Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Awaken the Will and Wisdom to Enlighten Your World

We aren't quite sure why, but a mouse experiment has shown the former keeps the intestinal barrier more stable. You should avoid artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers as they can damage your intestinal barrier and make your gut leaky. There is a food group known as FODMAPs that may increase intestinal permeability in the context of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). More on this later. MEDICATIONS INCLUDING NSAIDS AND PPIS We did treatment programs in the area and sent him to a mountain program, not for punishment but to experience some meaningful personal achievement that might reboot his reasoning. Conor went with a friend and they escaped, so that was a big bust. That's when a friend asked if I knew about a program for teenage kids where they were locked down in what could be called a voluntary prison. By that point, we were desperate. Police were coming to our house, and we had two little girls we were trying to raise without exposing them to Conor's stuff. I knew that if I didn't do something drastic to contain my kid, then I was going to lose my marriage and my life. We were going to counseling to overcome this, but nothing was working. Conor, as your mom, I said, you have to stay alive, and you have to finish your high school education by eighteen, and it's my job to get you there. We hired a huge guy who worked with special needs kids to track Conor and keep him out of trouble. He was sensitive and wonderful, but even he couldn't contain Conor, so we called the guy in Montana to come get our son and take him to that voluntary prison. But surely, you might think, if you have more money, it gives you more opportunities to save people. So he recalculates taking into account the number of rooms each person had in their home, in case this made it easier to help. Again the results were the same. Of course it would be wise to be very cautious about these findings, particularly given the extremely sensitive subject matter, but even so Hoffman's models do show that better-off countries saved more Jews and that within a country the richer people tended to be more generous. Which if nothing else suggests that the widely held view that rich people are always more selfish is certainly not always true.

Thankfully, people from all socio-economic groups are capable of great generosity and self-sacrifice, just as they're equally capable of horrific acts of selfishness and evil. INDUCING PEOPLE TO GIVE AWAY THEIR MONEY Whoever they get their money from, the rich or the poor, charities are always on the look-out for ways of attracting more donations. People are employed to work on charity appeals, crafting messages that emphasise the importance of the charity's work or pull on our heart strings. But what sort of language is the most effective in inducing people to give more? I'm going to be a bit abrupt here, OK? I generally answer by going back to what I've said many times - just start where you are, doing everything you can and go further and further. It's like any hobby or passion. Keep it ordinary and humble, then enjoy getting wilder as you learn more. Start consuming less, reading the news, attend your first protest, commit to signing a petition every day (learning about the cause first), switch your feed to inspiring prophets and share their messages boldly, then ask the more inspiring question of yourself, `What can I do next? You meet new people, find new links down the rabbit holes and soon enough you're off and running wildly. And it all just falls into place. That said, I have a big resource list of places for you to start at sarahwilson. Possibly one of the most beautiful moments on my journey occurred during the global strikes in September 2019. I'd agitated for weeks on the importance of attending. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and indomethacin increase intestinal permeability. This effect is made a great deal worse with the coexistence of psychological stress. If you are going through stress, be particularly conscientious about looking after your gut health if you must take painkillers. The worst possible combination for intestinal permeability is to have a stressful job, stay up late, or work night shifts and then binge drink on weekends with some aspirin the next day to calm a hangover. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) that many people use for symptoms of acid reflux may also increase gut leakiness.

Preventing a Leaky Gut The following factors may help keep the gut lining sealed: Dietary soluble fiber Glutamine Reducing the duration of a stress response At that point, it was our only hope. Conor didn't know this was coming, but he went missing that night. As usual, I waited up for him, hoping he'd show, thinking that maybe he was just partying too much, and that maybe if we rode out the storm, it would eventually be okay. I was seriously in the denial club, which is natural for parents, but it's the worst place to stay. At 6 AM the phone rang. It was Conor. He was so high on something that wasn't just marijuana. I listened for an hour and a half. He and his friend were talking about running away to Mexico. I could hear he was at this kid's house, and I figured we could tell the bodyguard to go get him. A neat experiment in 14 bakeries in Brittany provides some clues. This was conducted by Nicolas Gueguen, the same psychologist who did the studies on waiters getting bigger tips when they presented the bill on a heart-shaped dish or touched customers lightly on the arm. This time his study wasn't about tips, but charitable donations. On the counter of each bakery, above the tarte tatins, the pains au chocolate and the croissants, a collecting tin was placed. On the label of every tin was identical information about the humanitarian work carried out by a charity in Togo in West Africa.

But one single word was different. A third of the tins used the phrase `donating = loving'; What we don't know is whether that word `loving' induced more people to give or whether the same number of people donated, but gave more; The researchers speculated that once again the power of priming was at play, with the word `loving' evoking feelings of compassion, solidarity and support, which led people to be more altruistic. I'd suggest `loving' is an even more powerful primer than that, being such an emotional and personal word, drawing us to think of loved ones who we dearly want to protect. I'd had to push through my own resistance - I'm not a fan of public displays of anything. But I was rising to the enlarging option (and the cries of the scientists and kids to help them). I posted and tweeted and called the relevant organisers to get the best information to share. There were seven people in my travels to rev up engagement, however, who were resistant - they were either oblivious about it or claimed to be worried for their safety. By the morning of the strike I was despondent. I sat at home on the floor of my study and wept, partly from exhaustion. The Resistant Seven were playing on my mind. I couldn't believe my fellow humans were not firing up at such a critical opportunity to be heard (and contribute to that 3. My bigger self knew I should be more compassionate - other people had the right to their own opinions - and that going in too hard could be counterproductive. But my gripping self just wanted to inspire, to rally, to embrace these people in enlarged group soul. Plant substrates Vitamin D DIETARY SOLUBLE FIBER Soluble fiber strengthens the integrity of the mucus layer that lines the intestinal wall. This may explain why mice don't seem to develop a leaky gut from drinking alcohol if they eat oats twice a day.

Other examples of soluble fiber include psyllium husks, the husk of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata whose use is widespread in India, pectin, found in apples, and alginate, found in brown algae and used widely in Japan. The cells lining your gut feed on the amino acid called glutamine. They pick their food from what travels down from your stomach, so the food you are swallowing needs to contain this. REDUCING THE DURATION OF A STRESS RESPONSE Earlier, I described a theory that is based on the ability of the vagus nerve to encourage the integrity of the tight junctions between the cells of the intestinal wall. I felt like God was telling me that Conor had to go away? I almost backpedaled, but after hearing Conor so zonked on drugs, I knew he needed serious help. The transporter showed up and scared the crap out of Conor. He thought it was the police, as he'd been dabbling in steroids and selling them and thought the football player he owed money to had sent this guy, which just freaked him out. My father and I went on the same plane to Montana, but Conor was so high he wasn't even aware we were there. He was sixteen. It was tragic leaving him there. Mama, don't leave me! Conor, I don't have a choice. He was able to finish high school in a self-directed program. Anyway, it clearly worked wonders. By comparison, the researchers concluded that the word `helping' was not just a bit redundant but was also an instrumental term, seeming to require something of people and stripping them of their freedom to donate. The fact that the word to donate in French, `donner', is also used when you want to order someone to do something (donnez-moi mon billet) might also have had an impact. All in all, love might seem a strong word to use in charitable appeals - after all we generally don't know the person we are helping with a donation, so how can we love them? But perhaps charities shouldn't be shy of using the word.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Words to Help You Let Go of Any Negative State

