Wake Up To Good News

Are you exaggerating sticks while downplaying carrots? The Practice: Wake up to good news. Why? “Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science, ethics, and relationships. But we have a brain that evolved to tell lies to help us survive. As I’ve written before, over several hundred million years our ancestors: * Had to avoid [...] [Read more...]

Change The Channel

What can you do when nothing is working? The Practice: Change the channel. Why? In response to my previous JOT – Find Stillness – a wise therapist, Betsy Sansby, reminded me that sometimes a person just can’t find any stillness anywhere. Maybe you have epilepsy or chronic pain, or are wildly worried about a child [...] [Read more...]

Forgive

Are you holding onto feeling wronged? The Practice: Forgive. Why? Forgiveness is a tricky topic. First, it has two distinct meanings: *  To give up resentment or anger *  To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include [...] [Read more...]

Give No One Cause to Fear You

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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [Read More...]

Empty The Cup

Are you full to the rim? The Practice: Empty the cup. Why? Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar’s cup: gradually the tea rose to the very brim and began [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 [Read More...]


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