3.31.2011

Anthony Robles, Wrestler Wins with One Leg. Wow!

Anthony Robles, wrestler born with one leg, wins NCAA title

- The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA Judy Robles was just 16 years old when her first child was born, by cesarean section. The baby did not cry right away, and she wanted to know, what was the gender, and was the baby OK?
It is a boy, the doctor said.
It was not until later, when Judy was in a recovery room, that her teary parents delivered the news: The baby was missing a leg. He had no hip bone. Judy cried instantly.
She was not crying Saturday night. Her baby boy, her first-born, the always-optimistic Anthony, became an NCAA wrestling champion at 125 pounds, beating the Division I reigning champion in that weight class, Matt McDonough of Iowa, at the Wells Fargo Center.
On a night filled with emotion and excitement as 10 national champions were crowned, Robles' moment was as big as any. It was Robles' last collegiate wrestling match, and he says the last of his life, and the sold-out crowd gave him a standing ovation as soon as his dominating, 7-1 win was complete.
"I had a lot of butterflies going out there," Robles said afterward. "I've dreamt about stepping on that stage a dozen times, and this whole year I've just been preparing for that moment. And I was scared. I was scared out there, but as soon as I hit that first takedown I sort of relaxed. I said, 'OK, back to business. Same drill as usual, like every other match.'"
As a sophomore two years ago, Robles finished fourth in the NCAA championship, and then took what he considered to be a step back as a junior, when he went 25-11 and finished seventh. Robles wanted to be a national champion, not just an all-American, but to accomplish his goal, he had to become mentally tougher.
The physical part he had down, even with only one leg.
Robles has a bigger upper body than most of his opponents in the 125-pound weight class, and in a sport that is all about imposing your style on your opponent, Robles has a distinct advantage. He cannot stand up and wrestle, so he forces his opponents to stay low on the mat. Once Robles gets on an opponent's back, like he did Saturday night against McDonough, he is virtually impossible to beat.
Even though he did not lose a match all season, Robles was so nervous before the match that he thought he was going to throw up. After winning his semifinal match on Friday night, Robles hardly slept. He spent part of the day Saturday sightseeing with his mother and four siblings, and they ended up at the Rocky statue at the foot of the art museum.
Robles was too sore to scale the museum steps, but his 19-year-old brother Nicolas did. Later, back at the hotel, Robles watched "Cinderella Man, then got to the arena and could not settle down.
Ten minutes before the match, Arizona State coach Shawn Charles, sensing his wrestler was uncharacteristically jittery, calmly talked to Robles, telling him it was a match just like the other 35 he had won this season.
Robles had not faced anyone as tough as McDonough this season, but McDonough, who traded the No. 1 ranking with Robles throughout the season, had never wrestled against Robles. Early in the match, Robles got on top of McDonough and executed a roll through tilt and then converted to a ball and chain. By the time the first period was over, Robles held a 7-0 lead.
A few minutes later, with the national championship in his hand, Robles' journey was complete.
"I didn't get into the sport for the attention," he said. "I wrestle because I love wrestling, but it inspires me when I get kids, even adults, who write me on Facebook or send me letters in the mail just saying that I've inspired them, and they look up to me, and they're motivated to do things that other people wouldn't have thought possible."
What Robles has been able to do is make people forget that he has a disability. He does not view himself that way, nor do others.
That was not the case when he was little. Judy remembers being irritated and hurt by the sideways glances strangers gave her when she would carry her little boy. He scooted instead of crawled, and walked using a prosthetic that tied around his waist. But for the most part Robles, who is scheduled to get a prosthetic in the next few months, has always just used crutches, and he is so fast on them that he can run a 10-minute mile.
After his match was over, Robles ran through a back hallway at the arena and scaled the podium, where he was awarded his national trophy. Then he took an elevator to the mezzanine level and made his way through the crowd, posing for more than a dozen pictures and accepting congratulations.
"He's the best wrestler," said 9-year-old Justin Giacobbe, of Bergen, N.J.
Finally, Robles reached his mother. They hugged for a long time. The moment was 22 years in the making.
"This kid helped me grow up," Judy said. "We were inseparable, always together. I just let him be. ... I always thought that I would be the one taking care of him, and he would live with me forever. And whoa, he proved me wrong."

