Change your Attitude, Heal your Soul, Balance your Life. Uplevel YOUR consciousness. Find your way HOME through MAAPS.

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Inner and Outer Reflection, Paradigm shifting

Outer Reflection is how you see.  You make determinations about your self, others, what you have created and what you can create via a mirror–>through what you perceive reflected back to you.  The work in development is to establish an inner picture that can take in new information as it is reflected but can also deflect distorted information. choose Outer Reflection is how you decipher how others see you. What you like in another is often about what you are striving for in yourselves.  Sometimes it works against you, via a thing called projection:

What we dislike in another may also be about something we dislike within ourselves that we don’t want to accept. (this was first identified as a psychological ego defense mechanism by Freud).

reflection Defensiveness is a notable component of projection.  It is also an inner clue to let you know that you are being triggered and reacting from a habit reaction pattern, or in past-tense, rather than in present time.  You can use the feeling of defensiveness to gently nudge you to use Inner reflection to mindfully determine how to respond to a situation.   We are all one unit.  The universe, the plant, animal and human species are one dynamic, interactive organism. The universe is constantly responding to you and you are constantly responding to the universe.  This is the nature of things; it is a kind of ebb and flow. When you get stuck in a habit of reacting, or an attachment to how things should be or look,  then you get caught in a feedback loop wherein you perceive specific things being mirrored back to you that are more about your history than the present moment.  You lose the benefit of the dynamic reflection of the universe, and relationships. Turning No to ON works with this element of reflection…using the mirror reflection of ON from no, to get you to use your inner reflective tools. Inner reflection is mindfulness.  It is an active process of recognizing, perceiving the mirror reflection and then using paradigm shifting to determine the voracity of the outer reflection.  It gives you space, slows time, so that you can actually create broader and deeper connections to your environment, and your community.  It increases understanding, clarifies your place in the world and transcends fear-based reactivity. Turning Me to We in relationships uses inner reflection to include a vision of the world as interdependent rather than narcissistic or defensive.  Narcissistic reactions are all about me, me, me.  They are fear-based and one-dimensional.  Defensive reactions are both me and I, I, I, they are fear-based and two-dimensional.  YOU can Use this reflective aspect of the universe to reset your self and get to neutral, so you can create interdependent, non-fear-based, multi-dimensional relationships that encourage connection and collaboration.

I chose these reflective, mirroring titles to telegraph the importance of transcending reactive, defensive, fear-based interaction. I wanted to encourage at the start this focus on the reflections, not just the meaning of these words, to get you to understand and engage in the internal shift required for health.  You only have power over yourself.  The world within which you live is your creation.  When you own that, you free yourself to make the necessary changes within yourself to create the world you truly desire from your integrated, non-fear reactive, multi-dimensional spirit, mind, body self.

Turning No to ON is moving from No to Yes and Off to On.  It is dynamically and mindfully working with the entire situation within which the No is happening to understand what is being reflected by the child, so that you can shift him or her to an On position ready to participate, interact and learn. When no is turning into ON it has to shift focus, see from a different perspective: see the reflection of the NO so that you can understand the Yes and be ON. When me is turning to we it uses an inversion, a shift in perspective, so that the needs of me shift into the needs and receptivity of we.  You can think of using an inversion to shift the M into a W.

In order to get from Me to WE you have to develop empathy, boundaries and inner security. Me is dependent, needy and insecure. An individual who is relating in a Me style of relationship has loose boundaries, difficulty saying no, and often feels s/he must give up self needs to meet the needs of the other.

I is defensive, competitive and fearful of being engulfed. An individual who is relating in an I style of relationship has rigid boundaries, difficulty saying yes, and fear of being subsumed into the other and lose internal strength. In order to move out of Me and I styles of relating you need to use both the power of reflection from others and a sense of inner security to establish a path through Me and I styles of relating into a We style of relating with mutuality and flexible boundaries. Finally, remember that paradigms are a part of how we interpret these reflections.  Practice inversions and this will assist you in developing a way through the Me and I to the WE or through the No to ON. Paradigm shifting is visual and language.  An example of a visual paradigm shift is the traditional duck/ bunny.imagesB An example of a language paradigm shift is that the name for the Tibetan word for sun is the Hopi word for moon and the Hopi word for Sun is the Tibetan word for Moon.  If you make a straight line from the Hopi land through the earth you come out on the other side in Tibet. Truth is held at the center of all paradigms. When you allow yourself to release your attachment to something being a certain way then you are free to shift your paradigm and connect. Take the time now to understand what matters to you.  Look for ways to be congruent in your beliefs, your thinkings, and your actions.  Allow your words and actions to align with each other.

  • Discern what creates defensiveness, fear, insecurity, and lack of faith in you.
  • Find ways to Create:
  • Connection out of defensiveness,
  • Love and Knowing out of fear,
  • Confidence out of insecurity,
  • and Faith out of lack of faith.
  • Do this and everything you desire will be at your heart center and your fingertips.

