How to Step Out of Your Lizard Brain


There is so much pain being expressed in the world. All of the angry words, shouting and demonstrating against something or someone seems to have reached a crescendo.

What is going on? Why have we lost our minds and fallen into terrorist behavior that threatens, bullies and confronts? Look behind any of the #movements and you will discover strong emotions fueling the rocket of change.

A valid question to ask : is the rocket going anywhere? Or is it just an explosion in the cultural mindset that connects people with the same strong emotions?

It feels as if we are more separated, alone in our silos of conviction that we are right and everyone else is wrong.

The logical conclusion to this approach is continued divisiveness, separation and “otherness.” Everyone is a victim of something…and nothing is accomplished. Any changes only come after much angst and energy has been spent, creating a victory but extending the war against “the others.”

There is another way.

The Mindfulness Secret

When you feel yourself being triggered by something you read or heard, take a moment to check into your body. Notice if you are experiencing any of these physical reactions:

  • elevated heartbeat;
  • short, faster breaths; or
  • heat spreading through your body;

Your body is communicating to you that it senses a threat. It could be mental or emotional, but your body has gone into the flight or fight response. Adrenaline is pouring through your veins, making you feel powerful and indestructible.

There is another effect of this survival reaction. Your ability to access the logical and reasoned part of your brain is momentarily disconnected. The oldest part of your brain takes over, the “lizard” brain. Choices made from the lizard brain do not create loving actions or acceptance of others. Instead, the only choices are to fight or flee.

Lizard BrainIn today’s world, the anger, chaos and destruction of meaningful conversations are fueled by the lizard brain.

Mindfulness enters the scene when you recognize that your flight or fight response has been triggered. Instead of giving your lizard brain the controls to the rocket, take a moment to understand what your body is telling you.

How? Step away from the trigger.

If you read something online that made your blood boil, look away and breathe deeply. If it is a person who caused your angst, pretend you just received a text message, look at your phone, and breathe deeply. The point is to momentarily distract yourself to allow time and space for your body’s response to recede.

The second step is to allow these emotions and your physical reaction to lessen BEFORE you share your thoughts, comments or reaction. Sharing words and actions from the lizard brain only adds fuel to the fire.

The third step is to notice the difference it makes when you chose a mindful response. Instead of confrontation, did you see the issue from a new perspective? How did you feel after you hit send? Better or worse?

After being mindful for a few times, notice the consequences to other people. Did your choice to respond and not react impact them? Is there a softening in your relationships that allows for more acceptance of a different viewpoint or opinion? Were you able to find common ground that you could both agree to?

Conclusion

The end result of reaction (from the lizard brain) versus response (from your logical, reasoned mind) are predictable.

  • Lizard Reaction:       You are stupid and wrong if you don’t agree with me.
    • Result:                 Separation, unbending conviction, and damaged relationships
  • Mindful Response:   I see your point and I agree with parts of it.
    • Result:                 Connection, creative solutions, peaceful conversations

The question to ask yourself is this:

“Do I want to be right or at peace?”

Living from your lizard brain is exhausting, debilitating and frustrating. It doesn’t build anyone up – instead, it tears down anyone who disagrees with you. Your lizard brain only wants to be right, and it will go to extremes to prove its rightness. 

The cost is your sense of peace, your security in the world and your well-being.

Cultivate your mindful response muscle and you will be more thoughtful in your interactions. Open minded discussions can be shared, and you will learn something from the other person’s point of view.

Mindful Response

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

 

 

 

 

What Can a Grasshopper Teach You About Life?


Moving through a milestone birthday sparks introspection, analysis and hopefully, forgiveness of yourself and others. The stories you created about past events and the people involved shaped your idea of self. These are the stories through which you filter reality.

When you step back and look at these shaping stories from a different perspective, you suddenly realize that they are no longer true. You have grown past the limiting stories from your childhood or young adulthood, and you didn’t even realize it!

That is the wonder of a milestone birthday. You assess the past to curate the present to create a different future.

What About the Grasshopper?

tobias-knauer-739430-unsplashYou may be wondering when I am going to explain the title of this article. Stay with me and it will become crystal clear.

One way I continue to experience the growth of my self is to read inspirational stories, books or poems in the morning. A poem by Mary Oliver that landed in my inbox this morning is what prompted me to write this post:Grasshopper

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

What a great question to ask at any age, but especially when moving through a milestone birthday!  My answer: to stay awake and aware of the wonder and majesty of everything around me, to allow God’s love to flow through me into the world, and to grab hold of inspired action and see where it takes me.

What’s your answer to that question??? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

Time Travel


Time has always fascinated me. Although time seems to be real and can be measured, why do we experience it differently?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater watching a movie. You are totally immersed in the drama playing on the big screen. You are entranced, oblivious to anything that is going on around you.

When your friend nudges you to let you know that she is going to the bathroom, it takes you a minute to connect with what she is saying. You don’t even notice when she returns!

Afterward, you can’t stop talking about the movie. The action, the tension, the action. Your friend can’t believe that you loved it that much. She was totally bored, tired of the noise and couldn’t wait to leave.

