Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Puzzle of Our Inner Landscape

Staying with feelings is like putting together a puzzle. At first we sit in front of a jumbled mess. But puzzle makers trust that if they contemplate the pieces, they will begin to see patterns and how pieces fit together. Do you remember the feeling of sitting in front of a puzzle and suddenly understanding how the triangle filled with yellow and white fits into the whole? Working with emotions is the same, except that as we observe ourselves, we will have to tolerate both the confusion and the intensity of our feelings. Building a puzzle is fun; feeling our anger, fear, or sadness—not much fun. But the rewards are great.

Don’t doubt your process. You will begin to understand the confusing emotions within you. Write about them, talk to a friend, or simply contemplate while sitting or walking. The puzzle will come together. Maybe not completely, and certainly not quickly, but mindfulness brings clarity. With practice we begin to uncover the different mixtures and intensities of our emotions. We begin to recognize the triggers that produce emotions. We begin to understand our unique inner landscape.
© lewis-barr all rights reserved.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Emotions and Information Overload

Feeling overwhelmed with information and choices?

You're not alone. There is an ever growing mountain of information to consume and a dazzling array of choices in our daily routine. Learning to detect our subtle emotional reactions can help us sift through the competing voices, statistics, and pitches clamoring for our attention. Our emotions can alert us to subtle clues that our conscious mind has overlooked. Then, if we feel trust or distrust, anger, or fear, we can act appropriately. In this age of overwhelm, emotions can play an important role, especially if we analyze our reactions and learn (through experience) when to trust our intuition and when it is fallible.

© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Friday, November 12, 2010

Joy-filled Lessons

Can you take a brief moment right now to do a quick exercise--recalling feelings of joy? (It will help your immune system and your productivity today--I promise.) Read the rest of this paragraph and then close your eyes if it helps you to remember. Imagine a joyful time in your life. Remember the people, place, or event. Recall how you felt inside and the details of the scene. Relish the memory.

In my EI workshops I often focus (in my zeal to help) on the challenging emotions—fear, anger, sadness. It's hard work to explore those feelings. But all emotions have a lesson. Joy reminds us of what we value and hold dear. When we focus on joy we remind ourselves of our priorities and desires. Joyful memories can also remind us of our strengths and talents. Are you sharing your unique aptitudes and gifts with the world (and your co-workers)?
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Are you Paying Attention to Nonverbals at work?

Just for today, watch the nonverbal behaviors around you. Are you heeding the messages being sent to you? Are you aware of them but choosing to ignore them? Or have you been unaware of the joy, frustrations, sadness, or anger in the next cubicle?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Path are You Creating?

Our habitual reactions create stronger and stronger neural pathways in our brain, like a path through a forest. With each new repetition of a thought or action, we reinforce our automatic perceptions and reactions. Feelings of anger, fear, anxiety—all our emotions-- can be reinforced through practice. Are you happy with the emotional and cognitive paths you are creating in your mind?

© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Monday, November 1, 2010

“The Tech-free Campsite" Rule for Meetings

When was the last time you were disconnected from technology? How did it feel? At your next meeting, try an experiment: have all participants turn off their phones and pretend they are in a gorgeous national forest or on an exotic cruise without phone reception. Can your group allow themselves to focus only on the meeting in progress? How does it feel to be tech-free?

Scientists are reporting that multi-tasking often interferes with our ability to perform well. While our tech habit may be hard to break (even for a short time period), the rewards may be significant: higher productivity, creativity and even better physical and psychological health.
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved