Cross Examine….and Win Em Over!

An attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of the case. Think of the volume of information the attorney needs to absorb. All data that comes into the case has to be analyzed.

Using intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, the attorney formulates and asks clear questions to elicit precise information in a fair and calm manner. This requires patience and and self-control, especially if you’re working on the spot!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present.  For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire.

It’s important to be familiar with rough courtroom conditions, especially when on the stand.

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but even more from recent successes.

I was the primary job placement specialist in my first court appearance many moons ago. The opposing attorney stabbed my body language…in an erroneous and made up way. I denied it and because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that.

A recent court case involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure. I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts. These help to some degree.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and memorize 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances, paying attention to what is most likely the heart of the matter, commonly being extent of occupational disability. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine.

The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will piece away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics, and the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I focus on matching people within their own world of work.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you had spent hours on or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great.

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My everyday work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time….and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven always did, I like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and water skiing….I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again!  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! My brother Steven would’ve loved it! I remember as children visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!) many moons ago with the family. I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! I always have a sip or two on July 17th (Budweiser is not my brand of beer) at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest!

I think about people who are daredevils and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares….or risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you. Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured.

I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a pearl that fell out off a ring from my finger as I was leaving my apartment. The pearl fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I had to go to work, but upon coming home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment until there ya go! Image result for pearl blackI found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! 

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonAn incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it……. Hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just want to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continue to assess and evaluate (there I go again!!!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation counseling.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics!

I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for).

Butterfly

6.  I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.

7.  I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).

8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony.

Stop9.  I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced.

10.  I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, It’s All Good Work!

I am glad my career is moving forward! I accept responsibility when providing forensic vocational services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness.

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

 

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door. Rabbit is not happy and help is needed. Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am willing to work on a team for better results!

Gopher

He pops out exclaiming “Somebody call for an expert?” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through. The team is successful and Pooh ends up on a happy place…filled with honey!

Honey! Yummy! 

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases.  I hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise.

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares.

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University on April 15, 2013, I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate which I did on August 15, 2014 . The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program is to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself, one who works to your fullest potential for your clients. One who truly cares about your client and one who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client. A Life Care Plan will help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   Are You a Passionate Attorney? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. A Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health.

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs that will last throughout their lifetime. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  • to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and those costs related;
  • to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and those costs related;
  • to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

Image result for quality of life

The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21
Life Care Plans
are developed by Certified Life Care Planners (CLCP), who are professionals in rehabilitation with advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases.

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on pursuing my website, which is mainly a relationship building, and read my blog writings. Please consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ today at 515-282-7753 to discuss your case.

I am here to help you help your clients!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Critiques & Rebuttals…Need One? Rebut No Matter What!

Vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written. I’ve written, critiqued and rebutted many reports.  I’m Here to Help! 

Image result for report images
I love to communicate
through the written word! How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Want help? Need a critique or a rebuttal?

Image result for nuts and bolts cartoonRebut No Matter What!

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report…Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Bull
This was my husband’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this line comes after results of testing that are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take……those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

Image result for testing cartoon

Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting? No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too!

Yes, I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing (which I love to do!)  Writing is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

Image result for writing

When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? Have you recently read (or tried to decipher) a report that doesn’t make sense?  I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this lengthy post!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Employment Discrimination and Help With a Litigation Fix!

As a vocational expert, I can help sort out the consequences of employment discrimination cases in many ways and from “both sides of the fence”. What does that phrase mean to you?  To me, it means I will be fully instrumental to help serve your client without falling off and hurting the case because I have a full grasp of what I’m on to. To accomplish this goal, I balance and use all my instincts and brain power….kinda like a cat!

Black Cat on FenceCat’s tails are instrumental in balance!

Cats’ tails serve as a counterbalance when cats walk on narrow spaces, such as fences. However, one of my felines from long ago, (Max 1987 – 2002) was a Manx, henceforth no tail but he was well able to manage cat life with his strong body shape in every way! I asked my vet, and yes, even cats with amputated tails have proven to re-learn how to balance.

