#157 Wear A Blindfold

Your brain automatically redirects its reliance to sound, smell, and touch in order to identify the experience.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#157

Wear a blindfold

Ok… don’t get too excited just yet. This suggestion is geared toward highlighting all senses when sight is not available and not just during sex. If you have a ‘sleep mask’ – go ahead a grab it, otherwise, close your eyes and follow the honor system. Take a few minutes each day this week to experience the conditions outlined below – without sight – to notice elements of everyday life that you’ve never experienced before.

Suggestions:

  • Stand in the kitchen when someone is cooking – notice how you smell more or differently when you can’t see that is cooking.
  • Sit outside on your deck or porch – notice the sounds that you may not have heard before. What birds are singing? Do you hear traffic? Or people? What do you smell?
  • Shower with your blindfold on or your eyes closed. Notice how rotely you perform each maneuver and don’t really need sight to move through the task.
  • Try eating without sight. Do you notice a difference in how quickly you devour your food? Are you more in tune with the smell or texture?
  • Make love while wearing a blindfold. Do you notice a difference in the level of pleasure that you experience?

Brain Power

Eliminating your ability to see, heightens your other senses. Your brain automatically redirects its reliance to sound, smell, and touch in order to identify the experience. This one of the reasons that using a blindfold during sex intensifies the experience for women. Men, who are more dependent on sight for stimulation, may not enjoy the same benefit.

Caution

Wearing a blindfold for a prolonged period can induce hallucinations. Research is demonstrating that when a sighted person is denied the ability to see – the brain will create visions. We seem to develop an ability to ‘see’ through our ‘third’ eye. Indeed, there is a retreat that promotes this process for those who want to ‘destress’ by using blindfolds to open a path to your subconscious. I would encourage anyone moving in this direction to move with caution and with someone psychologically trained. Going that deep – if there are old wounds – can be more harmful than helpful.

In any event – for a SHORT duration – you can intensify your other senses and develop a stronger sense of being present by taking a few minutes each day to….

Wear a blindfold.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Kirill Balobanov on Unsplash

#158 Try a New Hair Color

For those of us who use hair color for reasons other than covering gray, it seems that we are demonstrating very specific personality characteristics; using color to make a silent statement.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#158

Try a new hair color

One of the easiest ways to ‘shake things up’ from a personal look perspective is to color your hair. There’s a wide variety of options, it’s as temporary as you want it to be, and the opportunity to go bold is inherent. Your colorist’s ability to create a natural blonde look or a full rainbow is only limited by your desire. Do you have a wish to see what it’s like to be a redhead or a beach blonde?

For those of us who use hair color for reasons other than covering gray, it seems that we are demonstrating very specific personality characteristics; using color to make a silent statement.

Colors Have Meaning

Making the Brunette choice indicates stability and responsibility. It suggests a mature perspective with an emphasis on hard work and success.

Making the decision to dye your ends with a bright color indicates that you like to ‘switch things up’. It implies that you prefer compromise and like to find a ‘happy medium’. You’re more likely to settle into the ‘middle ground’.

Choosing a natural blonde look will highlight the fun side of your personality. The ‘blondes have more fun’ mantra speaks to your bold side. It tells the world that you’re willing to be the life of the party and you’re up for a night out or a chill PJ party as long as it’s with friends.

Going red is always just ‘sassy’. You take charge and make things happen while cultivating the hearts of those who take the time to know you; others step back. Your energy keeps life interesting.

Making the move to do dark and deep boldly tells the world you’ll welcome it in but you’re not going to chase it down. You wear your heart quietly on your sleeve and home is where you want to be.

There are a lot of great variations to these descriptions that will add a ‘side note’ whether its a Balayage, foil highlights, a colored streak, or an Ombre. These playful options are fun and shift the color without a massive change.

If you’re needing a little pick-me-up, this may be just the option for you. Consider your personality, talk to your stylist, and …

Try a new hair color.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

OpEd – New Ethical Dilemmas

How do we, as a society, honor the pain of those who believe they have been abused with the legitimate need to also protect innocent people from being punished when the only ‘evidence’ is an imperfect memory?

