Oh Please!

Oh Please!

An interesting new thought was introduced to me the other day. My client declared “I am a people pleaser”. I was curious to hear more and asked her what she meant by that and why she brouhght up the label. It turned out, that she held a rather positive understanding of her behaviour of pleasing the people around her. On many occasions and in many different areas of her life, she would make extra efforts to accomodate others oftentimes in an unneccessarily hasty manner.

For her, the meaning of doing this was control. She stated confidently “I can control situations and people when I’m in charge and can influence the turn of events”. I was puzzled and needed a moment to reflect. “Ok” I said, “give me an example”. She said “For example in the office before Christmas, my boss asked all of us in the team to come up with ideas to plan a dinner event with a group activity afterwards. I quickly got to draft a proposal with 5 restaurants and 5 activities as an online poll and sent out the link for everyone to vote. Took me under 20’ tops!”

“And?” I asked “that seems to be a nice gesture and good team spirit. But where is your element of control here and your influencing the turn of events?” She replied impatiently “Isn’t that obvious? Of course I only proposed restaurants I like and activities I wanted to do. Genius, don’t you think?”. No, I did not think. “Genius” did not occur on the list of things in my mind about her behaviour and her underlying mindset.

I wanted to know how her proposal and online poll was received and she said “I got quite some good feedback – people like it when they don’t have to think”. “And how do you feel about doing all that?” She looked down and said “I think it is great that I help everyone to save time and at the same time be able to do the things I want to do.” Having had known her for a while, I was not so sure about this being her true motivation for acting in such immediate and overpowering manner – pausing all other tasks in her role as a business manager which demanded acting in a timely manner on much more relevant matters.

I was intrigued to enquire more about what she had anticipated the outcome would have been without her “people pleasing”. First we needed to reframe her language a bit: It transpired that “restaurants I like” rather meant “restaurants I feel safe going to” (being very much afraid of food poisoning) and “activities I want to do” more clearly meant “activites that allow me to hide in the crowd without being exposed” (being socially anxious of redicule and judgement by others).

Anxiety and Phobia was the driving force behind her acting. Her immediate and overarching behaviour allowed her to not even get close to experiencing any. She had developed a very sensitve strategy to avoid emotion, physiological symptoms and she made sure early on to not having to deal with any anxious mindgames – the fearful thoughts and images of anticipation leading up to a dreaded event.

Moreover, she managed to deny her strategy of avoidance with a mental self-campaign of “control” and “pleasing people” – as in doing good for others and for herself. Was that really clever? I wondered how much hypersensitivity, effort, tension and sacrifice she must have constantly been putting in, in order to maintain this shield of energy that protected her from experiencing anxiety and fear.

I also wondered if she had ever thought about facing her demons with the same stamina she demonstrated day in day out? I wanted her to be happy and well.

5 Reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail

5 Reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail

This is the time of year when many of us take time to reflect on the past year. We think about making adjustments to life or to set off to new endeavours. Some of us are sitting on the same list of things to change year after year. We realise that another year has past without significant alterations or growth.

Why is it, that change seems so difficult to implement and what’s more, to make it last?In my work with clients I come across the following five reasons that make change very difficult and often impossible to happen.

1. You are over-promising

We think we found clarity in what we “need” to change, which spurs enthusiasm. Now with this sense of commitment that quic. our drive for action we over-promise. We declare to ourtselves and others that “…from now on, I will hit the gym 5 times a week” or “…will renovate the apartment in one weekend”.

2. You are idealising the big bang

The idealisation is often hidden in a thought pattern that goes like this “If only I have all of such-and-such in place, THEN I can finally pull the trigger and realise the change I aspire”. Does that sound familiar? “In order to write my first novel, I need a quiet office space with a desk and a brand new computer.” Or “If only I could find the perfect support (Yoga studio, Mandarin teacher, Nutritionist, …), then I could finally start living healthier.”

3. You are lacking an understanding of your motivation

I often hear people say “I need to do more workout”, “I should drink less” or “I must go to bed earlier”. Really? Do you? Using this nagging language tends to increase your sense of self-blame. It chore-izes whatever you actually wanted to do. Ask yourself instead: “Do I have to do this or do I want to?

4. You are not managing your time

If your ambition is to take on an MBA, to get some overdue paperwork done or just to declutter your desk, you need to plan for it. The time you need for each task can’t be found in the your days or weeks as you live them. You have to make it. If you fail to make time appropriately, your projects will fail or leed to dissatisfaction in other areas – like lack of sleep, increased stress, weight gain and social isolation.

