Listening to people from all walks of life, I’ve noticed a common foe of resilience: self-blame. It’s sneaky, like a deadly undertow. The self-blaming person is all hope and forward intention above water, but underneath, their feet are being sucked backwards. There’s no omen more worthy of dread in that situation than the words “I should”, or their ugly cousin “I should have”. The shoulds have their own mysterious, immobilizing power. It’s hard to think of a way out.
Restrained and thwarted by our own thoughts, we become fixated on what we didn’t do in a way that presents zero solutions. “Why did I do that?” “What was I thinking?” “Why am I so hell-bent on self-sabotage?” Did you ever notice that there is no way of coming up with a good answer to such a question? Questions like these are worse than useless; they’re downright dangerous. And yet we insist on wading into the same dark water without our waterwings. Continue reading →
On a break in your work day, imagine a person who you love. Use whatever senses are available in your inner world: if you’re a visual person, picture them in detail. Or you could imagine hugging them, or smelling their shampoo, or the way you feel when they look at you. Use as many of your imagination-senses as you can. Notice how this makes you feel.
Try doing the same exercise, using all the senses of your imagination; but use it to enter into your favourite text. Use a sacred text or a piece of fiction, or any story where you can imagine yourself as part of the action. Then get in there! Observe what you can. You can even try interacting with others in the scene and see what happens. Let yourself be surprised.
Imagine your favourite place, where you feel most comfortable and at home. Or invent an ideal peaceful place. Again, use all senses available to you in your inner world. At the end, take a mental snapshot and file it away for future reference.
Last week’s post examined the hot spiritual fad we call “being in the present moment”, offering up some centuries-old wisdom from some Buddhists and a Jesuit. This week, we contradict ourselves (or do we?), by offering up spiritual practices in which one completely checks out of the present moment.
Like many things that have been refined, distilled, and codified into spiritual practice, imagination is a fairly irresistible human tendency. Cavedwellers and scientists alike have produced evidence of rich imaginations. Continue reading →
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space”. The truth is, many people don’t even notice that there is a space between stimulus and response. In fact, that space may be so miniscule, we simply react to a stimulus rather than respond. But the space is there, and there are things we can do to expand it.