Monday, May 21, 2012

The Power of Sixty Little Seconds

...not for a minute, do I believe...

“I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been supported by science up until this point. The whole right hemisphere, left hemisphere possibilities, this has been an argument for over 200 years,” she says. “All I am doing is feeding fuel to a fire that has been going on for hundreds of years and it’s very exciting because now people are ready to hear it. People are ready to hear, ‘I am not just this, and I am not just that.’
Jill Bolte Taylor

I was driving in the car with my family last Friday headed to one of the many, many graduations we will attend this spring.  We were having a lively conversation, and I heard myself say the phrase, "not for a minute, do I believe." Truth be told, I am now unable to recall what I didn't believe, because in that moment, it ceased to be relevant. What was of impact, and I have been struck by this fact more than once, was that I had spoken the truth.

I have a theory, and I have begun to write them down, that we speak the truth more often than we realize.  And in speaking the truth, in being re-minded of the world of wisdom we possess, we are uniquely and effortlessly guided as to where to put our attention. And I am going a step further and say that, not only are we being guided as to where to put our attention, but for how long.

Let me break this down.

We have not one mind, but two or two hundred for that matter. To keep it simple, let's just start with two minds or as they are referred to in many scientific journals, our two brains.  Now, for the last six years, my right brain has had my undivided attention. More about undivided in a moment. Because, the undivided brain is an empowered brain.

Many people think they have, what I will call for the purpose of this discussion, a competitive mind. The perception is having a  mind that is in constant conflict.  Not surprisingly, we see a great deal of competition and consternation in our day-to-day lives. It is literally how one of our minds is wired. Imagine a team playing tug-of-war inside your head, pulling towards some imaginary goal line, to score a point, or capture the flag. Now, stack that team with the biggest, strongest and fastest and you have an idea how your left mind can dominate if it thinks it's a competition.  Here is an amazing illustration of the minds as imaged by a new Mercedes Benz campaign.  It illustrates the point beautifully...and literally.

Notice the differences in the image below.  See how many more words are associated with the left brain image than the right. Now, remember the tug-of-war analogy? Notice the contrast, in almost every way, between the left and right brain.  Wow, I believe the phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words is apt here.  Note how many more words were used on the left side. Here's why.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his insight-filled book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, describes the two minds in action. The experiential right mind doesn't 'think' in words, but in pictures.  For example, facial recognition is an automatic and what Gladwell calls an example of unconscious cognition. We don't think in words about recognizing a face. We process that information in a visual, symbolic way.  Actually, the act of describing the face lowers our ability to recognize the face again, and here's why. 

"The psychologist Jonathan W. Schooler, who pioneered research on this effect, calls it verbal overshadowing. Your brain has a part, the left hemisphere, that thinks in words and a part, the right hemisphere, that thinks in pictures.  What happens when you described the face in words was that your actual visual memory was displaced.  Your thinking was bumped from the right to the left. By forcing you to verbalize that memory, to explain yourself, I separate you from those instincts.

There is substantial research to show that the part of our brain that thinks in words does this so much faster than the part that thinks in pictures.  Biologist Bruce Lipton says that some researchers estimate that the subconscious mind is processing about 40 million bits of information in the same time frame that the conscious mind can process only 40.

Therefore, it is first vital that we pay attention to all the ways the brain,  especially the RIGHT brain, gives us clues to what is important.  The right brain is cooperative, not competitive and the pictures, symbols, emotions, feelings, connections and associations made there can be of vital use to our word processing left brain.  However, it is first important to have what I call the cooperative mind.

Yes, cooperative, not competitive is how to tap in and harness the power of the whole brain or as Daniel Pink asserts in his book of the same name, A Whole New Mind.  The subtitle for this book is 'why right-brained thinking will rule the world.' And we have a great bridge already in place to create the connection for our two brains.  Meet the corpus callosum.

The corpus callosum is a bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.  It's job, like all great facilitators, is to hold the space in between so that the two minds are able to communicate. Ah, sigh, relief, brain detente.  Houston, we have contact.

So, the next time you are having that tug-of-war, hot-tempered brain argument, stop, look and listen.  (A bit like stop, drop and roll, but this one keeps your mind from burning up.) Imagine that bridge between your brains trading information like bubble gum cards.  Relax, a whole new collection of insights and information is on its way.

Now, having this information is vital to understanding and appreciating how your mind, your WHOLE CORPUS CALLOSUM CONNECTED MIND works and plays.  So, now that you understand this, you can understand how the unconscious mind sends 40 million bits of information out your mouth every second.  My contention is this:   that is a lot of un-examined truth.

So, let's examine it.

As I shared at the start of the article, I said the phrase, not for a minute do I believe.  Research now shows that I have spoken the absolute truth whether I meant too or not.  Now, given that 88% of what is being process is from our sub-conscious mind, it makes a lot of sense to me to listen to what I say.  And what I find is that I speak truthfully, intuitively, and wisely more often than not.  And so do YOU.

Now, here is the second part of my theory at the start of the post.  There is significant research that shows that if you can or can't sustain a belief for 60 to 90 seconds, it will be harder to activate or suppress that thought. Think the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do, I do believe).  It is likely that there was sound scientific reasoning that he took his time to create his courage.

Really, the Cowardly Lion created his own mantra.  A mantra is "a sound, syllable, word or group of words that is considered capable of creating transformation".  Even if someone isn't familiar with the concept of a mantra, they are likely familiar with affirmations, intentions and the mother of them all, prayer.  I am likely speaking the truth once again when I used the phrase the mother of them all, that which gives birth to new strands of the same thread.

One of my top mind-flexing, green-thinking ready to read books is My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.  I read this book at a time when I was going through a powerful transformation myself and the similarities in our experiences under vastly different circumstances was striking.  I use Jill's book as a primer for all the ways spiritually transformative experiences are happening here in the West.  And the power of sixty little seconds (and 90 seconds) are written about in Bolte-Taylor's memoir. Here is an excerpt that highlights the way we are guided to believe or not believe it for a minute.  Here is Jill's 90 second rule.

 “We can all learn that we can take full responsibility for what thoughts we are thinking and what emotional circuitry we are feeling. Knowing this and acting on this can lead us into feeling a wonderful sense of well-being and peacefulness. Whether it is my fear circuitry or my anger circuitry or even my joy circuitry – it is really hard to hold a good belly laugh for more than 90 seconds naturally. The 90-second rule is totally empowering. That means for 90 seconds, I can watch this happen, I can feel this happen and I can watch it go away. After that, if I continue to feel that fear or feel that anger, I need to look at the thoughts I am thinking that are re-stimulating that circuitry that is resulting in me having this physiology over and over again."

This idea of the power of sixty little seconds can be found in many practices, exercises and ideas in the work of other teachers.  Abraham-Hicks highlights this principle in some of their brilliant tools and techniques.  No matter how you are inspired or what you believe or don't believe, try it yourself.  Experiential learning is the most empowering tool in our evolutionary toolbox.

Begin to notice what you say, listen to yourself when you speak.  Your words have the power to change the way you think...the way you see your world.

In as little as sixty seconds.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Dream of A Life

Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action.  They must be woven together.
~Anais Nin

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Opening Doors

When you follow your bliss...doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't have been a door for anyone else.
~Joseph Campbell

I have about five unfinished blog posts.


One for every day of this INCREDIBLY BUSY WEEK.  All started, none finished.  

And you know what...I'm thrilled.

Painfully thrilled, maddenly thrilled, frustrating thrilled.

I love that there are so many ideas moving through me write now - WRITE NOW.  

There are so many ideas that  pop on the paper and then the writing process takes me down Alice's rabbit hole and out into Wonderland. Once in wonder-land, I realize that what I am writing is SO layered, SO complex and sooooooooooooo  ponderous that I can't find my way back out.

And I REALLY don't want you all to ponder quite so much with me.  So, I am re-working those five OTHER posts and bringing them back from that wonderous land of imagination.  

So, this is a simple post celebrating doors. I have been playing on Pinterest - and I was moved to create a board about doors.  I love door images.  I always have. And today, the door image is the inspiration for this post.  

The door to unimaginable creativity opened up for me this month.

And I can't keep up.

The idea of KEEPING UP feels crummy, so I will keep it simple - I will keep IT alive and I will keep showing up...because as a wise man once said, commitment comes before success.  

So, I am committed to this write door to creation and I will keep showing up.  One door at a time.

What door opened for you today?

What are you committed to doing to bring your dreams into reality?

Here are the titles of those five unfinished Funny You Would Say That posts.  I'm curious which ones will make it back from Wonderland?

When a thing is wick, it will grow...
Energy Flows Where Attention Goes
Solving for X
Just call out my name
Inside the Intuitive's Studio

Friday, April 13, 2012

i spy with my little i

i to infinity
I spy with my little i...

The genesis of this post was the Martha Beck Summit for coaches last month in Phoenix.  As I shared in previous posts, the theme was the League of Extraordinary Coaches and the tag line was i3:

 inspire + inform + integrate.  

On the flight home, my coaching partner, Keisha and I continued to brainstorm and two more i's were added to the list:  impact and investment.  Now, it was i5 power.

I was inspired by all these i's and I awoke a few days after the Summit with Buzz Lightyear's voice reverberating in my head: infinity and b e y o n d.


Ah, the power of that little i.

That BIG I can be an IDENTITY trap.

Little i is

still growing

still evolving


Let freedom ring.

I created the poster above to begin this i to infinity and beyond experience.

So, let's begin the journey of i∞.

I spy with my little i:

intuition + insight + initiative

What do you spy with your little i?

Share. infinity and beyond.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Difference a Be Makes

Be Focused

I was the guest speaker on Thursday night at the Meetup of my friend and fellow Martha Beck coach Keisha Gallegos.  She hosts a monthly East Bay Life Coaching Group.  Keisha has created that perfect blend of social connections and creative content for each gathering. She has attracted the most amazing group of women and I made some really wonderful connections.  I have a hunch that this South Bay girl will be heading east at least once a month.  

I was talking with one of the aforementioned amazing women on Thursday night, Shelia, who is a self-described emerging artist.  She made a comment that went something like this.

"I'm having a hard time focusing.  I have to get focused."

When she said this, I could feel how draining this thought was for her.  I wondered if it might take so much energy  to 'get focused' that there wouldn't be any energy left to do the things she desires. Now, instead of directing her energy into her amazing artwork, (see blog link below), the inability to focus  takes center stage.  Now there are two problems (I can't get focused and therefore I can't create artwork until I can get focused) and what feels like no solutions.  These loops in our thinking show up all the time. This becomes one of those syllogisms and the energy gets blocked in one part of the equation.

Let's solve for X.  

Here is how the intuitive mind works.  As Shelia is speaking, I feel the drain of the energy of this thought, this creative block and I see in a blink this image in my mind:  a stage with spotlights.

Ah, center stage. Front and center and in the spotlight.

I have a great deal of experience with center stage as a metaphor.  Another of my life passions is the theatre.    I have been a lifelong performer, actress and in the last 20 years, I have worked on countless musicals and plays as an associate director.  So, one of the ways intuitive bytes show up for me is the all the worlds a stage metaphor.  So, as I listened to Shelia share what she was feeling and the images pop in my mind, this is my cue as a creative catalyst to redirect the energy of the creative path BLOCK to the creative path FLOW.

In this case, the image on the stage was the spotlight.  Now, for an emerging artist, being in the spotlight can feel intimidating, especially if we don't feel focused or clear about what were creating or who were creating for?  Now, an audience shows up and pretty soon, it all feels out of control -  too big - too fast.  So, when the spotlight showed up, the insight was instead of being the spot operator and trying to direct where the energy goes, become the spotlight. Be the light. And be directed to shine.  Be focused.

So, instead of the original thought as the spot operator, "I have to get the light focused," the spotlight says "I will be focused."

Can you feel the shift?

Can you feel the change with that little be?

Shelia did.  She said, 'Wow, that is a real change in perception.  I feel a weight shifted off my back." Now, the energy is free to create again and as Seth Godin says in his book Tribes "commitment comes before success."  Be committed.  Let the light be focused by desire, by curiosity, by passion.  And when the energy is moving again, and in Shelia's case it literally brings on more choices, more possibilities, more fabulous color on the canvas, the energy can be focused in unlimited, infinite ways.

Let Your Light Be Shined

This is the be-ing part of the human experience.

So, whenever you are feeling that sense of overwhelm, confusion, lack of focus or low energy notice where the energy is directed.  Do you  think you have to think about getting focused? That phrase alone makes my head hurt.  Or do you just start something - anything that sparks -  and  discover where you are focused by what you are doing.   Ah, the freedom to be the light and to be all different colors and be flexible and moved in all different directions.

And sometimes, one of the places the light shines,  is right on center stage.

Thanks to Keisha, Shelia and all the awe-inspiring women I met at the Starlit Path East Bay Life Coaching Group.  Talk about being the are a whole bunch of stars.

Keisha's Find Your Starlit Path-East Bay Life Coaching Group:

Shelia's Blog:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


A Peony from Fioli

This is a special dedication that graced my life today from Julia Cameron's book Blessings.  I wanted to share this beautiful gift on the blog tonight.  Peace and love to all.  Thanks to my friend Colleen for this beautiful peony as a gift and love and light to my friend Annette.

The Universe Teaches Me With Gentle Love

Spirit mentors me with care and accuracy.  As I open my heart and my hand to be counseled, I am partnered by divine wisdom.  it is a great blessing that I do not walk alone.  I am not without guidance.  In everyday, in every moment, there is a source of divine guidance available to me if I will turn within.   There is no separation, only the forgetting of union.  As I realize, accept, and appreciate my union with divinity, all things unfold for me more clearly.  As I accept the grace within my current circumstances, my grace increases and flows forward to prepare my future.  My life is a life of abundant blessings. My heart is a home for grace and good.  As I cherish the gifts which accompany me now, I see greater gifts, greater love still unfolding.  As I open my eyes to see and my ears to hear.  I find the beauty of life is dazzling.  This green planet, this garden, returns to grace as I am guided to husband it as careful as I would my child.  Graced and protected by higher forces, acutely attuned to higher goods, I protect and shepherd this planet to deepened health.  My guidance blesses me and all I touch.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Peak - Peek Experience

A 'peek' experience
I've been to the Summit and I'm here to tell the tale(s).  Tales from the cape that is.

No, I didn't happen to get to that Summit in Nepal, not yet.  I went to a different Summit...a different peak. This Summit was in Phoenix and it was a gathering of Martha Beck coaches.  The theme was The League of Extraordinary Coaches and it was an amazing, magical experience both personally and professionally.

Though I returned from the Summit on the 20th of March, I noticed that I have not been back to post on the blog.  I started this post right after I got back but then this page remained empty for another week. This got my attention. Though the critic in my head showed up to chide me, I didn't believe all those thoughts.  It made me curious as to why I just didn't keep writing and post. I began to suspect it was something about  BIG experiences.  There is a time of descent after the climb, of conserving energy after the expension (or expansion) of a big event.  I was then struck by the insight of returning to see level. Hmmmmmm, that made me curious.

And 'see' level is exactly what happens. This play on words with peak/peek and sea/see feels so true.  We are able to experience something not just with our human body but with our wise being.   I know a number of coaches who attended returned home and promptly got sick with a cold or flu bug.  Others reported feeling low energy, restless, sad and unsure.  The phrase, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak (or the flesh had a week of maximum energy spending.)  Which feels better:  weak or week?  They are both true, but the energy of week is much more apt and kinder for the critical mind to absorb.

Now, there were other coaches who came home and things came together, pieces fell into place and new adventures and dreams unfolded.  And that's ok too.  Each journey is different.  Each life path filled with peaks and peeks at different times.

I don't think it was an accident that this event was named The Summit.  It was indeed a peak experience that most, if not all of the participants and staff and Martha herself, had been anticipating for months.  It was indeed a league of extraordinary coaches, and events, connections and vital information that was shared over the four days. For most attendees, this was the first time 'meeting' a beloved coach, teacher and friend in person.  This alone is a heady experience.

Here's my theory about BIG peak events.  When we arrive at the summit of any experience, at that peak, for some, we catch a glimpse of the future, a peek, and this creates the beginning of the next adventure, the next wave, the next climb.  This is why the wisdom of 'base' camp is so vital.  The air at the summit, the energy, the frisson is different.  So, there is a wisdom in the time to acclimate, to practice small ascents and then return to base, - small ascents, return to base - small ascents, return to base.

So, where in your life journey did you reach the peak of an experience, climb to the top of the summit and are now feeling confused, agitated, rest-less as you have returned to 'see' level?  Stop and really see what new peek is on the horizon. Now, really connect to your base camp.  Where is it?  What or who is it filled with? How is it supporting, as all bases do, your life adventures?  This is where the best journey begins.

And when you are ready, and even sometimes when you are not, the ascent begins again.  Get ready for the climb of your life!