Dreams and Relationships with Veronica Tonay

Every time Veronica Tonay comes to the Ranch to speak about dreams, I have to go.  You see, I’m one of those people who has really vivid dreams.  Almost like I’m living a different life.  There have been times where I can’t remember if a conversation I had with someone happened in reality or in a dream.  I consider myself lucky to have such active dreams.  It used to be that my dreams exhausted me.  I would have so many in one night and they would seem so real, it felt like I wasn’t getting any sleep at all some nights!  Thankfully, I’ve learned how to curb that (thanks to some advice from Veronica) so now I can enjoy my dreams and get a good night’s sleep too.

The class I went to a couple of weeks ago was about dreams and relationships.  I was really excited about this one because my relationships are a huge part of my dreams.  They sometimes even affect my every day life!  You know how sometimes you wake up after a particularly vivid dream that had bad vibes (or good vibes for that matter) and you can’t get it out of your head?  It’s a strange phenomenon because we know it’s not real, however, sometimes dreams affect us like they are reality.  I could go on and on about dreams, they fascinate me.

What I found so interesting about Veronica’s class is often when we’re dreaming and we come across a really strong personality that seems scary or intrusive, it’s a way our subconscious lets us know that this is something we need to work on within us, often not in the other person.  For instance, dreams where we are being chased usually means that there is something in our consciousness which we find threatening.  Often those are our own thoughts that we create.  If you begin to write down your dreams in the morning, you may start to see a pattern which can help you resolve issues you might be having in your every day life.  Watch the pattern of interactions and watch how you respond if someone is being negative to you.  This may give you some insight into how you react to things.

If you’re interested in the dream world I highly recommend attending one of Veronica’s classes next time she’s here the week of September 7, 2013.  In the meantime, you can check out her book and articles at VeronicaTonay.com.

The Truth About Marriage Today with John Jacobs M.D.

Oh marriage. Sometimes sweet, sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating, sometimes irritating… and always a lot of work. But don’t fret. Work is not necessarily a bad thing and actually when it comes to marriage, working on your relationship is essential. Recently, we had psychiatrist John Jacobs M.D. at the Ranch for a series of classes based on his book, All You Need is Love and Other Lies About Marriage. As someone who is in their first year of marriage, I happily and curiously went to this class! Is our marriage normal? Are the issues we have universal? One thing I learned before I went to this class from my other married friends is there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage or relationship. It just doesn’t exist. There are always issues, small or large. And I think that’s something that all of us married folks (and unmarried for that matter) can relate to.

What I appreciate most about John’s class is his honesty about marriage in recent times. The fact is that today marriage is not essential in the ways it was before. Today, a woman doesn’t have to depend on a man for financial support, and a man doesn’t have to marry a woman based on society’s demands. So where does that leave us? These days, people get married primarily because they love each other (of course there are always other circumstances, but for the most part love is the reason.) Those of us that are married or who have been in long-term relationships know that it takes a lot more than just love to make a relationship work. So how can we make a relationship last when we know that the being “in love” feeling eventually fades? How do we stay connected in a loving way, get past our differences and hopefully create a long-lasting loving partnership?

In the video below you can hear from John himself, speaking about these issues in his interview with our Activities Director, Barry Shingle. John’s knowledge has left me with a few priceless lessons that I believe can be helpful for any marriage or relationship. Enjoy!

Notes from a Ranch lecture: My $10 lesson from “Develop Your Personal Power” with Diann Newman

By Tracy Russo (a guest this week)

Here’s a simple equation:

Events + Response = Outcome.

But it’s one we often have a difficult time understanding and applying to our lives. I know I do.

Diann Newman, a visiting lecturer this week at The Ranch, wants to change that. With her simple equation, she unpacked a wealth of knowledge we can use each day in challenges big and small. What does this have to do with $10? Well, read on!

In many cases, we have little control of the events in our lives. But we almost always have control over our reactions. For instance, when faced with an obstacle, do you give up or persevere? What story do you tell yourself about the nature of the obstacle?

Consider this: You want to head out on an early morning hike, but fear you won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the group. You assume the other hikers will be younger, fitter, more experienced than you. Do you give in before you hit the trail? Do you trudge along and beat yourself up that you aren’t faster and more spry? Or, do you congratulate yourself for pushing boundaries and waking up instead of sleeping in?

Diann would have you do the later. Your response to a challenging event is entirely within your control. It’s the story you tell yourself that will decide whether you feel defeated or victorious as you come down the mountain.

Diann encouraged us to think through a few simple scenarios and the way we would react to them. Can you suppress the voice inside your head that criticizes, undermines and detracts, and replace it with positive, encouraging, friendly support in the following situations? Try it yourself:

–A co-worker takes credit for your work.
–Your child hates the dinner you made.
–Your favorite jeans aren’t fitting the way they used to.

If this is hard for you to do, take yourself out of the equation. Imagine you are talking to a friend. You’ll find you’d never be as harsh with someone else as you would with yourself.

At the end of the night, Diann had laid out a number of events and we’d thought through our responses. Then she pulled out a $10 bill and asked the class who wanted it.

A number of people raised their hands. A couple of brave souls shouted out, “I do, I’ll take it!” But, I realized in that moment, those responses weren’t going to work.  I jumped out of my chair, marched to the podium and grabbed the $10 from Diann. If the outcome I desired was getting that $10, I realized my response would have to be to go get it!

Event + Response = Outcome

In truth, I felt bad about taking Diann’s money. But I asked her to autograph the note and I’m keeping it as a reminder that I control my responses to the events and obstacles in my life and that means I control the outcome.

Learning to Love your Looks with Vivian Diller Ph.D.

MORE_1_4167_Viv_LaughingRecently at The Ranch, I went to a very enlightening class about beauty and aging. Vivian Diller, a former model and ballet dancer, now a psychologist, spoke about our culture’s obsession with youth and attractiveness. The name of the class was “Replace Magic Potions with Cognitive Solutions” and I  have to say, it was one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken at The Ranch. Aging and beauty is something that most women, and even men, think about on a daily basis.  Especially when society places such a big emphasis on looking youthful, as opposed to aging gracefully.

Not only is this point of view affecting women as we get older, but it also has a huge affect on young girls who grow up with a skewed view of what it is to look beautiful. Mainly because the person we see on a billboard, in a magazine, and on television is really not that person at all. Thanks to photo editing, a model who is already beautiful, can be tweaked to look otherworldly. Take a look at the video below to see what I mean.

Vivian showed this video from back in 2006 during her class. Imagine what advertising campaigns can do now with the advances in technology. I think I actually remember seeing this video back then, but it was just as shocking to see it today. I’m glad to say that today, I don’t really pay much attention to advertising campaigns. But when I was younger, I was pretty obsessed with fashion magazines, comparing myself to models and thinking I had to look like them, which is pretty ridiculous when I think about it now. However, with young girls growing up today looking at these models in advertisements for inspiration, it’s no wonder that most girls and women have distorted views about their looks. Who can live up to these computer generated images? No one. Not even the models.

Vivian mentioned that eating disorders and plastic surgery are on the rise. Trying to be thin and look young has become a part of our culture. And it’s not just in the U.S., but also widespread across Europe and Asia. Vivian suggested that instead of trying to look permanently youthful, why not focus on taking care of yourself and try to look good for your age? This is something that has been on my mind now that I’m approaching my mid 30s as I’m realizing my 20s are really gone and that I’ll be in my 40s soon enough.  There is a part of me that doesn’t want to let go of my youth, but there’s another side of me that is exhausted by trying to look young. Thinking about it actually makes me look tired. All in all I’m pretty happy with the way I look now, but I can’t lie, aging scares me a little. I’ve found that the good thing about getting older is that I care less about the way I look and more about taking care of myself. The result has been that I look better (way better) now than I did in my early 20s.

Another interesting point that Vivian made is that our culture views aging as a disease. This is so true, isn’t it? The fact is that there is nothing we can do about aging. It’s going to happen no matter what, so we might as well accept it. Easier said than done, right? When we’re bombarded with ads and slogans all about anti-aging, it’s hard to feel good about aging. But it’s really all about perspective, which is the crux of what Vivian’s class was about. Confidence, treating your body well, how you carry yourself and how you treat people will make you more attractive, no matter what your age is. And I wholeheartedly agree with her about that.