Here’s what we explored:

  • self-awareness is a superpower. It is often enough, simply to notice what’s going on in your mind.
  • does it have to take as long to calm down as it did to get wound up? Is that just more thought in the system getting in the way?
  • Juliet wonders whether it is as simple as letting our minds settle.
  • Carla shares her experience of sometimes just dropping out of a revved-up mind
  • and also her experience of TRYING to drop out of a busy mind and not succeeding
  • if you’re thinking is stressful, more stressful thinking won’t get you out of feeling stressed
  • what we may not realise is when no longer experience stress, it is simply because we are in a different state of mind, not that the externals have necessarily changed
  • when we make eg being distracted a problem, we tend to get more of what we see as a problem, in this case, being more distracted
  • the metaphor of a car engine in neutral when you’re revving the engine by putting your foot on the gas pedal: the solution is to take your foot off the gas
  • our judgment that we are having the wrong experience is what keeps it in place
  • as we get more interested in the wonder of everyday things, something happens, that it becomes more available to us to leave our thinking alone
  • excessive gentleness and being okay with not being okay are helpful
  • using what you understand about spirituality to beat yourself with or to anesthetize yourself is not helpful
  • you’re not going to find peace of mind using ‘I’m wrong’ thinking
  • whatever your flavour of thinking: that’s the experience you’ll get
  • if I feel irritated trying to tackle what is irritating me is not going to help because that’s not where the irritation is coming from
  • we over-identify with our thoughts and believe they are us
  • we can’t necessarily stop our thoughts or change them but we don’t have to over-identify with them
  • we live in our thinking: if it’s revved up; we’ll experience being revved up
  • we know that something we’re very wound up about today we likely won’t even remember in a day, a month, a year
  • not identifying with our thoughts – how do we do that?
  • a deeper part of us gets touched, we wake up to something bigger than us, to a deeper wisdom at play
  • for some that is Nature, God, or simply the wonder of a newborn, a young animal
  • contemplating and wondering about that something bigger seems to lessen that over-identification with our personal thought system
  • that connection is available any time: washing the dishes, sitting at the computer, or in a high rise apartment
  • Juliet shares her experience of watching ‘My Octopus Teacher’ – the redemption of one man who immersed himself in understanding an octopus living in a kelp forest off the Western Cape of South Africa
  • Juliet was struck by the power of immersive, gentle curiosity. What would happen if we bring that to the things we care about?
  • your loved ones, your work, your pets, this deeper wisdom, social justice, saving species in your neighbourhood
  • Carla recognises the point when she became present to the conversation and acknowledged Juliet being present
  • Carla shares her difficulty with someone she cares for who has different political views to her and she recognises that she feels so much anger
  • she is not going to say anything until she can feel soft and compassionate
  • underneath the anger she senses she is afraid – there is no sense of curiosity or compassion or honouring who he is when she is gripped by this anger/fear
  • without curiosity we cannot focus on who someone else is at their core
  • distracted by anger and judgment, we can’t ask, what is going on for that person?
  • what are my blinders around this?
  • shadow puppets – your thinking is playing out with your thinking about his thinking
  • so neither persons’ deeper wisdom is experienced
  • we can tend to reject or annihilate what feels alien (like the octopus) but through eg the film-maker’s story we get invited to enter the world of the octopus as a beautiful other experience
  • when we are looking for the point or purpose of something we miss all the richness of its just being
  • when we go into wonder at how a creature exists, we can discover something beautiful
  • we get distracted by our labels e.g what this is, who this is, what this means
  • go out and look at a tree but drop the label ‘tree’ because labels give us a very limited view
  • you see how someone can reject a whole group of people but then get to know an individual and have a totally different experience from the one filed under that group label
  • Carla sees she is labeling her friend and not seeing him for who she knows him to be
  • our labels distract us from the full experience of self and other
  • labels feel safe (because they give you all the answers) but they cut us off from so much
  • fundamentalism, in any form, is a very narrow view of life and people, a teeny, tiny box, it distracts from humanity, from God, from mystery, from the Lifeforce
  • it distracts us from bringing our curiosity fully online
  • everyone wants the same things: peace of mind, love, and understanding, to take care of their families
  • how we think we get that looks different for each of us
  • human beings are all looking for connection.
  • when there’s conflict, we’re struggling with difficult thinking about a person not a difficult person
  • our natural state is one of curiosity
  • just knowing that at any moment you could have a different perspective about anyone or anything is very hopeful and can help us wait or hold back until we get fresh thought
  • getting curious about what’s beyond the edges of what is known
  • when we’re distracted we’re often just re-hashing old, stale, thoughts
  • focus feels lighter and more open
  • as we realise deeper and deeper that we are always at the effect of what looks true to us in any given moment, we get more and more curious about what could happen as more and more of us have a change of heart

Quotes and References

  • Mooji – search on YouTube
  • My Octopus Teacher – Netflix documentary
  • “As the uneasiness and reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures the vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo…you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but also in conversations with those he cares nothing about, on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say…’I now see that I spent most my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
  • Maya Angelou – Caged Bird poem

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Carla is a mindset & performance coach working with high achieving, high-performance entrepreneurs who are dealing quietly with anxiety.

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