Mental Help Net
Wellness and Personal Development
Basic InformationLatest NewsBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook Reviews
Therapist Search
Find a Therapist:
 (USA/CAN only)

Use our Advanced Search to locate a therapist outside of North America.

Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Weight Loss
Emotional Resilience

Mark Gorkin, LICSWMark Gorkin, LICSW
A Blog about reducing Stress in our lives.

Offending Rules, Bending Rules and Upending Rulers While Defending the Rule of Life

Mark Gorkin, LCSW ("The Stress Doc") Updated: Aug 29th 2013

Offending Rules

A powerful group makes subordinates stoop
One clan feels entitled the other belittled.
And free-floating anger may well signal danger
As "us" in the trenches or at their work benches
Tend to cower or glower at "them" in the tower
Who never touch ground nor walk around
Asking for ideas quite different from theirs.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
When survival means trust, give and take is a must!

Bending Rules and Upending Rulers

Here is an adage to manage such damage:
To be a man of your word means others are heard!
A great way to engage, flex emotional muscle.
To be viewed as a sage, spread the voice in the huddle.
Get on the same page through heartfelt rebuttal.
Defuse smoldering rage with healing humor most subtle.
Wake up…share the stage; there's no time for rehearsal.
When the un-heard become a herd your domain's "going postal!"
(And the Doc knows postal stress having consulted for the USPS.)

So consider these words, spiced with the absurd:
A roomful of nurses were radiating curses
Why were they distraught? A speedy retort:
From all-knowing docs they get little respect
In their world of hard knocks, they must genuflect.
Then the nurse chief drumming tribal grief:
Does Top Dog have our back when we're under attack?
How can one self-defend when you must always bend
To the will of those…alphas lacking real clothes?
What they wanted to say: Go ahead, make my day!

Once again on the mind-racing spot - how to untangle this pressurized knot
As hungry ears and eyes impatiently await a most doubtful prize.
While the scene it was troubling, brain cells they were bubbling…
Then, all of a sudden, a bolt of intuition.
How about you declare with an unassuming air:
"Today I may not be my usual me."
And when the doc gives a skeptical look
Say, matter of fact, "I hurt my back."
Now when he groans, with a haughty tone
"How did you do that?"...Try a shrewd tack:
(Though some will misconstrue being "shrewd" for a shrew.)
"I must confess, it's but a mere guess
And I fervently hope that it's not my fate…Hmm
I've been bending over backwards for too many of late.
But do not be fearful; I'll be much more careful
Of what does and does not get thrown on my plate!"

Now, on the double the nurses roared their approval.
Frustration was vented, their standing less dented
The issue of status was put on hiatus
As now group invective bowed to one self-directive:
A show of integrity mixed with solidarity
Softens the blow of "almighty authority."

Defending the Rule of Life

A moral ending most fitting:
Though flora and fauna are diverse in stature
In fact, repetition is the law of nature.**
But, when it comes to grappling with strife
It's not always the strongest who last the longest
Or even one with the biggest knife.

Wrestling with an uncommon bind
Survivors have common traits well-aligned:
What sets the fittest apart - first, a brave open heart:
They don't shrink in horror when facing a mirror
Nor shriek in terror when confronted with error
And over time, despite practice designed
Still embrace the chance to dance deviance.
It's the problems they delve that help them evolve.
As mentioned before, let me underscore
Repetition and nature, like birds of a feather
By instinctive law are wedded together.
But Darwin's adaptors, unlike lumbering raptors
(Remember, even T-Rex is now merely an ex)
You'll so often find when caught in the grind
Display a most agile, novel-seeking mind.
With mutation and crisis as natural midwife
Variation, itself, is the main rule of life!**

** From Adam Gopnik, Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, 2009; "Repetition is the law of nature but variation is the rule of life."


Mark Gorkin, LCSW (

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc , acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs. Check out his popular website -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Follow us on Twitter!

Find us on Facebook!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Powered by CenterSite.Net