Are You Secure In Your Own Skin?

fear

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Everyone experiences insecurity in some way, shape or form – everyone. Our insecurity leaks out at home, at work, at play and in relationship. Think, for a moment, about times, events or circumstance in which you feel, or have felt, that tinge of insecurity – holding a newborn, wondering about committing to a relationship, making a speech, speaking up, or out, thinking about growing old, buying a first house, re-marrying, divorcing, reflecting on your managing ability or technical skills, playing a sport or musical instrument, considering your educational background, your family or social standing and the like.

Insecurity is fear-based.
Experience tells us most folks are, or have been, dealing with their insecurities without becoming paralyzed. During their life’s journey, they’ve taken steps to either overcome their insecurities or not allow their insecurities to be incapacitating.

On the other hand, there are those who succumb to their fear, their insecurity. They allow themselves to be taken over by their negative, self-limiting, and self-defeating, internal scripts. These folks make a habit of feeling like a victim, blaming everyone and everything for their insecurities – their bosses, co-workers, families, the weather, politicians, their spouses, partners, friends and neighbors.

A major downside of this latter group, the negative folks, is how they impact and infect others. Consider the following:

Insecure folks want and need control.
Feeling insecure and, thus, “small” and “invisible,” they search for and seek out opportunities that will show them to be brilliant, significant, and important, i.e., be “somebody.” They refuse to collaborate, delegate or support others to grow and develop. They cannot bring themselves to coach or mentor others. Their ego is driving.

Insecure folks are afraid of change.
These individuals prefer the status quo to trying something new. They live in the “not invented here” part of their life’s landscape. Taking risks, stretching or exploring new ways of being, or doing things is threatening and fear-making. Risk or change is not a part of the equation.

Insecure folks avoid embarrassment.
They just “cannot fail.” How would they be perceived if they did fail? Insecure folks avoid failing or the appearance of failing in any way. They abhor being seen as stupid or “incompetent” in front of anyone.

Insecure folks are “silent” folks.
They play it close to the vest, or blouse. They fear disclosing anything personal about themselves. They prefer small talk, gossip, and conversation that is desultory, superficial and not very deep.

Insecure folks often associate with others who are not a threat.
Insecure folks need to feel wanted and needed, to feel important and superior. They prefer to hang around the less-talented so they don’t have to compete or be threatened or embarrassed by someone “smarter or better.”

Insecure folks perpetuate insecurity.
Insecure folks view others in their world according to the mantra, “I need you to be like me.” They thrive on insecurity and so create an environment of fear, over-thinking and over-analyzing, being constantly suspicious and vigilant creating an environment that is characterized by a low-grade-fever-type of agitation that permeates their home, work and social environments.

While insecure individuals are often successful in the short term, they usually wind up derailing or stalling, but not before they damage and seriously affect their relationships at home, at work or at play.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Reflecting honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly, do you sense you have one or more insecurities that affect your relationship or behaviors with your spouse/partner, parents, children, co-workers, bosses, friends…?
  • What might be a good first (baby) step to explore and deal with your insecurity?
  • Do you have a trusted friend with whom you can open up and talk about your deepest insecurities?
  • Would you colleagues, your friends, your spouse or partner say you have a need for control, recognition or security that results in your usually being in some state of insecurity?
  • Have others tugged on your sleeve about your insecurity? How did that make you feel?
  • Would you describe your primary caregivers as a child as generally secure or insecure?

(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Meddling – The Butterfly and The Cocoon

cocoon

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Meddling
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“The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another. But the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, the whole being listens. Then there is a direct grasp of what is right there that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.” Chuang-Tzu, Chinese philosopher

In essence, the more we listen to what is going on inside our self, the better we understand what is happening outside. The more apt we are to allow the other to just be present in their experience, and not be so ego-driven to change, fix, advise, educate, console, story-tell, shut down, interrogate, explain or correct the other in their experience.

Believing that we have to in some way “fix” another is the paramount obstacle to being present to and with the other.

Each of us is exactly where we’re men to be on our journey. Not ahead; not behind. Exactly where we are in relationship to our personal cocoon, to the unfolding of who we are and how we are.

In our Western approach to living and to life, many of us are caught in the strong urge to fix, give advice, or reassurance and to explain, directly or indirectly, subtly or not so subtly “our own position” or feeling.

The Buddhist way

There is a Buddhist statement that says, “Don’t just do something; stand there.” Stand there and just “be” there, indeed.

When we’re engaged with others who are experiencing, pain or suffering in some way shape or form, what works with them, is asking ourselves, “How I can be respectful, empathic, and present?”, sensing our own body, breathing, being consciously conscious of where I am in allowing this field of experience, so that I can just “be” with this person, knowing that their experience is just as it should be, that, in fact, they do have whatever “answers” they need in this moment, i.e., their answers and their moment, not “my” answers and “my” moment.

The Butterfly and the Cocoon (anonymous)

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

So, with respect to the butterfly and the cocoon, perhaps the individual’s “kindness” and “impatience” got in the way of the butterfly’s growth and development.

Meddling

So, it’s worth thinking about how we feel the need to meddle in another’s growth and developmental experience from “our” perspective, not theirs, from our states of impatience, or knowing, being the “sage,” from our ego-driven needs to be “right,” to have the answers, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

The question underneath the question is:

Why?
Really, why?
Really, really, really, why?

