Tag Archives: Empowerment

Complex States At Being

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Emotions can be incredibly complex states of being/mind.

I just want to be happyPeople (particularly in this western culture) are afraid to experience emotion due to heavy amounts of socialization and conditioning, especially in school. You know, we’re taught to sit still, to be quiet, to “use our inside voices”, to line up, to avoid disorder and be orderly, to obey, to submit, to share. To share, but not to cooperate. There is a difference. Sharing does not necessarily imply or guarantee cooperation. In school, sharing is a behavioral technique; used as a means to control the behavior of a room full of pinging (that is, naturally rambunctious and curious-minded) short beings.

Let me tell you a story: a sad story about a little girl who cried.

cry, baby, cryTo get to City Island one can walk across a 2,800 foot long truss bridge, which was exactly what I was doing when I spotted a brief exchange between a little girl and her father. The little girl’s father, pushing another child in a stroller, told the little girl to look around as well as look at all the fish visible in the River below. The little girl was throwing bread over the side of the bridge to the fish, and seemed very happy.

Later, having crossed the bridge, I was sat under a pavilion and saw the little girl and her family again as they were passing by. The little girl tripped over a rise in the structure of the sidewalk and fell very hard. So hard that I winced when I heard the sound. She immediately bawled, as I’m sure that hurt her terribly. Probably terrified at the pain, you know, she ran to her father for solace. . . and he admonished her. He yelled at her as he brushed the dirt from her clothes, “You gotta watch where you’re walking. You can’t be looking around while you’re walking!” He seemed actually angry with her that she tripped, an accident on her part, no intent to spoil his day whatsoever. She only cried harder asking then for her mommy. At this, her father really became angry and shouted, “That’s it! You’re going back to the car you can’t act right!”

Did you see the contradiction?

Just moments ago, on the bridge he was telling her to LOOK around, then minutes later punished her for doing exactly that. These are the kinds of happenings that disturb me in the world. What did that do to the mind of that little girl? How could she possible understand that kind of contradicting information from such a trusted and authoritative figure as her father? What was the impact upon her consciousness? What did she just unconsciously learn? How did that affect her ego? Her sense of self in the world she knows and how will that affect her sense of self in subsequent years?

Which brings me back to emotions and the horrors some humans have undergone. That suffering. What I think not many humans grok is that suffering can be soft, horror is not always large, it can be very subtle. . . like entropy, changing and developing small vibrations over time that then result in the current personality/identity of that child in the form of an adult.

The Girl Who Cried WolfWhat happened to that little girl is a subtle terror, an event that will accompany who knows how many more and will shape her as a human being. It’s systematic, to get children all to sit still or to behave as one being so it could be easier (or more efficient) for the teacher to educate them. A good idea, sure, but in actuality what happens is that the children become standardized. The spark, the inspiration for creativity and innovation and imagination breaks down because the channels created have no room for them, no means to categorize something as unpredictable as a room full of children all having ideas simultaneously.

This is one way that fear of emotion is installed in the collective consciousness. That fear to really let go and be fully in the space. . .

“. . . and I’m free, free falling.” ~Tom Petty, ‘Free Falling’

*Image credits (used with permission through CC license)–
“I just want to be happy” by bravelittlebird
“cry, baby, cry” by Barbara Pellizzon
“The Girl Who Cried Wolf” by GaelForce Photography

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Humanity is but a scale. . .

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Humanity is but a scale. . .

It is this hard wiring that must be reprogrammed, not so much in individual persons, but in the DNA of humanity itself. The gene must be turned back on. Like reversing the damage done by centuries of the civilized life, well, reversing it without returning to the original point, so a new point to begin evolving. In the civilized life, we forget that we are animals and start believing that we are superior. We start believing that the abilities of mental acuity makes us formidable and beyond reproach. We start thinking it makes us immortal. Although, we can possess mental acuity and we are (as energy) immortal, we are not as humans immortal, we are not untouchable, we are not an ALL KNOWING BEING. Humanity is but a scale, a dimension of existence, a level of magnification. As is consciousness.

There are such apprehensions as infinite finitudes and finite infinities. There is limited unlimits and unlimited limits. It’s more like a spiral, and by spiral, that is to say a gradient (or levels of degrees). A growing, an expansion….not some vertical all powerful CEO. Nature knows this, the Earth knows this. Take, for instance, a spider building its web above the rapids. To put what the spider did into human terminology, he will yield the most return because he built an efficient economy. Bugs gather above the water because it is a source of food for them as well, some will inevitability be trapped in the web. Spiders build webs all over sporadically it seems. But that’s on one level of magnification. There is an intelligence here, it could be on the quantum level or on the macro level [that is should we say if the earth is conscious] which protrudes from motion as a spider that builds a web above the water. The spider knows. And humans are a scale of knowing, a way of explaining the world.

And this deep knowledge (by deep, I allude to volume of Time) is projected as instinct and awareness.

“My rule is, when you are unhappy, think about it. But when you’re happy, don’t. Why spoil it? You’re probably happy for some ridiculous reason and you’d just spoil it to know it.” ~Richard Feynman

More On The Powers of Mindfulness

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Brain

Brain

If we were asked where our thoughts come from, most likely every one of us would point to our heads. We know that our brain houses our thoughts and with current research, we understand the process of neurons firing – our ‘brains’ telling us what to do.

If we were asked where our movement comes from, most likely we would point to our arms and legs. We know that the muscles, tendons, bone and skin comprising our arms and legs produce movement as we raise, bend, lower, flex or maneuver them in some way.

But what part of our body would we point to if we were asked where our feelings are housed? I suppose, many of us would say our heart and to a certain degree, that is true. When we think about love it involves the heart. Feelings of kindness, caring and compassion are also linked to the heart.

But what about darker emotions? Where in our body do feelings of anger or grief stem from? Some people may still say the heart houses these emotions as well, but I know when I practice mindfulness, I feel anger and other dark feelings in my stomach. There is a sense of distress that starts there and works its way up. That is why I can balance the discomfort through deep breathing, because it calls on the same area to exhale and inhale deeply. It is as if by centering myself into the location of where the negativity stems from, I am able to permit it to exist and then I can bring it back into proportion – I can manage it.

Overweight Lady In Spandex

Overweight Lady In Spandex

I am not able to fight what I can’t see. None of us can do that. So if we don’t find a way to face these deep emotions, we can’t manage or control their impact over us. We don’t have any idea how or where they’ll show up. Please excuse the graphic but it will help me get my point across here – it is like an extremely obese person in spandex. It has to come out somewhere. And trust me, it will and it does.

Feelings that we attempt to suppress and numb don’t go away forever, they lie dormant, waiting to be reincarnated. And all it takes to bring them back to life is another situation that triggers some similar chord, something that takes us back to a similar place. So, doesn’t it make more sense to ride the wave intentionally than to have it overwhelm us at a time when we may not be expecting it?

Magic of Mindfulness

Magic of Mindfulness

To me, that is what learning to be mindful of our emotions provides us with. It provides us with an opportunity to call on our deep emotions and bring them out into the light at a time of our choosing so we can see them and learn how to manage them appropriately when we are ready to do so.

Learning to be mindful empowers us to ride out the waves of our turbulent emotions and clam our inner seas so we can sail through our lives more smoothly and in focus to be able to enjoy the journey more fully.

Want to know more about mindfulness and how to achieve inner peace more regularly, stay tuned. And don’t forget to leave your comments and share your experience with other readers here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Listen to the girls from Ethiophia

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We have all heard about the “people in Africa” who struggle with war, famine, disease and society. We know this, and feel quite helpless. I want to bring forward another side of the picture we have, and focus on their humanity, willingness to fight for their rights. Right now we`re in a technological age, and never before has it been possible to connect and engage in the world around us. This offers opportunities to help and encourage people we might not even meet in real life. That doesn`t make it less valuable and true. We should share our knowledge, and we should be updated on the world around us. In fact, psychological research shows that caring for others, can be as effective as antidepressants. I hope the readers of our blog like this little article about Ethiopian girls, who try to communicate peacefully with others around them

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Girl effect – the headlines 15.08.13

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Dear Ban Ki-moon… Are you listening to Ethiopian girls?

Education 22.08.13 | By Girl Effect Team

The Girl Declaration will give hundreds of girls in poverty the opportunity to talk about their hopes and dreams. We’ve asked organisations involved in the consultations to write open letters to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, explaining the challenges that girls in the developing world face. Here, Marie Deery from Girl Hub Ethiopia writes about girls in that country…

Dear Ban Ki-moon,

Girls in Ethiopia are overwhelmingly intelligent, thoughtful and insightful – so why are they getting a raw deal?

I recently spoke to girls in Legedadi, north east of Addis, as part of the Girl Effect girl consultations. One girl I met typified an all-too-common situation in the country.

She was 16 years old and the only girl of six siblings. She had to drop out of secondary school last year to help care for her younger brothers.

She told us she would do anything to be in school, learning alongside her friends. But she’s needed at home.

Her mother supports the family single-handedly by selling vegetables in Addis, a two-hour bus ride away. This means the girl spends her days alone at home, away from the stimulation and safety that a social network of friends can provide.

The transformative power of happiness

What came across was just how important these networks are for girls, in school or otherwise. The girl told me about a community gym she goes to every week, where she learns karate and circus skills such as juggling and tightrope walking.

She can’t afford the fee, so it’s paid by the man who runs the gym because he knows she can’t afford it. For now, this is her only outlet to have fun and spend time with her friends.

Everything about her changed when she spoke about her time in the gym. She was proud to tell us about the green belt she has earned and the pleasure she gets from spending time with friends.

The transformative power of this kind of happiness was clear. Fun, play, imagination and coming together with friends were clearly hugely beneficial for this girl.

Leaders of tomorrow

Yet getting out of the home just once a week is not enough for this girl to reach her potential. More must be done for her – and thousands like her – to help her stay in school and plugged into that vital social network.

That’s why the post-2015 development goals need to prioritise keeping girls in secondary education during adolescence – a difficult time when many girls slip through the net.

They must also provide long-term, sustainable provision for girl-focused groups and safe spaces, so every girl has the means to reach their potential.

If only they could decide how the world should be run, I have no doubt it would be a safer, more caring, wholesome, loyal and selfless place to live.

To make them the leaders of tomorrow, we must give these girls what they’ve asked for.

You have the power to do this. Support the Girl Declaration to enable the girls I met – and millions more like them – to fly.

Yours sincerely,

Marie

Show your support for girls in Ethiopia

Find out more about Girl Hub’s work in Ethiopia

How to Stop Building Resentment & Frustration

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Consequences

Consequences

Don’t quote me here – but ‘for every single act, there is a consequence.’ I don’t remember where that is written, but the idea is quite basic and indisputable. We learn about the act of CAUSE and EFFECT from the time we are young.

It is only logical, then, that we are taught to develop expectations. Whether the expectation is in the form of something tangible or materialistic or whether it is in the form of having something occur, it is pretty much a given, that we are absolutely correct when we expect reactions and responses to the things that we do and the things that happen around us.

So, we’re all in agreement that expectations are totally natural, understandable, unavoidable and normal, right?

But it is also a fact, our resentments and disappointments stem from our unmet expectations. Sounds a bit like a ‘Catch-22.’

Disappointment

Disappointment

Lets look a bit closer – and we find that although our resentments and disappointments stem from unmet expectations (which happen and our out of our control,) the amount of importance and how we let this impact us – that is entirely within our control. In other words, if I am very much in love with someone who absolutely doesn’t return those feelings, it is a very sad, disappointing situation. Unrequited love hurts REALLY BAD!

Resentment

Resentment

But how this situation impacts us….that is entirely our choice. Will I stay in bed, with my blanket up over my head, lose 20 pounds because I can’t bring myself to eat a thing, cry morning, noon and night about the love I am not receiving, maybe even have to start taking anti-depressants in order to get myself through the day? Will I live in self-pity and continue to obsess about the love I ‘lost?’

Or will I give myself permission to feel the hurt, to express it appropriately and accept it as part of the flip side to all the wonderful parts of being in love? Will I possibly even be courageous enough to look at it up close and find where I may have been more honest with myself along the way and see signs earlier in our relationship that may have shown me that this might be the outcome if I continued with things as they were? Maybe there was a point where I actually played a part in the final outcome, either by being the way I was or by deceiving myself and not looking honestly at the other person’s behavior because it wasn’t what I wanted to see.

The event, in this case unrequited love, does not meet my expectation, but if I dwell on the negative emotions such as disappointment and let myself become resentful, letting my self talk sound like this … “I knew it…things like this ALWAYS happen to me; I NEVER get the love back that I am willing to give to others; I’m not as pretty as other girls, that’s why this happens to me…” (you see the point) … I set the ground for a slew of negative self-talk and self-degradation and build a case for resentment. *Maybe subliminally, but within my control if I take the time and courage to face it.

Anyone agree?

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Truth Vs. Fact

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And the winner is….. actually, there isn’t really a winner or loser in the poll question from yesterday – but there is one answer I was going for more than others. It has to do with the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.

Fact

Fact

Let me demonstrate:
Fact – My home runs on electricity and I need it to work in order for my fans to run, my heat to work, my oven to bake, my television to operate, even my internet to stream so I can blog and post my writings.

Now let’s imagine that there is an awful storm with heavy winds and rains and it knocks out the power to my home.

If the power outage occurs after I leave for the office in the morning and there’s nobody at home during the time that the electricity is off, the truth is, it only causes me a teeny inconvenience because all I have to do is reset some clocks and systems that might need resetting when I get home.

But if that outage occurs about 15 minutes before dinner is ready, and I’m cooking my favorite meal in the oven, and I had to skip lunch because of having a really busy afternoon, and I can’t watch Jeopardy on television or get online to answer some important email, you better believe that now the truth is that I’m pretty bent out of shape.

The facts haven’t changed at all. I need electricity to have things flow smoothly in my life and there was a bad storm that knocked out the power. The power is out for the exact same amount of time prior to being restored. The piece that changed is how I view and feel about the time I experienced the outage and to what extent I was inconvenienced; pure, unadulterated subjectivity.

Truth

Truth

Truth has at least some degree of subjectivity to it, but facts are totally objective. Facts don’t change based on how I feel or what I tell myself or what I believe. Truth is based on our individual perspective and therefore is extremely subject to change.

I hope this example has helped to make the point clearly to many who may have been confusing the two. Why? Because there is a tremendous amount of hope linked to this information.

1. As humans, we have the ability to learn to respond more objectively to events in our lives, any time we choose.

2. By responding more objectively to events in our lives, we play much more of an active role in having our lives turn out the way we want them to.

3. Learning how to respond objectively
to life is the most effective way I know how to be happy and improve the quality of our lives.

How many times have you been in a mad hurry to get somewhere, (let’s say a doctor’s appointment) but you have to make a quick stop at the grocery store? You run in, quickly find the item or items you need, speed down to the check-out area and lo and behold, the line is snaking all the way up the isle. You check around but there are no other cashiers open and you feel your blood start to boil.

You go on a verbal rampage inside your head about how you sure know how these things always happen to you – how you are such an idiot for thinking you could just jump in and out in time so that you wouldn’t be late. You start to think about how you’re always late to things and that you never leave yourself enough time to get to where you’re going and how your life pretty much sucks because all you ever do is rush from one thing to the next and never get a break.

Should we go back and count the negative thoughts that just came through from subjective beliefs we presume as true about what is happening here? I don’t think we have to actually count them, I think I’ve made the point.

But if we could somehow turn this event, (a long line at the grocery store and running late for a doctor’s appointment) into an objective fact rather than a subjective truth?

Your self-talk might go something like this: “It looks like this is going to take a while. There are long lines at this store often – it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But the wait at the doctor’s office is usually about a half hour. I am going to be about five minutes late, but that still leaves me enough time. Nothing to stress over.”

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Not really. More like the difference between taking control and responding from an objective, factual point of view and choosing not to give subjective anxiety and fear control.

It will take a commitment to keep at it, but teaching ourselves how to respond more objectively to things is something that can improve life for each and every one of us.

I’d love to hear from you if you try this technique with just one little thing today or tomorrow. My email is colormywords@hotmail.com and I want to know about your personal results. If you grant me permission, I might even choose your experience for a future post!

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!