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Showing posts from September, 2015

Our Faces

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Having embraced our feet with appreciation in my last post, it occurred to me that faces, consistently exposed to review and evaluation, have their own challenges to bear. 
The first social connection is to the face of the caregiver, our ticket into the world of relationships. We presume, little egocentric beings that we are, that the expression on mommy’s face is a perfect reflection of who we are. Is mommy stressed, preoccupied, tired?  Are we welcome, important or an intruder, a bother?  No wonder we focus so much attention on facial appearance… Which one of the 200 possible expressions of the human face will bring people closer?  Which ones will repel people?  Are we aware of our expressions and how they’re affecting others?
Rather than emotions being the barometer of facial expression, in our culture, there is the perennial search for the perfect face, especially the nose. It’s as if nasal perfection trumps all of our insecurities.  The thought of a nose job gives me the willies!…

Our Feet

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Since I’ve been doing Reiki practice, I have much more appreciation for feet.  My now famous dog, Toby, looks in puzzlement as I try to negotiate slippery stairs and sidewalks on two feet.  He cocks his head wondering why in Heaven’s name I am a biped.  I can empathize with his puzzlement.  It seems to make so much more sense to be cornered, like a table or chair.  We would never think to sit on a two legged chair.
The obvious advantage of the biped is having hands that do things.  But that places a tremendous responsibility on our feet as our only points of contact with the Earth.  I find myself spending a lot of time on people’s feet when they are on my table.  Their feet seem really grateful for the acknowledgement.
Not only are we bipeds limited in our contact with the Earth, we then insulate our feet in strange shoe configurations.  I’m amazed observing my female students sporting their incredibly acrobatic boots and shoes.  I picture their feet wedged in at precarious angles an…

The Emperor's Clothes

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There is a famous parable about the Emperor’s New Clothes, I’ve copied the condensed version from Wikipedia:

 A vain Emperor cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers don’t see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues…

A Meaningful Life

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They say the best way to learn is to teach, so my recent teaching of the work of Dr. Martin Seligman, “The Father of Positive Psychology,” probably helped me more than it did my students.  Since my young students are at the stage Seligman referred to as a Pleasant Life the later possibilities are more my curriculum than theirs.
The Pleasant Life is a life of positive emotion and mindfulness.  We savor the delights that life has to offer and tend to move from one pleasure to the next, enjoying this world as we would a smorgasbord.  The down side of this is that we habituate, or get used to a particular pleasure and have to up the ante, move on to something else.
The next possibility is the Good Life where inner “flow” or expression replaces the pursuit of pleasure.  This is a huge shift because now we are defining life in terms of our signature strengths.  We are the music, rather than dancing to the music. 

The final possibility is the Meaningful Life in which we use our signature st…