Use these uncomfortable feelings to teach you about yourself through Inner and Outer Reflection.  You will become the strongest person in your world, empowered to create what you desire. Namaste, in love and light, bg

You can find out more at  Even More outlined in Beth’s upcoming book, 6 steps to transcending conflict and elevating consciousness, due out in 2014.  You may participate in seminars to learn these techniques through her website.  This book is the HOW TO companion book to Turning Me to WE: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness(2013).front cover.me2we Discover where you are in the Temperament and  the MAAPS section.  You can see how you see the world, and whether you have an attachment that is creating problems in your relationships.  MAAPS will help you to discern your insecurities and understand how and what underlies how you developed your insecurity driver (Money,  Achievement,  Attachment, Power,  Structure). You can find ways to simply connect to yourself in a loving forgiving way through the Turning No to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness Book (2011). beth's book No to ONIf you want to change your life, see how you can bring mindfulness to your parenting and relationships.  One being at a time you can elevate the way in which you treat one another and elevate the consciousness on the planet so that equality, balance, and freedom BEcome the norm for all.  in love and light, bg

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sleep like a dog for a long life

Hello and Welcome!

This post offers excellent support to increase your healthy balanced living.

Li Ching-Yuen was purported to have lived 256 years in China dying in 1933.  When asked the secret to his long life he related his knowledge for longevity in this simple sentence: “Retain a calm heart, sit like a turtle, walk like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog.”

retain a calm heart may also be translated to maintain a tranquil mind… this is a direct reference to meditation.  Over the years many studies have shown the deep and abiding benefits of meditation; showing that focused mindful meditation helps with maintaining healthy brain function and cardiovascular function.  Meditation increases resilience to stress.

...sit like a turtle is a reference to stillness, being still, allowing stillness without distraction and without multitasking…this allows for the fullness of each experience and allows for rejuvenation…there is significant evidence that the amount of stimuli requiring attention or the amount of multitasking required by americans leads to stress and allostatic overload.  Creating stillness increases space for rejuvenation and a return to balance.

walk like a pigeon, also translated as walking quickly or sprightly, this referenced moving rhythmically and frequently.  This seems to keep the body, heart and mind activated and attentive without a sense of hyperactivity.  Activity with rest is the most balanced style of physical development and health.

sleep like a dog…this is indeed my favorite as it references the importance of not aspen and romeo asleep 3-12holding onto anything that causes anxiety, releasing unforgiveness, allowing past to be past and being in the now…conserving energy and embracing the importance of deep and fulfilling sleep…healthy in-balanced dogs take frequent naps when there is a lull in activity and then awake refreshed ready to pounce on the day or evening.

When you focus on living in a healthful, balanced fashion you increase your lifespan and decrease the negative effects of aging.  Living out of balance shortens your lifespan.

In a time when there is debate about health insurance and the issue of accessibility it is important to see through the propaganda to truth.Health insurance doesn’t precisely increase accessibility.  Healthcare is not health insurance.  In order to increase accessibility, many shifts are required.

You can sidestep this problem, if you are currently healthy or moderately out of balance, by increasing your balanced practice in living.

Consider the issues of spirit, body, and mind.  (You may also read this series of articles on shifting your attitude, connecting to your spirit, and balancing your life, to develop your 4×4 Habits to Health.)

How are you increasing your risk for imbalance and need for health care?  Ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you have difficulty sleeping?  Do you awaken after a full nights sleep and feel unrested?
  • Do you feel sluggish?  Do you have an ongoing sense of fatigue?
  • Do you have trouble exercising either due to a lack of energy or pain?
  • Do you have chronic pain?
  • Do you have a pervasive sense of uneasiness or anxiety?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed with your tasks and responsibilities?
  • Do you feel you overeat, or drink alcohol, or use drugs to deal with your stress level?
  • Do you feel isolated?  Or do you feel too much responsibility for those for whom you care?
  • Do you eat food you know is not good for you because you are too busy to make good food? Or do you eat food that is not good for you because you have to eat quickly and on schedule?
  • Are you overweight and find you cannot seem to drop the weight even when you try?
  • Do you have unresolved anger or unforgiveness regarding earlier injuries, losses, or relationship issues?
  • Do you feel bereft spiritually?
  • Do you feel apathetic?
  • Do you feel angry, and short-tempered more than 30 % of your waking time?

If you get more than half answers in the positive, your life is out of balance.  This kind of imbalance can lead to heart disease, increased bad cholesterol, increased levels of glucose, increased levels of cortisol, decreased energy, difficulties with sleep and the overall regenerative processes built into your integrated spirit, mind and body processes, and a more rapid aging process.  To make the necessary shifts in your habits of living, begin with the above mantra.  You can start today!