Employment discrimination cases need plenty of proof and evidence. Loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment can be quantified pretty easily. Other issues are more difficult to assert. For example, if there is a claim the loss of job adversely impacts income and questions surface regarding economic realities, I can help with educating the individual on how to engage in a meaningful and productive job search, or I can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of a current job search. It is important to keep employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment in mind.

Further, I can help to determine the impact on earnings potential and perform a vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data such as ~

  • the number, types, and wage level of jobs available prior to the discriminatory action
  • vocational options following the discrimination or termination
  • local job availability and wages and benefits associated with those jobs

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer comments become helpful to sort out the nuances of the case. I’ll take a deep look at a behavior or situation that any reasonable person agrees would warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

  • Work performance and productivity
  • Attendance
  • Violation of work policies and rules
  • Dishonesty
  • Endangerment of health and safety*
  • Illegal conduct
  • Insubordination
  • Personality/attitude problems
  • Poor interaction with subordinates.

*If disability is involved in the case, under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title I of the ADA), I can assess for reasonableness and identify reasonable accommodations. Keep in mind I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment.

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk about your case. I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting! And if you like cats, let me know why. And if you don’t like ‘em, I’d really want to know why!

DudeCats have other unique advantages besides their beloved/not so loved personalities.

If falling (which doesn’t happen much based on my own personal cat ownership research) a cat’s head twists to inform the brain exactly how to restore alignment in a millisecond and a perfect landing is guaranteed!

16 Claws

 

If a cat falls from a porous surface, sixteen hooked claws do their work in an instant!

Do I have you more interested in cats or my work as a vocational expert!?!

Felix Feeling Loving 5-30-2010

Felix (2002 – 2015)

I very much miss my Felix. As mostly a cool outdoor cafe’ kitty, you were quite a lover! Felix shared his feline life with me through many a fix (both his and mine).

Keep me (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dangerous situations. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Working on a Litigated Case Involving Work & Disability? A Job Analysis Can Help!

Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? A Job Analysis can help in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering, evaluating, and recording objective data about a specific job. It evaluates what an employee does, why the work is done, how the work is done, results of the work, the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the work, and the context in which the work fits into the organizational structure.

JA

A Job Analysis is Helpful in Many Ways

A complete analysis involves visiting the job site to witness the job being performed and interviewing supervisors and employees about the accuracy of existing job descriptions. Consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance pertaining to physical demands.

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written and presented, there will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job.

JA Matrix

This understanding allows me as a vocational expert to make recommendations for reasonable accommodations and to testify to the efforts of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations.

Need help with a litigated case involving disability and work? I help with plaintiff/claimant and defense cases. Call me, Amy E. Botkin, today for a free 15 minute consultation.

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@msn.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

The Peacock: Poem, Feathers and Symbolism in My Life

The Peacock

Peacock at Blank Park Zoo 05/21/2006
Peacock at Blank Park Zoo 05/21/2006

written by Amy E. Botkin 1/24/15 CRHP Retreat

Look past the strutting and into the beauty. As the morning begins, we praise. The sun shines through the multicolored stained glass. We reflect on our journey through life. Our hearts flutter at joy in such holy surroundings. The mixing of colors, teal, green, yellow, blue….they glow, spread, encompass….our hearts, our faith.

Peacock at Full Glory!
Peacock at Full Glory!

Today We Renew!

 

 

 

 

 

The symbolic meaning of the peacock From Wiki Answers.com: Peacock feathers have been used for healing for tens of thousands of years in every culture throughout time. They are said to carry Spiritual healing energy that can be used to assist people seeking balance and harmony in their lives. In Hinduism the peacock is associated with Lakshmi, who is a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.

I read a writer’s analogy of why she is so drawn to the peacock: ‘It’s because of its dichotomy. On one hand, the peacock is this beautiful bird, with connections to the divine. On the other, the peacock can be a terribly obnoxious bird – they emit horrible screeches and can be awfully aggressive. She believes in a theory that the peacock is a perfect symbol of humanity itself…’

Another PeacockThe peacock naturally replaces his feathers annually and is therefore a symbol of renewal.