There’s much more inside each of our cocoons than simply air. There’s knowledge, wisdom, insight, energy, and much opportunity for growth – in mind, body and spirit. The question is whether we have the strength and courage to stay there for a while, and learn, and be, and allow others to do so as well.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • How did/do you experience your cocoon?
  • Are you comfortable being with your own pain and suffering?
  • Do you look outside immediately for answers to your pain and suffering?
  • What is/are the message(s) or lesson(s) you’re getting from your challenge(s)? How so?
  • How do you respond/react in the face of another’s challenges?
  • Are you quick to want to change, fix, advise, educate, console, story-tell, shut down, interrogate, explain, or correct another when they are hurting in some way?
  • Can you just “stand there?” Is that difficult for you? Be honest.
  • One a scale of 1(low) to 10 (high) where would you rate yourself, generally, with respect to being (a) compassionate, (b) understanding and (c) empathic? Would your spouse/partner, child(ren), best friend, workmates, or other family members agree with you. Would you feel comfortable asking them?
  • Can you love yourself and leave yourself alone (not judge, criticize or beat yourself up) when you’re experiencing pain and suffering?
  • Can you honestly believe you’re exactly where you’re meant to be right now in your life? Why? Why not?

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(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Are You a People Pleaser?

Image result for people-pleaser imagesImage result for people-pleaser images

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People who are always trying to please others seldom do. More often than actually their behavior is counter-productive and they end up generating irritation, negativity and anxiety rather than positivity or gratitude.

What about you?

Are you a people-pleaser? If so, there’s a good chance you learnt your behavior at a very young age. The impetus came from your (natural and normal) need to feel and be loved, acknowledged and recognized. If you felt that these needs were not being, met people-pleasing emerged as a survival mechanism.

More than that, you may not have been encouraged to love yourself, to please yourself, to show your value and worth, or to trust yourself.

So consciously or unconsciously, you choose the strategy of pleasing others, believing that if you did, others would love you back, that they would see your value and worth and validate you when you could not, or did not, validate yourself.

People-pleasing can be loud or quiet. It can take the form of talking non-stop or quietly maneuvering and navigating life in an effort to please others. You might constantly fuss over others driven by an “I hope I’m pleasing you” motive – although what you’re really asking is, “please acknowledge me!”

The real downside of people-pleasing is that you are giving yourself away – your power, your strength and your emotional and physic energy – by putting others’ wants and needs first. So whereas conscious and healthy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual consideration, the people-pleaser consistently sacrifices their self-responsibility in favor of being responsible to another.

But the irony is that trying to care for someone else in a dysfunctional way more often than not backfires. We annoy or aggravate the very person we tried to please and end up becoming angry, resentful and confused when they don’t appreciate our efforts or show gratitude in the way we would like.

Put bluntly, people-pleasing is a self-destructive and self-sabotaging way to attract love, recognition and acknowledgement. It never gets us the love and caring we want and deserve – ever.

Only when you learn to love yourself, appreciate yourself and nurture yourself just as you are, right here and right now, can you start to eliminate the need to put others ahead of yourself.

Some questions for self-reflection:

Have you ever felt you were a people-pleaser? How did that make you feel?
– What does people-pleasing get you that you cannot give yourself?
– Do you remember being a people-pleaser when you were young? What was that like?
– Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed when you put yourself first? Why?
– How do you feel when you do someone a favor and they don’t reciprocate?
– What baby step can you take to put yourself first?

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(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Resolutions and The Blame Game

Image result for resolutions 2017 images

New Year’s resolutions have been on almost everyone’s minds recently. Thousands of suggestions, “how tos,” and “best ways” are being offered to help folks make and keep their New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, as ever, 98 per cent of those who make resolutions will have given up or failed by Valentine’s Day.

There are three major reasons that our resolutions fail.

First, most of our resolutions are “mental” – that is, often they are simply thoughts that are wrapped in a burst of enthusiasm (read: will power) that is ephemeral and short-lived, unsustainable. Second, our intentionality does not come from “inside” – from our heart and soul. And third, we are caught in a “victim mentality” where scapegoating runs our lives. As victims, we’re so obsessed with blaming that we lack the strength to gain clarity about why we resist change or fail to follow through on our intentions.

But when we understand the nature of the “victim consciousness,” we gain insight into how real change can occur.

The victim is rife with self-limiting and self-sabotaging habits and patterns of living, working and relating. It is these self-limiting patterns that prevent us from doing and being from a place of integrity, responsibility, maturity, accountability and commitment. It is our subconscious drives that cause us pain and suffering.

When we look inside, we uncover our shadow self. This self feels victimized, lives a life of greed, ruthlessness, egocentricity, blind ambition, irresponsibility, inaction, and/or self-sabotage.

Choosing to reflect and become conscious of these habits and programming in an effort to release them supports us to evolve to a place where clarity and a truthful picture of our inner and outer realities will serve us well.

When we look deeply inside and reflect, we become more able to transmute the energies of our self-limiting habits and patterns into the energy of authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness – supported by our inner qualities of courage, commitment and steadfastness.

Four characteristics of a victim mentality are:

  • a lack of clarity about our goals: ping-ponging between and among realistic and unrealistic or illusory expectations and goals, and blaming others for our lack of clarity;
  • an inability to deal with time and resource limits and constraints and blaming other people and events for our inability to use time and other resources effectively and intelligently;
  • confusion around the law of cause and effect – lack of awareness about how we are creating/causing the current events in our life and a lack of clarity about how we can change our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and actions to effect positive change, believing that my issues are not about “me” but about others who are responsible for my issues; and,
  • denial that our life choices have positive or negative mental, physical, emotional and spiritual effects on our overall health and well-being, and that an insistence that pain and suffering are caused by some external event or circumstances.