You each experienced the same event in completely different ways. And those differences affected how time felt as you moved through your experience.

For you,  time was suspended because you experienced the movie as if you were part of it. For your friend, time was a snail, slowing dragging its way across hot concrete, leaving a slimy trail of inevitability.

You Can Control Time

Time begins and ends with you. As your thoughts and moods shift and change, time is stretched or shortened to match your internal state. It’s almost as if time is Saran Wrap, encasing you as you move through the moments of your life.

Try this experiment. Before you leave for your next appointment, errand or delivery, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you feel your body calm, tell yourself that “I have all the time in the world.” Repeat this phrase several times and then go on about your day. When you feel anxious about not having enough time, use the phrase while taking deep breaths. Then notice if your experience of time changes.

Time is Your Friend or Your Enemy

As you begin to see that it is your decision about how you are going to experience time that molds it, you can get more creative. Deciding that time is your friend and it supports you will produce a much different experience than deciding that time is your enemy and is out to destroy you.

It always come back to you. And your choice.

old people and love

Experiment with these concepts and become an observer of your experiences. When you begin to see this process, you can change those steps that no longer support you.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Start with Yourself


nicolas-tissot-435976

There are absolute truths about the human experience that never change, no matter what century you live in or what culture. These truths are immutable, immeasurable and impossible to ignore.

One of these truths is that to change the world, you must first change yourself.

In the Crypts of that grand cathedral known as Westminster Abbey, on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop inscribed in 1100 A.D., are these words:

When I was young and free and my imagination

had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world

would not change, so I shortened my sights some

what and decided to change only my country.

But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, In one last desperate

attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those

closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my death bed, I suddenly realize:

If I had only changed myself first, then by example I

would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would

then have been able to better my country and, who

knows, I may have even changed the world.

Don’t wait for the last moments of your life to know this truth. You can make a difference right now, in the very moment. Decide to change yourself and you will change the world.

Start with yourself.

What wild and crazy thing is calling to you? To go surf in Hawaii? To run the Paris Marathon? To climb a mountain?

Whatever it is, culture will try to stop you. The rules of the world seem to quash the very thing that makes us human — our spirit. Don’t let it quash you.

If your first thought is to denigrate yourself or your abilities, that is culture talking. You will not live your wild, best life listening to culture.

Just remember, that thing that is calling you…is pointing directly at you and saying, “It’s time. Walk away. Come play with me. You’ll see.”

That thing calling you defies reason and logic (more culture speak). It defines your deepest yearning, that person you were meant to be.

Start with yourself and you will discover that impossible truth that we must all face at some point in our lives. You are here for a reason and only you can express it to the world.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

You are Never Alone


lyndsey-marie-438682My life has changed dramatically. Our only daughter is in college, I left my part-time job to work from home, and I now find myself by myself more than at any other time in my life.

Before this stage in my life, being alone was never a problem, mostly because it rarely happened. Between a busy career, raising a daughter, all of her activities (school, sports, etc.) and our family, being alone was usually not an option. Others came first, and I willingly played my part.

But now all of that busyness is over. In these quiet hours, working from home, I face loneliness. I’m afraid that I will discover myself as less than. Now that I can’t hide from myself, I can either jump into another job or see where this path leads.

I choose to stay…(read the rest of this post inside Medium).

(Medium is a great platform for bloggers to get noticed. If you liked this post, please clap. Leave a comment below if you posted an article in Medium and share the link, and I will return the favor).

Can you Communicate this Way?


I didn’t know what to expect when I first met Joanna Hennon. She calls herself a Soul Wisdom Mentor and helps her clients communicate with their intuition. She channels her own wisdom as she guides her clients to discover their own. The end result is a life filled with joyful awareness, trust and inner wisdom.

Joanna Hennon

I have to admit…I was somewhat skeptical. Until I heard her describe her work. Then I was hooked. You can actually feel her joy!

Listen to our conversation and make your own decision about a life guided by intuition…or the ego. It’s another step in the Heart Dance:-)

Visit Joanna Hennon at CreateYourWorld.me.

HEART DANCING – IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE!

Do this today and discover your bliss.


Love-will-always-lead-you-home

Relationships are a Container of Discovery


When you are in a relationship, it appears that you and the other person, object (or even a concept) is outside of you and separate. Continue reading

The Story Mirror


MirrorsI was putting on my makeup the other morning when I noticed a matched set of wrinkles around my mouth. Having reached the age where the mirror is can seem like an enemy instead of a friend, I am hyper-vigilant about the stories I tell myself as I gaze at my reflection.

It makes all the difference in what I see.

Allow me to provide two examples to demonstrate my point. Assume both of these scenarios occurred on the same day, at the same time:

Story A: It’s the end of 2015 and I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I feel time slipping through my fingers like grains of sand and I feel powerless to stop the flow. I don’t particularly like myself right now and the choir of judgment, criticism and frustration is singing at full volume. When I look in the mirror, all I see are wrinkles, gray hairs and a bit of sagging around my jawline. I frown at my image and wonder (rather despondently) why I look so much older.

