Why Being Mindful Matters

Quite an easy task, right? Wrong!

Our minds are processing external information, internal responses and dialogue; all the while trying to balance our brain chemistry and alert levels. So becoming more conscious about letting go of This thought, then the next, and on and on requires dedication.

Start with 5 minutes several times a day. Tune into one of your senses to quickly get into the Now moment. For instance, I close my eyes and focus on my breath. Or I can close my eyes and focus on sound. If I can’t close my eyes (like while I’m driving), I can focus on color.

But don’t forget why. Why does it matter to be, quote: mindful? — To quiet the mind, to de-escalate and get to a more authentic relationship with our selves.

Counseling TidBits

For an answer, go to the place where there is no thought and listen.
Who cares if you are enlightened forever? Can you get it in this moment, now?  ~ Byron Katie

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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.

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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.

     

     

     

     

    Letting Go of Negative Attachments

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    How do you let go of attachments?  Don’t even try.  Effort creates attachment.  Rather,  attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle.

    1.  The C- concept

    When you recognize a quality in the other that was abandoned in yourself, it creates a longing – like a phantom limb. You become mesmerised. When you are attracted to a person, it’s often your “idea” of that person that creates the draw.

    I call it you, but in truth, it is my own longing for my lost-self. 

    In order to survive our first relationships, we learn to dis-own parts of ourselves they found undesirable. We even forgot it was ever a part of our true nature.

    My first clear experience of this was when I met a beautiful woman who was crazy-funny! ..”I wish I could be that free”… When I hung out with her I felt whole – My “C” became an “O”.

    In retrospect, she represented an aspect of Self that I had learned to shut down — being spontaneous.  I learned to reclaim the part of myself that could be spontaneous and fun, even if it drew attention to me!

    Try this is if your attachment is about a quality in the other: Write about the quality you are attracted to. Ask yourself, is it true that I lack the same aspect?

    2.  Compassion Project (to FIX you)

    When I resonate with you because I feel your pain, I experience a flooding of MDMA-like chemicals that expand my capacity for loving compassion (read more about Mirror neurons). In truth, I love the way I feel….   It feels like love..

    Try this if your attachment is about Compassion

    Write everything you love about (the other). Write the advice you would give them, what you want for them.

    Now, take your sentences and cross out the other’s name. Replace it with “I, me”.

    For example, “I wish you could see how wonderful you are” becomes “I wish I could see how wonderful I am“.

    “If only you could see how much I love you” becomes “If only I could see how much I  deserve to love me“. (See Byron Katie’s The Work/”turnarounds“)

    We often think we have to force ourselves to make a decision regarding attachments. But forcing ourselves to act in a way that isn’t in line with what we truly feel never works. We will be done when we get the message… then we are done.

    More Posts

    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

     Recognizing Soul in everyday life

     We sense, intuitively, that there is a soul. 

    For me, it feels like eternal wisdom… it is the part of me that knows I am one with everything… that know’s everything is okay.

    It is calm, By Michael Pravin from Chennai, India - Surya Namaskar, ccommons.wiki:index.php?curid=41696116

    radiating,

    loving,

    peaceful.

    This inner awareness has guided me – when I remember to tap into it.

    Pause a moment to  examine how you experience soul… have you found a way to tap into it?

     

    The Damage of Anger in Our Relationships

    When I was a camp counselor, various stories were told at the end of meal time. These stories were meant to stimulate conversations for later, when kids and their counselor returned to their cabins for the night.

    The following story hit me hard, so I’ve never forgotten it.
    WordsSaidInAnger-public-domain-images-free-high-quality-resolution-downloads-3 copy

    “There once was a girl with a very bad temper.

    The girl’s father wanted to teach her a lesson, so he gave her
    a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper
    she must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.

    On the first day the girl had driven 25 nails into the fence. “This is kind of fun”, she told her father. “But by the time I’m done hammering, I can’t remember why I was so mad!”

    Over the next few weeks, as she began to control her temper,the number of nails she hammered into the fence gradually dwindled.

    Finally, the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all. She became so proud of herself and she couldn’t wait to tell her father.

    Pleased, her father suggested that she now pull out one nail for each day that she could hold her temper.

    The days passed and the girl was finally able to go back to her father and tell him that she had pulled out all the nails.

    Very gently, the father took his daughter by the hand and led her to the fence.

    “You have done well, my daughter”, he smiled. “But look at the all the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.”

    The little girl listened carefully as her father continued to speak.

    “When you say things in anger, you leave a scar, just like these that have been left by the nails. Even if you say you are sorry, the wound will still be there.”   ~anonymous   

    Later, I came to realize why it had special meaning for me. Unlike the girl in the story, my anger was used as a defense-mechanism – to protect me from my critical family. I learned, unconsciously, that anger made me feel stronger – People backed off!  It became so automatic that I didn’t even notice the damage I was causing.

    But like so many of our childhood coping skills, I couldn’t even turn it off in circumstances that didn’t involve my family.

    So when I heard this fable, I woke up.  I had to become aware of anger’s purpose for me.  I learned that my defenses were not who I was – they are coping skills. I had to decide that I didn’t want to be that way anymore – after all, I was no longer a child – and I learned, instead, to cope with the underlying feelings. I taught myself that being sad, confused or scared, were “okay”.

    If anger is expressed without awareness, it will damage all of your relationships. Take the time to learn to communicate effectively; journal to learn to understand your feelings; get a book about Assertive Communication.