books

The age of generosity

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Some weeks ago, I read a wondeful book by Kathrine Aspaas. I dived into her book, and absolutely loved it. When we read the news, it`s easy to feel overwhelmed. There is so much pain, tragedy and suffering. But there is also hope. So many possibilities. She describes how our vulnerabilities are what makes us strong. If you have ever felt ashamed or like you have to hide, this book will lift your spirits. It might even free you.

I am including a ted-talk where she talks about the age of generosity. Maybe she will inspire you too?

Do you have any book recommendations for me?

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This year I’ve read over 90 books. Some in paper form, some as audiobooks. I use every opportunity I have: In my car, in between meetings and in the comfort of my bed. Some books have moved me deeply, some have taken me new places and some entertained me. Surely, some are already forgotten, and then I think: why did I waste my time on that book? Now I have a week to read a lot, and I don’t want to make the mistake of reading books that doesn’t give me anything. So my question to you is: Can you recommend a book to me? If you want to see books I’ve already read, feel free to check out my Goodreads account. 

Thanks in advance! 

My Goodreads page

The sound of originals

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Right now I am reading originals. It is an inspiring book that I already have learnt a lot from.

The #1 New York Times bestseller that examines how people can champion new ideas—and how leaders can fight groupthink, from the author of Give and Take

“Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

Originals is one of the most important and captivating books I have ever read, full of surprising and powerful ideas. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life. And it could very well inspire you to change your world.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. InOriginals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

Five wishes

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An encounter at a party changed Gay Hendricks forever. A stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and to consider this question:

“Was your life a complete success?” If not, then “What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?” Hendricks said his deepest wish was for a loving, lasting relationship with a woman. The stranger said, “turn that wish into a goal, and put it in the present tense.” On the spot, Hendricks came up with this goal, “I enjoy a happy marriage with a woman I adore and who adores me. I enjoy a lifelong blossoming of passion and creativity with her.” This goal helped him create his marriage to Kathlyn, the date he’d taken to the party, and during the past 27 years they’ve become well-known relationship experts and co-authors of 9 books together. This short, focused book shows readers how to discover their own five wishes for a fulfilled life.
Angela Loeb

Five wishes is a wonderful book. Books CAN change lives, and this one did that for me. Today I sat down to think about what my five wishes are. I am still not completely sure what they should be, but I am starting to get an idea:

  1. Doing research on EMDR
  2. I love my boyfriend and am building a life with him
  3. Continuing writing my book and publishing it
  4. Writing songs
  5. I enjoy helping others and will interview people about kind things they have done

This list must still be worked on, but I am getting there. The next step is to pinpoint how I can continue following my dreams, and what I should focus on first.

What are YOUR five wishes?

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I highly recommend this book

More:

My kindness project

Five wishes

One of the songs I have performed on “Smule”

Why I don`t like to cook

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I am a terrible cook. If somebody puts a knife in my hand to cut up vegetables, you can be sure that the vegetables will soon be on the floor. If you put a mixer in my hand, the content  will start decorating the kitchen walls.I am a terrible cook. I have even been on two cooking classes, but something always goes wrong. I burn what I am frying, overcook vegetables and add to much spice.

When I was at school, I was bullied when we were learning to cook. It started innocently, by a boy bringing to my attention that I had not set the table right. But it developed into commenting on everything I did: That I should not use scolding water when doing the dishes and that I cooked something for a minute to long. After a while, I dreaded those cooking lessons. I felt so stupid, and that is why I don`t like to cook today.

But two days ago, I decided to challenge myself after watching Masterchef, feeling inspired for once. So I bought in some new ingrediens for a salad and food for the grill. The weather was for once perfect so I could sit in the sun and chop to my hearts content. I tried to mix flavors that I was not sure would go well with each other, and chopped up the vegetables with just some minor accidents. No fingers were cut, instead heaps of  carrot, paprika and squash grew in front of me.  After 30 frustrating minutes of chopping, I was done and could eat the dinner I cooked for my boyfriend. Discovering that it actually tasted good, really surprised me. And my boyfriend, who cooks like a God, was satisfied too! A minor victory, but still an important one for me.

If you feel like giving up because you`re not good at something, don`t let that stop you. You might find you like it as you get better at it. Our sense of not being good at something, is too often linked with hopelessness. We often think there is no reason to try something we are not good at, because it feels frustrating to invest time and energy in something you feel you should do without any fuss. But that`s exactly why you should try. The feeling of mastery after struggling is indescribable. Nothingham describes this very well in his book “Challenging learning”. By doing the things we`re not good at, we grow. And even if cooking food won’t change the world, it will surely give me joy when I can start experimenting and actually produce tasty dishes that my friends can enjoy. And life is about these small victories. Its about reaching our potentials and learn as much as we can.

The Learning Challenge with James Nottingham from Challenging Learning on Vimeo.

More:
James Nottingham 

Without me

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I am not the lash in your eye, the impediment in your mouth.

Without me you have no companion but your own shadow.

Jack Weatherford, Djengis Khan

No-drama discipline

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The sound of five wishes

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I have just read “Five Wishes” a book that spoke directly to my psychologist’s heart.

Five wishes ask the question: Picture yourself on your deathbed. did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish? if not, what were the things that you regret not doing ?

5 Wishes is a simple way to get what you want. Each step is plainly made and easily followed. Reading it I can feel some of what he is saying flow over me, and I’m getting those occasional twinges of excitement which are all too rare as I become more cynical. Reading 5 wishes let me be innocent again, and ready to accept the changes into my life I need to make so when I’m asked the question at the beginning, I can say “Yes.”
If you’re in a rut, read this book. If you are not feeling satisfied with life, read this book. If you are not totally happy and connected with yourself, with the joy of living and with the rest of creation, you need to read this book.
Richard

kareem

An encounter at a party changed Gay Hendricks forever. A stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and to consider this question:

“Was your life a complete success?” If not, then “What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?” Hendricks said his deepest wish was for a loving, lasting relationship with a woman. The stranger said, “turn that wish into a goal, and put it in the present tense.” On the spot, Hendricks came up with this goal, “I enjoy a happy marriage with a woman I adore and who adores me. I enjoy a lifelong blossoming of passion and creativity with her.” This goal helped him create his marriage to Kathlyn, the date he’d taken to the party, and during the past 27 years they’ve become well-known relationship experts and co-authors of 9 books together. This short, focused book shows readers how to discover their own five wishes for a fulfilled life (as well as to read the stories of all five of Hendricks’s wishes). Neale Donald Walsch’s thoughtful foreword explores the power of this approach and explains why he insisted Hendricks share it with others.

 

The book on goodreads

Help for the helper

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We have many great therapists in Norway, and through courses and education I sometimes meet some of them. It`s often very inspiring, since they knit their theories together with their work in exciting tapestries. Last year we were on a lecture by a therapist called Per Isdal. He worked with violent men, and talked about compassion fatigue and the perils our work entails.

Yesterday we had a meeting were one of the lead psychiatrist at our clinic, talked about the same theme, and we had to fill out a questionnaire that asked about felt tiredness, stress and satisfaction with our work. Luckily I was in the “no risk” group, which I think comes from the meaning I derive from my work. I truly feel that I can help, and nothing is better than seeing my clients blossoming. To see them walking towards happiness inspire of the pain, is an honor, and I try to remember that every time I`m afraid, have too much to do, or just think about everything that is wrong with the world. I also think that going to lectures and reading relevant books, has helped support my sanity and ability to help.

Help for the helper

I`ve read many good books this year, and one of them is “Help for the helper”. It is packed with quality advice and knowledge, and is also easy to read. P. Isdal recommended it himself, so I immediately ordered it and prioritized reading it. The ideas from the book were reawakened today, after reading “treating complex PTSD`by Courtis and Ford. I came to a part about sensorimotor psychotherapy, and it reminded me on features from “help for the helper”. I then remembered one of the sessions where I applied the theory, and wanted to share it with you. Some have said it would be good if I shared more from my clinical practice, and I want to do that, at the same time as I keep the privacy of my client and duty of confidentiality.

