The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

How Toxic Positivity Can Affect Your Health: Benefits of Complaining

Katie Couric spoke to a therapist about how she grieved Jay’s death, the dangers of toxic positivity and the benefits of negativity.
— Read on katiecouric.com/health/dangers-of-toxic-positivity-benefits-of-negativity/

🌀On the importance of doing a thorough Brain Dump to release and let go of your unexpressed grief, rage, disgust and other negative feelings. You cannot do a Spiritual or Cognitive By-Pass!

🌀Tears are the language of grief, and messy, hard crying jags are on the road to wellness.

🌀After reading this article, I will never again say “Everything happens for a reason” (out loud). Mea culpa, mea culpa…

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LIFESPAN: Why We Age, and Why We Don’t Have To, by David Sinclair, PhD

Video Comment: (3 min) https://youtu.be/pGSuysVYo2Y

FUN FACT: “The number of centenarians – people in their 100s – is soaring worldwide as life spans continue to grow. In 1990, there were about 95,000 centenarians, but by 2015 there were 450,000, according to United Nations estimates.  By 2100, the U.N. projects, there will be 25 million.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES [quoted in THE WEEK, 14 MAY 2021, p. 16]

To that end, here is my review of LIFESPAN: WHY WE AGE, AND WHY WE DON’T HAVE TO, by David Sinclair, PhD (2019, Simon and Shuster: New York):

“Aging is a disease…and it is the Mother of all diseases, the one we all suffer from.” David Sinclair has evidence that there is a cure for aging. This is the basic hypothesis of this work.

The good news: fresh from the labs of Harvard, MIT and many other top research institutes around the world, Sinclair shares the very exciting and hopeful reports which indicate that our life expectancy is about to grow — the average person will live to 150 years soon, and possibly much longer…

The less good news: there is quite a bit of resistance and kickback to this longevity work which creates research funding issues. People have economic, philosophical, religious and ethical issues about longevity. Tampering with our genes, reversing cell damage, increasing strength and brain function results in an increased life expectancy.

The first part of this book is highly technical – Sinclair enthusiastically deconstructs his research and his peers’ work on gene editing and other relevant experiments.

Approximately the middle third of this book is about longevity techniques, treatments, prevention, and ways to stay healthy. We learn more about intermittent fasting, cold plunges, dietary suggestions, and possibly useful supplements (surprisingly few). There is no true “Magic Bullet” here. Yet.

The last third of the book explores the implications of increased longevity, and how it will affect our culture (and Social Security questions). Sinclair successfully resolves dozens of serious conflicts and considerations that have been thrown at him – and this part was both interesting and annoying at times. The worst case scenarios are all addressed with positive extrapolations for the mutual benefit of all humans – so there is no reason not to send billions of dollars to these researchers to unlock the secret code to aging successfully.

I hope one or more of our billionaires get word of this book and send over a few billion dollars to Sinclair and his buddies so they can finally nail down the aging disease and, dare I say it, CURE AGING!

What was annoying to learn here was how people’s ignorance and fear blocks this work! Basically, if Sinclair and his tribe can slow down and even reverse aging, they will also be eliminating cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more chronic diseases which all arise from the aging process.

I agree with Sinclair, this is NOT a moral or ethical issue. Increasing our longevity is part of our natural evolution and is a natural next step.

IN SUM, there is a solution to aging, and when we find it, it will help our species and benefit all of mankind in amazing ways.

On a personal note, I have been affirming that I am going to be a Super Centenarian (110+) for decades already…so now, I’m correcting that and plan to live to at least 150 years or longer. I always knew I was going to peak in my 60s…so I’m not even halfway through this awesome adventure in living!

Sinclair has inspired me to ramp up my longevity activities – the one thing I have resisted is the cold plunge (the Wim Hof method). I’ve been aware of Wim Hof’s works for years – so for a while I was going to a cryotherapy tank every week and taking the cold plunge inside of -260 F tank for 3 minutes. That was very useful and I loved it.  

In addition, my teacher Tim Ferriss has discussed and explored this work on his podcast to the point where I feel like a fool for not doing it regularly. (Ferriss takes ice baths regularly). My version of the Wim Hof method is to walk outside in cold weather wearing a light coat or vest and NOT bundling up all the way. (I wear a hat, scarf and gloves to avoid frostbite.)

So I’m excited about the possibility of living WELL at 150+ years of life, and to empower others to do the same. Yes, it’s the TEAM WORK that makes the DREAM WORK!

May we all age well together🌟

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UP NEXT: Winter/Spring DBT Skills Training January – April 2022 (on Zoom)

Once again I am delighted to be facilitating a new semester of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills training.  Here is the DBT flyer for the next group on Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation:

DBT Flyer for Winter-Spring 2022

Fast Facts:

  • All 90-minute groups are $65/Week (self pay, no copays.)  
  • Students pay in full prior to start of group. Personal checks, money orders or PayPal are used for fees. All fees and registration forms must be completed by December 30, 2021 to gain entry to this group.
  • My students are 95% well mannered, high functioning and convivial.  For those who occasionally tend to demand more attention, want to give inappropriate feedback and/or act out in any way, I do have a strong “Respectful Communication Policy” in place and several useful group rules which help to maintain a safe, harmonious and cohesive group atmosphere.  All are welcome, but there is no allowance for rude or harsh behavior.
  • Group members will continue to process their unresolved traumas in their individual therapy, not in this group. This is a therapeutic psychoeducation program. (It is NOT group therapy.)
  • Group size ranges from 6-12 students.
  • Student Reviews.

May this serve you or your loved ones well🌟

Onward and Upward,

 Lisa Wessan

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Just for Today, by Sybil F. Partridge

1.  Just for today I will be happy.  This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

2.  Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.  I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

3.  Just for today I will take care of my body.  I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

4.  Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind.  I will learn something useful.  I will not be a mental loafer.  I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

5.  Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways;  I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out.  I will do at least two things I don’t want to do as William James suggests, just for exercise.

6.  Just for today I will be agreeable.  I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

7.  Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once.  I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

8.  Just for today I will have a program.  I will write down what I expect to do every hour.  I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.  It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.

9.  Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax.  In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.

10.  Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

If we want to develop a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, here is Rule #1:

Think and act cheerfully, and you will feel cheerful.

Written by Sybil F. Partridge   1916 and printed in
How To Stop Worrying, And Start Living, by Dale Carnegie, 1951

LW: Whenever you set a new intention, or want to develop a positive new habit, or break an old negative habit, start something new, always remember, “Progress not Perfection.” Old ways are tough to change, but it will get done. Slowly, slowly, you can do it. There is a solution…Never give up💙

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The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment. ~ Unknown

During my morning hike I came across this beautiful field of dandelions…

Weeds or flowers?

I choose flowers💕

The Dandelion Story

A man bought a new house and decided that he was going to have a very beautiful lawn.  He worked on it every week, doing everything the gardening books told him to do. His biggest problem was that the lawn always seemed to have dandelions growing where he didn’t want them.  The first time he found dandelions, he pulled them out. But, alas, they grew back. He went to his local gardening store and bought weed killer. This worked for some time, but after summer rains, alas, he found dandelions again.  He worked and pulled and killed dandelions all summer. The next summer he thought he would have no dandelions at all, since none grew over winter. But, then, all of a sudden, he had dandelions all over again. This time he decided the problem was with the type of grass.  So, he spent a fortune and had all new sod put down. This worked for some time and he was very happy. Just as he started to relax, a dandelion came up. A friend told him it was due to the dandelions in the lawns of his neighbors. So he went on a campaign to get all his neighbors to kill all their dandelions.  By the third year, he was exasperated. He still had dandelions. So, after consulting every local expert and garden book, he decided to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture for advice. Surely the government could help. After waiting several months, he finally got a letter back. He was so excited. Help at last! He tore open the letter and read the following:  

“Dear Sir: We have considered your problem and have consulted all of our experts. After careful consideration, we think we can give you very good advice. Sir, our advice is that you learn to love those dandelions.”[De Mellow, A. (1984). The song of the bird. New York: Image Books.]

This is a story about Radical Acceptance, and learning to accept the things we cannot change. Radical Acceptance is a lifelong process that you experience each day, in many opportunities and forms. Notice all the dandelions in your life. Some might be close family and friends, others might be strangers. Most important, do not judge your judging – just observe and let it go🌟


	
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Learning to Live in AMBIGUITY with peace, even joy

Voting super early in October…
Here’s gratitude galore to artist Sam Durant (b. 1961 – ), for this powerful piece, Like, man, I’m tired of waiting, 2002. It’s currently on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford MA. (The Wadsworth is definitely worth a trip!)

So here is my Cultural Appropriation du jour…I hope Mr. Durant does not mind me borrowing his racial justice motif for these politically toxic times…Mea culpa, mea culpa, I just can’t resist.

