Letting Go Of the Past to Appreciate the Present

Suffering doesn’t make us grow –

but what we do with our feelings could make us grow. ⚡️💡

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It’s an interesting saying though. Where did it come from?  Perhaps it’s because anguish and acute awareness sometimes occur near one another, in time and space.

For me, however, what makes us grow is understanding our feelings, questioning the thoughts behind them, seeing the cause-and-effect of it all, and mindfully letting go.

If we utilize this information the next time these feelings arise (anger, sadness, depression, confusion, fear), we can remember the awareness, the ‘aha’ moment, or insight we discovered before. We can  notice that what we are experiencing in the here and now is separate from the past, and know that our reactions don’t really apply in the current situation. Awareness sets us free to respond differently.

contemplation

Uncomfortable feelings are nearly always preceded by a stressful thought, and when the feelings come, we can isolate the stressful thought, idea, or assumption and question it thoroughly.

I find journaling a powerful aid here. Just write your rambling thoughts about a situation that made you uncomfortable (in your mind or in reality – doesn’t matter). Then let it set. You probably will already feel better because the act of writing is cathartic. But for true growth to occur, go back later and read what you wrote. Pretend you are a scientist!  Your job is to (compassionately) dissect your writing to find the threads of connection…

Try asking these questions:

1. Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities?

Personal example:   I had to  go to my son’s junior high school to deliver his medicine.   I noticed I had a racing heart, a sense of urgency to complete the task, and an overall sense of shame and dread.

It made no sense in my logical mind.

 Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

Junior high was very scary for me. I was picked on by other girls and I was even beaten up a number of times. The threats often occurred when students were moving from one class to their next, so I was especially scared when that bell rang!

2.  What were the beliefs / thoughts around the event? 

Awareness: my heart is racing; I have a sense of urgency and intense fear.

THOUGHTS:  I Visualize being attacked. “If I can become unnoticeable, I might make it… Hopefully the bell won’t ring!”

Once we gently meet our past with understanding, we can separate those experiences and respond to the present authentically.

By listening, compassionately, to your own mistaken, innocent mind, you can become free… from this,  then that,  then…

The Best Personality Test Ever — The MBTI

“We all come in different shapes and SIZES. We have our STRENGTHS and weaknesses.

What’s right for one person may not be right for someone else…
There are things that are important to one person that others don’t care about at all.

And sometimes other’s behaviors don’t make any sense to me.

Because we want to understand each other, and communicate well (since we live in the same world), we can’t expect others to want the same things that we want.
We are not the same person, so we will not always see things the same way.

We all have our own thoughts and ideas that may or may not fit into other people’s vision of who we should be.

By learning more about our own Personality, and about other Personality Types, we can improve our interpersonal relationships, adjust our expectations concerning others, and get a better self-understanding that will help us define and achieve our goals.”     (PleaseUnderstandMe.DavidKeirsey.AmazonBooks)

 

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Theory of Psychological Types was described by Carl Jung in the 1920’s. He theorized that much of the seemingly random variations in peoples behaviors are actually rather systematic and reliable. These basic differences can be viewed as the ways an individual prefers to:

  •  Perceive reality (all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, events, or ideas), and then
  • Evaluate those perceptions (all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived). Jung also talks of
  • Direction of Consciousness, or the basic direction in which a person’s conscious interests and energies may flow – either inward to subjective psychological experience, or outward to the environment of objects, other people and collective norms.

Isabel Briggs Myers studied Jung’s ideas and added her own insights. After 30 years of research and over 5,000 participants, she created a survey that would eventually become the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (MBTI by Isabel Myers). It is the most widely used measure of Psychological Types.

Personality typing is a tool that is particularly helpful in personal growth: Understanding ourselves in a semi-objective way leads to heightened self-esteem.

It’s also a way to understand others: If people differ in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.

Learning about our Personality Type helps us to understand why certain areas in life come easily to us and others are more of a struggle. Learning about other people’s Personality Types help us to understand the most effective way to communicate with them.

This self-report questionnaire assesses “type preferences” on Extraversion-Introversion (E-I), Sensation-Intuition (S-N), Thinking-Feeling (T-F), and Judgment-Perception (J-P).

According to the MBTI, we all have a primary mode of operating within four categories:

  • The flow of energy– (I or E?) defines how you receive the essential part of your experience. Do you receive it from within yourself (Introverted) or from external sources (Extraverted)?
  • How you take in information (S or N?) shows your preference for focusing on 1) the basic information taken in through the five senses (Sensing), or by 2) interpreting and adding meaning (iNtuition).
  • How you prefer to make judgment calls (T or F?) objectively, using logic and consistency (Thinking), or subjectively, considering other people and special circumstances (Feeling).
  • The basic day-to-day decision-style that you prefer (J or P?) how you interact with the outer world — with a preference towards getting things decided (Judging), or for staying open to new information and options (Perception).
  • I’ve searched high and low and found these great online tools. The first link is to a good adaptation of the original test (Copyright infringements prohibit the availability of the real one):

     

    16Personalities- Get to Know Yourself – the BEST questionnaire on the web.

     

    After completing the test above, go HERE (The BEST MBTI Profiles ) to read detailed descriptions of your unique profile.

     

     

     

     

    5 Ways To Transform ANGER into Something Good

    “And God said, “Love your enemy,” and I obeyed him and loved myself.”

    ~ Khalil Gibran

    We all get angry from time to time. Even the most enlightened of us would be lying if they said they didn’t. Anger is often a natural response to horrific situations. For example: the on

    ly moral response to innocent people getting bombed, whether by military action or terrorist action, is anger.

    The question is this: is your anger controlling you (lizard brain), or are you controlling it (evolved mind)? Are you merely a puppet to the emotion of your anger, or are you able to turn the tables and become the puppeteer? Are you a victim of your emotions or a hero with emotional intelligence?

    Most of us act the way we feel. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. We do have a choice. With enough discipline we can feel the way we act. For example: we can “feel” afraid but “act” courageously. Similarly, we can “feel” road rage but “act” calmly. With enough practice we can eventually feel the way we act, even in response to something as extreme as terrorism.

     Through such emotional alchemy, transforming anger into a higher emotion really is a choice. The key (as with the following five ways) is practice, discipline, and making emotional intelligence a habit. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    1) Transform anger into strength

    “In almost every bad situation, there is the possibility of a transformation by which the undesirable may be changed into the desirable.” ~ Nyanaponika Thera

    Anger can give you profound strength: in mind, body, and soul. It’s your responsibility to focus your anger enough to harness this strength. Focused anger becomes sacred anger. But this first requires honoring the anger for what it is, and for where it stems.

    We too often suppress our anger, or avoid it, or pretend we’re not mad. But such suppression festers and all too often leads to a blowup farther down the road. In order to avoid such a blowup it behooves you to put your anger into focus. Put it under the microscope of your emotional intelligence. Analyze it. There is passion in anger. And where there is passion, there is love. And where there is love, there is strength.

    So when it comes to anger, choose furious dancing over uncomfortable depression, or even comfortable suppression. Negotiate with your anger in order to transform the passion at its center into strength. Embrace it. Accept it. Wrestle with it, gently. Dance with the fire. Then waltz it into something worthwhile. If it burns you up, rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

    Life is too short to live it second-guessing your passion. Be fierce. Dance furiously despite the anger that seeks to burn you. There’s almost always strength hidden there. Like Deepak Chopra said, “The secrets of alchemy exist to transform mortals from a state of suffering and ignorance to a state of enlightenment and bliss.”

    2) Transform anger into exercise

    “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ~ Mark Twain

    That passion at the center of anger can also be transformed into powerful energy: Qi, Prana, Pneuma, Mana. Use it in the park, in the arena, in the field of play. Twain said anger is an acid? So be it. Transform that acid into fuel. Use that fuel for the fire of becoming a better version of yourself. Use it in your kung fu. Use it in the gym. Use it playing sports. Burn it out of you so that it doesn’t burn you out. Whatever you do, don’t keep the acid of your anger bottled up. You are a sacred vessel and acid erodes even sacred vessels. Put it in your vessel’s fuel tank instead, and then burn baby burn! Spar with it. Shadow-box it out. Better yet – shadow-box with your inner shadow. Now that is some meta-catharsis, right there.

    3) Transform anger into art

    Again, the key to alchemizing anger, is harnessing the passion at its center. This most definitely applies to transforming anger into art. Anybody who has ever read poetry by Sylvia Plath or writings by Friedrich Nietzsche can attest to that.

    If you gaze upon Picasso’s Guernica and tell me he didn’t paint that with a focused rage against the ignorance of war. Or take Banksy’s political art charged with righteous anger against tyrannical oppression. Transforming anger into art is a kind of rage enlightenment: a self-actualized creativity discovered through the channeling of anger into a heightened state of awareness, where rage becomes a fire that cooks things rather than burns them. With just the right amount of focus, at just the right temperature, the passion at the center of anger can, and often does, get turned into some amazing art. And there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot do the same. Forget talent. Forget genius or giftedness or skill. So what if others can do it better? Nobody even has to see it.

    Create art with all of your passion. Channel your deepest anger into art, and watch in amazement as it alchemizes into soulful poetry.
    Like Nietzsche powerfully said,

    “Of all writings I love only that which is written with blood. Write with blood: and you will discover that blood is spirit.”

