Category Archives: B. Marty Barry

Chair

(Don’t) Sit!

Today’s post comes from therapist, personal coach and mass communicator B. Marty Barry. He’s an online relationship manager, a bottomless well of wellness, and although he’s never met you, he cares about you very, very, very much.

Dear Reader,

I was thinking about you yesterday when word came from the experts that sitting too much is a serious problem for public health.

I know sitting has a bad reputation. And of course I’m concerned, because in my day-to-day work as a therapist, I sit quite a lot. My clients are in even worse shape – they’re completely horizontal for hours and hours while I listen to them talk about their problems and neuroses – many of which have to do with not getting enough exercise and a chronic fear of fitness! So when researchers start to criticize sitting, it’s hard not to feel singled out.

But I wonder if there’s isn’t something else behind this – a smoke screen of sorts. Because I can’t help noticing that the world is essentially run by people who make their livings in the sitting professions – lawyers, bankers, politicians, etc.

Who stands all day? Laborers, cashiers, school teachers, and the greeter at Wal-Mart. Even baby-sitters sit less than the people who make the decisions that shape our lives, and “sit” is in the name of their profession! I rest my case.

I’m not saying the sitting professionals have it easy. Can you imagine how many years a politician has to perch on a folding chair in meetings and hearings and conferences before he or she can have a shot at becoming president? No wonder they campaign by standing on “stumps”. They’re desperate to get their heads up where they might smell a fresh breeze every so often.

Sitting down is hard, but if you do it right, it pays.

So I say sit as much as you like. And parents, teach your children to sit as well. If your goal for them is to be trim, healthy, athletic and poor, then by all means disparage sedentary work and roust them out into the sunshine. But if you want them to have power and influence, get them started early sitting at a conference table or a dais, and teach them to make the kind of deals that guarantee they will come out ahead. Then someday they’ll have the money to hire a financially impoverished personal trainer who never learned to sit.

That’s not an order, just a helpful suggestion – offered here because although I’ve never met you, I care about you very, very, very much.

B. Marty Barry

How much time do you spend sitting?

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Soft_cone

Big Softies

Today’s post comes from personal counselor and mass communicator B. Marty Barry. He’s an online relationship manager, and a bottomless well of wellness!

Yes, that’s what I do. I work as an unseen online intermediary using only words and emoticons to help people I have never met as they struggle to acknowledge each other’s humanity.

And yes, I see the irony in that job description.

But what I’ve learned is that the world is a very troubled place and it does not provide a happy environment for hard line extremists. And when I say “extremists” I’m talking about those who won’t budge concerning matters of conscience or the time of day or personal morality or the color of the sky or closely held beliefs or their harsh opinions of the habits of others or just about anything, really. They are steadfast in their opposition to everything that is not already a part of their value system.

And if you think you recognize someone in that description, please understand that I am not permitted to reveal identifiable details about any of my clients, no matter where they live in the world.

Soft_cone

And just because I know a thing or two about extremists, that does not I am working with a group of Taliban Commanders who have accumulated a little money and plan on opening a string of political activism and ice cream salons called Hard Lines and Soft Serve Cones and Drones. Or that they dream of expanding it to Florida by 2018.

All I’m saying is that radicals and immovable scolds are people too. That’s being proven right now by all the kinder, gentler talk coming from Pope Francis and Iran’s new prime minister.

Which just goes to show you that one of the nicest gifts a person can receive in any line of work is to have had a harsh predecessor. If the person you replaced was widely known as a party pooper, they can help you look instantly better to almost everyone!

And to all you wild eyed fire-breathers out there, keep up the good work and thanks a bunch from the rest of us! You know who you are! And although I (maybe) have never met you, I do care about you very, very, very much.

Are you a toughie, or a softie?

Friends Forever

Today’s post comes from living and loving expert and relationships thought leader B. Marty Barry.

Dear Readers,

I want to assure you that although I’ve never met you, I deeply care about each and every one of you very, very much! This simple act of caring is so powerful and life-changing, I’ve always been surprised it doesn’t get more attention at the highest levels of society – particularly among our governmental leadership.

