Better Things to Ponder, Metacognition & The Story Telling Mind

I agree with Teal Swan, the reality is that for the most part people are not emotionally safe to be in relationship with. That includes me right now. For the moment, I should wear a warning sign for although I may be smiling on the outside, on the inside, I am a grieving ball of swirling pain and confusion. WARNING: Imminent Danger. Wounded. Hold Space. Step Back. Let Be.

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I wonder how many other people are walking around like this today.

hellRight now, I have placed myself in stealth healing mode. I am recalibrating, retreating and reflecting and yes, I want limited contact with the outside world.

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We all have our painful struggles. I just really want to learn, grow and take responsibility for my part. To grow stronger while strengthening my very own locus of control. This will enable me to go forward in life choosing people, places and things that are better for me. Better decisions come from a stronger mind. Forgive and let go.

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The Deep Dive

On Suffering. To Be a Warrior Against What Is.

 

I am a huge believer in disrupting and innovating to repair what doesn’t work in society, especially when it comes to the use of technology. As for matters of the heart, there is a different type of disruption that must start with acceptance and approval of whatever situation you are in right now. That’s right. Find the good in the bad. The opportunity in the obstacle.

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Spending all of our mental energy bargaining with the universe for what should be, how it could be, when the fact is, sometimes you have to give up the resistance to what is.

This is the problem I have with trying to pray away the pain. Praying is beautiful, but it doesn’t change what is. True change begins when we accept what is and when we are ready, we take action in a new direction.

Note to self: you can’t and don’t control everything.  When we suffer, we spend all of our energy fighting what has happened. Wondering how we could have prevented it from happening. The healing begins when you realize you cannot change the outcome of what has already happened. You don’t have to like what is occuring right now, but when you can find the reasons why it might actually be good for you you begin to accept and realize that the remedy has begun. From Teal Swan.

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Better Things To Ponder

A better life begins with better thoughts. If you can open up to realize that your thoughts may actually be crappy ones, then you can begin to think more clearly. Yeah that’s right, from crappy to clear.

From “101 things more worth thinking about than whatever is consuming you right now.  “From Essays That Will Change the Way You Think  book by Brianna Wiest.

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No. 1

So, if you don’t like where you are in life, stopping complaining and start creating.

The way it will feel to have the life you want. The place you’ll live, the clothes you will wear, what you will buy at the supermarket, how much money you will save, what work you’ll most be proud to have done. What you’ll do with your weekends, what color your sheets will be, what you’ll take photos of.

A Magical Medicine Bag

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Over the past few weeks, in an attempt to heal myself,  I thought about the idea of a Medicine Bag. I have made one myself, that I have been carrying around and using each morning to reflect on the parts of me that need healing.

A Medicine Bag was a special, sacred container for various objects, or amulets, of supernatural power used, or provided by, a MedicineMan or Shaman, to carry ‘medicine‘, or symbols, of animal spirits good luck, protection and strength in battle. The Medicine Bag contains both symbolic and ritual items.

Now, if I had a magical medicine bag, it might contain . . .

  • A pair of glasses to see the world and all of humanity with radical loving kindness.
  • Soft, beautiful, expanding wings to strap on your shoulders. Magically, they allow you to soar above this world for a new perspective, to glide and to guide.
  • Detoxing tea to help remove the sticky, stuck pain cells of the body. The bitter cells that hold anger and resentment. Those cells that may grow up to become cancer, should they not be softened and removed, eliminated from the body. Drink a small cup a day to keep the crazy rage and illness away.
  • A softening salve for the heart. When applied, a hardened heart becomes mysteriously able to renew itself. This curative balm begins to mend the heart, putting back all the pieces so it may pump and flow again, while helping the love juice of life flow to every healthy cell in the body.
  • A wondrous cape of self confidence that makes one feel resilient, competent, relevant and real. Ready to take on the world with love and enthusiasm. When worn, you know you cannot and will not fail.
  • The compass to help you find your true north.
  • A pill to help you process past issues. Not a numbing pill, but an enlightening pill.
  • The death clock, a countdown tool to remind you that your days are numbered here on this earth with a daily alarm to help you remember to live each day to it’s fullest, doing all the good you can do. Touching everyone that comes your way with heartfelt love and acceptance.
  • A super powerful magnet to attract the people into your life who will play and work and love and live with you on this journey. Your like-minded citizens of the world. Your tribe.
  • A prescription of forgiveness serum to help heal past relationships, to let go of old pain and to open your mind and heart to the healing of this mystical moment.
  • Golden keys to unlock yourself out of imprisoning stories, stories that make you smaller and hurtful.
  • Some type of delicious crystalized candy to expand your mind with the metacognition for awakened awareness of what is truly important.

Metacognition awareness and understanding of one’s own thought process.

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Healing The Stories that Imprison Our Heart

Our suffering arises from fear-based stories that are often outside our awareness. These include stories of our deficiency or importance, of being a victim, of being unseen or unloved, of facing failure or rejection. This is true collectively too. We have shared stories of bad “others” that fuel wars, shared stories of the value of continued growth in consumption and production that destroy our earth, shared stories of our human right to enslave and violate other animals. We have the capacity to bring the stories that separate and imprison us into the light of awareness, and with great compassion, loosen their grip. These two talks look at the ways fear-based stories create suffering, and how awakening from them reveals the freedom of our true, and universal, belonging.  A meditation from Tara Brach.

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Prepared & Active

Let Fate find us prepared and active. Here is the great soul – the one who surrenders to Fate. The opposite is the weak and desperate one, who struggles with and has a poor regard for the order of the world and seeks to correct the faults of the gods, rather than their own.” Seneca, Moral Letters 107.12

Whatever happens today, let it find us prepared and active: ready for problems, ready for difficulties, ready for people to behave in disappointing or confusing ways, ready to accept and make it work for us. Let’s not wish we could turn back time or remake the universe according to our preference. Not when it would be far better and far easier to remake ourselves.   – The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

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Inner Greatness

IMG_9229Last night I went to sleep soundly while meditating to Tara Brach’s Meditation: A Healing Breath (2015-10-28). This morning I awoke and observed my early morning mind. It was already creating weak thoughts about worries of the future. About five minutes after rising out of bed, I came to a significant point of arrival. I had an epiphany.

1. Meditation has helped me observe my nonsensical chattering mind. This “monkey mind” when left to it’s own devices wanders to the future in fear and to the past in remorse. Not a good monkey, a cute one at that, but not a thoughtful one.

2. In poor form, my worrying thoughts lead to a weak state of mind which leads to a wishy washy day. It all rolls out from the head. I don’t know about you, but I know this life is not a dress rehearsal and I certainly don’t want a watered down version of a great performance day. I want an astonishingly awesome day.

3. I’ve drawn the conclusion that a resplendent and sublime day, sui generis begins with a mind that serves me well. A resolute and steady mind.

mindReading The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion

A quote: We’ve been conditioned to associate greatness with people who’ve achieved power or fame in the outside world. . .We place little value on an inner greatness that can be developed by anyone, regardless of his station in life.

Which got me thinking about Victor Frankl and his triumph under the most extreme conditions in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany and his powerful writing in Man’s Search for Meaning (an inspiring and epic read) and a great book to gift – Man’s Search for Meaning, Gift Edition

Inner strength and greatness begins with powerful and substantial thoughts. We have much to gain from a strong and disciplined mind.

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Additional References

Additional Reference Reading
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

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Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals: Synonyms, Antonyms, and Related Terms Every Smart Person Should Know How to Use

 

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Letting Go of Judgement

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“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

Rainer Maria Rilke.
Read: Letters to a Young Poet

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Inspired by Tara Brach’s Dharma Retreat Talk “Letting Go of Judgement” 9/05/2015

“Letting go of “adversive” judgement does not mean letting go of wise discrimination,” Tara Brach.

Inviting Your Troubles to Tea

buddhaThe night before the Buddha attained final enlightenment he had a visit from the demon king Mara. Mara represented all the anger, doubt, fear, striving, craving and greed of the world. He came to tempt the Buddha.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha calmly acknowledged his presence, staying “I see you, Mara
He then invited Mara to tea as an honored guest.
It is suggested that we do the same when we are pained with trouble (whether real or imaginary). When we are feeling jealous, fearful, angry, frustrated, we examine these feelings with a compassionate heart, filled with self-love. We invite troubles to tea.
Instead of running from what troubles us, avoiding what is painful to face while only trying to seek happiness, we need to deal with all of life’s struggles head on, or they will continue to haunt us.
tea settingTea 101
Wake up with Matcha or Peppermint; Sleep with Kava or Chamomile; Ward off a cold with Echinacea or White Tea; Digest with Ginger or Lemon; Detox with Dandelion or Nettle; Soothe an upset stomach with Fennel or Ginger; Energize with Mint or Green; De-stress with Lavender or Ginseng.
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 Tea Supplies
 Soma-Water-Pitcher-01Filter your water

Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter

 bonavitaInvest in an electric tea kettle

Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Travel Electric Kettle

My favorite morning tea

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Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)

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KENKO Tea – Matcha Green Tea Powder – USDA Organic – Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Powder for Lattes Smoothies Baking -100g Bag [50 Servings]

 

compassion A lesson a day from . . .

Teachings of the Buddha (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

Real but not True – a Mindset for Success

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If you suffer from even just an occasional attack of anxiety, worry or ruminating thoughts, this post has some very useful tips on how to stop the spin cycle of subcortical looping, ie. excessive, repeating thoughts of worry and fear. These are therapies and tips that I have been researching and trying on myself. They are not to replace professional medical guidance.

First, a few book quotes from  Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness

Worrying as a Way of Controlling the Future

The thoughts spinning around and around in our minds can be very convincing. We build elaborate scenarios of failure and chaos and believe them to be true. This may be very creative, but not conducive to happiness! Worry is a very real kind of mental suffering. I know because I come from a lineage of worriers myself. My mother used to joke that when she couldn’t think of anything to worry about, she’d really get worried. “It was my way of making sure I was taking care of things,” she says.

These are the thoughts that hold us back from doing the things that will bring us success. 

Phantom Problems

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Our minds can get stuck in worrying about phantom problems that we convince ourselves are real. As Mark Twain put it, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Reasonable planning for the future can give us direction, but obsessing about what might go wrong puts us in a perpetual state of stress and rarely brings about positive results. 

The Problem with Chronic Worry is that it Solves Nothing and Causes Stress

“New solutions and fresh ways of seeing a problem do not typically come from worrying, especially chronic worry. Instead of coming up with solutions to these potential problems, worriers typically simply ruminate on the danger itself, immersing themselves in a low-key way in the dread associated with it while staying in the same rut of thought.” – Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence.

Read more Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

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Health Problems Associated with Obsessive Worry

Not only does worrying drain your energy, chronic worrying will eventually manifest into insomnia, sleep disorders, stomach problems, heart issues, binge eating, headaches, anxiety and depression. I personally have suffered through IBS and severe panic attacks and have been seeking guidance and help my whole life. However, I no longer want to feel this way.

Your Worry and Thoughts are Real, but Not True

So how do we wake ourselves up from the suffering of obsessive worry and anxiety?  Tara Brach, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of The Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC (IMCW) suggests you shine some light on the worry by asking yourself a series of questions that begin with – What am I believing right now? Are you believing you will fail at something in the future? That something is wrong with you? That doom and gloom is right around the corner?

While the beliefs you have and those ruminating thoughts running your mind may feel very real they not necessarily true and they may be causing a very real physical effect on your body – like tightness, anxiety and fear.

Illusion exists because it’s not investigated.

As soon as you start questioning these thoughts and beliefs and shine a light of investigation on your fear-based loops you can begin to wake up out of their grip.

Question Your Beliefs

Shining the light of awareness on our worry really helps.  Byron Katie the founder of Byron Katie International (BKI), an organization that includes The School for the Work and Turnaround House in Ojai, California recommends we ask ourselves some powerful questions as we investigate the validity of our worry.

