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...]

Pet the Lizard

Down deep, do you feel at ease? The Practice: Pet the lizard. Why?I've always liked lizards.Growing up in the outskirts of Los Angeles, I played in the foothills near our home. Sometimes I'd catch a lizard and stroke its belly, so it would relax in my hands, seeming to feel at ease.In my early 20's, I found a lizard one chilly morning in the mountains. It was torpid and still in the cold and let me pick it up. Concerned that it might be freezing to death, I placed it on the … [Read more...]

Remember The Big Things

What matters most to you? The Practice: Remember the big things. Why?In every life, reminders arrive about what's really important.I've recently received one myself, in a form that's already come to countless people and will come to countless more: news of a potentially serious health problem. My semi-annual dermatology mole check turned up a localized melanoma cancer in my ear that will need to come out immediately. The prognosis is very positive - this thing is "non-invasive" - but … [Read more...]

Rest

Busy, busy? The Practice: Rest. Why?This practice is definitely a case of teaching what you need to learn: I've been working through a big bucket of tasks lately with little chance to rest. (I console myself with knowing that the bucket is emptying a lot faster than it's filling with new tasks.)Sometimes you can really feel what you need to do by feeling what's happening for you when you don't. "Don't," that is: ease up, unwind, recharge, put your feet up, take a load off, just … [Read more...]

Relax, You’ve Arrived – Just One Thing

Are we there yet? The Practice Relax, you've arrived. Why?We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere.Part of this comes from our biological nature. To survive, animals - including us - have to be goal-directed, leaning into the future.It's certainly healthy to pursue wholesome aims, like paying the rent on time, raising children well, healing old pain, or improving education.But it's also important to see how this focus on the future - on endless striving, on getting the … [Read more...]

Notice You’re Alright Right Now – Just One Thing

Are you basically OK? The Practice Notice you're alright right now. Why?To keep our ancestors alive, the brain evolved strong tendencies toward fear, including an ongoing internal trickle of unease. This little whisper of worry keeps you scanning your inner and outer worlds for signs of trouble.This background of unsettledness and watchfulness is so automatic that you can forget it's there. So see if you can tune into a tension, guarding or bracing in your body. Or a vigilance about your … [Read more...]

Speak from the Heart – Just One Thing

What's Your Heart Say? The Practice Speak from the heart. Why?One Christmas I hiked down into the Grand Canyon, whose bottom lay a vertical mile below the rim. Its walls were layered like a cake, and a foot-high stripe of red or gray rock indicated a million-plus years of erosion by the Colorado river. Think of water - so soft and gentle - gradually carving through the hardest stone to reveal great beauty. Sometimes what seems weakest is actually most powerful.In the same way, speaking … [Read more...]


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