Story B: It’s the end of 2015 and I made a list of all that I accomplished this year. I have taught courses, given speeches (on a cruise!), appeared on television, been interviewed on radio shows and even created a podcast. It’s been a productive year and I can’t wait for 2016! When I look in the mirror, I see myself as a vibrant woman eager to share her wisdom. The wrinkles, gray hairs and sagging jawline are just the physical evidence that I have lived more than 50 years on this planet. I smile at myself, knowing that I am enough.

What just happened? My physical appearance didn’t change. The mirror’s surface was the same – it reflected back what was before it. The only thing different was the story I told myself as I looked into the mirror. And that story (whether it was positive or negative) caused me to see myself differently.

Instead of reflecting light particles, my mirror actually reflected the stories I told myself! Instead of an inanimate object made of glass and silver, I now call it my “Story Mirror.”

My mirror has become my litmus test. When I see the wrinkles, gray hair and sagging skin, I know I am not telling myself an uplifting story. When I see sparkling eyes and I can smile at myself, my internal story is rocking.

Your Stories Filter What You See

Stories are the meaning you attach to neutral facts. In the examples above, the physical appearance of my face certainly did not change, but I saw different things because of my story filter.

Can you change your limiting stories? Absolutely. Are you willing to become aware of your limiting stories so you can change them? Silence…as crickets chirp in the background.

The inevitable truth is: Only you are in control of your stories. You created them and you can change them. No one is coming to fix it. Only you can decide what stories work for you and which ones need to be changed.

“But how do I change my stories? That’s exactly how I see myself!” I can hear the conversation in your head as you consider my message. I do not have enough space here to explain the how and why of the Story Alchemy™ process, but I can promise you that it works miracles.

When you change your stories, you change your life. Your view of your world also changes to reflect your new perspective.

Life is a Mirror of your Inner World

One of my favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau: It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see. When you begin alchemizing your limiting stories, you begin to see your world differently.

Why? It all starts with your inner world. Change your inner world and the outer world will also change.

We live in a dualistic world of physical form, governed by the laws of time and space. Good and bad co-exist; love and hate can always be seen; joy and despair exist in the same set of circumstances.

It all comes down to which story you choose as your filter. Are you limiting your view because of the choir of judgmental voices singing in your head? Or have you chosen to ignore them and turn toward the light of empowerment?

It is your choice, in every moment. Your choice determines what you see in the mirror, and in the outside world.

Why not choose to stand in front of your mirror with an empowering story about yourself, your life and your value? Commit to seeing the greatest version of the grandest vision of yourself and your world will change…because you have changed it from the inside.

You always have the perfect litmus test to determine whether you are on track. Your mirror. And your life.

Interested in learning more? Please visit KathrynEriksen.com and join my email list. Your first gift is the Story Alchemy ebook, that explains the process of returning to your authenticity.

 

Spiritual Fuel


“Your body is your vehicle for great awakening, treat it with great care” –Buddah

How many weight loss resolutions have your broken by the first week of the new year? Are you in that stage now, berating yourself for your lack of will power and focus?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Diets, by their design, are restrictive. Deprivation and negativity are hallmarks. And many diets actually work against your body, triggering it’s survival mode. Holding on to every bit of calories and stored fat, because when you are on a diet, you can actually starve yourself.

It’s like filling your car up with water and expecting it to run smoothly (or to start at all).

Unlike a car, your body has its own natural intelligence. It knows how to realign and center, but it needs your help. Your body is designed to operate flawlessly, seamlessly and effortlessly. It just needs the right fuel. (Hint: the fuel is different than what you think it is).

F.U.E.L is not the food you eat or the calories you consume. Spiritual F.U.E.L. is:

Empower Your Health Webinar2

It All Starts When You Live From the Inside-Out

Your health can be seen from an entirely new perspective. Instead of counting calories and feeling deprived, why not take time to be still, go within and discover that you are O.K. (just by being here on the planet). Focusing on living from the inside-out will profoundly change your outlook, yourself, your relationships and your health. For example:

  • Reconnect with your Source and the negative emotions that may drive you to eat poorly disappear.
  • Realize your innate value as a human being; the insecurities that make a chocolate molten meltdown look like it’s your last meal dissolve into nothing. You can still eat the dessert, but you will enjoy it as a treat, not as an attempt to heal your pain.
  • Renew yourself as a holistic being, making self-care critical in your daily life. Meditation, yoga, reading inspirational materials and eating mindfully are just some of the action items that fall into this category.

When you shift your focus from the outer world to your interior landscape, everything falls into place. Your thoughts stop swirling, your emotions settle and you discover what you have always known (but may have forgotten).

“You Are Valuable. You Are Valued. You Are Loved.”

How great would it be to live from that place? Knowing that your worth is guaranteed and that you are enough, right here…right now.

If this message caught your attention and made you wonder, why don’t you join me on Monday, January 11, 2016 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. cst for a live webinar? You may find the answers you have been searching for, but didn’t know where to look.

Empower Your Health Webinar

Let’s dance together toward a new way of being. 

Just think how grand the world would be if only a few people started living from the inside-out!

Thank you and Be Well.