Sparking the Creativity, Love, and Playfulness of the Human Spirit

Posts tagged ‘emotional health’

Fantastic Discussions On A Saturday Night

For the first three Saturdays of the month, here at the Human Potential Center, we have a video. We watch the video, eat popcorn and generally enjoy ourselves.

After the video we have a discussion. This is not your usual chit chat. We are discussing things that are very important to us; ourselves, our feelings and our lives. Some of us can go very deep. I remember one man saying that he couldn’t believe that he had found a place where he could look more closely and discuss his personal issues in a group and end up understanding himself more that he had before.

The movie itself is not the point of the discussion. It is more about the themes in the movie that were the most personally effective. At the end of the movie, we create questions using the themes, whether it be jealousy, anger, or any other feeling that came up for us during the viewing. We learn how to form open ended questions, using I statements, and begin the questions with a what, when or how. Plus, the group assists in the creation of the questions as many of us are new to this kind of thinking. We end up creating evocative questions that help us think about our personal involvement in our lives or life circumstances more deeply.

And we can get the best questions from a light movie. It is amazing how involved our discussions can be after a movie like Green Lantern. This last Saturday we had a great discussion about arrogance, fear and quitting things we love.

I find that even though the person is talking about their own experience, I can always find something that I can relate to in my own life. I love these great discussions which I don’t get in any other part of my life.

Here are the questions we came up with last Saturday. These questions help us to focus our thoughts more clearly on what we want to say about the feelings we had during the movie.

GREEN LANTERN QUESTIONS

1.    If for once I didn’t quit something I cared about, what’s the worst that could happen?
2.    How does my anger originate from my fear, and vice versa?
3.    When have I failed to acknowledge other people’s pain?
4.    What is it about arrogance that attracts me?
5.    What does it take for me to walk away from something I know is not good for me?
6.    In what situations has fear served me?
7.    When have I thought that bad things were happening when I didn’t deserve them?
8.    What am I willing to die for, and why?

So, if you live in or around the Austin area, we would love to have you come and join us, for what always promises to be a great learning experience for all of us.

First three Saturdays from 6 pm to 10:30 pm. The next video will be on May 19th. Check out the video calendar at humanpotentialcenter.org. If you can’t join us this month, maybe we will see you in June. Hope you can make it.

Getting Unstuck

You’ve decided to make some changes in your life. You know the direction in which you want to go, have ordered, purchased or amassed the necessary accoutrements to facilitate the change, but for some reason, of which you are not entirely unaware, nothing changes.  Life gets in the way. Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, shopping, naps, bills, family, friends, etc.  Other excuses, reasons, and rationalizations abound.  Yesterday, the things that you put off till tomorrow have arrived today and still no progress has been made.  What will you do? What will you do?

I have a few suggestions:

One.  Put aside some time for yourself each day to work on taking the next step in making the change. Start with just 20 to 30 minutes every day and focus on that you need to do.  Then do it.

Two.  Change your attitude. You are in charge of it.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes”. ~ CHARLES SWINDOLL

Three. Cultivate “will power.” Whatever distractions come up, either deal with them and get back to working on your goal ASAP, or ignore the distraction (depending on its severity).

Four.  Resist complacency. “Life’s alright and I ain’t gonna fight it today’” is a line in a song I haven’t quite finished yet. Possibly because when I start to work on it, my attitude changes and that line leads me to want to take a nap’

Five.  Perseverance…or…if you don’t quit, you won’t fail. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Personally I have a marked propensity for procrastination and sloth. I’m gradually getting better at controlling both, and still have work to do in some areas, but I’m making progress.

One more thought. “The longest journey begins with but a single step.”  Take it. Get it done and move on to the next step.  Get off your b…b….b…well you know what I mean…..

Namaste,  Ram Dassnt

P.S.  Buttons with the words “Resist Complacency” will soon be available from the Human Potential Center.  

P.S.S.T….This weekend at the Human Potential Center, Bob is giving a workshop on getting unstuck. Hope to see you there.

I need a hug!

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”   Virginia Satir

It just makes sense donesn’t it?   It should be easy enough to get four a day.  Just ask. You’ll be surprised at how many folks are receptive to being hugged. Of course, some aren’t. In my personal research over the years, I’ve found that co-workers are more inclined than management. Something about maintaining a professional distance.  I can understand that. I can only hope they’re hugging someone, somewhere. Their emotional well-being can affext those they “manage”.

Many moons ago,  I read about a study done on newborn rhesus monkeys who were deprived of their mother’s touch.  Provided with warmth, food and shelter, they withered until an upright furry stand was placed near them and they could cling to it. Surrogate mom? To me it points to an innate need to give and receive physical contact/affection among the members of the animal kingdom…us included.

Those of you old enough to remember the last episode of  the Mary Tyler Moore show witnessed a group hug. A little difficult to orchestrate, but worth the effort. My favorite kind of hug is the “oreo”, involving  three people. I’m sure you can picture it. And each person can take turns being in the middle.

I should mention here that all hugging I’m referring to is done standing up. Any done in a prone position becomes “cuddling” , which may become the subject of a separate blog.

Hugging is pretty much universal, meaning there may be some cultures that just don’t. The only one I can think of may be the Eskimos, but then I’m not very well-versed on international cultures.

Hugging has been the subject of many art forms including sculpture and painting dating back hundreds of years. It can imply many things; shared joy, shared sadness, affection and love. They also vary in length, the longer suggesting a closer relationship.

There are different kinds of hugs between two people. The upper body hug …friendly. The full body hug…a little more intimate. The side hug. The handshake-backslapping hug, and the back hug. One comes up behind the other and encircles them with their arms.

Hugging can also reduce blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. So it feels good and its good for you.  Win, Win!   CAUTION! It is a good idea to ask first. Make it known to those around you that you are available should they need one, with the agreement that should you need one….

I heard about a man in Australia who started a “free hug” movement in 2006.  It’s never too late to start one here. You could start by purchasing a “professional hugger” button soon to be available on the Human Potential Center website. And keep an eye on the HPC link on Facebook. A “how to” video is now in the planning stages. You can also get one for free by attending any of the classes or workshops offered by the HPC.

Remember, 4 a day to survive, 8 to stay “alive”, and 12 to thrive.  The more people are hugging, the less they’re fighting.  Do your part for whirled peas.

Now get out there and start hugging!                                           Ram Dassnt

How to Get to Feeling ‘Un-Stuck’ If you Feel ‘Stuck’

How to Get to Feeling 'Un-Stuck' If you Feel 'Stuck'

As uncomfortable as being ‘stuck’ or feeling in a rut or perhaps even feeling mildly depressed can feel, the feeling of ‘stuck-ness’ and the resistence to happiness or feeling at ease can serve as motivation to begin new activities or adopt new attitudes about life and people that can help you to feel happier.

Some people refer to old patterns of thought or old attitudes which no longer offer relief as the mind playing ‘old tapes’. While these old tapes are familiar and possibly comforting in some ways, just like maps can grow outdated, and not describe in detail the size and actual locations of cities and countries, so too can these ‘old tapes’ become limited in their ability to lead your thoughts and behaviors to give you a sense of peace and happiness.

So, how do I get ‘un-stuck’ if I feel ‘stuck’? (more…)

Arrogance vs. Confidence

Over the past few months, I’ve been on a healing and personal journey that taught me a lot about myself and human nature in general. And it has indeed been eye-opening.

This past Wednesday evening, I started a class at the Human Potential Center on Building Healthy Self-Esteem, and I’m everso excited. As someone who started looking deeply inward when I was about 25, seventeen years ago, it is no news to me that the foundation of many of my issues and shortcomings and fears (especially fears) are based in my lack of healthy self-esteem.

Ridiculous, really. I’ve written and published seven books, several of which have won awards and were Amazon bestsellers; produced and directed two documentaries, one of which premiered theatrically in Paris; and have two degrees in English Literature. Some would say I was well accomplished, but my self-esteem is lower than nearly anyone I know. In fact, it’s at a really crippling low level…

What’s up with that?

Self-esteem is something that is gifted to a person in childhood. Or, in far too many cases, isn’t. After one hits puberty without it, they’re pretty much on their own.

Healthy self-esteem can be the difference between success and failure. Seriously. Especially in one’s own mind, which is really where it counts. Even if the world sees you as a success, one word from a critic can cause you to crumble. That’s low self-esteem.

But what many people don’t understand (it wasn’t clear to me until very recently), people who are arrogant also have low self-esteem. Arrogance does not equal confidence. Quite the opposite. (more…)

What is Self-Esteem?

What is self-esteem? There are a few different theories.

A woman at the Video Discussion the other night, said that when she feels her passion, her self-esteem goes up. I asked her if that was the only time her self-esteem was high. She couldn’t tell me.

Self-esteem is not one of those things that come and go with an accomplishment, a win, or with passion. Self-esteem is more of a foundation upon which we build our self-image and our confidence.

We may have more confidence in one thing more than another; i.e., relationships vs. business transactions. When one gets a rush of confidence, it can be like a sugar rush. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. When we have a success, our confidence goes up, which may then increase our self-esteem, making the foundation stronger.

Self-esteem lasts all of the time, 24 hours a day. That would be my preferred definition, and it is not always easy to make the 24 hour self-esteem a reality. It takes work.

Let’s look at what self-esteem can be: (more…)

Happy Trails of Self-Esteem

Eleanor Roosevelt. What a gal! Not just the wife of Franklin D., but a great thinker and wise woman in her own right. What follows are a few of her gems.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” 

Well, that pretty well sums it up. A healthy sense of self-respect or self-esteem will serve as a sounding board for others’  perceptions of you. If they’re treating you with respect, then you are in  agreement and can offer the same in return. If they are not, there are a  few options:

  • A) Say, “Thank you for your opinion,” and walk away.
  • B) Say “If I have said or done something that is causing you to “diss” me, I apologize. However I feel obligated to advise you that unless or until  you are able to alter either your perception or attitude, I feel any further discussion on the subject would be fruitless.”

I prefer A myself.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realize how seldom they do” 

In other words, “Don’t worry, be happy.” A wonderful song by  Bobby McFerrin. I like to listen to it once in a while just to remind myself that in this swirling miasma of daily life, when someone perceives you in a less than positive light due to circumstances or the context in which you both find yourselves, it works to “consider the source.” They could be having a bad day or life and are using you as a shipping post for their personal frustrations. Then consider  whether  there might be some truth in their perspective, which offers ‘grist for the mill” of personal growth should you choose to use it. First empathy, then introspection. (more…)

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