3.29.2011

Why We Stop Having Sex

Why We Stop Having Sex—and How to Start Again -  

by Jamie Beckman

An in-depth look at one of the biggest reasons relationships fall apart—and the latest advice from doctors on how to make sure your relationship isn’t next.

The hot sexual encounters in a new relationship are indelible. Think back to the best sex you ever had with your current partner. Maybe you ripped her panties off, or you had sex in a stairwell, or she went down on you and you’ll never forget how it felt—or how she felt. There was still an element of the forbidden, and the unpredictability of what you’d do next was off the charts. It was like the movies, except better, because was happening to you.
And then … things wind down. The frequency of sex divides itself by two, and then divides itself in half again. Pretty soon, between your stressful jobs, social obligations, and fights about money/the dogs/your in-laws, you’re left with whatever sex you can get. And it isn’t much—your sex life is basically dead.
Sound familiar? It should. Because it happens to all of us. But why? And how do we break out of it?
♦◊♦
If there’s one thing you should know about why sex dwindles, it’s that it’s normal.
“You have so much sex in the early phases of a relationship that it will inevitably decline,” says Pamela Regan, Ph.D., professor of psychology at California State University–Los Angeles. You really can’t maintain the five to seven to 10 times a week that sometimes characterizes newlyweds.”
For comparison’s sake, check out these stats: Studies have shown that most couples have sex one to two times a week, and as you age, the number will likely decrease. Relationships that are considered “non-sexual” are couples that have sex fewer than 10 times a year.
A man who wanted to be identified only as “Lorne” told me he and his wife of 12 years sometimes go for a year at a time without having sex.
“It’s not by choice, but I can say it is partly late work hours and not working out—I ballooned up to 220 from 193 pounds, so I’m tired,” he said. “She and I have grown apart because we don’t see eye to eye on much. I haven’t talked to anyone about it, as we just keep up appearances.”
One out of five married couples has a non-sexual relationship.
On top of Lorne’s own physical setbacks, his wife has suffered from eating disorders, which have taken a toll on her physical appearance as well as her mind-set.
“Is it because she has a poor body image or is just controlling and more focused on appearances? Perhaps. Am I fed up, and staying at work late to avoid the situation? Probably. Is this going to end well? Probably not.”
♦◊♦
Lorne’s situation isn’t that unusual, says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., professor of psychology at American University.
“One out of five married couples has a non-sexual relationship,” he says. “It’s one of the major causes of divorce. Sex is really paradoxical. When people are fighting about sex—but especially when they’re avoiding sex—it plays an inordinately powerful role, and it really drains a relationship and a marriage.”
For Peter Palmer, 52, of New York City, problems with his sex life crept up almost immediately after they were married. They waited to have sex until they were hitched, and soon after, they discovered they weren’t sexually compatible. He was experienced, and she wasn’t—she found sex “messy” and felt she was bad in bed, so she gave up. Now, even though Palmer thinks she is “beautiful,” they almost never have sex.
“I’m an artist and seek novelty. She’s a manager and wants to know when it’ll start, stop, and what the ROI will be,” Palmer says. “I wish I could interest her. [An] affair is looking pretty good, but there’s no going back once the deed is done. The sanctity will have been compromised. I want her, not a supplement.”
And it’s not for a lack of effort. Palmer says he has tried everything, from having sit-down discussions to crying with her, but nothing changes.
“The rest of my life is perfect,” Palmer says. “Just that. Only that. Always that.”
The hard truth is, almost no one is truly having the amount of sex they’d prefer. An Australian study published this month says that 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women in long-term relationships are unhappy with the frequency of sex they have. And an equally recent British study found that romance—and, by extension, sex—tends to get stale about 36 months, or three years, into a relationship.
If date night seems corny to you, you might try this: become interesting to your partner by doing something new on your own (like joining a boxing gym or taking mixology classes) and then coming back and talking about it with her later.
“This is where all those adorable quirks turn out to be annoying habits,” says Judi James, author of the study. “And if we’re stressed at work, our irritability levels will be heightened, meaning we’re far more likely to argue over those irritations and see them as a deal-breaker.”
