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Posts Tagged ‘imaginary friends’

By Caron Goode

It was 1960. Jessica was nine years old and Rusty was ten. His family was Baptist and hers was Catholic. When his family moved into the neighborhood, Rusty became the youngest member of the thirteen boys in the neighborhood gang. One Saturday afternoon, the two girls of the neighborhood were walking home from the movie theater. Jessica said goodbye to her friend and headed home to help her mother.

Some of the neighborhood boys grabbed Jessica by the arms, held her, and threw a coarse rope around her neck. It happened so fast, she offered no resistance, and she pushed her hands between the rope and her neck to keep from choking.

The boys pulled her down the alley behind the houses. Jessica was tripping over her own feet, and fell several times, bruising her knees. She dared not cry for fear of what they would do to her. She couldn’t speak; she could barely breathe.

Finally they shoved her into her back yard. They pulled the rope taught until she turned red and tears streamed down her face. Mortified, embarrassed, hurt, and dying to run away, she wondered where her mother was. May be she was looking out a window and would come and rescue her any moment. Mom?  Her mother never came. Jessica knew the utter feeling of helplessness at the hands of these young bullies.

Finally they all ran away. Jessica lay on the grass and looked up at passing clouds until she could quit sobbing and breathe again and her trembling would stop. She felt a hand touch her hand. She looked over and Rusty was sitting cross-legged beside her. He was crying too.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t stop it. They are bigger than me, and so mean today. I want to be your friend, and I never want you to hurt again. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it……..” The rest of Rusty’s words were unintelligible through his tears.

Jessica squeezed his hand. She couldn’t say anything yet. And they understood each other. She forgave him, grateful for the offer of friendship.

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By Caron Goode
 
Feelings carry us beyond the known dimension of space and time into other worldly experiences. We experience spirit in the wholeness of the brain and body. Spirit, brain and body are inseparable.

Twenty men and women from the United States were in ritual ceremony around a campfire in the Nazca Desert of Peru. Their teacher, a shaman, chanted while the rest of us drummed in a rhythmic movement and entered altered states of consciousness. Deeply relaxed and with chills of energy flowing through my body, I stepped into the imaginary circle around the fire and became an eagle that flew overhead.

Anna was attending a religious service in observance of Christmas. She loved the music, and she sang with an open and passionate heart. The music filled her with such deep peace that she closed her eyes and floated in feeling of rapture.

Joe, an alcoholic, has finally had enough. Drunk and dirty, he fell to his knees on a cold sidewalk in the middle of downtown Baltimore. He didn’t feel the cold because he was too numb. Negative voices named guilt and shame hammered in his head, “You are no good. Give it up. You don’t deserve to live. You’re nothing but a drunken sot….”

“All right!” he cried. “Good Lord, take me out or clean me up. I cannot live like this anymore.” Anyone looking at Joe saw a white cone of Light grow around him and engulf his head. He closed his eyes and sobbed deep heavy pangs of grief. The Light stayed with Joe when he fell asleep on the sidewalk. Many would think he had fallen into a drunken stupor that lasted for hours.

When Joe woke up, he had a clear mind and a single purpose. He walked with confidence into a local church and knelt down. With the deepest humility and gratitude for his life that few of us know, he said, “My Lord, you saved me. I will never take another drink as long as I live. Thank you. For the rest of my life, I will help others like me find you. And he did.

Three different people enter altered states of consciousness and experience rapture, have a peak moment. In pain or prayer, we get there, and these experiences are real and we record them as memories in our brain and body.

We know and experience spirituality through our feelings. Neurobiologists conducted recent experiments using brain imaging technology to record the biochemistry of transcendent experiences. These types of experiences register highest in the limbic system. This part of the brain is associated with emotions, feelings, and motivation.

To recall our experience of spirit, we only need recall these feelings. There is every reason to believe that, to some degree, spirituality is hard-wired into the human nervous system. We are part of something much greater than ourselves, something awe inspiring and humbling; we need spirituality for our spiritual selves much as we need oxygen for our biological selves … to live!

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By Caron Goode

Today, it seems our children’s lives consist of spending time at school, joining in adult play such organized sports or other organized activities, or passively watching television. What is missing is unstructured time, the time children need to mature and develop their own unique expression and understanding. Only when children interact with the world on their own terms, rather than experiencing everything through the goals and attitudes of parents and educators, will they discover who they are in an intimate, personal way.

How often have you heard, “I’m bored? There’s nothing to do.” How often have you replied, “Go outside and play. Go watch television. Find something to do.”  Next time you hear that boredom complaint, say this, “Great. Wonderful. Take some space.”

“Space” is one of the best ways to allow the mind and body to integrate and find peace.
We can provide a space for our children to relax, reflect, or empty their mind. You may call it ‘take a breather,’ ‘time-out,’ ‘peace and quiet,’ ‘doing nothing,’ or being.

We use the term space to describe a state that is empty of expectations, conditions, and outcomes.  Having space is having unstructured time. Children and adults have difficulty with this. Unstructured time and space are challenging because we are used to the responsibilities of a skillful job or homework where the rules of how to use time are spelled out.

If we can teach children and ourselves to use unstructured time and space creatively, we can discover our beauty and unconditional worthiness.  Do your children know how to do nothing? Can they discover the precious instants of revelation hidden in moments of stillness and silence?

We need to provide this space for our children if they are ever to manage wholeness and integration along the stress continuum. It is a space where they are in charge and not stimulated by anything external to themselves. The space of their inner worlds inspires music and poetry. A child can learn confidence as a co-creator with life.

We often forget that life is creation unfolding. We create cells and tissues out of the energies found in the chemistry of the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms. We create thoughts, words, and ideas from the limitless field of our experiences. We grasp life through the creative action of our senses and the endless searching of our hearts. Children need time to explore creation and the space to create.

Children create a world of events and experiences out of a space that unfolds as it continues to reveal itself, rather than beginning from a set of predetermined goals. Creativity is the world of the child– the child that we are responsible for raising, and the child we are responsible for preserving and nurturing in ourselves.

Spirituality reflects the simplicity of the heart. Our careers and our friends are all symbols that represent simple desires and needs of the spirit. What we want out of life is the experience of unconditional love, feeling secure about our unique visions, being affirmed, being forgiven and accepted despite our mistakes. We want to feel worthy without having to prove anything to anybody, even when we feel overwhelmed and powerless. We want this and our children want this.

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By Caron Goode

Connecting speaks to nurturing your children’s spirit and talks about developing spiritual qualities. Did you ever wonder about our spiritual nature? Is it inherent? Do we learn it? How do we ever develop a sense of something greater than ourselves that we eventually call God by so many different names? Is God intangible? Concrete? The mysteries of life, and the vast array of universe above us, make us pause and respect the unknown.

For purposes of the Connecting articles, think of spirituality in its basic sense as connecting and finding the meaning and direction in our lives. Our sense of belonging starts early and matures as we grow older into the value of our relationships. A life with a spiritual focus can mean living with awareness of the choices we make and their consequences.

Feeling Connected
For infants, connecting comes from touch and a loving bond with a primary caretaker.
In the developing embryo, a primitive layer of cells called the Ectoderm produces both the skin and the nervous system. In this concrete physiological connection, the experience of touch and of moving bodies through space provides “food” to the nervous system that allows the human being to experience that it exists. What remarkable genius is there in an organism’s capacity, through simple physical contact and movement, to create a network of chemical, neurological and automatic responses that ensure its capacity to connect?

It is crucial for the developing infant to experience the bonding, movement and soothing words of his or her parents. Without this foundation, how will a child know spirit? There would be no descriptors for feelings and no ability to discriminate the feelings. The body learns to feel through touch. The infant learns to attend by focusing on the sounds of the mother and the eyes of the father. In short, the child knows himself through the sensory communication of the caregiver.

