Stepping Into the Arena!

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I’m so proud of these courageous folks who joined me on an unforgettable journey. Our Daring Way and Rising Strong group came to an end this week, but I know these brave folks are just getting started! Grateful, humbled, and inspired by our time together

If you want to be a part of the next group, I’d love to talk with you about it!

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Don_t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Journal prompt:  What is making you come alive?

Upcoming Groups!

I’m excited to offer 3 upcoming groups-  2 for The Daring Way™ and 1 for Rising Strong™.   Space is limited to 8 group members, so signup today to secure your spot!

TDW Intensive 8-18TDW Group 9-18RS Group 9-18

Bookshelf Additions – Spring 2018

 

 

Women Food and God, Geneen Roth

A wonderful read, describing the intertwining, often complicated relationships that women have with food and God.

The Wisdom of Sundays, Oprah Winfrey

I plan to keep this book of bite-sized inspirational stories and conversations on my coffee table.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer

I picked this one up just for fun, but I was surprised to find myself moved by her tenderness and poignant stories about her loved ones.  I’m a fan of her authenticity and courage.

Younger, Sara Gottfried, M.D.

I had many take-aways from this health-related book, included a renewed commitment to Yoga, green tea, nuts, and time in the sauna.  I’m also inspired to branch out to try oil pulling, bone broth, turmeric, kimchi & kimbucha, and collagen protein.

The Highly Sensitive Child, Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

I picked up this book with a particular child in mind, but my thoughts expanded to many more as I learned about this trait that impacts roughly 20% of the population.  Thought-provoking, and I want to learn more.  The Highly Sensitive Person is next on my reading list.

Bookshelf Additions – Winter 2017

 

The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking

I recently heard of the concept of hygge- and my friend who is living in The Hague sent me this book that is subtitled “Danish Secrets to Happy Living.”  I love this concept (a special kind of coziness), especially this time of year when I tend to find myself in a bit of slump.  I’ve been relentlessly pursuing coziness this winter and it’s been just lovely.  I plan to pull this book back at the first sign of cold weather to get a jump start on hygge 2018 😊

Of Mess and Moxie, Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life, Jen Hatmaker

A wonderful book, especially for women- perhaps around my age.  It’s authentic and relatable, both comforting and inspirational.  And there’s a great recipe for Panang Curry (my favorite!)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

I had a client who recently read this book and I wanted to refresh myself so I could understand her references.  I must have read this years ago, before I was mature enough to “get” it—  a good read, I SO admire Maya Angelou and love to hear anything written or spoken by her.

The Mask of Masculinity, Lewis Howes

Lewis openly discusses several masks that he, and other males, tend to wear:  the Stoic mask, Athlete mask, Material mask, Sexual mask, Aggressive mask, Joker mask, Invincible mask, Know-it-all mask, and Alpha mask.   I like how in many ways this book parallels the work of Brené Brown and makes it accessible to some men who otherwise might not resonate with the message.

Becoming Myself, Irvin Yalom

Yalom has become a go-to for me whenever I find myself feeling overwhelmed or uninspired…and he has yet to disappoint.  Always thankful for his books that live on my shelves.

Bookshelf Additions- Fall 2017

The Gift of Failure, Jessica Lahey

“Every time we rescue, hover, or otherwise save our children from a challenge, we send a very clear message:  that we believe they are incompetent, incapable, and unworthy of our trust.  Further, we teach them to be dependent on us and thereby deny them the very education in competence we are put here on this earth to hand down.”

“What research has shown over and over again:  children whose parents don’t allow them to fail are less engaged, less enthusiastic about their education, less motivated, and ultimately less successful than children whose parents support their autonomy.”

“Out of love and desire to protect our children’s self-esteem, we have bulldozed every uncomfortable bump and obstacle out of the way, clearing the manicured path we hoped would lead to success and happiness. Unfortunately, in doing so we have deprived our children of the most important lessons of childhood. The setbacks, mistakes, miscalculations, and failures we have shoved out of our children’s way are the very experiences that teach them how to be resourceful, persistent, innovative and resilient citizens of this world.”

The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with Doug Abrams

I LOVE this book.  And now I want to read everything I can get my hands on by and about Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  He spoke at my graduation from William & Mary in 2006, and my admiration of him keeps growing.

“Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak.  In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too.  Perhaps we are just more alive.  Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters.  We have hardship without becoming hard.  We have heartbreak without being broken.” DT

“…more research…suggests that perhaps only 50% of our happiness is determined by immutable factors like our genes or temperament, our ‘set point.’ The other half is determined by a combination of our circumstances, over which we may have limited control, and our attitudes and actions, over which we have a great deal of control…three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.” DA

“The goal is not just to create joy for ourselves, but to be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you….so being more joyful is not just about having more fun.  We’re talking about a more empathic, more empowered, even more spiritual state of mind that is totally engaged with the world.”

“The English word courage comes from the French word coeur, or heart;  courage is indeed the triumph of our heart’s love and commitment over our mind’s reasonable murmurings to keep us safe.” DA

“We try so hard to separate joy and sorrow into their own boxes, but the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama tell us that they are inevitably fastened together.  Neither advocate the kind of fleeting happiness, often called hedonic happiness, that requires only positive states and banishes feelings like sadness to emotional exile.  The kind of happiness that they describe is often called eudemonic happiness and is characterized by self-understanding, meaning, growth, and acceptance, including life’s inevitable suffering, sadness, and grief.”

“We’ve always got to be recognizing that despite the aberrations, the fundamental thing about humanity, and humankind, about people, is that they are good, they were made good, and they really want to be good.”

“I say to people that I’m not an optimist, because that, In a  sense, is something that depends on feelings more than the actual reality.  We feel optimistic, or we feel pessimistic.  Now, hope is different in that it is based not on the ephemerality of feelings but on the firm ground of conviction.  I believe with a steadfast faith that there can never be a situation that is utterly, totally hopeless.  Hope is deeper and very, very close to unshakable.  It’s in the pit of your tummy.  It’s not in your head.” DT

“The only thing that will bring happiness is affection and warmheartedness.  This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust brings friendship.  We are social animals, and cooperation is necessary for our survival, but cooperation is entirely based on trust.  When there is trust, people are brought together- whole nations are brought together.  When you have a more compassionate mind and cultivate warmheartedness, the whole atmosphere around you becomes more positive and friendlier.  You see friends everywhere.” DT

Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott

“Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone’s troubles. It’s not something you do – it is something in you, accessed, revealed, or cultivated through use, like a muscle. We find it in the most unlikely places, never where we first look.”

“Every one of us sometimes needs a tour guide to remind us how big and deep life is meant to be.”

“Kindness toward others and radical kindness to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and generous heart, which is the greatest prize of all.”

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Mindy Kahling

This one was just for fun  😊

Bookshelf Additions- Summer 2017

As I completed this post I realized how much I’ve been reading this season, as well as last.  To me summer = reading, which can be a challenge while managing other responsibilities.  But I did get a nice variety of great books in-

I Thought it was Just Me, Brene Brown

I finally got around to reading Brown’s first book, after loving the 3 I’ve read before.  This one didn’t disappoint.  Her desire is to “give voice to the voiceless and give ears to the earless…Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear.”  In it she dives into ordinary courage, which is the courage to tell our story from the heart.

“Shame is all about fear…the fear of disconnection, and of being exposed or revealed that would jeopardize our connection and our worthiness of acceptance.”

“Harriet Lerner said ‘We cannot survive when our identity is defined by or limited to our worst behavior.  Every human must be able to view the self as complex and multidimensional.  When this fact is obscured, people will wrap themselves in layers of denial in order to survive.  How can we apologize for something we are, rather than something we did?’”

4 elements of shame resilience:

  1. Recognizing shame and understanding triggers
  2. Practicing critical awareness- understand issues in their social, political, and economic contexts
  3. Reaching out- Relational-Cultural Theory says we heal through our connections with others; “Regardless of who we are,…all of us fight hidden, silent battles against not beign good enough, not having enough, and not belonging enough.”
  4. Speaking shame

We are charged with hard but important work of:

  1. Practicing courage in a culture of fear (choose growth over perfection!)
  2. Practicing compassion in a culture of blame
  3. Practicing connection in a culture of disconnection.

 

Narrative Therapy, Stephen Madigan

I enjoyed the fresh ideas gleamed from this book that I think will be helpful in working with clients.  I believe that the stories that we tell ourselves, particularly about ourselves and our problems, are hugely powerful…and that by re-writing some of those stories we can get unstuck and make steps toward health and happiness.

“We are multistoried…there are always multiple stories about what and who persons and problems might be.”

“People and problems are not fixed or fossilized.”

“NT places the site of the problem within the relational action of the person/culture/discourse/power, not inside the person’s body.”

“NT is based on the notion that people organize their lives through stories.  People make meaning in the world about who they are.”

  • Uncover biases underlying authority for knowledge: “Who has the storytelling rights to the story being told?”
  • Spotting and undermining the life support systems of problems
  • Turning pathology into valor, courage, intrigue
  • Encouraging celebrations, awards, diplomas, and parties to commemorate achievements
  • Re-storying: re-authoring conversations- assists people out of the constraints of problem-saturated stories of passivity, shame, less-than worthiness; “do you think this feeling of ___ is a final description of yourself?”;  “Whose word is ‘depressed’ or _____?”; “Is there someplace else you’d rather be?”…opens space for other possibilities and undermines problem’s saturation
  • Unique outcomes- a neglected part/event that’s an “in”- a starting point for reauthoring…therapist can build scaffolding around this emerging subordinate story. As they’re id’d, therapist plot them into an alternative (preferred) storyline about their lived experiences.  Find stories outside the dominant problem and give them a thicker description.

Types of questions/ conversations:

  • Reauthoring conversations- take full accounting of who was involved in the creation of the problem story, how client came to know self in problematic way, the life support of the problem, losses in relation to the problem
  • Relative influence questions- maps the influence of the problem on the person, encourages persons to map their own and other’s influence in the life of the problem, begins to map out unique outcomes.
  • Unique Outcomes questions- that exclude the problem, even if only briefly
  • Unique Accounts questions- Use grammar of agency, link to resistance to the problem
  • Unique redescription questions- invite to re-describe self
  • Unique possibility questions- next step questions; let client speculate
  • Unique circulation questions- to include others; “who will be most pleased?”
  • Experience of experience questions- be an audience to own story through eyes of others; “what do you think I’m appreciating as I hear…”
  • Preference questions- do you see this as a good or bad thing?
  • Consulting your consultants questions- given your expertise is problem, what would you want to warn others about?
  • Counterviewing questions-

8 internalized conversation problem habits:

  1. Self surveillance/ audience
  2. Illegitimacy
  3. Fear
  4. Negative imagination/ invidious comparison
  5. Internalized bickering
  6. Guilt
  7. Hopelessness
  8. perfection

Therapeutic Letter Writing campaigns- to remember lost aspects of self, secure subordinate stories, recap appreciation and survival, and ask more questions about knowledges and alternative stories the client gained

 

Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel

“We all share a fundamental need for security, which propels us toward committed relationships in the first place; but we have an equally strong need for adventure and excitement….It’s hard to generate excitements, anticipation, and lust with the same person you look to for comfort and stability, but it’s not impossible.”

“…love and desire are not mutually exclusive, they just don’t always take place at the same time.”

“Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it.  If intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition.  It thrives on the mysterious, the novel, and the unexpected.  Love is about having; desire is about wanting.  An expression of longing, desire requires ongoing elusiveness.  It is less concerned with where it has already been than passionate about where it can still go.  But too often, as couples settle into the comforts of love, they cease to fan the flame of desire.  They forget that fire needs air.”

 

Tribes, Sebastian Junger

“…we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty and belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning…for many people-war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations.  Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary.  Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.”

“…modern society has gravely disrupted the social bonds that have always characterized the human experience, and that disasters thrust people back into a more ancient, organic way of relating.  Disasters…create a ‘community of sufferers’ that allows individuals to experience an immensely reassuring connection to others.  As people come together to face an existential threat…class differences are temporarily erased, income disparities become irrelevant, race is overlooked, and individuals are assessed simply by what they are willing to do for the group.  It is a kind of fleeting social utopia that…is enormously gratifying to the average person and downright therapeutic to people suffering from mental illness.”

After such a time, people talk about “how much they longed for those days.  More precisely, they longed for who they’d been back then.”

“…during disasters there is a net gain in well-being.  Most primates, including humans, are intensely social, and there are very few instances of lone primates surviving in the wild.  A modern soldier returning from combat- or a survivor of Sarajevo- goes from the kind of close-knit group that humans evolved for, back into a society where most people work outside the home, children are educated by strangers, families are isolated from wider communities, and personal gain almost completely eclipses collective good.  Even if he or she is part of a family, that is not the same as belonging to a group that shares resources and experiences almost everything collectively.  Whatever the technological advances of modern society- and they’re nearly miraculous- the individualized lifestyles that those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.”

One “definition of community- of tribe- would be the group of people that you would both help feed and help defend.  A society that doesn’t offer its members the chance to act selflessly in these ways isn’t a society in any tribal sense of the word; it’s just a political entity that, lacking enemies, will probably fall apart on its own.

“This fundamental lack of connectedness allows people to act in trivial but incredibly selfish ways….littering as the perfect example of an everyday symbol of disunity in society.  ‘It’s a horrible thing to see because it sort of encapsulates this idea that you’re in it alone, that there isn’t a shared ethos of trying to protect something shared…’ In this sense, littering is an exceedingly petty version of claiming a billion-dollar bank bailout or fraudulently claiming disability payments.  When you throw trash on the ground, you apparently don’t see yourself as truly belonging to the world that you’re walking around in.  And when you fraudulently claim money from the government, you’re ultimately stealing you’re your friends, family, or neighbors…that diminishes you morally far more than it diminishes your country financially.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*@!, Mark Manson

I enjoyed this easy and funny read, and I took away from it encouragement to be deliberate about the things that I care about, and to stop caring about other things.

The Bright Hour, a Memoir of Living and Dying, Nina Riggs

This beautiful book was written by a beautiful soul who went to school with a good friend of mine.  It was moving, thought-provoking, and very funny at times.  Just beautiful.  I read it on the beach, and couldn’t wait to get home to my kiddos afterwards.

Bookshelf Additions- Spring 2017

Putting Children First, JoAnne Pedro-Carroll

This has become my go-to book suggestion for divorcing or divorced parents.  The author brings in her vast experience and joins it with relevant research as she touches on what parents can do to best help their children during and after their divorce. I’ll offer a brief outline of the book, and I encourage all co-parents to read it cover to cover.

“The vast majority of children are resilient and do well after a breakup…Divorce is unquestionably painful for children, but long-term negative outcomes are not inevitable.”

Children’s initial concern is usually “what is going to happen to me?”- “if their parents are unable to explain what is happening in ways they can understand, young children often fill in the blanks with their own fears and fantasies, which are often far worse than the reality.

Other common worries that children have:

  • A parent will “disappear”- physically or psychologically
  • Invisibility- no one really sees them or is aware of their feelings or needs
  • Worries about the future
  • Worries about money
  • Anxieties about loyalty
  • Concerns about parents’ well-being
  • Fear of losing a parent’s love

Kids needs your empathy-  all feelings are okay, even when all behaviors are not okay.  Your goal isn’t to fix their painful feelings, but rather to hear, acknowledge, and accept them.

“Research confirms that children need and want two responsive parents in their lives.  One of the best predictors of children’s well-being in marriage, and after divorce, is the psychological adjustment of their parents and the quality of the parenting they provide.”

The BIG message to your children, which will be communicated in many conversations over time:

  • “Whatever changes take place between Mom and Dad, one thing that will not change is our love for you. We will always be your parents and we will continue to take good care of you.  Both of us love you very much, and the kind of love we have for you is the kind that will never end.”
  • Our problems have nothing to do with you- you didn’t cause them and you cannot fix them or change them.
  • This is what will happen next…(some specifics….)

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for this first conversation-  the important thing is to keep communication lines open in the long-run

“Fostering a good relationship with the other parent is not a favor to your former partner, but a lifelong gift to your children.”

The author outlines what children in each age range need, and provides suggestions for what to tell them in an age-appropriate manner. She then discusses various “parenting plans,” and provides ideas for arrangements that have worked for other divorcing families.

“The schedule is an important tool, but regardless of how it is structured, research repeatedly reveals that it is the quality of parenting, the parents’ commitment to their children’s developmental needs, and their ability to contain conflict and work together that contribute most to children’s adjustment to living arrangements.”

Factors that reduce stress:

  • Minimal distance between households
  • Knowing the schedule
  • Positive preparation
  • Having special things at both homes
  • Letting children take belongings back and forth
  • Allowing children access to each parent through phone calls, email, and texting
  • Containing conflict during transitions
  • Creating opportunities for healing
  • Continuous open communication with children

“Sustained anger and rage hinder good judgment, rational thinking, and problem-solving- all of which are necessary for negotiating plans and parenting in ways that will positively impact children’s lives.  So even though it may be tempting to see your former partner as the enemy, it is better for your children if you can find ways to communicate with civility.  Your children will benefit enormously if you are able to manage your emotions in ways that help you work toward a reasonable plan for parenting for resilience- your and theirs.”

“Ongoing conflict is a destructive force in parents’ lives.  It erodes your ability to provide attentive and effective parenting…As a result, the warm, loving and attentive parent-child relationship…deteriorates.”

Aspects of conflict that are linked to the greatest difficulties for children:

  • Witnessing or overhearing parents’ aggressive or violent conflict, whether verbal or physical
  • Feeling guilt and responsibility for parents’ problems because of child-related conflict
  • Hearing one parent denigrate the other with sarcasm or criticism of their character or mistakes
  • Being caught in loyalty conflicts that require them directly or indirectly to side with one parent and against the other
  • Being used to carry hostile messages or convey a parent’s anger
  • Being forbidden to mention one parent in the presence of the other, either expressly or tacitly

Skills that promote resilience and emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness (ability to identify and express one’s own emotions in healthy ways)
  • Empathy (awareness of and sensitivity toward other’s feelings)
  • Self-regulation (ability to anticipate the consequences of choices, manage strong emotions, and control impulses)
  • Ability to solve interpersonal problems
  • Optimism
  • Self-motivation
  • Zeal and persistence
  • Hope for the future

“Early and often, they need to hear the message that they did not cause the marital problems and cannot change the divorce, but they can change their feelings and aspects of their lives by how they think and what choices they make.”

“Quality parenting is one of the best predictors of children’s adjustment when their parents are married, and it remains equally if not more important after divorce.  Loving, authoritative parenting is strongly related to academic success, children’s ability to manage their own behavior, reduced incidents of emotional difficulties, and increased long-term well-being…An authoritative parenting style includes warmth, emotional support, effective discipline, and age-appropriate expectations…at a time when so much may seem beyond your control, it’s especially important ot remember what a powerful differences your own parenting behavior can make for your children, even if your former partner does not share your views, or is unable to parent effectively.”

10 Emotionally Intelligent Parenting Practices that Promote Children’s Well-Being:

  1. Find time, make time
  2. Create one-on-one time
  3. Establish new family rituals and traditions
  4. Express appreciation and gratitude
  5. Convey hope and healing
  6. Listen beyond the words and respond with empathy
  7. Maintain household structure and routine
  8. Point out resilience role models
  9. Encourage spiritual experiences
  10. Engage in a community

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

I loved this book, I found myself smiling throughout this inspirational read about creativity, and living this human life well.  I especially enjoyed mulling over the paradoxes that she presented-  if we can hold onto to two opposing, yet true, ideas at the same time, well we’re on our way creative living beyond fear (as the subtitle reads).  Here’s a taste of what the book has to offer:

“I don’t demand a translation of the unknown.  I don’t need to understand what it all means, or where ideas are originally conceived, or why creativity plays out as unpredictably as it does.  I don’t need to know why we are sometimes able to converse freely with inspiration, when at other times we labor hard in solitude and come up with nothing.  I don’t need to know why an idea visited you today and not me…All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life– collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.  It’s a strange line of work, admittedly.  I cannot think of a better way to pass my days.”

“The poet David Whyte calls this sense of creative entitlement ‘the arrogance of belonging,’ and claims that it is an absolutely vital privilege to cultivate if you wish to interact more vividly with life…The arrogance of belonging is not about egotism or self-absorption.  In a strange way, it’s the opposite….Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection). The arrogance of belonging pulls you out of the darkest depths of self-hated- not by saying ‘I am the greatest!’ but merely by saying ‘I am here!’”

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust- and those elements are universally accessible.  Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”

“No shame, no despair- just a sense that it’s all very interesting.  Like: Isn’t it funny how sometimes things work and other times they don’t? Sometimes I think that the difference between a tormented creative life and a tranquil creative life is nothing more than the difference between the word awful and the word interesting.”

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes- but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.  Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.  The most evil trick about perfectionism, though, is that it disguises itself as a virtue…They wear their perfectionism like a badge of honor, as if it signals high tastes and exquisite standards.  But I see it differently.  I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear.  I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified…But we must break this habit in ourselves- and we are the only ones who can break it.  We must understand that the drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism.  No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it…At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is- if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart.  Which is the entire point.  Or should be.”

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver

I highly recommend this book that follows a family’s year-long journey to knowing where there food comes from.  It was challenging, made me evaluate the way I approach feeding my own family… I’m excited to implement some do-able, baby-steps with encouragement and guidance gleamed from this book.  And the writing was wonderful-  I laughed and teared up, which were nice surprises.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga, David Emerson

This is a practical and wonderful book about how to integrate Trauma Sensitive Yoga in therapy.   It makes yoga accessible and approachable to anyone, with the emphasis always on the internal experience of the client and not on achieving the proper form.

Research about trauma is discussed at length, with a focus on the effects in the body that largely go ignored.  Participants “became increasingly able and willing to notice how they were feeling in their body and formed greater tolerance for emotional states and bodily sensations, as they could experience them in a safe way, rather than from the lens of past trauma.”

“Interoception centers on our ability to feel the activity of our interior self, that is, it is interoception to feel our heartbeat, our stomach grumble, or a muscle stretch…Research on the brain suggests that traumatized people do not have a reliable self, a feelable self, a foundation from which to safely experience themselves, relationships, and the world around them  What is it like to live in a body that is unfeel-able and therefore unpredictable?  I would suggest that living with an unfeel-able and unpredictable body is one valid way to explain what complex trauma is.”

“Trauma is not primarily a problem of what I am thinking but a problem of what I am feeling in my body; either not feeling anything or feeling stuck forever in a painful, tortured, broken body that will never change…Our work is to help people find ways to have new body experiences right now that can effectively replace the constant replay button of trauma.”

“With TSY, we focus on using the (therapeutic) relationship to give our clients a safe space to begin to feel their body again and begin to notice what they want to do with their body in a given situation.  The facilitator supports their clients as they learn to trust what they feel, make their own choices about what to do based on what they feel, and take action based on what they choose to do.”