I know that learning to live in ambiguity with any measure of peace — even joy — is a clear marker for how healthy I am inside.

To improve your mental state, I ask you to find ways to feel more useful. To that end, I think it’s ALWAYS more effective to replace the WHY questions with the HOW questions. Let me unpack this a bit…

When you ask WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, you never get a satisfying or truly acceptable answer. Plus, no one really knows exactly WHY harsh things happen. Oh yes, there are tons of theories, but ultimately, it’s never quite known for sure. There are too many complicated, multi-dimensional issues to pinpoint “The Reason Why” something – or someone – is in such a negative state.

That’s why I think that asking the HOW questions is going to give you a big payoff. For example, asking “How can I be helpful? How can I be useful? How can I make this better?” in your micro world, at home, work, school, will shift you into taking positive actions. Then you will start to feel as if you are part of the solution, as elusive as it may seem to be at times.

Plus asking “How can I help?” takes the focus off of you…dare I say it? So much mental anguish comes from the Pity Party we have for ourselves. Moreover, too much self absorption leads to the impulse issues being activated, such as drinking, drugging, food binges, shopping, gambling, porn and so on. As I’ve heard it said, “Poor me, poor me, POUR ME A DRINK!”

In sum, compared to sitting and watching the news on your digitals, having a depressing Pity Party, marinating in fear and anxiety, asking the HOW questions is surely a better path.

Here is the beautiful and amazing 5D Flow…Peace in your heart can bring peace to the world. Yes, as you feel more peaceful and useful, you radiate that energy out and it definitely has a ripple effect.

As it is written:

Peace in my heart brings peace to the family.
Peace in the family brings peace to the community.
Peace in the community brings peace to the nation.
Peace in the nation brings peace to the world.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
~ Author Unknown ~

Best of all, when you ask HOW questions, you are no longer feeling like a victim! When you ask “Why is this happening [to me]? ” “Why don’t they just blah blah blah?” You feel powerless, impotent, ineffective and probably a tad depressed or anxious.

Ideally, with good inner work. you could become bulletproof to the news. At your best, you want to feel all the feelings in the grief-rage-sadness spectrum, and then move on quickly to what you love. Why? Because as I have learned from many teachers, what you focus on INCREASES…where your attention goes, your energy flows. If you focus on hate and all the haters, you will feel more hateful and angry. Simple, but not easy.

Finally, you’re probably tired of people reminding you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, but truly, that is a big part of the solution here. Learning to ask How can I be useful, coupled with a daily — even HOURLY – gratitude list, could carry you a long way during these challenging cockalocka poo poo slinging times.

❤Here’s to learning to live in the WAITING ROOMS of life with more peace and joy❤

Related Reading:

On the myth of closure, ambiguous loss and complicated grief by Lisa Wessan

The Art of Living is the Art of Waiting by Lisa Wessan

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.
www.LisaWessan.com

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Reflections on Juneteenth 2020 and the Evolution of Consciousness

Evolution of Consciousness

“One discovers the light in the darkness, that is what darkness is for.”  
James Arthur Baldwin, novelist

I have felt crushed and overloaded by the recent events of our times, but still feel peaceful and hopeful that we are having a wonderful new beginning.  History teaches me that the Dark ages are followed by the Renaissance, Saul becomes Paul, the heroin addicted sex worker becomes an addiction counselor, on and on. This is the emergence of consciousness, over and over here at Earth School.

The Program is designed to move us forward until we realize and accept our Oneness with each other and the Universe.  But what a long journey it is…probably many lifetimes of learning are achieved before we totally get it.

During the crisis, the saying goes,  “When one door closes, another one opens, but it is hell in the hallway.”  I’m the one who tells my clients “…It doesn’t have to be hell in the Hallway.  You can choose to create a different kind of experience during ambiguous times.”  Yes, I do believe that is still true. Yet during these past few months the Hallway has been brutal. Each day, it is a struggle to stay focused on solutions and find some joy, despite the chaos around us.

This pandemic chaos and  racism crisis also remind me of the Chinese word for crisis, which is made of two symbols, Danger and Opportunity.  In each crisis, we are totally at risk, and yet the opportunity for a new and improved consciousness is here.  That’s the good news. Again, it’s part of the Program for the evolution of our consciousness.

As much as I want to discuss ways to live in ambiguity with peace, even joy, today I feel the need to be quiet.  I am sitting with the grief, and processing the harsh reality of the racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of tribal cognitive distortion that are still infecting our world in tandem with COVID-19.

