognize the fear driving it, suddenly it's something we can understand.
Monday, January 28, 2008 11:10:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Cat Finds Child Porn#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Awesome cat finds a huge stash of child pornography. What about the kids? What happened to them and does anyone believe them? Maybe now they will. My model helps us understand both perpetrator and the victims.
Sunday, January 27, 2008 10:19:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Why Did Mark Jenson Murder his Wife?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Understanding why someone would do something so heartless as to murder his wife and "hi-5" his son afterwards is difficult. There has to be more to the story than we can really know.
Thursday, January 24, 2008 4:07:04 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Has Dr. Phil Gone Too Far?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Dr. Phil showed up without an invitation to Brittney's hospital room. What was he thinking? Brittney needs more than his "tough love" approach can offer. I think he is over his head.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 10:19:41 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Herschel Walker Breaking Free#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Dissociative Identity Disorder is thought of as a rare condition. There are a lot of misunderstandings about the disorder and a lot of myths people believe to be facts. As an expert in the disorder I have some different takes on the whole issue.
Saturday, January 19, 2008 9:51:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Would You Want to be Stuck in the Corner?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Disciplining our children is a real challenge. How much? What type? What works? Understanding what it is exactly that our kids need from us is key.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 10:18:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [3]  | 
Hiker's Murder? What about him?#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What makes someone go off like that? Gary Michael Hilton was not a horrible person all of his life. He worked as a siding salesman for almost ten years. What is going on here?
Monday, January 14, 2008 8:51:07 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Britney Spears - One Miserable Girl#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
What is going on with this girl? Everyone seems to have an opinion of what is going on with her but she appears to have more going on than your normal "spoiled star".
Friday, January 11, 2008 7:06:42 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Did Hitler do what he thought was right? #
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker

Will Smith Got it Right

Today's top celebrity news story was about Will Smith's comments regarding Hitler. Here's the quote:

He says, "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today.'

"I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.' Stuff like that just needs reprogramming."

There Are No "Bad Guys"

While it is hard to imagine anyone doing anything worse than the methodical torture and slaughter of six million people. But the truth is that he really thought he was helping the world. His fouled up ideology meant that the world needed to be rid of an entire race of human beings. But he loved dogs and was a vegetarian.

He was not born evil. He was not, in fact, purely evil, in spite of having ordered many evil deeds done. But he was like all of us in some ways, a human being trying hard to make the world a better place.

Our Human Nature

It is our human nature to look at people and events with an eye toward discovering who is to blame. We expect to find some kind of closure, some kind of understanding of what has happened by finding a culprit. It helps us reach a kind of conclusion about what happened. "Oh, this happened because of this" ends the discussion on a topic.

What If Things are Not that Simple?

Hitler had to be stopped, no question about that. What he was doing was horrid. And if he had survived to have faced the music, the international tribunals would undoubtedly have chosen to put him to death. Somehow the idea of justice comes with the concept of punishing those who have done evil. I can't see how killing a man for killing six million people is justice. Seems to me therapy would have helped him discover the wrongness of his deeds and then the remainder of his life he would have to live with the consequences of his actions.

But most of us are no Hitlers. While many of us do things that are horrible and must be stopped by someone if we can't stop it ourselves, it doesn't make us evil. Like Hitler we didn't wake up one morning and say, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' We do what we think is right at the time and then have to live with the outcomes. Sometimes we are right they are good, sometimes not so much.

What do you think?

Is a person evil if they do evil things? Are we good at core led to bad decsions by our life experiences?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 8:28:58 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Growing Pains#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker

Regrets

My daughters were home for the past week or so. My oldest just married in August and she and her husband have been talking a lot about the ideas of having kids. In that process my oldest talked to me about her own upbringing and the many mistakes I made along the way. It was hard to hear. I know logically that it's impossible to raise our kids without wounding them, but hearing exactly how we did it is painful. More than anything, I regret that I was unable to put her needs ahead of mine. I was so focused on getting what I needed that I subjected her to circumstances that injured her. Listening to her talk I felt such enourmous empathy for what she had been through and deeply regretted putting her in those situations.

Empathy for Myself

Enough of my clients have dealt with parents unable to hear how they had damaged their children that I know my merely being able to hear how I wounded her was healing. The hard part was letting it in that even though I did things that hurt her, I was doing the best I could at the time. My wounding from my childhood had set me up to behave as I did. The entire time my children were growing up I was going to therapy and doing what I could to become a better mom and to make better choices. I am still working on making myself a better person. I'd like to be able to continue to parent with more wisdom and self understanding than I have had in the past. That I could not be more when I was younger is not my fault. I've done the best I can to be what my kids needed me to be.

That Doesn't Mean it Doesn't Hurt

My grief over the pain I have caused my kids is immeasurable, not because I feel guilty, but because I wish it had been different for them. They are so amazingly beautiful, brilliant and kind. What more could a mother ask for in a child? Yes, they have their flaws and work they will have to do on themselves, but I can't wait to see what they will become. Even though it hurts to know the pain they have been through, I trust them to go through their process of healing and do the best they can with what they were given, just like I did. Of course it hurts to know the pain they went through and that I had something to do with it. Yet, their path is their path. I know they are strong enough to work through what they need to work through.

I Can Be Here For Them

The beauty of having worked through so much stuff myself, is that now I can be there for them. I can listen to their pain and be available to hear their anger without blaming myself. Whew, it's hard work, but they are so worth it. Having forgiven myself for my mistakes and knowing that I did the best I could I can listen to how my mistakes affected them. I can apologize and offer them support for their pain.

I Can Be Proud of Myself

It makes me proud to know that I can be for them what most parents cannot do for their children. I can validate their pain and I can let them know that it was not okay that they were hurt the way they were. I can let them know what happened to them was not their fault and that I should have been able to protect them better. I can do that without blaming myself, because blaming myself would only focus on me and not focus on helping them deal with what occurred.

Can You Hear Your Kids Pain?

What can you do to get yourself in a place to be able to hear the damage you did to your kids? Ouch. It really hurts, but believe me when I tell you the rewards for doing the work are worth it. Let me know what is going on with you, how you managed to hear your kids or if it was too painful and you rejected what they had to say. I can understand that, too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 9:41:52 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

Merry Christmas!

There is nothing better than being with family. The memories together, the fun times when every one is laughing and joking around. But there is also nothing more stressful. My daughters and I have been talking about what it is that makes it so stressful.

Expectations

During the holidasy all of us have expectations about what it will be like when we are together. We all want it to be loving, fun and "miraculous". I know how excited I was to have my kids all together under the same roof for the first time in a long while. And it was a lot of fun. Of course, it's gotten very complicated. My oldest daughter has to spend time with her husband's family. MY twins have to spend time with their Dad and his family at their various get togethers. My step children are all obliged to be with thier other family, too. Then of course there is my parents and siblings, and my husbands family and siblings. It gets even more complex when you add in OUR step parents.

During all those get togethers the expectations is that every one will be happy and everyone will get along. Luckily, mostly they do in my family. Too much time together can make it ugly, but the amount of time we end up spending with each of the above groups tends to go smoothly.

Realities

The realities freqently end up quite different than our expectations. And, just becauase of the expectations, we tend to be on edge, trying to control everything to make sure it lives up to those expecations. Attempts at control, however generally lead to disaster since insistance on control is an addiction to a fantasy.

My kids love each other butu don't always communicate that well. I laugh at this since I am supposed to be a communicator, but I have brought up children that don't know how. Communication requires being willing to face inconvienient or unwelcome differences of opinions. My daughters tend to avoid these. Hmmmm, wonder where they got that.

Anger

So many of us are anger phobic. This tends to force us into manipulating the situations around us since being direct could incite someones anger. Then, when someone is unhappy, we are unhappy with them for not going along with the program.

Being willing to listen to another's anger is a gift few of us are capable of giving, yet the bottom line of good communication and good relationships.

Not letting ourselves listen to another's anger is one of the ways we think we are "protecting ourselves".

Jenna and Doug

Jenna was really unhappy with the way Doug was acting when he went to her parents home. Their 3 year old son had gotten in an altercation with his younger cousin, who was about 17 months old. The younger child had taken something from their son and Doug was furions. He could not understand why Jenna's parents didn't jump up and punish the 17 month old for this behavior. Doug was sure that this, like many other instances he could recall, just validated his belief that Jenna's parents favored the 17month old cousin over their 3 year old son.

Jenna could not understand why Doug was so unhappy. She continually told him that he was wrong for feeling the way he did, and expecting unreasonable behavior out of the 17month old.

Then Doug got to what was underneath. Doug had been feeling left out of Jenna's family for a long time. He felt that they had never quite accepted him and he felt hurt and alone at family get togethers.

The consequences of holding back truth

Jenna had thought that Doug was just unreasonable and irrational. She had been uncomfortable for years when they spent time with her family because he had never acted like he wanted to be there. Doug had never told her about his feelings, or the pain that lay underneath. His parents had often left him alone in his bedroom on Christmas day as they drank their way to obliviion.

