Posts tagged with ‘truth’

07 oct

Feel Cared About

RickHansonWhen Have People Been Caring?
The Practice
Feel cared about.
Why?

Everyone knows what it’s like to care about someone. Remember being with a friend, a mate, a pet: you feel warmly connected, and want him or her not to suffer and to be happy.

On the other hand, you’ve probably had the sense, one time or another, of not being cared about. That you didn’t matter to another person, or to a group of people. Maybe they weren’t actively against you, but they sure weren’t for you.

As soon as you recall a time like that, it’s immediately clear why it’s important to feel cared about – which is to the heart what water is to your body.

Sometimes we feel embarrassed about our yearnings to be cared about. But they are completely normal – and deeply rooted in evolution. Love, broadly defined, has been the primary driver of the development of the brain over the last 80 million years.

Our ancestors – mammals, primates, hominids, and humans – survived and flourished and passed on their genes by learning to find good mates, bond with their young, draw males in to provide for children, create “the village it takes to raise a child” whose brain is quadrupling in size after birth and thus needs a long and vulnerable childhood, and team up with each other to compete with other bands for scarce resources.

In this context, being cared about was crucial to survival. Mammals, etc. that did not care about being cared about did not pass on their genes. No wonder you care about being cared about!

Studies show that feeling cared about buffers against stress, increases positive emotions, promotes resilience, and increases caring for others. Plus it feels darn good. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 7th, 2011 in Family, General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

28 sep

Speak from the Heart

RickHansonWhat’s Your Heart Say?
The Practice
Speak from the heart.
Why?

One Christmas I hiked down into the Grand Canyon, whose bottom lay a vertical mile below the rim. Its walls were layered like a cake, and a foot-high stripe of red or gray rock indicated a million-plus years of erosion by the Colorado river. Think of water – so soft and gentle – gradually carving through the hardest stone to reveal great beauty. Sometimes what seems weakest is actually most powerful.

In the same way, speaking from an open heart can seem so vulnerable yet be the strongest move of all. Naming the truth – in particular the facts of one’s experience, which no one can disprove – with simplicity and sincerity, and without contentiousness or blame, has great moral force. You can see the effects writ small and large, from a child telling her parents “I feel bad when you fight” to the profound impact of people describing the atrocities they suffered in Kosovo or Rwanda.

I met recently with a man whose marriage is being smothered by the weight of everything unsaid. What’s unnamed is all normal-range stuff – like wishing his wife were less irritable with their children, and more affectionate with him – but there’s been a kind of fear about facing it, as if it could blow up the relationship. But not talking is what’s actually blowing up their relationship – and in fact, when people do communicate in a heartfelt way, it’s dignified and compelling, and it usually evokes support and open-heartedness from others.

How?

This week, look for one or more opportunities to speak from your heart. Pick a topic, a person, and a moment that’s likely to go well.

Before you talk:
· Ground yourself in good intentions. To discover and express the truth, whatever it is. To help yourself and the other person.

· Get a basic sense of what you want to say. Focus on your experience: thoughts, feelings, body sensations, wants, memories, images, the dynamic flow through awareness; it’s hard to argue with your experience, but easy to get into wrangles about situations, events, the past, or problem-solving.

· Be confident. Have faith in your sincerity, and in the truth itself. Recognize that others may not like what you have to say, but you have a right to say it without needing to justify it; and that saying it is probably good for your relationship.

When you speak:
· Take a breath and settle into your body.

· Recall being with people who care about you. (This will help deepen your sense of inner strength, and warm up the neural circuits of wholeheartedness.)

· Soften your throat, eyes, chest, and heart. Try to find a sense of goodwill, even compassion for the other person.

· Bring to mind what you want to say.

· Take another breath, and start speaking.

· Try to stay in touch with your experience as you express it. Don’t get into any sense of persuasion, justification, defensiveness, or problem-solving. (That’s for later, if at all.) Be direct and to the point; when people truly speak from the heart, they often say what needs to be said in a few minutes or less; it’s the “case” wrapped around the heart of the matter that takes all those extra words.

· Keep coming back to the essential point for you, whatever it is (especially if the other person gets reactive or tries to shift the topic). And feel free to disengage if the other person is just not ready to hear you; maybe another time would be better. “Success” here is not getting the other person to change, but you expressing yourself.

· As appropriate, open to and encourage the other person speaking from the heart, too.

And afterwards: know that whatever happened, you did a good thing. It’s brave and it’s hard (especially at first) to speak from the heart. But so necessary to make this world a better place.

