teacher, student, teacher

 

A four-leaf clover.  In my front yard.20150701_163357

On this day.  A day of no work.  A day of rest. The start of a sabbatical, of sorts.

A day of sitting longer at the table after lunch and talking about everything and nothing.

Laughing.

Listening to the midday downpour through the screen door.

A day made for a nap.

A day of walking.

A day of yoga. And red wine. But not at the same time!

I have no need for luck, though.

Gratitude about how much I have is as close as my next breath.

Funny thing about this ‘find’ is that even on a blissful day such as this, I didn’t even notice the clover and even resisted being ‘dragged’ outside (I may be exaggerating but it’s my post and my prerogative) to be shown it.

So, on day #1 of Danette’s Summer of Being a Student Again, I’ve already learned that everything and everyone can be a teacher for me.

It may be a yoga teacher, a four-leaf clover, rest from work or my own resistance to small miracles.

Here’s to the teacher in all of us.

Happy summer!

Be open.  Be ready.  Be a student.

this too

During episodes of confusion, overwhelm or distress, you have likely been consoled with the phrase “this too shall pass” by a sincere friend sporting a sympathetic head tilt and concerned eyebrows. But what your friend may have failed to tell you is that it all passes. No matter how you label your experience, what positive, negative or neutral descriptors you use, it will all pass.

ecstasy
disbelief
numbness
bliss
isolation
clarity
confusion
anticipation
disgust
grief
wonder
intoxication
malaise
hope

 

All will pass.

serenity

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the risk of sounding uber-positive (gasp) or mindlessly optimistic, there is nothing that will happen today that you cannot handle even if your feelings tell you a tall tale of woe.

 

Feelings are not fixed or infallible.

Feelings exist to be felt but can also be based primarily on distorted thought processes. Distorted thoughts take us down a long and winding road that is littered with brightly coloured signage of what is good and bad, right and wrong, positive or negative. Why do we develop amazing stories around some experiences that we deem to be so utterly exasperating or unmanageable?  We learn from all of them.

 

Thoughts are like teenagers.

What they say to us needs to be trusted but also verified. For details on how distorted thought patterns clutter our path with distracting signs, see my previous post on “Distorted Thoughts”

What if you opened your door, whether your house is in order or disarray, and accepted all guests, invited or otherwise?  Once you let interesting characters inside, perhaps they won’t seem so uninvited-a-la-Alanis-Morissette as you first feared.

Listen to the ramblings of your assorted guests without judgement and learn from them. But for heaven’s sake, don’t feed them until you know you want them around for good.

 

 

look then look away

Frankie’s Fixation

My sister’s dog is a Dorkie. A Dorkie is a cross between the Dachshund and the Yorkshire Terrier not a dog who is slow-witted or socially inept although this dog does have some interesting quirks.

Frankie the Dorkie

During our recent family gathering, Frankie the Dorkie would sit beside the refrigerator with his glance fixed firmly on a bright green frog-like fridge magnet. Despite the constant, buzzing activity and social antics of the dozen or so adults, children and four other dogs all around him, Frankie’s gaze remained steady.

But then looking was no longer enough for him. He would then begin to whimper with only the occasional glance away from his beloved magnet to see if anyone would come and lower the magnet on the fridge so he could get a closer look.  When the whimpering didn’t work, he tried barking.

For some reason, we were all quite amused at this fixation and would lower the magnet to see what would happen next. Frankie would get visibly excited as the magnet made its way down to where he could reach it. He would sniff it and then he’d take it gently in his mouth and run away.

Laughing, we’d retrieve the magnet and put it back on the fridge to only start the sitting, staring and whimpering process all over again.

The humour wore off much sooner than Frankie’s steely resolve and we finally hid the magnet on top of the fridge. Frankie was not to be deterred and he just kept staring at the top of the fridge where he thought the magnet was.

Days later now, an email from my mother, who is babysitting Frankie for the week, explained that he is still obsessed with the magnet even though it is no longer even on top of the fridge. To prove that to Frankie, she put him on top of the fridge to show him that there was nothing up there.

