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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our struggles make us seek enlightenment from those around us and the stars above.  However, it is when we uncover the light within that we finally illuminate a path once enshrouded by our false sense of incompleteness ~ Dodinsky

One of the first things I share with Clients when we meet is that they are not alone.  That whatever their fears, hurts, bruises and sadnesses, there are others just like them who are feeling and experiencing many of the same issues.  As a human species, we have a need to belong.  Consider the work of Abraham Maslow who in 1943 wrote the article, "A Theory of Human Motivation", further expanded upon in his book: Toward a Psychology of BeingIn this article, Abraham Maslow attempted to formulate a needs-based framework of human motivation and it began with 4 (in order):

1. Physiological needs - Breathing, Thirst, Hunger, Sleep, Sex
2. Security needs - Physical Safety - freedom from attack
3. Social need - Interaction with People - belonging, affection, love

4. Psychological Safety Need - Self-esteem, reputation, status

He states that basic, low-level needs such as physiological requirements and safety must be satisfied before higher-level needs such as self-fulfillment are pursued. As depicted in this hierarchical diagram, sometimes called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or 'Maslow's Needs Triangle', when a need is satisfied it no longer motivates and the next higher need takes its place.  

Needs must be satisfied in order:

1 & 2 = Early survival theories;
3 & 4 = The social theories involving interaction with others followed by cognitive needs and aesthetic need added later as requirements to achieve self actualization;
5 = The need for self fulfillment and self actualization.  Maslow has used a variety of terms to refer to this level:  He has called it growth motivation (in contrast to deficit motivation).  In the growth stage, we are open and filled with curiosity.  These are needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis.  Once they are activated, they continue to be felt.  In fact, they are likely to become stronger as we “feed” them!  They involve the continuous desire to fulfill potentials, to “be all that you can be.”  They are a matter of becoming the most complete, the fullest, “you” -- hence the term, self-actualization.
Now, in keeping with his theory up to this point, if you want to be truly self-actualizing, you need to have your lower needs taken care of, at least to a considerable extent.  This makes sense:  If you are hungry, you are look for food;  If you are unsafe, you have to be vigilent and on guard;  If you are isolated and feel unloved, you have to satisfy that need - find others;  If you have a low sense of self-esteem, you have to be defensive or compensate.  When lower needs are unmet, you can’t easily move forward to fulfil your potentials.

So, in my work with clients, some are not able to meet their basic needs. Others are able to do that but are unable to get to the next level as their self esteem is fractured.  They feel unworthy, not good enough, and find it difficult to connect with others.  Their need to belong is strong yet their fear of judgement keeps them from connecting on deep levels with others.

There is plenty of documentation to show that the fears we have for personal safety are not longer what our ancestors dealt with - the threat of being hurt of killed.  Early settlers were always alert to the danger of the elements, of attacks by wild animals and by wild humans.  The flight or fight drive within us was for the purpose of keeping us physically safe.  Our fears today, unless you live in a dangerous neighbourhood, are to protect our emotional safety.  We stress-out when we think we will be attacked.

Social anxiety, sometimes called "crippling shyness", is a prevalent issue with our children, teens and adults.  Just over 2 million Canadians aged 15 or older reported a "lifetime history" of social anxiety disorder, meaning that they had symptoms at some point in their lives. This represents about 8% of the population.

In 2002 alone, about 750,000 Canadians aged 15 or older, or about 3% of the population, reported that they had had symptoms of the disorder in the past year. These individuals had a higher risk of having major depressive disorder, panic disorder and dependency on illicit drugs and alcohol than did people in the general population (data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in 2002).
How to you find belonging when you are so afraid of being ridiculed, rejected and embarrassed?
Seek help..take a chance.  There are options that involve reaching your Doctor or a Counsellor.  Reach out to a close friend or to family.  They may not know you need them to support you.  Find a Hypnotyherapist.  As a Hypnotherapist, I help clients find the root of their loneliness, their fear and shyness.  We work together to reframe those past events that hurt them and change their perception about what happened, giving them back control.  It's about helping them heal their own sense of self, their ability to trust themselves and then others. 

If you are able to push back your boundaries, join an interest group (but start with a small one).  Join a supporty group like that offers forums and information.  It is internet based and doesn't require physical interaction.  If you're ready to meet others face to face, there is the Vancouver Social Anxiety Meetup Group or Extremely Shy-Looking for Friends which you can find on

Know that there is help out there and that you are not alone, even if you think you are.  Discover yourself and learn that even in the dark times there is invaluable learning. 

For more inspiring quotes:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

As a teenager, I was part of a group of singers and dancers in my small town that performed around town at everything from Summer Fest to inauguration cermonies for the Elk's Club.  I enjoyed the opportunity to sing and impart our creativity to the local yocals. 
The most memorable performance, which I've never forgotten, was singing to the live-ins at a Senior's Centre.  Our Director decided that I was to sing "Always" written by Irving Berlin in 1925.  It was a popular WW2 song.
Little did I know how much it would affect the audience.  Nor did I realize the lasting impression it would have on me.  As I sang along and reached the chorus, a few voices raised to join mine.  These were the voices of the Pensioner's who remembered what it was like during the war and it touched them that a 15 year old could revive their memories and hearts.  I can say that it was a struggle to finish as I saw tears slide down a few wrinkled faces.  Afterwards, we all had tea and cookies and I sat talking to so many of these wise and wonderful people.  They had so much to say, so much knowledge to impart.  For an afternoon, they didn't feel pushed to the back of bus as un-needed, no longer productive.  I learned something so beautiful that day.  That their memories are our foundation.  That there is so much that they can offer if we just ask and take the time to listen.
I found this piece below and it brought it all back for me.  Our Elders are not disposable. They have what we have not yet attained.  Experience, knowledge and wisdom only acquired through many, many years of navigating this thing we call life.  As a society of nuclear families, we've lost the stories of our heritage, our ancestors, passed along orally.  No longer do we have Grandparent's who live with us or nearby to offer us the gift of love only they can give.  I wish I knew then what I know lucky I was to have Grandparents living with my parents for my first 11 years.  And I DO have stories that I cherish today.  I wish that I'd listened longer, asked more often to hear about their lives, and committed those treasures to heart.
So listen and learn from the lessons below.  90 years from now they will still be as valuable and recognizable as they are today. 

45 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old  

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. Forgive but don’t forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

100 Tips About Life, People and Happiness

Tonight my 18 year old Son introduced me to a site called  And I was impressed with what he'd been looking at and reading.  One particular piece of information provided on the site by was so arrow straight when thinking about how to make a happy life.  Simple yet so thought provoking - a hodge podge of ideas to turn you onto living a live more authentically. 

So I had to share.....

100 Tips About Life, People, and Happiness

1. True wisdom and insight is always free.

2. Give your power over to no one.

3. Going into the unknown is how you expand what is known.

4. Get a library card.

5. Spend more time around people that both challenge and respect you.

6. Remain skeptical forever.

7. Fight for what matters.

8. There is a method that works. Find it.

9. Join a movement.

10. Drink your coffee black.

11. Never let anyone photoshop a picture of you. It creates a false sense of self-confidence.

12. Read more. Especially things you disagree with.

13. Get used to feeling stupid. It’s a sign of growth.

14. It’s easy for people to talk a good game, so watch how they behave instead.

15. Learn something from everyone.

16. Find things that inspire you and pursue them, even if there’s no money in it.

17. Starve if you have to, for as long as you need to.

18. Survive on a little just to prove you can do it.

19. Get one big success at an early age. It’ll help build your confidence for bigger things.

20. Do what you say you’ll do. No one is reliable anymore.

21. Be comfortable with abandonment, even of parts of your identity.

22. Learn a new language.

23. Eat more protein.

24. Keep people around you that will tell you the truth.

25. Genius gets you nowhere. Execution is everything.

26. If given the choice of equity or cash, always take cash.

27. Meet new people as often as possible. Offer to help them.

28. Don’t discriminate. Connect anyone in your network to anyone else.

29. If you can’t do a pull-up, you have a problem.

30. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

31. Get a passport. Fill it up with stamps no one has ever seen.

33. Read biographies. It’s like having access to the best mentors in history.

34. Go to bed, and wake up, early. No one will bother you, letting your best work emerge.

35. Scare yourself a little bit every day. It will expand your inner map.

36. Learn to climb trees.

37. Don’t buy a lot of stuff, and only buy the stuff you really love.

38. Be humble and curious.

39. Twitter followers don’t keep you warm at night.

40. Be as useful as you can in as many circumstances as possible.

41. Show up.

42. Repeat people’s names when you meet them.

43. Turn internet access off your phone. Wifi is fine.

44. Get a deck of Oblique Strategies cards. Use them.

45. Make your home a place where you feel safe.

46. Take people up on bets. Make more bets yourself.

47. Take cold showers. They’re better than coffee.

48. Learn to enjoy hunger.

49. Make everything either shorter, or longer, than it needs to be.

50. Always remember those who helped you. Deliver two or three times as much value back.

51. But also, help people who have never helped you, and can’t.

52. When you know that pain is temporary, it affects all of your decisions.

53. Get a tattoo. Don’t worry about regret.

54. Commit to things, regularly, that are far beyond your ability.

55. Meet with friends more often than you think you have to.

56. Learn to meditate. Go on a retreat if you have to.

57. Your stories are both more and less interesting than you think.

58. Learn to really listen.

59. Walk more.

60. Ugly is just a step on the way to beautiful.

61. Get to know your neighbours.

62. Don’t take anything personally, ever.

63. Consider avoiding school. Go to lots of conferences instead.

64. As soon as you can, buy some art.

65. Apologize more than you need to.

66. Find out if there will be food there.

67. A good haircut changes everything.

68. Read Man’s Search For Meaning.

69. Say no to projects you don’t care about.

70. Do things that are uncool. Later on, they usually end up becoming cool anyway.

71. Find your voice.

72. Have some manners.

73. Learn to play chess, go, and bridge. They’ll keep you from going senile.

74. Learn about the Tetrapharmakos.

75. Find ways to cheat the system– just don’t cheat people.

76. Be like Jesus, not like his followers. (This applies to all of them.)

77. At least once, date someone that’s out of your league.

78. Examine your jealousy. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.

79. Good connections are about people, not social networks.

80. Address small problems. They will become big problems.

81. Dress like a cooler version of yourself.

82. Yes, there is such a thing as bad press.

83. Add “adventurer” to your Twitter bio. Then, become one.

84. If the internet is the best thing in your life, you have a serious problem.

86. Find mentors. Just don’t call them that.

87. Actually write on your blog. Nobody cares if it’s hard.

88. Download Freedom. Use it for an hour every day.

89. Join a gym. Lift the heaviest you can. (This applies to girls too.)

90. Do some freewriting. It helps you think things through.

91. When you’re having supper with rich people, pick up the cheque.

92. Learn how to speak in public.

93. If you see someone who needs help, stop asking yourself if they need help. Instead, just help.

94. Bring a bottle of wine.

95. The best conversations are had side by side, not one in front of the other.

96. Protect your hearing. Trust me.

97. Do what’s most important first thing in the morning, before you check email.

98. Everyone feels like they’re not good enough. It’s not just you.

99. Courage is a learned skill.

100. Go to Iceland. It’s worth it.