One of the first things you should know about me is that I love popular music. I am a big fan of numerous genres of music, including soul, pop, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. I have a large record and CD collection and listen to lots of stuff when I'm driving and at home. Since I listen to a lot of music, I kind of "play out" the big hits from the 1950's through the 1980's and get a bit tired of them. As a result, I frequently explore some of the songs that weren't hit. Songs that really flopped! In fact, if I like an artist I will search out all of the music they recorded and explore the clunkers as well as the songs that made the charts.
The reason I bring this up, is that I purchased a CD of pop songs from the 1960's and early 1970's the other day. They were a collection of obscure songs that I'm pretty confident you've never heard of. They were on a collection called, "My World of Make Believe," which is subtitled, "Sunshine, Soft & Studio Pop 1966 - 1972." I listened to a few of the songs on YouTube before I purchased the CD and liked them enough to order it.
Since all of the songs were designed to be singles (i.e. songs that were meant to be played on the radio), they all have musical hooks in them designed to make them easy to remember long after hearing them. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, here's one of the songs I liked best on the CD. It's called, "It's Waiting There for You," and it's by a group with one of the weirdest names I've ever heard for a pop group, The Furnacemen. Have a listen!
Yeah, I know, it's light pop and there's not much grit or bite to it. If you're a hard rock or new wave fan, it ain't gonna do much for you. However, there's something extremely valuable that I noticed in that song. Did you hear it? It's a song that's filled with HOPE! There was an idea in the society at the time that the world is open to you with very few limitations. Whatever your interests, there's something for you in the society. Do people still feel that way? Do they still have the hope that the world is a welcoming place where whatever you want to do is "waiting there for you?" I certainly don't see it these days in my friends or my clients. And I miss it. When I was a kid, I had this overwhelming sense of hope. A feeling that I could have the life I wanted and that my future would be bright.
I'm wondering how many people reading this feel a sense of hope in their lives? When I speak to young people I get an overwhelming sense that they're feeling overwhelmed by the society. I get a sense that they feel restricted by people in authority and that the sense of a positive, hopeful future is not something they feel in the forefront of their minds. Am I wrong? I'm just judging from the people I know and relate to in my life. I'm happy to hear your thoughts as it would be really great if hope could return to our world. It would sure make me more optimistic about our futures as well as hopefully generating some new, hopeful music in the world!
How can it be? We're almost two months into 2018 already. How did this happen? Didn't it just seem like yesterday we were watching the ball drop in Times Square in New York? And yet, time continues to march on.
If you're struggling in your life, don't just watch the clock continue to tick away. This is the year to get help and start making your life work better. It's time to reconnect with your kids or your spouse. It's time to stop feeling trapped in your situation, whatever that situation may be. Today is the day that you can start working toward making things better. Why wait another month, or two months, or even another year? It's time to start making things work better right now. Just give me a call or an e-mail. I want you to help you work toward living the best life you possibly can!
I don't mean to sound like a commercial, or that I'm trying to sell you something. I just really care that people are struggling in the world and I don't want you to be one of them. If you are having difficulty with one or more areas in your life, I want to help. And if you don't get help from me, at least get it somewhere. Life's too short to be constrained and feel helpless. This is the year to truly empower yourself and start living the life you really want to live.
For years, I enjoyed a product called "Oatmeal to Go" from Quaker Oats. It was a special product in my life. It was a square oatmeal bar that tasted great. It had 220 calories and 4 grams of fat. And it was a very tasty breakfast product that I enjoyed just about every day for over 10 years. I'm someone who (when I like something) can eat the same meal every day without getting tired of it. And these "Oatmeal to Go" Brown Sugar Cinnamon bars were terrific. They tasted great, were filling and I came to count on them for my breakfast just about every day.
In addition to enjoying them at breakfast, they also had another special place in my life! They were an easy meal substitute when I was trying to lose weight. Whenever I wanted to shed a few pounds I'd substitute lunch or dinner with an "Oatmeal to Go" bar. And that, along with exercise, worked great at helping me drop a few pounds. Well, guess what? About a year ago Quaker Oats stopped making them! I was stunned. Yes, for years they weren't available in my local store and I had to buy them from Amazon... but I could always get them! Then, one day, they were no longer available.
It's now about a year after they became unavailable and I'm about 10 pounds heavier than I used to be, with no plan on how to lose the weight. I'm terrible at moderation... I don't stick to diet plans... yet, my "Oatmeal to Go" bars worked for me! Why did Quaker Oats do this to me? Don't they know that I need their bars to lose weight? Why? Why? Did I not buy 6 boxes at a time? Did I not have them auto-shipped to my home? I held up my end of the bargain... and yet they were still discontinued!
Since this is a blog from a therapist's website, I suppose I should have some sort of therapy "tie-in" to this story. And that tie-in is this. When we come to rely on something, we can become very attached to those things that work in our lives. And when those things change, or are taken away, it's often very difficult to adjust and be willing to find other ways that work as well. We tend to hang on to what has worked in the past and have a tendency to be stuck in old patterns, even when new patterns are available to us. Of course the moral of this story is that it's probably time I explored new breakfast items and new ways to lose weight that don't include my "Oatmeal to Go" bars. I guess I'll have to, but at least for the time being, I'm not going to like it!
Ever notice that the promises we make to other people tend to carry more weight than the promises we make to ourselves? Why is it that when we make commitments to others we are more likely to keep those commitments than we make them to ourselves? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't the commitments we make to ourselves be at least as important as the ones we make to others? After all, we are responsible for ourselves and our own well being. When we don't follow through on our plans we delay accomplishing the things we want to accomplish.