If you’ve ever broken up with a girlfriend after about three years, that should sound familiar. But if you’ve stuck things out, chances are the romance has not.
The physical reasons for why the decline in frequency of sex happens—even in couples who have been together far longer than three years—are myriad. Side effects from antidepressants or heart medication are a major inhibitor of sexual function, says McCarthy. Sometimes women have a negative reaction to the hormones in birth control pills. Sleep disorder is another big one—anything that makes you feel bad physically is going to impact how you feel sexually. That goes for body-image issues like weight gain as well.
Most of us, though, aren’t on hardcore meds or dealing with major life changes. Most of us have watched sex slowly take a backseat to other, more pressing and practical matters. But there are ways to start having a good sex life again.
Desire is based on novelty, and if you’re in a long-term relationship, being with the same person can get boring. A way to seem less familiar to each other is to do things together that might seem fun and exciting—i.e., not the usual routine or the usual restaurant, says researcher Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D., who has done several studies on long-term romantic love. Focus on what the two of you used to do that was fun, back when you were having crazy sex, whether that’s going to concerts or having formal dates.
“Try to woo each other,” Acevedo says. “The woman might focus on getting dressed up and looking beautiful, he might buy her flowers and take her out to eat to special places. That kind of thing can help to ignite some of those feelings that they had in the beginning of the relationship.”
If date night seems corny to you, you might try this: Become interesting to your partner by doing something new on your own (like joining a boxing gym or taking mixology classes) and then coming back and talking about it with her later. Same goes for her. That way, you won’t see each other the same way you used to, and that can be exciting, Acevedo says.
If your wife or girlfriend still just doesn’t want to have sex, keep in mind that even though intercourse is awesome for you, it might only be so-so for her. Instead of having only two sex “speeds”—affectionate, clothes-on touching and intercourse—incorporate way more foreplay and afterplay (like kissing, caressing, and whispering to each other) into a sexual routine, says McCarthy.
“For a woman who has been in a relationship for two years or longer, or works, she often will begin a sexual encounter at neutral, but the man begins already turned on,” he says. “When they engage in touching, and there’s an emotional openness between the two of them, she begins to feel receptive and responsive, and then she becomes turned on.”
You don’t have to set an egg timer, but one handy formula for turning her on is this: “Healthy couples will spend anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes in playful, seductive, pleasuring kind of touching. Intercourse for those couples is between two and seven minutes, then they’ll spend two to five minutes in afterplay,” McCarthy says.
♦◊♦
Another big factor for women is weight and how they perceive themselves. A British study recently said that more than half of women avoid sex because they feel fat. If you suspect that that’s the case for your partner, use positive reinforcement, and she’ll be more likely to give a repeat performance.
“Women who have put on weight feel very desexualized, like they’re not allowed to have sexual desires,” Regan says. “A man who knows that is better prepared to go into sexual interactions with his partner. Tell her that you love her curves.”
Even if you’ve used all of the tips and tricks in the book, there’s one key aspect to rekindling desire, and it’s probably the toughest thing for any couple to do—especially a couple that hasn’t been having much sex lately: Talk about it. If you’re like most guys, back when you first got together, you probably had an endless supply of reliable erections, and the onus was on her to either respond or demur. Now that things have leveled out, try to approach intimacy from the same angle: two people who want to make sex work.
“Make the transition from being a romantic-love/passionate-sex couple to figuring out what your couple sexual style is. Be a sexual team,” McCarthy says. “So many couples never have that conversation. They think it should be easy and automatic, and that’s not true. Refigure out how you guys are as an ongoing sexual couple rather than who you were as a beginning sexual couple.”
—Photo by reegone/Flickr

 

3.27.2011


Please join me Monday,March 28th, at 10:00am for a one-hour 

Beginning Meditation Group.