But now I’m encouraged to see this changing with the latest news out of Washington that some national agencies are collecting data from our phone calls, Facebook posts and Google searches. I see it as a welcome sign that government has finally realized there is something crucial missing from so many lives – an expression of interest!

So many of us simply want to be acknowledged.

Listening = Caring
Listening = Caring

Oh, some presidents have said “I feel your pain”. Well, at least one said it. Critics poo-poo that kind of sentiment, trying to minimize the significance as a cheap gesture by saying it’s “just words”. But words are powerful! And it matters when we know someone is paying attention to us! Every day I see heartbroken, invisible people who want their voices to be heard, their posts to be read and their slideshows viewed! They’re desperate for someone to care.

In the coming days, as details continue to leak out about what was information was collected and by whom, I hope we discover that it went beyond the simple stockpiling of metadata and that someone, anyone, in the Intelligence Community or the Justice Department or the White House had the courage to simply reach out and “friend” someone. Or anyone. Or everyone!

In fact, with unemployment still so high, why don’t the NSA and the FBI hire young people to “friend” ordinary overlooked Americans, suspicious gun lovers, rowdy foreign nationals and even suspected terrorists? It needn’t be dangerous, since no one has to ever be in the same room together anymore.

And a simple “Whassup?” can uncover worlds of information.

You can spy on people and learn a few things, but I’ve discovered they will tell you absolutely everything you want to know (and then some) if you simply put an arm around their shoulder and ask!

Your for-always friend,
B. Marty Barry

Would you make a good spy?

Happy Thoughts

Today’s post comes from Trail Baboon’s Living and Loving correspondent B. Marty Barry.

I just want to take a moment here to congratulate everyone who hates hates hates hates winter. You know who you are – you’re the person who sees the months of November through March as a miserable ordeal that must be endured.

I’ve been having some extra sessions lately with my clients who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I’m more-than-usually attuned to the plight of the light-starved and warmth-hungry among us. The cold, the ice, the darkness, the Super Bowl – all of it is an affront to your senses.

Here’s the good news. You’ve almost cleared January!

January is the worst month of the year by far. All of January’s excitement happens at the beginning and then it’s dreary and painful and endless. January is ten times longer and fifty times nastier than any other month.

If the months of the year were all assigned a planet, January would be Jupiter. Big and cold, heavy with gravity and gas, marred by an unsightly blot that turns out to be a permanent storm. Blah! No wonder people find it oppressive.

Well all that awfulness is about to come to an end – tomorrow is the first of February! February is a giddy sprint by comparison – it’s groundhogs, hearts, presidents and kaput. Blink and it’s over. Then we’re into March, the leprechauns come out, and suddenly the end is in sight.

So smile because it’s January 31st! The end is nigh. It’s true we still have to endure the Super Bowl, but by Monday afternoon that will be forgotten and then it’s clear sailing! Before you know it we’ll have April flowers, May showers, June blooms, July fireworks, August fairs, September leaves …

But I’m getting too far ahead of myself. My message today is to enjoy this moment and smile, even if it happens to be horribly, perversely cold! And if you can’t smile, that’s OK too. Maybe your face is frozen. Maybe you’ve discovered that buying more assault weapons doesn’t perk you up the way you hoped it would. I’m not here to judge or to impose anything on you – I just want to cheer you to the furthest extent that you can be cheered, and not a single smile more.

But if you’re having trouble coping, think about Jim Nabors. He just got married to the love of his life and he’s 82! Doesn’t that warm your heart? His too-long wait for a change in status has finally come to an end. He also lives in Hawaii, but try not to think about that part of it. But if you do anyway and you’re still sad, remember that you’re not a failure. Your seasonal malaise may be justified but it doesn’t define you.

Not in my eyes, anyway. Because although I’ve never met you, I care about you very, very, very much.

Your friend and (I hope) confidant,
B. Marty Barry

What makes you happy when you know it’s finally over?

