Prism Thinking – Design Your Mind

with Jeff Schoener, the NLP Wordsmythe

While the medical PR community comes up with new disorders on a continuous basis, before we get sucked in to the new millennium’s version of hypochondria, remember this vital information given from an insider in the medical profession: These disorders are merely new names given for symptoms not yet deciphered by the medical community in order for pharmaceutical companies to sell their wares.  There are so many self-diagnosed disorders today that, much like the communities of wordsmiths, NLP and other brain language and belief experts, it would behoove us to make use of the etymology of language before we fall into the traps. Getting to the root of the language may actually also help us get to the root of our so-called disorders.

I would like to use as a newly common example, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day.” Now, can you think of how this perceived disorder goes far beyond the physical? In fact it goes beyond how one sees themselves; it’s also what we tell ourselves – how we talk to ourselves, what we hear, how we feel.

Physical dysmorphia may not just be seeing ourselves in a warped view. How do we “see” ourselves?  In the physical – pretty, ugly, average, gorgeous, plain, nice but flawed? As a person – intelligent, stupid, kind, confident, shy, a success, a failure? How are we telling ourselves that we are these things? What and whose voices do we hear? Our own, a critical parent, sibling or other family member? Our old school-mates, friends, bullies, teachers? How do we feel when we do this? If it makes us feel crappy, why do we do this? Would you ever define yourself as a masochist? Most wouldn’t, yet if we break it down, sadly many of us are.

I still remember one of the very few Dr. Phil advice or techniques that I have ever agreed with. A guest on his show had issues with motivation, self-esteem and was constantly in bad relationships, come to find out her father was verbally abusive to her as a child. However her father had long been deceased, but she kept replaying his words in her head. Finally Dr. Phil said to her, “He’s been gone for many years and you are an adult woman; STOP continuing on his abuse for him!” Are we standing in our own way to well-being, success and the life we desire? Interestingly enough, I also remember many years ago, I found myself saying something negative about me, when my husband Jeff retorted to my surprise, “Hey! Nobody speaks to my wife that way! Not even you!” That woke me up and I began to pay closer attention to the conversations I was having with my Self!

When Jeff works with clients within this range of issues, he finds that,

“When perception and illusion are out of balance, attempting self control based upon internal perception leads individually to distress and depression cycles.  The more the individual attempts to either control the cycle or avoid the cycle the worse the symptoms seem to get.  Do not attempt to get a handle on this.  In many cases my clients are battling the emotions not the issues that begin the cycle.“

So what can we do consciously to become more aware of our unconscious self-talk and beliefs about ourselves, and what can we do to change that?

  • Regress in order to egress.  Taking note of what you do, see, hear or feel before you ‘see’ yourself in ‘that way’ will offer you greater insight into what this is truly about.
  • Pay attention.  Most of the processes that drive these behaviors and emotions begin just outside of your conscious awareness.  If you were to pay attention to how this cycle is triggered, the better chance you have of making it a thing of the past.
  • Have faith.  What occurs behind our eyes is far more important than what we think we see. Our eyes are designed to invert an image onto our retina.  There is a direct translation process that happens in our brain.  Seeing is not always believing, for many believing is seeing.
  • Stop the blame game.  If you or someone else caused this cycle, blaming will only serve to distract from the cycle and fed into the emotional drama that helps keep you stuck.
  • Be more forgiving and be kind to yourself.  The more anger, anxiety and frustration occur, the more one becomes locked into their emotional drama. This is not the source of the issue, only the result.
  • Gain perspective and release control.  By becoming more a friend to your Self, many of these issues become just a little less important.

Begin following these tips and you will start getting more accustomed to paying attention to the language used by you and by others. Using appropriate language and finding congruence between your mind, body and spirit becomes the basis of making better brain chemistry and resulting in making healthier decisions. It goes like this: The better things you tell yourself, the better your brain chemistry, the better decisions you make and the better things turn out – it’s a happier cycle! Doing the opposite will give you adverse results. So keep practicing, keep healthy and stay happy!

For your viewing pleasure…here’s a more direct and humorous approach!

About Flip Your Brain

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Have you ever heard someone make blanket statements about other people being judgmental while simultaneously insinuating their own judgmental attitude against “the Others” that aren’t like them?  In my experience these may be the very people who will tell you how wrong you are for being selfish, arrogant, stupid, greedy, rich, lazy, poor, unambitious, unloving, unspiritual and judgmental! All because you may not agree with their opinions or views.