This small group will meet four times.
You may attend one session or come to all four.

Each session cost is $10.00.

Where: Christina's office, 2777 Jefferson, #201, Carlsbad, CA.


What happens: we sit quietly, in a relaxing chair, with some relaxing music and relax :)
We will begin and end promptly.

Who: Group is limited to 8 due to office size.

If you know someone who may be interested, please pass along the info.

Contact: Christina, 760.522.5659


Chief Inspiration Officer, From Outside Magazine

From "Outside" Magazine Blog



Introducing Chief Inspiration Officer, Ryan Levinson

By Ryan Levinson
Mar 22, 2011


In 1996, when Ryan Levinson was 24 years old, the San Diego-based athlete was diagnosed with an incurable and progressive form of muscular dystrophy known as FSHD. Doctors told him strenuous exercise would worsen his condition. He didn’t listen. Instead, the now 38-year-old continued doing what he loved: sailing, kiteboarding, diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing. Last December, we named Levinson our Reader of the Year and Chief Inspiration Officer for 2011. This is the first in an ongoing series of blogs Levinson will write as our CIO.
Ryan-levinson Sometimes I feel like I am speaking with two voices. There is the public voice that talks about how I live despite the challenges of having Muscular Dystrophy, and there is the private voice, usually kept to myself, that occasionally expresses the almost overwhelming emotional pain that comes from living with this disease. More specifically, the pain from living with the never-ending loss this disease causes.
I realize plenty of people deal with extreme loss, sometimes far more severe than mine, but I can’t speak for them. I can only share what I experience: What it is like to be a person who strives on physical activity, whose entire life, profession, education—everything—has revolved around being active, but whose body is genetically programmed to progressively whither away.
For people with diseases like FSHD, there is no sudden loss or traumatic event followed by a period of some recovery. No matter how much I train, how well I eat, what medications I take—no matter what, until they invent a cure, I will continue to loose muscle, and therefore the ability to experience many of the activities I love. Activities like surfing.
Recently a friend shaped a surfboard for me as sort of a last-hope board: very long, wide, and thick with a lot of rocker and deep concaves through the bottom. It’s designed to catch waves easily, make late drops, and be easy to paddle back out.
Today was my third day attempting to surf that board. So far I have not been able to catch an open-faced wave before it breaks. Occasionally I’ve been able catch the white water of a broken wave, slowly work to my feet, and ride the crumbly soft inside leftovers. I am by far the slowest paddler in the lineup.
I’ve been surfing for almost 25 years. Now I’m reduced to groveling for scraps. In the lineup, the people who don’t know me immediately dismiss me as a beginner. The rest occasionally give me charity waves and graciously pretend not to be bummed when I miss them. In my mind—and, to be honest, in many of my dreams at night—I’m still capable of surfing as well as ever. In reality I’m barely surfing at all.
Today when I was getting out of the water, the first thing I noticed was how unusually heavy my board felt to me. As I walked up the rocks and headed toward the long staircase up the cliff, I was literally stopped in my tracks by what I saw. A small pool of water was reflecting light onto an indentation at the bottom of the sandstone cliff.
Drips of water were falling into the pool from long, narrow streaks of vegetation on the cliff face. With each drip, the reflected light danced in electric waves across the textured wall of gray, brown, and green. The air tasted salty, charged, and clean. The sun was warm on my neck. The wind gently brushed my cheek.
The rocks looked so strong. Peaceful. Perfect. Content. Beautiful. Emotions started flowing through me, almost violently, as though layers of crust were being peeled back. As though I was being stripped of all the pain that was smothering the surfer at the core.
First I felt extreme depression, almost despair, that I was losing strength and likely the physical ability to experience things like this. Then I immediately realized that, in a way, I was becoming more like the rocks, like I was dying, loosing the ability to separate myself from the earth through movement. That was OK with me. The thought of dying and becoming a part of something so pure and beautiful felt right.
But then I realized I am already a part of those rocks. And the salty air I was breathing, the water dripping from my hair, the light reflecting off the ponds. I am literally all of that, and all of that is a part of me.
I realized surfing is not about your ability to maneuver a board, but rather it is about how completely you can experience a moment. The rest is crust.
Outside has offered me the chance to write these blogs. I choose to write without self-censor. Without intent to inspire but rather just to express. I’m writing because these thoughts are begging to be let out. Because I’m screaming within, like a captured animal slamming itself against the walls of its cage. I’m the Chief Inspiration Officer? Bullshit. I’m just like you, embracing life as an unbridled ride, as endless moments to be discovered and experienced. Stay tuned…"

3.22.2011

Effective Communication

Effective Communication:
The concrete actions we are
observing that are affecting our well-being. 
How we are feeling in relation
to what we are observing
The needs, values, desires, etc.
that are creating our feelings
The concrete actions we request
in order to enrich our lives.
First, we observe what is actually happening in a situation: what are we observing others saying or doing that is either enriching or not enriching our life? The trick is to be able to articulate this observation without introducing any judgment or evaluation—to simply say what people are doing that we either like or don’t like.
Four components of NVC:
1. observation
2. feeling
3. needs
4. request
Next, we state how we feel when we observe this action: are we hurt, scared, joyful, amused, irritated, etc.? And thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified. An awareness of these three components is present when we use NVC to clearly and honestly express how we are.
This fourth component addresses what we are wanting from the other person that would enrich our lives or make life more wonderful for us.

3.19.2011

The Social Animal, The New Yorker.

a brilliant piece of writing here...it's lengthy but worth it. A funny, sexy, quirky perspective of human behavior. 

"Throughout his life, Harold had a superior ability to feel what others were feeling. He didn’t dazzle his teachers with academic brilliance, but, even in kindergarten, he could tell you who in his class was friends with whom; he was aware of social networks. Scientists used to think that we understand each other by observing each other and building hypotheses from the accumulated data. Now it seems more likely that we are, essentially, method actors who understand others by simulating the responses we see in them. When Harold was in high school, he could walk around the cafeteria and fall in with the unique social patterns that prevailed in each clique. He could tell which clique tolerated drug use or country-music listening and which didn’t. He could tell how many guys a girl could hook up with and not be stigmatized. In some groups, the number was three; in others seven. Most people assume that the groups they don’t belong to are more homogeneous than the groups they do belong to. Harold could see groups from the inside...
By making a gesture, people help produce an internal state. Harold and Erica licked their lips, leaned forward in their chairs, glanced at each other out of the corners of their eyes, and performed all the other tricks of unconscious choreography that people do while flirting. Erica did the head cant women do to signal romantic interest, a slight tilt of the head that exposes the neck. Then, there was the hair flip: she raised her arms to adjust her hair and heaved her chest into view. She would have been appalled if she had seen herself in a mirror at that moment."


3.16.2011

Babies Wanted

babies wanted :) The University of San Diego has a new M.Ed. Program which offers a specialization in Montessori Education from birth to six years of age. Graduate students need to observe a baby younger than 9 weeks as part of their program. Baby would need to be less than 9 weeks old during the period from 3/21-3/25 and/or 4/8-4/29. Contact Nasreen Yazdani 619-260-4298 Montessori Education Specialization.

