Resilience!

The goal of resilience is to thrive.”

– Jamais Cascio

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The goal of resilience is to thrive, and we all want to thrive, right?  Resilience has been defined as that quality that allows some people face adversity and come back even stronger than before. Unfortunately though, as writer Maria Konnikova points out, the word ‘resilience’ is often overused. It is too often used in ways that drain it of meaning. But resilience doesn’t have to be an empty or vague concept. In fact, decades of research have revealed a lot about how it works. This research shows that resilience is, ultimately, a set of skills that can be taught.

Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient: a positive attitude and optimism certainly help. Resilience is considered such an important trait that in February this year, The New Yorker Magazine did a piece about the secret formula for resilience – ‘How People Learn to Become Resilient.’

The good news is that resilience can be taught. In research at Columbia, the neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner has shown that teaching people to think of stimuli in different ways—to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally “hot”—changes how they experience and react to the stimulus.

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. Resilience is an important character strength in Positive Psychology. A resilient person works through challenges by using personal resources, strengths and other positive capacities of psychological capital such as hope, optimism and self-efficacy. Being resilient is absolutely linked with personal happiness.

But it’s easy to lose touch with that sense of resilience after facing a difficult time, and instead we can struggle with feeling purposeless and directionless. It is very easy to fall into a sense of listlessness and ‘stuck-ness.’ This belief that nothing will change can become embedded in your brain, creating a negative neural pathway. A neural pathway is the way that information travels through the neurons, or nerve cells of the brain. We create new neural pathways every time we hear or experience something new. The more we experience something, the more embedded this pathway becomes.

Once those neural pathways are deeply embedded, changing them is not an easy task. I’ve talked a lot about the process, Creative Positive Reframing (CPR) on this blog.  But as we enter the holiday season, I thought it would be a good time to look at the 3 key actions involved in this process:  Identify, Reframe, Embed:

    1. Identify Negative Messages

    Action: We all have them – limiting beliefs that have become embedded in our head. Negative thoughts such as, “I can’t do it!” Or “It’s too hard!” are self-sabotaging.

    Practice: Interrupt it! Once you’ve identified those negative messages, shift your focus. Take a deep breath and interrupt your own train of thought . . . and get rid of it!

    1. Reframe the negative with positive statements

    Action: Negative self-talk can be replaced by positivity with the help of a series of deliberate affirmations or questions. This creates new neural pathways and frees you from the negative spiral.

    Practice: Affirm it! Create positive statements and questions. Affirmations often work, but sometimes questions work better. If your affirmation is, “I can do it. This is easy!” and your brain argues back “No you can’t It’s too hard!” then use a question instead. Something like: “What can I do today to move forward?” Or mix the two in this way: “I am moving forward easily and effortlessly. What can I do today to move forward?”

    1. Embed it! Use Creative Visualization to picture the ideal and embed it in your brain

    Action: This next step takes the previous step and solidifies it; it is a powerful process. Creative Visualization is a technique which uses your own power of ‘seeing’ to attain that which you most want or want to change. You already use this technique every day. Unfortunately, we often use it in the negative by imaging all the things we DON’T want.

     Practice: Visualize it!  The key to visualization is to first see what you want, and then create a mindset that you already have it and you believe you deserve it. Relax and be sure you won’t be interrupted. Close your eyes and let the movie of you having your heart’s desire run in your mind. Enjoy the process. The more you do this, the more deeply embedded this vision becomes.

    I’ll close by linking in the visualization from my book in which you can create your own sacred space to work from.

 

 

I hope you’ll take some time today to do this visualization. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this visualization, and how you manage to stay resilient.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

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Visualization on Love and Compassion

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.”

– Mother Teresa


Do you consider yourself a loving and compassionate person?  Are you able to show love and charity and compassion towards your neighbors? And if so, are you practicing this same love and compassion on yourself. Most of us, especially the women among us, find it difficult to be very loving toward ourselves.

Lucille Ball famously said – Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.

I believe we do have to love ourselves first, be filled up with love, in order to let love flow. And when we are filled up, then let it flow; flow freely and copiously, because love and compassion are not luxuries, but necessities:

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries, without them humanity cannot survive

-Dalai Lama

I’d like to share one of my favorite visualizations with you today.

