One of the gifts that Robin Williams had so plentifully was the ability to laugh at life’s tribulations. In the week since his death, many of us have seen clips of television interviews with Robin over the years in which he joked about addiction, depression, and even suicide. Being able to address such difficult topics with humor actually allows some taboo subjects to be brought into the public discourse. And it may also “normalize” individuals’ experiences that are usually pathologized, creating permission for others to discuss their own “dark secrets”.
Wellness Institute Blog
We all know someone that just does not seem to connect with the people in their life in a real way. They can carry on a conversation, hold a job, keep a marriage together, and raise their children. But there seems to be something basic missing. They seem to be acting the way they think they are supposed to, or the way others around them act – indeed, they seem to be acting. Let’s discuss two different types of such situations: those trapped separate from their “unlived lives”, and those who are “not yet born”.
What are shadow parts? How do I know if I have any, or how to recognize them?
Shadow parts are like the blind spots in our rear view mirror. One moment we look out of the mirror and it looks as if we have clear sailing, no cars in sight. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a car appears dangerously close to us! Where did that come from?
Similarly in our lives, we may be having a discussion with our partner, co-worker or friend and suddenly a shadow part is triggered, reacts to something said, and jumps out, seemingly without your permission or even awareness! The reaction might be sudden rage or jealousy, sadness or fear. Now we have a mess to clean up that was completely out of our control, like getting side-swiped by an unseen car trying to pass on the highway.
What does the word containment mean? How does it apply to me as a therapist or group leader? Or parent or spouse? What are the tools that I have available to provide containment for myself, my clients, and my family members?
Think of milk: it is essential to a baby’s development. Without milk, the baby’s bones would break and the growing child could not walk or participate in many of life’s opportunities. Without a proper container, the milk would just spill all over and the wonderful nutrients would be wasted. This is the same for our human energy. Energy is a powerful force which, when uncontained, spills all over everyone in the vicinity and can contaminate our personal interactions. Similarly, water is a very powerful force and when contained by a dam, provides electricity for the world to use productively, yet when uncontained can become a destructive tsunami or flood.
Five Principles of Existential Hypnotherapy
- Meaning in life is found in the living of each moment.
- Passionate commitment to a way of life, to one’s purpose and one’s relationships, is the highest form of expression of one’s humanity.
- All human beings have freedom of choice and the responsibility for our choices.
- Openness to experience allows for the greatest possible expansion of personal expression.
- In the ever-present face of death itself, we find the deepest commitment to life itself.
Meaning in life is found in the living of each moment.
Most people have experienced some of their most profoundly meaningful experiences in the most fleeting of moments. Consider the adage to “smell the roses along the path.” Being fully present in the experiencing of each moment also implies that the meaning and purpose to be found is in the engagement itself, not in some result that “I get out of it.”
Although visualization may have been regarded as "new age hype" by some, research has shown that there is a strong scientific basis for how and why visualization works. It is now a well-known fact that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action and when we actually perform that same action.
The Wellness Institute logo signifies a flock of geese flying in formation in front of a sun or full moon – each one is a significant source of lighting one’s way onward.
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. Each time a Wellness community member succeeds, it creates “uplift” for others to succeed as well. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of each other.
Studies show that the conscious mind, even though it is very important, is only about 10% of our minds. The conscious mind helps us to think, debate ideas, reason, and process short term memory experiences. All very important tasks.
The subconscious mind contains a full 90% of the mind! How so?
It contains long term memory, to help us “learn from our own history.” This demonstrates the profound saying that if we don’t learn from our history, we are likely to repeat it, making the same mistakes over and over again. So even though our conscious mind may completely understand our dysfunctional relationships or self-sabotaging patterns, it is not capable of making the necessary changes.
Does an unhappy childhood necessarily mean that you must suffer for the rest of your life? Some people such as Oprah Winfrey and others have taken their difficult beginnings and used them as stepping stones to success. Others seem to just continue to be pulled down by shame, fear and depression as their lives catapult into one disappointment after another. Many folks with abusive childhoods end up either in the criminal justice system, the mental health system, or the welfare line. What is the difference and how can I, as a therapist, change the unhealthy patterns into stepping stones to success for myself and my clients?
James Hollis, PhD, has written many books and his most recent (2013) is Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives. In it he considers how we are all governed by the presence of invisible forms—spirits, ghosts, ancestral and parental influences, inner voices, dreams, impulses, untold stories, complexes, synchronicities, and mysteries—which move through us, and through history. Actually, sometimes the ghosts are absences rather than presences.