3.11.2011

Little Boys Need Comfort

Little Boys Need Comfort And Support When Their Emotions Threaten To Overwhelm Them

09 Mar 2011  
The way you react to your two-year-old's temper tantrums or clinginess may lead to anxiety, withdrawal and behavior problems down the road, and the effect is more pronounced if the child is a boy who often displays such negative emotions as anger and social fearfulness, reports a new University of Illinois study.

"Young children, especially boys, may need their parents' help working through angry or fearful emotions. If you punish toddlers for their anger and frustration or act as if their fears are silly or shameful, they may internalize those negative emotions, and that may lead to behavior problems as they get older," said Nancy McElwain, a U of I associate professor of human development.

McElwain and lead author Jennifer Engle examined data gleaned from observations of 107 children who were part of a larger study of children's social and emotional development and parent-child relationships.

When the children were 33 months old, mothers and fathers were asked how often their child had displayed anger or social fearfulness in the last month. The parents were also asked how they would respond to the child's negative emotions in several hypothetical situations.

"We investigated two types of parental reactions to children's negative emotions. One type of reaction was to minimize their child's emotions; for example, a parent might say, 'Stop behaving like a baby.' Another type of reaction was punishing the child for these emotions. A parent might send the child to his room for crying or being upset, or take away a toy or a privilege," Engle said.

When children reached 39 months, parents answered questionnaires about their child's current behavior problems.

Moms and dads who were apt to punish their kids for their fears and frustrations were more likely to have children who were anxious and withdrawn at the time of the second assessment. And the effect was especially pronounced for boys who had been identified as having a high incidence of negative emotions at 33 months, she said.

"When parents punish their toddlers for becoming angry or scared, children learn to hide their emotions instead of showing them. These children may become increasingly anxious when they have these feelings because they know they'll face negative consequences," Engle said.

The researchers are intrigued with the finding that little boys were especially affected when they're not supported during times of fear or frustration.

"In our culture, boys are discouraged from expressing their emotions. If you add parental punishment to these cultural expectations, the outcome for boys who often experience negative emotions may be especially detrimental," Engle said.

According to the researchers, parents play an important role in helping children learn how to regulate and express their emotions. This study, which gathered responses from both mothers and fathers, adds to a growing body of work that suggests that both parents are important in this process, McElwain said.

"When children are upset, it's better if you can talk with them and help them work through their emotions rather than sending them to their room to work through their feelings on their own. Young children, especially little boys who are prone to feeling negative emotions intensely, need your comfort and support when their emotions threaten to overwhelm them," Engle said.

Notes:

This study will be published in the May issue of Social Development.

Source:
Phyllis Picklesimer
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

3.05.2011

Are you Mothering Your Partner?


How to Start that Heart-to-Heart
By Helen Worster, MFT

Congratulations on your new daughter. A baby certainly changes the dynamics in a marriage. New moms often feel overwhelmed until, at some point, they realize that you can’t do it all and you have to let go of some things. New dads often doubt their capabilities as fathers, and they often feel unsure of just how to be supportive. Rather than deal with these emotions and uncertainties, some men continue to look outside themselves for confidence with familiar activities.
You are on the right path to solving this situation by suggesting that you both talk about your expectations and feelings. To have a satisfying, successful discussion, create a time when both of you are fairly rested and can refrain from blame. You might start by asking questions that you both answer, with the understanding that neither of you will respond with negative comments. Such questions might include:
           -  How do you feel about the changes in your lives since the baby?
         -  What were your expectations of how you would be as a mother/father?
         -  What did you expect the other to do in terms of baby care, household chores,
            and working outside the home?
         -  How do you have time with the baby, for each other and individual pursuits?
Really listen to each other with an open mind, try to brainstorm ways to resolve conflicts, and then negotiate solutions. And always strive to work as a team. Parenthood is a challenging journey—but it’s exciting, too! And maintaining a team mentality is essential.

Helen Worster is a marriage and family therapist in private practice in midtown Sacramento. You can learn more at CounselingCalifornia.com.