See Beings Not Bodies

What happens when you look at someone? The Practice: See beings, not bodies. Why?When we encounter someone, usually the mind automatically slots the person into a category: man, woman, your friend Tom, the kid next door, etc. Watch this happen in your own mind as you meet or talk with a co-worker, salesclerk, or family member.In effect, the mind summarizes and simplifies tons of details into a single thing - a human thing to be sure, but one with an umbrella label that makes it … [Read more...]

Receive Generosity

Do you accept the gift? The Practice: Receive generosity. Why?Life gives to each one of us in so many ways.For starters, there’s the bounty of the senses – including chocolate chip cookies, jasmine, sunsets, wind singing through pine trees, and just getting your back scratched.What does life give you?Consider the kindness of friends and family, made more tangible during a holiday season, but of course continuing throughout the year.Or the giving of the people whose hard wor … [Read more...]

See the Good in Others

What do you notice in people? The Practice: See the good in others. Why?Many interactions these days have a kind of bumper-car quality to them. At work, at home, on the telephone, via email: we sort of bounce off of each other while we exchange information, smile or frown, and move on. How often do we actually take the extra few seconds to get a sense of what's inside other people - especially their good qualities?In fact, because of what scientists call the brain's "negativity bias" … [Read more...]

Hug the Monkey

Longing for love? The Practice: Hug the monkey. Why?Your brain evolved in three stages (to simplify a complex process):Reptile - Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal - Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate - Cortex, focused on attaching to "us"The first JOT in this series - pet the lizard - was about how to soothe the most ancient structures of the brain, the ones that manage the first emotion of all: fear. The next one - feed the mouse - addressed how … [Read more...]

Feed The Mouse

Got cheese? The Practice: Feed the mouse. Why?As the nervous system evolved, your brain developed in three stages:Reptile - Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal - Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate - Cortex, focused on attaching to "us"Since the brain is integrated, avoiding, approaching, and attaching are accomplished by its parts working together. Nonetheless, each of these functions is particularly served and shaped by the region of the brain that … [Read more...]

Say Thanks

Say Thanks - Just One Thing

Each Thanksgiving holiday, we are reminded to be thankful. When times are tough, finding reasons to be thankful may be challenging or even seem inappropriate or impossible. This year, before we sit around the dinner table, let’s think about the myriad benefits to saying thanks, and how to truly savor the opportunity, no matter what.What do others give you? The Practice: Say thanks. Why?What do you feel when someone thanks you for something? For a comment in a meeting, a task done at h … [Read more...]


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