To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe – to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it – is a wonder beyond words.? Joanna Macy
To overcome trauma you need to wake up your body again. So that you can really take pleasure in the small things of life, and learn again to pay attention to yourself.
All over the world, except in [North-]America and Europe, are people singing and moving and dancing together in response to trauma, to re-establish a sense of harmony.– Bessel van der Kolk, Cumulative Effect of Trauma from the Collective Trauma Summit
Do we live within a Matrix-like simulation?
We cannot really know. Even if a Morpheus comes to rescue us, we cannot know that that world is the real one.
And we do know that our perception of the world is filtered through our very limited senses, is pieced together by our brain, and is strongly colored by and filtered through our conscious and less conscious assumptions about ourselves and the world. In a very real sense, we are – collectively and individually – living within our own virtual simulation.
In short, we cannot trust any of the content of our experience. We cannot trust our senses. We cannot trust our interpretations, thoughts, and views about it.
So is there anything we can know for certain? Yes, fortunately. We can trust what we are. We can trust what the content of our experience happens within and as.
We can have fun with how we phrase this:
The content of our experience is unreliable and cannot be trusted. We can only trust what we are.
We can also say that who we are, and the world this character lives within, is notoriously unreliable and cannot be trusted. We can only trust what we are.
Many gurus claim they are straight shooters: they say what they think without inhibition or filters. But if they dish it out, they should be able to take it. They should embody tolerance.
But most of the time, critical gurus don’t tolerate criticism very well. One way to check is to watch how the guru handles bad publicity. Check the Internet to see whether he or she has ever been met with scandal, and if so, how did he or she react?
How a person handles praise and criticism, gain and loss, fame and insignificance, happiness and suffering is all very telling.Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, The Guru Drinks Bourbon?
I am in Oslo with a group of friends, and there are many activities – buying a house, swimming, art and so on. Through it all, I notice a slight sense of hopelessness or even mild depression. It’s as if the future is a fog, and I don’t have the zest I like to have.
This is close to the top of my list of issues to explore. A slight sense of hopelessness. A mild depression. A lack of zest.
It’s understandable considering my health challenges, the old traumas that surfaced over the last years, and leaving my inner guidance on a major life decision some years before that. And yet, it’s an issue that can be explored and it’s good to do just that.
When I say explore, I mean different things: Get to know, find some origins of (in my timeline and in terms of underlying issues), befriend, allow, change my relationship to, explore my fears around, and – over time – invite to heal.
I may have had this dream this morning since I have hoped to work on this slight background depression and lack of zest this weekend, including receiving a Vortex Healing session on its divine choice points (the divine decisions for this part of the divine – me – to have this experience for a while).
The dream was quite beautiful, rich, and interesting, and with this slight cloud of listlessness over my experience. It highlights an aspect of my daily life experience these days.
What is wholeness?
There are several forms of wholeness, all part of the main form of wholeness.
There is the wholeness of what we are. We are that which the content of our experience happens within and as, whether we call this awakeness, consciousness, or something else. This makes our experience into a seamless whole, whether we notice or not.
As soon as the mind believes its thoughts and latches onto the viewpoints of some of these thoughts, there is an experience of fragmentation and it’s more difficult to notice what we are.
The process of what we are noticing itself is called awakening. And the process of living from this in more situations in our life is called embodiment.
There is also a wholeness of who we are, as this human self. Again, the wholeness is already here. And yet, there is also a sense of fragmentation since we tend to identify with some of who we are and disown or ignore other parts of who we are. The process of finding our wholeness as who we are is what Jung called individuation.
There is also the wholeness of the world and the universe. The Earth is one seamless living and evolving system. The universe is also one seamless evolving system. And we – as human individuals and species with our culture – are an intrinsic part of those systems.
Finally, there is the wholeness of all of existence. Whether we use a small (psychological) or big (spiritual) interpretation of awakening, we can say that all of existence is one. We can also say that everything is existence exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself.
How do we explore these forms of wholeness? I have written many articles on each of them but I’ll say a few words here.
To explore the wholeness of what we are, we can use inquiry (Headless experiments, Big Mind Process, Living Inquiries, etc.), often combined with meditation (basic meditation, quiet prayer, training stable attention), and perhaps mindful movement (yoga, taichi, Breema, etc.).
To explore the wholeness of who we are, we can use psychology (parts work, shadow work, projection work), bodywork, relationship work, and more.
When we explore the wholeness of Earth and the universe, we can use systems views and integral (aqal) maps.
And what about the wholeness of all of existence? It includes all of the above, although we can most directly explore it as we explore what we are.
Note: The examples of approaches above are just the ones I have found useful. What works for you may be different, and what I use in the future will probably also change as I discover other approaches.Read More
I had a conversation with a friend the other day, and she brought up how some use psychological insights to excuse their own or another’s behavior.
For me, it’s a reminder that we are all fully responsible for our own behavior, and yet our behavior – including the unkind and confused one – is understandable and has explanations.
To heal, we typically need to address both.
We need to take full responsibility for our own behavior. I made that choice. Nobody and nothing “forced” me to make it. I can’t blame anyone or anything.
And we need to understand some of where it came from. It’s helpful to understand it on the story level in terms of origins, reasons and so on. And it’s very helpful to frame this in a kind way, also because that’s closer to reality. So often, we find that what we regret the most or are most ashamed of is innocent. It was a confused and innocent way to try to deal with our life and pain, although it may have created (triggered) a lot of pain for ourselves and perhaps others.
Taking responsibility without this understanding can be harsh and crushing. And having some of this understanding without taking responsibility is a cop-out and prevents us from changing and healing. We need both.
This also goes for how I relate to others. I can seek to understand some of why they behave the way they do. I can know that if I more fully understood, I would have empathy for them. And I also see and know they are fully responsible for their own actions.Read More
I love Life 101 topics. The ones that are simple, practical, and can change your life.
This is one for when I notice a should. When I feel I should do something and notice tension or stress.
The original thought may be: I should go to the presentation.
Change it: I can go to the presentation if I want.
Check it (a): I can go to the presentation if I want, and I want to. Notice how it feels in the body.
Check it (b): I can go to the presentation if I want, and I don’t want to. Notice how it feels in the body.
Which one allows the body to relax? Which one is true for me?