Mired in the quicksand of victimization, we find ourselves constantly projecting our anger and negativity on to events, circumstances and others. We project our (unconscious) inner frustration with ourselves out towards anyone or anything we feel we can blame for our state in life. Sadly, we’re actually creating our own world but blaming others because it’s not what we want.

Taking time for honest and conscious self-reflection supports us to take responsibility for our self – including our “dark side.” Self-reflection sheds light on the stories we make up to avoid taking responsibility for how we project our stuff on to the world. Self-reflection supports us to identify how our emotional programming – anger and fears – shape our lives at work, at home and in our relationships.

When we are honest and clear about our wants and needs and what we are willing to do, we can create a solid foundation for our personal growth and development. We attract and relate with others who share the same self-empowering life view.

When we understand the lessons we need to learn from our current situation, what we need to do becomes clear. Then we have to choose to take action. However, this understanding requires focus, commitment, consistency and compassion for our self.

Spending time in our inner world is both emotionally and spiritually nourishing. This nourishment supports awareness of the “how” and “why” things appear in our lives – how we are creating our personal universe. Time in our inner world nurtures our capacity for self-love and self-kindness – which support us to create and live within a love-based, victim-less personal universe.

In this place of safety and protection, we begin to extricate our self from a victim mentality and move forward, from a place of positivity and steadfastness. In our inner world, there can be no victimization as it’s a place of neutrality – a place of soul qualities – clarity, peacefulness, groundedness, stillness, surrender and allowing.

Self-reflecting helps us observe how we use our emotions to create our inner and outer worlds, our worlds of victimization. For example, are we being “nice” to accommodate others in our attempt to feel acknowledged, seen and loved or because we authentically wish to engage in adult, heart-felt, mature relationships? Are we holding our physical, emotional and psychological boundaries with others or allowing others to threaten and abuse our boundaries so we can feel wanted and liked?

Once we have cultivated support, self-love and solid ground within, we can expand our space to include others. But we must be very conscious not to include any event, circumstance, idea, thing or person who will take us away from our center, from our self-love and move us back into feeling the victim.

When we surrender to (accommodate) someone else’s agenda, at work, at home, at play and in relationship, we enter their universe as a victim. The important question is why we allow others to control us.

Perhaps we lack our own solid and self-confident life agenda; or we aren’t in touch with our heart and soul and we don’t trust ourselves; or we look to satisfy our wants and needs outside ourselves and accommodate and compromise to be taken care of. Or maybe we just follow a path of least resistance in an attempt to avoid conflict and keep the peace. In all of these, we give away our power and become the victim.

Inner work and self-reflection, done diligently can often support us to realize our own authority, to assume responsibility for what we create and to own the consequences of our choices, decisions and actions.

Inner work and self-reflection can support us to focus on what really matters, to let go of what holds us back, to trust our soul and Spirit for guidance and to use our core, inner strength – not willpower, which hardly ever works – to take positive action for our self instead of engaging in self-destructive and self-sabotaging actions, releasing our self from the stranglehold of victimization.

Many resolutions are not conscious choices. They are knee-jerk reactions to something we don’t like about our self – and it’s usually about our packaging or some other surface issue.

True resolve requires a deep, inner, and conscious process. The start of 2017 is a wonderful opportunity to change our experience of failed resolutions to one of true and lasting change and transformation. We can choose to release the victim within and see what being in true control of our life is really like.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Who or what is my guiding authority? How is this authority working for me?
  • What are my core values and how do they direct my choices and decisions?
  • How do I choose and implement my personal standards?
  • Am I self-reliant? How?
  • Do I ever explore the dynamics of my inner world?
  • What bright light shines in my inner world? How so?
  • What does not shine in my inner world? Do I know why?
  • What feelings and thoughts inhabit my inner world? Are they supportive or limiting? How so?
  • Who’s in my personal world? Are they supportive or toxic? Do I want them there? How have I attracted them into my life?
  • Did I (or others in my family) experience being a victim when I was growing up? How? What was that like?
  • How can I create a more nurturing, loving and compassionate inner world for my body, mind and emotions?

———————————————

(c) 2017, Peter Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that thing is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Peace

chaos_schnick-604x270

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Peace…

…it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

I wish you much peace during the holidays and through 2017.

Peter

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(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Regaining Inner Peace

innerpeace

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I’m going to suggest some ways to find, or regain, inner peace. But, before I do, here are some “symptoms” that can tug on our sleeve, indicating we have, in fact, lost our sense of inner peace.

1.    I move through my day rather frenetically, often inattentive of the activities in which I’m engaged.
2.    I discover, after the fact, emotions that were driving my thoughts, words or actions earlier.
3.    I’m continuously bumping into things, losing things, dropping things and being careless.
4.    I find it challenging to be focused on the present moment.
5.    I often feel “off,” “out of it,” or disoriented.
6.    When I’m walking, or headed to a meeting or other event, place or location, I’m more focused on getting there and unaware of my experiences along the way.
7.    I’m unaware of physiological sensations of tension or upset until they become overwhelming.
8.    I have lots of difficulty remembering people’s names when I meet them for the first time.
9.    I’m very “robotic” (unaware) in the way I moved to my day.
10. I listen, but I don’t hear.
11. I spend a fair amount of my time during the day living in the past or the future.
12. I sometimes find myself doing something without being able to remember why I’m doing it.
13. I eat with a “mechanical hand” – food to mouth, food to mouth without really consciously engaging in my eating experience.
14. I sometimes have difficulty remembering what I read right after I read it.
15. The calm and balance I used to experience is now very elusive.