The next day, when I knew for sure she was gone, I went to the nearby Everglades. I felt like that was the closest place where I could be with God and ask why this had happened. When I left there, I picked up my mom to bring her to see Alyssa at the medical examiner's office. I looked up at the sky. It was orange and bright and the sun was penetrating. In that moment, frozen in time, I felt that Alyssa was at peace, that she was okay. Next, the two groups of students had to rate how much they liked the iPhone, the effort they would be prepared to put into obtaining one and how much they would agree to pay for it. The key result was as follows: people in the benign envy group (those who imagined admiring the student with the phone) were prepared to pay what Pieters calls `an envy premium'. And a substantial one. Indeed they said they'd pay nearly 50 per cent more for the phone than the malicious envy group (those who begrudged the student the phone). The experiment seemed to show that - even in an imagined scenario - if someone we admire has something we don't have, then we are more likely to want it and indeed to work to get it. But there is a caveat. This sort of positive envy seems only to work in situations in which the thing someone else has, and for which we long, is somehow achievable. Pieters uses the example of a neighbour having a better lawnmower. We see it, envy our neighbour for it, want it, and because it's only a lawnmower (and presumably our neighbour can't be that much better off than us) we determine to get one too. It's a bit like what used to be called `keeping up with the Joneses'. Let's step into the unknown and see what happens. Nothing more. A lightness comes over, things become playful. I generally find that when I just let myself run the experiment I'm suddenly free to see a whole stack of openness and freedom ahead.

No one knows, no one has answers, let's get creative and loose and alive. And then it becomes the most fun ever to just sit, calmly and lightly and playfully, and see what happens next. Does Maria Shriver walk in? Does a more beautiful question arise? Do you feel differently? Do you, strangely, feel like you might have arrived in some flow? In one study, doing this once a day, five days a week for four weeks reduced baseline sympathetic tone and increased parasympathetic tone. Avoid Negative, Stressed People When you look into someone's eyes, you may synchronize your pupils with that person's. Your pupil size reflects your stress level. If you interact with calm people, you are more likely to become calmer. If you surround yourself with genuinely happy and positive people, you catch their happiness. Mood is infectious. So avoid negative people! Mood is infectious. A study that followed more than four thousand people in a social network over twenty years found that happiness can extend to up to three degrees of separation--to the friend of a friend of a friend. I'm not sure that I felt at peace, though, because at that time I felt as if I were on drugs. I had never taken drugs, but I could just imagine because my head was spinning and everything felt surreal. I took a photograph that day of the orange sky and it's become the visual anchor of our website. It's a tangible reminder to me of Alyssa, like her hair, which I keep in a glass box in her bedroom.

These are my guiding lights, and they will always accompany me on my mission. FROM MICHELLE I knew from the get-go that I wanted to have a mom in this article who had dealt with the unthinkable tragedy of school violence. Who could be stronger than that? I was sitting in my living room one week before the manuscript was due and as always I knew it would come to me. I just had a feeling, like I'd experienced with every other story. The Joneses had the nicer house and nicer car, but they were still just the Joneses. Keeping up with the Kardashians on the other hand, well that's just silly. Our strategy in the case of super-rich people like the Kardashians, or even more so with someone like Donald Trump, is to turn our envy into contempt, to despise them for having so much money while having absolutely zero taste. This is surely why magazines like Hello and OK! We enjoy being `invited into the lovely home' of such-and-such a minor royal or Premier League footballer, because we're confident that it will be full of ghastly gold taps or white leather sofas. It gives us the chance to - metaphorically - trash the place, while making us more satisfied with our own, more modest lot. A follow-up experiment by Pieters demonstrated this type of reaction. This time, his participants were able to bid either for an iPhone or for a Blackberry. Those imagining malicious envy were once again not prepared to pay as much as the benign enviers for the iPhone. They preferred to go (and pay more) for the Blackberry. Your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. Not my words; Rainer Maria Rilke's. As I say, my fear of not knowing is particularly gnarly.

It kept tipping me into that overwhelm cycle and holding me back. So I took myself off to therapy. I needed to train my doubt. I found Natalie, a psychotherapist. I told her I was sick of talking about my issues. I wanted to get radical and step up into the next phase of my maturing. If you are surrounded by happy people, you are more likely to be happy in the future. This effect even extends beyond your immediate surroundings. If you have a friend who lives within a mile of you and that friend becomes happy, the chances of you becoming happy go up by 24 percent. This effect is magnified by the world of social media. If you scroll through your social media newsfeed and find negative posts, you are much more likely to enter into a negative frame of mind. Curate whose posts you see in your feed, with this in mind. THREE WAYS TO STAY RELAXED Exercise in the morning. Regularly visit a sauna. Avoid negative people, stories, and situations. I was focused on the mom who grabbed the microphone during a CNN piece and challenged our president after the Parkland shooting. How could I find her? I looked her up online and in one simple phone call, which she herself answered, we spoke right away like old friends do. Lori said she would be honored to be in the article.

Truthfully, I am the one who is honored that she took the time to share her story. Her faith in her daughter's presence in the orange sky was one of the most profound moments during my interview. It reminds me of this verse: SO WE FIX OUR EYES NOT ON WHAT IS SEEN, BUT WHAT IS UNSEEN. FOR WHAT IS SEEN IS TEMPORARY, BUT WHAT IS UNSEEN IS ETERNAL. God bless Alyssa and Lori and may they both be a part of many beautiful orange skies. It seems they wanted to differentiate themselves from their colleague with the iPhone (who they envied but whose success they begrudged rather than admired) by choosing another kind of phone entirely and convincing themselves that theirs was better. Envy turns out to be quite a complicated emotion, and - judging by this research - a complex emotion to study. But for our purposes, the important thing to conclude from all this is that while envy often is negative, in some circumstances it can have a positive effect on us, at least to the extent of spurring us on. WASHING YOUR HANDS OF MISERABLY SMALL LIES Like envy, we don't generally approve of lying. There are some exceptions of course. What on earth is that monstrosity, you think, on first seeing the hat your friend is wearing at her daughter's wedding. How lovely, you say, when she comes over and tells you it cost L100. You're lying, of course, but it's a white lie to protect your friend's feelings. And then there are lies told for the greater good, such as insisting to the baddies that the man they're chasing ran that way. I'd been pissing around my edges. Like a cocky teen who doesn't know what she doesn't know. I wasn't in the arena, as Theodore Roosevelt (and Brene Brown) put it. I've gone to a plethora of shrinks and coaches over the years.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Advanced Lessons in Letting Go

In these moments I remind myself to, again, `do what I'm not doing' and ride the `is-ness' of life. I chatted to two women in their seventies who were doing a cryptic crossword together after going to the gym across the road. I sprung them cheating; We laughed and talked for 15 minutes about getting old (the freedom of it! Then an ex-employee sat down and told me about her recent relationship break-up. I was there longer than I expected. Imagine you are on the show The Apprentice. You have been assigned team leader for a task in an area that you find the most difficult. Your hard-selling ability will be put to the test. You are terrible at selling. You will enter the task (just as everyone else will) with a focus on outcompeting the others, since you want to win. This is where you need to make a switch. Instead of entering with a mindset intent on elevating yourself above others, switch to a mindset of assisting others. We can create social stress in a laboratory using a setup known as a Trier Social Stress Test, or TSST. When a group of healthy eighteen- to forty-five-year-olds were made to spend just a few minutes before being tested thinking about their values directed at helping others and how they would like to implement these values through their work, they had a milder hormonal stress response to the test. Their HPA axis activation was reduced and they produced significantly less cortisol, compared to others who did not do this mental prep work. Mental health is a huge aspect of keeping schools safe. For example, we must aim to have a good ratio of mental health counselors for students, and reactive measures, such as having silent duress buttons in school to be used as a direct link to law enforcement, to get them on-site as quickly as possible. We've focused a lot of our effort on the state legislatures. A year ago, we were able to get Alyssa's Law passed in New Jersey, where I was born and grew up.

