0054 Choosing Opportunity Over Fear Through Meditation

A method using meditation is discussed for addressing fear and moving energy into taking action with opportunity.

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0053 Suffering and Growth

Suffering, expectations, and the paradox of how suffering is associated with growth and abundance are discussed.

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0052 Faith vs Belief

Today’s episode addresses faith vs belief and the associated challenges. Topics covered include:

  • 3 ways to view beliefs
  • The power of first simply seeing what is
  • How the desire for rules can frustrate being present
  • the power of being present and working with what is
  • the parable of the poison arrow

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0051 Human Trafficking – Road To Triumph Over Sex Slavery

Today we talk with Mary Gaines (pseudonym) about her road to triumph over having been trafficked for sex. She talks about law enforcement, pimps, friends, children, daily life, and, most importantly, those who came out on the street to connect with her and offer a pathway to recovery.

 

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0050 Suffering, The 4 Winds, and Boundaries

This podcast discusses the harm done by getting caught up in the 4 dichotomies that change with the wind. These cause the suffering referenced in the 1st Noble Truth. The dichotomies are:

  • Pleasure/sorrow
  • Gain/loss
  • Fame/lack of recognition
  • Praise/blame

These are expanded to include the drawing of any boundary with “good”/“bad” on one side or the other. Buddha showed that the lack of boundaries such as these is what allows us to be present in the world and decide accordingly what to do.

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0049 Disruption and Ham Sandwiches

This episode discusses the importance of paying attention to and appreciating how when making significant changes disruption can show up in the little things — little things that are to be appreciated as an opportunity to drive the change down to day-to-day activities and cement the change.

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0048 Podcasting – Finding Your Voice

Gary talks about issues associated with “finding one’s voice” when it comes to podcasting. Typical external issues such as equipment, software, hardware are mentioned initially but a deeper dive is done on the internal activities you must do in order to find your voice.

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0047 Human Trafficking – Part 1 – Gracehaven

This episode begins a new series on human trafficking. If you feel you are being trafficked or are observing suspicious behavior then call 911, say your life is in danger or you are seeing suspicious behavior and you will receive help.

You can also call the National Hotline 888-373-7888. (Might be easier to remember as 888-3737-888)

Today we are talking with Brooke Pollard and Jenn Stokes of Gracehaven, as faith-based recovery shelter for trafficked women in the Columbus, OH, area.

A range of related topics is covered in this introductory episode from the psychological frame-of-mind a trafficked child/adolescent/young adult has to community connections established to help with the entire range of issues faced when a victim of traffickers. Topics ranged from the legal system to other people working in recovery beyond Gracehaven.

Gracehaven can be contacted at:

614-302-9515

www.gracehaven.com

info@gracehaven.me

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0046 Grief, Freedom, and Joy

Thrive and Connect is back!

From Grief to Joy!

Gary talks about the 9.5 month hiatus and getting back on track with the podcast.

Grief over changes needed and expectations that were not realized are discussed along with how dealing with the grief leds to freedom, and the simplicity needed to experience joy and to ability to get focused and get back on track.

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0045 Thrive and Connect: Jennifer’s Cancer Journal – Part 2

Today, Jennifer wants to continue talking directly about her experiences with cancer and the chemotherapy and the impact they are having on her life.

62159817 - drugs for hodgkin's disease treatment

She is in remission and has 2 courses of chemotherapy left plus radiation. The nausea can be so great that her focus is, at times, just sitting still to avoid throwing up. What makes this especially challenging is that nausea and vomiting are her kryptonite.

Her perception of every day activities has changed. Just trying to get off the couch can be difficult:

  • The chemo weighs her down making getting up extremely strenuous;
  • She can’t stand up;
  • There is a big struggle dealing with the helplessness;
  • She can’t power through the situation, one of her go-to tactics
  • Ben has to get her water when she is only a few feet from the refrigerator.

Another uncomfortable side effect of the chemotherapy is the constipation. It feels like she’s pooping razor blades.

Perspective-wise, Jennifer sees how normal day-to-day activities can be taken for granted.

Another physical aspect is hair loss, something she has been documenting and about which she’s gained a new perspective. Her hair has always been a challenge because it is so curly. When it grows back in she won’t complain.

Physically, in addition to the weakness caused by the chemotherapy she can taste and smell the chemotherapeutic drugs for the first few days after they’ve been administered.

