Saturday, 19 September 2020

Making Friends with the Mystery of Ourselves

Who would have thought kindness could be so powerful? A lot of people, actually. A quick Amazon search reveals over 7,000 articles on the topic. Google the phrase random acts of kindness or the word kindness, and it's evident an entire movement on the virtue has evolved. The globally recognized World Kindness Day is celebrated every November, and the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation has extended that concept to a Random Acts of Kindness week in February. You can find an entire website, KindnessRocks. And then there's the World Gratitude Map, a crowdsourcing project with the mission to share gratitude. Each day, the clock of your life is ticking. The time you waste today is the time you won't have tomorrow to enjoy all the incredible rewards you'll experience from pushing yourself beyond that which you've been. Make not your thoughts your prisons. TEAR DOWN YOUR FENCES You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. You were born with only two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is learned. Silly isn't it? Big, strong you, after all these years accepting so little of yourself and being so afraid to do something new or go after your dream. Think about something with me for a moment. She is seen as an inferior person. Her primary job is to carry the shame and anger of the narcissistic parent on her shoulders. She is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the family.

The narcissistic parent is unrelentingly critical, cruel, and abusive to this child. Not only is she unappreciated, she is humiliated in front of other family members, often called crazy, and made to feel unaccepted. Since the scapegoat child is the most truthful, well-meaning, and personally sacrificing member of the family, she is constantly getting hurt. She remains authentic no matter how many times she is used and abused by her parent. The narcissistic parent sees the scapegoat child as having no needs of her own, though she is expected to do all the caring. Her entire childhood is spent trying to live up to the expectations of the parent. That proves futile every time. When I'm trying to get to the root of a desire, I start with the question Why? This monkish approach to intention can be applied to even the worldliest goals. Here's a sample goal I've chosen because it's something we never would have contemplated in the ashram and because the intention behind it isn't obvious: I want to sail solo around the world. Why do you want to sail around the world? It will be fun. I'll get to see lots of places and prove to myself that I'm a great sailor. It sounds like your intention is to gratify yourself, and that you are motivated by desire. But, what if your answer to the question is: It was always my father's dream to sail around the world. I'm doing it for him. It is moving your mind over to this place where I think we should all be, which is to keep our eyes on all that is good, beautiful, and possible in the world, Jacqueline Lewis, one of the project's creators, said in a 2013 LiveScience article on the gratitude project. Lewis, a writer with an interest in human resilience, has a vested interest in the project. When her mother, Joan Zawoiski Lewis, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, all she asked was that people do good deeds in her name.

Her spirits were lifted by the reports of family and friends throughout the world doing just that. Jacqueline was certain that kept her mother alive for nearly twenty months longer than expected. While dying, her focus on these good deeds done by others kept her alive with end-stage pancreatic cancer past all reasonable prognosis, Jacqueline said. The [World Gratitude Map] gives the rest of us a chance to move our eyes in the same direction, perhaps derive the same benefit. My daughter Elizabeth and I weren't aware of any of this when we designed Random Acts of Kindness cards after my grandson Jacob died. All we knew was that his life had been much too short and we were determined his death would have meaning. He'd spent a great deal of his time in the hospital during the nearly three years he'd battled cancer. When you were born, you had every possibility for becoming that which you want to be and doing that which you want to do. A life of unlimited possibility and greatness was yours. Each year as you grew older (only in years), you began listening, believing and accepting without question the limits that your family, friends, co-workers and society placed on you and the future possibilities for your life. These limits became your fences. And each year, you accepted more and more of what these people told you. And as you did, those fences began to surround you and came gradually closer and closer to tightly fencing you in to where now, you can only go forward and backward for a few steps and that's all. And after all these years, you've come to actually believe that these limits and imaginary fences are real for you, even though in reality they never existed except in your mind. Yes, you were born with an ocean of possibilities--unlimited in abundance and impossible to see the end of it--but now the only ocean of possibilities you see for yourself is a small bucket with a little water. It's time to throw the bucket away. The great news for you is that every single one of those dreams you had as a child and that ocean of unlimited possibilities have always been there for you and they're still there right now, waiting for you to push those fences over and enjoy them. No matter what she does she is never good enough. Many of her ideas and achievements are worthy of praise but the parent never gives her the accolades she deserves. Her successes are either attributed to someone else or given no worth at all.

The scapegoat child is the most honest member of the family. Unable to repress the injustices placed upon her, she is the one most likely to argue, act out or rebel. Since she is labeled a troublemaker whether her behavior is good or bad, she has little to risk. This child seeks attention. Whether negative or positive it is still attention. Preferring that the attention is positive, the scapegoat child is tenacious in her efforts to gain admiration from her narcissistic parent. Sadly she never succeeds. In this case, your intention is to honor your father, and you are motivated by duty and love. I'm sailing around the world so I can be free. I won't be accountable to anyone. I can leave all my responsibilities behind. This sailor intends to escape--he is driven by fear. Now let's look at a more common want: My biggest want is money, and here's Jay, probably about to tell me to become kind and compassionate. That's not going to help. Wanting to be rich for the sake of being rich is fine. It's firmly in the category of material gratification, so you can't expect it to give an internal sense of fulfillment. A dedicated band of Child Life Committee volunteers at the University of Iowa Hospital visited his room, bringing toys and involving him in activities designed to entertain young patients. Jacob, who sorely missed his siblings while he and his mom were in the hospital, would save the cupcakes he made with the volunteers to share with siblings back home. He'd raid his own piggy bank to purchase gifts for his big sister Becca at the hospital gift shop.

