Emotional Agility

In a Ted talk that I was listening to entitled “Susan David: The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage,” she talks about the concept of emotional agility. She says, “How we deal with our inner world affects everything; how we love, how we live, how we parent and how we lead. The conventional view of how we see emotion, as good or bad, positive or negative is rigid, and rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic.  We need greater levels of emotional agility for true resilience and thriving.” Susan continues with her own personal story of living as a child in South Africa during the midst of apartheid and how her father’s death greatly affected her. She goes on to say, “Emotional agility is the ability to be with your emotions, with curiosity, compassion, and especially the courage to take valued-connected steps.”

We remain open to our emotions simply by observing them; to not place judgement on them, trying to decide if they are good or bad. Rather it is to simply acknowledge that “I am feeling sad,”  “I am feeling disappointed,” or “I am feeling content.”  This is essentially the concept of emotional ability; the openness to our feelings no matter what they might be.

To listen to the full 16 minute Ted Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_david_the_gift_and_power_of_emotional_courage#t-989361

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The Choice by Dr. Eger; a Great Read

My friend recommended the book “The Choice” by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a Holocaust survivor who was sent to Auschwitz at the age of 16. Now in her 93rd year, she continues to be an inspiration to all of those she encounters. Here are a few excerpts from her book that I resonated with:

“My own search for freedom and my years of experience as a licensed clinical psychologist have taught me that suffering is universal. But victimhood is optional. There is a difference between victimization and victimhood. We are all likely to be victimized in some way in the course of our lives. At some point we will suffer some kind of affliction over which we have little or no control. This is life. And this is victimization. It comes from the outside. – In contrast, victimhood comes from the inside. We become victims not because of what happens to us be when we choose to hold on to our victimization.”

“No one heals in a straight line.”

“Bela,” I whisper, “I think I’ve come far enough. I want to go home.” “You’ve been afraid before,” he says. “Welcome it, welcome it.” Bela is reminding me of what I believe too: This is the work of healing. You deny what hurts, what you fear. You avoid it all costs. Then you find a way to welcome and embrace what you’re most afraid of. And then you can finally let it go.”

If you are looking for a book to read, pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

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Podcast About the Family Unit

In a recent episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show: The Podcast entitled “How Healthy is Your Family,” she features guest Dr. Paul Pearsall, author of the book “The Power of the Family.” These are some highlighted points of what Dr. Pearsall had to say about the health of the family unit:

  • It is important to give dignity and celebration to the simple, daily acts of family life. Dr. Pearsall talks here about the rituals that we create in the family that celebrate time spent together such as family dinner and bedtime routines.
  • The continuity of traditions helps to secure the child’s feeling of safety.
  • An overarching goal for a healthy family is to lead with the forming of the ‘us’ quotient; a focus on scheduled, quality time spent together versus family members existing individually within the home.

Dr. Pearsall emphasizes that in order to achieve the ‘us quotient,’ we must prioritize family time. It is a slowing down, action versus words, seeking calm, family time together.

I especially love the words dignity and celebration. Just using those words as goals for our family reminds us that we have the ability to make the time we spend together joyful. It allows our children to refer and be influenced by family, to weather storms with a solid foundation.

To listen to the episode: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/the-oprah-winfrey-show-the-podcast/e/73831687

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Jesse Thistle Memoir

If you are looking for a good memoir to read, I would suggest “From the Ashes” by Jesse Thistle. A story that includes conflict and uncertainty at a young age, the experience of abandonment by his parents and how being drawn to addiction led this young man to spend over ten years in a cycle of homelessness, crime and time spent in jail. A cycle in which family members gave in or gave up.

From reading this story:

  • I am amazed at what the human brain and body can endure and still survive. Amazed.
  • It reinforces my strong belief that the human spirit can and does prevail through heartache and trauma.
  • It teaches us that being true to ourselves brings healing and peace. For Jesse Thistle this included a return to his Indigenous culture and embracing who he is.
  • It shows us the power of forgiveness; not only for those who seek it, but for those who grant it.

You will be pleased to have picked up this book and follow Jesse’s journey back to himself.

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The Power of Yet – a little reminder

This is a nice little reminder about the importance of having a growth mindset. It comes to us from Carol Dweck:

“I don’t get it.”

“I can’t do this.”

“This doesn’t work.”

Take a deep breath. Go for a short stroll. Then add ‘yet’ to the end of your sentence.

“I don’t get it….yet.”

“I can’t do this….yet.”

“This doesn’t work….yet.”

What a difference one little word makes. It moves us from impossibility to possibility, from giving up to trying again. “Yet” can be a very powerful word.

To watch a 10 minute Ted Talk by Carol Dweck: https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve#:~:text=Carol%20Dweck%20researches%20%E2%80%9Cgrowth%20mindset%E2%80%9D%20%E2%80%94%20the%20idea,that%E2%80%99s%20slightly%20too%20hard%20for%20you%20to%20solve.

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A Book Recommendation

I just finished reading “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth” by Chris Hadfield. I have never been too interested in space exploration, but this book came recommended to me by a client, so I thought I would give it a try.

Well, I did learn a ton about the space program; all of which was very interesting. Hadfield goes into the logistics of what life on the International Space Station is like, and how weightlessness affects everything you do – things like brushing your teeth (there is no running water on the ISS). He gave wonderful descriptions of the flights to and from the ISS (you could not be a claustrophobic astronaut) and all of the minute details that go into a mission.

But it is his life lessons in the book that rose to the surface for me. After you read how difficult it truly is to become an astronaut (especially a Canadian one), I had a greater appreciation for how hard work and perseverance pays off.  He also talks about having the right attitude, being prepared for challenges, and how team work and appreciation keep you in a humble position. His chapter on humility confirmed just how much we remain grounded when we move out of our heads and into our learned experiences.

After reading the book, I checked out a lot of his YouTube videos which featured clips such as “Can You Cry in Space?” to “Brushing Your Teeth in Space.” I watched videos that showed me how astronauts sleep and how to make a PB and honey sandwich. I now have an appreciation and interest in the space program thanks to this book. 🙂

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth” by Chris Hadfield is a worthy read.

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An Interesting Documentary to Note

The documentary entitled “Reversing Your Body Clock,” produced by The Passionate Eye and featured on CBC Gem, is a very interesting piece on the difference between our birth year age and the age of our body clock (the age your body is functioning at from a health perspective.)

The episode features three volunteers. Each go through a series of tests to determine their body clock age; all three are shocked to see that their body clock age is so far above their birthday age. Here are some interesting observations from having watched the show:

  • One fellow was slim and trim; it was actually hard to believe that his body clock age wasn’t going to equal or be less than his real age. He came into the clinic because he was worried about his eating habits, noting that because he could eat whatever he wanted and stay thin, he did. As a result, his cholesterol and blood pressure was high and therefore making his heart and health that of a much older man.
  • Another volunteer’s issue was sleep. It was interesting to see how duration and efficiency of sleep affected the aging process. They had her use a method called sleep restriction to get her sleeping back on track; she was also encouraged to exercise in order to get the recommended 150 minutes a week, as exercise is also a good promoter of a sound night’s sleep.
  • And lastly, they featured a woman who had high anxiety. To help her reduce her body clock, they recommended exercise as a way to help combat stress, as well as daily mindfulness.

The tests that they use to determine body clock age were super interesting; and the results after only three months of lifestyle change were quite impressive.

It is an episode worth watching and you can find the link at: https://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/episodes/reversing-your-body-clock1

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The Importance of Quiet

In a recent episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, she features Jesse Israel, a social entrepreneur and founder of the mass meditation movement known as “The Big Quiet.” Here is what Jesse had to say:

“We live in a culture that celebrates more-ness. We glorify being busy. For many of us, this constant noise is exhausting. But it wasn’t always like this. For the great majority of our time on earth, we lived in quieter times, in tribes. In fact, the amount of information that our tribal ancestors would process in their entire lifetime, is equivalent to the amount of information and input that we process in one single day today. That is a lot of noise. And the burden that it is creating on our bodies and on our minds is real.”

Israel brings to our attention that it doesn’t have to be this way. That although there is an expectation that we keep up, and we can often feel as though we are missing something if we don’t, we can also appreciate our need for the relaxation response, our comfort system, for quiet. (If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is how to slow down.)

Now, perhaps we can add ‘seeking quiet’ to the list. Carving out time to simply sit in silence, for time of prayer or meditation, for ‘phone-free’ zones. He suggests incorporating just 60 seconds a day of absolute stillness into our daily routine. Just one minute a day to connect with quiet – to connect with our soul, to feel peace.

To listen to the full podcast (he guides us through a meditation): https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/68277283

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Oprah Podcast on Boundaries

Oprah Winfrey has a new podcast that brings some of her Oprah Winfrey Show episodes out of the vault. In an episode entitled, “Lifestyle Makeovers: How to Set Personal Boundaries,” she features guest star Cheryl Richardson who explains the importance of setting boundaries. She talks about language, and the phrases that we can begin to use as part of our vocabulary:

  • “I have permission to change my mind.”
  • “I need you to hear what I’m saying.”
  • “I’m not going to make a decision right now, I’m going to sleep on it (or pray on it.)”

Richardson and Oprah talk about how to recognize the importance of not over-explaining ourselves. We often will try and justify or explain our position, when in fact, it is okay to simply have a statement (such as the ones above), that we can lean into and repeat if necessary.

Doing so calmly is also part of the process, as when we set internal boundaries, we are able to center ourselves. She suggests taking a deep breath, holding onto a small object that is grounding, or even saying “I need to pause for a moment and take a deep breath.”

By finding a couple of phrases we feel comfortable with, we can use language to set boundaries necessary for healthy relationships and a secure sense of self.

To listen to the podcast: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/the-oprah-winfrey-show-the-podcast/e/68994336

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An Important Realization About Relationships

In a recent Oprah Supersoul Conversations podcast entitled “The Oprah Winfrey Show: How to Make Love Last,” she sits with Harville Hendrix. Hendrix, the best selling author of “Getting the Love You Want” theorizes that:

“Whatever happens in childhood, whether its mild or intense, there is something that is going to replicate itself in adulthood in your intimate partnership. The early childhood experience, where there is a wound, has to be repaired – and it always has to be repaired in a relationship in adulthood similar to your parents.”

This statement is probably the most important concept in understanding why we choose the partners that we do. Hendrix speaks about the tendency to repeat patterns, not as a means to punish ourselves (although it may feel like that over time), but rather as a way to heal – to repair the wound that we received in childhood so that we can move to a healthier place. In order to change the pattern, we first must understand this concept; we then can follow through with the necessary work needed to choose someone who fits into a healthier space.

Hendrix further explains that in an unconscious process with our partner:

“We either pick them, provoke them or project onto them. So if you had a problem in childhood, you are going to pick somebody who will help you redo it, or you will project onto them that they are, or if not, you will provoke them. Its brilliant because we have to resolve that issue.”

Think about this in terms of trust. If we grew up not trusting a parent because they were never there for us, we will either pick a partner who is not trustworthy, we will project onto them that we can’t trust them (by being accusatory and jealous), or we will provoke them into being unreliable (in which a partner might start acting that way as they continue to be painted in that light.)

It is only in understanding this process can we begin to make the necessary changes to our own internal dialogue and move to repair. First in ourselves, and then in our patterns.

To listen to the full episode (it is worth your time): https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/67608146

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