Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

Rick Hanson in Buddhas Brain: Be Good to Yourself

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Paradoxically, it supports humility to take good care of yourself, since self networks in your brain activate when you feel threatened or unsupported.
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To reduce this activation, make sure your fundamental needs are well cared for.
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For example, we all need to feel cherished.
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Empathy, praise, and love from others—especially in childhood—are internalized in neural networks that support feelings of confidence and worth.
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But if you receive these in short supply over the years, you’re likely to end up with a hole in your heart.
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The self gets very busy around that hole!
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Trying to put a lid on the hole through cockiness or to get a momentary “fix” through clinginess.
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Besides being annoying to others—leading you to receive less empathy, praise, and love than ever—these strategies are pointless, since they don’t address the fundamental issue.

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Instead, fill the hole in your heart by taking in the good, one brick at a time.
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When I was younger, the hole in my heart looked about as big as the excavation for a skyscraper.
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When I realized that it should and could get filled, I deliberately looked for evidence of my worth, such as the love and respect of others, and my good qualities and accomplishments.
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Then I’d take a few seconds to soak in the experience.
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After several weeks and lots of bricks, I started to feel different; within a few months, there was a significantly greater sense of personal worth.
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Now, many years and thousands of bricks later, that hole in my heart is pretty full.
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No matter how big your own hole is, each day hands you at least a few bricks for it.
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Pay attention to good things about yourself and the caring and acknowledgement of others—and then take them in.
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No single brick will eliminate that hole.
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But if you keep at it, day by day, brick by brick, you’ll truly fill it up.
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Like many practices, being good to yourself is a kind of raft to get you across the river of suffering—to use a metaphor from the Buddha.
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When you get to the other side, you’ll no longer need the raft.
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Neuroplasticity: change is possible, probable, to be expected

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Neuroplasticity occurs inside us everyday as we encounter new experiences.
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On the right you’ll see several photographs of neural circuity in the brain.
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From the left the pictures show us the neural circuity of a newborn, then a 3 month old, 15 month old, and 2 year old.
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As the child ages, their brain’s wiring becomes increasingly more complex and interconnected.
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Neuroplasticity is what allows us to take our experiences, then learn from them and form new memories.
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Huge changes are occurring in the brain during these early stages of cognitive development,

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but the truth is that our neural networks continue to build on each other until the day we die.
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Happy Thanksgiving: Holidays are difficult for some

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The Holidays brings anxiety, reminders of childhood terror, strained family relationships or no family relationships.
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It is a time when memories, pain, fear and abuse replay during the holidays.
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This is a time when our mindfulness practice allows us to let go of our negative emotional thoughts.
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Thoughts, judgments, resentments and anger can consume us.
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Use your skills, focus, follow your breath, activate your parasympathetic nervous system (the brakes), accept, surrender, then observe.
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Let the storyline play on a tv screen about 6 foot in front of you.
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Just observe, detached, neutral. A rerun of you is playing on the screen, therefore impossible to alter or have a present conversation.
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Hopefully you can tolerate the anxiety, the irrational fear, accepting the storyline completely, then letting it go, moving on calmly.
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Life does not pause for us but keeps rolling. Change is a constant companion.

Happiness can not be found in the past or future, it is a mirror of mindfulness, all of it exists in this present moment.
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Therefore happiness is only available in this present breath, then we move on to the next breath. Life is simple but extremely satisfying from this space.
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That’s all there is.
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Nothing magical exits in the future, nothing we can achieve or gain carries lasting happiness.