Up to now, the western medical program in the US has been to enable Americans to behave in an unbalanced way and then get treatment for their bad behavior, calling this health care treatment.  Now that we are moving into a socialized medicine program, this will begin to diminish.  less and less will unbalanced, unhealthy behavior be supported through medical treatment.  This is because the cost to do so is very high.

As you look over the last 120 years there is an interesting observation of overindulgence, then abstinence with the pendulum swinging toward each end in succession.   Letting go and partying then pulling in and recuperating.  The ground for this warfare being your body.  When lifespans were closer to fifty years rather than one hundred years, this overindulgence only shortened a person’s life slightly.  Now, individuals who want to live longer will have to live healthier more balanced lifestyles to have their bodies be working efficiently at the end of their lives.

“Retain a calm heart, sit like a turtle, walk like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog.”  OR

Change your attitude, Heal your spirit, Balance your life… if you want to find a deeper practice or just want support in finding your way to balance, you can contact me at my website for more intensive coaching or other great resource material, www.bethgineris.comin love and light, bg

photo of two dogs sleeping:  Lisa Aldon

front cover.me2we

Gineris, Beth. Turning NO to ON:  The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness, 2011; Turning ME to WE:  The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness, 2013.

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Mindfulness more useful in Parenting – Recent Canadian 20 year study identifies strong relationship between spanking and aggressive behavior


There has been a lot of research regarding the effects of disciplining children with physical punishment and spanking.  These studies have been conducted since 1990 and have consistently indicated negative results for this style of discipline especially an increase in aggressive and antisocial behavior on the part of the spanked child, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012).

Proponents of spanking as a form of discipline argue against this relationship  indicating that the children who need to be spanked or physically punished are already more aggressive and so this explains the connection between increased aggression in children who are spanked.

This recent study in the  Canadian Medical Association Journal spanning over twenty years controlled for this issue precisely and addressed the issue of causality.  The study followed children who were physically punished as a form of discipline and children who were not.

The study shows that children who are physically punished get more aggressive over time and those that are not physically punished get less aggressive over time.  Furthermore, it looked at studies where parents that were taught to change their methods from physical punishment to non-violent methods of discipline saw a decline in aggressive behavior in their children, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p2).

What is also good about this study is it looks at “everyday” acts of aggression so it is addressing the kind of physical punishment that is most common and it links these with increased aggression over time.

It also showed that those children that are spanked or hit are more likely to be aggressive toward family members or peers and exhibit other antisocial behavior.

The study’s analysis shows that there are short-term benefits to spanking, as it stops the unwanted behavior for the immediate situation; But these short-term benefits are at the cost of some very negative long-term effects.  It is linked to an increase in aggressive behavior in the long-term.

One of the Key Points of the study shows that NO study has found that physical punishment enhances  developmental health (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p1);  there is no  link between positive behavior and corporeal punishment in the long-run.

The authors reported on a meta-analysis of  studies since 1990 published in 2002 and conducted their own analysis to date and discovered no study – regardless of the sample size, or age of child – has been able to establish positive associations with physical discipline, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p2).

This is telling because from an anecdotal perspective spanking and hitting as a disciplinary tool are very common. Writing from my observations in my practice and the parents I know socially, I would estimate that over 75 percent use physical punishment and spanking to discipline their children; other polls have quoted 80 percent (Time, 2.6.2012, online).

In my experience, when talking with parents about this subject, individuals who were physically punished offer information about how they feel it was good for them; identifying specific skills they learned as a result.

However, upon examination what becomes more clear is that their learning was a result of them applying their own mindfulness to the situation to make sense out of the hitting, NOT as a result of some direct teaching or correlation connected to the physical punishment.  Most of these individuals express that although they will use physical punishment they will not do it to the extent their parents did; and those that use it state they feel their child understands why they are being punished.

One of the researchers and lead author of the report, Joan Durrant a Child Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Family Studies at the University of Manitoba, cited the issue in the U.S. of physical punishment being an integral part of the culture, a rare instance when an individual was raised without it, which makes it second nature to use physical punishment and feels out of the norm to raise a child without it, Fox News Health, 2.7.2012.

She also discerned that a big component of this style of parenting is that parents may be unaware of basic child development and may then inaccurately assess their child as being defiant or intentionally bad rather than simply acting in various ways that are consistent with normal child development, (Fox News Health, 2.7.2012).

According to an article in (Time, 2.6.2012)  about this specific study Durrant reports the most effective way to assist your children is through educating them about what they are doing that isn’t acceptable or appropriate she used the following example:

A young toddler who upends her cereal bowl on her head probably isn’t being ornery; she’s just curious to see what will happen. Durrant likes to use her son as an example. When he was 3, he dropped his dad’s toothbrush into the toilet. Another parent might have yelled, but Durrant’s academic background helped her realize that he was just experimenting: he dropped objects into water floating in sinks and bathtubs with nary a scolding; why not toilets too? “I explained what goes into toilets and then said, Do you think Daddy is going to want to put that toothbrush in his mouth now?” Message transmitted with no yelling.  (or spanking – my addition).

