Friday, July 29, 2016


Secondary gains are the hidden reasons we do something that on the surface doesn't seem to make sense - the not-conscious advantages that might take place 'secondary' to a stated or real problem.

Often our beliefs about ourselves - even the dark ones - come with secondary gains.

This means that when we feel stuck, instead of berating ourselves, we need to explore what hidden benefits might be lurking.

Instead of feeling defeated and depressed, ask yourself what advantage holding on to a belief or behavior might actually provide. 

Does it allow you to avoid something that you would otherwise feel obligated to do?  Does it reinforce a conviction you have about yourself that might be difficult to give up?

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…

To ferret out a secondary gain think about a situation that has made you unhappy but seems unchangeable. 
Now ask yourself:

What 'plus' might I be getting from staying in this 'negative' situation?
Does it allow me to avoid something that is difficult?
Does it allow me to avoid something that I perceive as dangerous?
Does it allow me to avoid something that could be life changing and therefore frightening?

If you answer 'yes' to any of these you might want to give yourself other options...

Thursday, July 28, 2016



Check out your secondary gains!

"What are these," you might ask, "and more importantly what do they do for me?"

That is exactly the question to ask yourself:

What possible benefit could I be getting from hanging onto this situation?

No recriminations!

This is not about sabotage.  No, this one, as misguided as it might actually be, is one of those human attempts to take care of ourselves.

What do ya say?
Got any secondary gains lurking?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Manipulation is one of those 'It takes two to tango' human dances.

The manipulator says:  "Poor me.  I ask for so little… Can't you just be nice?"

The 'manipulee' says:  "I must be very important.  I have so much power.  Poor them…"

Guess who 'wins' this one?

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…


The most important rule of thumb on this one:  'See it like it is!'

If you find yourself in one of these situations with someone who is getting you to do things you really don't think make sense for you, ask yourself the following:

What indirect gain might I be getting out of this situation?

Why do I actually feel sorry for this person?

Do I feel superior to them in some way?

Am I afraid of how others will view me if I say 'No'?

Am I really doing anyone a favor by saying 'yes'?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


"I feel so bad for him," she sighed.

"He keeps reaching out to me - dinner?  lunch?  A walk?..."

"Really, any little bit would satisfy him… except, well, each time I give him one little thing he starts whining about one more … I feel really guilty!"

"I mean I must be a really bad person, right?  All he is asking for is a little bit of my time…"

(snookerverb [ T ] UK  /ˈsnuː.kər/ US  /ˈsnuː.kɚ/ uk informal to prevent someone from finishing an intended plan of action:us informal to deceive or trick someone)        read more

What do ya say?
Do you get this one?

Friday, July 22, 2016


One of our early survival instincts had to be the ability to change direction.

Think about it…

In our Hunter/Gatherer days, if a predator jumped out onto our path we needed to quickly pivot and head in the opposite direction!

And in our early agricultural societies, paying attention to changing and shifting conditions and making appropriate changes was crucial.

How did this natural reaction, this need for flexibility, get altered? 

Perhaps we can blame the emphasis on this inflexibility on the Industrial Revolution and its inherent need for conformity and repetition? 

Or could it simply be the current emphasis on 'sticking to it' and not 'giving up'?

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…


1)  If I make a plan I stick to it no matter what!
2)  I resent having to change and I am going to sit here and stew!
3)  It's not my fault that the plan changed! I shouldn't have to deal with it!
4)  Now everything is ruined!
5)  I will never make plans with those people again!

Do you think these beliefs help or hinder you?

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Remember that old saying:  'Man plans and God laughs'?

How good are you at re-booting when that laughter starts?

When what you expect doesn't happen, how quickly can you re-group?

What do ya say?
Can you turn? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Sometimes it actually seems as if people are treasuring their anger and resentments… even those going back pretty far in time.

Like broody hens,they sit on these memories and nurture them  recounting and recollecting each moment of annoyance…

Ever wonder what the hook is?  Why would a person want to revisit a negative experience?

Seems counter-intuitive, right?

EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           

An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…


See if any of these feelings fit for you…

1)  FEAR: If I let it go and forget, it might happen again… if I hold on, I stay protected.

2)  CONFUSION: I need to figure it out!

3)  SENSE OF POWER: I won't let them get away with it! 

4)  HELPLESSNESS: By remembering the 'wrong' I am not letting them get away with it!

5)  PUNISHMENT: They deserve these bad thoughts!

