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Energizing Healthcare

The Election's Gift to Healthcare
November 10, 2016 11:01 AM by Dan Eisner

I am feeling very distraught today, and not just because my candidate lost. The undeniable division we all knew existed on some level can no longer be denied. It's right there for all to see and, more importantly, feel.

The late Debbie Ford coined the term "the beach ball effect." When we try to hold a beach ball underwater, it pops right up - the same is true for any emotion we try to hide. Regardless of your political affiliation, I don't think anyone can deny that this election has been one of the nastiest, most toxic races we've ever experienced. It hasn't been fueled by logic and reason - it's been entirely driven by raw emotion.

I've noticed my own personal "beach balls" popping up like crazy, and of course I've seen them in others, both in my community and all over social media. It would be convenient to say "He or she made me feel this way," but that's not the truth. Our candidates simply gave a voice and face to the emotions so many of us feel on some level, but are afraid or don't know how to express. And, perhaps more importantly, our candidates have exposed the undeniable separation we all feel.

An old friend of mine said, "Humanity has become an inconvenience - like we don't have time to be civil to one another." I know from personal and professional experience that this is what happens when we aren't paying attention to what we are feeling internally. We project our emotions externally, forget our own humanity, and see others as separate.

We don't see people with different opinions and perspectives. We see democrats and republicans, men and women, rich and poor, etc. We also don't see the people we serve and work with on a regular basis. We see the patient, the nurse, the resident, etc. It's so pervasive that we do not fully appreciate just how subtly it creates more separation and limits our ability to connect and serve.

I recently overheard two doctors in the elevators talking about "the patient" multiple times. Without any judgment, I said, "You mean Ms. X is waiting in her room." They both looked at me and indicated a genuine sense of regret for forgetting they were treating a person. While I remained stunned at the results of our election, I am very hopeful because it's prompting many of us to "check in" with our own humanity, and to make a conscious effort to pay more attention to how we are presenting ourselves to the world. As Gandhi said, "We must be the change we want to see in the world."

This is obviously important in all aspects of life, but perhaps even more essential in healthcare. In my book, I advocate for abolishing the word "patient" from our healthcare vocabulary, and for doing our best to bring a greater sense of humanity into our healthcare environment.

Please join me in my effort - together we can change the face of healthcare from the inside-out.

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What Makes "Occupation," Therapy?
September 23, 2016 2:49 PM by Dan Eisner

Today was my Level II students last day. She did a wonderful job growing both personally and professionally, and we enjoyed countless meaningful conversations throughout her fieldwork. We had one final chat today that I will always remember. I was pleased and inspired for two reasons. First, she communicated a deeper understanding of the most essential piece of the puzzle. Secondly, I discovered a clearer more effective way of relating my "alternative" approach to OT.

As you know, one of the core principles of OT is that engaging in purposeful activity (i.e. occupation) improves both physical and mental health. But have you ever considered why? And what makes one activity purposeful, and another not?

When we dig a little bit deeper, what becomes apparent (as Eckhart Tolle teaches) is that the most satisfying element of any "purposeful" activity is not the activity, but rather our attention to the present moment. Being focused isn't just psychologically enjoyable - it has been scientifically proven to produce healthier brain activity.

This is why activities we typically enjoy aren't satisfying when distracted. As an example, I usually love having my cat Freddie lying on my chest purring like a motor boat. Yet, I don't get any enjoyment out of him if I'm focused elsewhere. It's no wonder that so many of us feel unfulfilled - we have become addicted to splitting our attention. Perhaps the most common example is mindlessly browsing through the phone while in "conversation" with someone in person. 

Truly, what makes "occupation," therapy, is focus. Anything we do while distracted is essentially mundane and meaningless. On the other hand, even the most seemingly "mundane" activities like washing our hands or brushing our teeth become incredibly meaningful, purposeful, when we are truly focused in the present moment.

People often mistake what I do as something "alternative" or somehow not directly related to OT. Given this understanding, nothing could be further from the truth.

By incorporating the importance of self-awareness and attention into our treatment, we are addressing the core of why occupation is so effective. We are also teaching our clients to find incredible purpose in the seemingly most "meaningless" moments of life. I don't know about you, but I can always benefit from a little more of that in my life.

Please check out my book The Clinical Success Formula which offers a practical approach for becoming more focused and purposeful in your life and practice.

