Frame your goals positively.

How you describe your goal makes a big difference. Focusing on what you want to bring into your life — not what you want to avoid — will make you more likely to actually pursue it. “That’s basically just brain chemistry,” says McGonigal. “Any sort of avoidance is going to trigger inhibition systems, whereas positive goals are going to trigger approach and reward motivation.”

Think about what you want to foster in yourself or what you want to do more often. That positivity can help motivate you when you find yourself slipping. “Saying ‘I don’t want to be fat anymore’ gives you no positive motivation to draw on when you just ate the second box of donuts,” says McGonigal. Be nice to yourself. It works.

Prepare for failure (in a good way).

Moments of failure are inevitable, but most of us abandon the goal entirely when minor failures and setbacks start piling up. We give up on getting fit when we miss the gym, or we forget about losing weight after a night of burgers and milkshakes. “In that moment when you fail, often the first instinct is to push the goal away,” says McGonigal. “It’s so uncomfortable to be in that place of self-doubt or self-criticism and guilt.”

Your task is not to avoid failures, but to plan for them. Ask yourself, how am I likely to fail? For example, if you’re likely to choose unhealthy meals when you’re hungry, carry a light snack that can tide you over. Psychologists call this an if/then contingency plan, or “if this happens, then I’ll do that.” It’s a mental plan for how you’ll react to things that might trip you up.

When detours and roadblocks come up, remind yourself why your goal matters to you. Those simple reminders about why it’s important can buoy your motivation and keep you headed in the right direction.

Lost Poem

I went to the gym this morning, grabbed a book off the shelf to read on the bike. A poem I had long ago written fell out. So I thought I’d blog it here.

“How wonderful to be alone

No biting dog or ringing phone

A buzz from a cold glass of wine

A break from chaos, rush and time

In touch with who I used to be

Alone, aware, really me

But in this time I crave so much

A sense of love and tender touch

The joy I met a man I love

Realizing childhood lessons does

Make me happy to be me

In touch, aware and finally free.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often  happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

From ‘The Velveteen Rabbit,’ by Margery Williams.

Dr. Brian Weiss

I was lucky enough to hear Brian Weiss talk yesterday at the Long Beach Convention center. Dr. Weiss is the author of many books including “Many Lives Many Masters” and “Miracles do Happen.” He lead three hypnotherapy sessions – one being past life, and one intuitive exercise. He is soft spoken and amusing and has dedicated the last 35 years of his life to leading past life sessions, therapy and teaching. It is well worth attending one of his events, even if you are not a believer.  We may have lived before or any visualizations that come up could be metaphors for whatever we need help with now. Either way, past life work has helped people over and over again.  A person with a pain in their neck for years is instantly cured after regressing back to a time when perhaps they were beheaded or suffered injury to their neck. It does not have to be that dramatic and nor do we have to really understand it. Allowing ourselves to be open minded and relaxing into the experience can release many discomforts that have plagued us for years. For information on other Brian Weiss events go to his website:



“In the treatment of skin conditions by changing a person’s focus of attention, Erickson is illustrating the dictum that Paracelsus expounded in the fifteenth century: ‘As man imagines himself to be, so shall he be, and he is that which he imagines.’ There really are physical effects associated with mental imagery. These effects can be attained inside of the body also, but they simply are more demonstrable on the skin. The most obvious examples are blushing when we think about an embarrassing situation, or the development of an erection when we fantasize an erotic image. A person who imagines himself as worthy holds himself erect and moves decisively and confidently. It is, then, surprising that his skeletal structure, muscle tone, and facial expression develop quite differently from those of someone who ‘imagines’ or images himself to be a nonentity?”

From “My Voice will go with You – The teaching tales of Milton H. Erickson,” by Sidney Rosen

More on Anxiety

I am finding anxiety more and more fascinating.

Kierkegaard wrote in the 1844 treatise “The Concept of Anxiety:” ‘And no Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety, and no spy knows how to attack more artfully the man he suspects, choosing the instant when he is weakest, nor knows how to lay traps where he will be caught and ensnared, as anxiety knows how, and no sharp-witted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine the accused, as anxiety does, which never lets him escape, neither by diversion nor by noise, neither at work nor at play, neither by day nor by night.’

Daniel Smith (Monkey Mind), goes on to say: ‘This could only have been written by someone who understood anxiety from the inside. Kierkegaard saw that although anxiety is experienced as a kind of all-encompassing nausea-he compared it to the dizziness that afflicts a person when he peers down into an abyss.”

Monkey Mind

Having experienced anxiety and panic attacks in my life, a passage from the book “Monkey Mind” by Daniel Smith resonated.  He starts by quoting Shakespear and his despair at the advice that is offered as a treatment for anxiety.

The passage is taken from “Macbeth.”

“Canst though not minister to a mind diseas’d,

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,

And with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?”

Daniel Smith responds to this passage with, “The response horrified me, for it suggested what I immediately saw was an impossibility, Minister to myself? How? This thing I was feeling wasn’t something I could stop outside of and examine. I couldn’t lay therapeutic hands on it. I couldn’t subject it to my will. I wasn’t even sure I had a will anymore.”

Later on in the passage he goes on to say: “It is common to give superheroes extra-human senses. Spider Man feels a tingle when danger is imminent. The villain is throwing a boulder. The innocent has been launched from the skyscraper. Wavy lines appear above Spider Man’s head. Tingle. Dodge. Thrust. Catch. Act. But what if the hero’s only power is an inner alarm that rings to tell him he has an inner alarm?

That is anxiety. All that varies is the location and the quality of the alarm. Is it in the gut? Is it in the groin? Is it in the throat? The spine? The heart? The lungs? Is it a tightness? A looseness? An unraveling? A liquefication? Fluttering? Scratching? Scraping? Pulling? Is it hot or is it cold? Is it a presence or is it an absence? Is it a stone or is it a void? What do you call yours?”

The words of Daniel Smith sum up, for me, how hypnosis works. Interactive hypnosis can ‘pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow.’ By identifying the shape, color and temperature of the anxiety we can change it, ask it what it needs, wrap out arms around it, set it free!


Emotions for Health

“Fear, futility, anger, hostility, impatience, pessimism, competition, and worry won’t signal the proper genes for better health. They actually do the opposite. They turn on the fight-or-flight nervous system and prepare your body for emergency. You’re now losing vital energy for healing. It’s a similar situation with trying to make something happen. The moment you’re trying, you’re pushing against something because you’re endeavoring to change it.

Survival emotions are derived primarily from the stress hormones, which tend to endorse more selfish and more limited states of mind and body. When you embrace elevated, more creative emotions, you lift your energy to a different hormonal center, your heart begins to open, and you feel more selfless. This is when your body starts to respond to a new mind.”

From “You are the Placebo,” by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

“A Return to Love,” by Marianne Williamson.



Virginia Satir

I thought I would share a quote from “Your Many Faces,” by Virginia Satir.

“When we see a garden of flowers and notice that there are differences among them, it is easy for us to think of them as variations. When we do this, we experience good feelings. Variation and variety are thought of as positive. When we see a group of people together and notice that they, like the flowers, are different from each other, we have an inclination to think of these as differences. Different somehow brings to mind difficulties  and fear, and it is easy to prepare defenses.”

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