* * *

Rick Hanson, PhD is a neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 21 languages) – and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s taught at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and in meditation centers in Europe, North America, and Australia. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, and U.S. News and World Report. His blog – Just One Thing – has over 25,000 subscribers and suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on September 28th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , ,

23 sep

What We CAN Change

MikeRobbins96My friend Rich came over to my office last week and we had a wonderful and authentic conversation about what’s going on in each of our lives right now. I’m so grateful to have people in my life like Rich whom I can talk to and get real.

Authenticity creates freedom and having people around us we can truly be ourselves with is so important.

Rich and I talked vulnerably about our relationships, our challenges, the things we’re most excited about, and some stuff we’d both like to change about ourselves and our lives.

As we were talking, Rich shared a great email with me he’d recently received about change:

What I CAN Change

  • You can’t change your entire life, you can only change your next action
  • You can’t change a relationship with a loved one, you can only change your next interaction
  • You can’t change your entire job, you can only change your next task
  • You can’t change your body composition, you can only change your next meal
  • You can’t change your fitness level, you can only start moving
  • You can’t de-clutter your entire life, you can only choose to get rid of one thing right now
  • You can’t eliminate your entire debt, you can only make one payment, or buy one less unnecessary item
  • You can’t change the past, or control the future, you can only change what you are doing now
  • You can’t change everything, you can only change one, small thing…and that’s all it takes

Wow – what a great reminder of how life and change truly work.

As I reflected on the power, wisdom, and simplicity of this message, I started to realize how often I get impatient and frustrated with myself, especially in certain areas of my life, when I want to change to happen. This email reminded me how important it is to take things step by step, moment by moment.

While I do believe in thinking big, in breakthrough results, and in miraculous change – paradoxically, the way life tends to unfold and real change happens is one-step-at-a-time. And, when we remember this, we allow ourselves to be in the present moment, reclaim our true power, and eliminate a great deal of unnecessary worry, pain, and suffering.

As Lao-tzu taught us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.” Although we all know this and have heard this saying many times, the challenge for many of us is to remember it and live it on a daily basis.

Here are a few things you can do to practice living one-step-at-a-time:

  1. Make a list of some of the things you want to change, alter, or improve in your life right now. First of all, it’s important to remember that none of these changes will, in and of themselves, make you happy (only you can do that for yourself). That being said, positive change can be a wonderfully exciting and empowering thing for us to engage in and experience. Identifying what you want to change specifically is an essential first step.
  1. With each of these important things you want to change, think of some simple, small steps you can take (today or this week) that will move you in the direction you truly want. If you get stuck with any of them, ask for help. And, if you start to get overwhelmed, take a break and remember to keep things simple. These are what my friend Susan calls “micro-movements,” don’t let your ego take over and judge them as too small.
  1. Celebrate each step of the way. As you notice yourself making different choices, having new thoughts, and taking small, positive steps towards the changes you want; celebrate. And, if you find yourself forgetting, falling back into old patterns, or unable to take some of these simple actions, celebrate yourself for your awareness and honor your desire to change. Either way, celebrating and appreciating yourself is essential to the process.

By remembering what we can actually change and how change truly works, we’re able to create true miracles in our lives – one-step-at-a-time!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on September 23rd, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

30 jul

The Power of Getting Real

MikeRobbins96A few weeks ago my wife Michelle and I found out, surprisingly, that we were expecting our third child. Since this wasn’t something we’d planned, we were shocked, excited and a bit freaked out, all at the same time. We began telling lots of people about this big news and starting to imagine our life with another baby – which was both thrilling and overwhelming for us to contemplate.

Within just a few days of learning about the pregnancy, however, we had a miscarriage – something we’d never been through and weren’t quite prepared for. The range of emotions we experienced during that week, and in the weeks that followed, has been quite intense.

As jarring, painful, and somewhat surreal as it has been, Michelle and I both feel a deep sense of peace and gratitude – choosing to believe that this happened for a reason and doing our best to use this experience to deepen our own awareness and healing in life. While it has been difficult, it has also been a very rich time of growth and connection for us on many levels.

One of the most complicated aspects of this experience has been sharing it with others – which we have been somewhat forced to do given that we told a lot of people about the pregnancy. Many people don’t talk about their pregnancies until the second trimester, since the majority of miscarriages take place in those first three months. I understand, even more so now, why people keep this private – as talking about a miscarriage can be quite emotional and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

However, even though this has been an intense process for us and many of the people we’ve talked to about it (especially those who have gone through this personally), Michelle and I have been so grateful for the amazing love and support we’ve received. We’ve also been blown away by how many other people have experienced a miscarriage – some we knew about, but many we didn’t.

Even in the midst of this personal and emotional experience, I’ve also been fascinated by human phenomenon of authenticity at play. There is such power, freedom, and liberation available for us when we get real. And while I do believe that it’s important for each of us to make conscious choices about what we share and with whom, far too often I think we choose not to share certain thoughts, feelings, or experiences because we deem them to be “inappropriate” or “too much” for people to handle.

