Monthly Archives: January 2008

Dr, Von Dithausen – A Dithclaimer

It has come to my attention that some people appear to be taking the utterings of Dr. Von D a little too seriously and, dare I say it, expecting them to exhibit some form of logical thought progression. (Waves at Dr. Hrys Hones, he of the steel-trap mind and sharp wit!) I would therefore ask the reader to be aware of the following factors:

a) Dr. Von D is not a qualified Doctor. She is, in fact, not any kind of doctor because she is not REAL.
b) Anything said to originate from the mind of this person in fact is the creation of Dr Von D’s creator i.e. me. Thus, by nature, it is going to be more closely related to the half-baked, semi-thought-out utterings of a deranged mind than any form of true scientific hypothesis.
c) Apparant anomalies may arise.

To clarify that which may have been understood as a licence for hedonism in my previous entry, I did not actually say that the "ABSOLUTE top priority of life is to spend a reasonable amount of time… looking after the self". Also, I certainly did not mean to suggest that this self-care should be at the expense of communion with God. Evidently, taking my words out of the context of who I am and why I blog could cause this conclusion to be drawn, but it was not intended to be read in this way. For me, personally (and this is after all a blog, thus only a personal point of view) "looking after myself" includes spending time in prayer and Bible reading. This helps me to ‘realign’ myself spiritually, so that I relate better to the rest of life.

Naturally as Christians, our first allegience is, and should only be, to God. However, I was pressed out of the mould of "My personal welfare comes at the absolute bottom of the list of priorites and if I am enjoying myself then I cannot possibly be pleasing God"* brand of Christians. I do not think I am alone in this, in the Wiblogsphere or the wider world, so I use my alter ego as a way of dispensing some small antidote to this way of thinking. Obviously, those of a lazy, selfish and hedonsitic bent do not need to hear this, but I fear that there are more desperately weary, self-sacrificial Christians out there than there are selfish couch potatoes!

*A clarificatin for Chas – this is the perverse logic behind the "I will not do this for X because I enjoy it" way of thinking. It is not that I fear doing something kind for X because I may enjoy it regardless of whether they will like it or not. It is more that I think my enjoyment of something may actually disqualify it as being worthwhile, regardless of the fact that it may well be a blessing for another. Perhaps this thinking is far too twisted for more sane minds than my own!

Prescription no.4) Give yourself a gift

Currently, I am giving myself a gift. I am taking a break from the seemingly endless round of chores, errands and duties that go with running a life (and a home) to write a blog entry. I will then go and ‘noodle about’ for a bit on the web to turn off from the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ for a while.

When Dr. Von Dithausen first prescribed the ‘give yourself a gift’ method of therapy, the emphasis was more on such things as buying a new CD or nice pair of shoes for yourself. Whilst that still stands, especially for those who usually spend money on other people but rarely on themselves, there are now additional aspects to be considered.

Other commodities that we often spend on others, but less frequently keep for our own benefit, are time, energy and emotional generosity (including pampering!). We need to be giving ourselves gifts of these types, too, possibly even more so than the monetary kind. By simply turning off for a while, doing something just for ourselves (without the guilt) and/or ‘cutting ourselves some slack’ when in a difficult place mentally, we atually become more robust people.

It may help to think of running our lives like managing a bank account. If you are always paying out, but rarely paying in and never saving, you soon end up in the red. After a while, even your day-to-day expenditure becomes hard, eventually to the point of bordering on the impossible if steps are not taken to rectify the deficit. Whilst we all have varying amounts of money, energy and even ability to ‘be kind to ourselves’ (tho this one can be improved upon!), we are all given the same amount of time. It makes sense to apportion the 24 hours per day we each recieve to ensure that the other raw materials of life are used most efficiently. Surely, then, the top priority would be to spend a reasonable amount of time to looking after the chief time-manager, so that they are more likely make wise decisions about the rest of life? And yes, wiblog reader, that means you!

Is this wise?

The above question is:
a) the title of this blog entry.
b) the title of my first blog entry on the Boots ‘Change One Thing’ community website. I have joined as a motivational tool for getting fitter and healthier. However, I fear I will spend most of my time recording my failure to keep to the target thingies on my health planner, the rest of it being spent giving encouraging comments to others on the network. That is when I am not on the Wibsite, of course.
c) related to the fact that I am just about to state that the Npower chappie who came to the door just now was Rather Cute, in a David Tennant-ish kind of way. The dubious wisdom of making this statement is linked to the fact that Husband reads my blog. (All other readers: please avert eyes. Husband: Luv yoooooo! Am off to cook your tea now… 🙂

3) Invest in those you treasure

The original inspiration for part 3 of the prescription was taking time to visit the Nephews at their sports day. I discovered that spending a few hours supporting the boys as they competed in a number of events, many of them daft, paid unexpected dividends for me in terms of the vicarious feel-good-factor. A basic summary of this part of the prescription is the idea that doing something thoughtful for another person can give you a great buzz yourself. A case of ‘when I lift you, I am lifted.’

Only this morning, in a time of reflection, it occurred to me that I sometimes neglect the little things I could do to bring a little sunshine into someone’s day. I asked myself why this was, and came to the conclusion that it was for a combination of three reasons.
The first of these, if I am honest, is that I tend to think there is something ‘more important’ I should be doing, that requires my time and effort. For example, I could call a friend I have not spoken to for a while, or I could clean yet more of my house (the words painting and Forth Bridge come to mind). Under normal circumstances, the cleaning tends to win, sadly.
The second reason is my assessment of the worth or value of the phone call, or whatever. My reasoning would go something like this: Well, its only a brief conversation, what difference would it make to Friend X? Anyway, that floor has needed scrubbing for far too long… As it is, personal experience tells me that an unexpected phone call can provide the lift I need at times, or just break up the usual sort of day I am having.
The third and final reason for not isvesting in those I treasure is, I admit, somewhat perverse – I enjoy it! The act of going the extra mile, or even metre (yard?), for a friend can often be a joy in itself. However, im my assessment of the world, this can somehow invalidate it as a useful way to spend my time. The idea that all worthy things are somehow costly and painful, and if you are having fun then it is somehow a waste of your time! I DID say it was perverse!

So, there you have it, part 3. It is good to spend time with and do nice things for those you love and treasure. Also, if you enjoy yourself in the process, this is perfectly okay, legitimate and acceptable.

Right, I’m off to phone a friend or two now…

Dr. Von Dithausen Returns

Some of you may remember Dr. Von Dithausen’s Sevenfold Prescription for Health and Wholeness from, er, a veeeeeery long time ago. For those of you that don’t, here it is again:

1) Lift the lid on your inner kid
2) Take time to play
3) Invest in those you treasure
4) Give yourself a gift
5) Permit unproductivity, encourage creativity
6) Empty the bin, fill the larder
7) Share it all about

You may also remember that after expanding upon the first two of her reccommendations (Aug 06, if you wish to look), the good Doctor disappeared. I am happy to say that she has now returned from her long sabbatical, teaching life-skills to the Oomagoolie tribe of pygmy eskimoes, and is here to share her unique brand of wisdom with you once more.

I, for one, am very happy about this as I realised over the Christmas period that I had forgotten much of her basic tenets for life. So, I stand aside awhile and give the floor to Dr. Von Dithasen, life coach to the poor and obscure.