Citizens and politicians had been trying for five years to pass this law, which is all about the duress button, but Governor Chris Christie kept vetoing it. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School changed that and when we called it Alyssa's Law it was received with a different level of acceptance. People knew that we simply had to do more by creating layers and layers of protection to ensure that our kids are safe. We never thought that something like this could happen to us in Parkland. New Jersey residents felt the same way and when enough of them made it clear that they wanted to make this change, Governor Phil Murphy signed Alyssa's Law. We were obviously ecstatic! As I waited for my eggs Benedict to arrive, I flicked through the glossy magazines and started people-watching. Presumably there were one or two interlopers like me - people who were not rich, whose flights had been paid for or who had saved air miles in order to upgrade and for whom this experience was a one-off - but for some, this was how they always travelled, this was just normal. On the plane itself, I couldn't help but obsess about the other people in the first class cabin. Were they born into money or were they self-made? Were any of them very important or famous in some way? Was it possible some got their money illegally or at least unethically? I felt the urge to write a quick survey and hand it round. Studies have shown that we have strong feelings about who does and doesn't deserve money and whether it is obtained in the right way. In fact, anyone rich can gain our disapproval. In one study researchers measured the movement in people's facial muscles when they were shown a series of photographs. I got up to pay. Maria Shriver walked in. I couldn't quite believe it myself so I quickly cross-referenced the distinctive rings on her fingers with shots on her Instagram feed where you could see her hands. Yep, it was Maria.

What are the chances? How does such serendipity work? I doubt we will ever know. We can only know that life is bigger and more mysterious than we can ever imagine. And somehow, for reasons and forces beyond our knowing, when we release our grip and join life's mysterious stream of is-ness this kind of crazy shit happens. I approached Maria and vomited out all of the above very excitedly, although I tried to tone it down given that she'd just come off a long-haul flight an hour ago. This strategy may work because needing to prove yourself is a defensive stance. It is you against them. The need for defense pushes you toward vigilance and stress. Seeing others as part of your own team convinces you that you are part of a tribe--and that you have tribal protection. Here, it is you with them. You no longer need to feel defensive. There is no need to be stressed. One way of implementing this incredible tool is by approaching your day at work focused on the overall journey of your team or of your entire company. You can train your mind to see others as team members rather than competitors by actively helping or looking out for them, almost as if it were a ritual. Even if you are in a cutthroat competitive environment, this approach is likely to give you an edge as it may help you to stay calm and focused in the long run. Our advocacy through Make Our Schools Safe is what moved the needle. We reached out to all the legislatures, bringing this to their attention, telling them in no uncertain terms that if this law had been in place on February 14, 2018, it might have saved lives. I'm working now in Tallahassee to get Alyssa's Law passed in the state of Florida. We are actively lobbying legislators, trying to get them to make it a top priority during this legislative session.

We've passed one level and are moving toward the next, on our way to the governor and making it the law of the land. I feel like I'm getting in their faces, and the more they hear about it, the more I think it's going to rise to a level of importance in both parties and get passed. To keep this alive, I reach out to the media every week to let them know what's going on with Alyssa's Law. It's important to keep them aware and maintain our momentum. If they want to do a story on Alyssa's Law, that's great because it brings our cause to the public; I keep asking my friends to e-mail and call their legislators to stress the importance of Alyssa's Law. When it was an old lady in the photo, and they were told she had got soaked by a taxi driving through a puddle, their facial expression was sad. When it was a rich-looking businessman in a suit who got soaked, people didn't admit to getting any pleasure from this, but the movements of their facial muscles suggested otherwise. They couldn't help but smile. In his work on the sacred and profane meanings of money, the marketing scholar Russell Belk notes that all around the world there are fairy tales warning of the terrible fate that might befall anyone who stumbles across lost treasure. As we saw in article 9, this feeling even extends to `people like us', ordinary people who win the lottery. Good luck to them if they're nice and spend their money wisely, we think. But woe betide them if they're scoundrels and just spend, spend, spend . Back on the plane, the person behind me looked like a supermodel. Her legs were very, very long, and she managed to look elegant in the black pyjamas which the cabin crew had handed out to us at the start of the day-time flight and which (rather bizarrely) everyone wore. Those of us who aren't rich often console ourselves with the thought that those who are must find it difficult to sleep at night. She was delighted. I didn't ask to interview her. I'd already got everything I needed from my interaction with Maria Shriver. We hate uncertainty.

It's always existed (I mean, the only certainty is uncertainty), but we used to be far more anti-fragile with it. You might be as old as me and remember as a kid making plans to catch up with your mates in the holidays. I'd arrange on the Friday at recess to meet under the clock at the bus interchange at 10am on the second Tuesday of the school holidays. There I was the following fortnight right on time. Sometimes my mates would not be there. It would be 10. Train yourself to see others as players on the same team rather than as rivals. Constantly remind yourself of the aims you share with others, and focus on them. Create a ritual of helping others, just for the sake of it. Certain aspects of your nutrition can affect your stress response. Eat natural probiotic yogurt. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial found that eating 100g of probiotic natural yogurt every day for six weeks reduced general perceived anxiety and stress. Drink water. Staying well-hydrated may reduce your HPA axis response to stress. Avoid food with refined carbohydrates or added sugar. One randomized trial found that eating a meal that has a high glycemic index at breakfast time may increase cortisol levels compared to a meal with a low glycemic index. So far it's working well, and I will not stop until I make it happen. Besides this campaign, a big aspect of our organization is what we call our Make Our School Safe clubs. We also call them Dream Team clubs because we want students to create a culture of safety in their schools. So far, we have about ten clubs that have started up around the country, like the one in Stoneman Douglas High School.

Sow the Seeds of a Higher and Happier Life

Was I just that weak, that hypersensitive? If so, what right did I have to be there as June's therapist? One of my clients had discovered the bodies of her parents following their murder/suicide; Another client lost her mother to cancer when she was four years old, and her mother was barely mentioned again as she grew up in a household with a stepmother who insisted on being called Mom. In my opinion, the best support will come from a therapist who is skilled in helping you work through the plethora of feelings that will inevitably come up. To be effective, confrontations should be dignified, controlled, and direct. Don't concern yourself with treading gently or sugar-coating your words. Your parents have lived many years and have gone through many hardships. They may not like what you have to say but they are strong enough to handle it. If they cannot, it's not your problem, it's theirs. You should be straightforward and say whatever you need to say. Focus on facts and feelings. You have every right to speak your truth. Be mindful to stay focused on your agenda and in control of the encounter. This is what is happening in the microcosm of the thoughtful thank-you note: The kindness of your dinner party inspired your friend's gratitude. That gratitude inspired her kindness to you. Kindness--and the gratitude that follows--has a ripple effect. Pema Chodron advises, Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world. In our daily encounters, we want other people to be kind, compassionate, and giving toward us--who wouldn't?