It was no use. He is a dog obsessed. Holding on to something that is not his and never will be. Waiting impatiently and expectantly for something even with clear evidence that it may not even exist anymore.

It may be easy to write off Frankie as a canine oddity but those of us who walk on two feet instead of four still struggle with fixations and obsessions.

 

“It has to happen exactly this way or it’s not right”

“I need more…. time, money, friends, support, hope… then everything will be fine”

“He hurt me and I will never be able to forgive him. Ever.”

 

Resolve, Resolutions and Acceptance
In this season of goal setting, can we all find space to accept all of it?

All aspects of ourselves and our lives. Get up on top of the fridge and see that we may be fixated on an empty space and then accept that. The fixation and the empty space.

Then look away and accept that, too.

To what do you cling?  Can you accept the clinging?  Can you accept the letting go?

Be well, be happy and be at peace this coming year.

Compassion starts at home.

 

 

why practice?

In the gray dim of a pre-dawn workday and still groggy from sleep, I was travelling along a main highway with a large number of only what I can assume were regular commuters who try to beat the morning traffic rush by leaving home at the crack of stupid.

 

path through the woods

 

 

With my once-strong eyesight now becoming as temperamental as my body’s thermostat that goes from chilled to tropical moments in a heartbeat, I wasn’t overly concerned when my car headlights appeared slightly dimmer on the asphalt in front me. I chalked it up to my sleepy middle-aged eyes not making the visual transition with the dawn’s light.

But writing this off soon turned to a mild panic when my interior lights began to fade as well right before my headlights faded altogether.

I talked myself off my reactive panic ledge by saying “just calmly put on your blinker to get over to the right shoulder” as everything around me became less visible. That would have been stellar advice if my blinkers were actually working. That meant my four-way flashers were useless, too.  Now can I panic?  This gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘blind spot’.

As cars and large transport trucks whizzed by me, probably cursing the moron with the remarkable bedhead driving in the dark without her lights on, my momentary reaction was “my car is dead and so am I. There is no hope”.  Way to stay calm in a crisis, Danette!

 

wrong way

 

My accelerator did nothing to increase my speed but since I’d been hovering around the speed limit, I decided that I had enough momentum to get over to the side if I waited in the middle lane until the two lanes to my right were completely free of cars coming from behind me. Oh yes, this plan is flawless!

But then an oddly peaceful inner voice became clear. I realized that I could only control a minor portion of this situation.

 

 

“Do what is in front of you and let go of the outcome.”

autumn moment

 

The time pressure to get to my side-of-the-road destination before my car rolled to stop in the middle lane kept trying to incite the inner calm to riot. Those few moments felt like a bottomless pit of slow-motion moments.

With a deep breath, I drew myself back to the inner voice who was saying “Shoulder-check and wait. Mirrors and wait. Shoulder-check, clear now slowly move one lane”. I repeated this for many more moments until I got the far right lane and then I rolled the car onto the shoulder of the road. When I felt I was far enough over to be safe from the passing traffic, I hit the brakes.

Once the ignition was turned off and my shaking hands and voice had called for a tow truck, my short breath and trembling body revealed how much more panicked my body was than my mind had even let on.

There’s nothing like a full mind-body-engaging experience to get the two doing a tag-team wake-up call.  While the body responded to some deep breathing, the brain began tucking away all sorts of wacky thoughts for me to develop into full-fledged manic stories later on.  Even now, I have a short anxious mind-movie that plays in my head whenever I drive past the very spot on the highway where I had this experience.

Beyond the fear factor and the ensuing stories to uncover about how close I came to shuffling off this mortal coil, I do sort of know what an alternator does and have never been more impressed with the important task it performs.  So that’s good.

 

But I also learned that my practices of meditation, yoga, deep breathing and uncovering my old and new stories are now an integral part of my resilient responsive repertoire in the face of crisis and panic.  

old church

Hmmm.  Maybe that’s all I need to know.

want not, get not

Deep down to your very core, what is it that you truly desire?

20140914_102119

 

Peace and solitude?

Fame and fortune?

Love and acceptance?

Fun and distraction?

Freedom from any pain or discomfort?

Competence and efficiency?

Knowing you are warmly valued by another?

To make a difference in your world?

Appreciation for what you produce and share?

Camaraderie and affection?

Acceptance of what “is”?

All of the above?

 

Do you even know?  Are you willing to do a few experiments to find out?

Experiment #1:

Grab a friend. Sit across from each other. Breathe deeply and set the intention to not over-think. Have the friend ask “What is it that you truly desire?” You answer the question. You both take a breath. Have the friend ask “What is it that you truly desire?” You answer. You both take a breath. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Keep repeating until you have nothing left to answer. Or until you have dug deep past the unconscious shopping list of what most of us think we want down to your core values.  Those quiet, hidden values that may be huddled in a corner waiting for you to notice.

What came up? What does it say about where you are right now?
Once what you really desire comes out into the light of day, what about your life right now nourishes that desire?

If you were to write out a description of your ideal day, what would it look like? With all the photographic realism and detail of a Vermeer painting, how could you describe this ideal day so it is a superbly elegant fit for your temperament, your value, preferences and uniquely personal dreams?

If you had the words describing how you are living your ideal life and getting what you truly desire right in front of you, what is preventing you from living out this ideal life?

Experiment #2:

Take as long as you need to write, edit and re-write down your ideal day. Edit out things that do not fit your values and edit in things that do. Write it in the present tense. And don’t forget gratitude. Ie. “It is 7 am and I am grateful for getting a good night’s sleep. My morning begins with…”.  Go through an entire day.

Don’t forget the detail! The devil, god and everyone else in the world and all their dogs and cats are also in the details. Vague ideals lead to vague outcomes.

Once you have a description that excites you to read over and over again, read it over and over again daily. For a month. And notice.

What changes for you and what stays the same? What happens to your expectations? Do you notice how you are already getting some of what you want? Or do you notice that the things you do regularly are not beneficial for getting you closer to your ideal day?

If you are not getting all that you want from life, what can it hurt to try?

And if you don’t know what you desire, how do you know when you get it?

Maybe most of  your life is going just the way you want it to but there are a few pockets of discontent or a lack of satisfaction in one or two areas.  Experiment!

20140914_103059 - Copy

re-wiring thought patterns – hidden beliefs exposed – part four

Once upon a time, it was believed that our brains were wired by our early experiences as young children and then hard-wired by the time we reached early adulthood.  We bought into this with our exclamations of

I can’t help it, that’s the way I was born.

I’ve always been this way.”

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Neuroscience research has now discovered that our brains are much more adaptive than that.  Based on new experiences, the brain can create new neural pathways and revise current, outdated ones that are no longer useful. The discovery has come from the study of the brain’s plasticity or neuroplasticity.

 

Six-Million-Dollar-Man-six-million-dollar-man-659509_346_259

 

This not some “We can rebuild him. We have the technology” cyborg science like the Six Million Dollar Man show from the 70’s.  And it is not magic.  And it’s most certainly not the power of positive thinking that allows our brains to change and adapt.

With the discovery of the brain’s adaptability and a commitment to self-awareness, you can actually re-wire a thought pattern that is no longer useful for you into one that is more beneficial. New experiences can be elegantly integrated while old patterns are woven out of commission.

 

Re-wiring Process

1. SET THE INTENTION

Get crystal clear on your intention to re-set an unhealthy thought pattern. Clarity is key. Cloudy intentions lead to cloudy results.

2. MAKE TIME TO PAUSE

Meditation.  Take intentional tech-fasts.  Take deep breath breaks. Courageously notice unhelpful thought patterns.