I hear all too often from supposed non-judgmental people, “I’m spiritual, I don’t believe in organized religion like those religious nuts!” Or, “I care so much about people, not like those other kinds of people…”  While these are paradoxes, within the paradoxical labeling, lies the judgment. Frankly I don’t believe there is such a thing as being completely without judgment. If you have an opinion, you’re forming a judgment; if you have a strong opinion you may want to be careful about how you allow others to form theirs as well.

If I were to practice being non-judgmental, it would be to freely hear and understand all perspectives, in the hopes of learning something new so that I could form my own. Arguing would only lead to animosity and enforce the need to be right. I’d rather be educated and pay it forward. Folks can learn according their own merits and circumstances and are entitled to their views, whether or not I agree, I can at least respect.

So what of the self-proclaimed non-judgmental who are also usually the self-proclaimed spiritual, because for some reason these two go hand-in-hand.  There are those who are so uncannily threatened by opposing opinions, they become outright violent and abusive.  This of course, is a contradiction to their self-described character. Perhaps because they want to change the world to their perceived utopia and “the Others” get in the way. Perhaps it’s because they’re so non-judgmental that they want everyone to be so. Either way, it negates the commonly-accepted very quality of a non-judgment, doesn’t it?

Then there are those on the opposite end of the spectrum. They say “live and let live”, often turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to all kinds of, what “the Others” consider atrocities, injustice and sometimes even tragedies. But even that isn’t all conclusive, because by doing nothing, they form a judgment by default. Sure they can say live and let live on a global level and stay obliviously unaffected, but can they on a personal level?

So how do we all perceive of ourselves, and how do others on the outside perceive us? How do we perceive of others? Are we being fair in our assessment? Do we give others the personal right to express their opinions? And if we don’t share the same views, should we argue our point? Should we just shake our heads righteously and say, “Those poor things, not as enlightened as I am; not at my level; one day they will learn…” I’ve heard those sentiments quite often, but I can always tell the facial expression saying, “I’m not saying anything, but you’re wrong.”

I think the bottom line is we all have opinions, and it doesn’t matter what people say about being non-judgmental, I’ve found there is always underlying judgment somewhere in differences of views. Even when there is a visceral discord in the exchange of opinions, there will be judgment in the unspoken.  What we can do is to at least stay non-judgmental for the duration of the time it takes for us to form our own opinion. Whether something serves us or not, or whether it serves humanity or not, we can debate, we can stay on separate sides, we can change our minds about things, we can stay open. Above all we can gain perspective and we never stop learning.

About Flip Your Brain

I’ve often heard folks talk about habitual events, occurrences and other strange phenomena that run within families as a “family curse”.  From infertility to financial predicaments there are those who believe they are in the state they are because it runs in the family.  There is deep rooted belief that the “sins of the father” are attributed to a kind of family karma that now plagues the descendants as generational curses.  Parents and other family members even share in great detail about why certain things within their family are the way they are, and what can be expected in the future with great vindication.  While it is apparent that events may seem a certain way, do they stem from something supernaturally inexplicable, or are they self-fulfilling prophesies? What if these were merely beliefs that were held so strongly, they were passed down to generations as inevitable truths?

Depending upon the belief or “curse”, statements such as “…money doesn’t grow on trees; our family has always struggled” and “all her husbands died untimely deaths, she must be jinxed” to “cancer or heart disease is hereditary in our family” can have strong holds and powerful effects on those being handed this legacy.  Do we really grow up believing the doom and gloom inevitability and then fulfill them? What about inspirational stories we read and hear about someone rising above and against all odds and changed the path of their supposed destiny? That is a belief too. There is actually something to be said about polarity responders who are in the habit of reversing suggestions that seem forced upon them– “Our family is destined for mediocrity??? Not ME! I’ll show THEM!

When someone puts a suggestion into the mind of a youngster, they do grow up believing it.  People stuck in a negative belief will make decisions that are desperate and fear-based.  And while the repercussions of these decisions may seem random, adopting behaviors of our role-models merely continue the pattern, thus “running it within the family”.  When a child is told with equal conviction, “you can be anything you want” they usually grow up fulfilling their dreams.  There is this lovely lady who apparently is constantly winning prizes and lotteries and she believes she is extremely lucky.  Why is this? When she was a child she was constantly told what a lucky little girl she was because her parents were Holocaust survivors. So then good fortune also runs in families as “blessings” from healthy beliefs handed down in patterns – the antithesis of the “curse’.