After a respectful discussion yesterday with someone who feels strongly that our process of law – a person is innocent until proven guilty – is paramount to the success of Democracy (a tenet to which I theoretically concur), my mind just won’t be still.

In this discussion, the position of the person I was talking to is that without concrete evidence (negating uncollaborated memory), the alleged perpetrator remains innocent and under our current legal system – goes unpunished. The context of the conversation was about “the current mentality that a woman is referred to as a victim just because she claims it is so”. I challenged the perspective of innocence in ‘he said, she said’ cases and the history of marginalized people going unheard. It was quickly apparent to me that we were viewing this topic from different positions and a Facebook discussion was going to be unproductive. Yet, the ethical element of this controversy – currently highlighted in the news – is very unsettling.

How do we, as a society, honor the pain of those who believe they have been abused with the legitimate need to also protect innocent people from being punished when the only ‘evidence’ is an imperfect memory?

As a psychotherapist, I have witnessed the intense reaction of people suffering (definition of “victim”) from the pain of having been personally violated. Many, many times they felt so much shame that they buried the pain a coping mechanism so that they could continue to function in their lives. Sadly, this happens even after trying to tell someone; a mother in denial of her husband’s ability to do something as horrific as inappropriately touching their daughter; an HR director who knows the company’s success is dependent on a key sales rep or a board member; or, a college president who would be in jeopardy of losing funding. These scenarios are sad realities in our history; histories that stymie people’s emotional energy when it comes to speaking out. Histories that foster a culture of boxing it up and keeping silent.

If we fail to believe – and even act on – a woman who claims a violation 30 years after the fact, how can we believe – and act on – a man who claims to have been violated by a priest 30 years ago when he was a child? What are we telling these people?? We believe you but without proof, your perpetrator is allowed to walk around (potentially continuing to violate others) and that’s Democracy?? Therein lies a HUGE hole in our system.

Complicating it even further is the problematic element of ‘memory’. The probability of our memory being 100% accurate is low after 30 years. Indeed, our memory is easily distorted over time as our brain files away similar experiences. An additional complication occurs when alcohol is involved Science tells us that alcohol especially, inhibits experiences from being implanted into long term memory. Alcohol also, lowers our filters – allowing us to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do. IF we did something we might feel shame about – we are also likely to repress that memory as a defense against continuing to feel shame.  These are also facts.

How do we solve this problem of one person’s view over anothers without causing more harm – intensifying the victimization  – and dismissing the pain of people who feel violated? Do we dismiss the inappropriateness of something that happened when under the influence? Or when someone was ‘young and dumb’? Or before they were successful, upstanding, perhaps ‘reborn’ middle aged adults?

How do we protect people against unjust, revengeful, or misaligned accusations? How do we protect the careers and reputations of individuals who are truly innocent? How do we make sure that people are not marginalized? Or dismissed?

I think THESE are the questions that the next generation needs to be brave enough to try and answer. The ethics of these issues are deeply woven into the fabric of our current culture and clarity is a necessity for the success of our Democracy.

As a side note on the currently public ‘he said, she said’ debacle…

As a candidate for the Supreme Court – if Judge Kavanaugh has said something along the lines of  “I have no memory of the incident I am being accused of. I cannot perceive that the man I am today could have ever exhibited that behavior. However, if I did ANYTHING that felt invasive or inappropriate to her or anyone – I deeply apologize.” … Something like that would have allowed me to believe that he is a fair minded, non-judgmental, empathetic, and rational option for the job. Instead, he adopted the “it wasn’t me” stance that is prevalent in these cases which, only served to magnify the historical injustices that lined up in front of him. Now – I have very deep doubts about this man’s ability to deliver unbiased and fair decisions; ESPECIALLY in reference to victim rights. It would be a ‘no’ vote for me based solely on this performance.