After listening to the first entry in this cancer journal podcast Jennifer saw how she was initially naive as to the toll it takes. She says this feeling some comfort over the fact she has a cancer with a high remission rate. As in the first podcast, she looks for moments of joy and celebrating being with her partner, Ben. He is an archeologist and they will be traveling next year to Italy and Greece. They spend time looking at the places they can visit.

In line with visiting new places, she will be glad when she can eat more than some rice. Although, Jennifer isn’t complaining when they get out of the house and go out to eat. It feels good to get off the couch.

When asked about the possible humiliation the cancer can cause she responded with:

  • Helplessness, for which Ben supplies support. His behavior is humbling for her, which helps keep a positive frame of mind;
  • She feels like she is losing her womanhood. Ben looks past that.
  • On really bad days, Jennifer also worries that Ben is just sticking around until it is over and then he’ll leave. She has learned to take a step back on those days and think, “It will get better than this.”
  • Vulnerability. Jennifer is used to being her own person and doing for herself. The cancer and chemo challenge that way of being which rolls into a feeling of not being worthwhile if she can’t be attractive.

With regards to the above, Jennifer offers some advice:

  • Avoid “Why me?” Yes, the situation is unfair but dwelling on that question can destroy you;
  • Watch out for self-pity. There can be times where it is felt for a moment but avoid living in it;
  • As an Extrovert, she’s learned to occupy her mind as best she can when she has the energy. She spends more time doing deep thinking – an Introvert activity – and is writing “The Lymphoma Diaries;”
  • Use levity, even if it is dark humor. It helps reduce stress;
  • Work to let your care-givers have time to be themselves.
  • In terms of going out in public, it is important to accept yourself as you are, where you are, and just go about your activities. This is easier to do when she is with Ben. When by herself there is the urge to feel self-conscious.
  • Jennifer lacks the urge to hide. She’s learned it is better to think, “Wow, I have the energy today to get out of the house!”

Well, that’s about it.

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0044 Thrive and Connect: Jennifer’s Cancer Journal – Part 1

Our co-host and the General Managing of both Aurelius Press and Center for Managing Change, Jennifer Rojas, has cancer – Hodgkins lymphoma, to be specific. This is the first in a series of podcast cancer journal entries she has agreed to make.

62159817 - drugs for hodgkin's disease treatment

She remarks that up until this disease she has been relatively healthy and feels fortunate for that having been the case. Also, that asking “Why?” doesn’t really go very far. No causal effect has been found.

A small episode of self-pity surfaced because she hasn’t been able to “go out and play” like others due to her chemotherapy.

Nausea is her biggest fear – hating to vomit.

Fortunately, she and her partner, Ben, are within walking distance of the Mediterranean Sea, about which she is very appreciative. It reminds her of the reality that there is still joy, goodness, and beauty available. It’s a choice to see it. Gratitude is present for 2016 in spite of the Hodgkins. She can see abundance in her life and views herself fortunate to have a highly curable form of cancer. This being said in spite of the fact uncertainty is present.

She continues to “look for the gold” in life in spite of the sh#t that happens. Denial and refusing to see ALL of life just leads to misery.

Jennifer reminds those who are listening and have to deal with cancer that, without being pollyannish, it is important to look for what is good in life.

Medical marijuana is discussed. Gary and Jennifer joke about medical marijuana, referencing Cheech and Chong. On the serious side, Jennifer talks about being in a study of the effects of medical marijuana on the side effects of Hodgkins treatments.

The benefits of having universal health care in Israel and what it has meant to Jennifer and Ben is also discussed both in terms of timeline and quality of treatment. It was a big determinant in them not returning to the United States.

The poison associated with being stuck on the question, “Why me?” is compared to the benefits of saying, “I have cancer AND I have the rest of my life” vs “It’s cancer OR the rest of my life.” Jennifer is not naive in terms of thinking everything is going to turn out well. What she sees is the ability to set an example for those who are suffering, an example that shows one can stay in the present and experience life.

She does discuss the realities of chemotherapy and how it knocks one down for a period of time. Listening to one’s body is critical. It allows her to focus on periods of feeling well and being able to get her work  done.