Studies have long shown that attitudes, behavior, and even health are contagious within our social networks, but what hadn't been clear was whether this is true simply because we tend to be friends with people who are like us. So two researchers from Harvard and the University of California, San Diego, set out to find out whether kindness is contagious among people who don't know each other. They set up a game where they arranged strangers into groups of four and gave each person twenty credits. Each player was instructed to decide, in private, how many credits to keep for themselves and how many to contribute to a common pot that at the end of the round would be divided evenly among the players. Spending $50 on big bags of rice was fine because that money came from a general grocery account, but money for matsutake came from the precious and smaller luxury account, so this was not a decision to take lightly. We also assign our money to different timeframes in our minds. Money for today, money for tomorrow and money for a rainy day. Through the creation of mental accounts, we are able to make quick judgements about when to buy something and what it's reasonable to spend in different situations. They help us to exert self-control over our spending. Some people go as far as to set up separate bank accounts to reflect these mental accounts, even if that means paying interest on the debit in one while others are in credit. It's irrational in one way - overall you are losing money; Banks do offer mortgage deals where the interest you earn on savings is offset against the interest on your mortgage, but still 98 per cent of people in the UK in 2014 chose to separate their savings and their debts. Our use of mental accounts also helps to explain why we make judgements about the value of discounts within the context of the total price. It all depends on which mental account the money comes from. I have worked with clients who lost adolescent children to suicide. And I cannot count the number of clients who were physically and emotionally abused throughout childhood. What I have learned is that this is not a simple matter of comparing what happened to me with what happened with June, or what happened with you. In fact, evaluating ourselves according to that kind of comparison is one extremely effective way of stopping forward progress dead in its tracks. I have heard this expressed in a very concise form: compare and despair. Insisting on comparison as a way of either justifying or denying our right to have pain is useless.

We can always find someone who has had it better than us and someone who has had it worse. My childhood was better than June's, but worse than someone else's. Even then, the evaluation is subjective. I'm not sure June would agree that my childhood was the better of the two. This is your time, not your parents'--they have already had their turn. Do not allow them to resort to denial, excuses, or pity parties. Direct confrontation is done face to face, electronically, or over the telephone. To be most effective there are some important things to consider: When confronting your parents, judgment, finger pointing, and guilt will get you nowhere. If you cannot restrain yourself from doing these things you are well advised not to attempt a confrontation. It will be pointless and futile, and it will only escalate the problem for all parties concerned. You may feel the temptation to get back at your parents or even the score for whatever injustice was done to you, but that is not your job. It is never your job to judge or exact punishment on others for their transgressions. It is unlikely that your parents will ever acknowledge or take responsibility for what they did to you. At the end of each round, the players were shuffled, so they never knew from game to game who was generous, but they knew how generous others had been to the group. As the game went on, players who had been the recipients of generosity from teammates tended to give more of their own credits in future rounds. Kindness begets kindness. When you are part of a kindness-gratitude exchange, you will inevitably find yourself on the receiving end of gratitude. When we receive thanks, we must be mindful of our egos. It's easy to get lost in the fantasy of our own greatness.

When monks are praised, we detach, remembering that whatever we were able to give was never ours to begin with. To receive gratitude with humility, start by thanking the person for noticing. Appreciate their attention and their intention. Look for a good quality in the other person and return the compliment. When my husband and I bought our house and failed to shop around for a solicitor, it was partly because these fees seemed inconsequential in comparison with the price of the house. But it was also because we were chalking the fees up to a particular mental account, in this case a special one - the `once in a lifetime buying a house' account. In reality of course the money we were shelling out to the solicitor was coming from my actual current account, which was rapidly looking very empty. It is very important that we can assign money mentally in this way. If we didn't do it, we wouldn't take risks or make long-term investments, and we wouldn't have the economic activity and the prosperity to show for it. Mental accounts allow us to escape from the crippling financial caution that could otherwise grip us. In this sense, our evolving psychological attitudes to money allow modern economies to function. But difficulty sometimes arises in trying to force our minds to put money into the appropriate psychological moneybag. Around 15 years ago, my husband and I decided to get rid of our car. Living in London, we found we were using it less and less, not least because parking spaces where we lived at the time were so precious that we were reluctant to surrender the one we had by using the car. You may have endured horrendous abuse in your life, or you may be the product of the typical neurotic American family. You are probably somewhere in between. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we are all equally deserving of whatever help we need in order to heal the wounds of our past. And what matters is that we are all equally responsible for tending to our own wounds. What lies beneath the comparisons are the questions of why me and not them or why them and not me.

What lies beneath those unanswerable questions are feelings of either shame or anger. Maybe you feel shame because of your abuse, or maybe you feel shame because someone else suffered abuse and you did not. You may be angry at your abusers, or even angry at the fact that child abuse, in all of its many forms and gradations, is a daily occurrence in our world. But keep going. Abusers rarely admit to having abused. When or if they do they tend to minimize what happened. It is unlikely that your parents will ever accept accountability. If this is the outcome you are expecting you will only set yourself up for disappointment. Confrontation is something you do to vent your feelings. Do not do it hoping to receive any particular outcome. If your parents do accept responsibility and sincerely want to make things right with you, accountability, not remorse, should be the end goal. Forgiveness can be given with or without the other party's accountability, but trust must be earned. If you are fearful of a direct confrontation but still feel compelled to say your peace, it is just as effective to put what you have to say in writing. With that approach, you avoid having to face the rapid emotional backlash. Then take the gratitude you are given as an opportunity to be grateful to your teachers. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS Monks put our gratitude practice into action through all the small interactions of the day. I hopped into an Uber once, in a hurry and distracted. The car idled for an unusually long time, and when I finally noticed and asked the driver if everything was okay, he said, Yes, I'm just waiting for you to say hi back to me. It was a wake-up call, and you can bet I'm more careful about acknowledging people now.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Cancel the Ten Causes of Needless Heartaches

I couldn't control whether someone gave me a job, but I focused on finding a way to be myself and do what I loved. I knew I could build confidence around that. BUILD CONFIDENCE, NOT EGO Here's the irony: If you've ever pretended you know something, you probably discovered that it often takes the same amount of energy to feign confidence and feed vanity as it takes to work, practice, and achieve true confidence. Humility allows you to see your own strengths and weaknesses clearly, so you can work, learn, and grow. Minna Ruckenstein's research suggests nursery-school-aged children know the former, but not the latter. The kids she studied all knew the total amount of money they had and were very keen to tell her, even though she didn't ask them. What they couldn't work out was how their cash converted into spending power. When one child said they had $200, the others all agreed that this was a lot, but none of them knew what that sum might buy. It is as children that we learn about the maths of money. There is evidence that a good conceptual grasp of maths leads to better financial management in adult life, and in the American study of families referred to above, children who were not good at maths were more likely to exhibit financial anxiety. By contrast, those who were best at calculation were more likely to donate to charity and to save for the future. It all means that just as parents should talk about money more with their children, so they should also encourage them to master maths. It will help their children grow into adults who know how to handle money more wisely and to have a healthier relationship with it. What it won't do is allow them to enjoy total control over money. This part did not ascribe to the misguided, negative beliefs of her family either. This part was just tired and wanted Kirby to give up--to rest. This part could acknowledge the progress, but it wasn't enough. It was always pointing out how far there was yet to go, and that in spite of all the progress life was still very difficult. Kirby described this part as a constant pain in the butt, and she found it very interesting that her cancer had originally shown up as a chronic, intense pain in her lower back.