Jenna gave him the best gift he could have recieved for Chrismas that year. Listening to his wounding and holding bach her reactivity long enough to listen to him allowed her to present a precious gift to him. She gave him compassion.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 4:23:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Who Is Santa Clause Anyway But There Were Various Santas Different Traditions By Country St#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Santa has had many faces over the years. Find out how he came to be what he is now and if he really judges kids for being "naughty or nice".
Friday, December 21, 2007 3:52:03 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
My Fox 4 Interview My Interview Aired On Fox 4 News Tuesday Dec 18th The Poll They Took#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker

 My Fox 4 Interview

My interview aired on Fox 4 news Tuesday, Dec. 18th.  The poll they took online had to have been way off of reality.  EVERY single person I have spoken with about this agrees that intimidating children through fear (of removing their Christmas joy) is a really bad thing and teaches children all the wrong things. 

Children believe what they are told. They believe that Santa can see everything they do and will judge them for it.  Granted there are still people out there that believe in a condemning God that will judge us on everything we do. A forgiving God who let our sins go with Jesus, of course let Christians, off the hook.  Isn’t this what Christmas is supposed to be celebrating? But kids, don’t get let off so easily.  Scared Straight Santa does not forgive.

Responses I have gotten from people who saw the interview:

“Okay, I have one more thing. I think the parents of the kids who got calls should REALLY not get presents under the tree. Desperate measures are necessary at times.

Now I am done!”

“Good for You! “

“I saw this at 5pm. I agree with you - very damaging. Its sad that parents feel like that is the only way they can get the behavior they want out of kids.”

“I have never heard the radio program, but you had a very good point in that he is ignorant as to why kids act out and threatening them is tantamount to bribing, extortion, whatever. It is not a fix for the problem. It is not Santa's job to parent, it's the parent's job! You certainly are in a position to speak, not only from a professional point-of-view, but you have raised three lovely kids.”

“Melody, I watched your interview on line at work and showed our play therapists who work with traumatized children every day. They were totally supportive of you and said they planned to go home and both "vote" and write to the station.

Kudos to you for stepping out on that limb. It is astonishing what people will do for entertainment. “

“It was a thrill to see you in the news segment of Channel 4.(they ran

it several times I think) what I loved about it is how well it was done-- and how you really shone as a beacon - for the advocacy of children.

First, the setting was wonderful- in your home-- with your 3 daughters there-- gave you credibility as a Mom.

Plus, it was relaxed and real.

Then the reporter did a great job of giving you professional credibility-- with you book sitting up on the table and her saying you have written several books in this field.

Next, it was so natural the way you heard the radio segment and reacted to it. Eventually turning it off because of the way it affected the children on the phone- and then being such an advocate for those children that you stepped up and made a point to challenge what the DJ (Scary Santa) was doing every year. It was that old model of getting children to mind their parents by having "Scary Santa" threaten them with no toys for Christmas. And his defense of the premise was that they have done it as a "fun" segment for several years and no one has every complained.

Anyway, you looked gorgeous, you spoke with passion, conviction and reason and you made you point. Plus, you came across as a professional with key points for parents to consider and as a loving mom who cares about her children and all children.

I was so proud of you -- and of the station for featuring that segment -- you made a statement as a COACH about the value and worth of children. “

“I, too, saw the segment and you were awesome: Ginger pinpointed things that

I noticed, too. You made such a good presence and I liked having your family around, too. Thanks for standing up for children. My granddaughter (21) and

I saw it together and she was impressed by your stepping out to express your opinion. “

“You looked good and sounded credible. The risk on these kinds of things is that they edit away and broadcast something out of context making the interviewee look like an idiot. I guess everything you said was on target and there was no choice but to make you a credible professional. They even "summarized" your comments at the end quite well I thought. Good job for speaking out on something that meant a lot to you. “

“You got my vote, Melody! “

“You got my vote! I totally agree with you . . . unfortunately, we live in a society uneducated about the paralyzing effects of our emotional fears that are often formed before we even start school. Then we each continue to stuff our emotional baggage that shows up in every relationship we have: work, play, family, friends. Thank you for raising awareness! “

“I watched the interview and whole heartily agree with you. The fact that the radio station and Zazza think it's ok, does not mean that the act of scaring or threatening children is appropriate behavior for adults. You presented your side with strength and authority. I hope lots of people notified Fox 4 with support for you thinking, as I did. “

“I have never heard the radio program, but you had a very good point in that he is ignorant as to why kids act out and threatening them is tantamount to bribing, extortion, whatever. It is not a fix for the problem. It is not Santa's job to parent, it's the parent's job! You certainly are in a position to speak, not only from a professional point-of-view, but you have raised three lovely kids. “

Let me know what you think. 

