Maybe not one hundred percent, but a little will get you a lot farther than closed-mindedness.

By marekuliasz on Shutterstock

I introduce my clients to what I’ve spent a lifetime trying to teach myself. We explore the idea that psychological rigidity can cause tremendous suffering, and psychological flexibility can give us greater freedom.

In other words, I teach about the downsides of closed-mindedness (psychological rigidity) and the upsides to openness and curiosity (psychological flexibility).

I understand our reluctance to let go of ideas and beliefs that have, in some cases, allowed us to feel in control of ourselves. The world can be scary, and at times, seems to be burning with anger and confusion.

Personal experience has taught me that…


Maya Angelou says we need to grow up to find out what that means.

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I wrote a post about my foibles and mishaps that a reader took exception to. I wonder if they thought I was whining. Their perspective was that I chose to be a boob, and that’s on me, and my references to personal pain didn’t begin to match their physical or emotional pain.

After reading and responding to their comments, I decided to write about three personas that I have seen emerge over the years with my clients, myself, and pretty much everyone I’ve ever met.

To be clear, I’m not referring to the parts work that is basic to IFS…


You know you’ve shot a second arrow.

By Jari Hindstroem on Shutterstock

Years ago, I came back from a ten-day retreat that felt life changing.

I was overflowing and wanted to share it with a friend. After a few minutes, she said, in essence, that’s nice, and began to share her troubles with a married man with whom she’d gotten involved.

We got through that coffee date. But I carried a resentment toward that friend for a long time. Unknowingly, each time we were together, I found myself looking for information to support that she wasn’t a good friend. …


Here are three ideas to help you do it.

By bbernard on Shutterstock

Guiding principles can make the difference between a lusterless, seemingly meaningless life and a vibrant, bold, and big life. Take a moment to ask yourself what ideas seem to be shaping your life? And then ask yourself if they are taking you where you want to go?

Three powerful ideas have risen to the surface from my work with amazing and resilient clients over the last twenty-five years. They have stood the test of time in my life as well.

The universe is surprisingly supportive once you make a decision and take the first step.

If you don’t like the…


It’s like putting up a fence to keep out the air.

By Amanda Gril on Shutterstock

Using Anger As a Cover-up Emotion

Many of us didn’t learn how to allow ourselves to feel afraid or vulnerable. We did, however, learn how to cover our fears and vulnerabilities with anger because that made us feel powerful.

Often, our models were exhausted parents who, at their wit’s end, would blame us because of how we made them feel. And they’d be angry.

But the truth of it was, they were afraid they weren’t doing a great job. Back in the day, self-awareness wasn’t a big focus or topic of conversation in most families. So getting at unconscious fears wasn’t a daily activity.

I’ll never…


There is an alternative.

By v.ronnica on Shutterstock

JUST BREATHE.

I’m a meditator. I teach meditation. And sometimes, for weeks in a row, I don’t get on the cushion and meditate. There, I’ve said it.

But what I do every day is breathe. And I do it in a way that kicks my vagus nerve into gear, over and over. The vagus nerve triggers my parasympathetic nervous system to help me calm my over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. That process allows me to function as a decent human being, i.e., mindfully moving through my day without doing too much damage to myself or anybody else.

I started meditating to…


to make the world a lot less lonely.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in the world, but people capable of giving them their attention.” Simone Weil

Some of us are living in a crisis of conscience. We are ashamed that we haven’t done more to alleviate the bigotry and injustice that has always been here.

We wonder what we can do to be part of the solution. Take a class, read a book, join a group, post on social media. We want to do something big because we need to feel better about ourselves after all the years we did nothing.

Here’s the thing.


To develop patience, practice the pause.

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

When you’ve been trapped at home with your family for months, drained of compassion by the Groundhog Day experience that has piggy-backed on Covid, the antidote to wanting to leave your children to fend for themselves is patience.

We want to be compassionate and loving, to ourselves and others.

But what if compassion is the last thing on your mind when irritation, annoyance, and fear have taken center stage? Compassion for anyone or anything is all but impossible without patience, a more substantial and reliable characteristic.

Patience is my elusive hero. I’ve been working on increasing it for years. I…


We tell them to find, and connect with, each other.

By Constantin Stanciu on Shutterstock

If I told you when I was eighteen, my mom, my little brother and sister, and I moved from Troy, Tennessee, to Chicago, you would know a fact about my family. Still, you wouldn’t know me.

But you might know me a little better if I told you that my mom and I were packing up, once again, without talking about why we were leaving another home in the middle of the night. My little brother and sister were sleeping, and my older sister was away at college.

Years of silence and pent-up frustration prompted me to scream, “What the…


Loosen the Iron Grip You Have on Some of Your Thoughts.

By Holmes Su on Shutterstock

Thoughts aren’t a problem — until we assume our ideas and opinions represent facts.

THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS

Just because somebody doesn’t wave back, it doesn’t mean they hate us, or we suck. Maybe they didn’t see us.

Professor Froehling taught one of the first classes in my master’s program at Northeastern Illinois University. He made a big impression with his introduction on the first day of Psychology 101.

He said,

“If you learn nothing else from me, or this program, remember this. Challenge everything you believe, everything you think you know, and every idea you think is complete. I guarantee you, most of…

Robyn Norman

Therapist, mindfulness coach, writer. I got tired of hearing myself talk, so I write. robyn1001@comcast.net or www.partnersinmindfulliving.com/blog

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