Carl Jung’s description of his successful patients is brought into the discussion, i.e., using the pain felt as a tool to see parts of life that otherwise were invisible and help others in a constructive way. An opportunity is created from the pain and suffering. This is all stated based on the belief joy can be found in the middle of the difficulties.

Ben, Jennifer’s partner, and all he has done is brought into the podcast and looked at through the lens of being vulnerable.

This includes the need to find a balance between empathy and sympathy and how the boundary with regards to “self” in a relationship moves with the ups-and-downs of the disease.

Jennifer also shares how important it is for care-givers to find a sense of balance and maintain it.

The conversation shifts to maintaining a sense of balance by sticking with the slogan, “Make judgements without being judgmental.” Life is a balance between the good and the bad that is present. It’s all about establishing and maintaining balance when having cancer, experiencing chemotherapy, and having a job to work.

Well, that’s about it.

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0043 Thrive and Connect: Dealing With Fear of Rejection

This podcast is from a presentation to Awesome Women In Business

47344674 - woman is trying to fight her fear of rejection

A GUIDED MEDITATION

  • I want you to close your eyes and go back in time
  • To a time when there was no boundary between your feelings and thoughts and the outside world.
  • A time when you were free and didn’t have to double-check yourself.
  • (let a minute go by)
  • What do you notice about your surroundings?
    • are you wearing a favorite piece of clothing?
    • Are you opening a favorite box that contains everything important to you?
    • Are you at a favorite relative’s house and is something special that smells delicious in the over?
  • There’s a name for this set of physical experiences: Axis Mundi – the place where what is going on inside you connects with the outside world and you feel whole.
  • We’ll come back to this.

SOURCE OF FEAR OF REJECTION

  • Fear of rejection arises from feelings of not being good enough, of feeling unable to deal with the ups-and-downs on life on one’s own.
  • So, where does it come from? Trauma.
  • When we lack the power to protect ourselves in a traumatic situation in order to cope it can be easier to just deny the trauma occurred.
  • The problem with this is we also wall off the associated part of our psyche and the skills/capabilities that go with it.
  • We also get stuck in our head which can kill sales and the ability to perform.

SOLUTION

  • Focus on others.
  • Give to them what you need yourself.
  • By seeing yourself giving to others it eases the path towards giving to yourself, i.e., reclaiming that part of you walled off with the trauma.
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0042 Thrive and Connect: Pain, Reactivity, and Mindfulness

Our co-host, Jennifer, talks today about dealing with chronic back pain and how it affects her outlook and ability to be either proactive or reactive to life’s events.

(Her situation takes an interesting twist which will be revealed in a future podcast.)0042-image-001

The four Immeasurables are reviewed along with the power of humility.

She shares her increased empathy for those from her past who lived with chronic pain.

Chronic pain sucks the energy out of a person.

The corrosive effect of the six realms of reactivity (rage, greed, instinct, desire, jealousy, and pride) inhibits being joyful especially with jealousy, e.g., “Why can’t I have a better life like that other person?”

The use of a meditation technique, tonglin, to help dissolve reactivity is explained. It opens a door to being joyful by letting go of watching others and comparing. Loving-kindness can be restored. Energy is also saved, energy that can be distributed in a positive way.

The question surfaced, “How can we show others what works for us in terms of mindfulness?” We just look for the opportunity without forcing it upon others. Jennifer relates it to her consulting work in conflict resolution.

Working in this way helps one get out of their head and reduce suffering.

The challenges associated with push-back being generated by someone choosing to stay stuck are discussed. There is only so much we can do.

For ourselves, when we practice tonglin are acuity increases. We see more and are more present, even if the other person is resisting. We become free to just be ourselves.

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0041 Thrive and Connect: The Power of Humility – Converting Negative Energy Into Positive

Converting negative energy to positive is the topic of today’s podcast, the next in a series regarding the power of humility. Your host, Gary Monti,9844870 - battery level indicator vector symbol

 

picks up from previous episodes discussing how damaging reactive emotions can be.

The 6 reactive emotions are:

    • Rage or hatred
    • Greed
    • Instinct
    • Desire
    • Jealousy
    • Pride

The healthy counter to this are the four constructive emotions/behaviors. They are called the four immeasurables and comprise:

⁃Equanimity – being free of prejudice and treating others as equal

⁃Loving-Kindness – dropping barriers and being open to others

⁃Compassion – empathizing with those who are in pain or suffering

⁃Joy – spontaneity, being free to move without needing affirmation or approval of others.