And during a brief period of remission, he collected toys to take to other children in the hospital. On his deathbed, when he heard his mother complain about stiffness from sleeping on the floor next to him, his thin arm reached out from underneath the blanket to rub her back. The best way we could honor such a precious child was to be more like him, to become better people because of him. To be kinder. We designed cards that included his name and the Jacob's Ladder Facearticle article and began doing random acts of kindness in memory of Jacob. All over the country there were people following his cancer journey who vowed to do the same. Medical bills were paid off anonymously, groceries purchased for needy families, and acts of kindness shared on the Facearticle article. When it comes to having the kind of incredible life you want, it's never too early or too late to go for it. Who cares what others think. For years, you've cared too much of what others thought, and look at how it's made you feel. You were meant to have the kind of life you've always dreamed of. Those dreams were placed inside you for a reason. It's time to tear down your fences. Every time a person admits to himself--usually much later--that he has made a fool of himself, he can trace it to a lack of patience; SAY WHAT YOU WANT Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better. You can be whatever you tell yourself you want to be, so why is it that you keep telling yourself what you are and what you don't want? She is forever deemed an underachiever or loser. The scapegoat child actualizes these self-destructive labels and the defining mindset follows her throughout life. The scapegoat child ultimately has more freedom than the golden child does, so in that aspect, she fares a little better in life.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Some travel with clowns and animals

What will people think? No one is allowed to know about the narcissistic family's problems or the dysfunctional dynamics of its relationships. Children are admonished not to share the secrets existing behind the four walls. They are to always pretend that everything is fine. An idealized perfect family image is everything to the narcissist. Narcissistic parents will insist that nothing is wrong with the family and that the children show a perfect face to the world. My Life, Close Encounter Five Because our search is never for a thing, but for the feeling we think the thing will give us. We all know this already: We see wealthy and/or famous people who seem to have it all, but who have bad relationships or suffer from depression, and it's obvious that success didn't bring them happiness. The same is true for those of us who aren't rich and famous. We quickly tire of our smartphones and want the next model. We receive a bonus, but the initial excitement fades surprisingly fast when our lives don't really improve. We think that a new phone or a bigger house will make us feel somehow better--cooler or more satisfied--but instead find ourselves wanting more. Material gratification is external, but happiness is internal. When monks talk about happiness, they tell the story of the musk deer, a tale derived from a poem by Kabir, a fifteenth-century Indian mystic and poet. The musk deer picks up an irresistible scent in the forest and chases it, searching for the source, not realizing that the scent comes from its own pores. It spends its whole life wandering fruitlessly. When we are stressed, we are using an industrial, assembly-line type of thinking, instead of creative, out-of-the-box thinking. As we've touched on in previous articles, that assembly-line mindset is counterproductive to creativity. According to Sulack, cultivating gratefulness as a habit can change that type of thinking.

To be creative and get beyond those compensatory behaviors and try new ones, we must address the stress response, he says. Gratitude is one powerful way to do that. When you are grateful, your stress is reduced and you experience positive emotions. These in turn help you remember peripheral details more vividly, think outside the box, and recognize common themes among random or unassociated ideas. All of this adds up to a more creative response. A grateful attitude doesn't happen overnight. We can't just tell ourselves to look on the bright side. Only you can say which. For any choice you make or anything you set your mind to achieve or experience, there are consequences you must experience. Look at your desires and ask yourself why you want the things you do. Listen to the answers, for they will reveal a lot about why you've devoted so much of your life to chasing after the things you have. Keep the fire of desire burning inside you. It will change your life. Having the right desire will change it for the best. YOUR ENVIRONMENT IMPACTS YOUR REALITY Our life is what our thoughts make of it. Each environment you experience carries its own set of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and values. To the outside world, my family looked like the picture perfect, happy family, perhaps even enviable. We often had visitors on Sundays. In those days, nothing was open on a Sunday, so that was when families took drives or visited other family members or friends.

Our family of five was notorious for gathering around the piano and singing songs to entertain our guests. No one could have imagined the chaos and hostility to which my mother subjected us in the hours before company came and after they left. My mother's behavior was typical of narcissistic personality disordered parents. They are typically cold, cruel, and distant to their families when no one from the outside is looking. When others are around, they put their perfect family on display. Everyone is expected to perform to the parent's standards. The entire family revolves around the narcissistic parent and his needs, whims, and desires. In the same way we search for happiness, finding it elusive, when it can be found within us. Happiness and fulfillment come only from mastering the mind and connecting with the soul--not from objects or attainments. Success doesn't guarantee happiness, and happiness doesn't require success. They can feed each other, and we can have them at the same time, but they are not intertwined. After analyzing a Gallup survey on well-being, Princeton University researchers officially concluded that money does not buy happiness after basic needs and then some are fulfilled. While having more money contributes to overall life satisfaction, that impact levels off at a salary of around $75,000. In other words, when it comes to the impact of money on how you view the quality of your life, a middle-class American citizen fares about as well as Jeff Bezos. Success is earning money, being respected in your work, executing projects smoothly, receiving accolades. Happiness is feeling good about yourself, having close relationships, making the world a better place. More than ever, popular culture celebrates the pursuit of success. It's a process we need to practice and develop as a habit, training our mind to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. One way to do that is to reflect on a time in your life when you faced adversity and then consider good things that happened because of it. My husband did this naturally after his cancer.

After suffering through six months of grueling treatment, he'd often take my hand in his and remark, If it took cancer to get this kind of relationship, then I'm glad for the cancer. I can look back and see how losing three important people in my life in the space of three years changed me in positive ways. I'm more empathetic, open, and eager to help others. I became a certified grief counselor and founded an annual grief retreat because of my loss, not in spite of it. I have intimately seen how God can bring good from bad. When times are tough, you can always be grateful for the push adversity gives you to learn and grow, Sulack explains. While it is easy to take the path of least resistance, griping and complaining about your situation, true leaders know that pain is part of life, but suffering is optional. Whether it be your job, home, gym, school, social gatherings or anything else, each can trigger things inside that cause you to think only in the certain ways you'd think when you're in that environment. You think, act, believe, perform and see yourself as different kind of person whenever you're around certain kinds of people and in certain kinds of environments. Think back to various environments you've been in or are currently in and you'll see this is true. The important thing to always remember is that the environment is neutral and causes you to do nothing that you haven't allowed yourself to think and accept. It all begins with your perception of whatever it is you're experiencing. You can change how your environment affects you by changing your thoughts towards it and how you perceive it. Choose a new set of beliefs and attitudes that will empower you instead of taking your power away and causing you to feel unhappiness. Create the reality you want by seeing and feeling yourself in the environment you choose. WE REMEMBER MOST THOSE WHO WERE HARDEST ON US I love you for what you are, but I love you more for what you are going to be. Children are not permitted to have their own feelings or needs, or question those of the parent. There are few if any boundaries, physical or emotional, in the narcissistic family. Narcissistic parents believe they own the rights to their children's lives.

They feel entitled to know and comment on everything their children think and do, no matter how old they get. Until clear boundaries are established, adult children will forever be subject to this violating invasion of privacy. My Life, Close Encounter Six My parents hated closed bedroom doors, resented the feeling of being shutout. They wanted full access to their children all the time. We could never create a physical barrier to escape from the madness of our home life without the risk of further angering our parents. There were exceptions to the closed-door rule that only took effect when mandated by our parents. TV shows aimed at adolescents focus more on image, money, and fame than in the past. Popular songs and articles use language promoting individual achievement over community connection, group membership, and self-acceptance. It's no surprise that happiness rates have consistently declined among Americans adults since the 1970s. And it doesn't just boil down to income. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development and an editor of World Happiness Report, points out: While the average income of people around the world definitely affects their sense of well-being, it doesn't explain all that much, because other factors, both personal and social, are very important determinants of well-being. Sachs says that while generally American incomes have risen since 2005, our happiness has fallen, in part because of social factors like declining trust in the government and our fellow Americans, and weaker social networks. Duty and Love If fear limits us and success doesn't satisfy us, then you've probably already guessed that duty and love have more to offer. We all have different goals, but we all want the same things: a life full of joy and meaning. Monks don't seek out the joy part--we aren't looking for happiness or pleasure. Choose gratitude. Choose joy. This will make you more creative and innovative--and ultimately more successful in any endeavor.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

No more fasting

She is unable to defend herself. There is no reasoning with him. This turn of events is very confusing for her. She cannot understand why the love of her life has suddenly turned on her. She does not understand where the perfect person she fell in love with went. She thought he loved her and now he doesn't even seem to like her. Everything has changed. She is miserable. We'll never be able to fix our economic, social, and political climates to entirely eliminate conflict and uncertainty, not to mention our everyday interpersonal challenges. And that's okay, because fear isn't bad; Something might go wrong! It's what we do with that signal that matters. We can use our fear of the effects of climate change to motivate us to develop solutions, or we can allow it to make us feel overwhelmed and hopeless and do nothing as a result. Sometimes fear is a critical warning to help us survive true danger, but most of the time what we feel is anxiety related to everyday concerns about money, jobs, and relationships. We allow anxiety--everyday fear--to hold us back by blocking us from our true feelings. The longer we hold on to fears, the more they ferment until eventually they become toxic. I am sitting cross-legged on the floor of a cold basement room in the monastery with twenty or so other monks. I've been at the ashram for only a couple months. In 2015, Zomorodi, host of WNYC's popular podcast and radio show Note to Self, led twenty thousand listeners to sign on to the Bored and Brilliant Project, an experiment to help them unplug from their devices, get bored, and jumpstart their creativity. Mind-wandering allows us to do some of our most original thinking and problem solving.

Dr Jonathan Smallwood, professor of cognitive neuroscience and an expert in mind-wandering at the University of York, explains it like this: In a very deep way, there's a close link between originality and creativity and the spontaneous thoughts we generate when our minds are idle. I'd often let my mind wander in grade school, reading articles from beneath my desk or staring out the window thinking about other things. Mary has a problem paying attention, my fourth grade teacher had written on a report card that still reflected all As and Bs. I continued my daydreaming through high school and into college, mostly about the man I was dating who would soon become my husband. David always seemed surprised when I'd hand him a letter or note I wrote during particularly boring lectures. Weren't you even listening? He never understood how a girl who lived so much inside her head could function so well out of it. Years later, when I shared how I'd often silently narrate my own life (Mary tentatively reached for the door handle, unsure what she would discover on the other side), I was astonished to discover he'd never even heard of such a thing. By doing so, you guarantee yourself that you will experience only those learning experiences and growing lessons that stem from your having chosen the life you want and not something else. You are here for a reason, and whatever happens to you happens for a reason. Embrace it. YOU WILL CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY THAN WITH VINEGAR Develop the attitude of gratitude and your life will never be the same. How does it make you feel when someone goes out of their way and says thank you for something you did or said to them? If your self-image and self-esteem is strong and healthy, it makes you feel great. If it isn't, it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you show that discomfort by downplaying and minimizing those things that caused others to be thankful to you. But wherever you travel to and whomever you meet, you'll find that one of the strongest needs of any human is the need to feel needed, wanted and appreciated. And if you can help make them feel that way, you'll have more friends, joyous experiences and happiness than you can shake a stick at. But she will not give up on him or the relationship. If there is a way to get things back to the way they used to be, she is determined to find it.

She tries to be more understanding with the narcissist's erratic moods, but the narcissist sees her compassion as weakness and uses it against her. Fearful of losing his supply, he may occasionally play along with her efforts. To keep her on the hook, he convinces her that everything will work out. He feeds her just enough crumbs of praise and attention to get her trust him. Once she lets down her guard he attacks again. Every interaction she has with him seems to provoke his irrational fits of anger, and she does not know why. Craving the love she felt so strongly before and trying to get the relationship back to its original state, the victim works harder and harder to please him. She tries everything but is unsuccessful at every turn. Gauranga Das has just discussed the scene in the Gita when Arjuna, the hero, is overcome by fear. It turns out that Arjuna's fear makes him pause instead of charging directly into battle. He's devastated that so many people he loves will die that day. The fear and anguish lead him to question his actions for the first time. Doing so provokes him into a long conversation about human morals, spirituality, and how life works according to Krishna, who is his charioteer. When Gauranga Das concludes his lecture, he asks us to close our eyes, then directs us to relive a fear from our past: not just imagine it but feel it in our bodies--all the sights, sounds, and smells of that experience. He tells us that it's important that we not choose something minor, such as a first day at school or learning to swim (unless those experiences were truly terrifying), but something significant. He wants us to uncover, accept, and create a new relationship with our deepest fears. We start joking around--someone makes fun of my overreaction to a snakeskin I came across on one of our walks. Gauranga Das acknowledges our antics with a knowing nod. I'd thought everyone did that to some degree. I remain a world-class daydreamer, some of my best ideas coming to me when I'm not trying too hard to bring them forth.

