Hi, I’m Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, soul nourishing romantic women’s fiction with light paranormal elements. My stories show you what life could be like if you had a place like The Circle where you are unconditionally accepted, supported and loved. And where, with this support, you make choices to overcome the darkest nights and choose love and light.
Finally the temperatures are dropping (or rising if you live in the southern hemisphere). Seasons are changing. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest tree leaves are beginning to change color. Fall blooms of asters and chrysanthemums provide color to the gardens I pass on my walks.
October also marks the beginning of Yom Kippur. Special days are marked for celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, Diwali and Halloween aka All Hallow’s Eve, originally Samhain.
The Blog Queens thought Things That Go Bump in the Night was a fun topic or prompt for October. I’m looking forward to reading how what the Genre-istas come up with as they explored their views on Things That Go Bump in the Night. And I will certainly be checking in every day to see who, if anyone, will write about any of the other holidays or holy days celebrated this month.
For me, I’m wandering a bit off topic.
Having survived rape and domestic violence as well as worked in areas where there is an element of physical danger, I’ve learned to trust my body. Not unconditionally because it can still signal danger when there isn’t any. However, whenever I sense my own personal warning system I pay rapt attention to where I am, who I’m with, where I am and I quickly assess how real or maybe the right word is immediate the danger is.
There was a time when I read psychological thrillers and also watch movies with that theme. Through them I learned how twisted, devious and horrific our creative minds can become. However, the lessons I learned that have kept me safe were from the trainings I did through the Glasser Institute.What helped me stay safer was gaining a better understanding of the people with whom I was interacting. Dr. Willliam Glasser, M.D., founder of The William Glasser Institute,International whose US organization is The Glasser Institute for Choice Theory– US, teaches that we are internally motivated, we want our world and the people in it, to behave in a certain way.
Here are the concepts that helped me the most:
All Behavior is Purposeful
All Behavior is Purposeful
At the time we act, there is something we want that we don’t have. It could be a relationship. It could be control. It could be happiness. It could be freedom. It could be safety. Our choice, in that moment, is what we believe or at least hope will get us that which we want.
However, for most people who do not believe we are internally motivated, that means “making” someone else do something they are not yet doing.
All Behavior is Total Behavior
All Behavior is a Total Behavior that has four (4) components. What we are physically doing. What we are thinking while we are doing it. How we feel emotionally while we are doing and thinking. How our body’s physiology is functioning in that moment of doing/thinking/feeling.
An interesting experiment is to dissect a particular behavior into those four (4) components. I’m sitting and typing (doing) and thinking about the words on the screen. In this moment my body is engaged in sitting and typing, those muscles and tendons that allow me to sit and type at work. And also, when I pay attention, there is a level of consternation. Am I saying what I want to say? Is there a better way to say this? Etc.
We’d say my Total Behavior is Writing. And that is made up of the components of sitting, typing, thinking muscles/tendons involved, and my emotion is consternation. Once I’m satisfied with my examples, my message, my Total Behavior changes because while I may still be sitting and typing, my thinking is “yes, that’s what I want to say” and the level of consternation shifts to one of satisfaction.
An Early Warning System: Danger is near
What does this have to do with anything?
By paying attention to all four components of my total behavior when feeling threatened, I was able to determine what I was thinking while feeling threatened and even more important, how feeling threatened manifested in my body.
In my body that sense of threat shows up as a twitchy, itchy sense that runs up and down the upper part of my spine (neck to mid-back). I no longer discount it as I did early on much to my detriment. Now, no matter when or where, I pay rapt attention to what’s going on around me. Where is my escape route? Who is a resource? And also, is the sense of threat real?
Those realistic movies and books and television shows? I intellectually know I’m not in actual, real danger – however, my internal safety system clangs loud and clear to “pay attention” “danger”.
Who needs that sense of fear, unease? Obviously some people do or we wouldn’t have intense frightening movies, books, shows, etc. I’ve read several theories about why people are drawn to horror, etc. And while it isn’t something I’m drawn towards, it isn’t my job to say no one should have access to that form of entertainment.
For me, I’m sticking to the HEA of romance.
However, if that tingly, twitchy, itchy sense appears, I stop what I’m doing and check to confirm all doors and windows are locked, alarm system is on, etc. And if I’m out and about, I do plot out my “escape” route and make sure I’ve my car keys in a protection hold in my hand.
Does any of that guarantee nothing bad will ever happen to me? No. I’ve been told often enough by people in security and law enforcement that if someone is determined to do me harm, there is no fool proof way to completely protect myself. However, if prepared, I can eliminate myself as an “easy target” and more than likely limit any damage and hopefully survive to live another day.
Learn more about my non-fiction book: Staying Sane in a Crazy World, provides you with a template to create your Personal Staying Sane Plan to help you through the challenging times.
You can find all of my books at your favorite e-book vendor. Be sure to ask your local library if you’d prefer to read my books through that resource. If you want a print copy? Ask your local independent bookstore to order it for you. If you are in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, my books are carried at Jan’s in Beaverton and Arte Soleil in SE Portland.
Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshley.net
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