Feel In

Short Circuit Your Reflexive Tendency to React

Short Circuit Your Reflexive Tendency to React

“If we don't become aware of our own reactions so that we can short-circuit precisely the kind of addictive and reflexive response that we have to these things, and if we're unwilling to turn them off, we will participate in the continuing debasement of our democracy.”

~ Brooke Gladstone

Feeling Better

Feeling Better

It wasn’t until I stumbled clumsily toward a daily mindfulness practice in my mid-thirties that I discovered that there were ways I could get better at feeling my feelings.

Before intentionally working on my attentional skills, I had no idea how often I escalated my unpleasant feelings and zipped past the pleasant and subtler ones.

The kind of self-awareness that mindfulness exercise develops has helped me become more objective about my subjective experiences.

Left to Our Own Devices

Left to Our Own Devices

While I’m waiting impatiently for the rest of the world to calibrate to my ideal technology habits, I’ve started to watch myself watch other people peer into their devices as they walk down the street, sit in coffee shops, and stand at urinals.

This impulse has grown into a challenging, but fascinating attention exercise that has lead to some liberating insights that have shifted my reactions to other people’s observable tech habits.  

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

The real magic happens when we become intimately familiar with the moment-by-moment experience of being alive. Instead of trying to force complete experiences to happen. I focus on setting the stage for them to happen by exercising my attention. 

When remembering to notice that we're alive becomes a habit, we begin to erode the internal friction that obscures our view of the richness we're swimming in every day.

Lucky to Live Sad Moments

Lucky to Live Sad Moments

"Sadness is poetic. You're lucky to live sad moments...Because we don't want that first bit of sad, we push it away...You never feel completely sad or completely happy. You just feel kind of satisfied with your product, and then you die." 

~ Louis C.K. 

Things We Are Saying To Ourselves

Things We Are Saying To Ourselves

"An inner voice always used to be an outer voice. We absorb the tone of others. A harassed or angry parent. The menacing threats of an elder sibling keen to put us down. The words of a schoolyard bully or teacher who seemed impossible to please. We internalize the unhelpful voices, because at certain key moments in the past, they sounded compelling. The authority figures repeated their messages over and over until they got lodge in our own way of thinking." 

~ The School of Life

To Hear Sound for the Very First Time

To Hear Sound for the Very First Time

"In some of my research on cochlear implants, I learned that when they are turned on for the first time, patients often say the sound is kind of 'digital' or 'mechanical' sounding, which is entirely normal. I guess the ears and brain eventually normalize the signal and things begin to sound more natural. I thought that was entirely fascinating, so I made it a part of my song."

~ Ryan O'Neal, from "HearingI & How It Was Made"

Cinematic Attention for a High-Def Life

Cinematic Attention for a High-Def Life

Any perception you can observe directly in real time can be used to train a variety of attention-related skills.

I like to make a game out of turning ordinary activities into opportunities for practice.

There are a number of exercises I use when watching a film — whether it’s one I enjoy, dislike, or have seen before.  

Focus on Emotionally Neutral Spots

Focus on Emotionally Neutral Spots

"Although emotional sensations can arise anywhere in the body, they are much more likely to arise in the belly, chest, throat, or face. These are the emotional hotspots in the body, the regions where emotional sensations can get huge. That means that other areas are much less likely to host gigantic emotional sensations, which turns out to be a useful and convenient thing."

~ Michael Taft

Feel Your Feelings for a Few Seconds

Feel Your Feelings for a Few Seconds

Thinking your way through unpleasant emotions takes time while a single repetition of any mindfulness exercise only takes a few seconds. The skills of attention strengthened by mindfulness practice enhance both the resolving of unpleasant emotions and the acceptance of them.