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Newsletter Vol. # 29 That's how I see it!

Hello and welcome to this week's newsletter. What a weekend-Grey Cup, Santa Clause Parade, Black Friday-great if you like to be where there is lots of people.
I have it on good authority that some of you are sharing this newsletter with friends as far away as Ireland and New Zealand. Well will just have to put a ---continuation of this practise. It's ok to share!

What you'll find in this weeks newsletter: The question is--Is It Ever Too Late to Regain Balance in a Relationship? About your brain- Your Brain Is Affected By Other Brains. Yah Canada-10 weird things you can only do in Canada. Seniors and drug addiction, an IRISH RAILWAY COMPANY COMPLAINT LETTER and a Response from a Reader

Is It Ever Too Late to Regain Balance in a Relationship?

I have been asked this question numerous times, and here is my response.

Can a relationship end - of course! Sometimes so much damage is done, mainly through poor communication, misunderstanding and assumption making, that the will to carry on, to try again gets lost. Couples can go on for a very long time "trying", but like adding weights to the old scales of justice, one pound or one thing more can tip the "that's it" scale and the feelings shut down and the relationship is virtually over.

What happens is couples stay together for a very long time even if things aren't going that well between them. They work at loving each other, make love - hoping this will bring them closer, carry on a normal routine - go to work, visit friends, take the kids to soccer - but the whole time are evaluating and when that "one more thing happens" it's over for that person. It doesn't mean they end the relationship, that they leave physically, but they do leave emotionally. The cold war begins! This is a very difficult time for the couple. The individuals are hurting, are angry and blaming - they don't see how their behaviour is contributing to the dissolution of the relationship. "If he/she were only (different) then it would be ok!" Unfortunately they remain in this deadlocked position for a considerable period of time before they seek help. They are lost and few couples come back from the "It's over" decision.

An old saying comes to mind when I think of the attitude of some individuals I have met:
            "I want my cake and I want to eat it to!"
To me this means, I want to act and do and say what ever I please and I expect you to continue to love, cherish and put up with my self-centered attitude without any change in your feelings. Oh yes, and continue to act "as if" you are pleased to see me, and to have intimate relations with me when I want, and "really want to". Yeh! Sure! Didn't anybody ever mention that living together is very difficult and must be worked at "on purpose", daily? That if you don't treat your partner well - he/she won't treat you well! If you don't understand this, better talk to someone soon.

So, my answer to the question "Is it ever too late to regain balance in a relationship?" is yes! It's never too late to work on a relationship but some have gone on too long and have become too destructive to reverse the bad feelings.

So what can we do? Encourage people to talk to a counsellor about what's truly going on for them. Counselling can help the pair improve their communication. Communication skills are a great place to start. In my experience, most if not with all couples, their problems are rooted in or get worse because of their poor communication skills.

If one of the partners puts an effort into the relationship - starts to really listen to what the other partner is saying, is genuinely interested and curious as to what the partner is saying, that's a huge start. And if they can get the anger and condescending tone out of their voice when speaking - then they are seen as trying, and this effort can bring the other person around to having hope and wanting to try as well. This is what works- couples "trying", "working" at making things better, using the skills they learn, actually "doing" (not talking about doing) things differently/better.

Hope is abound! 

Your Brain Is Affected By Other Brains

Researchers are discovering that when we talk, fight, flirt, or even exchange a moments glance with our fellow humans, we physically shape one another's brains. And the more intimately attached we are, the stronger the brain connection.

Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of Emotional Intelligence states, "over the course of years to people actually change each other's behaviour, the way they think, the way they feel. Whenever you interact, even with a fleetingly met stranger there is an intimate brain-two-brain linkup." We affect the brain, and thus the body, of everyone we interact with, and they affect us; nourishing relationships have a beneficial effect on our health, and toxic ones can poisonous us.

What I find most helpful or interesting in the above information is that it is in fact that the most potent shaping of the brain occurs in our key early years/relationships. But it goes on all our lives, and nurturing relationships later in life can rewrite the negative scripts from childhood. If we can choose a partner who is warm, empathetic and nurturing, they can neutralize a poor childhood.

Warmth, empathy, and in a nurturer, are extremely important in a desirable mate. But it seems that what we seek most in a relationship is kindness. In a global pool of desirable human attributes in a mate, kindness scored number one for what both men and women want. I would rank respect a close second.

10 weird things you can only do in Canada

Robin Esrock, author of The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-of-a-Kind Travel Experiences, shares his picks of some unique undertakings across the country:
SOUR TOE COCKTAIL (DAWSON CITY, YUKON): You can drink fermented horse milk in Mongolia or rocket-fuel raki in Albania, but only in Canada can you drink a cocktail served with a human toe. Sixty-thousand people have joined the Sour Toe Cocktail Club. The toes occasionally get swallowed, despite a hefty fine.

SNORKEL WITH SALMON (CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C.): For a unique view of the Pacific West Coast's annual salmon run, grab a wetsuit and let the current carry you downriver. You'll float past tens of thousands of salmon migrating upriver to spawn and die.

