Prism Thinking – Design Your Mind

Posts tagged ‘Balance’

Beyond the Fun-House Mirror: Putting This “Morphic” Thing Back in Order

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

Is Hollywoodland a Nexus of a Small World or a One-World?

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

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

Wake Up or Hit the Snooze Button?

In the wake of natural and man-made disasters that we see brewing and exploding around us, it is interesting to observe responses on the human level. We see groups claiming victimization, we see groups behaving like mere spectators, we see groups hailing the onset of Armageddon, and then there are groups stating the symbolism and metaphors in all occurrences.

No matter what your level of introspection in your own relationship to your environment – personally or globally, these events – no matter the strength of their impact upon us and our lives, serve as wake-up calls and demand that we pay attention. There has been much ridicule to the notion of wake-up calls, but really, who’s to say what is an epiphany to each of us, with each event that touches us?

Every event that touches our lives is an opportunity for introspection.  Sometimes we get little nudges and sometimes we get a kick in the behind.  We get clues, that if we’re aware enough to decipher, we get to move up or down our chosen paths and even be in harmony with the paths we choose and that perhaps chosen for us by something greater.

But what if we don’t take these generous opportunities to better ourselves and our lives? In times of crisis, regardless of what they are, we begin to take stock of our bank accounts, material inventories, water supply, our pantries and freezers and even our gas tanks.  What about our internal pantries and internal tanks? What’s missing in our lives and how much energy and courage will it take to fill? Sometimes what’s missing may be balance. Balance between the excess and the shortage – physical and emotional.  Perhaps too much drama and not enough courage? Too much guilt and not enough compassion? Too much ego and not enough confidence?

Maybe the messages aren’t for all of us, maybe for some more than others, and maybe for all affected, but the messages may be different for each.  The thing to remember is, any time is a good time for taking stock.  We shouldn’t wait for a ton of bricks to fall on our heads – literally, should we?  But oftentimes we do.  So the question remains, what does it all mean to you? In the end that’s all that really counts.  Are you directly or indirectly affected? If it didn’t touch you at all, did it touch you at all? Out of love… compassion… awe… fear… respect… honor? To yourself… to others? Do you set yourself apart from or become a part of?

Invariably and inevitably, a global calamity ultimately has a way of trickling down and seeping in, becoming a personal calamity.  Just as an exercise in relationship and perspective, think of some past and current world events, both natural and man-made and think about how it may have impacted your own life and to what degree.  How, if at all have you been affected? Could you have changed the outcome had you done something differently? Could you in the future?

While we cannot really predict what is forthcoming and we are constantly changing the future with our present actions, we can take stock of ourselves and do our best to make sure the actions we take are good ones. If we wake up and stop hitting the snooze button, we might just be awake enough to save someone, maybe even you.

About Flip Your Brain

Our Parents Seemed Old-Fashioned, So What About Us?

I look around, perceiving the changes I have witnessed and experienced over the near 50-year span of my life and I realize that some I have embraced, some to which I have been a catalyst, some of which I have been critical, some to which I am indifferent.  I look back and I think of myself, my sisters, cousins, friends at the time I was in my childhood youth and I remember us thinking and saying to my parents things like, “You’re so old-fashioned!”

Now looking back through the 60’s and 70’s which were my decades growing up in Singapore, while both my parents were really people of innovative minds, embraced new music trends, loved the ingenuity and advancements in electronics, and my mother with fashion and beauty trends, they also introduced us to much of what were their classics in the movie, music and literary industries, while of course never hesitating to make fun of what they perceived as ridiculous in some modern concepts of my youth.

Yet even in the balance, we managed to find some instances to focus on the generational gaps and situations in which to let them know we thought of them as old-fashioned in certain aspects of social mentalities, cultural traditions and even moral values.

So what is it that makes the youth label the older generation as old-fashioned or just plain old? I mean those of us now in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s—do we even feel old? Do we feel the same in age when we connect with our younger adult friends? Do we feel like no time has passed or do we feel the actual span of time?

Even today when I listen to or watch some “classics” from my childhood all the way growing up, I can perceive the “old-fashioned” element in having moved along with the times and wonder what we were thinking! Have we just seen too much? Been through too much? Heard too much? Have we just grown up? Grown old? Well that would be a limited view to come so simplistically to this conclusion.  And yet, the times in which I feel even marginally “old-fashioned” is when I see and hear what is considered acceptable today; views expressed, beliefs embraced, values warped, morals and ethics askew to what I had been taught and to what steers my own internal GPS.

But after I retort in indignation, just short of the “…back in my day…” bit, I pause, reflect and smile at the cosmic humor of life at its best and think back to my parents’ generation and realize, this is what they felt too.  It was never about being old-fashioned, it was always about having lived so much longer than our younger counterparts, seen all the changes that had taken place through our own generation, remember in fondness how we enjoyed the highlights -“back in the day”, what we believed in, what we had learned, and then realizing that they too will experience this moment all in their own good time.

The beauty of it all, whatever the results that the winds of change may bring along with them, the good and the bad, the highs and the lows—is to really stand in the moment and behold this irony in amusement.  It’s the cosmic flow of our life-cycles—maybe what was then was then and what will be will be, but time is circular and everything will eventually come back in full circle. Events may be different, circumstances and experiences will differ too, but we always will get to realize something vitally significant to us to link back to our generations past and connect with them on some profound level. Keep your perspectives open, appreciate the ironies in humor—it makes the ride a lot more fun!

**Note: These are just a few perspectives. I have more, as should we all.

Some of my "classics" growing up in Singapore (circa 1970s). Clockwise from top left: Much frequented Orchard Road; Singapore Hilton and Ming Court hotels; poster at many civil buildings during the male "long hair" ban; traditional classic dish Nasi Lemak.

More of my classics (circa 1970s). Clockwise from top left: Popular local celebrity artist Anita Sarawak; view of Change Alley, popular shopping area (named after the many money changers preferred foreign exchange rates); harbor view of downtown Collyer Quay; govt. campaign poster on family planning.

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Is All Fair in Love and War – and In-Between?

The other day I came across an article in the Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer about Hillary Clinton’s comment of praise regarding a known tyrant of a Middle-Eastern country, President Assad of Syria. The article was about how mixed remarks about clear objectives can cause confusion within our foreign policies.  This blog of course isn’t about our foreign policies or politics. It got me to thinking about diplomacy in terms of everyday choices we make in how we interact or convey our public views and personas. Is diplomacy fairness? Is it appeasement? Is it an avoidance of confrontations? Is it a need to secure future bridges? How clear or cloudy does it become?

Being fair isn’t about pleasing all sides or not taking any.  Being fair requires us to make a judgment, albeit a favorable one.  What does this mean, to judge favorably?  It means that regardless of what you are in favor or to what you oppose, your decision has to come from a place of knowing all the parts and sum of the parts, and their effects. Being fair is acknowledging the pros and the cons, doing the simple mathematics of the pluses and the minuses, and making a judgment call based on this.  And whose view is this based on? Yours, of course.  You may gain support with some and you may not with others. Feelings may be hurt, but others have the right to exercise this responsibility too.  No it’s not a whim or a frivolous fancy, it is a responsibility.

How do you feel about the concepts of judgment, justice, fairness and mercy? In today’s world are these just merely dogmas or are they to be incorporated into our everyday lives? What do you perceive of them each in their own merit and now, how do you feel when you combine them with say, attributes of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and even loving-kindness?  How does it feel to you when you combine justice with mercy? Or judgment with wisdom? How about knowledge with kindness? How much of an investment in these would you need in order to part the layers of chaos and confusion?  How would you enlighten and educate others with your view without the attached emotions and feelings of defensiveness? How do you balance your passion with your fear of being challenged and threatened? Defensiveness, fear and the vitriol sometimes attached—these are useless emotions that serve as barriers to true wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

In your prism view, the facets are like windows into another world, or another’s world and from which other realities can stem.  You can look in and learn; you don’t always have to embrace everything about them. They offer us an expansion in dimensional views so that we can make the best choices for us and those we love with less limitation.  Remember everything is connected in some way and every action or lack of action has its own ripple effect. When you next hear someone say things like, “It’s not fair”, “It’s cruel”, “It’s wonderful”, “It’s much needed”; remember to ask to whom, whose version and from whose perspective are you making that judgment call?

While it’s true that concepts of right and wrong, good and bad are something relative to the observer, awareness of how this relativity relates to others is an important and even valuable understanding.  It always seems that when the lines become fuzzy, we cross over into confusion. When we seek to please and appease the masses, however your masses are comprised, we run the risk of clouding our core knowledge of right and wrong, and then our judgment. On the other side, when our strong beliefs are attached to fear and loss we lose sight of our pure intention. Sometimes we are the mirrors that reflect others. When we look at ourselves, what and whom else do we honestly see reflected? When you make choices based on your fairness-meter, consider what comprises your beliefs and core understanding of your subject and look into your dimensional prism to compare the ripple effects of how you decide. It really could be more than an eye-opener in a life wake-up moment.