So, the question for today’s podcast is, “How is the negative energy taken from the reactive emotions and moved in the four healthy ones?”

The answer to this is an meditation method Gary has used for years which helps him get out of the trap of reactivity and connect with life and those around him.

The Tibetan name for this method is “tonglin,” which translates to “taking and sending.” It is a somewhat counter-intuitive technique but it really works.

The technique works this way:

– take a situation that promotes reactivity within you

– imagine people having a reaction similar to yours

– as you breathe in, imagine breathing in all those negative feelings

– as you exhale imagine sending those individuals some good quality about yourself that will help them let go of their own reactivity.

This can take time but is definitely worth the effort. In addition to helping get rid of reactivity one benefit is the opening of a portal back to connecting with others, back to community. You can be freed from being trapped inside one’s head stuck with all those reactive emotions.

Additionally, the ability surfaces to talk in a compassionate manner with some close who is causing difficulties. The negative energy of reactivity is converted to positive energy and you can empathetically talk with the person creating the difficulty and see if there is a solution.

Being realistic is critical. Also, tonglin provides no magic. It simply helps create energy and the ability to be present with what is going on right now and see if there are opportunities for constructively improving the relationship or situation. It may be that positive energy is used to move on by voting with your feet.

Tonglin also helps with flow by promoting a return to connectivity. This is especially helpful in business where it can be easy to agonize over problems or issues that are present. By practicing tonglin your eyes and ears can open to a situation (instead of obsessing) and the opportunity can be created to find a path — a path based on the four immeasurables, essentially taking care of yourself by taking care of your clients/customers.

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0040 Thrive and Connect: The Power of Humility – Connection Dissolves Reactive Emotions

In this episode your host, Gary Monti, continues the discussion of the power of humility in dissolving reactivity by using four other emotions/approaches to life. The six reactive emotions are discussed in greater depth:

41664767 - ring of many hands team

    • Rage
    • Greed
    • Instinct
    • Desire
    • Jealousy
    • Pride

The emphasis in this podcast, though, is counteracting reactive emotions through connections – connections with others.

The 6 reactive emotions are traps that over time create a negative karma within which we lose ourselves. A destructive, self-fulfilling perspective is created and we swear it IS the reality of the situation.

There are four emotions/behaviors which can take the place of the reactivity and lead to being present on your life. They are:

⁃Equanimity – being free of prejudice and treating others as equal

⁃Loving-Kindness – dropping barriers and being open to others

⁃Compassion – empathizing with those who are in pain or suffering

⁃Joy – spontaneity, being free to move without needing affirmation or approval of others.

By practicing humility an opportunity is created for us to wake up to life. Unfortunately, what one first sees is all the crap, all the bad consequences accrued over the years from living in reactivity as well as having fooled oneself into having been better when engaging in that reactivity. Also, the reactive habits take on a life of their own, as if they are a separate person, and fight back against constructive feelings. Consequently, it can be hard being honest with oneself, turning away from the reactivity and all that was invested in it, and turning towards the four constructive emotions.

On the positive side, there is a moving away from “you/me” to “us.” Again, when that occurs the world opens up and an opportunity to be present and free of reactivity starts developing. We can be joyful!

The power of meditation in learning to be humble and work towards building a humble frame of mind to achieve joy is discussed. Meditation helps draw the energy away from “the voices in the head” and move it into a more constructive frame-of-mind.

To do this work it is important to be in it for the long haul. It takes time and practice, practice on a daily basis. Over time, with more practice a unique ability develops, being able during difficult times to respect that pain or discomfort is being felt but being able to let go of it and not attach to it. By avoiding attachment to the pain the reactive emotions are not stimulated. The ability to see what is good in life remains and to participate as best you can. This is why humility is important. It helps avoid “why me?” or “somebody is going to pay for this!”