Positive constructive daydreaming was a revolutionary idea when Yale psychologist Jerome L. Singer began groundbreaking research on the topic in the 1950s. In a 2013 paper, Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming, coauthors Scott Barry Kaufman and Rebecca L. McMillan review Singer's contributions to the research, looking at other supporting documents. They note that some people spend as much as 50 percent of their waking time daydreaming. Jonathan Schooler, another pioneer in the study of daydreaming, discovered that people who daydream score higher on creativity tests. That's not to say that all daydreaming is created equal. The mind-wandering, daydreaming state that is most conducive to creativity is the kind that happens when you are mowing the lawn, in the shower, or taking a walk. People want you to praise them and love them for who they are and what they do. We all have that need, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. And we develop the ability and desire to praise others when we embrace the attitude of gratitude in ourselves and in our lives. Be thankful for everything that has, is and ever will happen in your life. For every one of those things has made you who and what you are. Kind words of gratitude are like honey that is sweet to hear and even sweeter to taste. For you will win more people to get behind you and your dreams if you will only show them kindness and gratitude for everything they do for you. One of the most powerful lessons my mother instilled in me was to always say thank you for anything anybody does for me. I can't even begin to tell you how many doors to success in life have been opened to me as a result of the kindness that I showed to other people. The same can and will happen for you too. Fearful of provoking his sudden frightful rage, she begins walking on eggshells around him. She is a perpetual nervous wreck.

This is exactly the state of mind the narcissist wants her to be in. As the third phase of gaslighting begins, the narcissist is tiring of his victim's weakness and the gross inferiority he believes she has to him. The well of narcissistic supply is drying up and she is becoming more and more useless to him. He is considering moving on to a fresh victim who is chock full of narcissistic supply. She may have an inkling that he is slipping away, but defaults to denial. The belief that she loves him and somewhere deep inside he must still love her keeps her stuck. She holds on for dear life. A shell of her former self, she loses all joy and vibrancy. If you want to do this activity properly, he says, you have to push beyond the part of your mind that's making fun of it. That's a defense mechanism keeping you from really dealing with the issue, and that's what we do with fear. We distract ourselves from it, Gauranga Das says. You need to go past that place. The laughter fades, and I can almost feel everyone's spine straighten along with my own. I close my eyes and my mind quiets down, but I still don't expect much. I'm not scared of anything. Not really, I think. Then, as I drop further and further into meditation, past the noise and chatter of my brain, I ask myself, What am I really scared of? Flickers of truth begin to appear. It's the kind that author Brenda Ueland describes in her article If You Want to Write: A article about Art, Independence and Spirit. It is the dreamy idleness that children have, an idleness when you walk alone for a long, long time, or take a long, dreamy time at dressing, or lie in bed at night and thoughts come and go, or dig in a garden, or drive a car for many hours alone, or play the piano, or sew, or paint ALONE.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

No more screaming into pillows

I tend to lack remorse. I tend to want others to admire me. I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my actions. I have used deceit or lied to get my way. I tend to be callous or insensitive. I have used flattery to get my way. I tend to seek prestige or status. I tend to be cynical. I tend to exploit others toward my own end. Values tend to be single-word concepts like freedom, equality, compassion, honesty. That might sound rather abstract and idealistic, but values are really practical. They're a kind of ethical GPS we can use to navigate through life. If you know your values, you have directions that point you toward the people and actions and habits that are best for you. Just as when we drive through a new area, we wander aimlessly without values; Values make it easier for you to surround yourself with the right people, make tough career choices, use your time more wisely, and focus your attention where it matters. Without them we are swept away by distractions. WHERE VALUES COME FROM Our values don't come to us in our sleep. We don't think them through consciously. I can hardly believe I'm getting paid to do something I enjoy so much.

I've left a class on such a high I barely remember the drive home. That feeling can last for hours, even days. Researchers call this joyful state flow, the loss of self-consciousness that happens when we're completely absorbed in an activity, whether it's intellectual, professional, or physical. Flow can be achieved through activities such as running a race, playing the violin, or writing a article, as long as the activity is voluntary, intrinsically motivating, requiring skill, and challenging in some way. When we are in flow, we lose track of time and self while controlling our attention to meet challenging goals, is how Dr Gary Gute, University of Northern Iowa professor, describes it. We do our best and feel our best. Flow gives our intellectual and emotional resources a workout, helps us extract meaning and enjoyment from life, and powers the transformation of anxiety, boredom, and suffering. A growing body of scientific research proves that flow is positively correlated with happiness and that people who experience a lot of flow also develop increased concentration, better performance, and higher self-esteem. The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. Whatever you want, give first, and watch what you receive. There are high spots in all of our lives. And most of them have come through the encouragement of someone else. I don't care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH YOU AFFECT OTHER PEOPLE Example is not the main thing influencing others. It is the only thing. I remember it well. I was at a party and some woman I knew only fairly well, sat down with me and said, You don't know how much you affect other people. Hearing that for the first time was like being hit with a ton of bricks. I tend to expect special favors from others.