This is the foundation for feeling connected.

Valuing Connection
Children first value their connections in the context of their families. We can value a child in so many ways, from our smiles throughout the day to the appreciation we speak. It might seem frightening to think that how we value children may explain the way children may recognize themselves, and as they grow older, then value, God.

The quality of our relationships and interactions with our children impact their physiology and lay the foundation for qualities essential to success in life

For youngsters, connecting to earth, siblings and other adults expands a child’s world and helps develop boundaries and communication. For adolescents, connections with compassionate and firm communication are still of utmost importance. Finding the deeper answers to the questions of life is important for identity at this age. And as adults, our connection is tethered to our beliefs, our faith and our heart.

Connecting develops and matures in our relationship to one another.

Respecting the Mystery
Children ask early in life about the mystery. Where did my dog go when he died? Why is grandpa in heaven? Can I touch the stars? When can I see Santa Claus? Why did he hurt her? Why did those people crash a plane into those buildings on TV?

Children can feel the mystery of life cycles, and they can watch the way things change around them? They trust intuitively the mystery exists, and they can imbibe of it through their senses when the wind blows the pollen that tickles their nose and the clouds change endlessly in a vast sky. Situations change, and how children accept change depends upon their feeling of connection.

Sometimes so much change happens that children may feel that “something” out there is taking care of them. They survived. They develop a faith in the mystery.

As we grow older, we may still have that childlike faith the Universe takes care of us. Or we mature into a relationship with ourselves, knowing that we are the universes, and that God acts through the human branch of the Universal expression. With maturity, life changes become personal transformations. Survival becomes a triumph, and still, a mystery.

Connecting to the Mystery
In May of 1995, Tom and I brought a Bouvier puppy across the Plains with us as we moved from New Hampshire to our new home in Colorado. The first soft snow fell in September and the six-month old puppy chased the flakes. He stood on his tiptoes and turned in circles to catch one. A three-year old who was visiting us watched the dog with glee. He also stood on his tiptoes and turned in circles mirroring the puppy.

Another family makes time each morning when they feel most rushed to stop. They form a circle and hold hands. They each affirm their gratitude about their lives before moving on to their schools and jobs.

In compassionate communication, a parent still touches the shoulder of a teen and shows respect for their connection.

Connecting is human. It is spiritual. It is our mystery to relish and respect with one another.

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When we were kids, we envisioned ourselves becoming great parents, living wonderful lives and having a career that we could be satisfied with when we got old. Want to know if you’re all grown up? Hear what Gary Robertson will share about the big topic concerns on what kids really want—and need—from parents. Dr. Caron Goode is gifted Coach with a heart for assisting others to effect lasting transformation through spiritual coaching, books, classes and seminars. Caron’s continuous education, experience in psychology and professional writing makes her a great resource for parents wishing to create and maintain a nurturing relationship with their children. During her career, Jean Tracy developed character building concepts that continue to benefit parents and children through her line of parent/child discussion books, practical parenting tools, and marriage eBook.

Time:  11 am pst

Date:  Thursday, Sept 3

Place:  Listen Live at http://www.modavox.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=40801

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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Someone once said, “We have two ears and only one mouth, therefore
we should listen twice as much as we speak.”  However, between those
two ears is a thinking brain that processes information about four
times faster than we can talk.  About four weeks ago, I wrote about
the art of listening.  Today, I want to offer you nine practical
listening skills which, when practiced, can make you a very effective
listener.

1.    When listening, become “centered.”  To be centered is to be
completely relaxed,  calm, receptive and open to information from both
outside and inside your skin.  Listen without assumptions or
predispositions about the outcomes of the listening experience. 
Centeredness is a prerequisite to truly effective listening.

2. Never rule out any topic of conversation as uninteresting or
boring.  Listen for ideas and meaning versus “just the facts.” 
Artistic listeners are always on the lookout for new information, new
ideas and new ways of looking at things.  While you may find some
conversations to be completely inane, creative listeners are always
alert for a nugget of interest that is worthwhile. 

3.  Be alert to your own prejudices and preconceived notions.  Often,
we are unaware how strongly our prejudices influence our willingness
as well as our ability to accurately listen/hear.  However, any
prejudice or preconceptions, valid of not, tends to obscure or distort
the meaning of any message.

4.  Effective listeners accept and acknowledge the speaker’s message.
You don’t have to believe everything you hear or change your mind
about a given topic.  Nevertheless, you do need to withhold judgment
while a speaker is talking.  When you are accepting “as is” the
message you are receiving, you’re not determining the truth or falsity
of the statement. Rather, you are simply acknowledging exactly what
the speaker is saying–right or wrong, good or bad, true or
false…even too difficult for you to understand. This capacity for
total acceptance frees the mind to listen for clues for greater
clarity and understanding

5.  Listen for the total message.  One estimate is that 75 to 80% of
all communication is non-verbal.  Artistic listeners pay attention to
a host of clues as to what the speaker is communicating.  Examples of
non-verbal clues include: posture (rigid or relaxed, closed or open);
facial expression (does it support the words?); hands (clenched, open,
relaxed, tense?); eyes (does the speaker maintain eye contact?); voice
tone (does it match the words?); movement (are the speaker’s movements
intense, relaxed, congruent (with the message) or conflicting; do they
suggest that the whole speech is “staged” for what the speaker thinks
you want to hear.  What you’re looking for are inconsistencies between
with is said, how it is said and what is really meant.  All these
clues combine with words to give you the whole meaning of the message.
However…

6.  Don’t get hung up on the speaker’s delivery.  Are there certain
words and phrases that prejudice you so you cannot listen objectively?
There are elements of a person’s speaking that simply reveal
awkwardness in delivery rather than any attempt to mislead or send
ulterior messages. For the effective listener, the key is being able
to distinguish between the two. It’s easy to turn off listening when
someone speaks haltingly, has an irritating voice, or just doesn’t
come across well. The key to good listening, however, is to get beyond
the manner of delivery to the underlying message being sent.  To do
this, you have to resolve not to judge the message by the delivery
style.  It’s amazing how much more accurately you can “hear” once
you’ve made the decision to really listen rather than criticize or be
judgmental.

7. Resist the temptation to rebut, rehearse or reply while another is
speaking. When we hear someone saying something with which we strongly
disagree, we immediately begin mentally formulating a rebuttal or a
reply.  We do this because we have a natural tendency to resist any
new information that conflicts with what we believe. However, the
effective listener knows that you can always rebut later, after you’ve
heard the whole message and had time to think about it.  Become
comfortable with pauses in the conversation to give yourself time to
think about what you have heard, ask for clarification, or formulate a
genuine response.

8. Focus your attention exclusively on the speaker.  Poor listeners
are distracted by interruptions; good listeners tune them out and
focus on the speaker and the message. There are specific techniques
for maintaining one’s focus. Some include: maintain eye contact with
the speaker; lean forward in your chair; let the speaker’s words
“ring” in your ears; and turn in your chair, if necessary, to block
out unwanted distractions.

9. Finally, when listening to a public speech or listening
“therapeutically,” take notes sparingly.  The more focused you are on
writing down what is being said, the more likely you are to miss the
nuances of the conversation. There are two good ways around this
dilemma. You can write down only key words and then, after the
conversation, meeting, etc., go back and fill in.  Or you can take
notes pictorially, that is, by diagramming what the speaker is saying.
The latter is a technique called, “mind-mapping.”  Mind-mapping was
first popularized by a writer named Tony Buzan in a book entitled,
“Use Your Head.”

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com.

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