FIRE A GUN IN A MALL (EDMONTON): The West Edmonton Mall is the largest on the continent, attracting 30 million visitors a year. It's also the only mall where you can fire a .44 Magnum, and other weapons, in the Wild West Shooting Centre.
NARCISSE SNAKE DENS (NARCISSE, MAN.): Each spring, the world's largest concentration of               snakes, up to 150,000 red garters, slither into rock dens for their annual mating ritual. Visitors can pick them up, so long as they're gentle.

CROOKED BUSH (HAFFORD, SASK.): Wild aspen forests in the prairies grow straight and tall, unless you visit this mysterious grove, which bend, twist and knot like a Tim Burton movie prop. Blamed on an unexplained genetic mutation.
SPEND A NIGHT IN JAIL (OTTAWA): Canada's hotel options are vast, but only one is a former prison, haunted by ghosts of the condemned. When the Nicholas Street jail closed in the 1970s due to inhumane conditions, it reopened as a backpacker hostel. Guests lock themselves in cells for the night.
GO FOR AN ICE RAFT (QUEBEC CITY): Each February, Quebec hosts the world's largest winter carnival, where you can ice-raft, dance in ice palaces and watch paddlers race across the cracked-ice soup of the Saint Lawrence River for the annual ice canoe race.

RAFT A TIDAL WAVE (URBANIA, N.S.): When the world's largest tides back into rivers that feed them, it creates a true tidal wave. Hopping on a raft with an to slam on-board into this natural water park is distinctly fun, and uniquely Canadian.
GET SCREECHED (ST.JOHN'S, N.L.): To become an honorary Newfoundlander, visitors kiss a petrified cod (or a toy puffin's behind), listen to ribald banter and shoot strong rum, known as screech. Only the brave pucker for the fish; screech has that effect on people.

FLY IN A DC-3 (YELLOWKNIFE): Buffalo Airways is the world's only DC-3 airline, serving remote communities on the 1935 aircraft, and providing fodder for the TV series, Ice Pilots NWT. Aviation enthusiasts visit from around the world for a ride.

Seniors and drug addiction    (Lianne George)

The fact is, every second baby boomer in our midst has experimented with some type of illicit drug in his lifetime. New studies reveal that the fastest growing demographic of drug user in the US is white, middle-aged, and well to do. Illicit drug use among Americans in there 50s is up by more than 63 per cent in the last decade. More than 4.4 per cent of American baby boomers said they had used illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or crack in the past months. Deaths from illicit drug overdose are up by 800 per cent since 1980. Surprisingly, substance abuse among teams declined by 15 per cent between 2002 and 2005.

Without getting into the gateway drug hypothesis- almost every body that becomes a habitual user of cocaine and heroine is a marijuana user first.

By middle age, many have been managing their addictions for so long, they appear normal and fully functional to those around them. But as you get older, it's harder to hold it together; sooner or later something breaks. You get in a traffic accident. You get fired from your job. Your spouse says she's going to leave you. It's usually some sort of crises that for the first time shines light on the drug problem.

I believe it was around 2012 that the first baby boomers turned 65. It was then that the face of drug addiction became altered. What's your perspective on this issue?

The following is an actual exchange of correspondence between a customer and the Irish Railway Company.
I have been riding your trains daily for the last two years, and the service on your line seems to be getting worse every day. I am tired of standing in the aisle all the time on a 14-mile trip. I think the transportation system is worse than that enjoyed by people 2,000 years ago.
Yours truly,
Patrick Finnegan
Dear Mr. Finnegan,
We received your letter with reference to the shortcomings of our service and believe you are somewhat confused in your history. The only mode of transportation 2,000 years ago was by foot.
Irish Railway Company
I am in receipt of your letter, and I think you are the ones who are confused in your history. If you will refer to the Bible and the Book of David, 9th Chapter, you will  find that Balaam rode to town on his ass. That.... Gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years!
Yours truly,
Patrick Finnegan.

Reader Response
One of my acquaintances relates the story about how his migraine headaches were cured. His company had a policy of hiring a human resources firm to spend a week every year interviewing all employees and personnel including management. The consultant uncovered a series of issues that my friend had since youth.  I guess he had an epiphany of sorts.  His headaches went away.

An incredible book about addictions is "The Couch of Willingness" by Michael Pond.  The basic premise is similar to the one above. For permanent change, there has to be a pivotal moment of awareness, an epiphany of sorts, a willing re-wiring, a quantum shift in thinking, seeing with new eyes, in order for someone to refocus one's life.  But in all of these things, there is no panacea as the human mind is incredibly complex, and devious, in working to achieve what we want. 

As Woody Allen said, "I don't get angry.  I grow a tumour."
That will bring some attention to me, I guess.

Have a great day and a fine week.  Like my dad used to say, "There is no finer place to be than Manitoba - in the summer".  And he handled all of the seasons very well.

Sincerely, Ed

Have a great week everybody! I hope your Grey Cup team choice won and your pleased and you didn't have a hangover.