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Men: Get More Confidence!
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I went to a local open mic comedy night here in Sydney on Wednesday night, to get up and do a four minute set.
There is plenty of angst on display by the comedians on the night for the audience's entertainment. The MC leads the charge with a series of acrostic poems clearly displaying his disdain and resentment towards his stepfather. I didn't even know what an acrostic poem was, so it turned out both enlightening and educational. He also does several bits in between other comedian's sets, about his experience of depression, and of ironic conversations with his therapist.
Several other comedians also speak about being depressed, taking antidepressants, seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors or therapists. Most of the stories sound funny, most of the time. But these people are clearly suffering.
I get a strong sense that a lot … Continue reading…
Understanding and dealing with Anger is difficult!
Watch this unscripted intimate unfolding between me and Authenticity and Conscious Relationship Expert Chiara Gizzi, and their experiences and insights with this difficult emotion:
I spent this afternoon playing drums with my new musician friends from kirtan, for two different local groups of disabled people. I have never actually played with this group before, so I'm not sure what to expect. Although I've been playing drum kit for a while and used to play tamborim in a samba band, I've never played the drums I'm playing today before either (a cajón and a dunun), for more than a few minutes. So really all I can do is wing it on stage in front of our captive audience.
The first gig is for a group of adolescents with Down syndrome. Despite my lack of practice, experience or rehearsal, they love it. If there's one thing to be said for people with Down Syndrome, they sure know how to let loose and have a good time. Before long they … Continue reading…
I'm not going to lie to you: making mistakes still freaks me out. There's something about getting things wrong that causes me to break out into a cold sweat. Even if I'm at home playing music by myself, just the thought "What if I get it wrong?" induces enough panic to throw my concentration out, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It's easy enough to see where this paranoia comes from. I grew up with a mother who criticised my father for almost everything that he said and did, and this led to arguments that I found very frightening. Most of those arguments were about who was right and who was wrong in the previous argument, so I learned from a very young age that it was extremely important to be right all the time if you wanted to avoid degrading humiliation … Continue reading…
I was at a rebirthing/breathwork workshop on the weekend, and we did an exercise called Primal Law. Our Primal Law is our most negative belief about ourself. I started out with the usual list of negative thoughts about myself that I've come up with in workshops a million times before:
- I'm not good enough
- I'm bad
- I'm wrong
- I have nothing to offer
- I will fail
But the one that really resonated with me was something somebody else came up with:
- I'm not safe
Well, no wonder I feel so anxious with a Primal Law like that. The next step was to convert the Primal Law into an Eternal Law that represents the truth of our existence; even though it seems like a lie at first, given what we've been telling ourselves for so long.
I grew up in an environment where everybody kept their feelings to themselves. I was a sensitive kid with very strong emotions that I didn't know how to express constructively. The people around me didn't seem to have emotions, because they never talked about them. Over time I developed a deep sense of shame about my feelings, and learned to suppress, suppress, suppress.
At the same time, strong feelings of emotional abandonment as a child led me to become terrified of rejection. I didn't know at the time that feelings are what build empathy and connection between people, and that the emotion-less communication strategies I had learned from the adult role models around me made the very thing I was most afraid of, rejection, more likely to happen to me.
As a young adult, I had panic attacks when … Continue reading…
Spiritual Perfectionism: The tendency of some spiritual teachers, gurus, mentors and/or their followers to pretend that enlightened beings and/or those on the path to enlightenment, do not or should not ever experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt and shame.
I woke up in a bad mood this morning, and headed down to the beach to do some Qi Gong so that I could calm the fuck down. I decided to video it, to help you calm the fuck down too:
So you're sitting in a room by yourself at your computer/phone, searching the Internet for the umpteenth time to try and work out what the hell is wrong with you.
You have abandonment issues, obviously!
Here are thirteen other clues:
- You feel a deep inner sadness when the cute girl/guy sitting next to you on the bus gets off.
- You break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of rejection.
- Your heart aches when nobody retweets your last hilarious tweet.
- You ended all your past relationships, but somehow it still feels like they left you.
- You've had years of therapy, but you're still angry with your mother.
- You begin all your sentences with the word “you”, even though you really mean “I”.
- You meditate/pray with your eyes open, to make sure the other people are still
I used to get tremendously anxious about what other people thought of me. Hang on a second; used to? Who am I kidding? I'm still as neurotic as the next person. But I have been making some inroads into this particular phobia lately.
It helps is knowing where it comes from, and it's partly an evolutionary thing: we evolved in tribes where individuals specialised in what they were good at, because that gave the tribe an evolutionary advantage over individuals living every-Neanderthal-for-themselves. Our ancestors were interdependent, and that meant they needed to get along with each other. Since the cook couldn't hunt and the hunter couldn't cook, rejection by the tribe meant certain death; so we learned to worry about what other people think of us.
Or I could just blame my mother. She used to … Continue reading…