Serving Others – Tapping Inspired by the Tao Te Ching

Does serving others seem like a good idea, but when it is time to actually do it you feel resistance?  The following tapping exercise is designed to help you begin to address any resistance you might feel.

Say these words while tapping on the karate chop point: When I think about serving others I get a little uncomfortable. The word “serve” really sticks in my throat.  I think of slavery, oppression, and ownership. I sometimes enjoy doing things for other people, but a resist if I feel I must.  I am choosing to tap now for more clarity about my resistance.  I am choosing to learn more about my motivations.  I am choosing to love and accept myself on this journey.

Eyebrow…The importance of serving others is something I’ve grown up with

Side of Eye…But I’ve also grown up with the concept of being used by others.

Under the Eye…That gets a little muddy in my head sometimes.

Under the Nose…I can’t even say that my motives are always altruistic when I am doing things for other people.

Chin…If I want them to feel gratitude am I really serving?

Collarbone…I don’t know.

Under the Arm…If I want them to remember what I’ve done for them am I really serving?

Top of Head…I don’t know.

Eyebrow…The motive seems to be more important that the action in this one.

Side of Eye…If that is the case, I have a long way to go.

Under the Eye…My behavior is much more in line with service than is my attitude.

Under the Nose…I do care about other people.

Chin…I’m not completely narcissistic and selfish.

Collarbone…I get pleasure from helping others.

Under the Arm…But if I’m getting pleasure from it am I really serving?

Top of Head…Do I have to be miserable to serve?

Eyebrow…Do I have to suffer to serve?

Side of Eye…Many of the great “servants” that I’ve been told about

Under the Eye…Had lots of bad things happen to them.

Under the Nose…I don’t really want that.

Chin…I don’t think this is something that I’m going to get the answer to.

Collarbone…I think this is one of those things where it is the journey that is important.

Under the Arm…I usually hate those.

Top of Head…I’d like some more guidelines please.

Eyebrow…How much service is enough?

Side of Eye…Can two acts of service balance out an afternoon of self-indulgence?

Under the Eye…I’m not totally serious about that, but I’m not totally kidding either.

Under the Nose…I want to get a little bit more comfortable with the idea.

Chin…I’d like to recognize more opportunities for service.

Collarbone…I’d like to think of others more often than I do now.

Under the Arm…I guess that is progress.

Top of Head…I choose to remain open to more clarity and understanding about serving others.

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.  Notice how you feel.  Were there questions that popped into your mind?  Were there moments of clarity?  Write them down.  They could be inspiration for more tapping later.

Book Review – Mind Over Medicine

I had two thoughts when I first read Mind Over Medicine: Proof That You Can Heal  Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.  My first thought – “I really like this”.  My second thought – “This is a lot of work.”

I waited a while after finishing this book before event attempting to write a review.  There is a lot of information in this book.  Some of it, quite frankly, really annoyed me.  This wasn’t because I think Dr. Rankin is wrong, but because I didn’t want to hear it.

The beginning of the book is about the placebo and nocebo theories.  I understand what she was trying to communicate and I think the inclusion of this information adds credibility to what came later in the book. There is a negative connotation associated with the word placebo in the medical facilities in which I have worked. Therefore, each time she mentioned any CAM treatments and labeled the effect as placebo, I felt my energy shift and I was aware of strong defensiveness. Again, not necessarily a bad thing – but quite uncomfortable.

The other sections of the book in which she gets into the prescription for healing were wonderful and helped to restore my energy. Warning: if you want to get the most out of this book you have to really do the exercises, and they are not easy. You will learn some things about yourself that might just blow your mind.

For me, this won’t be a read it and you are done type of book. I expect to go back and read it several more times.  I highly recommend it to you too.

Peace in – Peace out!

I know that many people have developed the habit of starting the morning with the news, whether print or digital. That habit can have some merit since you can prepare for the weather, have the latest news to discuss with colleagues, or enjoy a chuckle if you are reading the comics.  The downside is that you are also exposing yourself to all of the negativity that has accumulated in the world the night before.  Have you ever wondered how reading about murder, theft, hunger, poverty, corruption, and deceit might impact your day?