I have peacock feathers in my office. They were found at my in law’s house in Creston when we were preparing it to sell back in 2005. The “multitude of eyes” upon the peacock’s stunningly beautiful fan tail feathers watch over me while I work! I strive for being true to my own colors and simply being myself.

Learn from the peacock, spread your feathers embrace your spiritual nature, walk tall, and display your talents with confidence and grace. Be beautiful and an open minded person ~ the one that looks at the world with eyes wide open, the one that is not afraid of challenges!

To Thine Own Self Be True“To Thine Own Self Be true” ~ William Shakespeare

The Peacock is a reminder to all of us to show our true colors. The peacock can help us shed the old feathers of the past and to take back the true beauty of our individuality. This increases self-respect and confidence. Here you’ll come to a True Colors Personality Quiz. Please take it and enjoy! I found out my strongest is orange, then green, blue and gold!

In performing more research I found that Peacock energy can help you on your spiritual path and breathe new life into your walk of faith. And that’s another reason I am so blessed that the women at our table during my CRHP ~ Christ Renews His Parish ~ retreat in January 2015 chose to be called the Peacocks. Our choice was based on the inspiration from a picture we saw in our parish’s (All Saints Parish) gathering space of Father Bob Harris saying mass on his recent trip (helped to sponsor the trip for many people in our community) to the Holy Land (Boy that would’ve been awesome!). The Peacock is often found in Catholic Churches, and above his head (Father Bob’s in the picture) there was one!

The Peacock has a boisterous cry that holds a touch of laughter, as if to imply that nothing, including beauty, should be taken too seriously. When I am centered and grateful for all I have, I feel a more light-hearted approach to all things that come my way. Laughter is really the best medicine and helps to keep us healthy!

Peacock FeathersLook Upon the Peacock With New Eyes and Reflect on What Its Eyes Say to You!

Looking around my office, I have all sorts of eyes watching me! Not only the eyes on the peacock feathers, but my daughter, my son’s, nieces and nephews, husband, mom and dad, grandparents, in laws, cats and dog and rabbit, etc., …..and some old guy with a long white beard I have no idea who he is, but I think he has wisdom to share!

Eyes are the entry into the soul! And they are protecting me, encouraging me and telling me to continuously strive to make my work and my life pure of heart. A symbol of peacock in many cultures is of eternal life; the link between heaven and earth. And to have faith that we never truly die.

Peacocks mate for life, just like the two of us, Randy, making this a perfect theme for our vow renewal (25 years quickly approaching old man!).  Peacocks are pure of heart.  They pair with a mate and are loyal and faithful to their partners. My peacock feathers are now more meaningful. Thank you!

In closing, I share this tapestry and detail about it ~

Tree of Life

Tree of Life Peacock

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/paintings/tree-of-life-PB77/

BEGIN: Kalamkari began as the temple art of Andhra Pradesh and slowly occupied an important place in the arts and crafts of India. The artisan uses a pen-like brush called ‘kalam’, giving the technique its name.

The tree is one of the most potent of symbols. Its roots delve into the underworld; its trunk links the earth to the heavens – it transcends all three spheres. It symbolizes birth, maturity, death and rebirth embodied in leaf, bud and fruit. The tree of life is one of the most common motifs used by the artisans. Versions of the tree of life are manifold.

Here, the tree of life is transposed as a vase containing flowers and a variety of leaves. The flowers are those associated with fertility. Generally, a tree of life is flanked by worshippers, birds or animals, which could vary locally. Here the tree is flanked by a couple of peacocks. It is relevant to note that in Indian mythology, peacocks occupy a prominent place. They symbolize immortality, love, courtship, fertility, regal pomp and protection. When the auspicious tree of life and the important motif of a peacock come together, this painting’s worth is doubly elevated.

Colors like blue, yellow and green are more commonly used. Red is liberally used in the border giving a bright frame to a sober, meaningful painting promising prosperity and good luck. – END

In closing of this blog, I offer more from YouTube: Enjoy again!

