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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction

Emotional unavailability can be devastating to everyone touched by it. People often mistakenly understand it as a ploy on the part of the emotionally unavailable person to use others, or to get without giving, and while it is true that some of that may happen at times, it is also true that it consistently undermines the existence of the one who suffers from it, and consequently wraps its painful tentacles around those who are in the life of that person.

In the series of articles since the inception of my newsletter (subscribe here at no cost), and the many posts on my blog, among a number of other topics, specifically with regards to our relationships, I’ve written about:
but the enormously problematic topic of emotional unavailability has only been touched upon slightly in some of these articles, and in one brief column written several years ago: Leaving your Comfort Zone: Fear of Emotional Expression.

Yet it’s a subject fraught with pain and difficulty, potentially more so for the person on the receiving end of an emotionally unavailable partner or parent or friend, but also on the side of the individual who “plays” out the role of the emotionally unavailable person, as they too, can suffer tremendously from it.

Defining the Emotionally Unavailable Person

How can we define the emotionally unavailable person? These are individuals who are:
  • cut off from their own emotions and emotional processes
  • cut off from others’ emotions and their emotional processes
  • very disconnected from the emotional content of their lives 
Let’s take a closer look at all of these points.

Cut Off From Their Own Emotional Process

Imagine that a friend or a partner abandons you, either out of the blue, or after an argument, and has now disappeared from your life. Imagine that you feel that you did not deserve such treatment. Clearly, you would experience feelings of hurt, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and so on. You might also feel angry and indignant.

The emotionally unavailable person, however, would not only not acknowledge most of these feelings, but would probably say that the whole thing is not really that important, or that it was just as well that it happened. In other words, they would have little recognition of these feelings swirling around inside of them. They might complain of gastric upset, or a headache, or back pain, or knee discomfort, or unexplained difficulties in walking, or any other manifestation that shows that the process went into their body due to it not being acknowledged on the emotional level.

On the other hand, if this person has begun a relationship with someone, and they notice that they are thinking about the other person a lot, and that they enjoy spending time with the other person, and that somehow the sun shines more brightly when they are around the other person, they would not interpret this as the beginning of love, the way many other individuals might, but would perhaps say, after a brief time of enjoying the “warm sunshine” of the other’s presence: you’re crowding me, or I need more space, or we need to cool it for a while, or I don’t know how you do it, but you’re really maneuvering yourself into my life, or this is going too quickly for me, or simply I really don’t want a relationship, or I always said I didn’t want a commitment (although they may often marry or cohabit, but although they may share bed and house, they rarely share themselves.

Clearly, the emotionally unavailable person is saying this because they are beginning to feel discomfort in the presence of the other person because they are unable to handle the surge of their own emotions in connection to the other person. This is not conscious, nor is this done or said from a position of nastiness or miserliness, much that it may often appear to be that. This is, in actual fact, a defense mechanism, learned, in all likelihood, in childhood, to safeguard the child against hurt from people he/she had loved and who somehow drastically let him down. Sometimes this letting down happens only in the perception of the child.

Early childhood attachment studies (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970) indicate that abandonment by the parents, and particularly by the mother, creates much greater problems with later emotional availability than even physical abuse. Abandonment, logically, does not only mean a totally absent parent, but also a parent who disappears for a period of time in the early life of the infant (especially during the first 12-18 months of life), such as those children whose parents must leave them in hospital, or some kind of institution and are not able to visit frequently. Nevertheless, the experience, whether it truly happened, or was only perceived, or happened for totally innocent reasons (the child’s life had to be saved by hospitalizing it) carries enormous weight in the adult and with his or her relationships with persons of the opposite sex (or the same gender in the case of gay relationships).

Cut Off From Others’ Emotional Processes

It follows that the emotionally unavailable person has not a clue about the state of another person’s emotions, even when faced with that person’s tears or recriminations, or pain, which may be totally evident to others, but not necessarily to the emotionally unavailable person. In the face of these emotions in the other person, the emotionally unavailable person often feels put upon, burdened with an onerous duty, that he or she mainly wants to escape from, because it feels far too heavy, and heavy often feels dangerous. That makes for a very difficult relationship, to say the least.

Disconnected From the Emotional Content of Their Lives

Despite the disconnection from the emotional content of their lives, emotionally unavailable persons might be connected to bits of it with those people they do not feel threatened by. For example: they may be very loving and tender to the children – especially the very young children - of other people, or very caring and tender to other people’s partners (in the right way, not in the wrong way, i.e. as good and supportive friends). Or they may have a deeply caring relationship with a pet, or be very much into caring for plants, gardening, and so on.

But the connection to their own emotional content is generally non-existent.

I repeat, emotional unavailability tends not to be conscious. The emotionally unavailable person spends an enormous amount of psychological energy maintaining the “wolves at bay”. In order not to have to deal with their own emotions, their defense mechanisms have become automatic, and spring up, the way a bridge over a castle moat springs up to prevent intruders from approaching too closely. It is only when this process becomes conscious, that the emotionally unavailable person is in a position to do something about it, and this person may fight hand and foot in order to not become aware. They may insist that they don’t want to leave their comfort zone, or that they never wanted a commitment, and shrug their shoulders and leave it at that, never having come any closer to a conscious realization of their inner scarring and crippled spirit (see also Scars).

Sexuality

Often – but not always - the emotionally unavailable person is also unavailable sexually, or, if they have made some outward commitment, such as sharing a home, or having a child with the partner, they may withdraw emotionally and sexually, finding it far too emotionally taxing to be engaged on more than one level…in this case, simply living together is enough. Becoming distant from one’s partner or not being sexually responsive are also ways of cutting off genuine relating. This is a long topic, and I will write a separate article about it at a future date.

