Find peace when you develop an observing, curious mind

Find peace when you develop an observing, curious mind

Is your mind inclined toward judgment or did you develop an observing, curious mind?

 

Somehow, when I think about an observing, curious mind, I think about my childhood home on a cul-de-sac.  I grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, in a large neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac. This was probably akin to today’s vinyl villages; only vinyl wasn’t a thing you built houses with then (even the three pigs knew that). My particular childhood cul-de-sac was a street that led to a stop sign, where you could either turn left or right to leave the neighborhood or continue forward to the other side of the same street, only to find yourself at another cul-de-sac.  So, essentially, you could circle my street as many times as you wanted without ever leaving the neighborhood, just pausing to cross the street that could actually take you somewhere new.

an observing, curious mindBear with me, this does relate to an observing, curious mind.  As a parent, I can appreciate that cul-de-sacs are great for safety.  There is rarely unexpected traffic because unless you live on that street, there is nowhere to go, except back from where you came.  The neighbors who travel down the street can likely predict which houses may have a little fella chasing a ball into the street, or the three little girls speeding in and out of driveways, pretending to be Charlie’s Angels on their bikes (flashback, sorry).  This makes a cul-de-sac much safer than a road that allows for new and unexpected traffic. 

Cul-de-sac THINKING, however, is not so safe. When you have one way of thinking that leads to the same dead end, you will always end up in the same place.  You cannot expand your mind without allowing in new information.  Unfortunately, the illusion of safety that comes with cul-de-sac thinking makes it very tempting to lean into judgment, rather than observation.  Judgment says, “I know.” Observation says, “I’m curious.”  Observation allows us to take in new information, to notice things in new ways, and to consider changing our thinking about our understanding of things.  The key is to develop an observing, curious mind.

Judgment is choosing to go straight at the stop sign, leading you right back to another cul-de-sac.  Judgment, or the stories we make up, keeps us closed to new information.

For many, the pain of what we know feels safer than the illusion of pain that accompanies the unknown.  For example, many people stay stuck in unsatisfying jobs, relationships, friendships, houses, cities, etc… because they fear they will not find something better; or worse yet, that they aren’t worthy of more.  This is an example of a judgment that keeps people stuck.  This is what people in pain do.  They engage in cul-de-sac thinking. They think the same thoughts over and over, convincing themselves that their pain is unchangeable.  How do we know what we don’t know?  How do we know that there are no more rewarding jobs (or occupations, for that matter) that can support us well, or ways to improve our relationships, or our location, etc?  We don’t.  We just convince ourselves we do.

What would happen if you turned left or right at the middle of those two cul-de-sacs, and actually left the neighborhood?  (Go left and you’ll head toward my best friend Kirsten’s childhood home, go right and you will find the YMCA – both very healthy choices).  Choosing a new direction requires you to ask yourself a different question.  Instead of viewing your pain as a permanent situation, you receive it as it is intended – as a signal that something must change for you to find relief.  You do not pre-judge what needs to change; you simply open your mind to the possibilities.

  • Notice what brings you pain.  (“I hate my job.”)  Pain is the signal from our self, to our self, that something needs our attention.  It is wise to be grateful for our pain because it offers us the contrast needed to know what it is we desire. Pain is not the focus though, it is the signal that tells us where to point our attention.
  •  Identify your desire, which is always the opposite of your pain: (“I love my job.”) You start with what it is you desire.   If what bring us pain is, “I hate my job.”  Relief is found in the opposite of this.  The goal on the opposite side of, “I hate my job,” is, “I love my job.”
  • Lastly, find a question that directs your brain toward positive problem solving: (“How can I love my job?”)  You will notice that this question is not, “How can I find a new and better job,” or “How can I get great benefits.”  This question is OPEN.  The question does not presume anything, it simply asks about the ultimate desire – to love my job.  This question can only be found by turning left or right at the stop sign in the middle of the cul-de-sac.