A Riveting Romp Of A Read!

Todays post comes from Trail Baboon’s living and loving correspondent, a man who is a bottomless well of wellness, B. Marty Barry.

I was scandalized … SCANDALIZED! … to read this NY Times article about the for-pay book review business. It turns out there are people who will say nice things about books in online reviews without really reading those books!

They do this as part of a financial arrangement to “legitimize” the writer in the eyes of potential readers. This is one of the few places left in the world where journalists can make a little money – inventing the kind of promotional blurbs they used to disdain! Oh how far we have fallen!

Each One is a Shattering Work Of Genius!

Normally I’m all in favor of praise, but I think this is a very dangerous trend for everyone who might venture into the unregulated internet looking for a little validation. And we are all seeking some of that – the sweet nectar of positive comments! As one of the “experts” in the Times article said, “Nearly all human beings have unrealistically positive self-regard.” But it is fragile and needs constant support.

Before long, it won’t be just book reviews. It will be personal remarks of all kinds that are for sale. Such as:

“Clyde is a perceptive man – a genius and a scholar who is under-appreciated by those who could most benefit from his wisdom – the indifferent mob that cannot see greatness when it is in their midst.”

And …

“Barbara may physically be in Robbinsdale, but her intellect knows no bounds and her influence ought to be valued by the famous and the mighty. There is nothing beyond her understanding, and no problem that would not yield to her commonsense analysis.”

I say these things from the heart, but a person with very little writing talent could invent such compliments in minutes, and you the reader would be none the wiser.

I feel personally and professionally threatened by this. As a therapist, I have to help my clients see themselves clearly by guiding them through a discussion of their good qualities and some of their habits that are, quite frankly, rotten. But why would anyone seeking self-knowledge come to me for the brutal truth when they could just as easily go to a professional flatterer for a comfortable lie?

Of course the truth is much more useful than empty praise in the long run, just as brussel sprouts are better for you than potato chips, but guess which has the most shelf space at your local supermarket? And for that matter, how can I even believe the positive things I hear about brussel sprouts? Maybe someone is building them up for a financial reward.

I’m afraid this all may lead to a global outbreak of Midwesterner’s Syndrome – an infectious condition where the brain cannot accept a compliment, but must always, ALWAYS give credence to the most negative available assessment because it feels true.

Imagine it. Lutheran farmers, everywhere.

I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment. But please don’t try to cheer me. I want to believe you, though I’m pretty sure I can’t.

Can you give us a few kind words for the dust jacket?

Unleash the F.O.E.S. Within!

Today’s post comes from Trail Baboon’s Living and Loving correspondent and a man who is a bottomless well of wellness – B. Marty Barry.

Greetings to all my friends struggling against the disappointments that life sometimes brings us – but especially to those 21 select attendees whose feet were burned at a “fire walking” event by motivational speaker Tony Robbins in California last week.

Thousands got charged up by Robbins’ talk inside the convention center, and some then went to a park outside where twelve beds of hot coals had been set up and stoked to more than a thousand degrees to test their individual power, focus and resolve!

Finding the nerve to make your feet go where your brain says “OH MY GOD NO DON’T DO THAT!” is a key step in the “Unleash the Power Within” process that has made Robbins rich.

To quote Robbins’ website, the fire walk is a way to “discover how to break the unconscious fears that are holding you back. Once you start doing the impossible (or at least what you thought was impossible), you can conquer the other fires of your life with ease.”

Many successful participants say the fire walk is a “powerful moment” that helps them transform their lives.

Some academics say successful fire walking is a matter of physics, not attitude.

But for those 21 who were treated for burns and the 3 who went to the hospital, unfortunately no choice remains now but to be completely and forever ruled by those very same unconscious fears that they hoped Tony Robbins would banish.

I just want those people to know that living a fear-based life built around the expectation of failure is certainly no picnic, but it is possible to go on. Many, many people are guided by fear and still manage to lead productive lives. In fact, I have many clients who suffer from Fear Of Everything Syndrome, or F.O.E.S.