She is talking about Mindfulness.  Mindfulness incorporates an understanding about your child’s temperament and child development.  Recognizing the basic nature of children is curiosity and exploring their environment, that children are dealing with power issues and trying to understand how things work in relationship and in their environment, and they go through a spiraling developmental system where they have skills that then get reworked and lost as they develop their gross motor activities, fine motor activities and their inner cognitive systems, learning through modeling from the world around them, (Gesell Institute of Child Development, Ames and Ilg, 1979; Erik Erikson, Childhood and Society, 1960)

This study is good news for those of us who have been disciplining through mindfulness and dovetails very closely with the information presented in my book, Turning NO to ON:  The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness (8.14.2011).

It supports the instinctive sense that discipline is a function of knowing, understanding and teaching your child.  Durrant states in the article ”  Effective discipline rests on clear and appropriate expectations, effectively communicated within a trusting relationship and a safe environment”, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p4).

Discipline is an equation of knowing and understanding your child’s temperament and developmental stage + knowing and understanding his emotional and intellectual capacity + knowing and understanding your own temperament and emotional capacity + guiding toward a recognized set of goals + and knowing what you are trying to teach, when.  It is most effective when mindfulness is applied to this multi-faceted equation to get the most effective long-term results.

Reactivity can create problems with this equation in parenting and if your history is that you were spanked or hit as a child then you will have a reactivity to do just that.

In reality if you hit or spank a child to stop their behavior you will stop it for that immediate moment, but you are probably not teaching them what you think you are.

You may think you are teaching them to control themselves, think things through or have good manners but you are modeling something completely different.

You are modeling the opposite – not thinking things through not controlling yourself.

In fact you are modeling that hitting is a solution.  That hitting is a way to get control over another person.  That people in power can make others do things.  I know for many parents that sounds reasonable but if you just look at the long-term effects you can see how this is creating an environment for aggressive behavior, bullying and in some instances domestic violence among adults, low-self esteem and a lack of an internal locus of control – knowing what is right from an inner understanding cognitively with an ability to direct ones own course in life.

The article clarified information that children who are spanked may feel depressed and devalued, and their sense of self-worth can suffer… and physical punishment is a risk factor for child aggression and antisocial behavior, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p2).   It also identified studies which show researchers have found that physical punishment is linked to slower cognitive development and adversely affects academic achievement, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p2).  Through their analysis of  previous studies, other links identified show up later in life: mental – health problems including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, these may be mediated by disruptions of the parent-child attachment resulted  from pain inflicted by the caregiver, by increased levels of cortisol, or by chemical disruption of the brain’s mechanism for regulating stress, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p2).  

To avoid some of these devastating side-effects to spanking it seems wiser to utilize more effective ways to discipline that don’t promote the development of aggressive behavior, wreak self-esteem, and encourage antisocial behavior.

The most effective way to discipline is to utilize positive techniques of teaching and guiding.  The use of time-outs as a way of teaching your child to think through situations and communicate his needs and to help diffuse a negative situation, loss of privileges as a way of teaching connections, and increasing your communication with your child so that you can understand and guide him are all ways to discipline in a positive and educational way.

Mindfulness is a tool that you can use to structure your parenting to assist you and your child.  Remember to focus on how to be responsive rather than reactive and to identify the whole of what is going on to assist your child in developing self-control, thinking skills, and proper acceptable behavior.

Durant and Ensom identify as a Key Point in the article “A professional consensus is emerging that parents should be supported in learning non-violent, effective approaches to discipline”, (Durrant & Ensom, 2012, p1).

You can check out the information presented here through the sites identified in the article or the references below.

See you tomorrow.



Ames, Louise Bates & Ilg, Francis L.; Your Five-Year Old, Sunny ans Serene.  New York City, New York:  Dell Publishing Group:  1979.

Durrant, Joan and Ensom, Ron; Physical punishment of children: lessons from 20 years of research, CMAJ; cmaj .101314 v1; published ahead of print February 6, 2012, doi:10.1503/cmaj.101314 v1.

Erikson, Erik H.; Childhood and Society, Second Edition.  New York City, New York:  W. W. Norton & Company, inc:  1963.

Gineris, Beth; Turning NO to ON:  The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness.  Charleston, South Carolina:  CreateSpace Printing:  2011.

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Survivor Scenarios


What are Survivor scenarios?

This is a term that I have developed to describe styles of being in the world that were created by individuals to aid in navigating through a difficult situation that become habitual.

They are habit reaction patterns that were developed to survive that situation but often result in actually interfering with an individual’s growth once they survived a difficult situation.

A survivor scenario is a filter, or way of seeing the world.

An equation of sorts that defines how to react under certain circumstances.  It has triggers of words, internal feelings, and actions on the part of others.