I feel better now. : )

#159 Have Your Palm Read

Supposedly, this ancient method of predicting has some merit. Recent science has correlated greater athletic talent in men whose ring finger is longer than his index finger.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#159

Have your palm read

Even if you don’t believe in someone’s ability to ‘see’ into your hand; because … you there is NO way to definitively know for sure! So… just in case there IS something to it… find a palm reader with good reviews and take the plunge – it’s fun!

Palmistry has been practiced for thousands of years and some individuals are very talented in their ability to describe the characteristics about your life and personality based on the composition of your hand. First they look that the fingers and there are assumptions made depending on

The length of your various fingers

The space between your fingers

The thinness of your fingers

The shape of your fingernail

The state of your fingernail

Additionally, the lines in your palm represent a variety of areas; marriage, head, heart, fate, sun, children, money, and health. More information is contributed based on moles, the way lines cross, and shapes that they make. Even the size of your hand matters. The left hand speaks your potential, the right hand about what you’ve done with that potential.

Supposedly, this ancient method of predicting has some merit. Recent science has correlated greater athletic talent in men whose ring finger is longer than his index finger. (I’m so curious to know how many of you just looked at your fingers!). Those men are more apt to be well-endowed and have more children. Those with longer index fingers are more prone to heart disease. Scientists think these elements have something to do with the prenatal testosterone exposure. Go figure!

These ‘palm readers’ are versed in the thousands of years of similarities and perhaps even the results of modern research so they notice and comment on those things that are common across individuals with similar characteristics. They may tell you something that you don’t know… not that it is ‘carved in stone’ but that you may be more prone to something that is indicated across the population with similar individuals.

Having your palm read is just a fun… not too serious activity that you can do with friends, sisters, bridesmaids, a partner, or colleagues. It’s harmless unless you make more of it than is intended. Take it with a grain of salt… kind of like… Blondes have more fun. For some it’s true – for others, not so much.

The next time you want something fun and crazy to do, consider…

Having your palm read.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#160 Practice Mindful Compassion

Think for a moment of how you would comfort a child who has just lost his mother. Imagine that child sitting on your lap in a deep state of sadness and you are helpless to ‘fix’ the problem.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#160

Practice Mindful Compassion

One of the ‘new’ buzzwords in psychotherapy is ‘mindful compassion’. It’s not new really… Buddhists have been practicing mindful compassion for thousands of years and one might even argue that most prayer regiments are akin to this practice. Mindful compassion is the specific expression of empathy, goodwill, and compassion towards oneself and/or others. It’s learning how to extend a deep level of compassion, without judgment, to oneself or to others.

Imagine

Think for a moment of how you would comfort a child who has just lost his mother. Imagine that child sitting on your lap in a deep state of sadness and you are helpless to ‘fix’ the problem. Your only comfort can be a deep level of empathy and compassion for the pain that this child feels. Now, imagine that you can generate this same level of compassion for yourself each time you experience emotional discomfort or send that compassionate energy – via thought waves – to another human who may be suffering.

Extend It

This level of comforting – this extension of deep compassion – can be very healing. Cultivating an ability to self-sooth is the focus of new treatments for anxiety and depression. It is also a wonderful way to begin each day – extending compassionate ‘vibes’ to people in your life who may benefit from a little extra love.

Doing so is quite easy if you sit quietly and imagine yourself in a state of deep compassion; going to your core. Next, create an image of the person you want to send energy to… and offer these words:

“May you be well; May you be happy; May you be free from suffering”

Spend 5 minutes in that space, sending love and energy to one or more people – or even yourself. Practicing this on a daily basis will not only increase your personal depth of compassion, it will calm you, build inner peace, and increase the endorphins that are associated with acts of benevolence.

Learn More

This suggestion is a mere blip of an introduction to mindful compassion and I encourage you to investigate leading teachers and practitioners such as Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, Paul Gilbert, or Christopher Germer, just to name a few.

Benefits

This is one of those ‘tips’ that anyone can do; requires no tools; is completely FREE; benefits others; improves mental health; and can be accomplished anytime – anywhere. It may be a perfect activity! So, sit quietly for a few minutes and let the sun shine on your face as you close your eyes and …

Practice mindful compassion.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#161 Make bread from Scratch

Of course with a hot loaf of crusty bread to look forward to, there begs a question as to what you’ll serve with it; a hot bowl of homemade soup?

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#161

Make bread from scratch

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh making bread? One of my favorite childhood memories is coming home from school and entering a house filled with the aroma of bread in the oven. This is considered an “odor-cued memory” – a smell that, in an instant, propels us back to a fond childhood memory.

Pass it Down

For this reason – although not the only reason – the suggestion to make bread from scratch and fill your home with the aroma is meant to induce those pleasant memories and instil them in the brains of your own children or those around you. It’s a two-fer… you’re bond to recall wonderful memories AND eat some hot, fresh bread.

Simplify It

Bread doesn’t have to complicated. The invention of the bread machine simplified the process and eliminated the need to knead, rise, knead, rise… it’s automatically achieved inside the machine. No machine? No worries… there are great breads that don’t need all that attention. Indeed, some of the no-knead recipes resemble more organic and unprocessed (basically, because they are…) loaves that are more popular and tasty these days.

The Whole Meal

Of course with a hot loaf of crusty bread to look forward to, there begs a question as to what you’ll serve with it; a hot bowl of homemade soup? A big bowl of chili? A large pot of marinara covered pasta? Regardless of the choice, you’ll need a stick of ‘real’ butter (preferably salted – because everything is a little better with a tad of salt), and potentially some jam or honey for the desert portion of the meal. Freshly baked bed with a little dollop of sweet makes a great follow up if you have any belly space left!

Here’s a list of 40 Insanely Delicious Yeast Bread recipes for you to browse. After selecting one, gather the ingredients and treat yourself to the pleasure of …

Making bread from scratch.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#162 Ask Friends and Family for Feedback

We have a deep seeded belief that if we bring attention to them, somehow people will think less of us.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#162

Ask Friends and Family for Feedback

One of the most basic tenets of self-awareness is to understand how you are perceived by people in your environment. There’s no better way to get honest feedback than to ask those who know you best. It’s one of the homework assignments that students in The Elevate Class complete and the results are always a major part of our coaching conversations.

Be Open

Being open to the constructive criticism that people share is a necessity. Your ability to hear their perspectives without feeling attacked or ‘bad’ can help you understand how you are perceived by others. Try to remember that people who love you offer a view that is shared from a place of acceptance; they love you – anyway! It’s always interesting to see things about yourself that can’t be seen from the inside out.

Changes

Not everything that is observed needs to be changed. You are who you are! If an observation suggests offensive behavior, of course you’ll want to consider how it is impacting someone you love and ask yourself if that’s what you’re goal is… It may be just something you want to stay aware of so that you can mitigate its negative impact – where applicable. Perhaps it is something that when changed, would benefit your relationship.

Seeing Ourselves

Sometimes, we look at something so long that we stop seeing it – having become so accustomed to its presence. The feedback we receive is important for a complete picture. If you’re concerned that the response may be too critical – qualify your request by asking this:

“Please offer gentle and constructive critique about my behavior/actions and how they impact our relationship: a mix of positive and negative observations would be appreciated.”

I suggest the response be written so that you can take time to consider their perspectives and your memory won’t be challenged in recalling the comments; email is fine… texting not so much.

Fear

The biggest pushback that I typically see to this suggestion is the fear we experience when we think that our faults are going to be highlighted. We have a deep seeded belief that if we bring attention to them, somehow people will think less of us. Interestingly enough – those traits are always exposed… just because we don’t acknowledge them, doesn’t mean they don’t show through. It’s always better to brave the exposure. Nothing changes if it stays packed away… even if no change is desired, keeping it out in front will make sure that it stays healthy.  So, give yourself an opportunity to grow and …

Ask friends and family for feedback.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Yolanda Sun on Unsplash