    4) Transform anger into civil disobedience

    “Love does not imply pacifism.” ~ Derrick Jensen

    Use your focused anger like a surgeon’s scalpel slicing open the Achilles Heel of the violent and immoral system that has been propped up over you without your consideration. Use your focused anger like Jesus flogging bankers in the New Testament. Jesus saw an immoral system unfolding before him, so he dug deep, tapped into his righteous anger, and practiced civil disobedience despite the orthodoxy of the time. There’s no reason why you cannot do the same. As Howard Zinn said, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.” Deep, focused anger can be a boon of sacred energy if we learn to use it wisely and courageously. This kind of sacred anger lifts us up and compels us to empower the powerless despite the powers that be, or to inspire the poor despite the overindulgences of the  rich. The type of focused anger that would rather live a life of uncomfortable freedom than a life of comfortable slavery. Such anger is sacred precisely because it instills in us an unstoppable courage. The kind of courage that declares to the overreaching powers that be, “I will not stand idly by while you decide who lives and who dies. I am unstoppable; another world is possible. And I will do everything in my power to build it, whether you approve of it or not.”

    5) Transform anger into a good sense of humor

     The best way to achieve an emotional state flexible enough to be able to use anger as a transformative tool is to practice and to cultivate a good sense of humor. A good sense of humor flips all scripts. It transforms “the jokes on me” into “so what, it’s funny.” Powerful stuff.

    In fact, a good sense of humor is so powerful that it is the only thing more powerful than power itself. I mean, a good sense of humor is immune to power constructs. It subsumes them. It transcends power precisely because it is able to laugh at power and not take things too seriously. A good sense of humor takes nothing too seriously, especially not power. And when the passion at the heart of anger is effectively transformed into a good sense of humor, the person cultivating it is truly a force to be reckoned with. No power in existence can stand in the way of a person with a good sense of humor. No authority. No king. No queen. No government. No army. No God. Not even death, because a good sense of humor laughs it all away.

    It’s all water off a ducks back, and you’re the duck! Such sacred laughter puts all things into proper perspective. It’s all an illusion. It’s all a game. But, and here’s the rub, it’s a sacred illusion. It’s a sacred game. And you are the infinite player interdependently playing it all out. The cosmic joke becomes self-actualized. You’re no longer the butt-end, nor will you ever be again, for you have attained the almighty rank of The One Who Laughs.

    Like Alan Watts said,

    “Life is a matter of oscillation. Life is vibration. The question is:

    How are you going to interpret that? Is it tremble, tremble, tremble;

    Or is it laugh, laugh, laugh?”

    Read more at: https://fractalenlightenment.com/36114/life/five-ways-to-use-your-anger-more-effectively | FractalEnlightenment.com

    3 Solutions to Panic Attacks

    Panic attacks are NOT uncommon.

    Some people experience them once or twice in a lifetime while others have them whenever they’re speaking in public or are preparing for an important phone call. In severe cases, sufferers may feel like they’re going to die.

    Anxiety is defined as “fear of the unknown”, and historically, it aides in survival. It’s close relative,  fear,  prepared us to choose fight-or-flight in dangerous situations by heightening our senses and dumping the fine-tuning chemicals into our blood stream, like adrenaline and epinephrine.

    Yet today, while still protecting us from genuine danger,  fear and panic somehow morphed into a bunch of barely relatable and dysfunctional afflictions:  panic disorder,  obsessive-compulsive disorder,  phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

    As your rate of breathing accelerates, you begin to chest-breathe instead of belly breathing (breathing deeply). This causes hyperventilation, where you are blowing off too much carbon dioxide (CO2) . This leads to a rise in blood pH, which in lay-terms, means symptoms like dizziness, weakness, fainting, headache, and tingling in the hands and feet.

    SOLUTIONS

    1. Focus on deep breathing.

    Hyperventilation brings on many sensations, like lightheadedness and tightness of the chest. By learning to tune into your breathing, and then consciously controlling it, you develop a coping skill that you can use to calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. If you know how to control your breathing, you are also less likely to create the very sensations that you are afraid of.

    2. CO2 Normalizes blood pH.

    If you are already experiencing a full-blown panic-attack, breathe into a paper bag.  It will reduce many of the extraneous symptoms of panic and help normalize your breathing by re-balancing your bloods pH.

    3. Practice relaxation techniques.

    The opposite of a panic-response is a relaxation-response. If you are prone to anxiety attacks,  learn and practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly activities such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation, you are strengthening the body’s relaxation response. It also helps you become aware of the difference between bodily sensations that are relaxed versus sensations that indicate dysfunctional tension. Make time for relaxation exercises every day!

    **Note: If these techniques do not help, please see a therapist for a deeper evaluation of the causes for your panic. 

    Source: The Neurobiology of Panic Attacks