There are so many thoughts to think all of the time.  (Nope, that is not a Winnie the Pooh quote).  The beautiful thing about thoughts is, we actually get to decide what we think.  Try it.  You don’t have to think what your mind is thinking about.  You don’t stop the thoughts you have, you simply choose something else to think about.  What questions are you asking yourself?  Do they direct you down a road that ends in a cul-de-sac, or does it open you up for new information and new answers? Staying open to new information is an essential relationship skill (read more here about healthy relationship goals).

Last week, I was teaching this concept of thinking with an “observing mind,” rather than cul-de-sac thinking, to the staff of Cass and Company, a progressive hair salon in Avon that invests in the happiness and well-being of their stylists and staff! (Amazing, right?)  In my session with them this month, we were discussing the importance of “building an observing mind.”  While discussing how observation is power and judgment is a weakness, one of the stylists shared a story about a time in her life when all she did was observe.  The stylist, Lina, came to the United States from Lithuania many years ago.  She shared that when she first came to the United States, all she did was observe.  Her whole goal was to learn and understand the American culture.  She had no assumptions about anything.  In fact, she said, she was more inclined to believe she knew nothing, so she was 100% open to everything.  Jokingly, she said,  “Now that I’ve been here for so many years, I know everything.”

Wouldn’t it be interesting to approach every situation we are in with the curiosity of a visitor to a new country?  How would we see people, places, and things differently if we assumed nothing, judged nothing, focused on the facts, and stayed in the moment?  That is what an observing mind does.

I’ve always heard, Knowledge is Power, but it seems to me, Curiosity is the real power. Whatever you do, be open to taking a left or a right if you find yourself headed toward a cul-de-sac.

 

Do you know what your imago is and how it can improve your relationship? > find out here

Low Sex Drive?

Low Sex Drive?

Low Sex Drive?

For a wonderfully easy to understand overview of issues related to a low sex drive, including the symptoms of low libido, issues associated with a low sex drive, and ways to increase your libido, here is a great infographic.

libido-on-low-what-causes-a-meager-sex-drive

Credited to x’s and o’s, in partnership with Ghergich and co.

DML BREAKTHROUGH REGISTRATION

Give yourself twelve weeks to tiny-step your way to your own personal breakthrough, 84 intentional days of focus on your personal healing.  Join a group of women (we call “your tribe,” or your “tribe-mates”) and together learn how to listen to your pain, and access your real self, while learning how to protect, and advocate for, your highest good. Every week you will find that you are in a much better-feeling place. With tiny, manageable steps, just one day at a time, you will discover that you have arrived at a place where you not only understand what has happened to cause you so much pain, and specific steps to take to relieve your hurt, you will also find yourself saying, “Yes!  Life is good!”

 

 

Join Your Breakthrough Tribe Here (payment options below)

How you will get from where you are to where you want to be is with:
  • > 12, weekly 60-minute tribe sessions with Michele
  • > 84, daily emails from Michele
  • > 2, coaching email chats (to be used when desired during 12-weeks)
  • > 24/7 access to private communication (groupme app) with tribe mates
  • > exercises, resources, strategies, and support for 12 full weeks

 

Join Your Breakthrough Tribe Here (payment options below)

The DML BREAKTHROUGH is a wrap-around support program that is designed to keep you company and inspire, encourage, and educate you on a daily basis for 84 consecutive days and you will be amazed at how good you CAN feel.

What’s even better, the cost of this program is less than two therapy sessions a month for the three months you are in the program.

 

Join Your Breakthrough Tribe Here (payment options below)

REGISTRATION POLICY (AND A NOTE ABOUT WHEN BOTH PARTNERS WANT TO PARTICIPATE)

Once you register for the DML Breakthrough, you have made a 12-week commitment to not only your tribe-mates who will be counting on you to participate, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO YOUR SELF!  Payment for your participation in the DML Breakthrough is non-refundable.

In the event you begin a new relationship, or resume your relationship with your ex, you are still encouraged to participate in class.

IF BOTH YOU AND YOUR EX-PARTNER WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DML BREAKTHROUGH, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO SO AT DIFFERENT TIMES, OR IN DIFFERENT TRIBES (if available at the time you enroll).  If each of you attempts to enroll, and there are not two different tribes available, the one who does so first will be granted access to the class.

Step Two: Coaching Chat

YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED STEP ONE OF THE EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH ME, 
Michele O’Mara, PhD. 

STEP TWO.
  
To START THE 24 HOUR TURNAROUND CLOCK for your reply, simply make your payment by clicking on the price that corresponds with the email exchange you selected from the options below.TO INITIATE PAYMENT, CLICK ON THE AMOUNT OF THE EXCHANGE YOU HAVE SELECTED among the following options.  450 words or less (1 page), 2 questions = $25
451-900 words (2 pages), 3 questions = $50
901-1350 (3 pages), 4 questions = $75
1351-1800 (4 pages), 5 questions = $100
1801-2200 (5 pages), 6 questions = $125

 


What are Coaching Chats?

WHAT are EMAIL EXCHANGES?

Email exchanges are the ideal option for those seeking the greatest level of convenience, accessibility, affordability, and flexibility.  Email exchanges are an alternative to chat sessions, yet offer the same benefits, just not real-time.

With Email Exchanges you will have more time to process your concerns, and to sort through your questions, dilemmas and feelings.

Once you submit your email,  you can anticipate a response within 24 hours of payment received.

HOW do I do an EMAIL EXCHANGE?

The basic email exchange involves two steps.

  1. Write an email that includes your concern, any relevant history related to your concern, and what you are requesting feedback about.  ALWAYS CONCLUDE YOUR EMAIL WITH THE QUESTIONS YOU WISH TO HAVE ANSWERED.
  2. I will respond to your email with a summary of my understanding of your concern(s), my observations, insights and responses to your specific questions, along with my suggestions.

WHAT are the FEES?

Fees are based on the NUMBER OF WORDS  you submit in your inquiry, and the NUMBER OF QUESTIONS for which you request a response.
The following fee schedule is based on the number of words submitted to me in your email, and the number of questions you ask.  If you have a lot to say, and only a couple of questions, you will want to purchase the package that gives you enough space to say what you want to say.  I will respond to your message as I read it, commenting as I go, and then I will see if I have answered your questions at the end of your message or not.  If I have not answered your questions, I will address those before replying.
450 words or less (1 page), 2 questions = $25
451-900 words (2 pages), 3 questions = $50
901-1350 (3 pages), 4 questions = $75
1351-1800 (4 pages), 5 questions = $100
1801-2200 (5 pages), 6 questions = $125

The Kindest

Lana was telling a funny story when her wife, Autumn interrupted her to make sure she told the correct the time of day that this thing she was talking about happened. (Not that it changed the story).  Lana rolled her eyes and continued with the story.  Autumn left to get some snacks for halftime and when she came back, Lana criticized her for bringing a mustard packet for her hot dog.  “Why, after ten years together, would you think I’d want  mustard on my hotdog?” (Autumn has had two hotdogs in their lives together, and she couldn’t remember how she liked them.  She wanted to be safe, not sorry).  Have you ever been around a couple like this?

Often in relationships, we like to be right. Sometimes it feels like a win.  And yet, how can that be – if we are right, the one we love must be wrong.  Does it really feel good to believe that someone we love is wrong? Either we both win, or we both lose.  It’s never one of each.

When is the last time you were in competition with your partner to see who could be the kindest? When did you last think to yourself, I‘m going to allow her to have her opinions without having to insert mine? When did you last censor yourself to ensure that only loving and kind words crossed your lips? When did you last go out of your way to do something that made her feel loved, or special or a priority, or important, or valuable to you?  Leave her a love note, just because.  Offer to rub her back, just because.  Take her to that fancy restaurant you don’t really like, just because she does.

What we all want most is acceptance, attention, approval, affection, appreciation, freedom and security.

Unfortunately, we often go about getting these things in all the wrong ways.

We complain when we don’t get appreciation, “You didn’t even notice that I painted the entire exterior of our house, rebuilt the engine in our car, cooked a 12-course meal, and mowed the lawn while you were at work today.”

We distance when we don’t get attention. “Honey, I’ll be late tonight – don’t wait up.”

We pick fights when we don’t get affection. “You never touch me anymore.”

We accuse when we don’t feel a sense of security. “Why are you late?”

We withhold when we don’t get approval. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

We deceive when we don’t feel a sense of freedom. “I wasn’t out with my friends, I was working late.”

If this describes you, I have one question for you: “How’s that working for you?”

Behind every complaint is a desire.

Try this handy little trick. Every time you find yourself about to say something hurtful, do something cold or unfeeling, throw out some “fightin’ words,” or anything else not covered by the umbrella of kindness, challenge yourself to identify the good thing that you do want.  Think about what you desire.

Instead of complaining, say “I’d love to show you some things I did today because it’s important to me that you know how much pride I take in our home…”

Instead of distancing, call home and say, “Any chance we can spend some quality time together tonight if I can cut out of here on time because I want to feel connected to you again.”

Instead of accusing or fighting, say “I’ve missed you, and I’m glad you are here now.”

Instead of withholding or deceiving, be honest. Tell him what you are feeling, tell him what your desire is. Let him in. You didn’t partner with him to shut him out.

If you set your sights on being the kindest, most thoughtful, affectionate, appreciative, accepting and approving partner, I guarantee that your relationship will be a happier place, even if your partner doesn’t change one bit.

Keep it simple, kindness works like magic.

Lana was telling a funny story when her wife, Autumn interrupted her to make sure she told the correct the time of day that this thing she was talking about happened. (Not that it changed the story).  Lana rolled her eyes and continued with the story.  Autumn left to get some snacks for halftime and when she came back, Lana criticized her for bringing a mustard packet for her hot dog.  “Why, after ten years together, would you think I’d want  mustard on my hotdog?” (Autumn has had two hotdogs in their lives together, and she couldn’t remember how she liked them.  She wanted to be safe, not sorry).  Have you ever been around a couple like this?

Often in relationships, we like to be right. Sometimes it feels like a win.  And yet, how can that be – if we are right, the one we love must be wrong.  Does it really feel good to believe that someone we love is wrong? Either we both win, or we both lose.  It’s never one of each.

When is the last time you were in competition with your partner to see who could be the kindest? When did you last think to yourself, I‘m going to allow her to have her opinions without having to insert mine? When did you last censor yourself to ensure that only loving and kind words crossed your lips? When did you last go out of your way to do something that made her feel loved, or special or a priority, or important, or valuable to you?  Leave her a love note, just because.  Offer to rub her back, just because.  Take her to that fancy restaurant you don’t really like, just because she does.

What we all want most is acceptance, attention, approval, affection, appreciation, freedom and security.

Unfortunately, we often go about getting these things in all the wrong ways.

We complain when we don’t get appreciation, “You didn’t even notice that I painted the entire exterior of our house, rebuilt the engine in our car, cooked a 12-course meal, and mowed the lawn while you were at work today.”

We distance when we don’t get attention. “Honey, I’ll be late tonight – don’t wait up.”

We pick fights when we don’t get affection. “You never touch me anymore.”

We accuse when we don’t feel a sense of security. “Why are you late?”

We withhold when we don’t get approval. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

We deceive when we don’t feel a sense of freedom. “I wasn’t out with my friends, I was working late.”

If this describes you, I have one question for you: “How’s that working for you?”

Behind every complaint is a desire.

Try this handy little trick. Every time you find yourself about to say something hurtful, do something cold or unfeeling, throw out some “fightin’ words,” or anything else not covered by the umbrella of kindness, challenge yourself to identify the good thing that you do want.  Think about what you desire.

Instead of complaining, say “I’d love to show you some things I did today because it’s important to me that you know how much pride I take in our home…”

Instead of distancing, call home and say, “Any chance we can spend some quality time together tonight if I can cut out of here on time because I want to feel connected to you again.”

Instead of accusing or fighting, say “I’ve missed you, and I’m glad you are here now.”

Instead of withholding or deceiving, be honest. Tell him what you are feeling, tell him what your desire is. Let him in. You didn’t partner with him to shut him out.

If you set your sights on being the kindest, most thoughtful, affectionate, appreciative, accepting and approving partner, I guarantee that your relationship will be a happier place, even if your partner doesn’t change one bit.

Keep it simple, kindness works like magic.

X