Friday, October 21, 2011

Uplifting your heart

"Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song."
Konrad von Gesner
Today's post is inspired by a gift I received this morning... Fellow blogger Susan Meyerott, who writes a great blog called 'Lightarted Living' (which I highly recommend), used one of my ideas and both created a cool blog post about it and also created some beautiful artwork inspired by it. So I thought it life enhancing to share her delightful artwork with you here, and write some more about the ideas behind it.

Communicating with your heart and gut brains

Over the last year or so I've been doing a lot of research on the enteric (gut) brain and cardiac (heart) brain and how they communicate and integrate together with the cranial (head) brain. I've been determining what the core competencies are of each of these neural networks and how best to work with them to align them.

[I've blogged in the past about the heart and gut brains, and you can read more about them here:

Together with a great friend of mine, Marvin Oka, one of the top NLP trainers in the world, we've developed a field we are calling mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques), and we are currently running Action Research Workshops to codify our research and findings. mBIT is based on behavioral modeling informed by the lastest neuro-physiological and neuro-psych research about the heart and gut brains.

One of the simple yet powerful techniques I've created for communicating with and aligning your heart and gut brains based on mBIT is the one that Sue blogged about and created her delightful artwork for.

The idea behind this technique is to use focused breathing, along with metaphor and positive emotion, to send messages to your heart and then your gut. This leads to a re-balancing of your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), from Sympathetic dominance, back to coherence between the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic arms of the ANS.

I'll be sharing more about mBIT over the coming months. Marvin and I have scheduled a 10 day writing sabbatical next month to begin work on our book about mBIT and the science and techniques involved with it. (Stay tuned and let me know if you're interested in hearing about when the book will be released. Let me know too if you're interested in attending any workshops or webinars that we'll be running later this year and into the next. You can contact me by leaving a comment or emailing me at: grant @ soosalu . com)

So what's the 'Uplifting your heart' technique?

Well, it's really amazingly simple. Whenever you are feeling stressed or in need of some uplifting or calming, simply take a few minutes to sit and breath in and out calmly and evenly, taking approx. 6 seconds on the inbreath and 6 seconds on the outbreath. Make sure the in and out breaths are of the same duration. (There's a reason and science behind this.)

As you breath in, imagine that the breath is uplifting your heart. Feel that uplifting feeling. And smile as you do this. Smiling makes a key difference. Really feel your heart being uplifted as you do this. You can imagine a color or light filling your heart with uplifting positive energy and love. And you can take that light, color and feeling and experience it going all the way from your heart to your head, taking these uplifting feelings and messages from your heart into your mind.

As you breath out, imagine your breath going down from your  head/heart to your gut, taking with it calming feelings and messages. Really feel that letting go, relaxing, calming sense fill your belly.

Breath in 'uplifting your heart', breath out and down 'calming your gut'. Continue doing this, as you smile, and feel so aligned and calmed.

It's really that simpe! Try it now. Practice it every moment you get a chance and it will serve you well in the stressful moments in which you might need it. There's a lot of science and logic behind what appears to be a very simple process. The heart leads the head and gut, and the heart itself can be guided through breathing and positive emotion. So use the 'Uplifting your heart' technique to guide and integrate your multiple neural networks and gain congruence and alignment in your life.

life enhancing smiles,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eliciting Your Values

"Cheshire Puss, asked Alice. Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to go, said the Cat. I don’t much care where, said Alice. Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat."
Lewis Carroll

Ok, in the last few blog posts we've been exploring the importance of values and how in times of massive change we need to prioritize and simplify where we can...

Prioritizing your life

One of the keys to prioritizing your life, is to get clear about your values, get clear about what’s most important to you and focus your energies and time there.

Most people don’t know explicitly and specifically what’s vitally important to them. They don’t know their hierarchy of values. And without that explicit knowledge, how can they effectively track and focus their time and life?

In today's post, we are going to fix that by getting you to map your hierarchy of values - your list of values sequenced in importance to your life.

Mapping your hieararchy of values

Grab a pen and some paper, and write out what you think and feel are the most important things in life for you. Is it health? Love? Adventure? Learning? What are the things that make life worthwhile for you? Brainstorm this. What do you want out of life? What do you want with others? What is the sweet taste of success for you? What is important to you? What makes your heart and mind sing?

Get your values on paper. Make a mindmap. Write them in whatever order they come to you. There's no right or wrong in this. Just make sure you capture them onto paper or computer.

Content versus Process Values

Note the difference between Content Values and Process Values. Content Values are the ‘things’ you want in life, like love, health, friends, family, wealth, adventure etc. They are the ‘whats’ of life.

Process Values are the 'qualities' by which you want to achieve the ‘whats’. They are the ‘hows’ of life. For example, honesty, integrity, courage, flexibility are all ‘hows’. They are the qualities you want to bring to the way you live your life.