I thought of this part as a brilliant attorney with an endless supply of evidence to support its argument--specifically seeking a death sentence. In short, this part of Kirby could really bring a party to a screeching halt. That is why Kirby named this part Party Pooper. Some days we just talked, going wherever the conversation would take us. Other days, Kirby would faithfully move from one chair to the other, inviting the conversation within her to play out. My mother has used these phrases for years, and I hear them over and over from the people I counsel. It never fails to amaze me. These expressions must always be interpreted because what narcissists say and what they mean are very different. Not only are the phrases meant to clue us in, but the inflections and tones are as well. The better you know your narcissist the more easily you can interpret what he says. His phrases are lost on strangers or those who have yet to catch on to his pathology. Following are some common examples: When narcissists say, I love you, it means one of three things: they have heard those words used by others and it seems to be an endearing way of manipulating you into loving them; When narcissists say, I never said that, it means that they are either trying to manipulate you, throw you off balance and make you feel crazy, or that you caught them in a lie and they don't want to admit that they said what they said. They play the role of the perpetual innocent. Confidence and high self-esteem help you accept yourself as you are, humble, imperfect, and striving. Let's not confuse an inflated ego with healthy self-esteem. The ego wants everyone to like you. High self-esteem is just fine if they don't. The ego thinks it knows everything.

Self-esteem thinks it can learn from anyone. The ego wants to prove itself. Self-esteem wants to express itself. The table above doesn't just show the difference between an inflated ego and a healthy self-worth. It can be used as a guide to grow your confidence. Mind over money is always a matter of degree. We've seen where our relationship with money starts. But where does it end? Money is more tied up with our thoughts about death than you might ever imagine. THE ANTI-DEATH DRUG Here's a statement: `I am very much afraid to die. Here's another: `The thought of death seldom enters my mind. If you were to take part in one of the experiments run by psychologist Tomasz Zaleskiewicz in the Polish capital Warsaw, a further ten questions measuring your anxiety about death would follow. But Zaleskiewicz is not really interested in your attitudes to death. He's interested in your attachment to money. Then one day (I don't even remember who caught on first), we got it. The lightbulb switched on above both of our heads. We had been missing a very significant point: both parts of Kirby wanted to live. Yes, essentially they wanted the exact same thing. The problem was not one of life or death.

The problem was that there existed in Kirby's consciousness two completely different definitions of life. That was a very productive day in class. Kirby felt a new hope with our discovery. After all, Kirby said, they say that accurately defining the problem is three-fourths of the solution, right? Right, I answered, certain that somebody must have said that somewhere, sometime. When narcissists say, I only want you to be happy, it means I only want me to be happy. If that means you remain miserable, so be it. When narcissists say, You are too sensitive it means that you won't tip toe on egg shells around them like they want you to, or you won't let them assault and abuse you the way they want to. When narcissists say, You never do anything for me it means that whatever you have done for them in the past doesn't count. What have you done for them today? When narcissists say, You aren't remembering correctly, it means that they like their version of the story better than yours because their version portrays them in a better light. When narcissists say, You have no respect for me it means they are angry because you have boundaries and won't let them abuse you. When narcissists say, Think about what you are doing to your family/children/parents, etc it means I want you to feel very guilty about what you are doing to me. When narcissists say, Look how much I have sacrificed for you it means I own you and I want you to feel guilty. When narcissists say, Why do you always bring up the past, it means that they can bring up your past anytime they want to, but you have no right to call them on anything they ever did. If you look closely, you will see that all of the self-awareness that we have been developing serves to build the interwoven qualities of humility and self-worth. Instead of worrying what people will say, we filter what people will say. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we cleanse our minds and look to improve ourselves. Instead of wanting to prove ourselves, we want to be ourselves, meaning we aren't distracted by external wants. We live with intention in our dharma.

Accumulating small wins builds confidence. Olympic swimming gold medalist Jessica Hardy says, My long-term goals are what I would consider to be my `dreams,' and my short-term goals are obtainable on a daily or monthly basis. I like to make my short-term goals something that makes me feel better and sets me up to better prepare for the long-term goals. TRY THIS: WRITE DOWN THE AREAS IN WHICH YOU REALLY WANT TO BE CONFIDENT Health, career, relationship--pick one of these three. Before he starts quizzing people on their mortality, he sets them an exercise. Half the participants are given a stack of banknotes to count, while the other half get a pile of pieces of paper of the same dimensions as the banknotes, with numbers printed on them. The task is the same for both groups: to add up all the numbers. The result: people who count the money are less afraid of death. This isn't what Victorian morality tales teach us, is it? In those stories, the old miser counting his piles of dusty coins is usually portrayed as wracked with mortal terror. It is the hero living in poverty who cares nothing for worldly goods who has no fear of the end. Hanging in the National Gallery in Washington, DC, there's a gruesome painting by Hieronymus Bosch in which a miser on his death bed reaches for a bag of gold proffered by a demon, even as death - in the form of a shrouded skeleton - appears at his door. Meanwhile an angel puts a hand on the miser's shoulder, hoping to lead him down the route to salvation instead. To the medieval mind, this painting was not suggesting that counting money was a way to ward off fear of death. If not, we had said it now. And we believed it. You see, the part of Kirby that so effectively represented death as the only good option was actually very spiritually oriented. This so-called Party Pooper not only did not fear death, but literally did not believe in death. Ironically, this part had developed from Kirby's years of meditation training and spiritual exploration.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

The Power to Dismiss Discontentment From Your Life

Don't say anything about yourself. STEP OUTSIDE OF FAILURE When we feel insecure--we aren't where we want to be in our careers, our relationships, or in reference to other milestones we've set for ourselves--either the ego comes to our defense or our self-esteem plummets. Either way, it's all about us. In Care of the Soul, psychotherapist and former monk Thomas Moore writes, Being literally undone by failure is akin to `negative narcissism. This research, conducted in 2010, is by the Finnish social anthropologist Minna Ruckenstein and it involves group discussions with young children at nurseries in Helsinki. But what those transcripts reveal is that these days pre-schoolers seem well aware that you get money through working and then you exchange it for food and other items in shops. Indeed when a few children in the groups suggested that you could obtain money by buying things, others soon corrected them. Generally these young children were also able to explain the purpose of piggy banks, cash machines and high-street banks. What they really liked was finding what they called `free money' around the house, but even then they knew it hadn't just appeared magically, that it must belong to someone. The children in Ruckenstein's study knew so much about the idea of saving money, of only buying what they could afford, and not wasting money on things they didn't need, that they were annoyed when they were asked about it. One child even refused to respond to questions about saving because the answers were so obvious, saying: `Do you have some other questions? Not surprisingly, the main source of the children's information on money was their parents. Ruckenstein found that some parents actively taught their children how not to spend - in other words to exercise the self-restraint the children in the play economy had found so difficult. The huge influence of parents might explain why the young children in Ruckenstein's study seemed more clued up about the source of money than the kids in Berti and Bombi's studies. Don't run from the fear; The chances of solving a problem are greatly enhanced by accurately defining the problem. Fear of a failed business and fear of an entire life wasted are two very different problems. With the accurate information--the truth about Matthew's fear--Matthew and I were able to use the next two letters in our acronym map to free him to make decisions based on his business intelligence and his true desires. Matthew further explored his deep fears of being alone and wasting his life.

