radical ideas

Radical Way to Deal with Someone Having an Angry Outburst

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I heard a very interesting thing the other day. I was listening to an inspirational speaker, and what she had to say bent my brain and I’ll never forget it. Let me try and encapsulate it here.

Most of us would stop and help someone who was bleeding in the street. If there was a car accident, we’d stop what we’re doing and offer whatever help we could — first aid, call 9-1-1, wrap the person in a blanket, keep traffic away from them, whatever. But when someone is angry, we don’t want anything to do with him or we feel angry right back, and we’ll even say things that add fuel to his fire. We don’t offer help, and we are not sympathetic. But that angry person is bleeding just as much as the injured one — he is emotionally gushing blood everywhere.

Why don’t we think of helping? There are lots of reasons. Firstly, we don’t see it as a first-aid situation. It doesn’t even occur to us to offer help to the angry person. We just want him to go away (usually). We want him to stop upsetting our mood, our day.

If the person is upset with us, we are too busy reacting to his anger to think of anything else. We are throwing foul words his way as fast as we can think of them. We might be unleashing all the pissed-off things we’ve thought but never said. Or we might be turning inward, just wishing the angry tirade would stop. We might be clamming up and bottling our feelings, but whether we are lashing out or collapsing in, we never think of helping.

If the anger is not about us, then we usually just want to get rid of the person. They are ruining our day! We’ll think, “this isn’t about me — go tell someone who cares.”

But what if we treated that upset person as though they were in need of first aid? I see “no tolerance” signs posted in doctor’s offices. The first one I ever saw was in huge, red letters, in all-caps, and it was NOT messing around. Police would be called. You would not see the doctor. Don’t even think about raising your voice.

But, people who just lost it are in serious trouble. They can’t contain their emotions — it’s rushing out, uncontrolled. Could we offer some sort of first aid to them? Could it be there is a serious mental health issue going on? What if most of the time it’s more than just a lack of self control?

I’ve taken a LOT of first aid over the last 7 years or so, since joining the volunteer fire department. The first step is always to make sure your own safety will not be compromised if you help. We are not taught to rush into burning buildings willy-nilly. If it can’t be done safely, we don’t do it, period. So, personal safety first.

I think the same would apply to anger first aid. If the person is so angry he/she is going to start hurting people, then leave it to the professionals (someone in riot gear)! But if he/she is strictly verbal, and there really is no danger, then what?

The second step in first aid is always to call for more help — dial 9-1-1 or have someone else do it. Same goes in anger — get some back-up if you think you’ll need it. But I would say, don’t just grab the closest person — find someone who is calm enough, or conscious of his/her own state, to help. This could be tough, because a lot of people around may not be calm at all — they might also be angry or afraid. So yes, at times, you might have to call 9-1-1.

talking-on-a-ledgeAfter that, the actual first aid takes place. You assess their breathing. You check for gushing blood. In anger first aid, I suppose it would be to try to show the person you relate. Say the obvious thing to diffuse them. “I’m sure she didn’t mean to rear-end you. It was an accident.” At other times, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. My mistake.” I know that can be hard to say, but if you think of it as something to you need to say to talk the person off a ledge (as in suicide intervention), then just say it.

Anything beyond basic anger diffusing is going to take more thought and be more specific to the situation — which makes it difficult to summarize here. If you can keep your cool, you can probably think of something else thoughtful or helpful to say. Perhaps I’ll do another blog post to expand on things to say/do for specific types of anger. If you ever have a chance to take Mental Health First Aid, do it — I learned a lot when I took it. I think the basic anger diffusing and realizing the person needs help, not police, might go a long ways towards improving the situation. It could, in fact, change the way our whole society operates.

It’s so simple. See someone having an emotional outbreak as needing our help, not our judgment or condemnation. It could change the world.

Mental Health First Aid – Canada

Mental Health First Aid – USA


Every Day, a New Hair Adventure

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In early April, I stumbled upon some articles on the internet about washing one’s hair without shampoo. Many people use baking soda and apple cider vinegar (abbreviated ACV), but I also found some sites discussing the hazards of that — the extreme pH differences can hurt the hair. Then I found this site about washing with water only and it intrigued me. It made sense to allow one’s natural oils to condition the hair, rather than stripping it with shampoo and then adding the oils back in, artificially, with conditioner. So, let me tell you the end result of this experiment!