What if you’re the Partner of the Emotionally Unavailable Person?

What does emotional unavailability tell you about you if you are with an emotionally unavailable partner? And how can you deal with it?

There have probably been issues with the parents and unmet or disappointed emotions on your part, leaving you feeling bereft and alone, like an abandoned child. You may have learned a dysfunctional model of love, where love was never freely given. This in turn may have created a deep well of neediness, neediness, neediness, and more neediness, which in turn caused you to have a lack of boundaries…please step all over me, just as long as you love me. This is implicit in a lack of self-respect, self-worth, self-love, etc., and there tends to be a desire to fuse or merge with a new partner almost immediately. Frequently there is a loss of identity, and of course one tends to be addicted to the partner which implies withdrawal symptoms of the worst kind if and when the partner leaves.

This process is also unconscious. What the person with this aspect of dysfunctionality is aware of, is the pain. But he or she interprets the pain as the fault of the partner, the emotionally unavailable partner, because he/she is not behaving the way this person would like him to behave. Consequently, blame is placed firmly on the shoulders of the emotionally unavailable person by the partner who is not getting what he wants, and hence this partner does not become aware of his own need to clear up the issue of neediness and lack of boundaries and lack of real meaning in the life.

Whether the emotionally unavailable person is behaving “properly” or not from an emotional point of view, is actually not the point, because it is not a question of “fixing” the emotionally unavailable partner. Yes, it is true that those issues need to be worked on, but it is also the partner who feels rejected or feels that the other is cold and unemotional, who needs to take a good look at the reasons he or she is attracted over and over again into situations of this nature (also see the Neediness article mentioned above). It may mean, that as you work on yourself in order to resolve these issues, you may need to get out of the relationship, and get out fast! Again, this is a long topic, and I will write a separate article about it at a future date.

What Can the Emotionally Unavailable Person Do?

This depends in great measure on the person’s desire to change. Sometimes clients come in saying that they want to be able to offer more to their partner; that they are aware of the fact that they give so little in the emotional arena, that they are somehow stunted, even crippled (see Scars above) and that they want to be done with that. This is really the first step: becoming aware. As you become aware, you begin to look at the fear and the pain – both your own and that of your partner. All of this requires a great deal of self-honesty and that is never easy, especially if you are used to hiding behind your defenses that you have perfected and honed over the years.

At this point it helps if you decide to make use of that ability that we all have but don’t always invoke: our right to choose at every moment of every day, and in every situation of any kind. So we can choose our reactions, our actions, our thoughts, and our words and gestures, but we must remember to remain aware for this to have a hope of happening. We can also choose to change what we feel. I know that sounds almost impossible, but it’s not. However, it is a topic (once again) for another article (see also Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives). Choosing to choose to behave differently is one of the most powerful tools for change in the life of the emotionally unavailable person.

Then do what you would do for any new skill you wish to perfect: practice, practice, practice (it may not make perfect immediately, but it will make you change very quickly, at least some of the time). Observe your body at all times…use the mind-body communication service! (see also The Energy Barometer, Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You). Finally, don’t expect to climb Mount Everest in a day: be good to yourself taking the first small steps, forgive yourself for mistakes you are bound to make, and remember, the child who is learning how to walk may appear to fall frequently, and just not put it all together into a cohesive whole – until one day, he not only no longer falls, but is walking perfectly, as though it had formed part of his repertoire all of his life. The same goes for you. Want it, believe it, and do it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Less Stress, Anxiety & Anger For School Kids With Mindfulness Training


Another one of my favorite blogs, Sharp Brains, listed on my sidebar, brings much up-to-date information on neuroscience, neuroplasticity and other items of interest for those of us keen on keeping up with cutting-edge brain information.

The article of which I reproduce a small portion here, caught my eye recently:

Steve Reidman first introduced mindfulness practices to Toluca Lake Elementary in Los Angeles about six years ago. Reidman, a fourth grade teacher at the school, had been experiencing problems with classroom management—a first for him, after many years of teaching. Conflicts on the playground were escalating and affecting his students’ ability to settle down and concentrate in class. When he confided his problems to Kaiser, a personal friend, she offered to come to his class to teach mindfulness, a technique she’d taught to kids as a volunteer at a local boys and girls club.

“I noticed a difference right away,” says Reidman. “There was less conflict on the playground, less test anxiety—just the way the kids walked into the classroom was different. Our state test scores also went up that year, which I’d like to attribute to my teaching but I think had more to do with the breathing they did right before they took the test.”

News of Reidman’s positive experience spread to other classes at the school and helped launch Kaiser’s career as the founder and director of a new nonprofit organization: InnerKids. Funded through private grants, its mission is to teach mindful awareness practices to students in public and private schools for little or no cost. In the last five years, the organization has served hundreds of schools across the country and has grown to the point where there’s more demand for the program than Kaiser can handle alone. Recently, she retired from her successful law practice to devote herself fully to InnerKids. She’s now busy training new teachers. “Requests come from all over—New York, California, the Midwest,” says Kaiser. “It’s really amazing how this has caught on.”

[...] much of this was inspired by the work of Jon Kabat–Zinn, the founder of the Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (and author of  Wherever You Go, There You Are). Kabat–Zinn was among the first scientists to recognize that mindfulness meditation might have healing benefits for adult patients suffering from chronic pain. He developed a secular version of the Buddhist practice, which he called Mindfulness–Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and ran studies demonstrating its effectiveness. Now, with over a thousand studies published in peer review journals about it, Kabat–Zinn’s MBSR program has been found to reduce not only chronic pain but also high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Evidence also suggests MBSR can help improve one’s ability to handle stress and alleviate depression, anxiety, post–traumatic stress, and eating disorders. Read entire article here

Photo: Labnah Arch, Yucatan Peninsula, Ruta Sur (Uxmal)

Monday, December 21, 2009

And Again ... Happiness

Matthieu Ricard, author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill and The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet among others, has come to my attention again. One of the blogs listed on my list of  "favorites" (see the right sidebar here), Integral Options Cafe, owned by William Harryman, and which often cites articles, or reviews books, or embeds videos I am also interested in, had one of Ricard's talks from 2007 on the subject of happiness.