3. PROCESS FOR RE-WIRING

Name the thought
Name distorted thought pattern(s) from part two of this series
Consider how and when it became anchored
Name the underlying belief
Sit with the emotions that are tied to the belief
Write out the worst-case scenario if belief didn’t change
Challenge the belief with reason, evidence and support
Consider what the new belief would need to be
Visualize new belief and write out the best-case scenario
Verbalize – repeat the new belief to rewire it into your belief system

20140914_092202[1]

 

Does this seem like too much work?

 

 

It is work.

Unremarkable hard work.

But consider the impact of NOT doing this work.

Unexamined thoughts mean unconscious beliefs are running the show.

 

 

Sample process:

Start small.  Take a less significant pattern to put through the process.

Thought: “I must finish this book I started reading even though I’m not enjoying it.” 

Distorted Thought: Is an “all or nothing”distorted thought pattern feeding this thought? Do I have a ‘black and white’ rule about this?  Dig deeper.

Underlying Belief: Is there an underlying belief that good, strong, responsible people finish what they start?  Is there a belief that finishing something is proof of my worth?

Anchor:  Is there a childhood root in not being able to move onto something new until the first thing is finished?  Was I taught that?

Emotions:  Is there any shame attached to being “mature enough” to finish what I started?  Was there significant adult pressure in childhood to finish things?

Worst-Case Scenario: What’s the worst-case scenario if I am compelled to finish everything I start without reasonable consideration of its current benefit to me?

Challenge the Belief: Now, as an adult, is it reasonable for me to finish reading this book?  Do I have a valid reason to finish or it is simply because it is the way I was wired as a child?  It was absolutely helpful for me to learn responsibility as a child but now, as an already responsible adult, can I choose to start and finish things for a valid reason for me now?

New Belief:   As soon as I notice myself acting out of compulsion to finish something, I will re-evaluate the “why” of doing so. If it based on old, no longer useful pattern then I will begin the re-wiring by choosing a new response that I will verbalize.

Visualize:  I see myself making choices for me now, not for the much younger me who first created this thought pattern.

Verbalize:  “I am free to choose and am responsible for my choice.  There is no “must” or compulsion to do so”.

 

Making Evaluation a Habit 

1.  Start small.  Big things happen when you start with little things.

2.  Keep a record.  Recording the process creates a new anchor in the present.

3.  Start today.  It is easier to change a pattern today than it will be next year.

4.  Be reasonable.  Patterns have taken a lifetime to make and take time to re-wire.

5.  Be grateful.  Life is full of abundance and hope.  Notice the positive!

 

20140906_154830[1]

words in action — hidden beliefs exposed — part three

 

Richard Rodgers of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song-writing duo was the creative force behind the sentiments in the Sound of Music classic, Something Good, a song that was not in the original stage version but was written additionally for the 1965 film.

Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

soemthing good

It doesn’t take a mind reader to see wisps of underlying beliefs and assumptions rising like a gentle fog from the lyrics of this refrain. The words suggest that “good things happen to good people” or at least a person who does enough good things will be rewarded. What does that mean when bad things happen? And what do the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ really mean?

The good-comes-from-good worldview is interesting but becomes a real mind-twisting, emotional roller-coaster when events are not in line with that particular belief.

Your unscripted words are the proving ground

for what you truly believe.

Beliefs that may be deep and dormant come to life in the following phrases:

“Don’t do that! What will the neighbours think?”

“This job will be the death of me!”

“She makes me so mad. I could just scream!”

“I give and I give and I give. He owes me big time!”

“I can’t believe she didn’t invite me. I must have done something to upset her.”

“This is so hard. If this relationship is really right then it should be easier than this.”

“Flat tire? Just my luck!”

“Don’t get too excited about this good news. The other shoe will drop eventually.”

 

 

 

black eyed susans
While it is easier to discern the beliefs of others through words like these, it is more challenging for us to hear our own words, let alone to understand what they reveal. This is especially true since most of us speak more than we listen. How could be possible be aware of every word we say?