Stress

There’s no question stress is affecting many of us, and it seems to greater and greater degrees as we move forward in our lives – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Inner peace

The underlying theme that runs through inner peace is simply that “all is well with the world.” In this place, nothing or no one can sap our physical or psycho/emotional strength, make us angry, upset, jealous, fearful, sad, or the like.

The fact is, each one of us has access to inner peace – it’s inside us, it’s always been inside us. The question is, “What separates us from that inner peace?” So, to make it more personal, right here and right now, take a deep breath or two, relax as best you can, sense your feet on the floor and, if you’re sitting, sense your back against the chair and allow the chair to support you, and ask yourself this question, “What is separating me, right here and right now, from the inner peace that I know is inside me?” Take your time with this inquiry.

Be open, allowing and accepting and seeing what arises – without judgment, without criticism. Just be curious. What comes up for you? Tell the truth.

In essence, inner peace is a state where you are separate from your thoughts. Simple. But, not easy, right? Inner peace is a state where we’re less externally focused and more internally focused. “Inside” is where peace, equanimity, calm, happiness, etc. rest – not “out there.” You cannot create externally what you want to experience internally. This bears repeating – you cannot create externally what you want to experience internally.

Letting go

What would it take for you to let go of the externals (people, places, circumstances, events – past, present and future) and “be” right here and right now?

It’s not about thinking

The challenge is, “thinking” can’t get us there. While the neo-cortex (thinking, rational, logical, executive) part of the brain is powerful, it alone cannot get us to the place where we experience inner peace.

Other ways in

Moving into the right brain (e.g., the insula) and into the body is what allows us to access inner peace. For many folks meditation is the way in. But, it’s not the only way. Many folks don’t have the discipline or desire to meditate. And, that’s OK. Research tells us there are many “real world” and practical ways to get there. Here are some:

Smile and/or laugh
Spend time with an animal
Spend time in nature, watch the clouds; just look out your window and see what you see.
Do something kind for someone (and it doesn’t have to be on the “quantum” level)
Take a 30-second break at various times throughout your day to be by yourself and just breathe (no need to make anything happen – just breathe) or stretch (not “gym” stretching, but kind, gentle, relaxed stretching) and be curious.
Look around the room (or area, if you outside) and name the objects you see – no agenda here, no making anything happen, no judgment, just name what you see, while breathing gently.
Use “touch points” – at various times throughout the day. When you touch something, e.g., An eating utensil, a doorknob, a computer mouse, a toothbrush and the like, notice where you are, how you’re feeling and what you’re doing – without judgment or criticism. Just notice. And, breathe.
Notice five things in your day that you take for granted – that go unnoticed or are unappreciated – and be curious what we be like, for example, not to have these things, or notice their fine details, or notice how these things benefit you, etc. No judgment. And, breathe.
Scan your body. Starting at the top of your head and moving down through your body, pay attention to the physical feelings and sensations. Don’t judge them as good or bad, don’t try to change them, just be aware of them. Be curious. And, breathe.

These practices can support you to access inner peace, feel more grounded and centered and create a harmonious sense of balance. See what you see, what you discover. Be curious.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you experience any of the 15 symptoms listed at the beginning of this article? If so, which ones and how often? What thoughts, feelings, and physiological sensations do you notice as you reflect on these symptoms?
  • On a scale of one (low) to 10 (high), how would you characterize your stress level on an average day? Right now?
  • Is stress causing you mental, physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges? How so?
  • If you’re one who knows that you need to relax more, and you are either unable or unwilling to do so, what gets in the way? How so?
  • Do you wear “crazy-busy” as a merit badge?
  • On that 1-10 scale, above, how comfortable are you with being alone, spending time with yourself?
  • To what degree do you look for “externals” to bring you “internal” inner peace? How’s that working? Is it a sustainable process? Is it tiring or exhausting? Exhilarating?
  • Do you ever feel victimized by the world, e.g., people, places, events, circumstances? How so?
  • Do you spend a fair amount of time living in the past, or in the future? How so? What does living in the past or the future get you?
  • Are you happy – really, really, really happy?

 

—————————————————–
(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Pressure’s On

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 Northern Illinois University professor Larissa Barber, PhD, coined the term “telepressure” – the urge to respond immediately to work-related messages, no matter when they come.”

A study in Time magazine reports: “The majority of US workers (52 percent) check their e-mail during non-work hours, including on sick days. Depending on your employer, it may be an unspoken requirement to respond immediately, but, more likely, you respond right away not because of actual workplace policy but due to a phenomenon known as “telepressure.”

Meshing work and home

The question I would interject is “To what degree is the meshing of your work life and home life affecting your health – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological?”

Prof. Barber’s research found: “…those who felt greater telepressure, and therefore a stronger urge to check and respond to e-mails at all hours, faced some serious consequences.”

Knee-jerk reactions

Telepressure is a two edge sword – one edge, necessitating the other. On the one hand, our addiction to our devices creates a neurological dynamic in our brains, not unlike addiction, to seek more and more stimulation – checking my iPhone, checking my smart phone, checking my social media sites-non-stop, always seeking more, more and more. It’s the progressive drug that requires ever greater doses in order to satiate.