This is a very good little exercise: It’s simple. It can be done in a few seconds in just about any situation. It shifts our thinking from a should to a can and a want. And we check in with our body to see what’s true for us.
The body relaxes when we find what’s true for us. It can breathe. Release. Let go.
This is a form of inquiry, and I think it’s from cognitive therapy and/or ACT. It’s also similar to the I should -> I want to because inquiry where we list reasons and see if they hold up. They are both useful although I like this one since it makes use of checking in with the body and learning to trust the body. There is a part of our mind that knows what’s true for us and this is reflected in the body.
I enjoy watching Fool Us with Penn & Teller and also learning how the tricks may be done. (Often, there are several ways to do each trick.)
One thing I pay attention to is the audience reaction. Sometimes, the strongest audience reaction is to tricks with an amazing effect but disappointing method. (For instance, when the magician surreptitiously instructs an audience member in what to say or do.)
Other times, the method of the trick is as or even more amazing than the effect. These are typically tricks that take years to master like Kostya Kimlat’s third performance and The Evansons. They are both impressive although the first has a simple method and the second a complex method.
Life is full of magic tricks from the big magic trick of anything existing at all to the myriads of smaller magic tricks of how life expresses itself.
One of the magic tricks of our mind is of special interest to us. The effect is the mind creating a temporary experience for itself of ultimately being a small part of the world. And a related effect is the mind believing a thought (taking it as true), identifying with the viewpoint of thoughts, and creating emotional issues, hangups, and traumas. The method is the same for both, and the second creates the first, so it’s really one and the same trick.
We can discover how the mind does this trick. We can learn the theory of it, which is a starting point. And, more importantly, we can explore it in real-time, as it happens, in our own experience.
The best way to do this may be to mentally divide our experience into sense fields and then see how these combine to create our experience. It’s slightly arbitrary how we divide up the sense fields (e.g. taste, smell, sight, sound, sensation, thought), although the two important ones are sensation and thought (mental images and words).
I initially explored this through traditional Buddhist inquiry and more recently through the contemporary version called Living Inquiries.
When we explore this, often over and over, in our own experience, we learn to recognize the magic trick and how it is performed. Our mind gradually becomes less fascinated with the effect and less caught up in it. The charge that made the effect seem real gradually goes out of it.
(This is partly because we recognize that the charge comes from the mind associating certain sensations with certain thoughts, and the sensations lend a sense of reality and truth to the thoughts, and the thoughts lend a sense of meaning to the sensations. When we see that the connection is only an association, it’s easier to recognize sensations as sensations and thoughts as thoughts, and we are no longer so caught up in the effect of the magic trick.)
The effect of this trick is certainly amazing. It’s the One creating an experience for itself of being separate and one among many.
And what about the method? Is it disappointing or amazing? In my experience, it’s both. It can be almost laughably simple when we first discover it. And yet, it’s also impressive in its simplicity, elegance, and effectiveness.
P.S. The Evansons is an amazing act, and – as mentioned above – they use a complex method (system of verbal cues) which requires years of practice in order to appear smooth and effortless. They say they do mentalism, and we can see that as either a tongue-in-cheek white lie that’s part of the performance, as misdirection, or as a mostly innocent bordering-on-unethical form of deception. I am with P&T and prefer when the magicians/mentalists are more transparent and tell the audience what they are doing, or – in this case – what they are not doing, without necessarily revealing the method.Read More
I thought I would write a few words about my personal relationship with Vortex Healing.
In my thirty+ years of exploring approaches to awakening and healing, I have not found anything as powerful as Vortex Healing. Each approach has its own strength, and they complement each other, so I am not abandoning anything. But I use Vortex Healing as my main tool these days because it’s most effective and versatile.
I can use it to clear and energize my energy system, work on organs and systems in the body, clear emotional issues and identifications, facilitate life situations, and more. And for each of these, it’s generally more effective than anything else I have found.
I trust it because I notice the effects when I work on myself. I see the effects when others receive sessions. I can see the energy that’s channeled and the effects reflected in changes in the aura of the one receiving it. I compare what I sense with other VH practitioners, including when I work with someone else on a client, and it’s typically a close match.
When I first encountered Vortex Healing, I was very skeptical. I know that distance and energy healing works. I have done it on my own since my teens and seen the effects. But the more formal approaches to energy healing I have found has often left me unimpressed, and I have seen and experienced unfortunate consequences of receiving a session. (My system has gone haywire after receiving sessions from some modalities).
So when I was offered a free session, I initially said no. Looking at the website only confirmed to me that I wasn’t interested. But after talking with the VH practitioner a bit, seeing that he seemed to have a grounded and balanced approach to it, and him emphasizing that there is a built-in balancing and harmonizing aspect of Vortex Healing, I decided to give it a go.
The session was amazing. I felt the energy working in me and moving from one area of my body and the energy system to the next. I felt much better after the session. And when I woke up the following day, I felt like a new person. Or – in a way – more like my old self before I had my more recent stronger phase of CFS. My digestion was also much better.
It felt like such a good match, and so much like what I had been looking for and knew had to be out there, that I decided to sign up for the next foundational class given in my area.
When I did my first VH class for awakening, I was similarly skeptical but again was very impressed. For me, the class helped my system settle and it cleaned out and harmonized some of the things that had gone a bit haywire in my system during the initial spontaneous awakening many years earlier.
So that is, in a nutshell, my experience with Vortex Healing. I am sure it will change and evolve, as everything does. It may not even be something I’ll do for the rest of my life, or it may not be the main approach I use for the rest of my life. But for now, I am very grateful for it in my life and use it (nearly) daily for myself and others.Read More
It’s a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research and study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other.– Aldous Huxley
This is one of my favorite quotes so I am pretty sure I have posted it before. It doesn’t hurt to post it again.
So often, we think the answer we are looking for is complicated. We need to heal some complex trauma. We need to awaken. We need to embody more. We need to read a few more books. We need to understand and apply the integral view. And perhaps we don’t even know where to start with any of this.
And yet, there is one answer that immediately feels true. (At least for me). An answer that’s simple. Is understandable for just about all humans. And applies to everyone. And that is to be a little kinder to each other.
Of course, I can’t determine how others live their lives. But I can use it as a guide for myself. Right now, how can I move in the direction of being a little more kind to me? What would be a little more kind to those around me?
