This past week Mike and I had the somewhat arduous task of mouse proofing our house. Because we were in some denial about how significant the problem was we thought just getting a couple of humane mouse “traps” would do the trick. I think this was because we really, really didn’t want to take out each and every single thing from all the kitchen cabinets. And, of course, that is precisely what we ended up doing. …Read More
My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try not to go there alone.”
~ Anne Lamott
Why is our mind sometimes like a bad neighborhood?
Here are two possible reasons: The first is that over the years our brain has evolved so that it can take shortcuts called neuro-habits. …Read More
We often picture love as romantic dinners, tender encounters, surprises, thoughtful gestures, helpfulness, and support. Admittedly these are the best parts. And yet, for me, loving is much, much more. It is also a radical commitment to take on all the obstacles—the fights, the anger, and the hurt; the stress, life’s uncertainties, and even our own insecurities in order to know something so sweet, so healing, so life-giving that our own lives would be incomplete without it. …Read More
The other day, as my thoughts rambled along, it occurred to me that many things must have had to happen for me to be alive today. Like my parents meeting; that they married and they wanted children. Then soon after I was born I contracted encephalitis. Somehow the care I received, the expertise brought to that moment, the many prayers prayed, my own genetic makeup, and God knows how much more pulled me through. Any less might not have.
But really, aren’t there literally thousands of events that preceded my birth and many thousand more that have taken place in life my since then? …Read More
A couple of months ago, someone—I’ll call her Gail—asked me if I’d help her with a problem she had. As she talked about her situation, I soon realized that she was so tangled up in it, she couldn’t let go of the story long enough to sort out what she wanted. When I tried guessing what her needs might be she jumped right into judgments. “How could they hire that guy? Don’t they see what a mess he’s making?!” My inquiry only seemed to make things worse.Read More
I recently attended a course called “Positive Neuroplasticity.” During the class, we discovered how to shift our thinking in order to change the way the brain operates—including its influence on our worldview. In other words, if our worldview is generally negative (which most brains tend to gravitate toward) we can, with practice, actually train our brain so that it will operate from a more positive point of view. Cool, right?Read More
Inner critics arise because in the past we’ve been penalized or punished for something that others thought, or that we thought we should have or shouldn’t have done. Having been punished in the past, our brain is wired to avoid it in the future. It does this by sending us warnings, often in the form of accusations, judgments, or threats. With practice, we can alter this process by using NVC.Read More
By now I’m hoping you’ve had a chance to try Compassionate Communication during a disagreement, or as a way to get needs met at home or at work. Hurray! Practicing by doing is the most direct way to keep learning and growing one’s NVC skills.
But what about when running across a situation in which we’re confused and we’re not sure what to do? Or, what if our brain is telling us two completely different but seemingly reasonable stories about a situation?
Recently I had the good fortune to attend a 3-day Vipassana retreat where we spent a great deal of time in silence and meditation. Because there was so much quiet, it became easier to notice judgments as they arose. “She’s doing it wrong.” “I hate not being able to connect.” “That poor woman looks like she’s really struggling." Noticing this, I would return to my practice, find my center, and start again.Read More