Empathy is a Superpower

Being human can be hard. In this shared experience of being in separation, we will at some point, experience suffering. It may be physical pain, mental torment or emotional anguish. Suffering can feel inescapable and never-ending when we are in it. Humans have a deeply ingrained reaction to get as far away from pain as possible. We may try to tune out our pain or distract ourselves by turning to different addictions. We do this for physical pain and emotional pain alike. We don’t really distinguish between the two. It’s all to be avoided. Why? Because pain of any kind might mean death and that is the number one thing to avoid from the point of view of the human ego. Continue Reading →

Relaxation: the Science, the Art, the Practice

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘relaxation’? Does it conjure images of sun-bathing on a beach, pampering oneself at a spa getaway or treating oneself to a yoga retreat? For many of us, when we think of relaxation we think we need to go somewhere to “do it”. Western culture, with its roots in Puritanism, hasn’t given relaxation the proper understanding and value that other cultures have; cultures that understand that truly relaxing is an important key to maintaining good health and emotional harmony. Western culture has a tendency to view relaxing as an indulgent luxury that involves travel and spending money to achieve. I hear people say, “I can’t wait until my vacation next month when I can finally relax!” If we are constantly putting off relaxing until the right time, we are missing out on opportunities of relaxing right now and feeling immediate positive effects. Continue Reading →

The Courage To Be Vulnerable

It seems that every day there are new reports of sexual misconduct by people in positions of power. This has engendered many discussions about how power and control issues are behind these behaviors. While that may be true, we also need to look at what avoidance patterns are driving the need to exert power and control over another human being. Any time people seek feeling powerful there is a simultaneous avoidance of feeling powerless, but there are other factors at play as well. All humans crave connection and intimacy, but true intimacy with another human being requires vulnerability and being exposed to the possibility of being hurt is something that we will do almost anything to avoid, especially after we’ve experienced it first-hand.

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