Posted by on Jul 1, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | 1 comment

Empathy – Understanding and entering into another’s feelings I’ve finished what I think is an important book, The Science of Evil, by Simon Baron-Cohen (see Resources). One person’s comment was “I’d run as fast as I can from that book.” My loved ones have noticed that I’m a little preoccupied with anti-social, narcissistic, and/or sociopathic behavior. As a trauma survivor, the drive to understand such behavior never eases up in me.  Simon Baron-Cohen has a theory that such behaviors fall at the zero end of a continuum that has to...

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Posted by on Jun 14, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Patience

Patience “Lord give me Patience, and give it to me now.” This represents the problem that most of us have with Patience. I’m not talking about the patience required to wait for the light to turn green. Get over it. The Patience that’s really a challenge is waiting for a life situation to shift, change, or evaporate (in the case of an intractable problem). It’s so difficult to simply do “the next right thing” instead of over-reacting, over functioning, or over caring (what this looks like is worry and anxiety). Sometimes you have to have life...

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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Melancholy

Melancholy This is a rather old fashioned word for “low spirits.” It’s sometimes used as a synonym for depression. It’s not my intent to discuss depression at this time. Melancholy is, in my experience, a milder, temporary condition. Like depression, it can come on suddenly and inexplicably. You may wake up with a sense of unease. It feels as though all is not right with your world, even though nothing changed since you went to sleep the night before. This feeling is disorienting. It can slow you down (or trip you up) as you try to get into...

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Trust

Trust This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man… Polonius (to his son, Laertes) in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Understanding this passage “from the inside out” as I would describe it, takes a considerable amount of life experience. Psychologists claim that the unconscious runs 97% of your life. Given that, how do you find out which Self to whom to be true? Well, mostly by trial and error. We find out the situations in which we cannot trust...

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Wisdom

Wisdom I’ve absorbed the Wisdom of my household animals, West Highland Terriers, for two decades. They started every morning with stretching and a walk outdoors. They ate when they were hungry and slept when they were tired. They fiercely protected those they loved. They never held anything against us. We were greeted with joyful love after a short or a long absence. Love and appreciation of nature was inseparable from their “lifestyle”.  In their later years, they often exhibited the regal dignity befitting their Wisdom. And, they knew when...

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Fear

Fear Fear in our lives can be useful, limiting, or destructive, and many things in between. How can Fear ever be a good thing? I questioned that too, having been afraid every day of my childhood. That is until I read Gavin de Becker’s outstanding book The Gift of Fear in 1997 (see Resource list).  The book is subtitled – and other survival signals that protect us from violence. To paraphrase it’s message – we are hardwired to recognize danger and PAY ATTENTION to protect ourselves. The signal isn’t always as clear as this sign. When the...

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Attention

Attention The simple act of paying Attention is, arguably, the hardest thing we’re ever called upon to do.  The more I learn about paying Attention, the more I realize how often I’m not doing it. I’m not here. Not now. Babies pay attention. It’s not that as adults we never do it. When we do, we have a special name for it. The Zone. We recognize it because everything flows and we experience ourselves at our very best in whatever we’re doing. Is it even possible or desirable to maintain this level of Attention all the time? Probably not. What...

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Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Grace

Grace This is another “you know it when you see it” experience. Grace is a favorite of mine, maybe because it can’t be faked. I can’t even fake it myself when I wish I was in it, the state of Grace. There is a magical quality to it when it comes to you or from you. I believe when we are in a state of Grace we are experiencing who we are in our true essence, not obscured by thoughts of past and future. In the course of a day, we can encounter random individuals who, in their graciousness, lift us out of our own beleaguered state. When this...

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Posted by on Mar 29, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Resilience

Resilience The tree is a common metaphor for Resilience, appropriately so. The tree remains grounded and yields to accommodate changes in season and weather. Trees respond rather than react to what is happening around them. We would do well to follow their example of yielding where appropriate. I have long sought out trees, this particular expression of nature’s bounty, for their shelter, their comforting solidity, their stunning variety, and the lessons they offer. Their beauty is a blessing that unfolds season by season to grace our lives....

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2011 in Noah's Ark Now | Comments Off on Attitude

Attitude “I need another way of looking at this.” This is my never fails method to get unstuck when the pull of negativity is sucking me downward. It’s the lifeboat that saves me from the maelstrom. The instruction in italics above comes from The Course In Miracles (see Healing Links). I’ve used it for over thirty years to get through minor setbacks as well as to navigate major crisis situations. If I can’t reframe my reality in a way that allows me to move forward, I get help from someone more skilled or more objective than me. This has been...

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