Follow by Email

Monday, April 15, 2019

In the US April 15th is tax day.  For many it is the culmination of a years worth of inventory - sorting out gains, losses, expenses, earnings and acquisitions of various kinds.  For the "feds" and its many "partners" it is about algorithms that attempt to accommodate wealth and poverty such that some equitable contribution emerges from "standardized" forms (paper and paperless alike).  The business of tax season is held within agencies of revenue and calculating corporations all working in asset management. For lone individuals "my taxes" may be about a "fair share" or
scarce affordability.  With a 60,000 page tax code trickling down "something" to those who pay, to those who don't, to those who get, and to those who are "sheltered," the math seems insurmountable.  Whatever tax day is, maybe an annuity of some other kind, hopefully it generates for "we the people" what is needed.  Yet trillions in debt, and the many who go without - tells another story of a system for its people.  Homeless folks, uninsured folks, untreated and dying folks, the very old, the very young, and infrastructure too - exemplify how taxes may not suffice. Politics, non-profits and the economics pros - benefactors of certainty in this season - may overlook gaping holes of an under-served citizenry - lost in code that hundreds of millions abide yet nearly none comprehend.  If you paid in or if you were refunded - today is the day!   Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema, on Unsplash

Friday, March 29, 2019

Implicit bias is NOT complicated: It can simply change.

Implicit bias is NOT complicated: It can simply change. 

The idea that implicit bias cannot change is false. Changing implicit bias begins with changing two simple words.  Find.  Better.  Words.  #Bias #ImplicitBias  #CtrlAltDel 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What helping means ...

What Helping Means to me ... Helping means, to begin as if the perspective of the one asking for help (it is not helpful if they do not ask, especially if they are adults), is valid. That is to say, the helper knows that the "helpee" sees things as they do for some good reason (assuming they are not psycho-pathologically injuring others). Helpers must begin as if the "helpees" beliefs have legitimacy, truths, and reasons. From this starting point (they asked, they are adult and safety is assured, and their beliefs are valid) change becomes negotiable. In my practice time and time again, I work with people who hold absolutes, creating seemingly forced existences. My role, with the aforesaid conclusions included, is to usually mirror the "either / or" thinking and then offer third and fourth options. When someone is able to strike through the "OR" of black or white, good or bad, all or nothing ... and replace "OR" with "AND" a third option appears. This begins the path to freedom. When this approach fails (and it does at times), then beliefs are at play. Thoughts, feelings and history (those 3 components of beliefs) must be taken a part scientifically, using neuro-biology psycho-education. For example, explaining to the helpee "here is how your hippocampus works, here's how your amygdala works, here's how adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine works, here's how testosterone dopamine and oxytocin work, and here's how happiness (in the brain) actually works." My other thought is this: everything outside of safety (and perceived safety is a belief) is negotiable! What I am not, as a helper: I am not the morality police. I do not know my clients' lives better than they do. I am not in a one up position. "Help" cannot come from one up. Help cannot come from inequality. The union of what the client asks for and what the client knows with the offered options that remove all / nothing thinking, along with regard for what the client believes as having some good purpose, meeting the joy of negotiation for better lives .... that is "HELP." ---

K. LaRose, first published May 2018,
Photo credit: Kat Yukawa, Unsplash

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thanksgiving in March?

Thanksgiving ... in March?   Sure!  Gratitude is a thing in the concept and in the science of happiness!  It is not, however, a spinning of a view for the sake of GETTING happy.  It is actual gratitude  - a true assigned thought, an assigned view and perspective that is genuine to the eys of the beholder.  Why is that?  Well, you don't need someone to TELL you what you already know ... "be grateful!" they say.  And many times it is a politically correct way of also saying "and shut up, I don't want to hear that you are upset about ANYTHING."  Being thankful is finding something, maybe even ONE thing that you hold dear and that you have some degree of thanks for ... whatever that is!  I recall once spending three days with what is called an out of instructional control youth - he had been cursing at me, yelling at me, throwing things through doors and windows and just being so damn tired of it all.  I knew I was at my "wits end" so I called my boss and said something like - "if this doesn't stop I'm going to quit!" She said the most counterintuitive thing of all ... "right now what you need to do is walk into that destroyed room and find one thing that kid is doing right - a real thing - and tell him that you are glad that he is doing it."  In my exasperation I said something that was MOSTLY sarcastic: "okay, like hey, I'm glad that you are breathing?"  My boss said, without missing a beat -"Kurt, if that is all you have then yes, go tell him that you are glad he is breathing. I know it seems like the craziest thing given how awful he's been, but try it."  I was pissed for the chaos, the days of sleep deprivation, the impact on my family and the other youth in the home ... but ... the ONE thing I was okay with  --- it was that this kid was breathing...and at that moment,  it was the ONLY thing.   As I said it to him, conscious of just how stupid this might seem or sound, it was all I had and my angst turned to understanding.  In all of the things that mattered, the material, the time, the interference, the disruptions --- what mattered the most was that he (and I) were alive.  My angst shifted ... just enough to bring a bit of joy.  Today, in hindsight, that view is a memory that contributes to today's happiness.  Getting through, trying something new, and being true about that which I was grateful - reshaped my entire paradigm ... at that time in looking at the moment, in looking forward, in prioritizing, and now in hindsight!  K. LaRose  
PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Reed, Unsplash.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Within five years of his Lincoln Memorial speech, proclaiming “thank God Almighty I’m free at last!” Martin Luther King Jr. would become the victim of an assassination. The eerie parallels of notoriety in their generations apart and in common positions, both billowing out famous words that would play over and over in a repetitive history that deems them worth repeating, their assassinations of two who become ‘greats’ in the annals of revolutionaries, and then MLK having as his backdrop a statute of Lincoln to now there too is a statute of MLK! As he went about his life addressing ‘the majority’ MLK created iconic moments so that “free at last, free at last” to this day necessarily perpetuates. His task was probably known to be a grand cause, as indicated by other now famous words he spoke - not so long ago attesting to character instead of color as another one example. I wonder if today MLK would be pleased about the changes he and others have forged and the changes that others have assumed since his passing. For all of the 2019 glass ceilings that have ethnic correlations – and - for all of those same ceilings that appear to have been broken – what might MLK say in looking at a city such as this? In looking at a country such as this? Ethnic disparities across various cohorts remain. Also, arguments over whose fault “it” is - remain. Likely the forgone admonition of MLK would be his same call for today: “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” Today sir, you are honored. #talkifuwant Photo Credit: Jeronimo Bernot on Unsplash.