By realizing that these fears originated in some childhood experiences, he was able to accept that his Bully was threatening him with outdated fears, and he was able to respond to the Bully's neurotic fear by disagreeing with the premise that even in a worst-case scenario--a failed business--he would not have to be alone and his life would not be wasted. Matthew was able to proceed with the creation of his new business, fully aware that his Bully would be attempting to sabotage his efforts by threatening Matthew with some of his worst fears. When you identify and keep moving toward neurotic fears, you accomplish two things. First, you minimize the chances of a successful surprise attack from the Bully, since you are keeping the light of awareness shining on his scowling face. And, second, you reduce the Bully's credibility when you step forward, look him squarely in the eye, and say, Okay, you have my full attention. In August 2014, the American Journal of Psychiatry published a ten-article study entitled, Gray Matter Abnormalities in Childhood Maltreatment. Included in the report was the following: Modern neuroimaging methods such as MRI have revealed smaller volumes in several brain regions in individuals exposed to childhood maltreatment relative to unexposed comparison subjects, including the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, corpus callosum, and cerebellum, suggesting that fronto-limbic areas may be the most compromised. The findings thus demonstrate that childhood maltreatment is associated with abnormalities in the right orbitofrontaltemporolimbic regions that form the paralimbic system, which is known to be implicated in affect and motivational processing and the self-regulation of social-emotional behaviors. Martin Teicher, Ph. In 2012, Dr Teicher and his colleagues at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility affiliated with Harvard, conducted human brain imaging studies to see if there were brain changes in those who had been abused by their parents in their early years. Their discoveries were groundbreaking. The studies showed that adults who had been neglected or abused as children showed approximately a six percent volume reduction in three important areas of the hippocampus when compared to those who had never experienced childhood maltreatment. The hippocampus is a small organ, located in the medial temporal lobe, that is implicated in memory and interpreting environmental contexts. It forms the part of the limbic system that regulates emotions. By appreciating failure with imagination, we reconnect it to success. Without the connection, work falls into grand narcissistic fantasies of success and dismal feelings of failure. Humility comes from accepting where you are without seeing it as a reflection of who you are. Then you can use your imagination to find success. Sara Blakely wanted to go to law school, but despite taking the exam twice, she didn't pull the LSAT scores she wanted.

Instead of becoming an attorney, she spent seven years going door-to-door selling fax machines, but she never forgot what her father taught her. Every night at their dining room table, her dad would ask her and her brother not What did you do at school today? Failing meant they were trying, and that was more important than the immediate result. When Sara got an idea to start her own company, she knew the only failure would be if she didn't try, so she took $5,000 of her own money and started the business that just fifteen years later would make her a billionaire--Spanx. So often we don't take chances because we fear failure, and that often boils down to a fear of our egos getting hurt. Remember the latter pair was doing their research in Italy back in the 1980s, when fewer women would have been out at work and more would have been caring for children at home. These days, both parents (especially in a country like Finland) are likely to work. And when little children ask the question: `Why do you have to go out to work, Mummy? So children acquire most of their knowledge from their parents. But how exactly? Mostly through observation. They see the frequency with which their parents buy or deny themselves the things they want. They repeatedly witness their parents selecting certain brands, or going to different shops for bargains. They watch the way they weigh up price and value. This process of acquiring financial knowledge and developing attitudes toward money is known as financial socialisation. Tell me again about all the bad stuff that is going to happen to me if I don't listen to you. Be sure to make it sound real scary. When I am paying attention, as my little voice tells me to do, every single person with whom I work has something to teach me. Matthew's story is a good example of knowing when the best strategy is to look straight through our fears, challenge their credibility, and allow our diminishing belief in them to destroy their power over us. At other times, the fear encountered is not an empty threat, but is instead completely legitimate.

This was never more true than the two years I spent learning valuable lessons about life, and about death, with a remarkable woman named Kirby. Out here, in the so-called real world, to the untrained eye I was a psychotherapist and Kirby was my client. I was the shop owner and she was the customer. And in all the official, appropriate ways, it remained so--from beginning to end. In the real real world, the grayer territory located much closer to the truth, our roles were not so easily defined. Dr Gail Gross wrote in her March 19, 2013, Academia article, Effects of Stress on the Hippocampus, Everything we learn, everything we read, everything we do, everything we understand, and everything we experience count on the hippocampus to function correctly. Hippocampus cells contain an unusually large number of neuron receptors that respond to the stress hormone cortisol. When children are abused their brains are flooded with toxic levels of cortisol. The stress regulation method of the brain responds by suppressing the action neurotransmitters have on the hippocampus which can lead to reduced hippocampal volume. My explanations of brain physiology are just layman interpretations of the studies I have read. I do not claim to be an expert, or anything close to one, on this topic. My intention in providing this information is to give you food for thought--further insight into the effects narcissistic child abuse may have had on you. If you would like to know more I encourage you to do your own research. I'll leave you with the following statement made by Dr Martin Teicher: Our brains are sculpted by our early experiences. If we can get past the idea that we'll break if everything doesn't go our way immediately, our capabilities expand exponentially. My own version of Blakely's revelation came in London, a week or so after I'd left the ashram. I had believed that my dharma was to serve as a monk, spreading wisdom and aid. Now, back at my childhood home, I don't want to settle for a lower purpose. What can I do?

Our family is not well off. I can't just relax and wait for answers to come to me. I am scared, nervous, anxious. All the things that I've been trained not to be rush back at me. One night, washing the dishes after dinner, I look out the window above the sink. Active discussion of money matters is much rarer. Research shows that many children reach adulthood without any idea what their parents earn or what savings they might have. Some therapists have found that couples would rather discuss their sex lives or even their infidelities than discuss their finances. THE POWER OF POCKET MONEY For most of us, our first introduction to the concept of having our own money to manage is through pocket money. In the UK, for example, research has shown that most children get some sort of pocket money or allowance, however poor their parents might be. Indeed a study by the influential London-based psychologist Adrian Furnham has found that low-income families tend to give their children proportionately more money than middle-income families. His study also found that pocket money rises fastest between the ages of seven and ten, and slowest between the ages of 15 and 18. Furnham's study also showed that middle-income parents were more likely to make their children work for their allowance, an interesting finding given that these parents could afford to be more generous without expecting any help around the house in return. Though maybe parents in households where there is more money available feel that it is more important to emphasise the message that money doesn't grow on trees. Sometimes Kirby was the therapist and I was the client. Sometimes I was the student, sometimes she was. But most of the time Kirby and I were classmates, lab partners. Her cancer was the real teacher. There were times when it felt as though I was the one facing death, and in a way I was--admittedly from a much safer distance than Kirby.

Fulfill the Higher Plan for Healing Whatever Pains You

I expected Sutapa to reprimand them, but he stayed quiet. After class, I asked him why he tolerated their behavior. You're looking at how they're behaving today, he said. I'm looking at how far they've come. The monk was remembering the good they'd done and forgetting the bad. Taking everything into account, adults generally applaud the regular saving of a proportion of income. We need to save in order to afford a deposit on a home. It's a form of insurance for spells of unemployment or a bout of illness. And of course, we have to think about retirement. I'll come back to how adults can trick themselves into saving more in article 13. But children struggle with the concept of a `rainy day' - the umbrella in these situations is provided by their parents, their very own `nanny state'. And the self-restraint that saving requires is a real trial for children who live much more in the moment. This was nicely demonstrated in a study that created a so-called `play economy'. Then they were told that time in this imagined world was speeded up. Each `day' lasted just 10 minutes and every `day' they'd be given an additional 10 tokens. I help them lift their heads and look directly and carefully at the walls of resistance engineered and constructed by fear. I help them, when they are ready, to speak the words No Fear. I help them place their palms firmly on those walls, and I help them push. Many people along the way--friends, teachers, colleagues, and my own therapists--have helped me to do the same. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Over the past twenty years, I have accompanied men and women as they faced fears of all sizes--small, medium, and large. The life circumstances associated with the fears come in many forms as well, from the young man who came to see me to bolster his confidence after receiving a significant promotion at work, to clients who have endured terrible abuse as children, to those who face tremendous losses as adults. Many, if not most, express some judgment of themselves, something to the effect that their problems are not as important as others'. Although it is true that battling a persistent case of Sunday night anxiety or Monday morning depression is a less severe problem than posttraumatic stress disorder stemming from childhood sexual abuse, the consequences are just as real. Here is something else to consider when you find yourself comparing your problems with others': a fear manifesting as a low-intensity but chronic anxiety is probably only the tip of the iceberg. The therapeutic methods most commonly used by mental health professionals when treating people suffering from PTSD, C-PTSD and other trauma-based syndromes are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Group Therapy Prolonged Exposure Therapy Classes of medications called Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) have also been proven very effective in treating symptoms. Following are two non-traditional treatment methods that many sufferers have found relieve and resolve the painful, life altering effects of these disorders. You may want to further explore them: TRE consists of six simple exercises that help individuals release tension from the muscles, which in turn relaxes the anxiety of our minds, by evoking a muscular shaking process in the body. To learn more about TRE(R) and to find a provider who specializes in it, please visit: Bercelifoundation. He didn't take their behavior as a reflection of himself, or of their respect for him. He took a longer view that had nothing to do with himself. If someone is treating you badly, I'm not advising you to tolerate it like the monk. Some mistreatment is unacceptable. But it's useful to look beyond the moment, at the bigger picture of the person's experience--Are they exhausted?

Frustrated? Making improvements from where they once were? Everyone has a story, and sometimes our egos choose to ignore that. Don't take everything personally--it is usually not about you. DETACH FROM YOUR EGO So, for instance, after the first hour - `6 days' - if they'd spent none of the tokens in the meantime, they would have `saved' 90 tokens. Next, the children were shown around a set of rooms. Some activities were free. Others cost tokens. In the library, there was no charge for reading articles, but they had to pay if they wanted to watch a film. In the room next door, video games attracted a charge, as did items in the cafe and the sweetshop, but borrowing pencils and paper for drawing was free. The decisions the children made about their spending would affect their activity in the final room - the toyshop - where they could buy real toys to take home, but only if a child still had 70 tokens left. You can see the excruciating calculations the children had to make. In order to get a toy in the toyshop, they would have to spend time, but very little money in the different rooms. It would mean forgoing computer games, food, drink and sweets for 40 minutes in order to accumulate those 70 tokens. With exploration, that Sunday anxiety or Monday depression usually leads to deeper fears about who you are, what you are doing with your life, and even the ultimate meaning of life. If you judge yourself too quickly, you may interfere with an opportunity to discover those bigger fears beneath the consistent worry for which you have built a tolerance. Using our acronym map, once we are facing a fear, the next important step is to explore it. It is part of my job to be sure we dive beneath the surface, so we can genuinely heal from the inside out, rather than slap one more Band-Aid on a broken leg. One of the Nutshells on my wall reminds us: Growth always moves from the inside out.

I use a simple technique to help people quickly discover their bigger fears. It's a real time-saver. I call it climbing down the ladder; Here is how it works. I asked Matthew, who was expressing his fear about pursuing a change of careers, What are you afraid of? Levine, Ph. To learn more about SE and to find a practitioner who specializes in it, please visit: Traumahealing. Listen to the interview in its entirety at: http://www. LEARNED HELPLESSNESS As you learned in the previous article, there are complex reasons why abuse victims have difficulty leaving their abusers. The decision to stay is not a result of conscious choice. It is a result of psychological conditioning. In yet another effort to explain why abuse victims remain in abusive environments, the theory of learned helplessness was formed. The original theory of learned helplessness was accidentally discovered in 1965, when a psychologist named Martin Seligman and his colleagues were studying dogs to determine the relationship between learning and fear. Dogs were conditioned to associate a bell-tone with an uncomfortable sensation. The monk and I both used the same approach to quiet our egos. We detached from the reaction and became objective observers. We think we're everything we've achieved. We think we're our job. We think we are our home.

We think we are our youth and beauty. Recognize that whatever you have--a skill, a lesson, a possession, or a principle--was given to you, and whoever gave it to you received it from someone else. This isn't directly from the Bhagavad Gita, but to summarize how it sees detachment, people often say, What belongs to you today, belonged to someone yesterday and will be someone else's tomorrow. No matter what you believe in spiritually, when you recognize this, then you see that you're a vessel, an instrument, a caretaker, a channel for the greatest powers in the world. You can thank your teacher and use the gift for a higher purpose. They would be left with nothing to do but boring old reading or drawing. Children tend to take experiments like this very seriously, but find them hard. Part of the reason is that for children such tests involve real sacrifice. This was demonstrated by Walter Mischel, the psychologist who invented the famous marshmallow test. An adult taking part would know they could show restraint during the test because they could always buy a whole bagful of marshmallows on the way home if they felt like it. The small child has no such get-out. The children in the `play economy' faced the same struggles, and very few had the willpower to save up enough tokens for a toy, however much they wanted it. They had already learnt that savings were a good thing, but when faced with more immediate temptations in the other rooms, they couldn't restrain themselves. By the end of the experiment, only half the children had saved enough tokens for a toy and a quarter hadn't saved any tokens at all. For those who worked out quite early on they were going to be a long way short of being able to `buy' the toy, their overall behaviour was actually very rational. Matthew answered, I'm afraid of failing, especially since I would be giving up a successful and stable career to do this. I bring out the ladder so Matthew can climb down and discover more about his fear. I want you to respond with the first thoughts that come to your mind: If I change careers and fail, then. I will feel terrible, Matthew says. I guide him to the next rung: If I fail and feel terrible.