For example, if I made a commitment to a friend of mine to go out jogging, I'd do it. So... clearly my word matters. However, when I tell myself I have to get up early and go jogging, it doesn't always get done. So looking at it logically, I definitely honor my word... at least to others! I think we all tend to let our own commitments to ourselves slide at times. "We always can do it tomorrow." Yes, that's true, however, that means the things we wanted to do tomorrow may never get done because of the things we have to do today. And so on and so on.
I think that as much as we can recognize that our commitments matter even when they're made to ourselves, the sooner we can move our lives forward in the ways that we choose. And by moving our lives forward, we can ultimately accomplish what we want to accomplish.
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the older I get, the faster time seems to be marching forward. I wish I had an effective way to "put on the brakes" so that the years wouldn't just speed ahead so quickly. Remember when you were a kid and a school year seemed to last forever? Now, the years go by faster and faster. Think about it... the year 2000 was 17 years ago! The 90's seem like they just left us, and here we are over a decade and a half into the 21st century...
I guess the point of this post (if there is one) is to suggest that perhaps we can all become aware of the precious gift that "time" is in our lives. Instead of thinking we have an eternity to live the life we want, perhaps we can be conscious of the ever fleeting moments we have on this planet and really take stock of our goals and desires. In this way we can start living our lives with a purpose so that we can more be more likely to accomplish our goals.
Believe me, I have spent many days just lying on my couch watching daytime television. It can be easy to do. The problem is, when those days stop being appreciated as precious time, and instead we fall into lethargy and feel we have forever to accomplish what we want in our lives -- it's possible we could wake up a little too late to get back on track. That's why I advocate that everyone at least recognizes that time is precious and that perhaps we can all focus our attention a little more clearly on what we truly want in life, so that we can then focus on what it takes to get there.
I now have office hours at my new space in Encino! I'm still available for appointments at my Westlake Village office, however I now have a second office for those of you living in the San Fernando Valley.
My new office address is:
5535 Balboa Blvd., Suite # 100
Encino, CA 91316.
This is in addition to my Westlake Village office which is located at:
30961 Agoura Rd., Suite # 215
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Call me at (818) 351-6258 to set up an appointment at either office.
Drum roll, please! I want to let everyone know that I have published two books on Amazon. One of the books focuses on relationships and the ways in which we sometimes unwittingly sabotage them. The unfortunate truth is that many of us make choices when we are upset and angry that are based on past experiences and not our present ones. This leads to sad choices where we treat our current partners unfairly because of bad things that have happened to us in the past.
This book is titled, "Relationship Held Captive" and is available on Amazon.com. You can read more about it in the "books" section of this blog.
The second book I want to tell you about is titled, "Your Career, Your Choices!" This book focuses on how you can help create your own career choices, so that you are more in charge of your work life as opposed to your employer calling all the shots. It's also available on Amazon.com, and you can learn more about it in the "Books" section of this website!
Please feel free to write me with any questions concerning either book or anything else you may have a question about concerning this website.
Hi Everyone. I just wanted to let you all know that I have a new office! The address is:
30961 Agoura Road, Suite # 215
Westlake Village, CA 91361
My phone number is the same: (818) 351-6258
What does it mean to be successful in therapy? That's a tricky question because each of us has unique issues and success means different things to different people. And what brings someone into therapy is also a unique situation. To one person it might be to get along better with his spouse. For another, to explore why anxiety is ever-present in her life. For someone else, it's learning to deal with the emotional scarring of a difficult childhood. Everyone has a different issue, so everyone must have a different definition of what success means in therapy. Or do they?
Ultimately, even though we all have different stories, the one common question is: "Do I have less pain/fear/emotional upset, etc. since I've been working on myself in therapy? " I content that if that answer is Yes, then the therapy is proving successful. Everyone who comes to therapy usually has an issue they're struggling with in their life. Perhaps they can't connect effectively with their spouse. Perhaps they have panic attacks that keep them from living a full life. Perhaps their work-situation has become intolerable and they don't know what to do to make things better. Whatever the reason that someone comes to therapy, everyone wants wants the same thing -- relief. Relief from pain. Relief from fear. Relief from whatever is in his or her way.
That is why no matter what therapist you go to, no matter what help is given, it all comes down to this... has therapy helped relieve your pain? Like any process, it might seem worse at first as your explore old wounds, and what brought you to where you are now. However, ultimately, successful therapy means helping you alleviate your pain/fear, etc. It's about giving you back the things you lost. It's about helping you clear away the issues that are holding you back, and letting you move forward into a brighter future.
Most of us spend time thinking and reflecting about our lives. And some of us are disappointed, or feeling as if we didn't accomplish the things we wanted to accomplish. Well, guess what? We're not dead yet! If you have something that you've always wanted to do, but haven't, maybe now's the time. Did you ever want to write a book? Perhaps you wanted to go horseback riding, but haven't gotten around to it. Sky diving? Okay, let's not go overboard, but if you have a dream, why not? We sometimes think we have all the time in the world to do the things we dreamed of doing. Well, that's not true. We all get older, and the older we get, the more set in our ways we tend to become. But as I said at the beginning of this post, we're not dead yet! So... Why not go for it?
None of us know what the future holds, so if you have a list of dreams you want to accomplish in your lifetime, perhaps now's the time to get started. Remember, it's one thing to dream your dreams, but the real key is being able to take action. I'm sure there were many people who have had big dreams they never attempted. You don't have to be one of them. You can start actualizing your dreams, just by taking concrete steps toward them. So, what are you waiting for? The world is yours, you just have to get started!
David Schwartz, M.S., LMFT
David brings a wealth of life experience to his therapy practice. In addition to his therapy training, David has been a self-motivated entrepreneur for over 20 years, as well as working as a producer in the television industry.
David Schwartz, MS., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist # 87261 -
30961 Agoura Rd., Suite 215, Westlake Village, CA 91361