I like to make two separate lists. One for the Content Values and a separate one for the Process Values. The more distinctions you make about your values, the better you are able to articulate the whats and hows of your life, the more powerful they become as tools for change.

List the hieararchy

Once you have your list(s) it’s time to prioritise your values in a hierarchy. Ask yourself:
“If I could only have one thing in life, what would it be?”

Circle it on the list as number one. Then ask, “If I could have 2 and only 2 things, what would the second value be?”

Continue till you’ve prioritised your list(s).

Then re-write the lists so that the number one value is at the top, and so on.

Listen to your heart and gut. You'll feel the importance of each value in your heart. Your heart brain knows what's important. Your gut brain will concur. Tracking goals, dreams and values is a core competency of the heart brain. Your heart's desires often guide your mind and spirit and manifest in your thoughts and ideas.

Put your list where you will see it every day

Now memorise your hierarchy of values. Put your list(s) up high on a wall somewhere in your house or office. Make them bright and bold and colourful. Refer to them often and keep them updated as you grow, learn and evolve through life. You can even make a visual collage of them. Collect images from magazines and books that represent your values and that make your heart sparkle when you look at them.

And most importantly, use your values hierarchy to organise your life and make decisions. If health is on your list as one of your highest values, and adventure is a lower value, then make sure that none of your adventures do damage to your health. Use your values as a filter to decide where to prioritize and place your time, skills, behaviours, attention and energies.

The clearer you are about your values and their relative importance, the more your conscious and unconscious decision making will align with them. Your RAS (Reticular Activating System) is powerfully linked to and influenced by your values, so the clearer you are on your values, the more it will work to serve you.

Value your life

Values are life enhancing. Use them as powerful tools to ensure you get the most of your life limited time, resources and energy. Align your decisions, choices and behaviours with them. Become a master of articulating and choosing what's important to you. Other people will support your values only as much as you know what they are and as much as you hold them strongly aligned in your own life.

"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values."
William S. Burroughs

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,

Sunday, October 2, 2011


"Whether you think you can or think you can't -- you're right"
Henry Ford.

I came across the following life enhancing research report today from ScienceDailyScience News’ that I’d like to share with you:

“A new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, has found that people who think they can learn from their mistakes have a different brain reaction to mistakes than people who think intelligence is fixed.

In this study, Jason S. Moser of Michigan State University and his colleagues gave participants a task that was easy to make a mistake on. While doing the task, participants wore a cap on their heads that recorded electrical activity in the brain.

When someone makes a mistake, their brain makes two quick signals: an initial response that indicates something has gone awry -- the ‘oh crap' response -- and a second that indicates the person is consciously aware of the mistake and is trying to right the wrong. Both signals occur within a quarter of a second of the mistake. At the conclusion of the experiment, the researchers surveyed whether participants believed they could learn from their mistakes or not.

The results show that people who think they can learn from their mistakes do better after making a mistake -- in other words, they successfully bounce back after an error. Their brains also react differently, producing a bigger second signal, the one that says ‘I see that I've made a mistake, so I should pay more attention’.

The research indicates that these people are different on a fundamental level, Moser says. ‘This might help us understand why exactly the two types of individuals show different behaviors after mistakes.’ People who think they can learn from their mistakes have brains that are tuned to pay more attention to mistakes, he says. This research could help in training people to believe that they can work harder and learn more, by showing how their brain is reacting to mistakes.”

The power of attitude

Now isn’t that fascinating and life enhancing! Your attitude and beliefs about mistakes, learning and feedback makes a huge difference to how you respond to the world. Remember the blog post I wrote about ‘Learning from Feedback’? In it we explored how there is no such thing as failure, there’s just powerful and useful feedback. In light of the above research, you might want to give it a quick read to refresh your mind about this cool and life enhancing distinction.

Thinking Tool – Feedback

"No failure, only useful feedback!"

The process of Intelligencing

All of this comes together in what I like to think of as ‘Intelligencing’. That is, I believe that intelligence is not a fixed commodity, it’s not an object, but instead is a process, a set of skills and unconscious competencies. Your attitude to feedback and ‘mistakes’ is a core competency of intelligencing.

When you setup your unconscious filters to be able to use and appreciate the learnings and feedback of so called ‘mistakes’ then your brain reacts more intelligently to the information and rather than cognitive dissonance kicking in and limiting your learnings, instead you are able to intelligently use the feedback to learn and improve your self and your life. This creates a positive self-fulfilling cycle of ongoing learning and improvement. It generates more intelligencing.

It’s a cool distinction and powerful concept to apply in your life. I hope you find it as life enhancing as I do.

So embrace the research and the thinking tool above ‘No failure, only useful feedback!’ and turn all your ongoing mistakes into great opportunities for learning and improving your life.

many life enhancing smiles,