 

To Thine Own Self Be Known

Get to know your personal filters through which all your experiences flow. How have your life events, personality, temperament, significant influences and preferences created those particular filters? How do your filters inform your worldview?

 

Notice and Note

Begin to notice your word choices especially those that are repeated or those attached to significant level of emotion. Keeping some method of recording what you notice handy will be helpful to notice just how often you reveal your hidden beliefs and underlying assumptions through your words.

For the truly brave and bold among you, give someone close to you permission to point out when your words reveal a distorted thinking pattern from part two of this series.

 

 Consider the Source

When you begin to notice pattern of distorted thinking revealed in your words, consider from where this pattern may have originated. Sift through family patterns, significant events and your personal temperament that may have firmly rooted this thought pattern into your belief system.

 

Next time, we will take one particular thought pattern through a process of review and revision to see how we can re-wire our brains to develop new, more useful thought patterns grounded on beneficial beliefs.  Discover one of your patterns to put through the process.

Be well, be aware and stay tuned!

 

 

distorted thoughts and twisted truths – hidden beliefs exposed — part two

 

Now that you have considered some of your beliefs around the larger issues of life and discovered the power of a pause for noticing thoughts from  part one of this series, it is time to look deeper into the twists and turns of a thought process.

You may recall the following breakdown of the hundreds of encounters we have on a daily basis:

Situation
Thought
Feeling
Action
Result

Knowing at which point, how and how often to pause in this process can be a challenging. We have so many thoughts in a day and cannot possibly stop at each one to consider the underlying assumptions lurking behind.

 

But some of our thoughts hold more weight than others. The work is to focus on the ones that move very quickly from a simple, fleeting thought to a full-length movies of epic proportions.  Sit.  Start small.  Look for patterns.

sidewalk cafe

 

Effective Hiding Spots for Funky Thoughts

The following areas are indicators of where twisted truths and distorted thoughts like to hang out and make up stories. Noticing when you are experiencing repetition or intensity in any of these areas is a good start.

 

1. Attachments, Obsessions and Addictions

Beyond some typical addictive activities used for numbness from some real or perceived
discomfort (substance abuse, eating too much or too little, excessive screen time,
compulsive sexual behaviour ), what would make your grasp tighten a little if it was pulled away from you?  The glass or two of wine each evening to take the edge off? A shortened deadline so your finished product could not be perfected? Being right at any cost? Notice.

 

2. Aversions and Avoidances

What do you ignore or avoid at all costs? Confrontation? Self-reflection? Taking
responsibility for your own actions and their consequences? Displeasing someone?
Collaboration? New experiences?  Old, boring experiences? Being alone? Notice.

 

3. Physical Symptoms
What is your body saying to you? Communication from your body could be in the form of pain, pleasure, numbness or a sense of not having any awareness of your body at all. Or it could be through repeated minor conditions, illnesses or even long-term, chronic diseases. What is your body saying in health, dis-ease, in motion and at rest? Notice.

 

4. Overwhelming Emotions
When it seems as if the emotions will swallow you up, what is hiding in that moment? When you find yourself swimming in an ocean of fear or terror, rage, jealousy, boredom, ecstasy or euphoria, obsessive desire, isolation and loneliness or despair, Notice.

 

5. Relationships Obstacles
No relationship is perfect. But what could be learned from looking at those messy sticking points, the raw-nerve moments, the chronic misunderstandings or the inelegant dance moves of two partners out-of-step? At home?  At work?  With friends?  Family?  Notice.

 

6. Feeling Hurt, Stuck or Incompetent
What lurks behind the reaction “what she did really hurt my feelings, how could she do that to me”? What is the “should” belief lingering behind believing that our present situation finds us stuck in a rut or trapped in our own life? What belief is getting its mail forwarded to the hiding spot behind your reaction of feeling incompetent or unqualified?  Notice.

 

Hidden Thought Patterns Revealed in Distortion

We are so competent at distorting thinking that we don’t even recognize we’re doing it. Once you start noticing where your distorted thoughts regularly hide, here are some common cognitive distortions from PsychCentral.com that you might discover there.