I can use my body as a guide. When I look at the different options for what to say or do, or what thoughts to fuel, what allows my body to relax? My body knows. My body shows the way. At least when approached with some sincerity.
In a Vortex Healing session, we typically spend some time energizing the system first. Then, we’ll move on to what the session is mainly for, whether it’s a situation, a physical issue, or an emotional issue. If needed, the session may mainly energize, and a whole series of sessions may mainly focus on energizing. It’s well worth it.
What parts of the system do we focus on? We typically bring up the energy of the energy channels and chakras. We may optimize cellular function. We may bring up more basic energies like prenatal jing, kidney essence, and the constitutional energy of the energy channels and important organs (kidneys, lungs). And there are several other parts of the energy system we can focus on depending on what’s needed and how deep we want to go.
Why is energizing important? Energizing helps the system with just about anything. It helps the system better make use of the healing we do for a specific issue. It helps it deal with stress, life challenges, physical healing, and healing of emotional issues.
What is my experience with energizing? I have worked systematically on energizing my system over the last three years, and especially the last year. I notice a huge difference. My system feels much more light, clear, and balanced. When I am more energized, my CFS symptoms lessen. I feel more whole, centered, and grounded. And I am in a better place to respond to life situations and flow with life.
I saw someone ask: is this a core issue for me?
What is a core issue?
For me, I think of them as central issues. Issues that are central to who I take myself to be. Issues that have a general impact on my daily life. Issues that are often tied into many other issues – they are networked, have branches, roots and so on. And they are often universal. Shared by many or most humans and ingrained in our culture one way or another.
Some examples of typical core issues in our culture: Fear of rejection. Low self-worth. Define ourselves by our actions and accomplishments.
In contrast, peripheral issues are less central to who I take myself to be. It has less of a general impact on my daily life and tends to be triggered only in specific situations. And they appear more isolated and less tied in with other issues. Although if we explore them, they often lead to more central issues.
Of course, the separation into central and peripheral issues is mind-made and imagined. It’s fuzzy. It’s a matter of definition. It’s there just as a general guide. Sometimes helpful, sometimes less so.
For me, the distinction is mostly helpful in prioritizing what to work on. I’ll generally choose to work on more central issues, although sometimes it’s important to work on the more peripheral ones as well.
I should also mention that if I notice I am reluctant to work on one of my own issues, and it’s difficult for me to do so when I finally get to it, it’s more likely to be a central issue. The peripheral ones are usually easier and more enjoyable to work on. So if it’s a central issue for me, I may get someone else to facilitate me in inquiring into it, or do Vortex Healing for it.
This is also why we often end up working a lot on our peripheral issues and put off working on the central ones. It’s easier to work on what’s less central to who I take myself to be. And that’s another reason why being aware of this (mind-made) difference between central and peripheral issues can be helpful.
Which category do I tend to work on? Perhaps I need to acknowledge my fear of working on the more central issues? Perhaps it will be easier for me if I ask for help to work on them?
So what about the initial question: is this a core issue for me? Only you will know. But if it’s central to who you take yourself to be, colors your daily life, seem tied into other issues, and it’s difficult for you to get to know or work, then it may be a central issue. If so, and you want to explore it, it may be good to ask for assistance.Read More
In our culture, we train our body, we train skills, we even train mindfulness and more stable attention.
So why not train our eyes and our visual system? It seems to be – pardon the pun – a blind spot in our culture. And a big opportunity for future business. (Free business idea.)
I got into training my eyes and visual system in my twenties, first through Feldenkrais exercises and then through the Bates Method and especially the Janet Goodrich version.
Here is my journey in a nutshell: I first got glasses in my teens. Took a series of Feldenkrais classes in my mid-twenties. In one class, I was the only student and had done it regularly for a year or so, so my instructor decided to do something for the eyes. At some point during the class, I had a surge of very uncomfortable emotional energy, and it seems clearly connected with the eyes. I assume it was some sort of release.
Within a couple of weeks, I sat on my (antique!) glasses and they broke. I scheduled an appointment with an optometrist to see what eyeglass prescription I needed. She said: “your eyes are fine, you don’t need glasses”. I asked “does it happen that the eyes improve or heal themselves over time” and she said, “no, it can’t happen”. Although, obviously it did happen. I then got into the Bates Method and used that off and on for a while.
I don’t know if I can say much that’s not covered well by others. I find the Janet Goodrich exercises especially appealing and fun, more like playing than exercising. It seems helpful to explore any emotional issues that may be connected with vision problems and invite in healing for these.
And it seems obvious that we can train our eyes and visual system, similar to how we can train our body and mind in general.
Personally, I have just started to work on my vision more systematically with Vortex Healing and Living Inquiries. With Vortex Healing, I energize the visual system, clear conditioning contributing to poor eyesight, and explore and invite in healing for any emotional issues contributing to poor eyesight. I may also explore these issues with Living Inquiries.
My eyes are still pretty good, even if it’s been some years since I did the Bates Method regularly. I don’t need glasses. I see what I need to see. Although my vision is slightly fuzzy at a distance, and I notice that my vision goes a bit blurry when I am more fatigued.
Note: I should mention that it’s mostly the most common forms of blurry vision that can be helped by training our vision or sight. Some eye or sight problems obviously need other approaches, perhaps even surgery.Read More
Since I am exploring chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) more these days, I thought I would write a few posts on it. This and other topics are mentioned in my article on the CFS retreat.
With CFS, there are three forms of rest: after, before, and extra.
Resting after an activity is the after rest. This usually takes care of itself. I do something. Feel tired or exhausted. And need to rest. Often, I don’t have a choice.
Resting before a planned activity is the before rest. I rest for hours, days, weeks, or months before a planned activity so I’ll be able to do it. I rest a lot anyway so this is on top of the baseline rest.
Resting on top of these two types of rest is the extra rest. This is the rest that allows the body to heal and restore itself. It’s the rest I do when I could do something else but know that this extra rest is vital for restoring my body and allowing it to heal.
As I mentioned, the after rest usually takes care of itself. I don’t have much choice but to rest after activity. The before rest is something I have learned and it feels relatively ingrained now.