Sadly, in this process of withholding our true experiences and feelings, we miss out on opportunities to connect with people in an authentic way, get support, share love, wisdom, and empathy, and connect in a real way with everyone around us.

Carl Jung said, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” And, Mother Teresa said, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.” Then she said, “Be honest and transparent anyway.”

How We Can Get Real in a Vulnerable Way

One of the best ways to access a deeper sense of authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency is through a powerful exercise called “If you really knew me.” This exercise, which has had a profound impact on my own life and is something I’ve facilitated in various forms with many of the groups and individuals I’ve spoken to or coached over the years, gives people an opportunity to get real and vulnerable.

The exercise was taught to me by my friends and mentors, Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John, founders of an incredible organization called Challenge Day, which delivers life-altering, experiential, personal development workshops for teens, schools, and people of all ages. Challenge Day’s high school program is featured in the new MTV reality series which is actually called If You Really Knew Me.

How the exercise works is that each person in the group – usually a smallish group of anywhere from four to eight people (although it can be done one on one or with a larger group) – gets a minute or two of undivided attention from everyone else in the group and repeats this sentence, “If you really knew me, you’d know…” and then completes the sentence by sharing things that are real, vulnerable, and below the surface about themselves (thoughts, feelings, dreams, insecurities, opinions, experiences, passions, challenges, etc.).

There’s no pressure or expectation on each person to share anything they don’t want to share – just a challenge to step outside of their comfort zone, choose to trust the people in the group, and be more open, real, and vulnerable than they may normally be with others.

Whenever I either participate in or facilitate this exercise (as I just did earlier this week during a program I delivered), I’m always amazed by its power. People laugh, cry, get real, let go of things they’ve been holding onto, and truly connect with each other – heart to heart and in an authentic way.

What I always get from this exercise myself and hear people say in different ways is that even though we’re all unique, we’re way more alike than we are different. When we have the courage to get real with each other and speak our truth, it’s one of the most meaningful, rewarding, and connecting experiences we can have with other human beings.

Michelle and I have experienced the power and importance of getting real in these past few weeks. Even though we weren’t prepared for this, didn’t see it coming, and weren’t planning to share it with lots of people – it has been life-altering in so many ways and has taken a difficult, painful, and somewhat unexplainable situation, and turned it into something that is allowing us to grow, deepen, and experience more joy and gratitude in our lives.

When we get real (first with ourselves and then with others), even if it’s scary, uncomfortable, awkward, or intense, it has the potential to liberate us, impact those around us, and bring us all together in a beautiful and genuine way. We don’t have to go through whatever we’re going through in life alone – there is more love, support, and care around each of us than we usually realize and when we’re willing to be real about our experience, let people know what’s truly going on for us, and ask for help when we need it – it’s remarkable what happens!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 30th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

11 jun

Harvesting Confidence

ScottSchwenkWhy does confidence seem so easy for some and yet so completely elusive for others?

Are the people we see as confident truly standing deep and firm in their own boots?

How do the seeds of confidence get planted, nurtured, and radically expanded?

First off, let’s dispel the tidy illusion that so many of the people you see walking tall are actually steeped in deep abiding confidence. A majority of what you think you see are the images people are projecting and wanting for you to see. These visions are largely smoke and mirrors. What passes for confidence on the street is usually some form of arrogance, otherwise known as insecurity dressed up in its Sunday clothes.

In the moments when you yourself are not confident, you can be easily fooled by imagery. Your own insecurity will be the lens through which you view life and people. If this is your case, you may not fully recognize the distortion until you experience points of view free from this energy-draining filter.

Abiding confidence arises through the visceral knowledge of who and what you are. Achievements and honors from the external world only build long-term confidence when they stimulate this inner recognition of your true nature.

If you don’t regularly taste this well-spring of confidence, you’re likely to be missing discipline around some form of meditative practice that actually reveals this true nature to you on a consistent basis. Consistency is the key.

One of the best practices I know of for getting a meal of Truth is meditation. Some form of daily (ideally twice daily) meditation. The most transformative forms of meditation I’ve come across are ones that encourage letting go of control and release the meditator from the rollercoaster ride of thoughts.

For this reason, I’m a big fan of active breathwork. It so quickly engages the parasympathetic nervous system and alkalizes the body that the thinking mind lets go, relaxation runs deep, and the heart opens. Imprinting the mind and body to trust this opening is the biggest part of my work in revealing Truth within.

Without this constant contact, you’re lost. All that’s left is to negotiate and barter with the external world for temporary energy spikes, brief moments of respite through food, sex, shopping, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants.