Here are two resources which have been particularly soothing, uplifting and informative recently:

“Bleed the Same,” with Toby Mac and Kirk Franklin.
This song captures exactly what I am feeling, and what needs to be said now.
No other words say it so perfectly.

⭐ Tim Ferriss’  interview Coach George Raveling, 82,  “This Unique Moment in Time, How to Practice Self-Leadership, Navigating Difficult Conversations and much more” .

In the throes of feeling this intense outpouring of emotion after George Floyd was murdered, and under the suffocating history of  racism,  I appreciate hearing how this wise black man frames this moment.  This wide ranging interview will give you an intimate view of Raveling’s extraordinary journey from being born in the basement of a segregated hospital,  to becoming a world class coach, and how he navigated his life in this ocean of racism all these years.

At one point, Raveling says “We are both the problem and the solution.”  Yes, I love that dialectical view for each of us. We are ALL accountable for this situation. We need to step up and take a stand to create a world worth living in, with “Equality and justice for all.”  Simple, but not easy.

So I invite you to listen to “Bleed the Same,” and Raveling’s interview.  I think your heart and mind will be moved to a new level of awareness, acceptance and then action. 

YES, you can be an agent of transformation, and turn this Hellish Hallway experience into a magnificent corridor for the evolution of consciousness!

Onward and Upward❤

Lisa Wessan

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

 

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Pandemic Retreat Tip 4 – Allowing time for Daily Grief Work

avoiding-5-stages-grief-visibility-program

Our culture has difficulty sitting still with feelings.  There is too often an attempt to keep busy and ignore the discomfort of our negative feelings. It has been my experience that many otherwise healthy people want to bypass their phases of grief and jump into positive thinking, avoiding those dark and mysterious pathways of  emotion.

Now we are faced with micro and macro levels of Ambiguous Loss and Grief.   Ambiguous Loss is when you lose someone but not all the way.  For example, you could lose a loved one to illness, such as Alzheimers Disease, Alcoholism, Cancer, Food Addiction/Anorexia. Your loved one might be lost at sea or on a mountain.

Ambiguous Loss is most painful when you live with someone who is “here but not here.”  If your loved one watches multiple hours of Netflix, or video games, and you miss them, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss.  If your loved one is slowly deteriorating from any illness or addiction, and you are watching them slowly disappear, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss. When you break up a relationship, divorce, move away, you experience Ambiguous Loss, “here but not here.”

Today we have the Ambiguous Loss of our culture and daily routines. By not seeing the people, places and things that make up our life, we develop anticipatory anxiety of what will come next.  The anxiety then quickly morphs into Anticipatory Grief.

What is Anticipatory Grief?

I defer to Scott Berinato who unpacks our micro and macro Anticipatory Grief so usefully in his recent article in the Harvard Business Review (23 March 2020).  Berinato interviews David Kessler, who is one of our leading grief experts, and explores Kessler’s overview of our current pandemic existence. Learn more here: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.  

You may  think you are lonely, or exhausted, or anxious. That may be true. But I would agree with Berinato and Kessler in that you probably have unexpressed grief (and rage), which is clogging up your inner world.

It’s exhausting to repress grief and “act as if” you are perfectly fine. Yet we are called upon to buckle up and deal with life on life’s terms, so there is no binary solution here. We are asked to grieve our current losses and future losses PLUS carry on and live our lives.  So how is this possible?   By scheduling some Grief Work time into your calendar. Allowing time to release and let go will enhance your life as you release the inner pressure. Give yourself permission to unravel a bit.

Tears are the language of grief. Something I frequently suggest to my clients is  “Make some time to do your Grief Work.  Let it flow out of you.”  Most people resist this process and just hope by keeping super busy (or medicated or numbed with screen time) they can bypass the Grief Work.  Nay, nay, it must be done.  Cry now or cry later, but crying will help release those grief-balls that are jamming you up.

CS Lewis grief (2)

When we begin to honestly defrost our grief with each other and then seek solutions for our dilemmas, we start to feel a little better.  I am a fan of the stoic philosophy, but just focusing on solutions and keeping a stiff upper lip all the time is not helpful — something within shuts down and can go numb inside from repressing all that emotion.

Perhaps one of the silver linings from the Corona virus is that now, in this time of profound herd vulnerability, we will be more authentic with ourselves and each other?  Simple, but not easy. This is a practice that takes as long as it takes, perhaps lifetimes.

I have come to believe that your vulnerability is your superpower.  When you are brave enough to be vulnerable, you release, let go and successfully move on.  This is part of the multidimensional journey to wholeness and deep fulfillment💙

References:

Berinato, S. (23 March 2020). Harvard Business Review. That discomfort you are feeling is grief. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Mitchell, S. (1988). Tao Te Ching. New York: Harper Collins.

Wessan, L. (05 JAN 2019). On the “Myth of Closure,” Ambiguous Loss and Complicated Grief.  Retrieved from https://mirthmaven.blog/2019/01/05/on-the-myth-of-closure-ambiguous-loss-and-complicated-grief/

Helpful Scriptures for increased bravery and courage for your Grief Work:
Psalms 23, 31, 46, 126
Deuteronomy 31:6
Ecclesiastes 1:18
Proverbs 14:13

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

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Pandemic Retreat Tip 3 – Shifting from Victim to Victor with the 2-2-2 Method of Transformation

Instead of feeling trapped inside your home or apartment, what if you started to see this as a temporary retreat? Can you turn this victim consciousness into a victorious consciousness?  What if you are being called to live, move and have your being refined in an enclosed space for a few months to evolve to a new level of consciousness? 

This appears to be a global retreat.  We are all being called to stay home and go within, on many levels.  The only real choice we have on this Earth is HOW WE RESPOND OR REACT to stress and crises. Moment by moment…victim or victor?  With ease or anxiety? We choose, again and again.

Go inside

I’m not going to list or catalog all the ways you can go inside…because you are smart, and have been aware of mindfulness techniques, prayer, contemplation, meditation, relaxation techniques, Reiki, yoga and much more.  There are many paths up that mountain to deepen your awareness, increase your insight and have more inner peace.  I’m just here to remind you of what you already know.

“Lisa, I know nothing about going inside myself.  Where should I begin?”  When I hear this,  I often invite my DBT Skills Students to use my 2-2-2 Method of Transformation.

What is the 2-2-2 Method?  The broad brush here is you spend two minutes connecting within, two minutes reading something inspirational and two minutes writing.  You can do these in any order. To feel successful and build momentum,  set a timer for six minutes each day for your practice.  If you stay in the process for six minutes, you’re good, even if you don’t tap each category perfectly.  The idea is to set your intention and do the best you can. 

Meditation:  Spend approximately 2 minutes sitting quietly, doing some kind of paced breathing.  During this time, consciously  seek to access your inner Wise Mind, Higher Power, Ha Shem, Christ Consciousness, Allah, Great Spirit, Buddha Nature, any label will work that is meaningful to you.

Reading: Spend approximately  two minutes reading from a personal growth book, inspirational  literature, Scripture, angel cards, your DBT book or whatever devotional or uplifting material you have handy.  If you have no inspirational literature, this will be a fun shopping trip for you.  Ask around, especially if you know someone who you admire for their mental and spiritual wellness.  See what they are reading. Take a risk and read it too.

Writing:  Finally, do two minutes of writing (in your journal or DBT worksheet).  You can just write what you are observing in your mood.  My favorite format for basic brief journaling is to write a fear list, do a quick brain dump and just get it out of your head onto the page.  Then make a gratitude list (6-10 items or so). Then make a to do list. Then if there’s still time, freestyle and just let it rip. See what comes out of you.

The 2-2-2 Method gives you a structure – but it is flexible – again, you can do these tasks in any order.  If you do this daily practice, this will help you advance and make a big difference over time.

If the timer goes off and you want to do more, that’s fine. But the six minutes a day minimum will be great for building momentum here.

Gentle Note: If you’re too busy to invest six minutes/day on your personal evolution, you are too busy. Dial down your Netflix, YouTube, Videogame and other streaming activities.  You are worth it!  Just six minutes/day will compound over time and create amazing changes in you and give you a life worth living.

Also, do NOT try to do this perfectly!  Allow some wiggle room on the 2-2-2 precision. It’s not exact, although sometimes it can be.

The 2-2-2 Method will give you a satisfying structure to add to your day.  Truly, this is such a good time to start a 2-2-2 practice and build from it.  Over time, you will see this move to longer sessions, and will feel deeply nurtured and empowered by it.

In closing, I appreciate Lynn Ungar’s approach to this pandemic…

Lynn Unger poem PANDEMIC

Stay safe and well,

Onward and Upward, 

Lisa Wessan

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Coronavirus Retreat Tip #1

Dog in mask

Over the years I have been trained up to always see the pros and cons of each challenge. Not to be in denial of the pain, trauma and suffering — but to see the possibility of hidden value in the challenges.  “What if everything that is happening to you is happening for you?” asked  Colin Tipping years ago in a lecture in New York.   That thought percolated through me for years before I could finally understand what it truly meant, and the freedom and peace of mind that comes from living with this deep level of acceptance. 