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Relationships and Self-Awareness
June 30, 2016 11:09 AM by Dan Eisner

I recently worked with a super nice guy who had sustained a mild TBI from a work-related injury. He was (admittedly) a stereotypical "construction guy," meaning not someone to care about his feelings, let alone talk about them, on a regular basis.

But all of that changed shortly after being exposed to the importance of becoming more self-aware. It didn't happen right away. In fact, he was initially skeptical and thought it was nonsense. Nevertheless, he kept showing up everyday, asking questions, and experimenting with the teachings in his own life.

It wasn't too long before he started naturally becoming a role model for everyone he encountered, including stressed out healthcare professionals who were projecting onto him (a shame he had to do that), and more importantly his wife. The impact was so meaningful that she became inspired to attend the program after he was discharged.

I met her briefly yesterday when she came in for a visit. When I asked how he was doing, she half-jokingly replied, "He's great. He's too great as a matter of fact. He won't let me be angry or complain around him any longer."

It is important to note that this didn't happen because he demanded that she change.  If he was focused on her behavior (as most spouses do), and tried to get her to be different, it probably would have erupted into a fight.

Instead, he remained internally focused, and that's what enabled him to communicate in a way that inspired the very best in her. Without saying it directly, he communicated, "I love you. I care about you, but I am no longer willing to live under stress on a regular basis. I want you to evolve with me, but if you are not willing to do so, I may not want to stay in this relationship."

This may sound harsh, but I assure you, it is not.  I once heard the quote, "What you permit, you promote." I think many of us permit a lot of unnecessary stress within ourselves, so naturally that carries over to the people in our lives. Imagine how many divorces could be prevented if all spouses were committed to role modeling in this way.

I think this is particularly prevalent in healthcare, which is one of the reasons I would greatly appreciate if you'd complete this very quick survey. I am really curious to see the responses.

The increased level of stress in healthcare (and lack of role modeling) is also part of my inspiration for my first book that is coming out very soon, and for launching my new website Dan Eisner Consulting.

Please drop by for a visit and stay tuned for the official book release and upcoming trainings.

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It Blew Her Mind
March 23, 2016 7:40 AM by Dan Eisner
A client recently took my advice and watched The Shadow Effect. It would be an understatement to say it impacted her. ­­­­­

She said, "It blew my mind. This might sound strange, but I felt a shift in energy."

It maes perfect sense, and here is why: the documentary includes many empowering metaphors, but my favorite is the Beach Ball Effect. What happens when we try to hold a beach ball underwater? It pops up! The same is true for any negative emotion we attempt to hide.

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to deny the qualities (anger, fear, etc.) that make us human. When we have the courage to be honest with ourselves (as my client did), we naturally free up energy. We live in such a "just think positive" culture. It's a nice idea in theory, but as Debbie Ford once said, "you can put ice-cream on top of poop, but you're going to taste the poop."

Years ago, my mind was also blown watching the movie. The DVD I purchased included an experiential exercise. The first step was to ID my best quality, and how I demonstrate it in my daily life. Easy, I thought - helping other people, and I do that at work everyday. The second step was to ID the exact opposite of my best quality, which I learned was one of my core shadows (i.e. traits I try to hide).

Let's break this down. The opposite of helping is hurting, and the other person is me. Uh-oh! I always knew this on some level, but this little personal exploration made one uncomfortable truth abundantly clear. I help other people to cover up the fact that I beat myself up internally.

I know I'm not alone in this respect. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's an epidemic amongst healthcare professionals.

What's the solution?

We must find the courage to be honest with ourselves. There is nothing wrong with any quality we have. In fact, as the movie teaches, they all come bearing gifts. But when we don't have the courage to own all (not just the good) of our qualities, we can easily become victims of the Beach Ball Effect. I struggled many years for this reason.

I served people well before looking internally. But no words can describe the empowering impact that "shadow work" has made on my ability to connect and serve my clients.

The woman I mentioned finished our program today. She identified being honest (and aware of how she tricks herself) as the most important thing she learned. Anyone who watches and embraces the wisdom of this movie will have a much deeper appreciation for her experience.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

ATTENTION EDUCATORS & STUDENTS:

My new book, The Clinical Success Formula: How to Reduce Anxiety, Boost Confidence, and Pass with Flying Colors will be coming out soon. Please contact me at dan@clinicalsuccesscoaching.com for more information.

