Mental Health in the Workplace: Be Compassionately Curious With Yourself and Others

I had the honor of experiencing Dr. Gabor Mate for two days in a workshop on Compassionate Inquiry. I was riveted the entire time. This post features just a wee snippet of the opportunity we all have to increase our compassion for ourselves and for others.

Dr. Mate describes how we are all traumatized. He goes on to say that the essence of the trauma is not what happened to you, it is what happened inside of you as a result of what happened to you. If you were neglected as a child, the neglect is what happened to you, and the trauma is what happened inside of you as a result of that neglect (developing a belief that you are not worthy of love and being cared for, for example).

Part of his teaching was about how to treat yourself when you are triggered. Instead of trying to ‘fix’ that part of yourself that was triggered (i.e. when your childhood belief about your unworthiness appears in your adult relationships), you can be curious about what ‘combustible material’ inside of you was triggered. And this part is very important: when you are curious, you are not judging yourself – you are only seeking to understand that mechanism that resides inside of you. And to make friends with it.

“You are never upset about what you are upset about – it is always a trigger that goes way back. They are not new emotions.” says Mate.

Check out his Youtube video below, in which he explains the root of how we develop these mechanisms inside of us – and how we can develop a new relationship with them – one that is more compassionately curious.

One study Dr. Mate shared with us really stuck with me. It was a study in which mice were exposed to a certain smell and then simultaneously were given a shock. The mice began to associate the smell and the pain of the shock. After awhile, just the smell would bring pain to the mice – they became conditioned to associate the two. This part of the study makes sense – you have likely heard about other studies just like this one.

What was really interesting about this study is the next part … the grandchildren of these mice shudder at the smell – and they were never shocked! This conditioning was passed on through the generations. It is done epigenetically;  how the genes function are changed and then passed down through generations. The grand-mice are manifesting the experience of their ancestors – and, likewise, so do you.

When you are curious about the source of your experience, it will enhance your compassion – towards yourself and towards others. And when you are more compassionate and understanding of your internal mechanisms, you can begin to change your relationship with them (and interrupt the ‘auto’ response of the trigger). You, then, are able to make different choices when triggered – you can choose a different path, and have the opportunity to affect the future gene pool along the way!

Stay tuned for more in future posts…and check out more from Dr. Mate on Youtube.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!

 

Be Here NOW

It’s holiday season. The stores are bustling. Homes are decorated. Friends and family are gathering to share in some holiday cheer. I love this time of year!

That is not the case for everyone. The holiday season can be one that brings dread. It might be filled with feelings of sadness and loneliness. For some, depression can take root due to unmet expectations, a recent loss, or the perception that you are the only one not having a great time.

This is the perfect time of year to Be Here NOW. To pause. To just ‘be’.

Resisting whatever you are experiencing, or perpetually wishing things were different than they are for you, can rob you of the present moment. This is a reminder that the present moment is the best gift you can give yourself today – and every day.

If you are already have a meditation practice, you already know what it can offer to you. If you do not, I invite you to begin with one minute of meditation each day through the holidays. (I bet you’ll be hooked …and will want to continue!)

My favorite time is in the morning. Awaken just a few minutes early. Sit up in bed (or stay lying down if you think you can be sure not to fall back asleep!), put your feel flat on the floor, back upright, hands comfortably in your lap. Set your timer for 1 minute. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. Simply observe your breath going in, breath going out. Just notice. When your timer rings, shut it off and sit for a few more seconds. In those few seconds, reflect on one thing to which you are looking forward for that day. Just one thing. See it. Hear it. Taste it. Feel it.

My friend and fellow Professional Speaker, Dave Carroll, wrote a beautiful song, which has inspired the title of this post. The lyrics are so eloquent. The message is powerful.

When There’s No Way Out There’s Still A Way Through

So Don’t Give Up Whatever You Do

Surrender To Moments And Things As They Are

From The Gaps In Your Catch-22’s

When There’s No Way Out There’s Still A Way Through

Take a listen. You’ll fall in love with his beautiful voice, and even more beautiful message.

Wrap up this priceless present to yourself. Be Here NOW.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!

I was Sexually Assaulted at 12…and I am Not Sorry

1973; Wearing My New Red Body Suit

First, the disclaimer. This post is in NO WAY an expression of approval for what happened to me. That should never happen to any 12 year old. It should not happen to any person of any age.

Lynn Lake, Manitoba. 1973.

I am 12. It is a hot summer day in Northern Manitoba. School is out and the sun is shining. Life is good. A bunch of kids are getting together at a local boy’s home. His parents both work and the house is ‘free’.

We think we are cool. We are smoking cigarettes and giggling.

Then, a ‘friend’ (quotations will be obvious in a moment) calls me into one of the bedrooms.

I enter the doorway and am immediately enveloped by 6 boys, ages 14-18.

5 boys hold me down…face up, arms open to the side, legs hanging over the bed, while 1 boy (a man, technically) lays his body over me…pinning my legs.

I can still see his face. I can still smell his breath.

I am wearing a red body suit my mom had bought for me. I loved it. It had a long zipper – with peace sign pull … and was super soft and cuddly.

His eyes are mere inches from mine as he lay on top of me and I lay pinned to the bed. He begins to unzip the body suit. He has a wicked smile on his face.

I struggle. I try to move. I am immobile, incapable of making any movement with 6 boys holding me down.

He opens my top…he opens my bra…he ‘feels’ around … my developing breasts that had not been touched by anyone…and he makes lewd, strange faces as he does so…

I start crying.

One boy, finally, said ‘Stop’.

Moments later, they stop.

I run out of the room…collect myself … and make my way home.

I never told anyone about that experience. Not until I was 40 years old.

Why I am I ‘not sorry’, you ask?

I am not sorry because I have nothing to be sorry for. I did nothing wrong. I was a young girl who wanted to be cool and hang out with the cool people … and some of those cool people took advantage of me.

Just because I knew that my mother would not approve, just because I knew that smoking at 12 was bad, just because I had been raised to make better choices….I am not sorry this happened to me.

If something like this has happened to you… DON’T BE SORRY. You have nothing to be sorry for. I hope you do what I tried to do.

Use that experience as a learning experience. Use it as fuel to help other people who might also have been victimized. Use it, as I have, to fully appreciate the amazing people that will come into your life who would never, ever, do anything like that to you. Maybe you would never have noticed those people had you not experienced something so horrific.

So…I am not sorry. I wish it had not happened. I wish I had listened to my mom and not been somewhere I should not have been. I wish ‘my friend’ had been someone different than I thought she was.

But…it happened. And I am not sorry. I am going to use that experience to fuel my empathy and compassion for people I meet who wish they had decided something different at some point in time, who might be feeling some shame for something that happened TO them…

I am not sorry. And I hope you are not sorry too.

#notsorry #choosepositive #chooselife

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!