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28 September 2010

Sound health

Last weekend, our neighbours had a party. There was laughing, shouting, and loud music playing. It was so noisy, we even had to close our windows. Late at night the party stopped and my body immediately relaxed, as if my breath was finally able to expand again.

I hadn’t realised how much impact this noise was having on my body and mood. It only lasted a few hours, but I became more irritated, a hint of anger lingered and my neck muscles became tense.

The world is full of sound. Julian Treasure, a sound specialist, argues that sounds can not only be healing and relaxing but can also badly affect our health and generate enormous stress on our system.
One of his main points is that we should start listening more consciously to the sounds that surround us.

Listen to his talk and learn how you can improve your health with sound.

Here is also a great exercise, I found at The Emotion Machine, to practice conscious listening. You will be amazed how many sounds you can hear.

Get out a piece of paper and a pen, and then write down all the sounds you can hear within a 5 minute span.

It is an incredibly simple exercise, but it helps cultivate skillful listening, and it makes you aware of things in your auditory world that you are otherwise unconscious of. Here is an example of a short two-session practice I did the other day. The first is in the afternoon, the second is later that night:

SEPT 23 – SOUNDS – 2:00PM – 2:05PM – Outside – Backyard – Sunny Day

Wind in trees
Wind pushing against fence
Birds chirping
Cricket chirping (faint)
Construction work
Wind chimes
Cars driving (in distance)
Fly buzzing
Motorcycle (going fast)
Water hose
Dog barking

SEPT 23 – SOUNDS – 9:30PM – 9:35PM – Outside – Backyard – Clear Night
Pond waterfall (loud)
Crickets (lots!)
Eminem song playing
Someone cough
Gate rattling
Door open
Cars driving

You might also want to read:
Clutter and mind
Create space for clarity
How to reduce distractions and stay focused

23 September 2010

Drawing boundaries


Have you recently felt trapped, perhaps frustrated, angry or you found yourself doing things you didn’t really want to do?

If yes, then maybe it is time to think about your boundaries. Do you know what you want to let in and what you want to keep out in your current life. Have you verbalised your boundaries to others around you. Think of your partner, your children, your parents or people you work with.

Setting boundaries is an act of self-care and respect for yourself. It is about the things and behaviour you want and don’t want or just can’t do. Sometimes it is difficult to say no, because you might feel selfish or you feel you should do it. However, ask yourself, how much are you willing to accept, how much can you handle, how long, what has to give…

Start finding out about your boundaries, so that you can act according to them, more often. And don’t forget to educate others about them, so that they can respect them.

You might also want to read:
The art of saying no
Recipe for change

Image: Jilligan86
21 September 2010

Expertise and Barriers


The more insight we have in our field of expertise the more difficult it becomes to communicate those ideas clearly. (“The Curse of Knowledge” in Made to Stick)

Have you ever wondered who the expert is in your life?

It is you.

Unfortunately, your expertise can sometimes get in the way of engaging people to support you in times when you need it.

We know so much about our experiences, that we often assume others know too. We therefore expect them to understand how they can help us.

Yet, how can they. It is not them but you who has all the knowledge about what is going on – your thoughts, your feelings, your pain, your beliefs, your emotions, your experiences, your interpretations, your dreams, your hopes.

So, invite people to see beyond your surface. Make them your partner in helping you through a difficult time. Combine your and their expertise.


You can start with this fun exercise to learn how to explain to others what you know so well

Pick something you use day in day out. It should be so familiar to you that you don’t waste any thought on it. This could be the fork you eat with. The chair you sit on. Take one object and describe it to someone who has just landed from a far away planet and who has never seen or used this object.

You will realise how difficult it is to describe an object that is so ‘normal’ to you. Don’t give up, because you will also realise that you will come up with new insights about this object.


So, now try and take on the role of an outsider to describe one of your experiences. An experience only known to you.
Ask yourself what is it the other person needs to see and know in order to help you in a way the really supports you.

You might also want to read:
Who is on your support team
Waiting for …
5 ways to get unstuck

Image: Image source
9 September 2010

Recipe for change


Image: billionstrang
7 September 2010



I remember back then when cars refused to start on cold winter days. The motor was too cold to even give you one sound of hope.

However, there was a trick. Cars were equipped with a manual choke – a pull-out knob. When used correctly it helped the car get its engine going.

What, if you would have something like that up your sleeves? Every time you find yourself stuck in a habit, in a situation or in procrastination. You just use your tools and jump-start yourself out of it.

Think about the times when you don’t want to get out of the house for a walk, don’t feel like socialising or don’t seem to be able to act differently. What do you do to get yourself going?

Explore this, so that you can do what works for you in times when you need it.

You might also want to read:
Waiting for…
Dream, Dare, Do

Image: Some rights reserved by aldenjewell
2 September 2010

The window of assumptions


“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

Alan Alda

You might also want to read:
Do your believes support you or hold you back?

Image: Tony the Misfit
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