F.O.E.S. is not a clinically recognized condition. I made it up one day after I attended a Tony Robbins seminar and he convinced me that I was being held back by my reliance on other people to decide what maladies I’m allowed to treat. Once I started talking to my clients about F.O.E.S., many of them identified with it immediately. I didn’t even have to write a detailed explanation of symptoms – as soon as I said “Fear of Everything Syndrome”, they said “I’ve got that.”

Fear can be good and constructive and useful. It can preserve foot health, for one thing. Supremely confident Wall Street traders and investment bankers might have benefitted from an extra dose of fear back before the housing bubble burst. And fearful people also manage to achieve great things even though they are too frightened to get out in front and lead the parade. You’ve heard of being in the right place at the right time? Sometimes that right place is behind the crowd and the right time is after everyone has moved on!

Some of the world’s most accomplished people are terrified inside. We won’t name any names because they’d probably sue us for defamation – another instance where fear of losing all my money is probably a good thing – but next time you watch a rock star perform on TV or read about a sports star making millions or listen to a politician or pundit opine, imagine that they are not as confident as they seem and that their brains are really just a quivering mass of intimidated Jello.

It will make you feel better about yourself. At least you’re not facing the possibility of some steep losses in personal injury lawsuits, like Tony Robbins!

And remember, even though you may be a total loser and I’ve never, ever met you, I still care about you very, very much.

Only B. Marty Barry would see a case of almost four dozen smoldering feet as an opportunity to drum up some business. Perhaps he’s on to something, though. Promoting Fear Of Everything as a guiding principle to transform your life has probably not been tried before.

When has fear been a good thing for you?

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Today’s post comes from Trail Baboon’s Living and Loving correspondent and a man who is a bottomless well of wellness – B. Marty Barry.

Greetings to all my friends struggling against the relentless currents of life. I’m here to grace you with my wisdom about your misguided choices. And it just so happens my topic today is very current – what happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

That’s the exact same question famous talker Rush Limbaugh asked in the middle of his apology to Sandra Fluke this weekend, although I hesitate to call anything an apology when it asks such a question and also includes a mini-lecture.

Oh, how I wish Rush would become a client of mine! Our counseling appointments would be sublime. He would talk and talk and talk, and he’s incredibly rich, so scheduling another few hours on the couch would be no problem for him. I would listen and nod and murmur and take notes. He would never ask for a response of any kind from me, so I could be as blunt and straightforward as I want in my personal session notes.

If he ever did ask for an opinion, I would have some at the ready.

For instance, on his apology:

Apologies should be brief. One should not try to explain one’s self in an apology –just take responsibility and express remorse. That’s it. Job done. The only question I can think of that might be part of a decent apology is “what was I thinking?”

And what about that personal responsibility thing? I know Rush was thinking about sexual behavior, but there’s a lot of responsibility involved in choosing words too. And he DID admit to making some poor choices there.

Unfortunately our society has come to a place where some people are rewarded for saying the first dumb word that comes to mind just because it feels humorous and clever and good. And sometimes that’s all it is – a wacky, impulsive, irresponsible choice.

But on certain occasions something happens and a dumb word takes root and begins to grow. And as it grows, it turns into a living thing that must be fed, even if it wants to eat your job. You can’t turn your back on that – you have to reckon with it.

And yet some of these same thrill seekers think they can undo their language mistakes by using word contraceptives like “I chose the wrong words” and “I did not mean a personal attack” and so forth, basically covering their earlier statements with a thin, transparent sheath of something that sounds like regret.

The success rate for this technique is, at best, mixed. And word contraceptives should always be used BEFORE speaking, not afterwards.

The consequences can be severe, so be cautious when you feel the urge to start playing with words! Be discreet and take personal responsibility for what you say, especially when it comes to words about sex, because things can go south pretty rapidly.

And I probably shouldn’t have said it that way.

Time’s up! I think we got a lot done today. And please remember that although I’ve never met you, I do care about you very, very, very much.

What makes for an effective apology?