I would like to start a campaign to end this nonsense throughout the country.  It’s a very bad idea and kids need to think of Christmas as a time of love and forgiveness, not condemnation

Thursday, December 20, 2007 10:02:25 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [3]  | 
Why All The Uproar Ive Read In The Paper That The Catholics Are Up In Arms Ov#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker

Why all the uproar?

I've read in the paper that the Catholics are up in arms over the release of the movie version of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, a children's fantasy book. I wonder if any of them have read the book? I read it a couple of years ago and found it to be a delightful adventure story full of powerful metaphors.

The possibility of the "Magisterium" an authoritarian organisation which restricts freedoms in order to impose its own systems of belief upon the populace representing the Catholic Church is what the uproar is about. But why? If you have read the book and are Catholic, how could you see a church you love as having these qualities? The authoritarian air of the "Magisterium" can represent any organization that has the goal or limiting personal freedoms.

Besides, there are many other movies and stories that specifically target the Catholic church much more directly. How about the Three Musketeers? Or, Joan of Arc? Or, Shogun? Or The Thornbirds? Perhaps it is just because the book and movie has children as it's primary audience?

The story revolves around Lyra a young girl of about 12 that was raised at what appears to be some sort of monastary. She is then captured by an illegal group of perverse individuals whose goal is to separate children from their souls (represented by a "daemon" animal that lives outside their bodies). The adventure ensues as Lyra escapes and works at rescuing the other chiildren in the grips of this group.

The Metaphors

Over the past twenty years I have worked with adults and adolescents that have been abused by parents and other authority figures that have done their level best to remove their souls. As children, they were subjected to all kinds of authoritarian rituals that reduceds them to soulless fractions of the self they were born into.

Through emotional and physical coercive techniques, authoritative parents and organizations of all sorts have required children to give up their SELF in order to not be beaten or even merely rejected. This is what the "Magisterium" represents, not the Catholic (or any other) Church.

I remember sitting in a doctors office waiting room when my kids were small. One mother had a two year old little boy who was sitting next to her. Every time this child wiggled, not misbehaved, but merely wiggled, the woman slapped his arm or his thigh. The little boy had obviously already lost his soul because he didn't even wimper or protest in any way.

Another mother I witnessed in grocery store. She had four children with her ranging in ages from about three to twelve. They were standing quietly all in a line behind her at the check out. I smiled at them and asked their mother how she did that (get her kids to be so cooperative). She looked at me with a steely, dead serious expression and said "You have to break their spirit." The woman appeared normal enough, but the comment sent chills down my spine.

That's what The Golden Compass is about. It's not about the Church. It's about any person or group of people who would attempt to force children (and of course, any of us) into losing our spirit.

Who are the "Bad Guys"?

The authoritarian figures in the story, and in our lives, are the real losers in the book and in life. They have lost their souls so completely as to not care about the emotional and spiritual life of human beings. One can only guess at the horrors that these people must have experienced to have lost their souls so completely.

Believing that there is no one who cares about us or that there is no value to our SELF is what causes us to lose our souls. Any of us who are subjected to these conditions over long enough a period, will lose our souls.

What does it mean to "lose our souls"?

Losing our souls is when we lose connection with our emotional and spiritual life. How much or our life requires us to give up our SELF?

The good news is that we can re-connect with our lost souls. We can re-connnect with our emotions and our spirit. It's not easy, but it is not only possible, its necessary for us to experience joy in our lives.

How do we re-connect with our souls?

Try the following for a few days and notice how different you feel about yourself and your life when you spend this time with your SELF

  • Take the time to breathe
  • LIsten to what your body is telling you
  • Put one hand over your heart and breathe air into your heart
  • Close your eyes and listen inside to whatever comes up
  • Do nothing to stop the feelings that arise
  • Listen to what your feelings are trying to tell you about you, about your life, about anything that is going on in your life.
  • Let me know what happens!
  • I'd love to hear about your experiences as you move toward re-connecting with your emotions. What problems come up for you? What felt good about it?
  • Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:39:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
    Dr. Phil Needs Help#
    by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
    Dr. Phil went to visit Brittney in the hospital without the invitation of anyone. What does he think he is doing? Does he really think his "tough love" approach is going to help her? The kind of help she needs is beyond his reach.
    Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:16:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
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