It’s an equation of what certain words and actions mean, and how to react,  that are directly applicable to a previous situation but not necessarily true about the current environment in a person’s life.

Survivor scenarios cover deep long-standing injuries and are an answer to an internal conflict at the root of which is an injury.

Think of injury in broad terms – don’t think only physical tangible also include spiritual, developmental, and emotional woundings.  And an injury or wound can be a misinterpretation of events that has stuck in some way in a person’s psyche or unconscious.

Some survivor scenarios are in response to actual abuse and neglect or injury.  Some are a result of a misinterpretation of an event.  The importance of understanding the origination of the wound is useful but not required to change the behavior.

The most important action is to become mindful that there is a survivor scenario that needs to be put into its proper place.  It is important to respond in the present moment, including questioning and mindfulness to see the whole picture and see the figure/ground of the current situation.

I have identified five survivor scenario groups or styles:  protector, savior, survivor, victim/martyr, and persecutor.

These have varying degrees of positive aspects to the survivor scenario.  Protecting, Surviving, and Saving seem like positive scenarios to develop – altruistic and strong.  They are.  They do not seem to be related to victimization in nature.

The reason they are victim or survivor scenarios, and not thriver scenarios, is that these are defined by the victim/other.  In order to maintain the definition you need the victim in relationship.

In order to be a protector, survivor, or savior one needs someone or something that requires protecting, surviving and saved; so it is co-dependent in nature rather than thriving and mindful.

This doesn’t mean that taking the action of protection, surviving, or savior in a specific situation is a negative co-dependent action.

It is that action, as a definition of your person, self, and/or personality, that makes it a reactive victim/survivor scenario style of being in the world.

It is more clear how persecutors (many bullies) and victims or martyrs scenarios are more directly related to victimization.

Survivor versus thriving.  Originally, I developed this work in response to how people developed as survivors.

Thriving is responding in the present moment with mindfulness, rather than reacting from your unconscious reaction habit patterns.

A thriver uses anger as a message that there is a problem or that some boundary has been crossed.  Responding with neutrality and focus, not anger.

A thriver allows the energy to flow through while being in your center.

Learning about paradigms and shifting perspectives, returning to center, and moving from figure to ground to gather more information to respond fully and from your center, and seeing the whole picture; remaining in the present – the here and now – to make choices and take action, and to create connections and develop, fuller, clearer, more fulfilling relationships.

And in parenting to create stronger, more resilient children with better self-esteem.

As you think about how you define yourself you may find that you do consider yourself someone who would go into a fire to save someone or that protecting your child is of the utmost importance.  These strong feelings are not survivor scenarios.  These are actions you would take in a given, specific situation and identify that you have a strong picture of your character.

If you find that you are always having to survive a situation or that you find that you are always having to protect others in many different situations.  And that is a primary way in which you see/define yourself.   Then you may want to evaluate if you are functioning under the influence of a survivor scenario.

Your best antidote is to apply mindfulness, and present moment, responsive action in situations and allow them to develop.

You will still need those skills of surviving, saving, protecting to deal with specific situations that in a mindful way, need that kind of response.

You may find some of the time the situation may develop in a different way, and that you may not have to apply the scenario equation in order to resolve the situation.

See you tomorrow.


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Healing in everyday interactions


“The healer knows that there is only one way to solve the truly difficult problems of this world:  with love, the energy of the heart and its permutations – – gentleness, kindness, patience, tolerance, and ethical behavior.” — Warren Grossman, PhD

I found this quote while researching information for an ethics seminar. It’s kind of cool.

Grossman was a therapist who developed this as a philosophy in response to his work as a therapist.   His website states the following:

For Grossman, ” Love – not romance, Tolerance – which does not mean to tolerate, Interdependence – with the rest of nature, Intelligence – not intellect, Healing – becoming more whole, Forgiving – exchanging anger for love, Respect – appreciative regard for that which is not familiar, Here and Now – The only time that is neither memory nor fantasy, Naturewhat you are, Transformation – becoming better, Epistemology – knowing about knowing”;

his book Earth/Heart –’ what you are reflects the many important things the author learned through the years, specifically his encounter with the flow of life and his thoughts about the simple truths of nature’.  Warren Grossman, PhD

This is remarkably similar to what I have been writing about over the last few months.

There are many paths to this concept of Mindfulness.

Focusing on self-knowing and compassion toward others allows for the opening of one’s heart in a way that is different from falling in love.

One of my favorite authors Erich Fromm wrote about the Art of Loving.  Loving is not so much a feeling as an action; it’s a way of being in the world.

It seems to be more a matter of knowing the other, understanding the other, and accepting the other rather than making the other become something from your imagery.

When I think about the sixties and how free love was interpreted I think they missed out on the opportunity for truly freeing love and opening up to a higher level of consciousness toward others.

Then it was about getting out of the constraints of social mores here I am talking about upleveling consciousness.

Love is healing.