Matthieu Ricard, French-born molecular biologist at the Pasteur Institute, who is now a Buddhist monk who has lived in the Himalaya for 40 years, and who has been giving talks on the topic of happiness as it relates to meditation for some years now, is very worthwhile listening to. Not only does he give eminently practical advice about the achieving of happiness or well-being, but he also cites much documented research about the effects of meditation on your state of well-being.

Here is a slightly shorter version of one of Ricard's talks given at TED (another one of my favorite websites where much good talk can be found to help Keep Your Energy High (the link is to an article of mine by that name). This talk is about 20 minutes long, the one available via the blog mentioned above is about one hour, but the end effect is similar.



If you experience any difficulties viewing the video on my blog, please go to the original site here to see it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Showing You What You Can Become



Years ago, in the late 70’s, I chanced across Wayne Dyer’s book Your Erroneous Zones. (I was living in Spain and had to read it in Spanish Tus Zonas Erroneas back then, and I've also read it in German Der Wunde Punkt). I was in my twenties, and when I read the last chapter of that book, a chapter that shows a person free of erroneous zones, i.e., a person who is in such a good place inside of him or herself, that he has taken total responsibility for his own well-being, makes conscious choices, and is very aware of him or herself, I asked myself how it could be possible to get to that place. I yearned to get there. And I took the description Dyer offered of such a person as a model to follow. And because I had a model to follow, I was able to grow into that direction. (And of course it wasn’t just having the model, it was also determining to actually do something about it, so self-initiative and some kind of discipline also form part of it).

Abraham Maslow, and his hierarchy of needs gives another model to follow (which Dyer in fact based much of his early thought on). The self-actualizing individual at the top of Maslow's pyramid, is an individual who indeed gives us something to think about … how many of us are in fact there, or even moving towards that? And if not, why not? Frequenly, in particular because of the way our school system works, many of us are not in that place simply because we don't know it exists...

There was another book in my life that was conducive to showing me what I could become, and I didn't chance across this one until I saw it in a bookstore in Geneva in May of 1989, now in my thirties. I had done what I'd like to call much of the psychological work, perhaps less of the spiritual work, until I saw what could be in Gary Zukav's second book The Seat of the Soul. Again, it gave me an excellent road map. This one gave directions towards similar goals as the Dyer book mentioned above, but it focused on the spiritual aspect of moving towards the inner freedom and well-being refered to earlier; it focused much more clearly on the growth of the soul, as opposed to merely the growth of the psyche.

So what this is really about is the fact that growth can sometimes be infinitely accelerated if we see what is possible; if we see what we can become.

But this goes way beyond the little boy who wishes to emulate his policeman or fireman father, or the little girl who wants to be a doctor or lawyer like her mother. This is about what is possible from the point of view of inner freedom, of becoming totally responsible for the self, of taking responsibility for one’s own happiness, of learning how to make conscious choices, and of becoming aware of the self.

So when you meet someone who lives in an inner place that you find wonderful (even though it may seem light years from where you find yourself), or when you read about someone who does so, or when you read about an ideal you can aspire to, and you see that this is showing you what you could become, then use it as a map. Because you can also go there.

P.S. and in case you are curious, since then - since the experiences recounted above - there has been much fine-tuning in my life, much re-visiting of areas and issues that needed greater work, as I know there will continue to be until the day I pass, and much of the fine-tuning came about through other books, and also through human beings I've been fortunate enough to meet or observe or study, but the essential bits were put in place through those two early books by Dyer and Zukav.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going More Deeply Into Intention & Its Power in Your Life

Several years ago I acquired the audio CD put out about Wayne Dyer's book The Power of Intention and treasured it, not only because I tend to like his work a lot, but also because there is a good amount of valuable material in it, and because, as I mention in my article Keeping Your Energy High, I generally have a number of CD's in my car, and even if my trip os only 5 or 7 minutes long, I will listen to one of those CD's in order to keep my energy high. And this set of CD's by Wayne Dyer fits the ticket beautifully.

Now I see - and I will never understand how this happens, because if it is available on Google Video, I must assume that it is legal - that a good portion of the workshop is available on Google Video in two portions, each of which is slightly longer than 1 hour. You can also download them. It's worth it. Give yourself the gift of the time required to listen to them, even if it is in 5 or 7 minutes bits.You may find yourself coming back to it on more than one occasion to really hear the information you missed the first time around.

Part I:


Part II:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Growing New Body Parts

A recent article at CBS with several videos, caught my attention.

Nine years ago, along with eight other patients, Kaitlyne McNamara, a college student who was born with Spina bifida which caused her bladder to fail, received a new bladder grown from her own cells outside the body. She says the procedure changed her life. "I never even knew I could get this far. I'm just living a normal adult life."

It sounds like science fiction, but the fact is biotech companies and the government are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into research they hope will one day make it possible for us to grow new body parts.

It is called regenerative medicine and the goal is to help the thousands waiting for organ transplants and the hundreds of veterans who return from Iraq and Afghanistan horribly maimed.