I want others to pay attention to me. The least possible amount of points that can be scored on this test is 12; The true scoring of the Dirty Dozen is a bit more complicated, but scoring it this way will give you a general idea of where your abuser falls on the dark triad spectrum, if at all. Another measure of dark triad traits called the Short Dark Triad (SD3) was created by Paulhus and his colleague Daniel N. This quiz contains a series of sixty statements, such as: It's wise to keep track of information that you can use against people later. I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so. I like to get revenge on authorities. Each statement is rated from one to five, one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agree. Rarely do we even put them into words. But they exist nonetheless. Everyone is born into a certain set of circumstances, and our values are defined by what we experience. Were we born into hardship or luxury? Where did we receive praise? Parents and caregivers are often our loudest fans and critics. Though we might rebel in our teenage years, we are generally compelled to please and imitate those authority figures. Looking back, think about how your time with your parents was spent. Playing, enjoying conversation, working on projects together? What did they tell you was most important, and did it match what mattered most to them? The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi claims in his article Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

Csikszentmihalyi is one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness and a founding figure of positive psychology. He discovered that people find genuine satisfaction during the flow state of consciousness, particularly with activities that involve their creative abilities. He insists happiness does not simply happen but must be prepared for and cultivated by each person by setting challenges that are neither too simple nor too demanding for one's abilities. The main thesis of his work is that happiness is not a fixed state but one that can be developed as we learn to achieve flow in our lives. His definition of flow is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; One key aspect of flow is that while in it, nearly all the brain's available inputs are devoted to one activity, which is why the perception of time changes. The brain is too focused on one thing to keep track of stray negative thoughts, or even discomfort. That explains why a runner might experience a runner's high, or why I can forget to eat lunch when immersed in a writing project. While Csikszentmihalyi is quick to point out that one can achieve this state through activities such as fishing, playing the guitar, cooking, or reading, he considers the practice of hatha yoga, in particular, one of the best models to describe what happens when psychic energy is flowing. What an impact. I greatly appreciated what she said, and from that day on I've made it a point to go out of my way to make time for others. Really get into their heads. Make them think. Force them to examine their lives and pull themselves up by the bootstraps. I've met many others who have decided to make time for others too, and their reactions from people, like what I've seen in my own experiences, range from shock to real joy. I'll bet you're one who likes to help people too. Only a handful of people ever take the time to ask the questions of others that cause them to go beyond the Hey, how's it going? As you can imagine, if you desire to positively affect the lives of others, many of the people you encounter will want to pull away from you because you have caused those squeaky, rusty wheels in their brain to start working again. Yet, as the great philosopher Socrates has said, A life unexamined is a life not worth living. There is plenty of information available online if you are interested in learning more about the SD3.

Those who score high on these types of assessment tests have been found more likely to commit crimes and wreak havoc in organizations. In fact, correctional institutions are overloaded with dark triad personality criminals. Other studies conducted by Dr Jonason have shown that night owl type people tend to have more dark triad traits than do morning people. In Jonason's own words, It could be adaptively effective for anyone pursuing a fast life strategy, like that embodied in the dark triad, to occupy and exploit a lowlight environment where others are sleeping and have diminished cognitive functioning. The personality traits of those with narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and those who are high machs all indicate a presence of mental illness. Mental illness varies in degrees from mild to severe, as do each of the three personality types that make up the dark triad. Though the common traits and behaviors of all three disorders are certainly offensive and maladaptive, those who possess them are not considered mentally disabled or insane. They all operate deliberately and with full comprehension. The traits shared by those with the three disorders of the dark triad are: Who did they want you to be? What did they want you to accomplish? How did they expect you to behave? Did you absorb these ideals, and have they worked for you? From the start, our educations are another powerful influence. The subjects that are taught. The cultural angle from which they are taught. The way we are expected to learn. A fact-driven curriculum doesn't encourage creativity, a narrow cultural approach doesn't foster tolerance for people from different backgrounds and places, and there are few opportunities to immerse ourselves in our passions, even if we know them from an early age. This is not to say that school doesn't prepare us for life--and there are many different educational models out there, some of which are less restrictive--but it is worth taking a step back to consider whether the values you carried from school feel right to you. The similarities between yoga and flow are extremely strong;

No more plastic surgery

Looking back now, I see that I have been a lifelong learner, making it a priority to attend professional development conferences, Cathy says. I still do, learning new techniques, and attending yoga conferences as well. Yoga has offered me chances to travel and study in Mexico, Seattle, Denver, Toronto, Boston, Los Angeles, Iceland, and now Duluth. Cathy is currently enrolled at Soma Yoga International in Duluth, studying a yoga therapy program that blends yoga and somatics. It works on healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Cathy says. I don't think complete healing can happen unless we include the spirit in the journey. I feel so grateful that I can offer people a treatment plan that includes their spiritual health as well. While Cathy continues to conduct traditional hatha yoga classes, her specialty is therapeutic yoga, helping people get out of, and stay out of, pain, both physical and emotional. Outside of her scheduled classes, she holds private individual yoga sessions. Seeing and feeling the result of your already having lived and achieved that which you want. Giving yourself the positive and empowering self-talk--always verbalized in the present tense as if you have and are enjoying those qualities right now--and seeing in your mind and feeling the terrific emotions of the reasons you want to do, be and have the things that you do. For if you have enough reasons, you will find enough ways to have whatever it is that you want. THE POWER OF AN ORGANIZED MIND Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Many people complain that they just can't seem to find the time to do what they really want to do. They may even say that they're organized, yet their actions say something entirely different. Look at their desks, homes, closets, cars, or appearance. All these are merely indicators of how well organized their internal thinking and direction is. Surveys have found that people with organized work environments make on the average many times more than their messy counterparts. When characterized in its entirety, antisocial personality disorder is much more dramatic and disconcerting.