 

Do it today, do it everyday . . . Love the Earth, Love Your Neighbors, Love Yourself . . .

 

 

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Visualization on Goals

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
―Michelle Obama

That quote by Michelle Obama is quite fitting to me today for a couple of reasons.  I have been very busy with my own, very personal goal this week.  I leave for the US in only 10 days. I’ll be in the States on a book tour –  the realization of a long held goal and dream.  And one of the goals I have at the moment is to load all the visualizations and quick scans from my book on to You Tube. So as of today,  I have 15 videos loaded on to my You Tube Channel. No mean feat I can tell you!

I am also loading them on to my website, thiswayupbook.com, with each exercise loaded under the workbook tab, under it’s specific week where the exercise is in the book.  This has been such a steep learning curve for me, a 58 year old woman, with both sons living away from home. I’ve had to search up solutions to problems I’ve faced, watched endless youtube vids about how to load youtube vids onto youtube!  It’s been a mission . . . (*however I have asked for a lot of help from my sons who have done so much remotely, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that I’ve been able to do this alone, because I haven’t.)

But the main point I’m trying to make here is that I’m doing it.  I have the goal and I am steadily walking toward it. It hasn’t been easy, but it is so worth it, and as Michelle Obama says, I shall not be distracted from my goals.

I would like to close, fittingly, with a visualization about achieving your goals.  Special thanks to my son Devin for composing the music and overlaying it on the video. And special thanks to my son Lukas for creating the website in the first place.  Yeah, like I said, I didn’t do it alone…

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Creating Your Sacred Space

“Visualization works if you work hard”
― Jim Carrey

Shakti Gawain describes creative visualization as:

The technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life.  There is nothing at all new, strange or unusal about creative visualization.  You are already using it every day, every minute in fact.  It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.

We do this everyday, so we may as well do it consciously. I have found that the best and most effective way to do creative visualization is to first create a sacred space to work from.

Creating that sacred space is the first visualization exercise from my book This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life – from Part Two – The Workbook – Week Two, Day Three.

In my book, I have written out the words for the exercise, but for ease and simplicity, I have made a video to aid in the process.

You will find all of the exercises and visualizations from This Way Up on my You Tube Channel and also on my website:  www.thiswayupbook.com  

A huge thank you to my son Devin for his amazing music.  Devin composed and performed and uploaded this original music for my visualizations.  The music is absolutely mesmerizing!

Please give yourself 20 minutes to complete this visualization; and I suggest you take time to journal about it afterwards, making note of anything that might have stood out for you – a color, an unusual image, etc.  This is the same sacred space that you will go to for all future visualizations from my book, so take the time to create the perfect space for yourself.  The more you practice, the easier it is to do.  Enjoy!

 

 

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

The Best Version of Myself

“Be the Best Version of You”

– Brian Tracey


I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself. I love that image!

When I’m trying to make important decisions, I think to myself, will this move me toward becoming the best version of myself? It usually helps the decision making process a lot.

I’ve been using this to help me in the decision making process for awhile, so I was very happy to have this process affirmed in an article from The Happiness Institute.  In the article, Eric Barker interviewed Sonja Lyubomirsky.

Barker explains that research shows that thinking about your best possible self doesn’t just clarify goals — it can also make you happier just by thinking about it.

Lyubomirsky described an activity she did with her students:

Imagine your life in ten years and that your goals have been accomplished. You’re living your best possible life. Think about that in different domains. I did this once with students and they said to me, “I didn’t even know what my goals were.” So they were forced to articulate their goals. Some people said to me things like, “Yeah, I didn’t think my goals were feasible until I wrote about them,” and they realized there were concrete steps they could take.

A huge decision I had to make recently in my quest toward The Best Version of Me, was choosing the right publicist for my book, This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing your Creative Self and Transforming your LifeI interviewed several publicists, and liked a few of them very much. It was not an easy decision. I eventually decided on Joanne McCall because I think her ideas and connections are most inline with the goals I have for me, my book, and ultimately for moving me toward that Best Version of Myself. Joanne’s portfolio is very impressive, including people like Melody Beattie, David Simon of the Chopra Center, and Brian Tracey! Brian Tracey has long been an advocate of striving toward being the best version of yourself.