Truly gifted therapists love their patients.  They attend to them with this compassionate, accepting, understanding way and guide them toward health with openness, honesty, kindness, and resilient focus.

If you have been in therapy with a gifted therapist you found a healing path for yourself with their guidance.  Those who know this, know psychotherapy works.

The reason that it has not been proved that it works is due to the sad fact that not all therapists act in this manner.  It is not specifically prescribed to do so – in fact there are many boundaries, rules, and constraints set up to avoid such a relationship because most individuals don’t love in this higher consciousness way and falling in love with your patients will and does injure them.

It is my contention that one of the reasons for therapy is to resolve the injuries of the heart that occur without intention in childhood.  As such, often the work in therapy is to re-parent those beings you find in your practice.

As I meditate on mothering and parenting I see the similarities between therapy and parenting; how to best heal or help birth the consciousness of our children is to use these actions of higher love.

Compassion, understanding, accepting, being with while guiding forward these actions as parents make it so that injuries may be avoided or healed from the inside out.

Think about how you can free love or free your heart toward your partner and /or child – increasing your understanding of them so that you can be more accepting of them.

Of course I am not suggesting co-dependence or neglect of response-able expectation in relationship just seeing the person in front of you and loving who they are.

See you tomorrow.


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creating mini-internal cultural revolutions…


So we’ve been taking about stop, look and listen, language and meaning, figure and ground, and paradigm shifting.  These are all ways to increase mindfulness to act in a present moment way within the context of authenticity and internal strength toward connection and the development of one’s best self.

When I was in college I read a landmark book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, first published in 1962.  It developed a theory that truth in science was a function of one conceptual world view being replaced by another.  This was the basis of the concept of paradigm shifting that was later taken up by Steven Covey 27 years later in his powerful book on change, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

I experienced a mini-internal cultural revolution.

  • Making connections and seeing how to integrate disparate views to incorporate a vision that life is connected.
  • How we connect/disconnect and how we view life has more to do with our experiences and how we interpret those experiences than something objectively real.
  • Empowerment is a function of personal will-power and the terms intention, attention, perspective, perception.
  • Responsibility is the ability-to-respond in the present moment; and, freedom, rights and responsibilities are interconnected.
  • Unconscious habit reaction patterns require shifting to create mini-internal, cultural revolutions, paradigm shifting using mindfulness.

Hermann Hesse’s literary work The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi), which describes an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality was a pivotal source-work for me.  I  suspect this has something to do with my affinity for existentialism and phenomenology as conceptual worldviews.

Existentialism is a philosophy that focuses on how all actions are choices, even no action, and that an individual has power as she has responsibility for her choices in the world, and through this responsibility is free.   Jean-Paul Sartre best describes this philosophy; I like many of his literary works but my favorite is Being and Nothingness.

Phenomenology incorporates the effect of the interface of energy, spirit, mind, and physical components in the development of self and meaning.  Georg Hegel:  The Phenomenology of Spirit and Martin Heidegger:  On the Way to Language and The Question of Being were strong contributors to this philosophy.

From a psychological perspective, I like the contemporary work by James Hillman and, the transformational work by Heinz Kohut who developed the concept of dynamic self-psychology which focuses on the development of a sense of worth, well-being and self-object relationships, primarily in early childhood but continues throughout all stages of development and focuses on internal conflicts and important relationships.

A contemporary author who incorporates these philosophies to promote mindfulness and integration of spirit, mind, body and action is Ken Wilber:  Integral Spirituality and A theory of everything.

These worldviews applied to parenting have to do with increasing mindfulness, and choice-making in the now.  Increasing internal strength via connection to self and internal will-power and the capacity to navigate internal needs and external expectations to promote optimal growth.

There is a fascinating educational curriculum that has been used in Canada and in some areas in the US to help children and adolescents succeed emotionally and academically in school by increasing their mindfulness, from The Hawn Foundation started by Goldie Hawn, called MindUP, developed by a Harvard psychologist who is part of the foundation.

So there’s a lot of references for the ideas about which I have been writing.

Check them out if you’re interested.

See you tomorrow.


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Patience, how to keep it


Ah, patience.

Patience can really assist one in maintaining perspective and working toward goals.

Developing our own patience and that of our children is challenging.  Practice makes perfect usually requires the patience to push through the mistakes of practice to get to perfect. This teaches resilience and inner strength and the capacity to delay gratification – but patience is still hard for everyone.

You can see this in sports.  Where an individual’s inability to keep his cool results in the person’s inability to remain focused on the goal.  They can get too affected by a mistake.  It’s as if they get caught in a downward spiral that takes them away from the goal because they are not acting from their center.

Patience requires a sense of centeredness and it keeps you centered.

In some ways, the culture of our world makes it more difficult – there’s a push to have it now, especially in the advertisement world.  And there is a lot of hurry up and wait; these actions tend to erode rather than develop patience.

