I'm a full time music student at the moment, and I'm loving learning how to write songs, perform in front of people and express myself through music. Music is great because it deals with both the analytical and emotional side of our brain. [caption id="attachment_2994" align="alignright" width="200"] Becoming a rock star isn't all riffs and distortion. There's conflict with other musicians to navigate too.[/caption] However, the irrational nature of emotions means that they don't always arise just when we want them to. Most of us are still carrying unhealed emotional baggage from our past which can get triggered in what might otherwise seem fairly innocuous situations. This can make dealing with unexpected upsets challenging both in ourselves and in other people. In yesterday's guitar class, I got triggered by my teacher's response to what I though was a fairly intelligent question about whether the best way to improvise over a chord sequence in a major key would be by using the associated relative minor scale. My engineering brain thought that this would lead to less potential dissonance; but for any other budding musicians out there the answer turns out to be No: you use the minor pentatonic scale of the same key. (more…)
Many people are looking for the answer to the basic question: how to be happy?
We all want to enjoy life and avoid suffering, but there's more to it than just that. So here are my 10 secret keys to happiness:
#1: Make A Difference To Other People
No man is an island. We're all biologically wired to live in community, and to make a contribution to the greater good. Of course we're also wired for self-protection and to get our personal needs met, but millions of years of evolutionary development living in tribes means that we can't do this in isolation. Loneliness is one stark reminder of this that motivates us to reconnect with our fellow man.
If you make yourself the center of the universe, and your life solely about meeting your own needs, you create personal misery. At the other end of the spectrum, martyrdom will make you bitter and resentful. The primary key to happiness is to find ways to make a positive difference to other people in a way that energizes you without depleting you.
#2: Use Your Gifts, Talents and Passion
To be energized in the long haul while you're busy making a difference to other people, you need to be utilizing your unique gifts and talents in ways that you feel passionate about.… Continue reading…
Being abused as a child or being raised in an abusive environment can have a profoundly negative effect on your adult self-esteem. As children we generalize our experiences and assume that the whole world operates the same as our immediate circumstances. If we felt unsafe, unloved, unfairly criticized or hurt as a child by the people who were supposed to take care of us, it can affect our whole perspective on life and be devastating to our self-confidence.
Domestic violence, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse during childhood are insidious because they destroy our natural sense of trust and color our view of the world and the people in it, making it seem like a dangerous and scary place.
We don't necessarily need to be the immediate target of abuse in order for it to affect us. I grew up with a critical, dominant mother who was verbally abusive to my relatively passive and emotionally neutered father. He bottled up his feelings of frustration so they built to the point where he would explode violently.
It was mostly my parents who were on the receiving end of each others abusive treatment, but as a sensitive child I was traumatized by growing up in an environment where I felt unsafe and on edge much of the time.… Continue reading…
Growing up with a controlling and/or domineering mother can suppress your masculinity and leave you stuck feeling and acting like a boy in a man's body. My mother was the dominant figure in my family of origin, and with a passive-aggressive father and two relatively dominant older sisters, it was a disastrous recipe for my developing masculinity.
A controlling mother creates a relationship dynamic that will undermine your confidence in yourself as a man unless you take steps to counter its effects. So here are some steps to take to help you recover from growing up with a controlling, dominant mother:
Recognize that Your Mother is Controlling
The first step to dealing with a problem is to recognize that it exists. It took me a long time to even see that my mother was controlling. It wasn't until I did The Landmark Forum in my mid-30s and they started talking about how controlling most of us are that I had this insight.
When I was a child, my mother used a physical leash to control me; partly for my own safety, and partly for her convenience. As I got older, verbal stoushes with my father made it very clear that the masculine point of view wasn't welcome in our household.… Continue reading…