Look at all the accomplishments, accolades, power and money these Hollywood and famous men attained but scandal has robbed them of any legacy or legitimacy.
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Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein have lost their souls not gained happiness. Ostracized and scorned are harsh realities for those used to praise, power and stardom.
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An invisible prison will be their plight until death or suicide.
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Watch what you chase, make sure it is permanent.
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Happiness exists in permanent things, our true self (soul, spirit), our giving, our present moment to moment awareness.
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Ask yourself, What did I do to help a less fortunate person or family today, Thanksgiving?
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Start small. Bring a smile and a kind word to all that cross your path.
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Give kindness and empathy to everyone you meet.
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Giving is not just a thanksgiving day thing.
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Happy and the “Ego”. Almost strangers

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First, understand the “Ego” (left side)  is never equal to another “Ego” (human being).
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He/she is superior or inferior, or somewhere in between, here in lies the crux of suffering for us.
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Now, let us explore where they spend their days.
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The “Ego” spends most of its time in the past, searching the memory banks to compare us with him/her, then project its emotional judgment for the future.
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Happy on the other hand is 100% steeped in this moment, not a smidgen of happy lives in the past or future.
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So, it seems the ”ego” is in a different time zone than happy.
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This is why Happy and the “Ego” are strangers in the night.
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Adjust your attention and time spent in the here and now.
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Our Mindset: a Vital Cog, spokes in our wheel!

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Triggers (adrenal stress response or fight or flight mechanism) seem extremely scary. When we were hunter gatherers faced with lethal danger (bears, mountain lions, the elements) our fear mechanism protected us.
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In modern society lethal danger is rare for many of us. Irrational fear abounds in modern society, anxiety, depression and PTSD proliferate.
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We need to change our relationship with our fight or flight mechanism. At first I was extremely frightened when my triggers exploded with childhood abuse.
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I was hyper vigilant, tried feverishly to escape, then avoid at all costs in the future.
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I feared my own defense mechanism. I reacted to it with great anxiety and fear.
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Now we know that certain parts of the mind are off line and the complete story of our abuse is hidden.
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I teach changing our stance, not reacting, not honoring or giving our trauma or fear power.
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Our triggers are opportunities to improve and heal.
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Healing does not avoid but navigates directly towards our panic and fear!
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There is a mirage of danger hidden in our impacted mind until we integrate, bring the abuse to present moment.
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We confront and integrate by letting go and focusing on an object, usually the breath.
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We reach this through a mindful focus, a direct observation without judgment.
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When out fight or flight fires, accept it, focus, breathe, observe, feel the body sensations.
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Smile, you are healing.
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Gratitude from a 9 year olds perspective

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Dear Future Self, so you either got amnesia and hopefully found the letter or are like 42 and remember when you did this in Girl Scouts when you were 9. So, here’s a bunch of things you were grateful for when you were 9.
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First of all color, it’s bright and adds a sense of happiness to any paper. (Besides work papers.)
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Second of all, music. It’s happy and makes everything more fun. Like imagine a dance party without music!
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And the classic friends (of course). Actually you might be a hermit. But Amelie is awesome. She told me to say that. (She’s great!)
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And safety. There’s nothing more to say about this.
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Now energy/technology. (Evil robots who are trying to turn you into zombie slaves.) But I mean really what would we do without fridges, lights, air conditioning, clocks, phones, iPads, and t.v.s?
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Let’s be serious for a minute, though they may be strict at times we have, or maybe have had amazing parents. I mean some kids have abusive parents. Think how lucky we are!
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Oregon. You may have moved by the time you read this, but I don’t see why you did/would. Oregon is beautiful! I’m happy to live here!
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Monty! My dog. I love him! I don’t know what I’d do without him! Though he may be dead by the time you read this, he belongs in this letter.
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And of course health, you and I would both be dead without this.
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Grandma. She’s awesome.
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Affirmations: daily work for our self image and self worth

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In this moment right now, I accept all of me.
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A little more involved: In this moment right now, I strive to accept all of me, the perfect and imperfect, the exciting and mundane, the good and bad. I strive with all my might to let go of judgment and thought, to embrace this present moment entirely.
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Repeat this affirmation out loud as it engages more areas of the mind.
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Record multiple affirmations for playback during the day and before bed.
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Remember the mind responds best to simple, concrete and immediate tasks best.
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Sit in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye as you repeat your affirmation out loud.
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I thought my affirmation was a lie at first, I felt I was talking to a stranger, me!
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Within a month things had begun to change.
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Things will arrive organically, through the body not in words or thought.
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Self image, self worth is a vital condition in our pursuit of happiness.
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