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The Gift of No-Thing
January 8, 2016 11:23 AM by Dan Eisner
Working in psychiatry, I'm constantly meeting people desperately in need of something to make them feel better. I'm not suggesting seeking "things" is bad or wrong, but the reality is that improved moods caused by "things" (e.g., coffee, food, $, TV, etc.) are quite fleeting. You've probably noticed that, most of the time, it's not very long before we are in pursuit of the next "thing" to make us feel better. 

It used to be very easy for me to give my clients a lot of things (mostly in the form of concepts, knowledge, etc.) when I was more stuck in the seeking mode myself. Truthfully, I loved to talk about "things" (ideas) because in the short term, it also made me feel better.

Lately, I've been more aware of a dilemma I've felt internally for quite some time. On the one hand, I've felt the urge to give my clients the something, the anything they want to feel better. Yet, at the same time, I have a deeper understanding that the "things" they think they need are ultimately not satisfying.

A friend recently gave me "The Gift of Nothing" which has lead me to a deeper realization of this fact. It has also inspired me be more comfortable talking about no-thing with my clients.

In fact, I've been saying, "I'm really here to teach you about no-thing. But this is not to be confused with nothing. No-thing is all about the space and energy and where all possibilities exist. So, when we focus on no-thing, we're actually focusing on everything."  

I've been getting more comfortable being slower and more cautious about speaking, recognizing that it's really the space of no-thought (thing) that holds the power.

Remember, everything physical (including our bodies) is made of atoms, which consist of 99.999% empty space or energy. So, if we aren't paying attention to no-thing (space), than we are literally missing out big time.

We "spoke" about this is group today. I have no words to describe the deeper level of understanding we all experienced by sharing more silence (no-thing) together. It reminded me of the value of an Eckhart Tolle quote I heard years ago.

He said, "No one can transform themselves. All you can do is to create the space so that the transformation can happen."

The gift of no-thing is truly more powerful than we can possibly imagine. It's the key for getting out of the way so the miracles we no longer need can find their way into our experience.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My new book, The Clinical Success Formula, How to Reduce Anxiety, Build Confidence, and Pass with Flying Colors will be available soon. Please visit www.clinicalsuccesscoaching.com to join our free list for updates.

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Teaching without Telling
November 23, 2015 10:20 AM by Dan Eisner
A new client that started really took to these teachings. This formerly depressed woman looked bright as sunshine the next day and was excited to tell me how she'd been implementing what she was learning.

Essentially, she was becoming more aware of awareness and was already able to make more empowering choices. Clearly, something really impacted her. I wanted to find out what she found most helpful, so I asked her to share her experience with Elizabeth, a visiting nursing student.

I smiled as my client said, "Dan told me something without telling me anything. He made me feel like everything he was saying was my idea."

It was her idea as much as it was my own. I just gently guided her towards seeing something she already knew to be true. As it says in the Tao Te Ching, "he teaches with all the teaching, thus there is nothing to learn."

I later understood just how much "teaching" impacted her when she shared a story in our second group.

She openly admitted being stubborn and hardheaded just like her son, who always gets on her nerves. I don't know too many moms who have the courage to admit how they see the worst of themselves in their children.

She used this increased awareness as an opportunity to take a step back from her role as a mom, and to communicate in a way that made him think what she wanted him to do was his idea.

On the surface, all she did was give him a choice, but what she did ran much deeper. She consciously guided her son to the right action and showed him a level of respect that he might not have ever felt. She taught him without teaching him anything.

This would not have been possible if she didn't have the courage to approach him as an equal human being, not an authoritative mom. She respected the roles they played but approached him from a deeper place that guided her son to follow his own wisdom.

It doesn't get much better than that in my experience.

 

ATTENTION EDUCATORS & NEW GRADUATES

My new book, The Clinical Success Formula: How to Reduce Anxiety, Build Confidence, and Pass with Flying Colors will be released in early 2016. Please contact me at dan@keyinsightcoaching.com if you have any questions about the book or are interested in pre-ordering copies.

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Instantly Relieve Depression Symptoms
September 16, 2015 3:44 PM by Dan Eisner
Yesterday I spoke with an extremely depressed guy with a long history of alcohol abuse. My colleague told me that the doctors were ready to discharge him stating, "There is nothing we can do for him if he does not want to go to rehab."

You didn't have to be Freud to recognize that this guy was trapped inside his depression. His thought process was perpetuating his illness. I couldn't ask him a question without him delving into all the reasons he was feeling depressed. As Einstein stated, "You cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created."