I love my hair! As many of you know, I enjoy being “a natural woman,” and this new hair regime suits me. It might not suit everyone, but for many, I’d say it’s worth a try. If you like perfectly-coifed hair, this might not be for you, because I do find that sometimes my hair behaves unexpectedly! Water-only washing is especially recommended for naturally curly hair, but I don’t actually have curl, just cowlicks — and sometimes, it gets pretty licky!

best shampooThere is an initial oily stage that everyone has to go through. There are webpages out there that give hints on how to get through this stage gracefully. Since I was already washing only every second day and using a great tea-tree and peppermint-oil shampoo, I found that it did not take very long to get through this stage (3 weeks perhaps). I put my hair up lots and I don’t think people noticed very much.

After that, I went through a strange waxy stage, where I felt like I had helmet-head. Other women have commented on this on the internet, too. My hair was ridiculously thick and felt like I had something like styling wax in it. All over. Not good. I mean, it looked fine, but I could have made dreadlocks so easily. A quick google found the answer — lemon-juice rinse or “shampoo” with an egg. I did both, and it worked beautifully. Actually, on those super-hot days, I put lemon and water in a spray bottle and squirted my head from time to time… so the lemon spray kept me cool AND gave me highlights!

So, how is my hair different? The pro’s: it’s thicker, feels really healthy and has way more body than it used to. As mentioned, it has more “curl” than ever, which is sometimes frustrating, but should not be surprising, since my hair always has been easy to curl. The con’s: My hair gets staticky sometimes for no apparent reason. I can usually get it to stay down by dampening it. Speaking of wet, when I blow-dry it, sometimes I can’t tell if it’s dry or not. It feels thick, so I think it’s wet, but it isn’t. All things considered, I would definitely not go back to the normal way of washing and conditioning! I am intrigued by soap nuts, so I may try them some day, but I have no idea where to buy them.

howtowraphairbrushNow, here’s a pro-tip if you decide to try this: when your hair feels (or looks) a bit oily but you don’t want to wash it (or don’t have time), wrap cotton yarn around your hair brush and use that. This was key to my success! Some people recommend using a boar hair brush to absorb and distribute the oils throughout the hair, but I didn’t like it. The bristles are too bendy for me, and I found that cotton absorbed the oil fabulously and I could replace it whenever I wanted so my brush never got icky. I use the same cotton yarn that people use to make knitted wash cloths — you can buy it in lots of places — and I just wrap it around the brush, through the bristles (see photo at right).

This page says that the more you use shampoo, the more you need it, because it strips the natural oils so much, your scalp produces that much more. This makes so much sense to me! And this reinforces something else I recently realized: hair dye makes your hair go grey faster, therefore you need to buy more of it and are soon hooked! Grey hair is caused by a build up of hydrogen peroxide at the root, and what’s the main ingredient in most hair dye? Hydrogen peroxide. Have a look at this article. I guess it isn’t surprising! Hair colour, like so many things in this world, is meant to cover up a problem, not prevent it. So, let’s not be trusting the fashion industry, drug stores, or anything commercial, when it comes to health or beauty advice!!

If you are interested in trying the water-only method, google it, or try this site. And be prepared to give it a good, hearty try — not just a week or two. I think 2 months is needed to really let your scalp settle. You may even want to start in fall (how about now? 🙂 ) — summer is perhaps NOT the best time, as the heat can make the oily stage worse. Also, you need to use hot water, and on a hot day, who wants a HOT shower?

water-only washed hairI have my really good shampoo on standby if I get really dirty or dusty — my absolute favourite is in the photo near the beginning of this post. And remember, it’s not that I don’t wash my hair! It’s just that I don’t use detergent. I just use water!

Top 10 Handy Practical Tips

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Hi everyone! I’ve been saving these up for a while, but it’s time to share my top 10 Handy Practical Tips Around the House!

10. To minimize clutter in the bathroom, don’t buy any new products like shampoo or soap until you are completely out of the old stuff. If you have a lot of bottles cluttering up your shower, keep one of each product out and put all the rest into a storage box under the sink — or get rid of them completely.

9. To minimize closet clutter, whenever you buy a new piece of clothing, get rid of an old one. Don’t even let yourself buy a new sweater, for example, until you’ve decided which one in the closet you’re going to give away — that lumpy green one, perhaps!

8. Keep a box or large bag somewhere to collect items you no longer use and want to give away. This way, as you come across things in your life that you don’t need, you can easily put them in the box and forget about them! Once a month, take the box to the second-hand store.

7. If you’re cooking for one, why not cook up a storm once a week and make enough for 6 or 7 meals, and freeze the leftovers. If you do this consistently, you’ll always have a variety in the freezer which you can thaw for a quick lunch or supper. Plus, if you buy the grocieries right before you cook, you avoid food going bad before you can cook it.

6. Keep all the ingredients for a favourite dish in your cupboard, so that if you run out of groceries and can’t get to a store one day, you have a fast and yummy dish to make. Whenever you use one of these staples, replace them the next time you shop.