 

Filtering: Filtering out the positive and only seeing the positive

Polarized Thinking:  Seeing situations as black & white, with an all or nothing attitude

Over-generalization:  Creating a general outlook based on one incident

Jumping to Conclusions:  Assuming an outcome even without proof

Catastrophizing: Expecting that a disaster will be the outcome

Personalization: Taking the words and actions of others personally

Control Fallacies: Believing you are a victim of fate or that you life is externally controlled

Fallacies of Fairness: Assuming that everything in life is ultimately supposed to be fair

Blaming: Holding others responsible for our pain and discomfort

Shoulds: Having clear rules about how we and all other should behave

Emotional Reasoning: Believing that what we feel is the concrete truth

Fallacy of Change: Believing that people will change if pressured enough to do so

Global Labelling: Using emotionally-laden language to make a global judgement

Always Being Right: Thinking that being wrong is an unthinkable situation

Heaven’s Reward Fallacy: Keeping score of giving in hopes of getting back in return

 

That’s a boat-load of noticing to do!

sunday walk sights1

 

Self-care Homework

1.  Continue to practice the pause from part one of this series to help you with the noticing.

2.  Keep a small notebook handy to record what you notice will help you focus on the one or two thought patterns that are causing you the most concern and prevent getting bogged down with trying to deal with too many patterns at once.

 

Writing down what you notice will also help for the next blog post when we discover how the words we use reveal which distorted thoughts we default to most often. Then we will consider the impact of allowing these thought patterns to go unchecked.  

Still ahead, we will work through a process to re-wire our brains by flipping the distorted thoughts on their heads and creating a new result to the troublesome situation.

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll see you back here next time!

 

where the wild things are – hidden beliefs exposed – part one

 

Hidden beliefs, core values and underlying assumptions are not quite so hidden from others as they are from ourselves. But to uncover them for us to see clearly, we need to look more deeply into where they hide.

Where did that come from?

Have you ever found yourself suddenly quite angry/ sad/ devastated/ ecstatic/ irritated/ fearful and much more so than the situation might typically call for?

Or found yourself taking someone’s comment or action personally and wondered why you were so upset about it?

What about experiencing the repetition of similar physical symptoms or obstacles at work or in relationships?

These are signals that hidden beliefs are secretly lingering in the deep, dark woods nearby.  But what exactly are these beliefs that are informing your thoughts, words and actions?  And are they beliefs that you still want to be informing your decisions?

Good questions.

 

a colourful friend

 

How the mind works

What we truly believe lives quite happily in our subconscious where it co-exists with all the information we have been tucking away there since we were toddlers.  The subconscious mind has the ability to receive and hold information that the conscious mind cannot.  The information it holds all gets labelled as literal and true.  So the filing cabinets of our belief system of literal truths sit there gathering dust while impacting our thoughts, word and actions without our expressed knowledge or consent.

 

Do you know what is in your filing cabinets?

If you haven’t visited your belief system filing cabinets for awhile now, how do you know what your beliefs are regarding:

  • Death & Life after Death
  • Love & Hate
  • Work & Leisure
  • Morality & Ethics
  • Happiness & Success
  • Physical Well-Being and Disease
  • Gender & Roles
  • Luck & Fate

 

How the hidden belief stays hidden

When we unwittingly react to situations, the helpful information about what we believe stays in the subconscious. When we choose to respond, we can bring the information to the conscious mind for processing.

On any given day, the following scenario takes place hundreds of times.

Situation
Thought
Feeling
Action
Result

 

A example of a brief interaction:

Situation     —    as you walk down the street, you are asked for spare change
Thought     —    “sure!” or “are you kidding me; get a job!” or “should I or shouldn’t I?”
Feeling       —    self-righteousness, judgement or resentment, fear or peace
Action         —    give, don’t give, or walk on
Result        —    a brief interaction with another human being for 15 – 30 seconds

 

What is not clear in this break-down of reaction to the request for money is the underlying beliefs that informed the thought and the eventual decision. Underlying beliefs about poverty, homelessness, work ethic, trust, money, your obligation and what others expect of you are wild things wandering in the forest of your subconscious mind and just waiting for an event where they can jump out to support a strong reaction.