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized as a prevailing behavioral pattern of disregard or violation of the rights of others. Since many of the signs and symptoms of APD overlap with other disorders, it is not easy for practitioners to diagnose this condition. A single test to assess a person does not exist. Before any conclusions can be made, a comprehensive medical exam and mental health interview must be conducted. A primary factor in diagnosing someone with antisocial personality disorder is the person's age when their symptoms first began. An APD diagnosis requires that the person showed symptoms of conduct disorder before the age of fifteen. Signs and symptoms of antisocial personality disorder appearing before age fifteen may include: Cruelty to animals Little or no regard for people's feelings The I and me, small and vulnerable to begin with, get distorted. We try to live up to what we think others think of us, even at the expense of our values. Rarely, if ever, do we consciously, intentionally, create our own values. We make life choices using this twice-reflected image of who we might be, without really thinking it through. Cooley called this phenomenon the Looking-Glass Self. We live in a perception of a perception of ourselves, and we've lost our real selves as a result. How can we recognize who we are and what makes us happy when we're chasing the distorted reflection of someone else's dreams? You might think that the hard part about becoming a monk is letting go of the fun stuff: partying, sex, watching TV, owning things, sleeping in an actual bed (okay, the bed part was pretty rough). But before I took that step there was a bigger hurdle I had to overcome: breaking my career choice to my parents. By the time I was wrapping up my final year of college, I had decided what path I wanted to take. She has helped cancer patients, nursing home residents, and troubled children find healing and comfort through yoga practice.

For people dealing with pain or heartache, we are dealing with little broken pieces, Cathy says. Yoga can help them feel whole. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS One of the first projects I undertook in my position as a Senior Services librarian was to form a group I inelegantly dubbed the Lifelong Learners Creativity Group. Forming the group made sense for a librarian. A 2015 Pew Research study revealed that adults who use libraries are more likely to consider themselves to be lifelong learners, actively pursuing learning opportunities. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has added lifelong learning to the list of services all libraries should provide. The group was consistent with a library's mission to engage learners and inspire thinkers, but the formation of it was not simply a job-related, altruistic move. It had been months since I'd felt the kind of creative energy that tended to reveal itself in the writing classes I'd conducted. The outside is only a reflection of the inside, and what a message it can tell! When it comes to success and achievement, why is it important for you to be organized? Oh, that's simple. To start with, organization eliminates guesswork; Just by doing that, you decrease anxiety and stress and empower yourself to feel more in control of your life. All of this helps you find the time to release your creativity, which will increase your self-worth, thereby helping you want to use your gifts, talents and abilities to provide service to others, which in turn raises your market value to society, thereby increasing your wealth and giving you the rewards of a better lifestyle, a sense of accomplishment and deep fulfillment. And I've only just begun. TIMING IS EVERYTHING All things happen when they're ready, and not a moment sooner. Haven't you found that to be true? Poor academic performance in school

Alcohol or substance abuse Impulsiveness Not motivated by either approval or reward Suicide attempts Criminal behavior Explosions of anger A true APD diagnosis cannot be made until the age of eighteen. The symptoms are typically most evident between the ages of twenty and thirty. Signs and symptoms of antisocial personality disorder in adulthood may include: I told my parents I would be turning down the job offers that had come my way. I always joke that as far as my parents were concerned, I had three career options: doctor, lawyer, or failure. There's no better way to tell your parents that everything they did for you was a waste than to become a monk. Like all parents, mine had dreams for me, but at least I had eased them into the idea that I might become a monk: Every year since I was eighteen I'd spent part of the summer interning at a finance job in London and part of the year training at the ashram in Mumbai. By the time I made my decision, my mother's first concern was the same as any mother's: my well-being. Would I have health care? Was seeking enlightenment just a fancy way of saying sitting around all day? Even more challenging for my mother was that we were surrounded by friends and family who shared the doctor-lawyer-failure definition of success. Word spread that I was making this radical move, and her friends started saying But you've invested so much in his education and He's been brainwashed and He's going to waste his life. My friends too thought I was failing at life. I'd seen what could happen in a room full of people who invested in their craft, and I missed those passionate conversations about writing.

I'd experienced the same thing at writers' conferences too; I needed what this group could offer. It turned out others did too. Women in the fledgling group admitted they weren't sure what they'd gain from membership, but something in the description had appealed to a restless stirring within them: Perhaps you were the daydreamer in grade school, the child staring out the window with a head full of stories, or the one reading articles from your lap beneath the desk. Then someone snatched the box of crayons from your hand, insisting you'd done it all wrong; Or maybe they pulled the article out from beneath your desk, telling you it was time for math, not reading. Whether you're ready to reignite your childhood passion for all things creative and want your crayons back, or are looking for a way to connect with your inner artist and others who think outside of the box, a new group forming at the James Kennedy Library might be of interest. The group was not closed to males, nor was there any age restriction, yet our initial membership consisted of women ranging from their early thirties to mid-seventies. How many times in your life has it happened that you planned and planned and did everything needed for success, but your timing wasn't quite right and that deal you wanted didn't happen in the time and way you thought? It is little wonder so many people are frustrated. The reality is that people want to control everything. They want things to happen and they want them to happen when they want them to happen. However, whether it's romance, finance, career, fun, hobbies or whatever, there is a perfect time for anything and everything. One of the most profound lessons successful people in life say they learned was that their timing was off because they weren't in synch with the higher purpose for their lives. All things happen in God's perfect timing, and everything will work in divine perfect order for your life if you let it. These people have found that when your prayers, needs and desires are answered, so are many others people's answered at the same time. Step back for a moment and look at some of the things that have happened to you when your timing was right on. You'll be amazed to find how making your dream come true also made the dreams of many others come true too. Disregard for right and wrong

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

I'm not going to get any better at this

Is it a genetic thing that can't be changed? Chances are it's because they've chosen to hold on to those limiting beliefs, fears, doubts, worries and negativity that they saw in their parents that their parents probably never fully realized they had. The great news is that you don't have to be like anyone except yourself. Then she and my father would find other solutions and completely ignore my efforts. You would think I'd learn, but I did not. I fell into the same trap over and over. This went on for decades. I stayed living in the state I grew up in for over forty years because I thought she'd be lost without me. When I could no longer take the emotional pain, I began therapy. Even though it made me feel terribly guilty to do so, I totally cut my parents out of my life. I wondered how my mother would survive without me, but I knew I had to focus on me. There was no other feasible way for me to heal. That's when I learned just how replaceable I was. Yes, you read correctly. What he lacked was not training or talent, but a metaphor to rekindle his desire and justify his efforts. If someone had told him that winning the French Open was only a step up and not a summit, that there was still a hard climb awaiting him, his life would paradoxically have been easier. Yannick Noah was hungry for images. It was his imagination that needed nourishment, not his willpower. As a trainer he has grasped this necessity and tries to feed the minds of players with rich and inspiring images. It's less the dream of victory than the reveries and focused imagination that work miracles.