Friday, 25 September 2020

A Spiritual Prescription for Perfecting Your Life

We were taught that there are two things we should try to remember and two things we should try to forget. The two things to remember are the bad we've done to others and the good others have done for us. By focusing on the bad we've done to others, our egos are forced to remember our imperfections and regrets. This keeps us grounded. When we remember the good others have done for us, we feel humbled by our need for others and our gratitude for the gifts we have received. The whole idea of this project is for the children to be in control. The adults don't mention money, but that doesn't stop the children. Marleena Stolp from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland spent six weeks watching the theatre production, recording the children's conversations and then analysing them. The children knew they were creating something with a market value; They were only six years old, but far from viewing the play as simply an entertaining experience, they were already thinking about how to market and monetise it. There was no doubt that they loved the idea of making money. They even discussed how to select a ticket price that people would be prepared to pay, well aware that the market would not allow them to overcharge and that they risked having no paying audience if they did. So these children already had some comprehension of money, pricing and the idea of the market. Where does this understanding of the value of money come from? SAVING FOR A LUTE Make it your mantra. Whether this feels like a powerful spiritual practice or simply something to mutter under your breath, make it a habit. Before you begin something that feels stressful to you--giving a speech, talking to the boss, standing up to a friend or family member--close your eyes for just one moment, take a few deep breaths, and repeat the motto slowly with each breath. When you adopt the NO FEAR motto, you are making a commitment to the first letter of our acronym map: facing fear. Ironically, the only way to activate the NO FEAR motto in your life is to move directly toward the fear.

Don't expect to fully comprehend this all at once anymore than you would expect to simply exorcise all fear from your life. It is progress we seek, not perfection. I, like you, am a work in progress. As a clinician, teacher, writer, and human being, I claim to be no more than that. In fact, the self-help gurus who write and teach from a position of Once upon a time, when I was as screwed up as you are have always gotten on my nerves. Stay busy to keep from thinking or talking about an event Suffer memory loss about a painful event Isolate or require a significant time alone Feel disconnected to others Avoid seeking help Emotional numbing Loss of interest in prior activities Hyper-arousal is the state of being on high alert and agitated. A person experiencing this type of emotional hypersensitivity: Is always looking out for danger The two things that we were told to forget are the good we've done for others and the bad others have done to us. If we fixate on and are impressed by our own good deeds, our egos grow, so we put those deeds aside. And if others treat us badly, we have to let that go too. This doesn't mean we have to be best friends with someone hurtful, but harboring anger and grudges keeps us focused on ourselves instead of taking a broader perspective. I heard another way of thinking about this from Radhanath Swami when he was giving a talk at the London temple about the qualities we need for self-realization.

He told us to be like salt and pointed out that we only notice salt when there is too much of it in our food, or not enough. Nobody ever says, Wow, this meal has the perfect amount of salt. When salt is used in the best way possible, it goes unrecognized. Salt is so humble that when something goes wrong, it takes the blame, and when everything goes right, it doesn't take credit. In 1993, Mary Johnson's son, Laramiun Byrd, was just twenty years old when, after an argument at a party, he was shot in the head by sixteen-year-old Oshea Israel, who served more than fifteen years in prison for the killing. In a study conducted in Hong Kong, a group of five- and six-year-olds were given the word `money' and asked to free associate. They had plenty to say on the subject. Not surprisingly, they mainly associated it with the ability to buy things they wanted (similar studies in the US and Europe have found the same). They didn't tend to have views on the virtue or otherwise of money. Which is not the case with adults. When the same researchers gave adults questionnaires about whether money was good or bad, different groups took different stances. Students in particular had negative views about it. They believed it to be less good, less interesting and, strikingly, less powerful than business people did. It was just there, and they knew it was something desirable and useful, something you wanted to have, ready to spend. The notion of saving is something children learn about and appreciate even when they're quite little. Actually, anyone who denies the essential subjectivity of individual experience by claiming to have the answer for all of us, gets on my nerves. Long ago I gave up on the idea of completion when it comes to personal growth. One of the Nutshells reads: All things in turmoil in and around you are evidence that you are still alive. There will always be more to do, more to learn, and, as we will explore in a later article, each of us has certain themes that will recur in the progression of our life lessons. Fear is frequently--if not always--at the center of these lessons.

And by learning to transform our relationship to fear, we set off a powerful ripple effect that just might change everything. My goal, which certainly includes sharing my personal experience and my work helping others, is ultimately to inspire you to think and feel and explore for yourself. We all have little voices speaking to us. And if I can assist your little voice in moving you into your next growth spurt, I will have a success on my hands. On the morning after, the day I was scheduled to give my own lecture, I put on my brand-new NO FEAR motto even before I put on my eyeglasses, before I brushed my teeth. Is easily startled or frightened Suffers insomnia or non-restorative sleep Has difficulty concentrating Is irritable and angry Unable to deal with the pressures of working, many PTSD suffers must live on disability income or social services. Some end up homeless. As the inability to move past their trauma can be very distressing, PTSD sufferers are prone to self-medicating through drug and alcohol addictions, or calming their high anxiety through smoking, obsessive/compulsive disorders or eating disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable through a combination of psychotherapy and medication. If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD, please seek out psychotherapists and psychiatrists who specialize in treating it and can help you manage your symptoms. Complex PTSD Johnson probably had the most valid reason any of us can imagine for hating someone, and hate Israel she did. Eventually, it struck her that she wasn't the only one hurting; Israel's family had lost their son too. Johnson decided to start a support group called From Death to Life for other mothers whose children had been killed, and she wanted to include mothers whose children had taken a life. Johnson didn't think she could deal with the mothers of murderers unless she truly forgave Israel, so she reached out and asked to speak to him.

When they met, he asked if he could hug her. She says, As I got up, I felt something rising from the soles of my feet and leaving me. After the initial meeting, the pair began to meet regularly, and when Israel was released from prison, Johnson spoke to her landlord and asked if Israel could move into her building. Unforgiveness is like cancer. It will eat you from the inside out, says Johnson. That said, before going to school, when children do save, the main motivation is usually the pleasure of collecting money, piling it up and counting it. It's only as children get a bit older that they begin to save for a particular item they want to buy. In my case, the cherished item was, rather bizarrely, a lute. I'd seen one at a craft fair at Hatfield House, the Tudor mansion in Hertfordshire where Elizabeth I was supposedly sitting under an oak tree in 1558 when she was given the news that she was to become queen. More than half a millennium later I became determined to save up enough to buy a lute. In order to track my progress, I carefully drew one of those fundraising thermometers. I also opened a special savings account at my favorite building society. I was extraordinarily, and rather sweetly, tenacious about my saving. After five years I had accumulated L187. Which was a good effort, but not nearly enough loot to buy a lute. I delivered my speech to a mixed crowd of students and faculty. I saw some old friends from my college days, who remarked on how much I had changed since then--they were referring to my lecture on self-compassion and personal responsibility, not my waistline and hair color. What they didn't know was how much I was only just beginning to change, thanks to my new personal motto: NO FEAR. Later that day I was joking with one of my psychology professors about a recurring dream I had had ever since leaving college. In the dream I am distressed because I have forgotten to check my campus post-office box.