So far, researchers have created beating hearts, ears and bladders by manipulating cells in the human body into regrowing tissue. The hope is to one day profoundly change human lives.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Read the entire article here, and if you have any problem viewing the embedded video above, click here in order to watch it at the original site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do This To Get Your Youthful Body Back ... and Happiness

If I were to make such a promise to you, and I don't much care if you are male or female, and I were to say to you that all you have to do to get your youthful body back is to think a certain way several times a day for the rest of your life, I imagine that a good number of you would jump on the bandwagon and not only want to know exactly what it is you need to do, but most of those asking would then be willing to do it.

I mean, getting the body back that you had when you were 18 or 22, that's quite a deal. And certainly worthwhile doing something about.

So why is it then that you balk, when you are promised that you can get to (and then basically remain there) an inner state of well-being, that you might even call happiness, as long as you do some simple thought and feeling exercises every day, several times a day? Why are you so unwilling to put in a little bit of effort for this wonderful thing you can do for yourself?

In the feature article of my December 2009 newsletter Do You Vibrate to a Tune That Serves You Well? (sign up here to receive a complimentary copy) I quote Zig Ziglar: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Most people laugh when they hear this, because it makes it so simple to understand: just like bathing, for well-being, or motivation, or healthy boundaries, or inner peace to stick, it needs to get a daily dose of attention, or perhaps several daily doses, especially at the beginning, while you are getting the hang of it. Awareness, self-responsibility, making choices, and intending a given outcome are all part of it.

All you have to do is to choose to react differently in certain situations or thought processes througout the course of your day, especially in those where you have run yourself into a rut. It is not hard, it merely requires attention and making some new choices.

Photo: Antarctica

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seth Godin & What Matters Now

Seth Godin, author and blogger and much more, writes posts I often read. Today's is worth sharing and he offers a thought-provoking e-book (free) for your perusal.

He writes: Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up.

Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around. I hope a new ebook I've organized will get you started on that path. It took months, but I think you'll find it worth it the effort. (Download here).

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

In the ebook itself, you find this:
  • Big thoughts and small actions make a difference.
  • Here’s what we’re working on and thinking about.
  • Things to think about (and do) this year
  • What about you?
And here are two samples from the ebook:

1. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Her new book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage will be published in January, 2010.

We are the strivingest people who have ever lived. We are ambitious, time-starved, competitive, distracted. We move at full velocity, yet constantly fear we are not doing enough. Though we live longer than any humans before us, our lives feel shorter, restless, breathless...

Dear ones, EASE UP. Pump the brakes. Take a step back. Seriously. Take two steps back. Turn off all your electronics and surrender over all your aspirations and do absolutely nothing for a spell. I know, I know – we all need to save the world. But trust me: The world will still need saving tomorrow. In the meantime, you’re going to have a stroke soon (or cause a stroke in somebody else) if you don’t calm the hell down.
So go take a walk. Or don’t. Consider actually exhaling. Find a body of water and float. Hit a tennis ball against a wall. Tell your colleagues that you’re off meditating (people take meditation seriously, so you’ll be absolved from guilt) and then actually, secretly, nap.

My radical suggestion? Cease participation, if only for one day this year – if only to make sure that we don’t lose forever the rare and vanishing human talent of appreciating ease.

2. Howard Mann is a speaker, entrepreneur and the author of Your Business Brickyard.
There are tens of thousands of businesses making many millions a year in profits that still haven’t ever heard of twitter, blogs or facebook. Are they all wrong? Have they missed out or is the joke really on us? They do business through personal relationships, by delivering great customer service and it’s working for them. They’re more successful than most of those businesses who spend hours pontificating about how others lose out by missing social media and the latest wave. And yet they’re doing business. Great business. Not writing about it. Doing it.

I’m continually amazed by the number of people on Twitter and on blogs, and the growth of people (and brands) on facebook. But I’m also amazed by how so many of us are spending our time. The echo chamber we’re building is getting larger and louder.

More megaphones don’t equal a better dialogue. We’ve become slaves to our mobile devices and the glow of our screens. It used to be much more simple and, somewhere, simple turned into slow.

We walk the streets with our heads down staring into 3-inch screens while the world whisks by doing the same. And yet we’re convinced we are more connected to each other than ever before. Multi-tasking has become a badge of honor. I want to know why.

I don’t have all the answers to these questions but I find myself thinking about them more and more. In between tweets, blog posts and facebook updates.

Photo: Double symbol for happiness

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Defying Gravity: The Workshop

One of my favorite authors, Caroline Myss, recently came out with her latest book: Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason. While it is true that at times Myss can be perceived as overbearing and school-marmish, the book (as all of her books, in my opinion) is magnificent and offers enormous depth. I read it, furthermore, with two others on my plate, and dived into the three of them simultaneously because they are all so related. (The other two are Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, by Deepak Chopra, and Home With God: In A Life That Never Ends by Neale Donald Walsch.)

Here is Amazon's take on Caroline Myss' book: New York Times best-selling author Caroline Myss draws from her years as a medical intuitive to show that healing is not only physical; it is also a mystical phenomenon that transcends reason.
Inspired by ordinary people who overcame a wide array of physical and psychological ailments—from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer—Caroline dove into the works of the great mystics to gain a deeper understanding of healing’s spiritual underpinnings. Based on these studies, she demonstrates how conventional and holistic medicine often fall short in times of need. Both systems rely upon a logical approach to curing illness when there is nothing reasonable about the emotional, psychological, or spiritual influences behind any ailment.
Integral to this mystical healing approach is the engagement of the soul, which we experience through exploring our seven shadow passions, building an empowered inner self around our seven inherent graces, and learning how to work with the mystical laws that govern it. This knowledge holds the key to understanding what it means to defy gravity and break through the boundaries of ordinary thought. You can heal any illness. You can channel grace. And you can learn to live fearlessly.
To watch (or download) the video of her workshop on the book, on her own website, click here.
Photo: Canadian Rockies

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Knowing & Not Paying Attention

Some time ago I wrote an article for my monthly newsletter Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct (and it is also available in Spanish as Presentando Nuestro Segundo y Tercer Cerebro), in which I explained that research has now proven that we have neurons (the type of cell we have in our brain), not only in the brain, but also in the gut (the intestine) and the heart (the actual organ in your chest).