If beliefs in your subconscious were placed there decades ago and are no longer useful then it is time notice our reactions and to transform them to responses.

 

Reaction to Response

In the above equation,

Situation
Thought
Feeling
Action
Result

THE ONLY THING WE HAVE COMPLETE CONTROL OVER IS OUR THOUGHTS

We can minimize exposure to some unwanted situations but we cannot predict or control every situation that we may face.  We can have feelings that may occasionally be overwhelming but feelings are there to be felt so eliminating them is not ultimately helpful and, in fact, they can be very useful towards a greater sense of self-awareness.  We can choose our actions but unless we know why we are acting (or reacting) the way we are, our choices are limited to those actions supporting our underlying, hidden beliefs.

 

To replace a reaction with response, we must consciously choose to pause before, during or after the “thought”.  Even if we make it all the way to action before we realize we are in a full-blown reaction, the pause gives the chance to go back to the thought that triggered the reaction.

Pauses can be as short as three deep breaths, counting to ten or as much as stepping away from the situation to take a moment.

 

SAM_2981

And what is hiding behind the thought that started the reactionary domino-effect to an unwanted action or result, is where all the wonderfully wild and transforming work is to be done.

Next time here, we’ll peek behind the thoughts and dig into common distorted thinking patterns that trigger unhelpful reactions to situations that could use a thoughtful response instead.  We will eventually get to a process to work through to unpack the hidden beliefs behind distorted thoughts and strong reactions.

To prepare for digging deeper:

 

1. Practice noticing

Your words
Your body’s signals
Your thoughts
Your reactions

 

2. Practice the power of the pause

In line at the grocery store
In traffic
In difficult conversations
In situations that regularly get a strong reaction from you
In silence

 

3. Practice big belief evaluation

Consider your views of some of life’s larger issues
Consider when those beliefs were anchored

See you next time for more digging and exposing of hidden beliefs!

 

check your bags

 

For almost two decades, students, parents and teachers at my school have annually collected thousands of cans and dried goods for a local Christmas food hamper program with hopes of making a real difference in our community. Student leaders orchestrate the event while teachers work with students to set class and personal contribution goals.

Food Drive

 

It is incredibly inspiring to witness the generosity of students and parents as they arrive early, well before the school day starts, to drop off boxes or bags of food items.

And, it is nothing to see a student reach in, passed their pencil case, binder and calculus textbook, deep into their backpack, to pull out many cans to add to the mountain of food already collected.

Fast forward to the month of May, long after another record-breaking year of items collected for food hampers, a parent and I were discussing ways to support her child in the areas of attention, organization and task completion. This mother was baffled at her child’s on-going organizational struggles. To underscore her concern, she explained how she had just recently found a can of tuna in her child’s backpack. That can of tuna was intended to be donated, along with all the others way back in December.

Fortunately, despite her well-founded concern, this mother could see the genuine humour in this situation and understood that students with significant attentional concerns often find themselves overlooking key information that the rest of us take for granted.

 

Seriously now, if you were carrying extra weight in your backpack for months and months, you would notice.

Right?

bag check time

 

You presumably take the time to occasionally go through your backpack, briefcase, purse or laptop bag to check out the usefulness of the contents especially if it is something that you carry with you daily.

With each item you pull out of the bag, you may ask, “Does this serve me or not?”  In the case of the young student, is this can of tuna going to, in any way, help me with my math or history or geography or is it just making a heavy bag even heavier?

What are you carrying in your bags?

Stay tuned to this blog for a series on common hidden beliefs that you and I may be inadvertently carrying around with us and how to determine whether it is serving us or sabotaging us.

Let’s go through our bags together and see if we can lighten things up!