What are the pros and cons of this Covid-19 challenge we now face? Here are some resources which have helped me sort this out and remain more peaceful and relaxed during this difficult time. 

To be transparent as ever,  I am feeling the full dialectical nature of this moment: sometimes I feel a deep peace and stillness within, and at the same time I feel the edge of a panic attack creeping up on me.  The difference between now and 30 years ago, however,  is that I have learned to observe my inner world so much better…so when I sense that edge, I use some breathwork, distress tolerance skills and physical release to shift out of it.  (More on those skills in the next Coronavirus post).

Over the next few days, I’m going to unpack some useful tips for coping with this extra level of anxiety we all share from the pandemic.  As always,  I have been sorting and cycling through my personal tool kit, plus I have found some new and impactful ideas that I will share here too.  The best of the best for you, my dear reader…as we trudge this road through the forced Retreat to wellness and bliss.

First, listening to Jack Kornfield  and Tim Ferriss discuss ways to re-frame and re-focus during this difficult time gave me more insight and some good practical advice. Kornfield’s  75 years on this Earth have been well spent.  As a brief overview, he was a Buddhist Monk in Thailand, then served as co-founder of the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, MA,  then became a psychologist. Now he is involved in many educational and activist programs to help bring mindfulness and other useful transformative skills to the public. 

Tim Ferriss is one of my favorite teachers. First, I love Ferriss’  passion for extreme wellness.  I love his awesome lifestyle hacks and his never ending curiosity about world class performers  and the minutia of their morning routines, what they eat for breakfast,  favorite books, how they sleep and more. He also has an impressive history of  brilliant investing, living with bipolar illness and managing well.  Yes, I’m a fan of Ferriss! 

You can access this podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts:  Listen to #414: Jack Kornfield — How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos from The Tim Ferriss Show in Podcasts.

For your consideration, here is my brief summary of this  podcast. During this two hour, wide ranging conversation, you will learn: 

  1. During the first hour, “It’s not about perfecting yourself, it’s about perfecting your Love.”  Learning to live in this world with more love, embracing the inner and outer imperfections with radical acceptance is one path to more inner peace and joy here.  Kornfield delves into some wonderful coping and practice skills to help move through the anxiety and depression of these pandemic days.
  2. From 1:07 there is a discussion of psychedelic research aka Sacred Medicines, for the treatment of drug resistant depression and anxiety.   Kornfield discusses the mysteries of our multi-dimensional selves.  “We are learning to use sacred medicines to know who we are.”  Apparently, this paradigm shifting research helps us form more positive and useful world views. Ferriss cites exciting and impressive research coming out of Johns Hopkins Medical School which has gotten robust results.   After listening to this  segment, I made a note to read The Cosmic Game, by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, which describes the wisdom and understanding that hundreds of trials of Sacred Medicines have offered seekers in laboratory conditions, to help better understand the nature of consciousness Itself. (As it happens, Harvard Medical School is hosting a large conference here in Boston  May 1-2, 2020, on Meditation and Psychotherapy: Learning from Non-Ordinary States).
  3.  From 1:23 Kornfield deconstructs suicide and suicidal patterns and how to reduce treatment resistant depression.  I was intrigued with this curious idea,  how we long for “sleep,” and how for some suicide is the big sleep that they think will solve their painful life for good. Suicidal people have  worthy intentions, not the best solutions…Kornfield’s approach to suicide is practical and soothing.  
  4.  From 1:32  Kornfield explains his trauma work, and how to be in the field of compassion which allows us to process the trauma successfully. “To witness with a loving gaze, it’s not who you are, it’s something that you went through.”   This reminds me of the teaching that “We make mistakes, but we are not a mistake.”   Again, learning to pause, observe, step back and see the pain as something that we passed through is very different then feeling a permanent imprint from it, rendering us emotionally compromised,  with anxiety, depression, PTSD and other conditions.  

I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast as much as I did.  It really gave me a booster during these troubled times. There is hope! There is a solution…

Stay tuned for my next Coronavirus Retreat Tip…may these tips serve you well! 

Onwards and Upwards in good health, 

Lisa Wessan

 

Related reading: 

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy: My Turn: Mass panic may be worse than virus itself

 

 

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