The other edge is the immediacy with which we feel compelled to reply or to respond. This immediacy often precludes what’s needed in that very moment – time to reflect, time to think, time to analyze and time to step back. This immediacy often results in less-than-optimal choices and decisions. Lose-lose.

Psycho/emotional health

Prof. Barber reports that those who engage in this constant state of stimulus and response, face some serious health consequences: worse sleep, higher levels of burnout (physical and cognitive), and increased health-related absences from work.

One unfortunate downside of always being “on” and “available” 24/7, 365 is pure and simple: exhaustion, stress, burnout, rust-out, disengagement and presenteeism (your body shows up, but you don’t). And, the fact you’re announcing to folks (i.e., sent from my device at all hours), “I’m always available. Contact me anytime.”

The constant wear and tear and stress that accompanies always being “on” and “available” has serious psychological effects – suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and other stress-related afflictions such as diabetes, heart attacks, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction.

The body and mind cannot race at 100 miles an hour non-stop and not break down in some way, shape or form. No matter how invulnerable or invincible you think you are.

The challenge for folks today is not how to connect but to disconnect. Our devices have become extensions of ourselves. Folks need to learn how to disconnect from their devices in order to connect or reconnect with themselves.

Other research tells us that spending an inordinate amount of time at night in artificial light, interferes with the body’s production of melatonin which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. People who use their computer or smartphones near bedtime are more likely to report symptoms of insomnia.

Crazy-busy

Many folks these days wear “crazy busy” as a merit badge. Many folks regard busyness and “living in the fast lane” as status symbols. These folks seem to think their status is in direct proportion to the number of emails they receive or number of meetings they attend. Writer Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, explains:

“…overwork has really become pervasive. I’m not talking about hard work. I’m all for hard work that we find meaning in. But overwork leaves us burned out and disengaged butts in chairs at work and fried at home without the energy to do much more than flop down in front of the boob tube.”

Antidotes

There are answers, or antidotes, if you’re able and willing to make some choices. Some suggestions:

Boundaries
Create boundaries between your work life and personal life. Plug-in when you’re at work and unplug when you’re not. Coming home and “plugging in” as a way of winding down and relaxing is powerfully self-destructive. To think of “plugging in” as a form of relaxation at home is a delusion, pure and simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unplug!

Exercise
Get your body moving; oxygenate your cells, your brain, your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Exercise reduces and alleviates stress. Exercise is a natural antidepressant.

Spend More Time outside
Being in nature, whether you’re actively running or walking, or gardening or simply sitting is a natural stress reducer. And being outside, unencumbered by your devices, is even more so.

Focus on Your Breath
Research is showing more and more today than mindfulness practice, which includes slow, quiet and deep belly breathing, can support your mind, body and spirit to be in optimal balance, harmony and regulation. Every cell in your body responds positively to mindfulness and breathing practices. Mindfulness and breathing practices help to regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, producing states of inner peace, equanimity, serenity, positivity and the like.

Engage in what you enjoy
Do what you enjoy doing without giving in to yours or others’ critiques or judgments. Have fun.

Watch your diet
First and foremost, do you know the science between diet and health, between diet and energy, between diet and well-being, between gut-health and overall health, between eating early in the evening and eating just before bedtime and how food affects mood, the brain and you nervous system? If not, spend some quality time doing just a bit of research about diet and health. Eat mindfully. That is, dispense with the “mechanical hand” that shoves food in nonstop, unconsciously and focus on the “what” and the “how” when you’re eating. Be as peaceful as you can – in mind, body and spirit – when you eat. Learn how to eat consciously.

Monitor your emotional state
Continually ask yourself with curiosity (and this is extremely important) and not with judgment or criticism, “What am I thinking?” And “What am I feeling?” Asking yourself these questions on a consistent basis can support you to become a witness, watcher and observer of yourself in such a that you become more and more able to move away from dysfunctional emotional states into states of positivity, stability and well-being. This practice can greatly help to reduce stress and short-circuit the beliefs and the thoughts which take you into the dark or gray places.

Connect
Loneliness is a huge stress producer. Set your intention to meet regularly with a good friend (or friends) on a regular basis so you can get “outside yourself.” Explore if there are ways you can serve and support others in some capacity to move out of your mental and emotional ZIP Code. Connection is good for the mind, body and soul.

Take “FSBs” – Frequent Short Breaks.
Get yourself a timer and set it to go off every (30) minutes. When it goes off (be reasonable; don’t plan this exercise if you know you’ll be in a meeting, etc.) and when it goes off stop what you’re doing and take one to two minutes to, for example, just breathe, go for a short walk – inside or out, stare out the window, meditate, walk up and down a flight of stairs, shake your body in place, and the like. Taking frequent short breaks is a powerful way to master your emotions, reduce stress, become more productive and energized, work optimally and otherwise experience a true sense of well-being.

Questions for self-reflection:

  • How often are you “connected” to your devices at home? Are you able to “unplug” at home?
  • Does your spouse/partner ever react that you spend more time with your phone than with him/her?
  • How knowledgeable are you about the relationship between diet and health?
  • Are you in good physical shape – but not in good psychological/emotional/spiritual health?
  • On a scale of 1(low) to 10(high) how would you describe your stress level on an average day at work, and at home?
  • Do you incorporate any of the suggestions above into your life? How so?
  • Do you go through withdrawal when you’re away from your devices for a while? What’s that like for you?
  • What’s your relationship with being alone and with loneliness?
  • Are you comfortable with silence?
    —————————————————–
    (c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

    What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

    I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

    I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Reality and reality

screen

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“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” – William Shakespeare

If you put 200 people – diverse in as many ways as possible – in a theatre and then project the world going by in real time, no doubt these 200 folks will have 200 different opinions, reactions, observations, judgments, or takes on what they’re viewing.

Reality vs. reality

As these folks sit and watch, what’s informing their interpretation, their perception, is their internal map of reality. While “Reality” (capital R) is what’s passing by on the screen, most everyone is seeing that reality from their own “inner” reality – their beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, misperceptions, premises and “stories” they’ve created, paradigms, that is, their history, memory and experience, describe what they’re viewing. No two people are “hardwired” the same; thus, their views about life and living are products of their respective life experiences, beginning at birth.

So, then, what is “real” reality and what is the reality we create in our immediate experience? The answer to this question can help us understand why we experience so much conflict in dealing not only with ourselves but with one another – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Koan

In Zen and Buddhism, a “koan” is a challenging question or statement that prompts one to engage in reflection – the intention is to lead one to a higher state of understanding or awareness. There is a Zen koan that says: “Show me your original face before you were born.”

This koan asks us to stretch – in a way that allows us to access our True, Real and Authentic Self – the self we are/were before being born. In this process, we transcend our “database” of thoughts, concepts, beliefs, etc., and move to a place of no-mind – where we experience Reality as it truly is, experience our self as we truly are. Our true face before we were born is actually who we were (and still are!) before we were shaped and crafted by our “life experience.”

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The koan is not meant to cause a reactive: “How can I have a face, or exist, before I was born?” It is a question of “Who am I without my set of beliefs, or my image of myself or an identity that I’ve adopted for myself?”

Reflecting on the koan can help us see how attached we are to “my reality,” – my beliefs, assumptions, theories, perceptions, and perspectives, etc. Deep reflection can also support us to flow in a space of no-mind, an “original space” of mental quietude, unencumbered by our thoughts and thought patterns – our history, memory or experiences.

Letting go

The point is that when we become more natural and internally quiet, and we are able to let go, we can better interact with others, not as a robotic, human collection of beliefs, opinions, or assumptions, etc., but as one who is open, curious, and accepting in the way we experience our world.

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” – William Shakespeare

We sort of “re-birth” ourselves each time we draw a conclusion about “who I am.” Each time we make a decision/judgment about our self – “I’m not good in social situations with others,” I’m a great leader,” “I have problems with difficult people,” I’m not very smart,” – we create our identity, our “subjective” face and move farther away from our “original” face.

But, each of us has an “original face” – the face of who we were before we identified with anything or anyone. And, the good news is we can return to our original face, the place of inner peace and well-be-ing, if we learn to let go of our “false face.”  Our “original face” is not only devoid of the superficial, surface elements of make-up, but the “false face” of beliefs and assumptions about who we think we are, most often, beliefs that really don’t serve us and cause us pain and suffering.

Don’t take it personally

When we don’t take the people, events and circumstances of our world personally, we can move into a place of deep relaxation and peace – our “original face.” Here, we can watch the projection of the world go by right in front of us – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without the need to become reactive. Rather, our experience is one without tension, pretension, fakeness, or phoniness – none of the “shoulds” telling us how to be or what to do.

“Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.” – Logan Pearsall Smith

Surviving

So, what takes us away from our “original face?” In a word, survival. First, as young children our survival – physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual – depended on our unconsciously taking on others’ beliefs as to how we should behave. If we behaved accordingly, we “survived.” If not, we lost out on love, recognition, approval and for some, safety and security. As we developed, we took on more and more beliefs, assumptions and ways of do-ing and be-ing that we felt would help us “survive” – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Now, as adults, we no longer have access to our “original face.” We wear masks, and have various personas we take off and put on daily so we can “survive.” Having lost our “original face,” we’ve become unconsciously controlled by our ego mind as reflected by our inability to just let the world pass by as we sit in that theatre. Rather, we have an unconscious need to react, judge, compare, contrast, offer opinions, and be “right.”  We put our best face forward, to survive. We hold on to all our faces so we have them just in case.

“Solitude: sweet absence of faces.” – Milan Kundera

When we let go of our false faces, of our need to “survive,” and habitual and patterned ways of thinking, do-ing and be-ing, and allow ourselves to sink into and penetrate deeply into our core Self, we set ourselves free – free to allow our “original face” – free from self-limiting, self-defeating, and self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, “stories” and identifications. In this place we can sit in the theatre of life and experience the world – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without needing to take it “personally.”

Our “original face” is what supports us to see the freshness of life, in every moment, free of conflict and the need to be judgmental, confrontational, combative or controlling.

Some questions for self-reflection are:

  • When was the last time you experienced your “original face?”
  • Aside from physical elements such as make-up, surgery, or hair coloring, etc., what mental, emotional or attitudinal elements obscure your original face?
  • Do you tend to take people, events or circumstances “personally?” If so, how so and why?
  • Do you recall behaving in ways you didn’t want, as a child, to get your parents’ or primary caregiver’s attention, love, acceptance or approval? Do you behave in those ways now to get others’ acceptance and approval?
  •  If you were sitting in that theatre, would you be able to simply watch, witness and observe without feeling the need to judge, critique or inject your $.02? Be honest. How about in your everyday world?
  • In addition to your closet of clothes, do you have a closet of faces and personas you take out and put on for different events, circumstances and people? Why is that?
  • Would folks describe you as authentic? How do you know? Would you ask them? If not, why not?
  • What was being authentic like for you when you were growing up? Were you able to have your “original face?” Were you encouraged to have your “original face?”
  • Can you envision a world where everyone wore their “original face?”

“There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

—————————————————–
(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Why?

why

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It’s the one question we learned in childhood that often drove our parents or primary caregivers up the wall. Even as adults, our various flavors of “why?” can still drive others nuts – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. And, many of us continue to ask “Why?” consistently – not satisfied with “standard” responses or “conventional” wisdom.

“Because”

Often, when we asked “Why?” as children, the responses we got didn’t satisfy us or make sense. In addition, when we heard something like, “I don’t know,” “That’s a dumb question,” “Because that’s just the way it is,” or “It’s a mystery,” and the like, we learned to stop asking. Unfortunately, many of us lost our curiosity and our inquisitiveness.

In reality, we did not really lose this aspect of ourself, we repressed it, stuffed it down. But, deep down, many of us still have a burning desire to know “why.”  For example, this is why, consciously or unconsciously, so many of us long to know the meaning of life. The ultimate “why?”.

The search for meaning

The search for meaning is basically a search for significance – significance of what is not obvious. When we find answers, sometimes they are objective – questions about day-to-day life, details, facts, and so on. (Think: “Why is the sky blue?”)

On a meta level, however, “Why?” is about life itself and its attendant puzzles, challenges and conundrums – e.g., questions about pain and suffering, striving and struggling, death and separation, etc. In the final analysis, the “Why?” is really about “me” – Who am I? Why am I here? What’s the meaning of my life’s experience? These deeper questions cannot be answered with objective facts or details. When we grow our soul and move to higher or deeper levels of consciousness, we move towards what we know as “enlightenment” – higher or deeper levels of knowing and understanding that really aren’t “knowledge” as we would define it in a Western way.

So, what’s the point?

Finding meaning and gaining “higher” understanding is not about escaping from, detouring around or eliminating life’s challenges. Suffering will still exist, for example, but we don’t have to have “pain” (emotional, psychological and/or spiritual) around it. We can choose to move beyond feeling like a victim, for example. Death will still remain an inevitability, but we can choose to approach it from a place of inner peace and equanimity, not abject fear, denial or resistance. Understanding the deeper meaning of a painful relationship, for example, can move us to a place where we can love once more.

We all have this deep inner longing to know “why.” Sometimes we do repress it, or stay in denial, or resist it (like, metaphorically, when we were children we might place our hands over our ears and shout so we didn’t have to listen to unpleasant “noise,” shouting or to what was being said). However, resisting our deep inner urge to know “why” is a futile attempt to live life from an ego-driven, not heart- or soul-driven, place.

And, for those of you who are still placing your hands over your ears, what would it feel like if you gave yourself permission to ask “Why?”

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • If you played back the tape of your day today, or yesterday, what might you see about your motives, the “why,” for your actions and behaviors?
  • Identify a recent emotional experience and explore the deeper meaning behind it. Why do you think that experience happened FOR (not TO) you?
  • Take some quiet time and ask yourself, “What questions about my self and my life am I avoiding?” Why do you think you’re resisting asking yourself these questions?
  • Why do you think you’re on the planet?
  • How did your parents/primary caregivers, friends, relatives and teachers respond when you asked “Why?” How did that make you feel?
  • Were you curious as a child? Are you now?
  • What are your curious about these days? Why?

(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

 

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Serenity and Chaos

storm

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 “So nothing is ever good or bad unless you think it so, and vice versa. All luck is good luck to the man who bears it with equanimity.” – Boethius (Anicius Manlius Severinus), Consolation of Philosophy

It appears lots of folks are experiencing life these days caught up in some flavor of crisis or conflict  – at work, at home, at play or in relationship. They experience a form of conflict and stress around issues, for example, like leading and managing, or processes, deadlines, budgets and job security, or personal relationships and unresolved conflicts, or how to resolve health or education challenges, or whether what they are doing is what they really want to be doing with their life.

Stress is the container in which they live their lives – consistently experiencing racing heartbeats, shortness of breath, tight jaws, facial frowns, rigid postures, negative emotions and feelings, critical and judgmental inner dialogue, illness and dis-ease. A life defined by automated, robotic reactivity to conflict and crisis. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

What is equanimity?

“Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others.” – Oscar Wilde

Merriam-Webster defines equanimity as: an evenness of mind under stress – a habit of mind that is rarely disturbed under great strain; a controlling of emotional or mental agitation through will and habit; a steadiness when facing strain.

Equanimity is a practice in Buddhist and Sufi traditions. Equanimity is the foundation for wisdom and freedom, compassion and love. Equanimity is not, as some might believe, a coolness, indifference or aloofness, suppression/repression of feelings, apathy or inexpressiveness. The Buddha described equanimity as a mind that is abundant, immeasurable, and without hostility or ill-will.

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” – Albert Einstein

What does equanimity look like?

Equanimity is the capacity to remain neutral, to witness from a distance, and be at peace without getting caught up in what we observe. It’s the capacity to see the big picture with understanding, without reactivity, for example, to another’s words, ideology, perspective, position, premise, or philosophy. In essence, we take nothing personally; refuse to get caught up in the drama, our own or others’.