 

Women’s Ways of Knowing, Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, Tarule

The authors interviewed 135 women in-depth, and this book describes why many women still feel silenced in their families and schools, and maps out the struggles and stages many go through in knowing what they know.

  1. Silence
    1. Powerlessness, obedience to authority, survival, disconnected from self and others, feel “deaf and dumb”
  2. Received knowledge- listing to the voice of others
    1. Authorities have “right answers”, listen to others for truth & direction, can’t tolerate ambiguity
  3. Subjective knowledge- inner voice
    1. They see their “gut”, still small voice, usually had a failed male authority figure, room for more than 1 opinion, think of self as a knowing person
  4. Subjective knowledge- quest for self
    1. “walk away from the past”, sometimes the escape is an overly eager promotion of self at the expense of others; view of self is tentative and unsettled
  5. Procedural knowledge- voice of reason
    1. The voice is more humble, and powerful, than previous chapter; maybe silent, but it’s not a passive silence- behind it is reasoning; knowledge is a process, multiple lenses
  6. Procedural knowledge- separate and connected knowing
    1. Separate knowers- weed the self out, logic/reason-focused, take out feeling, just “a game” (doubting game)
    2. Connected knowers- empathy is at the heart of connected knowing- it’s a believing game
  7. Constructed knowledge- integrating the voices
    1. Integrating the voices; aware of truths colliding within; can tolerate ambiguity; no longer want to suppress parts of self; the answers vary depending on the circumstance/perspective; passionate knowers

 

The One Thing, Gary Keller

Here are the nuggets I took away from this helpful productivity book:

  • Doing the most important thing is always the most important thing.
  • Willpower has a limited battery life, but can be recharged with some downtime. It is  a limited but renewable resource.  We act as though our supply of willpower were endless.  As a result we don’t consider it a personal resource to be managed, like sleep or food.
  • Willpower is depleted when we make decisions to focus our attention, suppress our feelings or impulses, or modify our behavior in pursuit of goals.
  • Ask yourself, “What’s the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
  • Be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.
  • Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business.
  • Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whoever does the most, yet that is exactly how most play it on a daily basis.
  • Until my One Thing is done, everything else is a distraction.

4 thieves of productivity:

  1. Inability to say “no”
  2. Fear of chaos (the world won’t wait! Messes will pile up!)
  3. Poor health habits
  4. Environment doesn’t support your goals

Bookshelf Additions- Winter 2016

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The Gift of Therapy, Irvin Yalom

This is a re-read, and every time I read it I tell myself to revisit it the following year.  It’s an inspirational account of therapy and the therapeutic relationship.  I love this description of a patient of his, who happens to also be a therapist:

“Moreover she felt more confident that she had much to offer:  she had grown wise, she had learned how to live more keenly, and felt dedicated to sharing her wisdom.  But most striking was her willingness to remain in uncertainty, not only uncertainly in her own life, but uncertainly in the therapeutic process.  No longer did she feel pressed to search for explanations, to make connections, to summarize and tie things neatly together.  As she put it, she was more comfortable holding uncertainly and, liberated from the task of explanation, was more able to offer powerful presence to her clients.”

As I tell each person who comes through the door, it really does always come back to relationship.

Yalom also quotes some of his favorite authors and thinkers:

“Become who you are.” – Nietsche

“Have patience with everything unresolved and try to love the questions themselves.” –Rilke

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Drive, Daniel Pink

This was an interesting book about motivation.  My take-aways:

  • The old way of motivating people (carrots & sticks) can be effective for routine tasks that are boring and can be done autonomously, BUT they can crush creativity, extinguish intrinsic motivation, and encourage unethical behaviors and even addiction.
  • 3 things most important to motivation:
    1. Autonomy– Our default setting is to be autonomous and self-directed
    2. Mastery– Only engagement can produce mastery: becoming great at something that matters.  Mastery begins with “flow”- optimal experiences when the challenges we face are matched to our abilities.
    3. Purpose– Humans by their nature seek purpose- a cause greater and more enduring than themselves.