At the end of the article I suggest that we should henceforth, knowing that this is so, make use of all three of these "brains" in a balanced way, when it comes to making decisions, instead of mainly allowing our rational brain to be the decisive force. I point out, that with brain scanning equipment, it has been possible to determine that sometimes the information reaches one of the other brains first, and only then, is fed to the brain inside our skull, from that other brain.
And that, of course, tells us, that what we know instinctively, is coming to us through the neurons in the gut, and so our gut feelings are giving us knowledge that we generally ignore.
So we know something and we don't pay attention. We would not do that with our rational brains. Or at least, we would not do that with such ease, with such carelessness. We would consider carefully whether we could afford to ignore such information as that which our rational brain - the neurons in the brain inside our skull - is feeding us.
But when the information is instinctual or emotional, we pay scant attention.
I know many articles have been written about intuition. I don't really want to go to the place that helps you identify how to be more intuitive. I merely want you to recognize that what we have known so long metaphysically ... that intuition (or gut feelings) are of value, we now know scientifically.
Don't ignore your own inner knowing ... pay attention to what your other brains are giving you.
And if you don't recognize their language very well, because you have rarely paid attention to them, begin the process of familiarizing yourself with them. Imagine having an old VW from the 60's in your garage, which works quite well, and you are in fact, quite happy with it, and then discovering you also have a Porsche ... wouldn't you want to use it too? Even if you now had to learn how to handle it ... so very different from the VW?
Photo: Arch with Pilastar. Libya

Friday, December 11, 2009

Applying the Language of the Soul to Business

Deepak Chopra, founder of The Chopra Center for Well Being, pioneered The Soul of Leadership program at corporate conferences and the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern).


Watch Deepak Chopra - Soul of Leadership in Entertainment View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

The Soul of Leadership program defines a leader as the heart and soul of any group -- the person who fulfills the deep purpose for which groups come together. Basic needs exist in every group, and the leader understands the group's dynamics, fostering loyalty, creativity, vision, security, and achievement with the conscious intent of bringing out excellence at every level.

Human consciousness affects leadership potential. In addition to basic needs, leaders and followers also experience predictable responses to competitive situations. These responses drive every decision we make; therefore, great leaders must have a conscious understanding of how these responses affect their decisions.

By increasing your awareness of your own and other's needs, The Soul of Leadership will help you gain a distinct advantage over those who concentrate only on external goals and rewards.

Should you have any difficulty viewing the video here on my blog, please go to the original website by clicking here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are You Attaining the Thing You are Gifted For?

South Africa lies close to my heart. I enjoyed three incredible weeks there some years ago. One of my closest friends from adolescence in Canada was murdered while living in Johannesburg. An important person in my family’s life is from Durban. And long before I had ever visited the country, while I was still living in Mexico, tears of joy coursed down my cheeks as I saw the release of Nelson Mandela and the eventual end of Apartheid.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of it? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained." Madam Marie Curie

I recently watched an excellent BBC interview of Desmond Tutu of South Africa by Fern Britton. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has spent a lifetime fighting injustice in South Africa and other parts of the world. It won him a Nobel Peace Prize.

But his intention as a child was not to enter the church … he wanted to be a physician. For a black child from the townships during Apartheid, that was an impossible dream due to the cost the education would imply. So he decided he wanted to be a teacher. Even that turned out to be impossible, because laws were passed that closed that door to black men. And so he entered the clergy. The rest is history.

But what compels me about this story is something else. Here we have a human being who had a dream. He was barred from it. Then he had another dream. He was also barred from that. So he chose one of the few things left to him barring work in some trade or working as a labourer.

There is a wonderful lesson here. Doesn’t this tell us that even when we are forced down a road that is not of our initial choosing, we are still capable of making a difference by making the choice to do so? Of living a life well worth living?
Who knows Tutu’s thoughts when he finally chose the clergy. Who knows what he did with his shelved dreams. What we do know is what his life now symbolizes, not only in South Africa, but in the world. He gave his best. He gave to others. And he made a difference. He attained, as in Madame Curie’s words above, at great cost, the thing he was gifted for.

Are you attaining the thing you are gifted for?

Photo: Cape Town

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Transitioning Out of Life

Death is a subject that has often been on my mind because it began visiting the course of my life relatively early, losing a grandmother at 13, my mother at 19, my only brother at 23 when my eldest son was only thre weeks old, and since then, so many, so many more that have been important in my life.

So it was with great interest that I have been reading a series in the New York Times about the subject of the transition and how to deal with it:

And this article, that does not form part of the series, nevertheless adds to it:

And here you can join the online discussion at the NY Times Talking to Patients About Life's End

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meditation

A recent article in the New York Times about meditation caught my attention because of the sharply honest manner in which the author, Robert Wright, describes his mainly negative perceptions - at the beginning - of a retreat in the Vipassana tradition.

He writes:

"This Friday I’m heading up to rural Massachusetts in hopes of getting born again — again.

Six years ago, in the same locale, I attended my first and only silent meditation retreat. It was just about the most amazing experience of my life. Certainly it seemed more dramatic than my very first born-again experience — my response to a southern Baptist altar call as a child, which I wrote about in this space last month.

I came away from that week feeling I had found a new kind of happiness, deeper than the kind I’d always pursued. I also came away a better person — just ask my wife. (And neither of those things lasted — just ask my wife.)