5. You are being too harsh on yourself

Procrastination feeds on our inner conflict of knowing the waiting task and deferring the doing. In our minds we don’t allow the things to be just the way they are. Instead we constantly want things to be different than they are. With a rigid mindset it seems impossible to give ourselves permission to rest or to do things differently.

In order to make personal growth sustainable it is inevitable to understand the roots of your motivation – the values and preferences for life, that you carry. Furthermore, it is essential to transform and replace bad habits with good ones. In order to do so, we must understand fully what holds us back, what keeps us stuck and what it is inside of us that works against us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May you be happy and well.

Flow and open awareness – Do we need it?

Does flow equal mindfulness?

Is flow the ultimate mindfulness champion?

Where is the open awareness in flow?

When teaching mindfulness I often come across the question if a very focused mind is the same as a mind in flow experience OR if flow is the advancement of focus?

Flow as perpetual motion machine (Perpetuum Mobile)

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Psychology and Management, Flow is the a state of mind in which we are fully concentrated on the present, that happens outside of everyday reality. It involves knowing of the task at hand and the ability to monitor how well we are doing, knowing that our skills are adequate. It furthermore comes with a sense of serenity and timelessness – no worries and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego. Ultimately, whatever produces flow becomes it’s own reward.

Mindfulness Meditation converges into Flow

Dr. Brewer – see podcast below – says that Mindfulness coverges into Flow like be a progressed state of meditation on the same continuum. Meditative states can have very focused attention – that depends on how you meditate.

Running down a trail can have a very single-pointed attention, but it can also have much broader awareness – taking in and connecting with more detail. Depending on the speed you are going, you simply might not be able to be aware of birds chirping or other things in your environment that you would be easily aware of at a slower pace.

In flow there will be much more clarity of direction and blending in with your surroundings in a sense of oneness.

The Aperture of Awareness in Flow

In a more general view, in flow there is open awareness of whatever is arising. “I am wondering if the aperture narrows or broadens as the conditions dictate – more so than flow being defined as a narrower or broadened state.” Staying in the photography analogy this means that we are naturally losing depth of field the faster paced our flow activity is becoming.

This leads to me understanding FLOW at a higher level. Taking the aperture and depth of field analogy into account, any flow experience then must mean to be an experience with more potent sensors (i.e. higher amount of megapixels, sharper lenses, better image stabilisation, etc.).

Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation then becomes the path to more potent senses altogether – broadening and sharpening the access to our human faculty.

Judson Brewer on Flowstate Podcast

While writing this blog, more questions arose that I intend to address further down the road:

Is flow the same for masculine and feminine energy and polarity?

Are trips on psychedelic drugs flow states?

Is flow the same as purpose in life?

How selfish am I acting while dissolving my self in a flow activity?

ref: https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/tfpp-flowstate-collective/id1049563447?l=en&mt=2&i=1000414046379

Urban Dads or alive

URBAN DADS EVENT

Are you expecting a baby or recently became a Dad?

Do you have questions about labour, birth & the early months with a new baby?

Would you mind discussing your questions over a beer with likeminded men?

Join Sofie Jacobs, qualified Midwife and founder at Urban Hatch for a fun and informative evening where you will discuss the challenges of being an expecting and new Dad.

Expect to walk away with tips on:

  • Supporting your partner pre and post birth
  • Coping with sleep deprivation
  • Managing life and work as an expecting and new Dad

DATE AND TIME

Wed 24 October 2018

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM HKT

LOCATION

Wynd

10/F, Yu Yuet Lai Building

43-55 Wyndham Street, Central

Hong Kong

register via Eventbrite

Flow Experience through Conscious Dance

Flow Experience through Conscious Dance

“Will I experience flow state during these dance events?” He smiled at me or at my question. His eyes became bright and gentle and he nodded “Yes”. I was too impatient to hear the second and last word he said. “Maybe”.

Freely adapted from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow cannot magically inject speed, fitness or skill into your dancing life – those take hard work. Flow is not a short-cut, it’s an outgrowth and inherent reward stemming from the commitment to do something right.

Flow can do many things. It can heighten the enjoyment you experience during a dance. It can enhance your performance by filtering out distractions, improving focus and strengthening the mind-body connection – merging action and awareness. Moreover, flow can bring you back to the dance-floor.

This is about a group of dancers practicing a weekly meditation in movement. Welcoming newcomers to enjoy dancing to curated music on a spacious hardwood dance floor in the heart of Hong Kong Island.

