Drop Tart Tone

Feeling a little sour? The Practice: Drop tart tone. Why?Tone matters.I remember times I felt frazzled or aggravated and then said something with an edge to it that just wasn't necessary or useful. Sometimes it was the words themselves: such as absolutes like "never" or always," or over-the-top phrases like "you're such a flake" or "that was stupid." More often it was the intonation in my voice, a harsh vibe or look, interrupting, or a certain intensity in my body. However I did … [Read more...]

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...]

Give No One Cause to Fear You

Give No One Cause to Fear You - Just One Thing

What puts people at ease? The Practice: Give no one cause to fear you. Why?We evolved to be afraid.The ancient ancestors that were casual and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them - predators, loss of food, aggression from others of their kind - did not pass on their genes. But the ones that were nervous were very successful - and we are their great-grandchildren, sitting atop the food chain.Consequently, multiple hair-trigger systems in your brain continually … [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...]

Ask Questions

What are you learning? The Practice: Ask questions. Why?My dad grew up on a ranch in North Dakota. He has a saying from his childhood - you may have heard it elsewhere - that's: "You learn more by listening than by talking."Sure, we often gain by thinking out loud, including discovering our truth by speaking it. But on the whole, listening brings lots more valuable information than talking does.Nonetheless, many people are not the greatest listeners. (You've probably noticed this … [Read more...]

Stay Right When You’re Wronged

What happens after you're mistreated? The Practice: Stay right when you're wronged. Why?It's easy to treat people well when they treat you well. The real test is when they treat you badly.Think of times you've been truly wronged, in small ways or big ones. Maybe someone stole something , turned others against you, broke an agreement, cheated on you, or spoke unfairly or abusively.When things like these happen, I feel mad, hurt, startled, wounded, sad. Naturally it arises to want … [Read more...]


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