If you’ve never had an intrusive thought, it’s hard to imagine. These are thoughts that appear, unbidden and undesired, and that (in my experience) are immune to the techniques I usually use to stop
This is a topic I’ve been percolating for a long time, and it comes from a teaching by Tara Brach in which she says, “The world is divided into people who think they’re right.”
When I was really having a hard time financially—when I didn’t have money for soap–I realized that, in order to stop the mind from freaking out (and therefore making me feel terrible), I had to be fiercely present.
Resistance, the opposite of acceptance, is a blockage of energy. Think about how we experience tension, anger and worry on a physical level: the stomach feels like it’s in knots; our throats clench; there’s a heaviness in the chest. All of those are blocked energy.
Often, we don’t even realize we’re resisting. Our egos believe
If I could have a superpower, I would choose acceptance.
Whether you call it surrender, alignment, The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), “loving what is” (Byron Katie), Radical Acceptance (Tara Brach), non-resistance or getting in the Vortex (Abraham-Hicks), all the teachings I’ve encountered point to the same bedrock principle: Accept what is in this moment, exactly as it is.
I’ve been working on several posts for this site, many of which have been drafted for a couple of years, but I kept getting stuck. I just couldn’t get them right, structurally. Something was blocking me.
Then, the other night, I had a dream in which I clearly heard a strong (but kind) voice ask, “How long are you going to keep pretending you’re not angry?”
My mind, when left to its own devices, tends to cause me more pain than joy. It’s a great tool, effective for analyzing data or strategizing, but it has the capacity to bully me, too. The creativity that’s so useful professionally can also create wild stories and vivid dramas that have no root in
This is one of the best techniques I’ve found to bring me into the moment (or help me fall asleep).
Here it is: Count your
"Imagine the Earth devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. Would it still have a past and a future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The question "What time is it?" or "What's the date today?" - if anybody were there to ask it -...
The Pacific Northwest is known for being rainy and grey in the winter. In Vancouver and Seattle, clouds can settle in among skyscrapers, creating the sensation of a neverending (and very damp) night.
I worked in entertainment from the time I was 22 until I was 39, and then again for six months or so, a few years later. I was a theatrical stage manager, an entertainment columnist before “blogging” was a word; I was a film critic and TV producer, a stand-up comic and a comedy writer. I was Miss Pop Culture.
An editing client once dubbed me a “book intuitive” because I was able to see beyond her writing challenges to the personal issues underneath. In addition to stark contrasts in the quality of her writing (depending on whether she was writing about her experience or...
The other day, I was walking, and the idea came into my head to say "thank you" for that very moment. For the trees, the ocean breeze, the sun, the bench where I sit and meditate and write. Then I decided to keep going, to say "thank you" in as many moments as I...
When I went off meds, appreciation was one of the first techniques I used to rewire my brain towards inner peace. For decades, my identity had been rooted in looking for the negative and focusing – intensely – on what was wrong. I needed every tool, every technique, I could find.
Thoreau had his definition, but this is the 21st century, and I’m not chopping wood for a cabin in the woods (though that actually sounds lovely…). Here’s what living deliberately means to me:
It means prioritizing inner peace, and building that priority time into my day or week, so that the action I do take comes from a place of calmness.
In 2010, after I’d gone off meds, I had a profound awakening that radically altered my experience of living in this world. Every time I’ve tried to put it into words, it sounds diminished, less powerful than the actual experience. Basically, I woke up one morning and knew that the fabric of the universe is love. I am love. You are love. Music is love. Trees are love. Everything that ever has been and ever will be is perfect, even though
Mine was not a transient depression or anxiety disorder. Over the course of 22 years, my brain was given more than a dozen labels, including soft bipolar, borderline and PTSD – my last psychiatrist finally summed it up as a “rip-roaring mood disorder.” I was “hard-wired” for depression and anxiety because
One thing that being a writer teaches you: Everyone has a backstory. Everyone is on their own Hero’s Journey. You are the protagonist of your story, but you’re a supporting-to-background character in others’. Understand, as Buddhists say, that everyone you meet is struggling with something you’ll never know about, and everyone is doing the very best they can in a given moment.
We’re all familiar with the law of diminishing returns: After a certain amount of time, the effort expended on a task yields fewer and fewer results. This is as true of creative work as it is of physical labor. And if you keep pushing, eventually both brain and body...
One of the benefits of having worked in so many mediums – print, television, stage, online, stand-alone interactive and film – is that I’ve learned a variety of storytelling techniques that are transferable among platforms. There’s something in the combination of...
If you’ve studied psychology (or ever watched Lie to Me), you’ll know that microexpressions are split-second facial expressions that we're not aware of making, but which reveal our true feelings about a given conversation. Although most people can’t consciously...
What if you could get people as excited about reading your business or development plan as they are about the novel they’ve just ordered from Amazon? We're all familiar with vision statements - the brief, well-intentioned paragraph that describes a company's essential...
A friend sent me a job posting from a well-known technology company the other day. The first sentence included the phrase “creates top-of-the-funnel content to drive form completes, engagement and establish thought leadership status.” I nearly broke out in hives. My aversion to corporate jargon is exactly that strong. The position objective was to make the brand more “human, accessible and relatable.” Free advice, superstar tech company: You want to sound human? Be human. Relate to your audience. Ditch the jargon.
(This post was originally written for Resonance Consultancy in October 2012) Multitasking is more destructive than we think. And the best antidote is a practice we perfected when we were two. We’ve been hearing for a couple of years now that multitasking can reduce...
One of the fundamentals of narrative writing is “show, don’t tell.” People retain stories and scenes better than they do a list of facts. Stories resonate more deeply with readers, creating more of an emotional engagement with the material at hand. For example,...