Equanimity allows us to be in the midst of conflict or crisis in a way where we are balanced, grounded and centered. Equanimity has the qualities of inner peace, harmony, well be-ing, vitality, strength, and steadfastness. Equanimity allows us to remain upright in the face of the strong winds of conflict and crisis, such as: blame, failure, pain, or dispute – winds that set us up for suffering when they begin to blow. Equanimity protects us from being “blown over” and helps us stay on an “even keel.”

How do we develop equanimity?

There are several mind/body qualities that support the development of equanimity. One is integrity. Do-ing and be-ing in integrity supports our feeling confident when we speak and act. Being in integrity fosters an equanimity that results in “blamelessness,” feeling comfortable in any setting or with any group without the need to find fault or blame. Another quality that supports equanimity is faith (not necessarily a religious or theological faith) – a faith based on wisdom, conviction or confidence. This type of faith allows us to meet challenge, crisis or conflict head on with assurance, with equanimity. A third quality is that of a well-developed mind – a mind that reflects stability, balance and strength. We develop such a mind through a conscious and consistent practice of focus, concentration, attention and mindfulness. A well-developed, calm mind keeps us from being blown about by winds of conflict and crisis.

A fourth quality is a heightened, cultivated sense of well-be-ing which we develop by engaging in practices or activities that take us out of our robotic, programmed ego-driven life and focus on a higher or deeper sense of consciousness, such as meditation, martial arts, self-reflection, the arts, and right-brain focused actions and activities. A fifth quality that supports equanimity is understanding or wisdom which allows us to accept, be present and aware to our experience without our mind or heart resisting or contracting. In this place we separate people from their actions; we agree or disagree while being in balance with them. We take nothing personally. Another quality is knowing that others create their own reality so we are able to exhibit equanimity in the face of others’ pain or suffering and not feel we need to take responsibility for their well be-ing in the face of their conflict or crisis. It’s a flavor of compassion

A sixth quality that supports equanimity is seeing reality for what it is, for example, that change and impermanence are a fact of life. We become detached (not unattached) and less clingy to our attachments. This means letting go of negative judgments about our experience and replacing them with an attitude of loving kindness or acceptance and a compassionate matter-of-factness. The more we become detached, the deeper we experience equanimity. The final quality is freedom – letting go of our need to be reactive so we can witness, watch and observe without needing to get caught up in the fray, the winds – maintaining a consistent relaxed state within our body as sensations (e.g., strong, subtle, pleasant, unpleasant, physiological, or emotional) move through.

Equanimity, thus, has two aspects: the power of observation and an inner balance, both of which support one to be mindful, awake, aware and conscious. The greater the degree we are mindful, the greater our capacity for equanimity. The greater our equanimity, the greater our ability to remain steady and balanced as we navigate through the rough waters and gusty winds of change, challenge and conflict.

When we’re out of balance, lacking equanimity

In our everyday physical world, when we lose our balance, we fall. In our emotional world, we stuff our feelings and emotions, deny them or contract around them. Or we identify with a particular thought, feeling or emotion, hold on to it rather than allow it to flow through us or pass like a cloud in the sky. The middle ground is equanimity – the state of non-interference.

Equanimity allows for a deeper, more fulfilling experience.

“When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.”Marcus Aurelius

As we develop our capacity for equanimity, we begin to notice when we drop into a “state of equanimity.” Being aware of our experience, we can explore the state; this practice will lead to more frequent and deeper states of equanimity. What we find with such practice is that people, events, objects and circumstances that once caused us to be reactive no longer have any “charge” and we are more and more able to let go and feel less “bothered.” We suffer less.

Equanimity allows for a safe harbor in the center of the storm – when we are caught up in the stresses of life at work, at home, at play and in relationship. In this place, we are more capable of meeting life with inner aplomb, without giving in to the underlying currents of tension and turmoil, and more able to respond effectively instead of reactively. Our responses take place in the conscious context of acceptance and equanimity.

Equanimity allows us to live a life of true and real achievement free from the trap of ego-based likes and dislikes, and emotional reactivity. The beauty of equanimity is that it supports us to live our life in such a way that we can experience a heightened sense of well-be-ing regardless of external events or circumstances, crises or conflicts, in a way that we experience clarity, alertness and ease in the moment.

Equanimity allows us to feel relaxed, make clearer, more honest, sincere and self-responsible choices and decisions, engage in more effective communication with others, speak the truth, be genuinely interested in listening to others, and be more trusting and trustworthy.

Same questions for self-reflection:

  • To what extent do I experience quiet confidence, equanimity and calmness in my life at work, at home, at play and in relationship?
  • Am I generally free from stress, worry, fear, hate, anger, irritation, or confusion?
  • What keeps me from experiencing equanimity? How so?
  • What attachments do I have that cause me constant anxiety, fear, or stress?
  • Would my close friends, family, spouse/partner describe me as calm?
  • Do I feel I’m living a life of real achievement? Why, why not?
  • Do I engage in a practice that brings me inner peace, or a sense of calm, balance, harmony and well-be-ing? If not, what “story” do I tell myself or others to justify or rationalize my not doing so?
  • Who in my life exhibits equanimity on a consistent basis?
  • What was my experience of (my own or others’) equanimity like when I was were growing up?
  • Can I visualize a world where I can experience equanimity on a regular basis. What would be necessary for that to happen?

“For want of self-restraint many men are engaged all their lives in fighting with difficulties of their own making, and rendering success impossible by their own cross-grained ungentleness; whilst others, it may be much less gifted, make their way and achieve success by simple patience, equanimity, and self-control.” – Smiles

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(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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