Friday, November 30, 2012


In our early human history we used physical weapons against the predators that surrounded us.  We still need to protect ourselves emotionally from the dangers to our personal boundaries. 

Sometimes these threats are intentional but more often they are caused by the unthinking blundering of other humans who don’t even realize that they are intruding.

It is our job to reinforce and strengthen our own boundaries.  As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is our ability to protect ourselves emotionally that allows us to be open and vulnerable when it is appropriate!

An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas...

Humans have always had “mantras” against the evil eye.  If we expand on this concept – the need for a physical expression of protection - we can understand that it empowers us – first it creates an awareness of danger and then an act to metaphorically shield us from the negativity. 

People wear all sorts of talismans ...

Have all sorts of sayings …

Make many different gestures…

Can you think of a few examples?

In modern society we tend to minimize the importance of these gestures and tokens.  However,  another way of thinking about them is that they allow us to be proactive by first reminding us to recognize things that are often harmful – criticism, bullying, scolding, comparisons, jealousy -  and then to remember that we can actually choose how we allow these things to impact us! 
Imagine what special symbols, mantras or gestures you can create for your own self-protection.
Have any to share?
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  1. Carol, I think your pieces are very insightful. Today's comment on needing to protect yourself in order to be vulnerable is so relevant to my acting work, and yet I never thought of it on my own. I think the best kind of writing is when the writer provides the reader with an idea that they had perhaps considered, but were unable to express as clearly or as fully.

    The idea of a powerful talisman or gesture is wonderful. I feel such things were a big part of human development, but have fallen aside with modern skepticism. Uta Hagen's book, Respect for Acting, discusses about using small objects - a favorite pen, an empty coffee cup - as emotional anchors, and often the best objects are those indirectly related to the experience one is trying to recall. In some ways, that's the opposite of what you've proposed above: a gateway rather than a blockade. In either case, though, there is something magical about the power of small objects.

  2. wonderful stuff. yes we must protect ourselves from others thouhtlessness and not take things so personally thanks ccarol.

  3. It's easy to be angry at other people for the way they act but different to think that it is actually MY job to take steps to protect myself. Somehow this feels very freeing! Thanks.