So with the retreat approaching, I should be as eager as a kid on Christmas Eve, right? Well, no. Meditation retreats — at this place, at least — are no picnic. You don’t follow your bliss. You learn not to follow your bliss, to let your bliss follow you. And you learn this arduously. If at the end you feel like you’re leaving Shangri-La, that’s because the beginning felt like Guantanamo.

We spent 5.5 hours per day in sitting meditation, 5.5 hours per day in walking meditation. By day three I was feeling achy, far from nirvana and really, really sick of the place. "

Read the entire article here

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Radio Program "Re-Wiring the Soul" August 2009

Once a month I post the current list of topics for my weekly radio show, live every Wednesday at Rewiring the Soul.

This is what the August 2009 schedule looks like:

  • August 5: Paul Nison: Healed Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis with Raw Food. Author and chef Paul Nison was given the sole choice of drugs or surgery according to the medical profession, and so Paul decided to eat a raw food diet. Today he is 100% cured of this so-called "incurable disease. Paul travels the world giving lectures on the raw food nutrition and raw food prep classes to show people how easy and fun the raw life can be. Paul is the author of 6 books. Click here and here for Paul’s websites and click here for a direct link to the show

  • August 12: Peter Shepherd: Founder, Visionary & Caretaker of Trans4mind.com a personal development service, dedicated to the uplifting of humanity which is freely accessible and open to all. The website provides each visitor with both free tools and the best available tools to purchase that will enable a life of peace and fulfillment. These self help tools empower visitors to meet the challenges of life by expressing their inner loving nature and wisdom. He does this, along with his partners because it is his life's purpose to assist the personal development of men, women and young people throughout the world. Click here for Peter’s website and click here for a direct link to the show

  • August 19: Mirit Elder-Turley: Medical Intuitive, Archetype Counselor & Practitioner of Energy Medicine. Certified by Dr. Norm Shealy and Caroline Myss through The Institute of Scientific Medical Intuition, Mirit’s studies have provided her with a language for the intuitive healing work that comes to her naturally. Mirit uses her intuitive healing gifts and the techniques she has learned through studying directly with master teachers to assist people in every aspect of Be-ing: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Her clients include those displaying the dis-ease patterns of fibromyalgia, trauma, cancer, nervous system disorders, lymes disease and chronic fatigue among others. Click here for Mirit’s website and click here for a direct link to the show.

  • August 26: Tanis Day: Helping You Become the God-inspired Human You Can Be. Tanis is an energy healer who helps her clients to unblock old energy patterns, and know themselves better. The work she does together with her clients can also become a profound journey of self-discovery, deep healing and spiritual enlightenment. The people who embrace this work live transformed lives, rich in inner meaning, spiritual resonance and personal achievement. Her book is The Whole You: Healing and Transformation through Energy Awareness. Click here for Tanis Day’s website and click here for a direct link to the show.

Ways To Listen:

  1. LIVE on the web here
  2. Past episodes here (these episodes only include shows since Januray 14th, 2009. For prior shows see the next point). These clips are for listening when the show is no longer live, for downloading, etc.)
  3. Listen to over 150 archived audio files on my website (in the past it has always taken some time for me to get new shows up on my website due to logistical problems. Now, with the new program Re-Wiring the Soul, new clips will be up in a matter of minutes, for re-listening or downloading ... for adding to ITunes or your IPod)
  4. You can also listen to past episodes on my blog ... scroll down on the right sidebar to just below the photo of myself wearing earphones

Show Time & Equivalent Times in Other Locations:

(Locally: 7 pm CET: Central European Time) or go to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert from your time zone

- 7 pm (European Central Time) Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Rome (local: Marbella, Spain)
- 8 am Hawaii
- 1 pm New York City
- 2 pm Mexico City
- 8 pm Cape Town
- 10 pm Moscow
- 11 pm Dubai
- 12 pm Mumbai (midnight)
- 2 am Hong Kong (next day)
- 3 amTokyo (next day)
- 5 am Sydney (next day)

Participating in the Show:

If you want to call in during the show, call this US number (646) 727-1281. You can also - at the show's website - "click to talk" online, with no need to make a phone call.

Alternatively, you can chat with me and other listeners online during the show by signing in once you are at the site of that day's episode (see above as listed at the end of each show's description).

Information About This New Show

Many changes have taken place at the local studio where I had been broadcasting for the past five years from 2003 - 2008, and they finally closed their doors to the international section of their station.

Hence, I am continuing to broadcast via another medium and under the name Re-wiring the Soul.

After five years of broadcasting a conventional radio show in Southern Spain about topics in the broad (and frequently eclectic) fields of integral psychotherapy and positive psychology, I wanted to venture further abroad. Thanks to my incredible interlocutor at the station, Brenda Padilla, we managed to produce 150 audio clips from that show and they are all available via my website or blog.

Re-wiring the Soul is the result of my desire for a change. Psychology per se is good, but we need to reach much further in our quest to create the balanced human being. The mission statement for this show might be “using all tools available via nutrition, fitness, psychology, cutting-edge empirical research, holistic therapies, spirituality, neuro-science, etc. to further the growth of the soul.”

This call-in talk show welcomes and interviews guests from all walks of life, although occasionally I will be speaking alone. Those of you who have listened to my past programs know that the main message I have always woven through the shows has consisted of the need for becoming aware and then making good choices from this position of awareness. On this show that will be our guiding dictum.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Choosing the Meaning That Serves You Best

When things happen to you in life, which meaning do you choose to give them? Are they meanings that make life even harder, or are they meanings chosen by you that make life better, or easier?

Willard Barth has come up with a series of very brief videos to walk you though a process he went through himself over the course of his life as he learned how to make life better and easier. He speaks a language very similar to my own, and I feel that the manner in which he presents the information through such brief videos that come to very succinct points, is highly conducive to quick understanding and learning.

Watch these videos and improve your own life.

Episode 1: The Importance of Becoming Self-Aware



Episode 2: The Only Way We Truly Learn Is By Failing



Episode 3: I Realized To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past



Part 4: The Only Meaning That Anything Has Is The Meaning That We Give It



There are more episodes, and Willard is also continuing to add even more. Watch them by clicking here

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How Big Is Your Idea? How Much Do You Want It To Happen?

Big topics. Your dreams, your visions, your ideas, your goals...

In this video presentation from the DVD Seminar Series (three parts, each part is about 35 minutes long), Bob Proctor, success coach par excellence relates his own journey, and refers the viewer to many of the practices that, according to Bob, need to be in place if you want to turn your dreams into goals and then achieve them.

Bob Proctor Part 1 of 3






If you would like a free and totally legal copy of the first three books Bob mentions in the videos, click here to send me an email and request the book or books you would like by name.

Bob Proctor Part 2 of 3





Bob Proctor Part 3 of 3




If you experience difficulties viewing the videos here on my blog, please click here to view them at the original website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Buy a Book ... Rent a Book?

Hmm ... the Kindle never really appealed to me ... I like to hold a book in my hands too much, I lke to underline, I like to riffle though the pages, I like to go to the end and back to the middle, simply by flipping pages, so the Kindle was never on my wish list.

But now I read that amazon (of whom I am very fond ... I use their services not only in the USA, but also in the UK, France, and Germany), simply remotely removed (and stealthily, at that, because they did not say they were doing it) a book from Kindle owners' memory files. It was 1984, a somewhat ironic deletion, given the Big Brother tactics involved.

Here is outrage and surprise expressed in the international press:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are You Tired of Your Life?

If you are tired of your life; if you would like to just walk away from it (not by doing away with yourself, but by switching to another kind of life); if your life seems faded and lacking in interest; if the main way you have of getting any adrenaline going is by going out to buy something new, or by partying, or getting another deal that fattens the balance in your bank account, or by having a few more drinks, or a few more snorts, or by getting a divorce and finding a new, more exciting partner, so that your life feels more exciting (for a time), or by moving to a new city or new country, or by having another child (or adopting one), or giving your name (but not your soul) to yet another charitable organization; if you find no real meaning in your life; in fact: if it seems to you that you really never - at any time - felt as though there was a real meaning to your life, then pay attention closely.

All of the above is giving you a big message. In a way it's a though you had a loving older sibling looking over your shoulder and tapping you on the arm saying: don't you want more than this? The message you are getting by the way you feel (and the word feel is germane to the whole significance of this post), is hugely important.

But we tend not to pay too much attention. Especially if our lives are more or less running smoothly. So we tell ourselves that the way we are feeling is nonsense. Perhaps you have a great job and a good marriage. So how could it be that you feel so tired of your life? It could be that the job, good as it is, means nothing to your intrinsic self, and you feel no real connection with your partner. So although things are good, i.e. you have a great salary, are due for a promotion, great health benefits and pension fund, every morning when you get up and go to that job, you have to force yourself to go there and not drive elsewhere instead. (Where elsewhere? We'll get to that in a bit). Or your partner is loving, and caring, and you have a couple of great kids together, you don't quarrel, and there is no obvious reason for you to feel as though the relationship isn't alive, but it isn't. You two just are not connecting.

So, as I said, we tend not to pay too much attention to the way we feel under such circumstances. But this way we feel comes directly from somewhere inside of us, as said, as though it were a loving older sibling. But it's not. It is our intuition.

In an earlier post about the subject (Intuition is Your Connection To The Divine), I wrote: "This voice inside of you ... that so often you pretend not to hear. This knowing inside of you ... that so often you ignore. This knocking at your inner door ... that so often you turn away from. This thing that pursues you over and over again, talking to you, making you think about whatever it is that you continue to turn a deaf ear to, this thing is your intuition and your connection to the divine."

[...]

"But why is intuition our connection to the divine? What is the divine? Is it not the eternal part of each of us? Is it not the part of us that connects us not only to all others, but also to all creation? And if that is so, then isn't it logical (if I may use such a word in such a context) that somewhere inside of each of us there must be a connection to this divine part?"

So going back to the initial question of this post: are you tired of your life? - I posit that you might recognize that there is a strong connection between the feelings you are having that keep insisting that your life is not as it should be, and the desires of your soul. The desires, that if they were fulfilled, or we could say, that if you were on the way to fulfilling them (even just at the very, very, very beginning of that way), would give you much satisfaction; would give much meaning to your life, and would mean, that you would no longer be tired of your life. Quite the contrary ... you would be filled with adrenaline, excited, stimulated, and all those good things that currently you only achieve via superficialities, and whose effect never lasts long enough. Read more about finding meaning in your life in Finding a Meaning for Your Life.

And in another post about the subject (Intuition and Healing and Dreams) I wrote this: "Our intuition, our bodies, the state of our health is often the path to greater understanding, healing and growth. Since neuroscientists have discovered that we have more than one brain, the second one being in our intestine and the third one in our heart (both of these areas contain a vast number of neural cells that feed the brain with information, which the brain then processes in order to make decisions), we can say that our “gut” feelings, or our “heart” feelings told us to behave in a specific fashion. See also Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct about this subject."

There is a beautiful quote by Jalal ad-Din Rumi that goes like this:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Isn't it true that when your soul is allowed to be your guide, you feel joy within? You almost don't even have to know what it is that your soul is guiding you towards, if you allow yourself to be steered by the joy you feel inside when you are moving in that direction.