5. Make your own laundry soap. It works every bit as good as store-bought soap and costs way less. I got the recipe here.

4. Buy bulk when it makes sense. You can certainly save some money this way, however, if what you’re buying is going to take up a pile of storage space, don’t do it! It will just add to your clutter!

3. Clip your fingernails in the bathroom sink (with the plug in, but no water). Then, the clippings don’t fly all over the place. When you’re done, “wipe” them out with a little toilet paper (dampened with water).

2. Make up a meal plan. I have found that even just a rough list of what I plan to make takes the stress off trying to figure out what to make at the last minute.

1. Pin your socks together before putting them in the laundry! Never lose a sock again in that mysterious sock-black-hole! Just pin them together with a safety pin before you put them in the laundry and they’ll stay together in the dryer or on the drying line. I even keep them together in my drawer and then just take the pin out when it’s time to wear them. This idea is thanks to my father-in-law!

and a bonus tip!

Make a system or schedule for anything important in life. When you have a system, whatever that may be, that important task is much more likely to be done quickly/efficiently and not forgotten. Figure out a system that will work for you and then implement it!

… and I just wanted to share that I’m pleased to get nearly 5,700 hits on this blog in March and over 6,300 in April! Wow! Thanks for stopping in, everybody! 🙂

Spend More, Do More, Have More kids!

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So maybe you’re not into “just being.” Is that tough to do? Yes, but I will admit that some people find it harder than others. Some are natural do-ers, who love to be busy and active and changing the world. Want to talk change? I’ve got a radical idea — and I mean radical.

If you’re a do-er with a concern for the future, you are probably most concerned about pollution, climate change, poverty (yours), Earth-threatening asteroids, or maybe even war. What we don’t tend to worry about much lately is population increase. It was a topic in the 80’s, but like so many politically-charged topics, it was swept under the rug. When we hear of women in Africa or other poor parts of the world having multiple children they can’t support or feed, it’s tempting to tell them “stop having babies!” Yet, they see their own future survival in having children to provide for them in their old age (or maybe they just don’t have birth control). It’s complicated, no question, and I realize I am simplifying it at the moment. But it’s a charged issue… do you want to be the one to tell people to have less children? Especially in a North American culture that says, “spend more, do more, be more!” and, between the lines, “have more kids!” No politician will go near that issue. But the culture might be changing a little, with the “recession” and all.

I’ve been thinking lately that it’s a bit irresponsible to have more kids than it takes to replace you on the Earth. Two — isn’t that enough? But even that leads to an overpopulated planet, as we live longer and longer. This strains the global ecosystem — I’m thinking of the concept of “footprint” here as well as food supply issues — although I suppose that animals die as the human population increases. There’s a sad thought: animals suffer and even go extinct because we push the limits, not to merely survive, but to live in extravagance. And I mentioned food supply… do you suppose that people who have lost jobs recently could end up working in food supply — farming? Wouldn’t it be great if farmers got the respect they deserve as the growers of our food?! And if we actually ate more grown food and less processed food? But I digress.

This is the radical idea: to really reproduce in a manner that doesn’t overpopulate, we’d have to come up with a system where we only replace the people who have died. Maybe when old aunt Betty passes on, the family gets together and decides who gets to have a baby. Can you imagine? At best, people would start to see a death also as an opportunity for life, hominids-book-coverand start really planning the birth of children. At worst, well… you can imagine, and I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not saying this is the only way to keep our population from getting out of control. It’s just a radical idea I had. Actually, it was partly inspired by Robert J. Sawyer’s trilogy Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids (I haven’t finished the third one yet). In these novels, Sawyer creates an Earth where the neanderthals survived and evolved instead of the homo sapiens. The neanderthals’ society is more organized than ours, and in it, couples only have a child every 10 years, so generations are very well-defined. There are newborns, 10-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds, etc, and no people at ages in between. Very interesting idea, as are so many of his. But I digress again!

Like the rabbits, is there a disease lurking, to reduce our over-population? Could be, I’m no disease-predictor. But if nature prevails, then there probably is. There certainly are some candidates. Do you believe in “survival of the fittest?” If so, then we are all in competition to survive! I don’t think that’s the point of living. If we make reproducing in sheer numbers our reason for living, and competing with each other, rather than raising one or two children really well, giving them all the attention and love they deserve, and making every moment count, then we aren’t living consciously. We’re reproducing the problems of the world. Why not choose to make a difference instead, and live consciously, in every moment, thinking about what you are doing, and why. Some people are very anxious about this economic downturn… but I believe it’s not going to make us compete to survive; it’s helping us learn to live more cooperatively.