Imagining yourself as a gold miner when you're playing tennis might seem a bit beside the point, and yet the gold miner is on a quest, he knows no discouragement, he is ready to dig as deep as he must to find the seam. Gold, as alchemists knew, is the fruit of effort. Gold, Olympic or physical, is always a distant dream requiring an effort to go deep and extract from the earth. That's right, our associates. It's not okay to be delivering positive, legendary service to our paying customers and then react negatively when an associate asks for something. How can you expect your associates to treat your customers with Sweet Hospitality if their service isn't so sweet? In today's world, there simply is no question about the impact of having a first-in-class company culture. Researchers in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive. So, if you want Sweet Results, it literally pays to put your associates first and make sure they're happy. When I had the honor to meet his son, Mr. Bill Marriott, I asked him if he could give general managers one piece of advice, what would that be. Marriott looked me right in the eyes and said with absolute conviction, I'd say to take care of your people! My friend, he is the real deal and meeting him was one of the highlights of my entire career--cool or cool? Being anything or anyone else is just a lie. If you enjoy mirroring others so much, allow yourself to mirror those of the truly great and rare people who are filled with love and command respect and honor wherever they go and from whomever they meet. See yourself as truly great, and very soon the world will too. WHEN IT COMES TO PEOPLE, I'M POSITIVE THAT MOST ARE NEGATIVE Nothing is easier than fault-finding; I'm absolutely amazed at how many people are negative. These are the gloom-and-doomers who can more quickly remind you of the things that didn't work, than the things that did.

The same people who always have a gripe, an ache or a pain, who are constantly struggling financially and who look for the things that could wrong instead of go right. When you get down to it, people can really be divided into two groups: the malevolents and the benevolents. The malevolents are those who are angry at life and think life is basically a struggle and unfair. I was first replaced by my siblings whom she'd always treated horribly. Then they were replaced by two female step-cousins whom my parents previously had little to do with. No matter the relationship, you are only as important to the narcissist as what you can provide for him in the moment. I know it's a sad truth, but I cannot emphasize it enough. Narcissists feel no more love for their family or any other close relationships than they do for strangers. They may use the word love to express their feelings, and they may at times demonstrate appropriate loving behavior, but it is a ruse. They are emotionally unequipped to love anyone but themselves. Even that love is distorted. With all their perceived power and specialness, one would think narcissists have very high self-esteem and great self-love. That is not so. On the one hand, you have the mountain as dream of air and ascent; It is always beneficial, Bachelard says, to offer images to an impoverished heart. The imagination dominates the life of the emotions. What Yannick Noah has created in the French Davis Cup team is a real Copernican revolution linking happiness and performance. Contrary to a long and ongoing tradition that characterizes happiness as the outcome of performance, he has adopted the opposite approach, which consists of starting from happiness and well-being to facilitate the performance. Performance is no longer an aim, it is an indirect consequence of happiness. You reach your goal without aiming for it.

The dream is no longer simply a horizon, it's a state that you look for in order to play as in a dream. Not everyone, you tell me, can be a champion tennis player, freediver, tightrope walker, or pianist. And that's where I wish to bring this article to its close, sitting comfortably in an armchair with Gaston Bachelard, the philosopher of reverie and happy imagination. Let me set the scene for an associate Yes Is the Answer scenario: Associate: Hi Boss, I'd really like to have my weekends with family. Can I work Monday through Friday and have weekends off? Before you continue, use your new skills to practice how you would respond positively. How did you do? If we just react and don't take that breath, it might come out like this: Manager: Have all weekends off? Are you nuts? This is a hotel! Get out of my office! The benevolents see life as basically good and fair, provided you do the things and take the action necessary to have the things you want and do the things you want to do. Life is like a magnet. Positive people think positive thoughts and tend to attract the people and circumstances in their lives that are positive, fulfilling, happy and successful. Like attracts like. The most important power you have is the power to choose. That's right. No one can influence or make you choose something unless you give them that power.

You can choose to be negative and live a life that attracts problems and heartache and repels the good from you, or you can choose to be positive. Once you know the difference, I'm positive you won't choose to be negative. JEALOUSY AND GOSSIP, THE WORLD'S FAVORITE SPORTS They actually have poorly defined senses of self, frequent episodes of self-loathing, and constant feelings of inadequacy. By they I mean their true selves. That is a side of narcissists no one ever gets to see. It tells them they are unlovable, inferior, worthless, ugly and powerless. Feeling that way about themselves is unbearable, so they disown that part and replace it with a facade they are proud to show the world. That facade is known as the false self. The false self is a strong and impenetrable suit of armor. Its job is to absorb the narcissist's pain, hurt, fragility, and all perceived attacks from the outside world. It keeps him from excruciating self-examination and introspection; If anyone tries to expose the narcissist for who he really is, the false self lashes out with rage so terrifying, no one wants to cross him again. For anyone, as he explains, can be a champion in their imagination. There is nothing stopping you. No competition, no adversaries, no obstacles. In other words, you don't have to dive a hundred meters down to be happy, it's enough just to dive into the imaginary. Someone who imagines well will live well, and is better preparing themselves for an act of will. Careful, though--imagination is not a compensatory or escapist dream, it's an energizing reality. Images are true accelerators of the psyche;

Monday, 14 September 2020

I've assessed the risks

Cerebral narcissists only enjoy the limelight for brief periods of time. Otherwise, they are cold, reclusive and socially awkward. They detest intimacy at any level. Partners are seen as mere objects and valued only for the admiration, adoration, and attention they supply. Sexual activity is viewed as an obligation and chore; If they participate, it is only to maintain the narcissistic supply needed from their partner. For once I could be in contact with works without doing anything other than reinventing them. For myself alone. For my pleasure alone. To find momentum, life, and joy again. So I played. I played without aim, without sadness, without sorrow. All that had vanished. I played for hours and hours. And after all those hours I saw the light. That was the end of the perpetual discrepancy between the soul and its envelope, the end of being out of kilter with the world, the end of rumination. Let me demonstrate how that might sound in context. Guest: Hi, I'm a new Platinum member. Can I get a complimentary upgrade? Associate: Congratulations on your new Elite Platinum status, Ms.

