Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mind-reading and Stress

Most people think that they know what other people are thinking. This week we’ll explore this phenomenon, known as mind-reading, and how it contributes to stress.

You may not be psychic, but, you are a mind-reader. It happens when you interpret that look your partner gives you. Perhaps when you “know” how someone is feeling based not their past behaviour. You believe that you can perceive , and understand, what’s going on inside other people. 

Mind-reading is a natural part of human communication. It allows us to anticipate actions. It helps us interpret non-verbal queues. Mind-reading is helpful,but,  it can create misunderstandings. It can become a significant source of stress.

Mind-reading is particularly common in business settings  where we are encouraged to avoid communicating our emotions. We are forced to guess what people are feeling. This often leads to defensiveness, and miscommunication.

For instance, you are having a conversation with your boss about a challenging employee. She seems agitated, annoyed, like she just wishes you were out of her office. You decide, based on experience, that she likes your employee and is upset that you have an issue. All very reasonable.

What if your boss is just in a bad mood? She’s having car trouble again. She is fed up. She would have seemed upset even if you had brought her coffee, and her favourite jelly doughnut.

Your mind-read has gotten you nowhere. It would have been far better to ask her if there was anything wrong. You may not have gotten the whole story, but, at least you’d understand where she was coming from.

If it had been about your employee, then you would know where you stand. It would have created an opportunity for dialogue.

Mind reading is part of how we operate with one another. It is normal, but, not optimal communication. Can you see how guessing about other people’s feelings can get you into trouble and cause unnecessary stress? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ifa Initiation: Receiving Sango

In this week’s post I’ll be discussing the powerful experience of initiation. In Ifa we become priests of our Guardian Orisa. It is also possible to “receive” any, or all of, the others. Over the course of the last year I decided that it was time for me to receive Sango.

Sango is the energy of strategy. It can help us with creative thinking. I tend be serious and methodical. Thinking outside the box has always been a challenge for me. I have a powerful attraction to children of Sango. Perhaps I was looking outward, for connection to something I was missing.

I was planning a trip to the Ola Olu retreat centre in Florida. I decided to receive Sango while I was there. I confirmed that it would be highly beneficial in a reading.  I made arrangements to complete the initiation when many of my fellow priests could be involved.

In spiritual matters we often think that we are attracted to something for one reason then spirit makes it clear that it was happening for another.

I received the Orisa in a bloodless ceremony that used a powerful herbal potion, and the Ase the priests who assisted, in the place of the blood that might have been used in Africa or Cuba. The initiation was very moving. The effects were immediate.

A flash of understanding regarding the creative, and passionate, nature of the energy. Seeing the balancing feminine principle in Sango. Grasping the joy, and fun, that are part of this energy. Feeling my masculine, warrior, energy  coming to the surface.

The deepening was more of a surprise. Sango helps us see the truth. The energy can cut through falsehood, and smoke-screens. That aspect of the energy hit me like a storm.

I felt the energy calling me out on my stuff. Showing me that it is time to shift if I want to move forward. It was disturbing, uncomfortable, and very powerful.

Now I will spend time, up to a year, integrating my newly deepened connection to the energy of fire, and strategy.

What has your experience of the Sango energy been like? I’d love to hear.

Contact Brian

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Surrendering to what Is

Circumstances beyond our control will always show up in our lives and create stress. Dealing with them in a realistic way can help to minimize the effects of that stress.

After a recent software upgrade I opened my contact management application and discovered that all my data had been erased. The result, panic, and a whole boatload of stress hormones raging through my bloodstream.

The most interesting part of the experience was that I had some distance from my own emotions. I watched the reaction. The anger, panic, crazed attempt at emotional problem solving.

It was interesting to witness all of this in myself. It gave me a great opportunity to make a different choice. In meditation we sit and observe. Allowing everything to be as it is provides wonderful practice for facing a crisis when it shows up.

What happened had already occurred. Nothing could be done about it. Panicking wasn't helpful at all. What I needed was calm, acceptance, and some help.

As luck would have it, the database on my phone had not been corrupted. It was only a week old. By patiently waiting for support to get back to me, I found a reasonable solution. With minimal effort I was able to get everything sorted out.

The point here, is that we will all face crises, of some sort or other, eventually. We will also likely react to most crises in a less than productive way. What we do in the throws of that reaction is what really makes the difference. Do we allow our emotions to get the best of us, or do we see what's happened as an opportunity to respond? Can we gather our resources and face the crisis with calm, and resolve.

Can you see how regularly allowing yourself to step back and witness your mind can help bring perspective, and positive solutions,  in times of crisis? I'd love to hear why, or why not.

Contact Brian