So then, understanding this, why live our lives around the negative and damaging beliefs? Knowing that we not only change the odds through our actions, that we also can change them through personal belief and intention, breaking a destructive pattern could be as easy as believing that some ritual performed has broken a long-time curse.  Believing that things have now changed, we begin thinking and doing things differently because we believe the outcomes can now be to our favor. Very different from, “what’s the point? It’s only going to be the same anyway!” Changing a belief from negative to positive may be a bit more challenging without certain validation, but it can be done, usually with readiness, willingness and unequivocal intent.

When we begin to look at a situation or series of events which originally happened with someone other than ourselves and realize that we are not them and that we don’t have to adopt the same patterns, mentalities and attitudes we can begin to focus on who we are and what will make us happy, and then how to go about getting there.  Having a wish list doesn’t have to be mere fantasy that we believe we can never really achieve, it could be a to-do list for our goals in bringing about our true desires when we believe we can do them. We don’t have to feel like we’re bound to someone else’s version about how their lives took shape.  Each of us is a blank canvas just waiting for us to create the life we want.

About Flip Your Brain

Lattitude = Attitude?

After quite a hiatus from blogging, with traveling overseas and reorganizing, I’m pleased to be back with more perspectives and thoughts about social cultures, mentalities and attitudes.  Spending time in one of my favorite countries and cultures, Australia always seems to offer a delightful take on everyday life. “How ya going?” and “G’day, mate” may seem typical Downunder colloquialisms to us living Up-and-over, but it really is a part of the everyday greeting in their everyday mindsets. Even as a majority Christian country, the quite common conversation closing of “Bless you” is heartwarming to anyone of any religious belief or practice.

While Jeff and I were there for a family wedding, we were also fortunate enough for Jeff to be invited as a guest speaker on stress relief and coping skills for a Caregiver Support group, or Carer support as they call it.  As my sister had been my mother’s carer while my mother was alive, she had become quite a fan of our Caregiver Relief Kit audio program and of course turned out to be a great spokesperson for its benefits to her Carer Support friends. Quite happily, this product had become popular locally to her, which also lead to these speaking engagements that we were both so honored to be a part.

So maybe it has to do with the general Aussie fairdinkum disposition, maybe the polarity of the region makes them respond differently, maybe they’re well-fed with 5 daily meals (the addition of morning tea and afternoon tea, both involving a required intake of cakes, biscuits and pasties!); or perhaps altogether another reason, it is refreshing to observe a very different audience interaction than what we had become accustomed to for our American caregiver support networks. With a willingness to play along with the light-hearted mental exercises and asking poignant questions relevant to their particular circumstances, it was gratifying to see an audience with a “how can I make this work for me” attitude. In this we understand that the value of what we teach lies within the value that the recipient places upon themselves, regardless of whether it is given for free, or whether for a nominal fee or even greater. What is even more gratifying to us, the provider of the information is to witness first-hand, appreciation for a new learning versus the “throw-away” mentality of those who deem a gift of service as “let me see if your information is worth anything, but first let me see how much free stuff I can really get and then I’ll decide if I even want it.” A sad and jaded state, but valuable education nonetheless, for those of us who provide transformational teaching models.

This now brings me to a related point that I have noticed in a lot of self-help information floating around. While many of the information available is highly helpful, it’s not the actual informational content that got me thinking, but rather the reader or receiver comments, now widely public, following the content is what I am most interested. Most recently something that I had read had to do with practical tips for living and 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. Good info and much that I agree with however, cursory at best. While the content of the article dealt with 30 things not to do, it also went ahead to name what normally happens when we do them. Many identify with the scenarios following those actions. For many of us who are used to introspection and making changes and adjustments, replacing useless habits and patterns with better, more useful ones is easier done than those who internalize and say, “yes I do that and that’s exactly what happens; so how do I change it?” In this case telling us what not to do is easier said than done.

The responses following the online article were just that. Great info… it’s exactly what I needed to hear… everyone should read this… that is so true… Hardly any on, how do I do otherwise? What can I do to change this? So as in standard talk therapy, where identifying the issue and how and when it was created occupies so much of its mass, those engaged in successful change-work know that identifying and stopping do not work without replacing the old pattern with something better, more useful, more fulfilling; otherwise filling the new void with yet another unhealthy, yet rationalized pattern will happen quicker than we know.

So then, are most of us just comfortable with the knowing, but yet uncomfortable with the changing? Do we not want to do the work involved to actually create something better? Do we want to take the responsibility or do we just want to talk about it and commiserate with others on similar issues? Do we just feel better for the moment before going back comfortably into our uncomfortable patterns?  Maybe it’s personal attitude, maybe it’s cultural traits, maybe it’s regional mentality, the reality is change does not always have to be uncomfortable, and if we have the right change and coping tools it can be one of the most fulfilling rides of our lives!

Featured: The Caregiver Relief Kit©

About Flip Your Brain

Hollywood has always been a great part of my life. I went to college for 4 years, studying Broadcasting and Cinema. Before that I was singer from a very musical family where music had been much of a profession. Then I spent more than 15 years working in the Hollywood film industry where you might say that increasingly Hollywood became an entity far beyond a community, with its own language, politics, standards and immunities.

As a child I was also being influenced by my parents’ love of music and film, especially American movies and music.  You see, when Singapore was occupied by the Japanese during WWII, their lives were spared right at the very last moment when they had been ordered to dig their own graves to be executed the next.  The very next day heralded V-J Day when American, British and other Allied Forces won the war and it was over.  Therefore while Singapore was a British Colony, they were huge fans of everything American and rightly so.

I remember while growing up, to me as well as many others, Hollywood was America and America was Hollywood.  We learned all about American life, culture and society through American film, music and television.  We also had our equal share of entertainment from all other parts of the globe and frankly, they were never ever synonymous or indistinguishable from each other.  American movie greats, while some were of international fame, still considered the honor and privilege to be a part of an American studio production with its distinct American flair. If you were anyone at all, it all began and ended here.

Increasingly now I have come to a realization that it is becoming progressively more difficult to tell apart between an American production and an international production.  It’s not just a top billing international actor gracing our screens anymore, it’s more a strange blend of culture, tradition and philosophy, lacking in purity and changing in value a final product that would have lent a distinct flavor to further our appreciation.

I for one welcome every now and then, a multi-cultural effort in entertainment, I come from a multi-cultural country and society, but my love for American entertainment is waning as the Industry is watered down along with its influx of foreign talent, standards and ideologies, good and bad.  Has it become better or has it become muddy? It’s not just in Cinema.  American daytime television now has foreign hosts, American news has foreign news-casters, American commercials have foreign spokespersons with such thick accents they’re hardly articulate enough in their diction to actually sell a product in English! We have foreign judges for American musical talents.

There is a difference to me between importing a product and importing people.  Is it still a small world, like Walt Disney dreamed, or is it one world, one vision like Mao Tse Tung dreamed? Hollywoodland has long opened her borders and given away jobs that would belong to American talent just like any other outsourced product.  In essence it may be a beautiful thing.  In reality you lose your individualism and uniqueness when you cease to maintain defined borders.  Perhaps that’s what one-world means to some.  My personal perspective on this is really – one world, many differences. It’s what makes this diverse world a beautiful place – living together with our differences.  Not eliminating our core attributes. Not by displaying our similarities as a forced all-blended people, but finding harmony within our intrinsic core similarities and learning about our exceptionalism by highlighting our diversity – like many musical notes all distinctive on their own, coming together in a beautiful piece of music.

When John Lennon’s Imagine was first released in 1971, I was a mere child of nine and the lyrics always saddened me.  It saddened me to think even at that young age that the world would be a sad place without Heaven, without countries, without something to live for, without religion, without possessions. In my childlike mind those are the cherished things that stood out and I wondered how that in order to eliminate the negative, we had to also eliminate the positive, that the result could still be peace and sharing, brotherhood and living as one.  It was a song encouraging nothingness, and that was supposed to be everything.

Well we no longer have to “Imagine” the words of John Lennon; Hollywoodland has given us a flavor of it.

About Flip Your Brain

The Occupy Wall Street protesters going into their fourth week, is more telling about them than about the situation they seem to be protesting.  Young people being swept away by the seduction of the concept of “Revolution” without really knowing who is pulling their strings.  You can hear it in their inarticulate lack of clarity, lack of coherence and lack of congruence when asked to explain what it is they seek. If you know the differences you can tell between heartfelt originality from core passion and parrot-phrasing sound-bite answers belonging to someone else.

Quoting madmen, murderers and dictators of the past like Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Mao and even George Bernard Shaw without understanding that these men who aimed to destroy individuality had ideologies far alien to core American values of individual pursuit of happiness. How does one allude to aligning themselves with ideologies that condemn individual rights to an abundant life while at the same time protesting for their individual rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, without noticing? While these youth fight for upholding their individual rights to their futures, they sadly cannot see it slipping away from them.

Social justice, they chant? Well I would wonder if they are aware that folks like George Bernard Shaw who was a Marxist-Socialist and believed in eugenics politics, believed and advocated that if one was too sick or old to be of any more use to society, society should kill them humanely. How’s that for social justice? So with that sentiment I would wonder if these impressionable youth have diligently done their homework to research exactly what the philosophies of the Movement’s ideology that they so passionately promote and so willingly succumbed to really indicate. Will they end up getting what they wish for or will they wish they didn’t? Either way they’ll get what they wish for, but we only hope that they understand what they are really wishing for.

While we all yearn to be a part of something greater than ourselves, it would be astute to remember that it is what we bring into the cause that is unique to our Self that sets us apart, yet fits perfectly into the mosaic of respectful diversity.  Participating in demonstrations for extended periods of time may get them to change others, but how have they changed in themselves? While they prevail in getting others to change, their lives remain at a standstill with only effort going into the act of protesting. Within this period, they cease to take responsibility for themselves and stop actively pursuing their own futures. A revolution about nothing.  Can forcing change on other people really better our own lives at the core? Will they have effected change through their own individual pursuit of happiness or will their lives only improve while remaining as victims, at the mercy of other people’s actions and change?

So as the movement draws more individuals, seemingly giving up their individuality, I end with a thought worth noting.  A whole lot of living has been done according to the concept of “going with the flow”. Being flexible and going with the flow is good, but remember that understanding whose flow, and the direction of the flow first, is more important. Sometimes we have to be like the salmon and swim upstream in order to spawn life and really extend ourselves to create something more.

In this instance, I’d rather be a salmon than a lemming.

“A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s time to look after them.”

Source: George Bernard Shaw, Lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, Reported in The Daily Express, March 4, 1910.

“We should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing: he is at the most, time’s carcass.”

Source:  Karl Marx, Economic Manuscripts: Capital Vol. I – Chapter Twenty-Four

“The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property. “

Source: Karl Marx. Marx & Engels, Library 1848, Manifesto of the Communist Party: Chapter 2

 “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

Source: Mao Tse Tung, from The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) by Clive Foss

“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall!”

Source: Che Guevara, Cuba Archive. The Wall is a reference to the wall where Che’s enemies stood before his firing squads.

“The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.”

Source: Mao Tse Tung, The Little Red Book, Chapter 8, 1964

About Flip Your Brain

Why Complain?

It saddens me when I hear people constantly complain.  Why complain? If you were to ask the complainer this question, there will always be an answer; they will always justify it. They might attempt to camouflage it by reframing it as a vent, needing to use you as a sounding board, etc. But you on the receiving end know it’s a complaint, a rant, a tirade – normally fully of vitriol and venom.  There’s a reason for the urban phrase of “burning another’s ears” as a slang for venting.

My suggestion is, if you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt, then change it; if you can’t – then change you! Rise above it! You will see the situation change or at least your perspective of it and its effect on you. The more you mull and seethe over the negatives – the aggravation, the frustration, the more it eats away at you. And whom do you call when you do? Who do you think is the lucky recipient of your venom? Sadly, not the object of your complaint but most probably a loving member of your friends and family circle.

Before we pick our lucky recipient to help make us feel better, realize that this is someone who loves us. Is this really the gift we want to bestow on those that love us the most, the ones we feel most comfortable? What about their un-ease and discomfort of being on the receiving end? How do they feel about how their love is being reciprocated? How are we telling them that we appreciate them? Certainly not by sapping their energy and spirits.

While we have to be mindful of how we off-load to those who love us the most, realize that even when on the receiving end, our boundaries matter and would serve us best to be enforced.  Even if it is your own detachment to the emotional toxicity as you listen compassionately. Remember to ask if advice is wanted. If someone is constantly complaining, especially about the same issues, they probably are not looking for solutions. Remember too, that constant complaining keeps us constant victims.  Have you ever noticed that after the complaints, you rarely receive the news of how it all worked out? Have you ever received the ‘good news’ call about the issues having been resolved? And what do you normally do when you have been the one doing the venting?

On the other hand, if you ever feel like complaining, remember when you wake up and ask how you can bring joy to someone else’s life that day, complaining to them isn’t one of the ways! If we care for others then it would make sense to be mindful of how we treat them. Confiding and sharing with someone about a problem is not the same as a complaining tirade.  What about their day? Maybe they’ve not shared with you their problems. Ask yourself, would you rather be someone that lifted their spirits, or be the one to add to their burden?

Share after you’ve at least detached from the heat of the moment, long enough to gain some perspective and resolution. Telling someone else our problems after we’ve become a little detached from the negative emotions is probably going to be more productive than just venting (even in the word ‘venting’, you can imagine steam emitting off your person in another’s direction).

So why complain? I can’t think of a justifiable reason, now can you?

 

About Flip Your Brain