So it is fitting to close with a short video of Tracey, Be the Best You

I’d love to hear about how you work toward being the best version of yourself.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

Using Your Imagination to Break Bad Habits

“I do believe, and I have seen in my own life, that Creative Visualization works!”

– Oprah Winfrey


Continuing the posts on Neuroplasticity and getting rid of bad habits.   Now on to step four:

4. Use your imagination.

Creative Visualization is one of my favorite topics!  Using Creative Visualization works.  It is a tool for what  Dr. Rick Hanson calls self-directed neuroplasticity

You can build new neural pathways not only with new behaviors, but through the imagination. Just imagine the new behaviors over and over and over. Keep repeating that in your mind so you build new pathways. Focus your mind and retrain your brain.

The woman who wrote the book Creative Visualization,  Shakti Gawain explains that:

“Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life.  There is nothing new, strange or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute in fact . . . whether or not you are aware of it.”

I have written about Visualization many times.  But my favorite story comes from a post I did in September 2012:

I remember the first time that I was actually aware that I had used visualization. It was at my 10 year high school reunion.  As I mentioned above, this was way before I did any of the work around personal growth.  The reason I became aware of it is that before the reunion, I thought to myself, it would be really cool to get ready with a group or my friends, have a few drinks around a pool somewhere and laugh and get dressed and put on make up together.  I saw the picture really clearly in my mind, I could picture a group of us laughing and having fun prior to the actual reunion – all sitting in the sun around a pool.  The problem was, I was picturing this from Japan where I was working at the time, and I had lost contact with most of my friends from high school.  When I went home for the reunion, I called my old high school friend Carol (whom I had not seen in almost 10 years) and she offered – how about if we all get ready over at my house, and we made a plan.  I had never been to the house that she now shared with her partner.  Carol called a few old friends and we met at her house in the afternoon before the reunion.  And when I walked through her house and got to the back yard, there in front of me was the vision I had pictured – four other friends from HS, all sitting around the pool, drinking cocktails and laughing.  It was exactly as I had pictured it from Japan!  It was eerie! But it was incredibly powerful, and luckily, I paid attention.  Several years later when I first read Gawain’s book, I got chills and thought – yes!  That’s what happened!  And again luckily, I paid attention. That’s an important piece – paying attention.

So when I want to break old habits and build new neural pathways, practicing self-directed neuroplasticity, I use Creative Visualization. Like Oprah Winfrey, I know it works!

I’ll close with a clip from Shakti Gawain about Creative Visualization.

 

 

I’d love to hear about any bad habits you’ve broken, and how you changed the behavior.  And if you do use Creative Visualization, I’d love to hear any stories you have.   And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

 

More on Creative Visualization

“I do believe, and I have seen in my own life, that Creative Visualization works!”

– Oprah Winfrey


I can’t say it any better than Oprah!  – I do believe and I have seen it in my own life, that Creative Visualization works!

In a previous post – “Who was your teacher” – I talked about the first time I read Shakti Gawain’s wonderful book Creative Visualization.  But even before  I read that book, before I did my work and moved beyond my Woundologybefore all of that, I was using Creative Visualization unconsciously.  Gawain explains that:

“Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life.  There is nothing new, strange or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute in fact . . . whether or not you are aware of it.”

I remember the first time that I was actually aware that I had used visualization. It was at my 10 year high school reunion.  As I mentioned above, this was way before I did any of the work around personal growth.  The reason I became aware of it is that before the reunion, I thought to myself, it would be really cool to get ready with a group or my friends, have a few drinks around a pool somewhere and laugh and get dressed and put on make up together.  I saw the picture really clearly in my mind, I could picture a group of us laughing and having fun prior to the actual reunion – all sitting in the sun around a pool.  The problem was, I was picturing this from Japan where I was working at the time, and I had lost contact with most of my friends from high school.  When I went home for the reunion, I called my old high school friend Carol (whom I had not seen in almost 10 years) and she offered – how about if we all get ready over at my house, and we made a plan.  I had never been to the house that she now shared with her partner.  Carol called a few old friends and we met at her house in the afternoon before the reunion.  And when I walked through her house and get to the back yard, there in front of me was the vision I had pictured – four other friends from HS, all sitting around the pool, drinking cocktails and laughing.  It was exactly as I had pictured it from Japan!  It was eerie! But it was incredibly powerful, and luckily, I paid attention.  Several years later when I first read Gawain’s book, I got chills and thought – yes!  That’s what happened!  And again luckily, I paid attention.  That’s an important piece – paying attention.

It happens so frequently to me now that I have come to expect it and it doesn’t have as chilling effect on me as when I first saw the scene around the pool.  But I still pay attention, I still acknowledge the process and express gratitude when it does happen. Gratitude is another important piece. I am very conscious of the advice in Gawain’s book:

“When you achieve a goal, be sure to acknowledge consciously to yourself that it has been completed.  Often we achieve things which we have been desiring and visualizing and we forget to even notice that we have succeeded. So give yourself some appreciation . . . and be sure to thank the universe.”

In her book, Gawain describes the four basic steps for effective Creative Visualizaion:

  1. Set Your Goal
  2. Create a Clear Picture or Idea of the Goal
  3. Focus on it Often
  4. Give it Positive Energy

I have added a fun, light video to illustrate these four steps.  Visualizing is not hard, but it does require making a concerted effort and paying attention.  And the really cool thing is, the more it works in your life, the more you expect it to work, so the more it works!

 

Please write and let me know some of your experiences with Creative Visualization.  I love hearing stories about how it has worked in people’s lives.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

Using Creative Visualization to Improve Learning

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we . . . learn to allow our natural channel to open.”

– Shakti Gawain


Creative Visualization is the scientifically based process of forming a detailed image in your mind of something that you want to achieve.

How does it work? Well, the results are based on several factors. First you must determine what you want, your goal – as Shakti Gawain puts it:

You create your opportunities by asking for them

Next, you get your brain into a relaxed state – any relaxation techniqe will work.  I offer one in the recording below.

And finally you create the pictures or images of what you want to achieve in your head. Ultimately, your actions are based on the images you create.

Creative visualization works!  It helps you succeed in all areas of your life –school, home, work, health, relationship – every single one.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I think of Shakti Gawain as my first teacher.  I honestly know that reading the book Creative Visualization transformed my life.  It is one of the key tools for transformation in my book A Woman’s Guide to Transformation.

In the following visualization, I focus on helping students improve their learning and thus their grades. The visualization is included on this site in Amazing Grades!  If you are a student, or if you know someone who is a student, I offer this visualization to you.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of this visualization.  And as always, thank you for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

Who was your teacher?

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

– Zen Buddhist Saying


“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them.”

When I first read that statement by Shakti Gawain, I felt a tingle inside, and luckily for me, I finally listened.  I was finally ready to make some changes in my life.  If I had read Shakti Gawain’s timeless book, Creative Visualization a year earlier, it probably wouldn’t have moved me in the same way.

http://www.shaktigawain.com/

But because of where I was in my life, as I read her book, I felt the shift, I had the Ah-Ha Moment that I had heard others talk about.  I credit Shakti Gawain with waking me up, with being my teacher when I was finally ready.

Although actually, to back up a step, I would say that my sister Karin Clark would have been my real first teacher.  She saw in me my search for meaning, my longing for something more.  She saw that alcohol and partying was not only no longer enough to make me happy, but was actually beginning to destroy me.  It was my sister Karin who gave me that book, and who was and continues to be my teacher. I have never formally thanked her, so I want to do that now.  Thank you Karin, from the bottom of my heart.  In more ways than one, you saved my life.  I love you.

Who was your first teacher?  When did you have that Ah-Ha Moment?

The video below is an excerpt from an interview with Shakti Gawain about the process of creative visualization.

 

Please let me know what you thought of Shakti Gawain’s interview.  And I’d love to hear about how you found your own teacher.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.