Fact v. Interpretation – Does it Matter?


little-girl-759x675What was your first thought when you saw this photo? Did you feel a tug on your heart because the girl seems sad or lonely? Did the scene remind you of something in your childhood? Or did you decide that the girl is expecting someone to arrive and she is patiently waiting?

Whatever your first thought, the fact remains that this is merely a photograph of a young girl staring out a window. Nothing more, nothing less.

In the absence of data, we create meaning.  – Brene Brown

In the absence of data, our minds are wired to jump in and create a story about what is in front of us. It’s the way we protect ourselves, by injecting meaning into data that would otherwise be without context.

The meaning we attach to data is heavily influenced by our past, our beliefs and our current emotional state. These layers of perspective can ebb and flow from moment to moment, causing confusion and disrupting our focus and our relationships.

We interpret neutral facts to fit our worldview.

Has the following ever happened to you?

One morning, when I opened my work emails, I felt a surge of anger as I started reading a message from a colleague. I was in charge of an important project, and she was offering her unsolicited advice while copying my boss. We had been at odds before since we were on the same level in the company and we were both ambitious and competitive.

To say that I was not happy is an understatement.

Instead of taking a moment to calm myself and allow the strong emotion to pass through me (studies show that it takes up to 90 seconds for an emotion to run its course), I stormed down the hall to her office. I was ready for a confrontation and adrenaline was pumping through my body. My breathing was shallow, my muscles were tense, and my brain was in fight mode.

Bring it on sister!

Fortunately for me, I was stopped by another colleague who was a bit older and who knew me well enough to see the signs of an impending confrontation. He pulled me into his office and made me sit down. Without saying a word, he sat behind his desk and took several deep breaths.

I was not about to lose my mojo. I got up to leave, but he motioned for me to sit. As I looked at him, I found myself mimicking his breathing and felt the charge leave my body. After several seconds, he raised an eyebrow and invited me to share what was going on.

I learned a lot that day about myself and the dangers of interpretation. I avoided a harmful confrontation that would have had potentially drastic consequences on my career. I also discovered that just because I felt something strongly does not mean that the feeling was accurate. Interrupting the flow of emotions long enough to calmly evaluate the situation saved me from an embarrassing incident.

There is always thought before the emotion. Emotions do not rise by themselves. They rise because a thought, belief or interpretation has triggered the emotion.

Let’s put all of this together.

We know that in the absence of data, we create our own meaning, based on our worldview (remember the story you created about the little girl in the photograph?). We also know that there is always thought before emotion.

So what happens when we misinterpret the situation, motive or event and then act on the resulting feeling? It never ends well. The other person does not share our worldview and probably will not understand the depth of emotion we display. Animosity, mistrust, and conflict are possible results.

Unless we learn to recognize when we have entered the zone of emotional reaction, which causes your body to tense and our brain to scream, “I can’t take this anymore!” Become aware of your own sequence, interrupt it with mindfulness techniques and then reassess the situation before acting.

To learn more about these techniques that you can use immediately, please schedule a 15 minute appointment with me: Click HERE. I offer personalized meditations and coaching, as well as in-person training (in the Dallas/Fort Worth area).

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Advertisements

Learning to Forgive


Forgiveness is one of those words that has been hijacked by well-meaning parents, teachers and even religions. It is really a simple concept, but we may have forgotten that.

To forgive means that you would have said something differently, taken another course of action or allowed the other person’s view to be the guide.

Please join me as I talk about forgiveness, dogs and how to step into your abundance.

aa-podcast-graphic

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance <3.

Isn’t it Time?


The two greatest needs every human has are to:

  • Be seen and
  • Be heard.

You can’t fulfill either need by looking for answers in your outer world. You have to go within and see your Self.

How? With meditation.

Heart Dancing is a way of life where you show up authentically. You are seen and heard, because you have first seen and heard your Self.

Heart Dancing MeditationsWhen you listen to the Heart Dancing Guided Meditations, you will discover that you can see your Self. Maybe for the first time in quite a while. You will also discover that your voice is heard, because you hear it.

The steps of the Heart Dance are easy. You knew them as a child, but you have forgotten. Allow these meditations to remind you.

The Universal music is playing – won’t you join me in the dance?

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance ❤

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 Touch Point of Your Breath


Have you ever noticed that nature, when observed carefully, can teach you about how to live?

The rhythm of life pulses through nature unabated and Breatheuncurbed, flowing from Source into the physical and back to Source. Effortlessly moving from the infinite through the finite then back again. It is a cycle of energy that repeats itself effortlessly and continuously. You could even call it the cycle of renewal.

A colorful butterfly emerges from the cocoon, transformed from a slimy caterpillar. Trees are clothed in leaves of gold, red and brown when it is time to slow down for winter’s cold. Water evaporates from the ocean to form clouds that will eventually return the water back to the ocean.

What does anything of this have to do with you?

You are part of this never-ending cycle of life. You are the conduit for the same energy that moves the wind, creates elephants and touches the sky at night with color.

The only difference between you and nature is that you have a choice about how you express this life-force.

When you stay stuck in your emotions, the life-force is expressed differently than if you were at peace. When you choose to carry your anger or hurt into the next moment and the next, you react instead of respond to life.

Reactions spring from emotions. Response carries a deeper mindfulness and authenticity.

Emotions are really just energy in motion. They are a signal to you that your peace has been disturbed. E-motions are a tool, not a definition of who you are. Just like with any tool, you use it then set it aside.

What is a simple way to remember to release emotions? Just breathe.

Mark Nepo, a poet and philosopher, in The Book of Awakening, described the human condition this way:

Again, and again, we, more than any other life form, have this majestic and burdensome power

to harbor or release the impact of our experience.

Think of the breath as the bridge between the formless energy and yourself. Breathe in as you experience your life, breath out as you release.

Try it out now. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it, releasing it slowly through your mouth. Repeat two more times.

Don’t you feel calmer and more grounded? Your breath is the touch point for your peace. When you feel emotions that disturb your peace, return to your breath. It works every time.

The cycle of life can be found in the simplest of things. Welcome to another step in the Heart Dance.

What is your Success Mantra?


When I discover simple ideas that resonate with my soul, I share Success Mantrathem.

Gay Hendricks has written The Big Leap, a book that inspires, motivates and creates a guide for mastery of Self.

But the big take-away for me is his success mantra.

I changed it a bit and added a graphic that makes me happy every time I look at it. (Please share to inspire others to dance :-)).

Life is a dance –

will you dance with me?

I am holding a virtual dance party! To be on the invitation list, please go to my website (KathrynEriksen.com) and sign up for my emails. You will be added to the invitation list and receive lots of great information on ways to live a life as happy as these two girls! Can’t you just feel their joyful energy spilling off the page?

Heart Dancing – It’s the Only Way to Live!