To paraphrase that great quote from the Dalai Lama:  Throw away the experience, hold onto the lesson!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Financial investments might benefit from mulching…

But resentments?


What do ya say?

Are you sitting on them?

Friday, July 15, 2016


Sometimes it hurts to see the truth.

We don't want to acknowledge, even to ourselves, when someone is being deceptive with us.  It diminishes them, and in a funny way we also think it diminishes us.

Both of these things are hard to face.

We don't want to think someone we care about or even just associate with, is lying to us.  It makes them seem cowardly… and what does it say about us, that they think its okay to treat us this way?

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                          
 An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…

Think about some of the times you recognized that someone was being deceptive.

Were you able to face their behavior?
How did you deal with it?
How did it affect your feelings about them?
About yourself?

Thursday, July 14, 2016


You know what they say about food: 
'If it smells bad, throw it out!
Don't try to save it!  It's not worth the possibility of food poisoning!'

It's the same story with our interactions with others… 

If something feels off it probably is…  Pretending not to notice the smell is dangerous! 

Self deception can lead to pain and suffering!

What do ya say?
Do you face reality, even when it smells?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Can you see them squirming around in there just waiting to escape?

Why do those feelings - especially anger and sadness and jealously - keep coming back to bite us? 

Let's face it, these are deeply embedded and difficult feelings for all of us, and yes, 'working' on them does make a difference!

If you have been focusing on these feelings when they come up, and doing the 'work' - deconstructing their history in your life - you'll realize that each time they jump out of that metaphorical box, they are a little less virulent, each time their duration is less, and if you really think about it you'll see that they are actually less easily triggered! 

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…

This week pay attention to how often your own Pandora's Box gets opened…
When it does, use your creative imagination to have fantasy dialogs:

Talk to the Box…
Talk to the emotions that escape…
Be the emotions…

What happens?

Remember with all of these dialogs, the more fun you allow yourself to have with them, the more personal freedom you create!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


"I really don't get it."

"Here's the thing," he grumbled.   "I think I'm finished with something…"

"You know, something hurts me or annoys me and I think about it, talk about it, even work on it, and I finally think 'Whew!  Done with that one!'" 

"And the next I know," he complained, "something new happens and it's like that box of Pandora's flies open and all those awful feelings that I thought were gone are there all over again!" 


What do ya say?

Sound familiar?  
Do you get discouraged?

Friday, July 8, 2016


There were some rumors that the smartest cannibals only ate the bravest and strongest of their adversaries.

Idea being that they were internalizing the power…
Interesting concept, right?

At the very least an apt metaphor for how human nature works. 

Without even realizing it, as children we often internalize the voices of those in power… perhaps another bit of that encoded survival of the species we keep talking about.

While a part of us stands back critically and categorically states we will not be just like our parents, another part is modeling their behavior and patterning their 'voices'.

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                     
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…


Imagine a dialog with each of your parents.
It might go something like this: 

You:  'I don't want to be like you!'
Parent:  What's wrong with being like me?

Take it from there and remember the real parent can't hear what you say!  

This is all designed to create choice!

Thursday, July 7, 2016


"OMG!" she shrieked.
"I sound just like my mother!"

Ever catch yourself in this one?

Saying the same words, in that same tone of voice you swore you would never use!

And really those are the times you hear it and actually catch yourself.

Imagine all those other times when it sneaks by you…

What do ya say?
Caught in the act?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Sounds harsh, right?

In most cases there were no negative consequences intended by those parents and teachers making definitive statements about the nature of their charges. 

"She's so stubborn."
Translation:  She is not doing what I want.
Intention:  Get her to change.
Result:  That child grows up struggling with the label of being unreasonable e.g. stubborn.

Here's another one:
"He's so selfish."
Translation:  He's not acting like I want.
Intention:  Shame him into changing.
Result:  He grows up feeling and often acting selfish.

We could say those adults were well intentioned, but the end result is that they drummed negative labels into young, impressionable minds.

Unfortunately, those youngsters often grow up accepting the reality of these labels, or fighting an uphill battle to reject them.

DANCE WITH IT!   EXPERIENTIAL APPS                           
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…


"You are so___(fill in the blank)______."
Can you remember hearing these words?

1)  Make a list of the descriptive labels that you were given.
2)  How do you think these labels have affected you?
3)  Now imagine yourself being told the exact opposite. 

    How does this feel?

4)  Breathe deeply.  Now imagine growing up with positive labels.

    What happens?