Just One Thing

Are you feeling unneeded pain? The Practice: Minimize painful experiences. Why? Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish - and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse...

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...

What do their faces say to you? The Practice: Receive faces. Why? As our ancestors evolved over millions of years in small bands, continually interacting and working with each other, it was vitally important to communicate in hundreds of ways each day. They shared information about external "carrots"...

What makes you feel threatened? The Practice: Don't be intimidated. Why? Humans evolved to be fearful, since anxiety helped keep our ancestors alive. Consequently, we are vulnerable to being alarmed, manipulated, and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.” This vulnerability to feeling threatened has...

Could it crack? The Practice: Embrace fragility. Why? The truth of anything is like a mosaic with many tiles, many parts. One part of the truth of things is that they are robust and enduring, whether it's El Capitan in Yosemite or the love of a child for her...

Do You Care? The Practice: Have compassion. Why? Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer - from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish - combined with feelings of sympathetic concern. You could have compassion for an individual (a friend in the hospital, a co-worker...

Friend or Foe? The Practice: Be friendly. Why? Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive. Think about a time when someone was friendly to you - maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did...

Who do you argue with? The Practice Don't quarrel. Why It's one thing to stick up for yourself and others. But it's a different matter to get caught up in wrangles, contentiousness, squabbles . . . in a word: quarrels. Similarly, it's one thing to disagree with someone, even...

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