Tonight, I have a fantastic upgraded amenity kit available for you to enjoy. I've also put you in a premium king room that overlooks our beautiful Courtyard. This is another way to put a situation back in the guest's control--they can tell you whether it's wonderful or not. Adams, thank you again for your loyalty to Marriott. We appreciate your business! Doesn't that sound significantly better than, Unfortunately we're sold out tonight and don't have any suite upgrades available? THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS--IT'S TIME TO SET YOURSELF FREE I can forgive, but I cannot forget is only another way of saying I will not forgive. It's a strange quirk about human nature to hold a grudge against someone and not let it go. Our perception that someone has done something wrong to us, makes us feel in control and in power over that person. So we hold the anger inside, just waiting for that other person to somehow magically realize what they did to hurt us and come begging us for forgiveness. Yet rarely does that happen. In fact, many times the other person has no idea how the words they said, or how the actions they did or did not do, hurt us and caused us all that anger in the first place. So here we are, walking around for much too long with bitterness, resentment and hurt, and all it has done is cause us discomfort, a body that is continually flooded with chemicals from all the stress, and eventually a host of other physical, mental and spiritual maladies that do nothing but squeeze the very life from us. It's time to set yourself free. Forgiveness is always in your power and is a completely selfish act that you do for yourself and others. Though cerebral narcissists loathe intimacy and are sexually repressed to the point of shame, they still have sexual needs. These needs are often fulfilled unconventionally; Cerebral narcissists destroy people with the same intellect they use to attract them. Those who are unlucky enough to be objects of their rage will be mentally decimated.

Where cerebral narcissists use their minds, somatic narcissists use their bodies. Their prowess revolves around their looks and sexuality. Somatic narcissists Somatic narcissists capture narcissistic supply by flaunting their physical assets. The obsession they have with their appearance is obvious to all. Somatic narcissists are obsessed with maintaining their looks. The wolves gave her back the pleasure of playing for nothing. The pure pleasure of playing, without a goal, by obliging her to return to reality. A difficult lesson for an unrepentant dreamer, lost in her reading, her scores, and her conviction that she was a wolf. Now it makes me smile because I'm in a different place. I'm in space. I occupy it. I inhabit the gaps between wolves, music, and writing. And that's where I am at my best. Slipping into the gap, passing in between, weaving one's way through, what better definition could there be of playing? Where there is play, life can start to circulate again. Remember, Lead from the Heart. Now that you know this guest has just achieved her new status, find a way to celebrate and make her feel special. I'll never forget--it was a flight to Phoenix when I achieved United Airlines Platinum Status! This was my first big loyalty status for any company and the entire flight I waited for someone to acknowledge this awesome achievement!

It never happened! Say it with me . When we have information right in front of us that will allow us to make our customers feel special, and we don't use it, it's such a missed opportunity. Buehner eloquently put it, [People] may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. PINEAPPLE PRO TIP You don't have to wait for the next department meeting to get innovative--start today! When you forgive, you set yourself free from all the emotions and negativity that have caused you so much unhappiness for so long. People have found all kinds of ways to forgive others. Spiritually minded folks pray that the person who hurt them be blessed. That's a powerful way to neutralize and eliminate any anger. Then, there's a great idea simply called the letter. There are two ways you can use this. First, on a piece of paper write down everything that the other person said or did to hurt you in any way. At the end of the letter, tell them that you unconditionally and freely forgive them. Then either send the letter off to them or, if it's a relationship you want to end but want closure and peace, write the letter, forgive them and then tear up or burn the letter. You won't believe how great you'll feel by doing this. They may also be neurotic about their health and their diet. They work out excessively, dress to the nines, often have plastic surgery to fix what they deem to be less than perfect, and their hair must always look perfect. Somatic females are never seen in public without makeup. When somatic narcissists are not maintaining their looks, they are showing them off, bragging about how they achieve them, or seducing others with them.

Somatic narcissists are highly sexualized. They use sex as a means to control, dominate or destroy their victims. Somatic narcissists boast about their sexual performance and their innumerable conquests, often to the point of exaggeration. They are passionate, unselfish lovers when trying to woo victims, but sexually disinterested once they capture them. Once the honeymoon stage is over, their sexual performances turn selfish and cold. Somatic narcissists are sexual philanderers. But Grimaud did not renounce her dreams; Even if Helene Grimaud, as Deleuze might say, was caught in a wolf-becoming that saved her life by restoring to her the possibility of metamorphosis, she never actually believed she was a wolf. She recognizes the boundary separating her from the animal world, and doesn't take her dream for reality. Jacques Mayol, who went much further--perhaps a bit too far--in his dolphin-becoming, knew, however, that he was at best only a human amphibian, and that a total return to a watery existence was not possible. Others have not had such luck, or such wisdom. In Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, a documentary, we meet Timothy Treadwell, who dreamed of becoming a bear and went to spend all his summers among the grizzlies in a wild region of Alaska. He said that he was ready to die for them, and that's precisely what he ended up doing. Eaten by a bear that, to be fair, he did not know. The power of dreams is always ambivalent. The power that inspires can also destroy. Most hospitality and corporate teams have a huddle or stand-up meeting daily, where the team meets in the beginning of the shift to review the strategies of the day, share information, train, get creative, set goals, and most importantly, recognize each other for great work! This meeting sets the tone for the whole day and should be positive, energetic, and quick--no more than 15 minutes. I would even go so far as to say that your team's huddle is the most important thing you do each day. Legendary teams make the huddle a top priority!