Absolutely suited to beginners, this practice has no specific steps to follow and pressures no one to perform. We encourage you to dance your own dance.

You will have ample time to warm up in the calm setting that has been prepared for you. A brief guided introduction gives way to freeform expression. Participants dance on their own and join with others as spirit or flow moves them.

Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and be prepared to dance barefoot or with footwear designed exclusively for the dance floor. No street shoes or socks are permitted.

Our facilitators, Flo and Thomas Vinton, have been practicing conscious dance regularly for 10 years and teaching arts-related activities for a quarter century.

Our next session will be October 8 for Buddies. Do you remember times when you were a kid dancing freely with your brother, sister, cousin or friend and moving through imaginary worlds full of laughter and silliness. Well for our next session, you are invited to bring a buddy who will receive complimentary entry. There will be surprises.

Dance Hong Kong with Muse Circle PAGE

Conscious Dance Mondays EVENT

Location

Dance Concept, 7th Floor, Great Smart Tower, 230 Wan Chai Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

2018 Remaining Dates

MONDAYS October 8, 22, 29 and November 5, 12, 19, 26

Rates

Set of 4 Classes $1000 – Single class $300.

Please let us know if cost is ever an issue so that we may make special arrangements with you.

10 Learnings from Detox Fasting

10 Learnings from Detox Fasting

Here are Lessons Learned from my recent fasting experience.

I feel great and confused after 7 days of fastign using the Buchinger Method. This method is a detox fasting. It is meant to heal and stimulate body and to declutter and reboot your mind. Weight loss is often a welcome byproduct but not the main focus. I had attended several guided and supervised Buchinger weeks and recommend to only try it on your own with such experience.

One day of much reduced food intake, which is usually recommended to be two days. Five days of not eating with a vegetable essence, herbal tea, a glas of Cowmilk-Kefir and water, water, water. Then one day of slowly eating again.

“All the fantasies about food (i.e. french fries) that had persistently occupied my mind during the fasting week, e v a p o r a t e d ones I started eating again. I ordered french fries yesterday after week-long daydreams and cravings. Then I only tasted a few and could not finish the portion – feeling first deeply saturated, then indifferent and then confused…”

This was the first time that I took time off to do the fasting and yes, it was an entirely new and refreshingly different journey. Doing it in Thailand allowed me to enjoy long walks, several meditations daily, yoga stretches with a view over rice paddies, scooter rides, visiting cafes for herbal tea and Kefir, sleep whenever I felt like it AND getting spa treatments that I did not know existed.

DOWNSIDE

1. If you are on holiday you don’t have many of your usual daily routines and therefore are easier distracted and need a bit more self-motivation to get going.

2. You find yourself spending too much time daydreaming (online and offline) about all the things you will eat when the fast is over.

3. You find yourself sleepy, sluggish and tired. In particular during the second day your body will protest the reality of no sugar, no carbs, no nothing.

4. You might experience headaches or nausea in the beginning. As antidote, I introduced the Kefir following my nutritionist’s recommendation.

5. You can’t drink coffee. This is a real struggle for me as a barristonadie. Even more so when you are in a place with so many excellent coffee roasters around.

UPSIDE

5. You have more time to spend on things of interest. You gain several hours in a day by not searching for, preparing and eating food.

4. Fasting is like a food consciousness reset button. It gives you a chance to plan meals from the inside, meaning with a regained clarity of what you actually want to eat.

4. You eat more mindfully after the fast. You will be more present with the food in front of you.

3. You start to glow from the inside. Genuine happiness sets in on day 3 or 4, once your body turned to burning fat to fuel your brain your synapses come together and dance.

2. Your mind and body become deeply relaxed. An embodied sense of ease kicks in.

2. You are surprisingly functional. Working efficiently on routine tasks and being able to concentrate while feeling more responsive and in control.

1. Your senses become sharp as a razor blade. I swear I could smell coffee 3km against the wind.

1. Your mind becomes creative and future oriented. My absolute No. 1 top upside without a fail. Within one day I had clarity about my near future business and personal plans and already broke it down into action items. Done!

BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED

After having fasted for the 6th time now, one major learning shows time and again:

All the fantasies about food (i.e. french fries) that had persistently occupied my mind during the fasting week, e v a p o r a t e d ones I started eating again. I ordered french fries yesterday after week-long daydreams and cravings. Then I only tasted a few and could not finish the portion – feeling first deeply saturated, then indifferent and then confused.

Makes you wonder what other fantasies we cultivate and embellish in our daydreams, that also might just evaporate and become entirely obsolete when we approach measures to turn them into reality?!