I have found that I often start my day at a full sprint.  I pop out of bed and fly through my morning performing tasks at superhero speed trying to get as many things done in as short a time as possible.  Again, this has both positive aspects as well as hazards.  When in sprint mode I can cross many things off of my to-do list and give the appearance to myself and others that I am amazingly efficient and effective.  But at what cost?  After this sprint to get things done I am usually too tired and too grumpy to enjoy the free time that I expected to have later.  Truthfully, when in that mode I suspect that I’m not all that pleasant to be around either.

At different times in my life I have made the effort to exercise first thing in the morning.  I got up very early and dedicated that time to riding my stationary bike.  Most of the time I also had some positive attitude or personal growth CD playing in the background.  The combination was fantastic.  I know other people use yoga, meditation, spiritual study, prayer, or running as a way to get their day started in the right direction.

Other times, and prior to the time change (now sunrise comes after my work day begins), I took my dogs on a short walk to get some fresh air and exercise and to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  They felt better.  I felt better.  That feeling persisted throughout my morning at work.  Once darkness and black ice interfered with our early morning walks I began using inspirational CDs during my commute to gently lead my mind where I wanted it to go. Most mornings you will find me listening to WayneGirl with headphones in the snow Dyer, Anthony Robbins, or the Dalai Lama.  I confess that during the Christmas holiday season (starting around Halloween for me) I listen to endless hours of Christmas music instead becauase I adore it.

I am trying to be more aware of my mindset at the beginning of my day and have noticed that when I do plan for a peaceful start that I have a more peaceful day.  I can tell a difference in the way I feel about the world, myself, and the people I meet when I have made a conscious choice to start my day in this manner.  It does take some planning and intention to manage my time in the morning so that this is possible.  It is all too easy for me to just hit the floor running.  But, much like the garbage in – garbage out metaphor in computing, peace in – peace out seems to be every bit as true.

Jumping to Conclusions

I hate to admit this, but I tend to jump to conclusions. That’s not much of a surprise. In fact, my Myers Briggs personality type is INTJ.  That J stand for Judging. Now in the Myers Briggs, judging does mean judgmental, but there are those tendencies.

This personality trait shows up frequently while driving. Recent a truck pulled out in front of me and I instantly thought, “wow, that is an odd color for a truck.” In a split second, and without much information, I made the assumption or jumped to the conclusion that the truck was a funky color.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that the truck was actually covered with dirt and other evidence of an off-road adventure.  Underneath all of that the truck appeared to be white – a very normal color.

So what – you might say.  By itself this even had very little meaning. As I continued to ponder this I wondered how often I make snap judgments without all of the information.  This also raised some other questions.

  • When I do make snap judgments, am I open to additional information?
  • How often are these judgments correct?
  • Am I really not very observant?
  • How do I take in more information?
  • Would I benefit from slowing down by judgments?

I am a work in progress and plan to consider these questions more as I go through each day.  Perhaps this is an issue that speaks to you too.  How many snap judgments do you make?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Mise en place

Are you impressed with my French?  Don’t be. Not only do I not speak French, I stink at mise en place.  I watch many cooking shows.  In fact, I’m somewhat addicted to them.  I’ve heard Alton Brown and others preach mise en place.  But do I practice it? NO!!! For example, one day I started putting together a great Tuscan Bean Soup but dumped the onions in the oil to saute long before I had even retrieved the garlic from the cupboard or the carrots from the refrigerator.

I’ve been pondering this personal deficit for a while now and it truly baffles me. I’m a person who makes lists.  My daily schedule in on an Excel spreadsheet and I dutifully remove things as they are completed. Usually the tasks are even recorded in order. The list might include thawing meat for tomorrow’s dinner, or staging the items I plan to take to the office the next day.  So my mise en place failure isn’t an inability to plan ahead.

I’m not a terribly patient person though. I can look patient, but on the inside I’m usually quite the opposite. I do find it hard to wait for the things I want or the activities I want to do. I’ve learned to cope with it though, so I can generally stay within a financial or time budget.

After reading an article about mise en place I think I may have found the answer. Mise en place can also be about attitude. If I fail to prepare my attitude or thoughts, the behavior is more erratic. I think this could be a lesson that far transcends the kitchen.

If you have a pre-cooking attitude adjuster that works for you…..please share.

Global vs Local

If you search the internet using the terms local and global you will find articles on almost every topic imaginable. Within the realm of psychology, the terms are commonly used in perception and information processing. I have found benefit in using these terms to understand problems and solutions as well as pairing solutions with the problems people report in therapy. It might be helpful to think of local problems as things that are fairly limited in time and frequency. Local problems aren’t always small or minor. They can be quite intense. Global problems are best thought of as patterns or trends. Again, severity isn’t the real issue.

Mary, usually a great student, gets a low score on a math test. Is this a local problem or a global problem? Based on the available information this is a local problem. There is no evidence that this problem involves any factors outside of the specific incident. Jared has received low grades in his math classes for the past several years. The existence of the difficulty over time suggests that this is more likely global. Judy is having trouble getting along with her coworkers, family, and friends. She has been generally irritable for several months. This is another example that is more global than local because the problem exists in more than one situation.

Mary, having a local problem, will likely be able to resolve the issue with a fairly local solution. Local solutions might include things like reviewing the test material, talking with the teacher, or doing some extra work with the specific concepts that were covered by the test. Global solutions such as dropping the math class, enrolling in a tutoring program, or changing her major would likely be excessive or overreactions to the problem. For Jared the opposite is really true. His problems are not likely to resolve by focusing on only the current topic in mathematics. The solution will need to be much more global. Since Judy’s problems occur within several relationships and settings, resolution focusing on broader concepts such as mood, intimacy, communication, or boundaries will probably be necessary.

When an individual has a local problem there is not likely going to be a serious consequence when a global solution is launched; however, the problem resolution could actually take a much longer time and will use more resources than in necessary. Conversely, if an individual has a global problem, as noted previously there is very little chance of resolution with a local solution.

Misperception is an important factor to consider. Susan’s son spilled soda on the living room carpet. Ellen recognized this as a local problem and had him clean up his mess. This was a logical consequence of his spilling. This scene could have played out a different way if Susan had perceived this as a global problem. Instead of focusing on how to resolve the mess, she could have focused on the event as an act of disrespect, disobedience, or incompetence. Then she would have searched for solutions that would correct those larger issues. The event would likely not have ended with just a towel or a mop.

Here are some questions to ask when considering whether a problem or solution is truly local or global.

  • How often does this problem occur (time)?
  • Does this happen in more than one situation (scope)?
  • Does this happen with more than one person?
  • Does this solution address the facts or the feelings?
  • Does this solution have an immediate impact or will it take time?
  • Does this solution change what is happening in one situation or many?

Remember, the goal is to use local solutions for local problems and global solutions for global problems.  The more accurate your perception, the easier it will be.

Book Review – The Too Precious Child: Letting Go of the Super-Parent Syndrome

The Too Precious Child was written by Dr. Lynne Williams, Dr. Henry Berman, and Louisa Rose. It has been a mainstay in my tool kit for helping parents with a variety of issues.  I consider it to be one of the most important books busy parents in our culture can read, particularly if they are striving for strong parenting skills. If you answer yes to any of these questions, this book is for you.

  • As a parent, have you vowed never to let your child lack for anything?
  • Did you have your first child at or beyond the age of thirty?
  • Were there obstacles to conceiving your child?
  • Was your child adopted or premature?
  • Does it bother you when your child is bored, messy, or less than an A student?
  • Are you a single parent?
  • Is your child artistically, athletically, or intellectually gifted?
  • Do you always put your children’s needs first? Before your mate’s? Before your own?

It looks like this book is only available through second hand retailers, but is worth the search.