Delaying gratification – having to work for something – is good; it turns out that resilience develops out of the process of not winning, and living through that, to then win. To get there requires patience, perseverance, and inner strength.

The thing with patience is that it’s always relative.  No matter how patient a person is, life can push you just a little too far and then there you are losing your patience or temper.

A number of things help to increase or maintain patience.  Looking at it from a Spirit, Mind, and Body relationship:

Daily Yoga or meditation, prayer – spirit.

Thinking things through before acting, keeping the big picture in mind (figure and ground) – mind.

Exercise, and sleep and eating right – body.

Breathing, Staying centered and focused – spirit, mind and body.

If you are out of sync in any of these areas it’s really difficult to center – and a lack of centeredness often results in a lack of patience.

When faced with a situation which is trying your patience, first, Stop, Look, and Listen.

As soon as you notice that you’re being challenged to be patient – try to focus on what is actually happening, what may be going on for you – are you tired, frustrated or stressed; what may be going on for the other person – is she tired or stressed in some way.

Notice what is going on then pay attention to the sound of your voice or that of the other person is it angry or whinny.  Each are indicative of someone who is dealing with a conflict that they may be bringing to the situation.

Then while you’re doing all of that (in split second time), also allow yourself to breathe – consciously try to focus in on your own breath.  Breathing connects spirit, mind and body by getting you into the now and centering you.  It allows you to experience these levels of being at once.  Breathe deeply, remembering to breath in for a shorter period of time than breathing out.

From that space, see if you can get even more perspective on the situation – ask yourself in the scheme of things how important is this? If you are focusing from the now, and not the past, future, or to get another’s approval, you can evaluate whether losing your patience is an appropriate action.

Increasing your mindfulness and your centeredness allows you to take an action that is informed by the actual situation and this typically results in increased patience.

Notice this over the next few days and see if you have a better handle on remaining patient.

See you tomorrow.



Building Strengths


When looking at how to connect it’s important to look at strengths and limitations.

Find the places where you can connect or the ways you feel similarly that’s the best way to get and stay connected.  Those are the strengths.

Limitations are equally as important.  When you understand where you diverge you can begin to look for ways that even in your divergence you have connections.  Try to not jump to conclusions or assumptions or to the next proof of your argument.

When the focus of the relationship is connection then slowing down the process of communication – taking your time to get to the underlying beliefs and feelings  – is the most important.

In chess the player is attempting to use information to guess and speculate about the other players next and subsequent moves.  If one does that in relationship then little time is spent in the now.  Most of the time is spent in the future – working on counter moves in order to capture the king only keeps you distanced from the other person.

In parenting you want to build the strengths of your child and diminish the negative effect of their limitations.  Trying to get your child to think about what was the antecedent feeling, experience, or action that caused the negative action or their misbehavior helps to get them to start to think about their own strengths and limitations.

By encouraging them to see the antecedent feeling or behavior, it helps to put things within a context that they can manage – so rather than being overcome by a feeling or behavior they can actually see the relationship between feelings and behaviors and make choices in the now and learn to live mindfully.

Resilience and self-esteem are characteristics built from the inside out – from knowing yourself and standing in the center of yourself.  Having unrealistic expectations about yourself, both positive and negative, will decrease resilience and lower self esteem.  It has to be real, and dealing with real things is what builds a sense of positivity.

Another way to focus on creating strength and resilience, and deal in the real world, is work done by a School Counselor who has for many years now been lecturing across the country trying to teach counselors and school counselors to stop creating victims.  His premise is that some of our biggest school tragedies have been the result of victims’ heartless actions.  His name is Izzy Kalman and he teaches anger management classes called “Bullies to Buddies”.

He teaches that you can “turn Bullies to Buddies by treating them like your friend,” (by not getting mad at them, not reacting, and therefore reducing their power over you).   His work focuses on not reacting to what others say – if it’s true then you don’t need to get mad and if it isn’t true then it shouldn’t matter and you don’t need to get mad.  It’s another way to talk about being centered and mindful although he never uses those words.

His work uses basic psychological theory to prove that our current focus on victimhood has actually resulted in decreased self esteem, and decreased resilience.  He reminds us that “Bullies” feel like victims too so that we need to change the paradigm or lens through which we look at the problem of bullying and victimhood.  His work when actually introduced in schools has had some very positive effects.

So the next time someone says something critical and you feel yourself getting defensive see if the paradigm shift of responding as if they are your friend keeps you in the now in the interaction and allows for a de-escalation of the interaction.

And if they really are your friend or you are in a negotiating situation see if you can look at where you connect first and make those connections before you view where you diverge in belief or principle.

Knowing yourself – your strengths and your limitations – will help you to interact in a way that you do not lose your self or your priorities.

See you tomorrow.


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Centering and Breath, Focus on Connection


The expression of anger and fear, can be a charge that creates or triggers the unconscious habit reaction patterns in another. Or, it can allow for a powerful communication that can lead to connection.