If happiness and confidence are dependent on another person, place, or object, they’re not yet abiding. They’re temporary, and like all temporary things, can instantly be taken away along with your sense of self. What follows is some form of drop in energy that will likely have the hallmarks of depression.

The challenge in all of this is in cultivating enough belief in what’s possible to take actions, and take them consistently enough to have experiences of growth in confidence. Which comes back to practices that bring what’s possible right into the foreground of your direct experience.

There are plenty of people working to grow confidence. So why isn’t the work proliferating? One reason is gossip.

Gossip is an investment in other people’s energy and opinions at the expense of your own rooted sense of Self. And it can also appear as listening to and believing those niggling thoughts in your own mind about yourself or another.

Gossip is like kudzu in the South. It will spread and spread and choke out anything not like it self, sucking up the water and nutrients for miles and miles.

If you listen to gossip and engage with it (internally or conversationally), your confidence can only go so deep, your sense of Truth will be distorted, and your capacity for intimacy nowhere near what it could be. This is simply because gossip creates separation between people, and when you sow separation, you yourself experience separation.

A Course In Miracles states that “All minds are joined,” so what you do to one you do to All.

My friend and mentor David Elliott spreads a well-known magnifying glass in other words, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Gossip is rooted in a hidden fear of intimacy, a fear of repeating past hurts. The irony is that gossip sows the seeds deeply for future suffering.

Every seed must bear its fruit. Which ones will you plant and nurture?

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Scott Schwenk on June 11th, 2010 in Health, New Directions, Uncategorized | 9 comments Read related posts in , ,

17 mar

The Power of No

mike_robbinsHow do you feel about saying “no?” I notice that saying “no” to certain people and in some situations can be challenging for me. Sometimes I find myself saying “yes” when “no” would really be more authentic. More covertly, I also find myself at times giving “half-truths” (which is quite an oxymoron if you think about it) to people when they present me with opportunities, engage with me about connecting, etc. You know what I mean, you run into someone and say, “We should really get together sometime,” but you really have very little interest in or commitment to making that happen. Does this ever happen to you?

What is it about saying “no” that many of us have a hard time with? For me, it comes down to a few specific things. First of all, I get scared that people will get upset or disappointed if I say “no.” Second, I’m not a huge fan of hearing “no” from others myself, so being the one saying it can be difficult for me. And lastly, I consider myself to be “yes” type of person. I pride myself on being open, willing, and ready to say “yes” at all times. In other words, “no” often seems like a failure, an admission of weakness, or just an overall negative thing to say.

However, saying “no” is one of the most important aspects of living a life filled with balance, integrity, and authenticity. Our ability and capacity to say “no” with confidence is one of the most important aspects of creating peace and power in our lives. This is about creating healthy boundaries, honoring ourselves, and being real – it’s not about being closed, cynical, or unwilling.

The majority of people I know, especially these days, live their lives with a feeling of “overwhelm” that either runs them or at least gets in their way from time to time. If you think of the aspects of your life where you feel most overwhelmed, stressed out, or ineffective – there is probably a theme going on – you haven’t said “no” when you needed to. If you also think about any relationships in your life where these is stress, struggle, or conflict – you saying “no” with honesty and kindness is also probably missing.

When we don’t say “no” in an authentic way we end up feeling burdened, resentful, and even victimized (although, ironically, we forget that we are the ones who said “yes” in the first place).

Saying “no” does have real consequences. Sometimes we will upset, disappoint, or annoy people. We also may have a significant amount of fear about saying “no” to certain people (our spouse, boss, co-worker, friend, child, etc.) or in certain situations (at work, with clients, with our in-laws, and more).

However, there are huge benefits to us enhancing our capacity and comfort with “no.” Tapping into the power of “no” creates freedom, liberation, and a real sense of trust with the people in our lives. When we’re someone that says “yes” when we mean it and “no” when we mean it – others know they can count on us to be real, tell the truth, and come through.

And, when we “no” with confidence, honesty, and compassion, we do one of the best things we can possibly do to honor and appreciate ourselves.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on March 17th, 2010 in New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

04 mar

TED: Insights that Touched Me

Alisa Miller, who runs PRI: Public Radio International, started off day two detailing how the number of foreign news bureaus in the world has decreased by 50%, and how 14,000 stories on Google News covered the same 24 news events. This was very surprising to me. I would have expected a larger interest in global news.

Read more »

Posted by First 30 Days on March 4th, 2008 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , ,

29 feb

The Big Questions: Live from TED Day 2

Yesterday was a great day — there was so much great content shared. The four main questions that several speakers attempted to answer were:

What is Life?
Is Beauty Truth?
Will Evil Prevail?
How can we change the world?

Read more »

Posted by First 30 Days on February 29th, 2008 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , ,