Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

The Optimism Bias

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Healing, Learning

A way to start the New Year

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 1 comment
Categories: Healing


Monday, December 5th, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Healing, Learning

A study in duality

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 Leave a comment

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight.  For those who don’t embrace spirituality, Jill’s right-brain experience provides an alternate explanation.

Vulnerability – the follow up video

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 3 comments

Further to Brené Brown‘s exploration of vulnerability, as with many theories I was left wondering how her theory could be applied in everyday life.  I wanted the 18 minute how-to video.  But I know that this next video is one we each shoot for ourselves.

So what’s mine look like?

As a first step, I distilled her theory down to its essence (as I saw it through my lens).   (It’s best to ensure you’ve watched the video to flesh out this summary).

Our influences

  • Desire for connection: that’s why we are here
  • We’re taught if we can’t measure something, it doesn’t exist, invalidating intangibles
  • The shame we experience is based in fear of disconnection: that we’re never good enough; “Who do you think you are?”

Our strategies

To try and avoid shame:

  • We blame others, bad luck, fate, etc.: this a way to discharge pain and discomfort
  • We numb out vulnerability: (but we cannot be selective about emotions, so we numb joy, gratitude, happiness)
  • We try to make everything that is uncertain, certain
  • We strive for perfection, and we try to make our children perfect
  • We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an impact

Of course these strategies actually result in disconnection.  To connect, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, to be vulnerable.   Those people willing to do so Brown calls, “wholehearted,” asserting that these people feel worthwhile solely because they believe they are worthwhile.

So these wholehearted people who believe they are worthy, and as a result they feel worthy:

  • Have courage; they tell the story of who they are with their whole heart: they have the courage to be imperfect
  • Let themselves be seen, love with their whole hearts even though there is no guarantee of return, practice gratitude and joy, believe that they’re enough
  • Recognize that connection is a result of authenticity; they let go of who they think they should be, to be who they are
  • Have compassion: they are kind to themselves first, only then can they be kind to others
  • Are willing to take emotional risks, are vulnerable, they let go of controlling
  • Teach their children that they are worthy

As a next step, I created affirmations for the key points:

  • I am worthy
  • I tell the story of who I am with my whole heart
  • I have the courage to be seen as imperfect
  • I let myself be seen
  • I love with my whole heart
  • I am grateful
  • I practice joy
  • I am enough
  • I let go of who I think I should be, to be who I am
  • I am compassionate to myself
  • I am compassionate to others
  • I am willing to be vulnerable
  • I let go of controlling
  • I teach my children that they are worthy

To these I add some other affirmations that are meaningful to me.

Finally, as I go through my day, when I catch myself blaming, resenting, ruminating, shaming, etc., I stop myself, and see which of these affirmations come up for me.

Film at 11.

Vulnerability and Worthiness

Saturday, April 16th, 2011 4 comments

Brené Brown‘s thesis is an eloquent, concise summary of a core issue (worthiness) for many people.

Oprah in her last network show also pointed out worthiness as the single common issue among all of her guests: “The show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness … I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation … Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.'”

Read more on Oprah’s site.


Sunday, November 16th, 2008 Leave a comment

Norman Doidge in The Brain That Changes Itself has amazing stories of how the brain can adapt to challenges, refuting the “hard-wired” theory of brain functioning and explaining how with dedicated training habitual ways of thinking can be reprogrammed.  Providing scientific justification for the theories of creation through thought and the power of positve thinking, the author cites sources showing how this occurs physiologically.  As an example in one study, one group did body strengthening exercises.  The second group went through visualizations of doing the exercises, without actually moving.  Strength increase with exercise: 30%.  With visualization: 23%.  This theory also encourages caregivers of stroke and other brain damage victims to provide intense rehab, which can result in dramatic recoveries as the brain grows new pathways.  He asserts that the brain challenged at any age will not only remain more alert, it will grow more interconnections.

Categories: Books, Healing, Learning

A simple act to save lives

Monday, October 29th, 2007 1 comment

Joel Solomon, a Vancouver social entrepreneur, sends along the following note:

I am receiving a kidney from living donor, Shivon Robinsong, on November 14, 2007. This surgery will hopefully solve what is a lifelong genetic condition that has meant slow kidney function deterioration over decades. 95% success likelihood. Nevertheless, very major and serious. Dana and I can barely express the depth of meaning that this gift of love and an organ means to us, our family, and our work in the world.        

My long time business partner and friend, Martha Burton, faces an even more challenging circumstance around organ donation. Her wonderful husband Robert, is in a late state of lung disease and is high on the waiting list for a lung transplant that must come from a recently deceased person. It must be a person who has signed legal donation of their organs. Robert is otherwise super healthy and one of the finest human beings on the planet. We are all distraught and praying that a minor miracle will occur and he will hear the good news that someone has signed the forms making their lungs available.        

The point of this letter is to emphasize both the general and specific importance of all of us making the effort to sign up so that our organs may be used after our death, by others for whom they can be the gift of life. And for the extra courageous and hearty, there are organ and bodily donations that can happen while we are alive. Many people wait on lists desperately hoping for this miracle, and any of us may find ourselves or a close loved one in need at some point in our lives.        

The specific circumstance requires me to ask your understanding as I speak more poignantly about Robert’s situation. Should a freak accident occur to me in the coming weeks, I would want my lungs made available to Robert or someone else with the right blood and other match, who could use them after Im gone. Wouldnt most of us want that to happen?        

The sad fact is that a small fraction of the population has signed up to make such donations possible. At least by the laws in BC, without that few moments of paperwork, our body parts will simply go to the grave or crematorium.        

If you are a British Columbia resident, please go to the web site link that follows and sign up ASAP. If you live in another jurisdiction, take a few minutes and find out how you can do the same.

604 877 2240
For Robert, a lung might come from anywhere in Canada. He is at or near the top of the waiting list.        

Robert, Martha, Dana, myself, and our families and friends appeal to you to help in any way you can.


Categories: Healing, Vancouver

Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre seeks support

Saturday, March 31st, 2007 Leave a comment

Here’s a note I received from  James Latour, Program Developer at NMRC.   In my opinion they are offering innovative and valuable services to both men and women.

Two weeks ago Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre made the decision to cut staffing by 60%.  This means a much lower standard of assistance to our clients and community, and we will have to cut some programs and services.   This has come about due to a lack of funding. 

You will be interested to know that last year the BC Ministry of Community Services funded women’s services $49.2 million.  Men’s services received nothing.  Here are some interesting statistics you might not be aware of:

A recent Statistics Canada report says:

1.      “an estimated 7% of women and 6% of men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004, according to a comprehensive new report on family violence…This means that an estimated 653,000 women and 546,000 men encountered some form of violence by a current or previous spouse or common-law partner.” 

2.      “11% of women and 7% of men aged 15 and older stated that they were stalked in a way that caused them to fear for their safety or the safety of someone close to them. This was the equivalent of 1.4 million women & just under one million men.”

3.      “In cases of current relationships in which emotional abuse existed, 25% of women and 19% of men experienced violence.”

On Friday, April 6th at 10 am, Theo Boere, the Executive Director, and Anne Leavitt, one of our Board members, will be on the Bill Good Show (CKNW 980 AM [New Westminster/Vancouver]) to talk about this issue and the impact on Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre.  WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT.  We need you to call into the show while it’s in progress.  You don’t necessarily need to speak on air, just tell the operator why you are calling and that you are in support of Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre or funding for men’s services in general. This is an opportunity to make a significant difference with just one phone call!

These are the numbers for you to call:

604-280-9898    or    877-399-9898

Thank you for your ongoing support.

James Latour, Program Developer

Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre

Categories: Healing, Men

Some cool stuff from Sebby …

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 1 comment

Sebby (Sebastien St. Laurent) has taken a break from the ACES for a couple of months to re-group.  His honest post about his personal journey is refreshingly frank.  Thanks, Sebby!

Categories: Healing, Learning

The Secrets

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006 6 comments

Yes, there’s more than one. 

Recently I’ve reconnected to variations on what some call the Law of Attraction, as espoused in the book and movie, “The Secret” and Lynn Grabhorn’s, “Excuse Me … Your Life is Waiting,” and many other writings in what many would call a New Age philosophy.   In summary the theory is that we attract what we feel and think: if we feel abundant and healthy, we attract abundance and good health; if we feel the world is unjust and we are sick, we will attract unjustice and illness in our lives, and perceive more of it in the world.  Many years ago, I embraced this concept, and although I appreciated its validity in many ways, I found that for many people, including myself, when unexpected events occured, it was too easy to fall into self-blame and potentially subsequent shame.  I suspect there are a lot of jaded ex-New Agers out there.

However I still believe that we have a lot of control over our what happens in our lives.  For “The Secret” to be more effective, I add a couple of bits and pieces. 

1. Forgive yourself.  Balance the Law of Attraction philosophy with the reality that many (if not most) people’s behaviour is influenced by patterns created in childhood.  These patterns served to protect the child from harm, like not speaking up and telling what they felt as they would be shamed or invalidated if they did that.  That child deserves appreciation and respect for finding strategies to protect themselves.  But those patterns rarely serve us as we grow into adulthood.  Some call them shadows, or familiars.  Whatever the label, when the temptation to blame and shame arises because I believe I am not attracting what I deserve, I can instead go to a place of appreciation and gratitude for those old patterns, then let them (and the shame and blame) go.  And as Grabhorn points out, it’s not about being perfect and thinking pure thoughts all the time.  Just turn them positive.  And once in a while it’s quite fine to decide to feel completely miserable/angry/frustrated.  Go through it, then move on.

2. Ask for help in self-understanding.  For some folks it does have value to understand how these behaviour patterns were created, and so some kind of therapeutic work has value.  Ruling this out and focusing just on the Law of Attraction may create internal turmoil that won’t help flow those positive vibes.  For some, in addition to this better self-understanding, many benefit from going through a grief process to let go of the past.

3. Acknowledge the role of Mystery.  Whether to you that be God, a Higher Power, karma, the Tao of Pooh, or whatever, I believe that there is much that we (certainly I) don’t understand about life.  However the more I trust the process, the more I trust that if I think, feel and behave positively (regardless of apparent outcome), the more positive I become, and the more likely that events will flow as I would like.  The reason the Law of Attraction works may be that if I feel good about my myself, and behave and feel that way, people may pick that up just from communication queues (tone of voice, body language) and want to work/be/play with me.  It doesn’t really matter how it works. 

4. In that same line of thought: discard the pieces that don’t work for you.  For example all of the Law of Attraction descriptions I’ve seen explain the theory in terms of “magnetism” and “vibration”, stating that the “law of the universe” is that like attracts like.  Well, it ain’t.  In magnetism, opposites attract.  Electricity flows from positive to negative.  So I just put aside all this explanation as well-meant and unnecessary justification.  Because some of the theory is (to me) contrived mumbo-jumbo doesn’t mean there isn’t validity in the essential message.  If you don’t believe (as I don’t) we are to all ascend in 2012 with the guidance of the Pleiadians, then put that bit aside.

5. Complement this philosophy with more traditional methods in whatever way works for you.  For example, on health issues, I think that rejecting Western medicine for a combination of Eastern medicine and positive feelings is throwing out a lot of really good stuff.   Use the Law of Attraction, see your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and see your doctor.

EDIT: someone dear to me said that the term, “Law of Attraction” can be a turnoff itself to some.  She calls it “manifesting”.

Categories: Healing, Learning

Support for men on Vancouver Island

Thursday, October 26th, 2006 2 comments

Working with the ManKind Project we are often approached by men looking for support, and although we can usually help to some degree, we sometimes refer men and women to other resources.  For men (males 16 or older) in Victoria, Canada, who have experienced emotional, physical or sexual trauma the Men’s Trauma Centre offers Victim Support Services & Group and Individual Counselling.  Clients may have suffered from abuse as a child, be a victim of crime, have been abused in relationship, or experienced some other traumatic event or events.  Support staff have many years of experience in this field.  They can contacted at (250) 381-6367 (general info or counselling) or (250) 381-0493 (Victim Services), or via email.

A little further up the Island, the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre offers a variety of services for men and women, to:

  • provide support and referrals for men 
  • promote connections with partners and families
  • promote community awareness regarding men and men’s issues
  • help men with family court/divorce, seperation, custody and access issues
  • support men in learning to communicate and enrich existing relationships.

The Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre, as I posted about earlier, is also starting up the Dad’s Make a Difference program, working with families immediately after the birth of the children to instill connection and responsibility in both partners.  This program is inspired by Gardner Wiseheart’s very successful program at Healthy Families San Angelo, begun about 12 years ago, which is now in many areas. 

For men in the Cowichan Valley, the Cowichan Men’s Resource Centre in Duncan provides a place where men can connect with each other, find assistance in crisis, and access community resources.  They can be reached at (250) 732-1471 or emailed for support or to volunteer.

I support these initiatives because they emphasize personal responsibility, healing, and fostering relationships rather than confrontation and blame.


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