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0039 Thrive and Connect: The Power of Humility – Neutralizing the Poison of Reactivity

In this episode your host, Gary Monti, discusses how to neutralize one of the impediments to humility – reactivity. Topics include:

  • The danger or reactivity
  • Definition of humility and its benefits
  • Humility is contrasted with reactivity
  • A range of emotions associated with reactivity and the trouble they can cause
    • Rage
    • Greed
    • Instinct
    • Desire
    • Jealousy
    • Pride
  • Reactive patterns develop in response to the emotions if they are left unchecked
  • The patterns can grow and interlace with each other compounding the situation
  • Meditation can help dissolve the reactive patterns and return to a humble state
  • Mid-life crises are discussed and how one can work through them
  • The elusiveness of humility, especially as we get older, and its root-cause is discussed
    • Reactive patterns take on a life of their own
  • When it comes to meditating simply sitting still can be a big challenge
  • The eventual reward is to just be which makes room for joy, discipline, compassion, and empathy not to mention the opportunity to be with others and have community and a sense of flow

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0038 Thrive and Connect: Family-owned Business Succession- and Operations Legal Planning

In today’s podcast we sit down with Kwame Christian, Esq., an attorney specializing in family- and business law. We will discusslaw-resale needs license 7946993_s

  • Business Operations Planning and Continuity
  • Business Succession Planning

If you want to jump to a particular topic in the podcast click on the timestamp below.

00:00 Answer Questions Why do we need succession planning? When an owner dies what is next? Who takes care of the business after the owner dies?

03:00 Earlier The Better The funeral home is not the best time or place to start answering those questions. If left unaddressed issues from the past that need time and negotiations to resolve come to the surface and usually cause damage. Better to plan when everything is okay.

05:00 Expectations What are reasonable expectations of an attorney?

07:38 Attorney as Guide Set the stage for success by talking with your attorney before there is a problem. They attorney can guide you through the process of succession planning.

08:12 Ethics Kwame discusses ethical issues attorneys must address. This includes knowing when to withdraw due to lack of agreement between the owner and (future) survivors or between the eventual survivors themselves.

10:43 Agreement vs Disputes The law works best when used to create agreements before hand rather than as a means to resolve disputes after the owner(s) death.

11:50 Game of Thrones Kwame relates the “Game of Thrones” metaphor one of his associates uses to describe how few family-owned businesses make it to the third generation.

13:43 Plan From Beginning Succession planning works best when started at the beginning of a business. This includes:

  • putting an operation agreement in place
  • having a buy-sell agreement.

15:15 Owner’s Self-examination The difficulties associated with the owner(s) looking at their own death is discussed with regards to business succession planning and estate planning.

17:00 Peace-of-Mind There are benefits associated with planning when all is going well, the two greatest being clarity and peace-of-mind.

18:40 Costly Mistakes Unresolved issues with regards to planing for the future can lead to costly mistakes in the business today.

19:49 Arrogance and Fear Kwame discusses the toxic impact of arrogance and fear. Gary discusses some change management issues that arise in such situations – usually a sense of invincibility on the owner’s part. During family/business meetings a blanket denial of the “elephant(s) in the room” can occur making the attorney’s job that much more difficult and the number of wasted billable hours increases.

26:55 Negotiations Kwame discusses the need to negotiate and suggest going to his podcast (Negotiation For Entrepreneurs) at one of his websites, the American Negotiation Institute.

28:24 Humanity and Law The discussion shifts to humor and it reflects the challenge associated with keeping the humanity of the situation included in the legal transactions in order to avoid getting lost in the law. Kwame discusses how the law is meant to keep people within certain boundaries. The key is combining the two (humanity and law) to get to a negotiated deal that meets the participants needs.

29:46 ”Truth” Systems At least three different frame-of-mind are running through the situation:

  • operational “truth” – the way the family-owned business runs
  • emotional  “truth” – the frame-of-mind and emotional state each individual has in terms of how they perceive the situation and respond/react to that situation
  • legal “truth” – the possibilities, options, and limits present under the law

Successful negotiations are achieved when, for everyone involved, there is alignment between the three different systems.

32:30 Earlier the Better (continued) The more work done ahead of time to resolve the emotional issues the better the legal part of the work will go. Also, this will help keep costs down. Two examples are provided regarding the breakup of two partnerships – one being amicable and the other adversarial. The cost differences in terms of client base, time, money, and residual feelings where huge.

37:16 Who Does the Attorney Represent? The question, “Who does the attorney represent?” is addressed. Representing one member of the group is much different than representing the entire group. If not careful, a circus-like atmosphere that is ridiculously expensive can be created. Ethical considerations for the attorney based on who is being represented are discussed. Essentially, and “us” frame-of-mind works much better than a “we-they” approach.

41:55 American Negotiation Institute Kwame started the American Negotiation Institute to help families and partners address the above-mentioned issues in order to achieve greater satisfaction and avoid wasting time and money not only in terms of succession and estate planning but also for day-to-day negotiations. An example is provided.

48:22 Stakeholders Kwame emphasizes the importance of considering all stakeholders when negotiating. This includes immediate family members who are not part of the negotiations but are effected by them.

49:34 Creativity and Negotiations Creativity is shown to be critical for good negotiations which includes working to understand the needs of the other sides.

50:05 Pay Me Now or Pay Me Latter The values associated with working with American Negotiation Institute when life is going well and working on issues that are present, not currently having a big impact, but can mushroom if left to linger as time goes by.

50:46 Negotiations Coaching Coaching services can be provided nationally, working either in person or via virtual sessions.

52:38 Key Professionals Needed The importance of a team of key professionals is stressed. For example, in addition to the attorney a trusted accountant and a financial advisor will help those negotiating see the consequences of their agendas and decisions being made.

Well, that concludes another podcast in the Power of Humility series.

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0037 Thrive and Connect: Humility – An Overview

Our co-host, Jennifer, listened to the three prior podcasts on humility and today she shares with Gary her view on the topics:humility

In thinking about the differences between humility and humiliation real-life experiences bubbled to the surface for Jennifer. For example, her job of 11 years where her boss had a very different management style than Jennifer. Her success in that job had a large part to do with Jennifer deflecting her boss’s micro-management style by practicing humility both with her boss and her direct reports. She kept the turnover rate on her team very low.

Jennifer then gives an example from her personal life – dealing with her ex-husband. This is contrasted with having a relationship with someone who also believes in humility. It engenders trust and improves the relationship. Which led her to the podcast on humility and abundance. No need to be perfect, just willing to make room for each other and work on the relationship.

Moving on to humility and freedom Jennifer was reminded of when early in her career she felt she had to prove herself, have no flaws, and “do it all!” without accepting help. She relates a story of regret with regards to a time someone offered her help and Jennifer initially refused, to which the woman making the offer replied, “If you never ask for help no one will ever know you are human.” Accepting that help made a great difference in Jennifer’s management style, which helped later in life with the micromanaging boss.

Jennifer and Gary discuss the impact of Jungian Type on the perceptions of humility vs humiliation.

The discussion moves to the relationship between “being right” and humility/humiliation.

Why is humility difficult to practice? The relationship between humility and karma is discussed.

The final topic is the importance of humility in promoting a sense of togetherness in a relationship.

Well, that concludes another podcast in the Power of Humility series.

Your feedback is important. Choose from the following options:

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0036 Thrive and Connect: Humility and Freedom

Today’s topic, humility and freedom, is a continuation of the power of humility series.humility

Recall the definition of humility is choosing to go to a small place, representing an awareness of what one can and can’t do. One side-effect (or benefit) of humility is experiencing freedom.

To get an idea of what freedom is let’s start with defining what it isn’t. Lack of freedom is being trapped and at the core of being trapped is suffering. In turn, suffering is based on being attached to something or someone.

An example of attachment is given: hitting my thumb with a hammer. There are two distinct components to this situation: the actual pain felt and how I decided to deal with that pain. Suffering is getting hung up on the pain, e.g., feeling sorry for myself, feeling I can take it out on others, etc.

A distinction is made with regards to the value of the physical pain, i.e., getting me to pay attention to thumb to avoid hurting it further and to allow it to heal.

At the core, freedom is being present with what is occurring and letting go of suffering.

Decision points deciding to be free or suffer occur throughout the day and I do have the power to choose to suffer, e.g., pushing my child to get an A on a test, that woman will love me, boss will give a raise, etc. Or, I can choose to simply be present with what is, immerse myself in the experience and be present. Choosing the latter approach frees me to see what is available in the moment. In other words, see options.

Choosing to attach to an experience and become reactive creates tunnel vision and options fly out the window.

Presence includes being with the specific activity or person in front of me while also being aware of the environment and what is going on in the periphery.

One example of enjoying the freedom that comes with humility and being present is sitting in the sunroom in the morning with Jeny, enjoying her presence but also being aware of the squirrel outside trying to steal seed from the bird feeder, the cats vying for position on our laps, etc.

Freedom can also be present with uncomfortable tasks. The letting go of the difficulties and/or uncomfortable feelings opens up the opportunity to see and pursue options.

Astronauts formally train to do this letting go activity by going through an risk management exercise called, “The next thing that can kill me is _______ .” This helps them learn how to respond to a situation rather than react and lose site of options.

How do I get to a reactive state? By having expectations. With expectations there is a desire to control someone or something beyond my humility boundary. Attention disappears and there is just a pushing of my agenda, e.g., pushing my child to get an A or badgering my spouse or partner to be a certain way.

Expectations lead to throwing away freedom. Suffering results.

This is an age-old problem. The Roman philosopher Epictetus (c. 50 AD) stated, “There is pain and there is torture. Pain is when we now the source of our discomfort. Torture is when we don’t.” Suffering creates torture and the associated blindness. When in pain I can see the options available and decide what to do. This is exercising freedom. This also applies to when feeling well.

Expectations lead to an unrealistic sense of control, a cause-and-effect relationship between me and the person or situation I want to satisfy me expectation.

The listener is challenged to look for situations where they abandon their freedom or decide to remain humble and embrace the freedom.

Now, there is a paradox with regards to humility and ambition.  It is fine to have goals and make certain sacrifices. However, it is important to watch out for the risk of turning oneself over to the desired goal and losing oneself, only having meaning based on becoming the goal. An example is Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.

In order to pursue ambition in a humble manner the key is forming a team with like-minded people. Doing this with a sense of abundance where the tasks and rewards are shared with others not only helps preserve freedom it creates an opportunity for abundance where what is achieved is greater than the capabilities of any one person.

This sets the stage for joy to surface!

It is difficult to maintain humility in situations such as divorce, especially when one doesn’t want it to occur.  The power to hold the marriage together is gone. Embracing this reality is essential to maintain freedom through humility. The other person is on the other side of the humility boundary.

The courage to grieve and embrace the sadness is essential in order to be free and have options.

This gets to a willingness to accept the unfairness of life in order to be free. There’s a power in embracing being in a small place.

Remember, freedom exists inside humility. By linking with others through giving up some independence interdependence develops and, again, more can be achieved. It is expansive, both in terms of being with what is immediately present as well as awareness of the environment and what is on the periphery. It’s quite a paradox!

Freedom in the presence of failure is extremely important. Character is built based on decisions made and actions taken when in a failed state. Attachment to the failure dissolves humility and a blindness to options and possibilities sets in. Freedom disappears.

Well, that concludes another podcast in the Power of Humility series.

Your feedback is important. Choose from the following options:

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0035 Thrive and Connect: Humility and Abundance

Hi, and welcome to another episode of Thrive and Connect, the second in a series of podcasts dealing with the power of humility. Today I’ll talk about how the practice of humility can lead to abundance.humility

  I am your host, Gary Monti, publisher of Aurelius Press, providing the only Jungian Type assessments, the Majors PT Elements and PT Inventory, that not only provide both whole Type, those 4 letters such as ESTP, but also real-time measure of the 8 Jungian mental processes, introverted Thinking, extroverted Sensing, etc., providing information on both how one tends to think based on the neural pathways established at birth but also adaptations that have been made while moving through life. For more information go to aureliuspress.com.

Let’s get back to our topic Humility and Abundance.

You might recall the last episode differentiated humility from humiliation and the results may not have been that exciting. After all, it might not sound very cheerful when even in health it’s all about going to a small place.

So what to do? This is where humility opens the door to something very powerful — abundance.

Personally, learning this lesson was a big surprise to me.

Without going into details I can say I spent a large part of my life in the confusion between humility and humiliation. The short version is I tried to make humiliation work. That created a rather painful, frustrating trap of feeling stuck in a small place with no way to get out since it was someone else’s fault I was in there and my only way out was by trying to please the other person who was rummaging around inside my head. Not a happy way to live!

In turn, I tried to compensate for this insanity by trying to please that voice inside my head believing I should be able to do everything by myself – I should be a Superman!

Well, if ever there was a death trap, that was it. No matter what was achieved it wasn’t enough. Humiliation is a black hole with an infinite appetite.

Eventually I burned out trying to fill it and started looking for something else. This something else ended up being humility, which, surprisingly, led to my discovery of abundance. Abundance makes it fine being in a small place. Abundance does this by facilitating connection.

Let me explain with a personal story — something that happened recently. I tried planning what appeared to be a rather ordinary social event. The secret reality was that while the event may appear ordinary on the surface it had importance to me. In fact it had mythic significance. Again, it was just meant to be a pleasant time, or so it seemed.

I was taken by surprise when one of the invitees said they were already planning an event around that time, it was something they did every year, the date was important, etc., etc., etc. They ended up inviting the same people that I was planning to invite. (I’ll come back to this other person later in the podcast.)

I chose to let go of my plans. This ended up being a triggering event that brought up the humiliation. Ironically, the getting past humiliations of the past was the mythic component of the event I was planning. Finally, I was free! Or so I thought. Can you believe it!

But then I thought, “Wait a minute! This is a chance to continue working with humility and getting beyond humiliation.” And that is what I did.

The work consisted of staying with the process of letting go of the reactivity humiliation creates and staying out of the personal hell created by holding on to urges to do whatever (you can fill in that blank with some of the urges you might have had in the past to set people straight, get even, etc.)

By the way, the work to free myself was done through Dharma practice (I’m a secular Buddhist) and I was able to go to the other party and actually have a good time.

But wait, there’s more! Something amazing happened at the party.

As frequently occurs at good parties, subgroups develop and I joined one. While we were sitting there talking and having a good time I asked about the cooking that others like. Several mentioned food that I had made in the past. This created an opportunity to ask, “Then what would you have for a nice meal?”

I took advantage of the situation to see if a meal could be built around the foods that I make. This led to asking, “How about Jeny and I put on a dinner party?” Everyone agreed and now we’re moving forward with the planning. The party may or may not occur. The point is, it supported me in staying with just being and connecting with myself and others.

A quiet sense of joy emerged. Behaving this way helped keep me out of the prison that hanging on to reactivity creates. Belief in abundance and committing to doing the associated work, i.e., having the dinner party, created the space within which I could experience the connection I was looking for in celebrating my release from humiliation. And if this dinner party doesn’t happen then I am free to plan something else! The abundance associated with relationships is still there because I am making the effort to care. The energy would just be moved to the work of that other event should this dinner party fall through.

In all of this it’s important to avoid sounding Pollyanna-ish. This work of abundance doesn’t come easily. Every brick on the path leading towards the creation of abundance is built from a reaction surfacing along with the urge to attach to it and then pulling energy away from that reactivity so I can let go and be free. It repeats over-and-over until the reactivity dissolves.

In Buddhism there’s a term for doing this work of sharing without expecting something in return in order to create abundance. It’s called loving-kindness. Doing the work of loving-kindness dissolves the prison created by reactive emotions.

In this case, offering to do the work of loving-kindness through a simple dinner becomes a statement to myself and to those around me that there is a way to get beyond the anger, frustration, and sense of woundedness associated with humiliation, perceived or otherwise. It can be an example for others which creates an interesting paradox. While working to take care of myself an opportunity for connecting with others is created. Pretty cool!

I want to switch back now to the individual who schedule the other party. You may have noticed during this podcast that I used the phrase, “Perceived or otherwise.” There’s a reason for doing that. When in the grip of humiliation it’s easy to perceive others with suspicion and believe they have dark motives. While these feelings may be intense they also may be inaccurate.

My feelings of humiliation actually are the reaction I choose to have in response to an action another person takes. This actually is separate from the individual’s intentions. That person may very well be intending to humiliate me or they may be doing what they honestly think is best free of intention to create harm.

This bears repeating. There are two important points here:

1. I need to take ownership of any reaction I have to someone’s behavior, and;

2. Space needs to be left to find out what the other person’s story is in order to treat them with the appropriate respect rather than trying to dump my reactive emotions on them.

Respect here simply means treating the individual appropriate for their behaviors. If I find out the person’s a jerk maybe I need to back up for a while or take action to protect myself. If the other person’s intentions are benign and I genuinely feel a sense of harm then we need to talk about making some changes. Finally, if their intentions and actions are benign then I’m back to dealing with my own reactions.

Well that’s probably more than enough for now. I hope you got something from today and can pass it on! I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

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