Take a moment to answer these questions. (Note, this is not a one time quick fix, in order to really do the work, these questions should be asked over and over again, it’s a practice.)

What am I believing right now?

Is it true? Do I really know that this is true?

What is it like to be living with this belief?  What does it feel like? Do I feel small? Contracted? Sad? Defeated?

How has this affected my life to be believing this?

How would I be if I didn’t believe this to be true?

These questions and post was inspired today by this amazing talk by Tara Brach. Click here to listen to more Releasing Limiting Beliefs   

Suggested Reading: True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

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Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

I am researching and studying the benefits of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Here are a few tips I have picked up a long the way. They have certainly helped me lighten up from the weighted suffering of worry.

Pause and Breathe

Mindfulness interrupts the tape loop by bringing us back to the moment so we can respond to what is actually happening right now. Mindfulness meditation shifts the mode adopted in response to thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness meditation involves a particular kind of attention and mental stance: deliberately, intentionally and non-judgementally paying attention to the present moment. Just one minute of mindful awareness can break the sub-cortical looping and rumination. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out. Just focus on that breath moving in and out of your body.

Look for Triggers

Triggers are warning signs and triggers for rumination include tiredness, inactivity and irritability. It is important to watch your mind and become aware of any of these emotions, which can lead to bouts of anxiety and obsessive worry. These can be counteracted by taking better care of yourself ie. plenty of rest, exercise and nutrition.

Get up and Move and maybe Join a Team

Cognitive behavior therapy has found that exercise and sports that are action focused and have us directly engaged in an experience can help release worry and rumination. Think yoga, tabata, tennis, skiing and team sports. Participating in sports that require your attention and engagement may really help you immerse in a sensory experience which will help you break the pattern of fear and worry.

Start a New Project

Shifting your activities from routine chores and obligations towards more self-fulfilling and absorbing activities will help you refocus your mind on something new. So will taking a more mindful approach to cleaning the house, running errands and folding the laundry.

Slow Down and Reduce the Rush

CBT therapists will encourage patients to slow things down while only focusing on one thing at a time. They will ask their patients to pace their activities without taking on too much which also may help  reduces the sense of “rushing around” and “being under pressure”.

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When we lighten up and let go of real but not true thoughts, we make room for more in our lives.

What have you tried that has helped? I’d love to learn more.

 

Living in a World Where Everyone is Real

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One of the most remarkable things I’ve noticed about the Dalai Lama is how he treats everyone equally. While one newspaper photo shows him lovingly embracing Jesse Helms, another shows him with his arms around the poor Tibetan refugee. When the Dalai Lama says, “My religion is kindness,” he is expressing his commitment to live with the unconditionally open and loving heart of compassion. Kindness is a facet of the jewel that arises when we remember that we are connected with every living being we meet.

Each person is precious, each person is fragile and each person matters.

Direct quote from Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Image of a girl at a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.

Home is Everywhere We Are

While I have lived and have traveled to some pretty amazing places, I have always felt that my true home, my refuge, was in my heart and in this present moment right now.turtle_scientific_illustration2_thumbHome, you have sought it everywhere, but you are already there.

Home, the flowing river of the heart.

Love holding you in close embrace.

Home, it’s not a place but a state of being.

Enjoy more poetry from Danna Faulds
Go In and In: Poems From the Heart of Yoga

Courage, Grit and Grace

It takes courage to come home to the here and the now. To arrive in the place in our heart, our home, to feel the connection to what is real right now. Courage to feel the real emotions we may not want to feel. The anger, the resentment, the fear. I am incredibly inspired by Tara Brach’s Meditation Talks and her first book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Today I choose the courage to feel what is real over the temporary comfort of numbing the pain. It takes courage to seek the answer to the question – What am I unwilling to feel?  The process can be painful, but it is also quite liberating.

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The root of the word courage “cor” is Latin for “heart”. True courage requires living with heart-felt intent.