Get ahold of me so I can help with matters of work and disability. Thank you for reading!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Be Sure Your Golf Game and Your Speech Uses Tee Ups Effectively!

Been on the links yet? If not, hopefully very soon! I enjoy golfing and teeing off is my favorite part (not that the ball goes much more than 100 yards or so).

I like when the ball flies high and straight! It makes it much easier to smack the ball into the air if you adjust the tee in the ground just right, not too high or low. [Read: Maximize your efficiency either long distance or not as long depending on the goal.]

Colorful TeesPlace the tee in the ground at the right height!

However, teeing up may not be such a good thing, especially when not on the golf course. Off the course, a tee up is a phrase to transition to introduce your verbal message. It’s often used to soften what’s coming, obscure meaning and, at times, “signal that bad news or … dishonesty” is on the horizon.

Have you noticed that often, those who are known to lie or bend the truth the most are the ones who say “to be perfectly honest” the most? At least that has been true in my personal experience If a person has to announce their honesty before they speak, maybe they aren’t always truthful.

Sure, I’ve used tee-ups and I am very conscientious of it. I catch myself and reiterate in my mind how I feel when I used them. A tee-up can be impolite and can also draw less attention to what you really need to say.  When I hear others use a tee-up phrase it makes me think about how they’re communicating and what may be motivating their behavior or thought.

I Hate To Tell YouI Hate To Tell You, But.

When a tee-up is used to preface a neutral statement, it can potentially appear to make the speaker sound formal, conscientious, or sophisticated. When used before a negative statement, a tee-up can be condescending.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but all in all” they signal a weakness in communication. Whether you mean it or not, tee-ups make a listener shut down. The best way to circumvent that is for the speaker to stop using tee-ups whenever possible.

Other examples of a tee-up phrase are, “To tell you the truth”, “I’m just tellin’ ya” ,“I hate to be the one to tell you this, but” “Believe it or not” , “Don’t take this the wrong way,” or “I hear what you’re saying.”  How about this one, “Don’t take this the wrong way!”

My personal favorite is “without a shadow of a doubt” (I’m not really sure if that’s a tee up but I said it the other day to Randy when we were in some sort of philosophical discussion.)  Get the picture?

Proceed With Caution

Proceed with caution when you hear a tee-up!

There are various reasons for communicating this way. These “tee-ups” are a good way to lie, because it softens the blow a bit by distancing you on an emotional level. The bottom line is when a person uses a tee-up it almost always has to do with emotions. Tee-ups are yellow lights. If you are about to utter one, slow down. Proceed with caution. Think about what you are about to say or write. And put your communication in the right context from the beginning    You may find this related Wall Street Journal article of interest, It’s titled Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity and can be found: online.wsj.com/news/articles/

“But then again”, a tee-up may make it easier to say something difficult or buy a few extra seconds to collect your next thought. “Yet all in all”, they can become communication habits that waste time. The person who you are talking to can get stuck on the tee-up and not listen nearly as well as you had well-intended. If you really have something serious to talk about, it will help to use your body language and tone of voice efficiently.

“Okay, don’t freak out, but” if you are feeling a need to use tee-ups a lot, perhaps you’re saying too many unpleasant things to or about other people. Sometimes, the shiny feather (fletching) on an arrow can distract you from the barb; often, it just makes it hurt more. More likely than not, your message will miss the ultimate target.

Precept Golf BallI use this kind of ball! Precept: Noun: a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.

If you whiff on the first shot, you can tee-up again, but you have to count the stroke and you’ll need to work harder on your game! Ill think of my precept golf balls next time I use a tee-up (or whiff) and will then try to regulate my behavior or thought. The greatest precept is continual awareness. Do you want to do the same? Or would you rather just go golfing with me?

P.S. Congrats Mark Calcavecchia, winner of our 2015 Principal Charity Classic!

Let me know what I can do to help you in a litigated matter involving work and disability. As far as golf, I really can’t help you there much other than to simply motivate you to have fun and don’t worry about whiffing….we all do it! Don’t get all emotional about it!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.