It’s the extra or healing rest I want to pay more attention to. This is the one I want to program myself to do more of. I notice I have energy to do something, and I still chose to rest. I chose to not spend the little energy I have right away. I chose to invest it in allowing my body to build up resources to heal.
A while back, my herbalist told me to spend only half of the energy I feel I can spend. That’s very good advice and something I am still learning.
When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.– Steve Jobs, from an interview
Everything that’s part of our culture was made up by and passed on by people like you and me. Words. Ideas. Norms. Expectations. How we do things. All our assumptions about the world. Even all our assumptions about ourselves and who and what we are.
We are trained to think we can’t question it, and that’s part of our culture too. That’s part of what was created and passed on by people like you and me. And people like you and me can – and do – question it. See through it. Change it.
After being officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue (CFS) in Norway, I was offered to participate in a four-week course for CFS. I think of it more as a CFS retreat, and I thought I would share a few impressions from it here.
The retreat is held at a rehabilitation center in southern Norway specializing in, among other things, chronic fatigue. The location is by a lake in a peaceful and beautiful valley. Everything was paid by the government, including transportation to and from the center. (I like that we collectively in Norway contribute to these things and decide it’s important.)
We have our own rooms (spacious, clean, quiet), four healthy and delicious meals a day, and there are several common areas. For those with food intolerances – which is most of us with CFS – they prepare special meals. They also have a quiet room for those who needed peaceful meals.
The CFS staff is professional, personable, kind, and with a very good understanding of CFS and its challenges, and what typically helps people with CFS.
The schedule is gentle. Four meals a day. A class (workshop) three times a week following breakfast. Mindfulness. Mindful movement. Some gentle activities in nature.
We can have the food delivered to our room if we feel it’s too much to do it ourselves. And we can ask to have someone change our sheets and towels.
I had special meals (without wheat or dairy). And I prioritized the classes and sometimes rested instead of participating in the mindfulness.
There will be a follow-up two-week retreat sometime next year.
When I looked into the different locations for CFS-courses in Norway, this one stood out. Past participants gave it almost exclusively positive reviews. And I have to say I am very impressed by the staff, the place, and what I have gotten out of it. I am very grateful for having been given the opportunity to be here.
I know some people experience a worsening after participating in a CFS course, although I suspect it happens less often here than other places. The staff call potential participants in advance to screen them and make sure (as well as they can) that they have a high enough capacity to participate and get something out of it without worsening. (Or, at least, not more than we can recover from relatively quickly.)
During the course, the staff strongly encourage us to pay attention to early symptoms of doing too much and stay within what we are able to do without risking crashing. We are encouraged to create a schedule for ourselves we are comfortable with. (I am on a reduced schedule.)
And whenever we say no to an event because we need to rest, we receive strong positive reinforcement for doing so. After all, learning just that is one of the reasons we are here. And by resting instead of overdoing it, we set a good example for the other participants.
WHAT I GOT OUT OF IT
For me, what I appreciated the most was to be understood – by the staff and my fellow CFS participants. So I felt normal. I didn’t have to explain. I didn’t have to worry I wouldn’t be understood. I didn’t have to worry about what they would think when I had to choose to rest instead of participating in an event or social activities.
Most of the content was familiar to me, but it was very helpful to go through it, have conversations about it, and have the importance of it reinforced.
In the long term, I hope to learn to stabilize better and avoid frequent crashes, especially since this is essential for giving my body enough rest so it can gradually heal itself.
The main emphasis is to learn and use strategies that improve our quality of life and give our body the best opportunity to gradually heal itself.
Stay within a level of activity so we avoid crashes. (Taking the elevator down to the basement.) Sometimes, we may choose to do a little more, but in general stay within a range that gives stability. This gives the body an opportunity to gradually heal instead of frequently having to use resources to recover from crashes.
Notice the early signs of needing to rest and take these seriously. If we had diabetes, we would take insulin as soon as we needed to. It’s the same for CFS. As soon as we notice we need our medicine, which is rest, then take it. Prioritize it.
Reduce stress, including in the following ways:
(a) We learned to recognize stressful thoughts and what they do to our emotions, symptoms, and behavior. And replace these with more realistic thoughts that are more kind, calms down our system, and lead to behavior that helps us rest and take care of ourselves.
(b) We found and prioritized our personal values (what’s important to us), and learned how following “shoulds” create stress while following our values calms the system.
(c) We learned basic mindfulness and noticing and allowing thoughts, emotions, and sensations, and that we are not any of those. And that fighting discomfort and reality create stress while noticing, allowing, and befriending discomfort and the reality of our situation calms our system.
(d) We explored that we are all 100% valuable independent of what we can or cannot do, and what we think and feel about how valuable we are. We all agree that babies are 100% valuable even if they can’t do much and create work for others, so when do we lose that value? It’s only in our thoughts and feelings we reduce our value, while in reality we keep our 100% value.Read More
I started seeing energies when I was fifteen. And when I started doing tai chi and chigong in my late teens, I noticed that the etheric body – the part of the aura that is closest to the physical body – was bright, strong, and relatively dense for people who had done a lot of tai chi, chigong, yoga, and similar practices.
Now, when I use Vortex Healing for my etheric body, it has a slightly different result. My etheric body is more clear, less dense, and extend a few centimeters further out from the physical body.
One is not “better” than the other. Through movement-oriented mindfulness practices, we become more aware of our physical body and embody it more fully and more consciously, and that’s reflected in the brightness and density. Through Vortex Healing, we clear and optimize the etheric body, which makes it look a bit different.
When it comes to how far from the physical body the etheric body extends, I would say 1-1.5cm through body-centered practices, and 2-3cm after Vortex Healing. That’s just what seems typical and what I have noticed from my own system.
Writing about healing and awakening is a bit like writing a guidebook. We know there is a lot we don’t know about the place, and there may be others who know more about it in general, or who know more about different parts of it. But we (hopefully!) have been there, we have some experience with it, and the little we know may be helpful to others.
Also, when we write a guidebook, we focus on what we have a particular interest in – whether it’s the history, art, nature, food, or something else. And for someone out there, our approach may be a good fit.
Guidebooks don’t pretend to be complete or the final word about a place. They are incomplete, selective, written from our own interests, experiences, and limitations, and they need to be regularly updated. And that’s also how it is with guidebooks for healing and awakening.
Guidebooks are also typically written by people who know just enough about the place. While many who know as much or more about the place do not write about it. And that too is the same with guidebooks for healing and awakening. It doesn’t mean that guidebooks are not useful. Just that the authors of guidebooks may not be the ones who are most familiar with the place.
People who read guidebooks know the difference between reading about a place and actually going there. Again, that’s the same for healing and awakening. The guidebook is a good initial orientation and can be helpful – for some things and in a limited way – when we go there.
Guidebooks can be very useful and even essential. I usually read one or more before going to a new place, and I sometimes read them for places I am quite familiar with. And when it comes to guidebooks for healing and awakening, it can be helpful to recognize that they are not that different from guidebooks to physical places.
I thought I would write a few notes on how I am currently working on my chronic fatigue (CFS).
I mostly use the following approaches: Vortex Healing which is a very powerful form of energy work. Living Inquiries which is a modern form of traditional Buddhist inquiry. Natural Rest. (Basic Meditation). And sometimes ho’oponopno, parts work (Big Mind process), and other approaches described on this website.
Now and then, I check for the Epstein Barr virus to see if it’s back. If it is, I channel to remove it. (Happened last winter/spring.) I also check for Lyme. If it’s active, I channel so it goes back to a dormant state. I use Vortex Healing for this, and sometimes have another Vortex Healer do it for me since that’s easier.
I use Vortex Healing to work on clearing, energizing, and optimizing my energy system.
Almost daily, I spend some time optimizing all body energies, the energy system in general, and my system as a whole. I also check the different parts of the energy system, organs, and parts of the body (like cells, mitochondria) and work on the parts and connections that need extra attention.
This summer, I focused on the deeper and more fundamental parts of the energy system: pre-natal jing, kidney essence, the constitutional energies of the energy pathways (meridians, voridians, kundalini) and the organs (primarily kidneys and lungs), and the energy production of the cells.
I plan to work more on the kidneys, nervous system, and digestive system.
My energy system feels much better than it used to and seems to be in an overall good state. For some reason, this hasn’t translated into more energy in my daily life. That’s why my next step is focusing on the fight/flight/freeze (FFF) response and any emotional issues that may contribute to an overactive FFF and the CFS (fatigue, brain fog).
I plan to work more directly on the flight/fight/freeze (FFF) response using Vortex Healing. The FFF response is often chronically engaged and overactive for people with CFS, and is for me too. I’ll work on the FFF response in general. Some of the different systems that are part of the FFF (nervous system, endocrine, etc.). And any traumas and emotional issues contributing to an overactive FFF response.
I have mainly worked on my energy system the last few months, and it’s now time to work more systematically on any emotional issues that may impact the FFF and CFS.
Using Vortex Healing, I intend for the energy to work on the emotional issue most impacting my energy system (or fatigue, brain fog). The energy goes there even if I don’t consciously know what it is, and I usually get a sense of what it is after a while.
Some specific issues I’ll work on with Vortex Healing and Living Inquiries: Wanting to hide from life (and childhood experiences related to that fear). Feeling off track (as I did both at the onset of CFS and when it returned many years later). Fears of the illness. Fear of being healthy. Fear of allowing and befriending what’s here – my situation, my discomfort – more fully.
On my list is also to explore my willingness to heal, and any fears connected with it. To work more systematically on any issues that may have triggered the initial onset when I was fifteen. (Fear of adult life, etc.) And look at any resistance to the illness so I can find more genuine peace with it as it is.
Although last year has been difficult for me healthwise, I am generally quite optimistic. I know I can have a good quality of life even with CFS, and I know that with proper rest and continuing healing the different aspects that may contribute to the CFS, there is a good chance I’ll gradually get better.
Inquiry on a recurrent childhood dream. In the dream, I fall through darkness, look down, and see a witch grinning up at me while stirring a cauldron. I am about to fall into the cauldron.
Look at the image of the witch grinning up at you, stirring the cauldron. Look at the lines, colors, textures.
What happens? I feel sensations in the chest, throat, face. Not very strong.
Feel the sensations. Rest with them.
What do you notice? A contraction in the solar plexus area and also more in the middle of the belly.
Feel those sensations too. Rest with all of them.
What do you notice? I see an image of my mother when I was little. (The age when I had the dreams.) I see how she (sometimes) relates to my father. With contempt.
Is it an image? Several images? Two images, one of her, and one of her relating to him with contempt.
Look at both images, side by side. The lines, colors, textures, background. The space they are within.
What do you notice? I notice that in the image where she relates to my father with contempt, I see her as a witch.
Listen to the words “my mother is a witch”. What happens? I feel sensations all over the body. A heaviness. Pressure. Sadness. Grief. Fear.
Feel the sensations.
Do you notice anything? Yes, I feel trapped. I see a dark image and feel trapped within it.Read More
Continued from previous posts…. These posts are collections of brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include a few short personal notes as well.
Climate crisis is irrelevant….sort of. Since I first heard about climate change in my teens, I have had the same view on it as I do now. We have to change into a sustainable culture and society anyway, we have to do it soon, and we have to do it for innumerable reasons.
Climate change is just one reason so we don’t need to get too caught up in discussions of whether it’s happening (which it obviously is) and whether it’s human-made (which it obviously is). Focusing too much on those questions is a distraction. And that’s obviously why some – especially the petroleum industry – want to have that discussion. They want to sow just enough confusion, doubt, and strife to derail – or at least delay – action.
There are innumerable reasons why we need to transform our culture and society. Some have to do with what any sane person and society would want to avoid: toxins in our water, air, soil, and bodies; illnesses because of those toxins; death of insects and all the animals and plants dependent on insects; loss of ecosystems; loss of species; and so on. Some have to do with what we want: a society and culture that’s life-centered; that thrives; that recognizes that a society that’s ecologically sustainable, that is more socially just and inclusive, that takes care of those with the least, and where there is less gap between the rich and poor, is a society that’s better for all of us.
And there is really just one reason: We live in a system that doesn’t take ecological and physical realities into account and didn’t need to when it was created. And now – with a dramatically increased population and more powerful technology – we do need to.
In that sense, climate change is irrelevant. We have to make the same changes anyway and for a lot of other reasons. In another sense, climate change – or climate crisis – is important because it’s getting a lot of attention and it does show us that it’s urgent.Read More
Your life is an expression of what you value and cherish.– Adyashanti, Silent Retreat Vol.61, Mount Madonna 2017
It can be very sobering to take that in, and it’s also a valuable pointer in what to look for and work on.
My parents, my brother, my partner and I go to my uncle and aunt’s cabin. The path there is overgrown and the cabin is in disrepair after they both died some years ago. We have with us 30 or so little helpers. They are small, sturdy, and almost like a small army of dwarfs. When we go inside and see how run down the cabin is – and overrun with mice – I feel overhwhelmed and hopeless about cleaning it up. I look around, and within a very short time, the little helpers have cleaned it all up. I am very happily surprised and we all see what a large and beautiful building it is. The helpers have already made food and set the table beautifully, so we all sit down. I want to sit on the side of the table but am shown to the head of the table. I am the new owner of the cabin, and head of the family. I understand that the helpers are here for all of us but mostly to serve and help me, and they will be with us from now on.
This is a very interesting dream and I don’t quite know what to make of it right away. The path (nature) and the cabin probably represent my body. It is run down after several years of illness (chronic fatigue). And somehow, it’s a place that I and my partner and family are taking over, with the assistance of the small army of little helpers.
I worked on my system with Vortex Healing the night before, and there is a sense of having (very powerful) assistance in cleaning up and repairing my body. I worked on my etheric body before falling asleep (which felt deeply nourishing and brought my system more “in focus”), and the dwarves almost seemed more like elemental (?) beings. Whatever they represent, they are very helpful, do almost all of the work, and placed me as the head of the cabin and family.
Why is it a cabin? It is in nature. It’s part of nature in a very real sense. Although a cabin is a place to visit and stay for a while, this cabin is large, beautiful, has all that’s needed for a good life, and I can easily and well have a good life there. My sense is I’ll be there most of the year, especially after it’s so well cleaned up and repaired.
In waking life, my uncle and aunt died some years ago, they did have a cabin, and they both loved and were immersed in nature, and loved being at their cabin. The cabin in the dream is larger and more in the wilderness than their waking-life cabin is (which has been taken over by one of my cousins).
I see that Jung saw dwarfs as representing natural wisdom, and that’s how they seemed in the dream. Primal wisdom and force, in this case wisely operating on their own in assisting and helping me.
I wonder if working on my etheric body before falling sleep is connected with the dwarfs. In the dream, the dwarfs repair, clean, and maintain the house. And my etheric body may play a similar role in cleaning, repairing, and maintaining my physical body and life. That feels true, but it also feels like the dwarfs in the dream represent primal wisdom and force in general and it’s role in maintaining my body and life.
The dwarfs in the dream were small and had shields, helmets, and leather clothing. The colors were mostly white and red. Perhaps representing purity in their service, and vitality and primal life force.
Later in the morning, I spend some time connecting with the dwarfs (and what they represent) and thanking them.
When you hear the words Mother Earth, what does it mean to you? A poetic metaphor? A reminder to recycle? Something a tree-hugger would say?
Or does it mean something more? Perhaps it’s literally true?
We are born from Earth. We are sustained by Earth. All we know is Earth. We are, in a very real and literal sense, Earth. We are a local and temporary expression of this living system we call Earth – amazing and beautiful far beyond what we can even begin to understand.
Our human culture and everything part of it is Earth. That too is a local and temporary expression of Earth. We and all we know and all we are and all we have created grew out of and is part of this amazing, beautiful, living, evolving system we call Earth.
Earth is not other. It’s not something to take care of as we take care of a possession. It’s what we are. When we care for Earth we care of ourselves.
This is the most obvious thing in the world. And yet, it’s not. And the only reason it’s not is that we live within a culture, a mindset, and a worldview that says we are separate. Earth is a commodity. Earth provides resources for our civilization. Earth provides space for our waste. Earth can be owned and used for our pleasure.
And we forget that we are part of this amazing living system. We are part of the evolution of Earth. We are born from and sustained by Earth. We are the local expression of Earth. We are Earth. We are the ones who can speak for Earth. Protect Earth as ourselves. Cherish Earth as ourselves. Love Earth as ourselves.
We need a profound transformation into a more sustainable and life-centered culture, and this shift in perception is part of it. It’s a change in how we see ourselves and Earth. We never were separate individuals wandering around in an environment. We are local expressions of Earth.
Since the idea of “tired” and “I am tired” is a common part of CFS, I thought I would explore them.
Look at the word “tired”. See it up in front of you. Look at the letters, shapes, texture. Look at the space around it.
Do you feel anything in the body when you look at the word? Yes, a knot in my stomach, a sensation through my upper body and in my face.
Feel the sensations. Allow them to be there.
Do you see any images? Yes, an image of my body and something dark especially over the upper body and more dark and dense in my belly.
Look at that image. Put it up in front of you, as if it’s on a wall. Look at the shapes, colors, texture.
Is that image tiredness? No, but it’s connected to pressure in my chest, a (smaller) knot in my belly, and sensations through the upper body and face.
Feel those sensations. What happens? I notice they get stronger when I say the word “tired” to myself. I notice sadness.
Feel the sadness. Take time with it. Allow it. Where do you feel it? My upper body feels hollow and the sadness seems to be in the middle of the hollow upper body.
Can you find the sensations creating the sadness? Yes, in my throat, chest and heart area, and a small contraction in the belly.
Feel the sensations. Allow. Rest with it. What do you notice? The sensations are getting stronger. Stronger sense of sadness. It feels good to feel it and allow it. I notice the space it’s all happening within. It feels spacious.Read More
The fight/flight/freeze response seems connected with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It may be chronically activated and connected with many of the typical symptoms of CFS.
Although this is well-known in the CFS world, we don’t many specifics or the why or how or what to do about it.
When the flight/fight/freeze (FFF) response is activated…..
The eyes dilate. Light sensitivity is typical for CFS.
The heart works harder. Faster, stronger, and sometimes irregular heartbeat is relatively common for CFS.
Digestion is inhibited. Many with CFS have digestive problems.
Sexual function is reduced. Again, common in CFS.
There is heightened sensitivity to any stimuli. Hypersensitivity to sound, movement (around us), and chemicals is typical for CFS.
Higher cognitive functions are reduced. The body’s resources are used for more immediate concerns. Reduced higher cognitive function (executive functions) is a core symptom of CFS.
Sleep has low priority and the FFF response counteracts sleep. Sleep problems of all sorts are common with CFS. (Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and don’t feel refreshed after sleep.)
Sweat secretion is activated. Increased sweating and cold sweat is common with CFS. As is temperature dysregulation.
There is less blood to the skin and kidneys. People with CFS often have white spots in the hands and fingers. I wonder if that’s connected to reduced blood flow? (Also, in Vortex Healing, weak and infected kidneys is one of the first things they work on.)
And finally, if the FFF response is chronically activated, you’d expect to see fatigue. And that’s another core symptom of CFS.
More in general, while the flight and fight response seems chronically active and may account for many of the symptoms, the condition also looks a lot like freeze (need for rest, isolation, etc.).
How can we make use of knowing about the FFF / CFS connection?
For me, it helps me feel less weird. I see that many of my symptoms make sense in the light of a chronically activated FFF response.
And anything that reduces the FFF response is helpful, like mindfulness, gentle yoga, and (skilled, gradual) work on stressful thoughts and underlying trauma.
This also explains why therapeutic tremoring has helped many with CFS. By releasing chronic tension and trauma out of the system, the chronic FFF response relaxes a bit and this helps the system recover and function more normally.
When it comes to the modality I currently find most helpful (Vortex Healing), I plan to focus more on my FFF response.
Why do we see a FFF / CFS connection? I am not sure. CFS often follows an infection like mononucleosis. I wonder if the body’s response to the infection somehow leads to a chronically active FFF response?
Note: I intentionally used the more broad FFF term as I didn’t want to focus too much on any single component of it. FFF involves more than any single system in our bodies and far more than what we currently are aware of. For instance, there is this recent article about the role of the bones in FFF: Bone, not adrenaline, drives fight or flight response.
Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths.– Wikipedia article on Karma
The modern western understanding of karma is that we do something, and we reap the consequences in this life or the next.
This can happen in a few different ways.
There is a form of instant and inevitable karma. If I blindly fuel and act on anger, I inevitably suffer. If I am able to notice, allow, and rest with the anger, and perhaps notice the fear and the fearful thoughts it’s rooted in, there is more peace.
And the same goes for anything triggered in me. Any stressful thoughts. Any uncomfortable emotions or feelings. When I get caught in it and act on it, I suffer. When I am able to notice, allow, rest with it, and see what’s behind it (usually a wound, trauma, fear), there is more peace.
Whatever I do is strengthened as a pattern or habit. If there is reactivity in me, and I am able to notice, take a step back, allow, relate to it more consciously, and not act on it, that pattern is slightly strengthened. If I instead act on it blindly, that pattern is strengthened. This is one form of karma. And it applies to whatever I do in mind or action.
Along the same lines, there are the “inner” causes and consequences. If I am more authentic with myself and others, I am more likely to feel centered, grounded, and content. (Although it may also bring some temporary discomfort when I go against what others expect or want from me.) If I cultivate a habit of genuine gratitude, I am more likely to feel content, grateful, and at peace. If I cultivate a habit of complaining and blame, I am more likely to create an inner atmosphere of unease, restlessness, and discomfort.
There are causes and consequences for my life in the world. If I smile and am genuinely friendly to others, that’s what I am more likely to receive in return.
And then there is the idea of consequences for future lives. I don’t know if this is accurate or not. (I only know what some people say about it but don’t have personal experiences to support it.)
What I do know is that this idea has been used – by some cultures, traditions, and teachers – to guide people to more kind behavior. And it has also been used to justify unjust social structures and control people and keep them “in their place”. (The Indian caste system.)
I also know that if we have many lives, and there is this form of inter-life karma, we all have (just about) infinite amounts of all kinds of karma. We are all in, more or less, the same boat. Whatever happens to ripen right now is just the tiniest piece of it.
What’s common for all these forms of karma is feedback. Karma is another word for feedback. It’s an opportunity to notice and learn. It’s an opportunity to invite in healing. And ultimately, karma leads to awakening.
Most of what I write about in this collection of articles is the science of mind. It’s pragmatic, grounded in experience, and testable by others. I usually use the “spirituality” tag, but “science of mind” may be more accurate. (Of course, some things do fall in under the wider label of spirituality, or just “life”.)
What are some examples of science of mind topics?
In general, it’s anything that’s testable by oneself and others. And mainly, on this blog, it’s the effect of different practices and approaches.
How does the mind create its own experience of the world? What do I find when I explore the different sense fields and how they combine to create this experience of the world? (The sense fields are usually sight, sensation, smell, taste, sound, and thoughts.)
How does the mind create a charged experience for itself? How does it create the experience of thoughts telling it something that’s true? What happens when a certain thought, or set of thoughts, combine (are associated with) certain sensations? (Does the sensations take on meaning? And the thoughts a sense of saying something true?) What happens when we explore and notice this, and rest and allow with the different components?
What happens when I do ho’oponopno towards/for someone I have a strained relationship with? Or parts of myself? Or the world as a whole? Or if I do tonglen?
What happens when I use the heart/Jesus prayer over time? Or the Christ Meditation?
What happens when I train attention to be more stable? What happens in how I feel in general? What happens with how I do everyday activities? Which areas of life do I notice a difference in?
What is awakening? What are some different ways we can understand awakening? How does it unfold for different people? What are some of the challenges and struggles people experience? How do we navigate these?
All of these are examples of what falls in under science of mind. In mainstream culture, it may be seen as spirituality and that’s not wrong. But it’s equally helpful to see it as a science. It’s something we can try out for ourselves and see what happens. It’s something we can research through formal science. It’s something others can test out for themselves. (Although the results will vary, of course, since we are different and do these things slightly differently, and that’s part of the exploration.)
This is one of my favorite little “tricks”, and it helps me change how I relate to stressful thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, and some types of physical discomfort.
In a nutshell:
Notice what’s going on. Take a few seconds to make it as strong as you can. Let it go and rest for a few seconds. Repeat two or three times. Notice any changes.
And a few examples:
I notice frustration with my health. I take a few seconds to make it as strong as I can. I let it go and relax. After a few seconds, I repeat. I notice any changes or shifts. (The frustration doesn’t seem so much like a problem, there is more space and lightness.)
There is a slight headache at my temples. I intend to make it as strong as I can for two to five seconds. I release it and rest. After five to ten seconds, I repeat. (I notice my relationship to it has changed. It doesn’t seem as much as a problem and there is a sense of spaciousness.)
I notice some anger in the background. I intend to make it as strong as I can for a few seconds. Release. Repeat. (After, I notice spaciousness. A sense of freedom around it. A sense of befriending the anger more. And less anger.)
Why or how does this work? Any time I experience something that’s uncomfortable to me, my mind tends to be in a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) struggle with it. There is a wish to escape from it or for it to go away. And this subtle struggle tends to hold it in place.
When I reverse this by intending to make it stronger, there is a 180-degree shift in how I relate to it. Instead of struggling with it, I join it. I support it in its effort. I consciously join its team. And this, at least temporarily, releases the struggle.
Doing this is a process of changing my relationship to it. Finding some curiosity about it. Befriending it. And this is not only a relief but can allow it to shift and move and find its freedom.
What’s uncomfortable is made uncomfortable because my mind fights it. It’s not uncomfortable in itself. It’s my relationship to it that makes it uncomfortable. So by shifting my relationship to it, it’s not experienced in the same way anymore.
Most of the articles here are about healing and awakening through aligning with reality. Notice what’s already here. Notice what I am. Living more consciously as what I am.
This one is a little different since it’s more a “trick”. But it does get us to the same place of getting to know something previously exiled in us, and perhaps befriending it and changing our relationship to it.
Like so much in these articles, it’s a small piece of the puzzle.Read More
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”– Genesis 2:16-17
Traditional myths tell us something about ourselves, and myths from religion are no different.
In a non-dual context, there is a pretty straightforward way of looking at this.
Before thought, and before taking thought as telling us something that’s fundamentally real and true, there is no knowledge of good and evil. Everything just is.
With thought, and specifically taking thought as telling us truth and reality, there is suddenly knowledge of good and evil. Thoughts tell us what’s good and evil. And what falls into each category depends on our culture, parents, subgroups, and to some extent personal history and preferences.
And that’s how we throw ourselves out from the garden of Eden. Suddenly, we are not innocent anymore. We know what’s good and evil, we judge others by it, and we judge ourselves by it.
Why a tree with fruit? Perhaps because beliefs, including beliefs about good and evil, are a bit like eating something juicy. And these thoughts do grow and branch out just like a tree. We may start with something simple, and from there comes a lot of complexity.
And how do we return to the Garden of Eden and our age of innocence? We cannot return to what was. But we can examine how our mind creates its own experience of good and evil, and there are ways to dismantle it. We can have the same thoughts without so much of a charge on them, and without them appearing to tell us something inherently real about the world. The thoughts can be allowed to be thoughts, and we can relate to them more consciously. We can be more discerning in how we relate to them.
That’s another form of Eden and one that’s a bit more mature.
Myths mirror ourselves, and in this case, they may mirror the shift to believing thoughts, and specifically thoughts about values and good and bad. It threw us out of Eden, but the good news is that we can dismantle the process and find a more mature Eden.
After having lived for a while in Oregon and California, I notice cultural differences in how I and others sometimes talk about emotional issues.
For instance, if I share about something triggered in me, I often also share the triggering situation. My intention is to share, clarify it for myself, and sow a seed for continuing to explore and work on it. It’s a confession and it helps my process. (And it can also be a way of connecting with the other, letting that person know what’s going on in me.) Mostly, it’s understood and received that way, and perhaps especially by people from the US west coast since we share this language and orientation.
And sometimes, it’s misunderstood. Sometimes, the other person focuses on the triggering situation and issue and goes off debating it.
Yesterday is an example. I shared how I noticed something in me getting triggered when a Facebook friend posted a snarky (conspiracy-laden, anti-climate change) comments on one of my posts. Instead of listening and acknowledging it, as I hoped for or expected, she went into debating the content of the comment.
I felt hurt because I felt she didn’t see me, and also because the conversation went off in another direction than I wanted, and in a direction irrelevant to why I mentioned it in the first place.
So what to do? It’s good to anticipate that these misunderstandings can happen. And if I suspect there is a chance it may happen, preface my sharing and clarify my intention in sharing. For instance, I may say: I notice I got triggered earlier today. Can I share with you? The situation is not important in itself, but I would like to share so I can see it more clearly and work on it later.
As this keeps happening – and especially in Norway where people have a different way of talking about these things – I want to hone my skills in prefacing and clarifying.
I have written about this topic in earlier articles.
For instance, I sometimes use parts language and talk about subpersonalities, and say I notice a part of me [sees the world this way, feels this way] and assume the other will understand that this is just a part, it’s universal and something we all have in us, and it’s not my conscious view. Most people in my life understand this and we share this language.
And yet, people not familiar with parts language – including psychologists and spiritual teachers – sometimes misunderstand. They assume that what I shared about the part is something I am consciously identified with and how I, as a whole, see the world. And they sometimes appear shocked, start arguing with it, and take the conversation in a very different direction than intended.
I have experienced filling out psychological questionnaires that only ask about the presence of something (an emotion, a set of thoughts) and not the strength, and – being honest – I’ll answer yes to all of it since all of it is in me, even if it’s at a very small level and doesn’t impact my daily life. And it’s taken as if these are in me at a strong level. (I understand that for most people filling out those questionnaires, that’s the case. But I have to be honest and answer truthfully, and I notice these in me even if they are at a tiny level.)
And I have also noticed that some in Norway – including people who I had assumed would know better like psychologists and spiritual teachers – assume that knowing about or understanding an issue at a story level should be enough to resolve it. And they, again, seem shocked (shocked!) that I am aware of issues and dynamics in me that are not (yet) fully resolved.
To me, this is not surprising at all since knowing about something at a story level doesn’t resolve it. We need to go further and deeper for something to resolve more thoroughly.
The answer to all of this is anticipating when this may happen and nip it in the bud by prefacing what I am about to share. And if it’s misunderstood, notice as soon as possible (it sometimes takes a while for me to understand what’s happening), step back from where the other person is taking the conversation, and clarify.