Somehow you know, if you ever listen to any of this type of dialogue with yourself (and I know that many people are not used to doing this, despite the fact that it is in actual fact very simple), when you are not on the right track, because you feel a twisting inside, a lack of joy, you feel that something is not right.

We're not talking here about ethics or morals or doing charity work or anything at all in particular ... because the music of your soul - as Rumi refers to it - may let its melodies be felt in any kind of activity or thought or reaction or behaviour. What is important is that there are certain activities or modes of behaviour that make you realize that the river no longer moves within you, the joy no longer flows, just as there are other activities or behaviours that create precisely the opposite feeling.

What if there is no joy within, what if you feel as though there is no connection to the moving of that inner river?

If you are aware of it, you have already come a long way ... more than many. Even if all you are aware of is the lack of joy. So then you could start listening to your inner voice, your intuition, a small step at a time, exploring, searching, to find out what gives you joy. Perhaps you could try doing the opposite of some of the things that you do but that don't allow you to feel the river within.

When you do things from your soul, when you have that connection (see also Tending Your Inner Garden), when you pay attention to the joy inside, you are on the road to the place you meant to go to when you came here.

When you do things from your soul, your life has meaning, you feel a a connection in your relationships, and you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Food and Alzheimers (Science Daily)

In Science Daily, a new article indicates that "a group of chemicals found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as tea, cocoa and red wine, could protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease".

"There have been some intriguing epidemiological studies that the consumption of flavonoid-rich vegetables, fruit juices and red wine delays the onset of the disease,” says Dr Williams, a Biochemist working at Kings College London. “These reports, while not as powerful as controlled, randomised clinical trials, have encouraged a number of research groups, including our own, to investigate the biology of flavonoids in more detail.”

"Central to the development of Alzheimer’s disease is toxic beta-amyloid peptide, a substance that is normally produced in the brain but, in this disease, is deposited abnormally as amyloid plaques. Dr Williams has shown that flavonoids can protect brain cells against the toxic actions of beta-amyloid."

Read entire article here

Saturday, July 18, 2009

One Degree of Difference

If you have not seen this motivating 3 minute video, do so now ... it might just be what you need to get you going again, or to keep you going, or to get you started. In any case, it will jog something in you!



Should you have difficulty viewing the video, click here in order to see it at the original website.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Supplements ... or ... Seeds ... or ... Both?

In this blog I've mentioned several times that I am very interested in raw food and the effect it has, not only on the body and health, but also on the psyche and the spirit. It is for that reason that I interview (among many others) well-know personalities from the world of raw food (such as Jinjee Talifero, Susan Schenk, and Brenda Cobb, and many more booked to come) on my radio show Rewiring the Soul.

At any rate, due to this interest in raw food, while I do not consider myself a 100% raw fooder, because many days one of my meals continues to be cooked, I am nevertheless well on the road to going there, and I've noticed many different effects this has had on me.

My breakfast almost always consists of a green smoothie (banana, pear or apple, handful of spinach leaves or kale or Swiss chard and water), but to that mixture I have been adding more and more of the following ingredients (1 level tablespoon each):
  • organic flax seeds
  • organic sesame seeds
  • organic wheat germ
  • organic wheat bran
  • organic brewer's yeast

The reason I have done this, is because I've come to realize the incredible nutritional value of all of these products ... which is why I've decided to eliminate some (not all of my supplements).

Just look what they contain:

Flax Seeds: Flaxseed is very high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. In addition, the remaining two components of flaxseed -- lignans and fiber -- are being studied for their health benefits. as Lignans, for example, act as both phytoestrogens and antioxidants, while the fiber contained in the flaxseed is of both the soluble and insoluble type. Source

Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are high in these minerals: copper, manganese, tryptophan, calcium, magnesium, Sesame seeds also provide iron, phosporus, and zinc, vitamin B1(thiamin) and vitamin E. The minerals found in sesame seeds play a crucial role in health. Source

Wheat Germ: Wheat germ contains many essential nutrients and is a good source of: B vitamins such as folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6, Calcium, Complex carbs, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Omega-3 fatty acids, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin E, Zinc. Source

Wheat Bran: The nutritional benefits of wheat bran are undisputed. It contains fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B6. Source

Brewer's Yeast: (I use the kind that is not bitter, which means it has lost most of the chromium). It has a high nucleic acid count. This is an important component of cell development. Other vitamins and minerals contained in brewer’s yeast are: Folic acid, B12, Potassium, Thiamin, Niacin, Chromium . Source

Add these inexpensive and easily available nutrients to your diet and see what happens.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bliss

Who can possibly be considered the happiest man alive? According to Daniel Goleman in an opìnion piece Sitting Quietly, Doing Something in today's NY Times, that man is the Tibetan lama Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

Rinpoche, who is a master of the art of well-being, as Goleman informs us, got that way the same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice.

As Goleman recounts how Rinpoche recovered quickly from a small mishap that Goleman witnessed, he comments: Quickness of recovery time from upsets is one way science takes the measure of a happy temperament.

And he adds: While annoyances like these are hardly life’s greatest tests, handling them gracefully takes a composure that few of us seem to have at our disposal in the way that Rinpoche does thanks to his practice.

Clearly we can not emulate Rinpoche's year-long meditative retreats, but according to Goleman, in current research shown by Richard Davidson (who heads the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin), in conjunction with Jon Kabat-Zinn, father of the mindfulness technique, with subjects from a high-stress bio-tech company, these beginners were taught the mindfulness technique for 30 minutes over the course of eight weeks, and were already reaping benefits in their everyday stress-filled life, and reported greater well-being and happiness.

Read entire article here

Photo: Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii