Yielding

Take your attention to a quandary or fear that you’ve had for a long while - the shrivelling ozone layer, the rising cost of imported wine, dying alone in a puddle of urine, choose whatever you like.  

Now that you’ve identified your fear ask if it’s the sort of problem you can do something about.  If it is, take action. For instance if you shudder at the thought of exiting life in a puddle of pee you could dissolve that fear by donning those special underpants advertised on the telly (you’re welcome). On the other hand, if your long standing plight is unchangeable you might prefer to practise surrender. 

Mystics have championed the value of yielding to our fears for a mighty long time and western psychologists are beginning to agree that trying to control our thoughts is often futile.  They recognise that our suffering is often fuelled by the way we think about our experiences, rather than by the events themselves.  Arguing with reality and resisting what we can’t control creates emotional mayhem. 

Let’s look at an example. Periodically my mind tells me that I should be uneasy about ageing. I dwell on the fact that my bottom cheeks seem to be in a race to reach the back of my knees. And rather than finding this downright amusing I peer at my behind, ill at ease and fretful. Now if I were to compassionately view my melting bottom from a distance, all zen and detached, I might observe the slide with curiosity and awe, kind of like seeing a sunset.  Or even better, I could even get totally jazzed about it and say, “This could be bloody fantastic? At this rate my butt might slide down low enough to double as leg warmers!” And I could clip table cloth weights to my derriere to hurry the process along.  

Do you get what I mean? Impotently fuming at what is, is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.  

With respect and love,

Tiffani

Entrainment

In 1966 Dutch clock maker, Christiaan Huygens, noticed that two pendulums mounted on a board always end up oscillating at the same speed.  He named this ‘entrainment.’ This nifty physics phenomenon can happen with other pendulations too, including brainwaves and heartbeats. 

In my pregnancy with Mo, I spent seven days at a silent meditation retreat.  One day we were charged with the task of sashaying through the bush, finding an untroubled area and plonking ourselves down for 90 minutes of mantra repetition. I lugged my fertile self through the wilderness and found a suitable post on a shelf of rock. It was a simulation of a scene from Bambi: delightful topography, flitting native birds and a paunchy wombat striding through the brush.  I settled my roly-poly self, got on with things and pretty soon I was souped up on euphoria and joy. 

Some time in to the meditation I got bored with ecstasy and rapture (I was most likely hungry or busting) and opened my eyes to marvel at the hinterland (and look for a kebab truck or port-a-loo). And standing before me was a plentiful medley of kangaroos, at least 30 of them, all congregating as close as possible to my rock, none of them moving a muscle.  They were positioned in front of me, peculiarly still. It was like that scene from Narnia when the evil witch decides it is best to turn all of the locals in to marble figurines. We meditated in unison until it was time for me to sprint back to the retreat hall and prevent my companions eating all of the afternoon tea. 

Entrainment is not just for religious sanctuaries and clocks. You and I can practise being placid and likeable in our workplace or at the supermarket. As we calm down others do too.

With respect and love,

Tiffani

Veto

I’ve noticed that learning to say ‘no’ is markedly therapeutic.  Clients that master the art of a polite decline appear born-again and repaired.  

There’s all sorts of reason we say ‘yes’ to things we don’t fancy:

  • Commonly we’re scared of the person’s reaction. We get stirred up and imagine them being frothy and crazed. Or worse, disappointed. 
  • Other times we might just enjoy being soothing and genuinely want to help.

Let’s pretend that your friend Bonnie is getting hitched and asks you to be her wedding planner.  She bounces on to your doorstep clutching a copy of Wedding Planning for Dummies (you try not to find that hurtful) and says, “I had an appointment with my psychic, Erratic Bronwyn last week and she said you’re meant to organise my entire wedding! Isn’t that, like, amazing?” (Bonnie is walking on air.)  

You however, have no interest in organising the nuptials.  You’ve been nervous about ceremonies of all kinds since your loopy Uncle Mike burped the Lord’s Prayer at your sister’s Holy Communion and offered to show you his vasectomy scar.  

This is the part of the blog where you begin to get excited because here’s what you need to say to Bonnie.  I’m feeling so benevolent that I’m providing multiple ideas; you’d think we are in some la-de-da restaurant with life coaching hints adorning the menu instead of rodent foam and smoked truffle marshmallow.

  • I call the first ‘no’, Not like thisIt is useful when the task is far too cumbersome but you’d still like to participate.  Here goes, Bonnie, I’m not comfortable to take on the planning of your entire wedding.  However I do have some smashing ideas for bomboniere and I’m happy to take charge of this for you. Last week on the interweb I found a site that makes personalised stubby holders. They have images of hunting dogs printed on the side and for a little extra they will photoshop your faces on to the dogs’ bodies. There’s activity-themed bomboniere too and I thought we could have a port-a-loo for folks that would like to join a phony Mile High Club during your reception. Amorous guests could jump inside and ‘do it’ while the rest of us stand outside and shake the loo to simulate air turbulence! The days of sugar coated almonds are truly over!
  • The second ‘no’ is called, Not now but then. It’s best for occasions when you’re willing to jump on board at a later date.  Bonnie, I’m nervous about ceremonies of all kinds since Uncle Mike showed me the stitches in his battered scrote at church but with a dollop of therapy I’m confident I can re-establish my composure. Are you able to wait?
  • The third option is a straight out, No, thank you. Try this, Bonnie I’m incredibly flattered by Erratic Bronwyn’s faith in me and by your confidence too. I’ve thought about it and I’ve decided to forgo the opportunity. I’m not sure that I can give the role the attention it deserves. 

With respect and love,

Tiffani

Dedicated to my friend, N and her feet.

Modelling

I’ve got horrid, unpleasant news: the people around us watch how we live and look to us as examples of how they should behave, especially children.  

  • If we yearn to get our kids off the computer and out on to the oval we need to dust off our Dunlop Volleys first.
  • When our offspring turn 18 and get their first set of wheels we have no right to say, “Stay off your mobile and don’t drink and drive” if we’ve been texting our friends and guzzling pina coladas from the mini bar installed in our glove box. Likewise, we can’t chant, “Keep to the road limit” if we have enough speeding tickets to wallpaper a room. 
  • In business, we look like a jerk if we insist that our team arrive on time while we mosey on in at all kinds of hours.

That’s such a bummer, isn’t it? It’d sure be nice to be able to swear like a trooper but raise children as pure as Benedictine nuns. 

With respect and love,

Tiffani

Book time

Sometimes life is achingly busy. We may have so many irons in the fire that it’s hard to be idle.  An affirmative way to remedy this is to schedule your rests in advance.  Yep, block out some time in your diary to be frivolous, slothful or creative.

In the last three days the Liberty team, and our kids, attended a seminar.  It was inspiring, refreshing and provoking.  It was also taxing. We sat for long periods while a gaggle of speakers stimulated us to approach life in newfangled ways. That’s all well and good in the brochure but now that my brain has to assimilate the ideas I feel dewy and faint.  

The only sensible option, as I see it, is to pause.  I’ll potter about and make organic moussaka to impress those near and dear, I’ll restock the larder and I might jot a few thank you cards. And after that I’ll do diddly squat.

Next week I’ve allocated some time to be as still as a goose egg too.

You?

With respect and love,

Tiffani

Communion

Oftentimes conflicts can be resolved with just a smidgeon of mutual empathy. We can breathe a sigh of relief when at least one of us is able to say, “Your feelings and needs matter to me just like my own.”

It’s magnificent when life is all utopian and whimsical, isn’t it?

Off you go, go out and look for someone else’s point of view.