The degree of expression, the level, tone, and word choice are the factors that affect how another responds or reacts.  Using breath to get you into your center and remaining centered is the most helpful way to begin to use the mindfulness process to assess what may be happening in the interaction.

When you are feeling angry or put off by someone’s comments it may be one of your boundaries has been crossed, or that you are reacting from an unconscious habit pattern, or that the other person’s  comments are the result of their unconscious habit pattern.

The most difficult of these to deal with is the latter.  The first two are within your control you can look at what boundary is being crossed and take steps to respond to that OR in the second case you can become more mindful by questioning your anger and habit reaction to help you get into a more centered space to respond more clearly, and in a more defined way.

However when it is the other person’s unconscious reaction pattern, you can only get through to them if they are wiling to hear that they are not in the present moment reacting with you.  This is difficult because the basic position of the unconscious habit reaction is defensive so it negates the opportunity for being open to insightful information.

Usually your level of intimacy can increase your ability to help the other person look at their behavior; but sometimes the closest people to us are the least willing to learn from us about themselves.  Especially if they are invested in the relationship not growing – in other words if the pattern of the relationship serves them from an unconscious habit pattern.

Emotion and feeling can mediate between figure and ground.  Using feeling, “I” statements, to evoke a softening of the defensive position of the other person is the best strategy to help to unravel the unconscious habit reaction pattern.  Go for connecting statements rather than separating statements.  This is counterintuitive most people want to define how they are different when they feel at odds with someone but actually that just increases the defensive reaction.

Focusing on the connections brings down the wall of defensiveness so that mindfulness can come in to play to replace the unconscious reaction pattern.    After this is secure then you can look at where you and the other person diverge and perhaps see if you are actually dealing with a figure/ground dichotomy.

Gestalt is roughly translated to mean ‘the whole’.  Gestalt figure ground illusions show us there are (at least) two perspectives that make up the whole.  In order to make the transition to one from the other one has to be mindful – and open to the possibility of the other perspective.

Breathing and centering, using feeling and connecting statements, these actions all allow for the line between the two to be less bold so that one is more able to view the other perspective.  And in some cases move back and forth between the two – between the figure and ground perspective.

This allows for connection and increased understanding of each point of view as well as the whole.

In Reiki a type of energy medicine, two of the guiding statements are very useful in focusing one into a state of mindfulness and creating the opportunity for connecting and centering.  One is Just for today I will have the attitude of gratitude and the other is Just for today I will not Anger.

I encourage you to pick one of those statements and use it as a mantra as you go through your day.  It may help you to focus in on yourself and the situation in a more mindful way and open new pathways for change and connection in your relationships.

See you tomorrow.


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Outer, Inner; The Spiral and The Tree.


Child development seems to follow this course of outer, inner in its focus.  Develop new skills, incorporate the skills into your self, practice the new thing learned, and then build on it.  So when you look at child development literature you’ll notice this spiral of skills development and then integration.

Psychotherapy follows a similar course: address the outside layer and then go deeper uncovering layers and then recombining into a new self, so to speak.  Often I will hear people say:  “I’ve already worked on that.”  And indeed they have – but there is a spiral to personality and character development where we learn skills or coping strategies and then we have to incorporate them, and then we have to sometimes unlearn and re-incorporate.  Over time it’s a spiral:  outer work, inner work, outer work, inner work and so on.

Change seems to have this dynamic focus as well.  Identify something you want to change, comprehend what interferes with change, make efforts to move the block and incorporate the new behavior (outer), then after time the change occurs internally  and there is both a new thing or cognition (inner) about the identified thing as well as a new action or behavior (outer).  Outer work, inner work, outer work and so on.

These shifts in focus are like mini-paradigm shifts of figure and ground.

Letting go of unconscious habit patterns follows this spiral; you notice the habit reaction patterns are there and how they are interfering with living in the now.  Then you increase your mindfulness to see if you can be more present and respond from a centered and mindful place.  This process is dynamic and it is spiraling which means you may feel as if you’ve already dealt with an issue and then find yourself dealing with a similar issue in a different context – outer, inner.

The emotional charge or energy that’s connected to the unconscious habit pattern gets released once the inner change has rooted.  So just as you don’t feel the charge you are more centered and able to connect to yourself from the inside out.  So you feel simultaneously more flexible AND more stable.  This allows for you to remain flexible and centered even when something from the outside goes wrong.  You are not thrown off by the unexpected event but rather you are able to bend and be flexible and respond to the event without anger, fear, or any other emotional charge.

The visual for being simultaneously flexible and centered is the tree bending in the wind while safely rooted into the soil.  It can respond to the environment around it without losing its center and grounding.

The Spiral and the Tree.  Keep these two visuals in your mind as you go about your days for the next two days as you view yourself, and yourself in your world.

You may even want to attempt the Yoga Tree Pose.

See you tomorrow.