 

We all have needs

We have thousand needs that we need to navigate around like a surfer keeping his balance in the waves.  Trauma-patients who dissociate find this harder than most: They can be immersed in something so intensely, that they forget to eat, be social or even sleep. When this happens a lot, the body and mind`s needs create a state of constant tension.

Most people know that balance is important; If we only eat sugar, we need salt. If we never saw white, we wouldn`t understand black. This principle of balance also has a name: Homeostasis. Homeostasis regulates a lot of the body`s needs, and also kicks in when people develop addictions and is generally alarmed when we start to veer too far away from the golden “middle way”.

When we struggle for balance

But what if this fine-tuned system malfunctioned, since you had to keep needs separated to survive? For children who`re abused or neglected, it is indeed often necessary to ignore certain needs because having them is associated with danger. If neglect and abuse has been severe, they might split feelings, needs and actions apart from each other, and the machinery that once went smoothly, starts to misbehave. Many of them don`t register what happens with their bodies at all, especially after sexual abuse. It`s better to  float above the body and it`s feelings, than to experience and face the abuse. The only problem is: Some part of the body remembers anyway, and those parts also have needs.

Working with abuse is a lot about listening to signals from the body again, and that means that we have to explore memories and feelings that might awaken fright or terror.

How I used the book to help both myself and my clients

To help my patients explore their own needs, I have to use myself: What happens inside me? What can I notice from their words and body-language? For example: When they talk, without  emotions about how they could not escape from a violent father, and at the same time raise their hand a little, I might say: “I see you`re raising your hand. What do you want to do with that hand? Can you complete the movement”? If they do, they might discover that they wanted to raise their hand, to protect themselves. By directing attention to this movement, and asking them if they could just do what they want, they might actually do just that and then feel better afterwards. Instead of frozen terror, some control returns.

An example of an emotional reaction I often see with clients, is shame. It can for example come when they finally manage to say something that scared them to say. Their initial reaction will often be looking down. They “shrink” together as if to protect themselves, and don`t meet my eyes. This is understandable, since their innocent gaze was met with hatred or ridicule before. Shame is many clients middle name, and I wish I could have been there when the mis-labeling happened.

Unfortunately, I can`t go back in time, but I can do everything I can to help them live the life they never had.

So there they sit, weighted down by shame and fear. I look at them, seeing the little child that never got what it needed. And so, softly I ask: Do you dare to look at me now? Painfully slow they turn their heads toward me.

Changing yesterday by being in the now

In addition to using their body-signals as a compass that shows me where they are and need to go, I also use my personal reactions to enlighten me about their feelings. I might sit there, and suddenly realize that I`m gritting my teeth. My reaction to this can be telling them about it. “Do you know what just happened? I suddenly find I`m sitting here with my teeth clenched”. A client can then look at me in surprise and say: “I do too!”

By being observant on what happens inside me, I actually help them realize what happens with them. It can be subtle things: That I suddenly breathe slower, or that I need to push my chair back, or maybe that I feel uncomfortable. When I get unusual reactions like, I ask myself like Rotschild recommends: What is going on right now? Maybe I have picked up on something they are feeling?

Working and thinking about this has been as surprising for me as it for them. It shows how easily we are influenced by others.

More:

Homeostasis Refers to More Than Just The Planet

Interview with Patricia Smith: Founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

  Review: Hem Helpers Do Their Job at a Great Price (stilettojungleblog.com)

How Do You Know Your Shrink Is Helping You? (psychologytoday.com)

Some part of the body remembers

Courtis and Ford

You Will Help Others 

Daily Prompt

Want a preview of my book?

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This eastern I will work with completing my book. It`s based on this blog, and I have now come so far that I want to publish the first part. But: I need to proofread it, and doing it myself is quite hopeless as my writing-skills are still at a basic level. So if you want to have an exclusive preview of my book, please do contact me at forfreepsychology@gmail.com.

You can also reach me on Facebook by following this link