I intuitively knew I had to get him to stop thinking as it was the root cause of his depression. I slowly (pausing, using silence) and methodically explained the importance of Open Focus attention, and how he could get some relief by paying attention to his senses.

I said, "Do your best to maintain a panoramic view of the environment and see what you can take in with your senses. This will slow down your thought process and help your ‘depression clouds' to clear. It won't solve all of your problems, but it will help your mind to clear so you think productively and make better choices."

My colleague Sam reported that he was remarkably better today stating, "Yesterday, it was like he wasn't even here. Today, he was so present and willing to let it what was happening around him."

By paying attention to his senses, he instantly began to experience relief from his depression, and he understood exactly why he was feeling better. This left him feeling empowered.

It wasn't alcohol. It wasn't medicine. He simply started paying attention to how he was paying attention. He stopped "zooming in" on his problems, and started "zooming out" and looking at the big picture.

Most people think it cannot be THAT easy to break free of a bad mood, but it really is simple. Sustaining the improved mood requires repetition, but in any moment a simple shift can and will initiate positive momentum.

 Paying attention to our 5 senses is the easiest way to break free of destructive patterns of thinking and behavior.  The practice enables us to get outside of our "problems" where we can access our most powerful sixth sense: intuition.

We can then begin to make more empowered and empowering choices that naturally prevents depression and leads a healthy sense of well-being.

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Debbie Downer Sees the Brightside
August 20, 2015 4:11 PM by Dan Eisner
By her own admission, we had a real "Debbie Downer" in our program the last 10 days. She was full of excuses and would not take any responsibility for the quality of her life.  It was obvious that she was not invested in making any changes and was just going through the motions.

My colleague Mark advises that "we should never be working harder than our clients." This is especially true when working with this type of person. She is a nice lady, and deep down she has good intentions, but she (unconsciously) likes to suck people into to her sad story.

I avoided her for this reason, but then I remembered the quote, "What you permit, you promote." I realized I had not been direct and honest with her about my observations. In a way, I was enabling her to not give her best.

So, I "called her out" on Monday, and gave her the specialized knowledge I write about in this blog. Honestly, given her low energy and level of participation, I did not think it would be worth the effort. I was wrong.

After the session, I said to my student, "I felt her resistance and me wanting to try harder. But I remembered that the results are not up to me. Let me just do the best I can." I was passionately detached (Deepak Chopra).

My student and I did not think anything got through to her, so we were pleasantly surprised the next day. She literally looked 180 degrees different.

When I asked her about her evening, she smiled as she mentioned her accomplishments, including cleaning her dishes and making her own coffee. Bear in mind, this is a woman who has been severely depressed and lying in bed for months.

She also became more aware of her symptoms stating, "I have been a Debbie Downer, and I am tired of carrying this negative energy." Her increased awareness was a catalyst for calling her brother she had not spoken to in EIGHT MONTHS.

When I asked her what was most helpful she replied, "You called me out."

I did not give her advice; I just spoke the truth from the wisdom of my experiences. That is all it took for this former Debbie Downer to see the Brightside of life for herself.

 

Please visit http://www.keyinsightcoaching.com/ for more information and support. You may also call 443-393-1747 for a FREE consultation on how you or your organization may benefit from our services.

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Taking the Emotion Out of the Emotion
July 28, 2015 1:01 PM by Dan Eisner
I've been working with a nurse with severe anxiety and symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

I introduced her to Open Focus attention and many other ideas that I intuitively felt would be helpful to her.

She looked quite different when I saw her the next day, appearing less anxious and generally brighter. I asked if she implemented any of the teachings, and she replied, "No, I have not had a reason to because I've been calm."

She wasn't calmer for no reason. It was because she started resisting the temptation to "zoom in' on her emotional clouds, only she didn't realize it until we started processing.

Instead of desperately trying to control her emotions (i.e. a process of doing), she began the practice of allowing them to simply "be," and to come and go like passing storms. It wasn't what she was "doing" that made the difference; it is what she was NOT doing - reacting.

She was effectively taking the emotion of out the emotion.

I helped her to realize that she was in fact becoming more self-aware, and that her mood improved for that reason. Then, she was able to give me several examples of  "catching herself" and choosing more wisely. This left her feeling more empowered to continue the practice.

I love the quote "experience without knowledge is ignorance." It illustrates why discussing the intricacies of this process is so important. The more we understand exactly what we are doing (and not doing) that's working, the more we can apply the knowledge to produce better results.

My client had the experience of feeling better, but expanding her knowledge of how it really works in the moment is what made this such an empowering experience. The more we understand how it works within ourselves, the better we can communicate the wisdom of our experiences in a way that is truly life changing for the people we serve.

Being a catalyst in this way is one of the greatest gifts in the world, and the more we commit to giving to ourselves first, the more we can share it with others.



Please visit http://www.keyinsightcoaching.com/ for more information and support on how you or your organization may benefit from our services. Call 443-393-1747 for a free consultation.

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A Night & Day Difference
July 8, 2015 2:32 PM by Dan Eisner
Last week I worked with an incredibly anxious young man who could barely sit still and make eye contact. He'd been on the unit for a couple of weeks. While he was generally cooperative, he was easily frustrated by other people and had difficulty being around them.

During the course of our session, I could see a dramatic shift in his level of anxiety, which he reported decreased from a 10 to a 5. While a number of ideas seemed to resonate with him, what he reported as most helpful was the idea of Open Focus attention.

As you might have heard me say, Open Focus attention is an incredibly powerful practice that has been scientifically proven to immediately create healthier brain wave activity, so it wasn't surprising that he reported it as being most helpful.

When I followed up with my colleagues the next day to check on his progress, they mentioned observing several positive changes, including an increased ability to tolerate other people, and that he generally looked less anxious.

My colleague reported that "a lot of things" helped to create a dramatic shift in his behavior, but I wanted to ask my client directly for two reasons.

First, the more conscious he is about what was really working for him, the more likely he will be able to repeat those positive behaviors in the future. Secondly, I like to get feedback so I can continue to improve the quality of service I provide.

My client looked so much better on approach, and without any hesitation, or even a bit of excitement, he started telling me how practicing Open Focus attention has already made a "night and day" difference.

He was also able to articulate specifically HOW it was working for him stating, "I am just NOT zooming in on the anxiety cloud, so I'm able relax more and question where it might be coming from instead of immediately going into panic mode." In other words, he was left empowered knowing exactly how to manage his anxiety.

While I'm sure many other factors influenced his ability to make these positive changes, by his own admission, Open Focus attention was in fact the catalyst that made it possible for him to implement everything he'd been learning.

The power of Open Focus attention is virtually impossible to understand and appreciate without a direct experience with the practice.

I sincerely hope this little story inspires you to see how it can make a night and day difference in your life.

Please visit http://www.keyinsightcoaching.com/ for more information and support, and or call 443-393-1747 for a FREE consultation on how you or your organization may benefit from our services.

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Introspection over Reaction
June 25, 2015 4:12 PM by Dan Eisner
One of the toughest but most important pills to swallow is the fact that everything we see in the external world is a direct reflection of what's happening internally. This is precisely why the same situation (e.g. a "difficult" person) can trigger so many varying degrees of responses.

Part of our human nature is to project our feelings onto things in the external world.

Why?

The reason is because, at least in the short term, it's easier to say "She is making me _________" than it is to actually feel our feelings and take personal responsibility.

We've had a very "difficult" person in our day program for the last month. She can be very reactive and defensive, and has the tendency to get caught in a victim mentality, despite being more capable than she allows herself to believe.

Even though she's been extremely challenging on a practical level (i.e. treating her therapeutically), I'm grateful for her presence because she's been a catalyst for a great deal of introspection and learning.

My student and I have had many conversations and moments of insight as we've navigated our way through treating our client. What has become most apparent is that the frustration we've both experienced often has much more to do with our own "stuff" than that of our client.

It would be so easy and convenient to say, "She is so frustrating," but at the deepest level, we know it's not entirely true, and projecting our own frustration onto our client isn't serving anyone. As Debbie's documentary teaches, the qualities we judge other people for having are hidden parts of ourselves that we desperately try to hide.

Honestly, can you think of anyone (especially yourself) who hasn't been guilty of being a victim, overly negative, defensive and reactive at times?

Clearly, we all have these tendencies, and denying this truth is what makes these behaviors more prevalent than we'd like to admit.

The best way to deal with "difficult" people is to be grateful for them mirroring the very qualities we've been denying.  While that can be tough to admit, in the long run, it's much more empowering than projecting our "stuff" onto other people.

Our client has been challenging on a practical level, but she's also inspired a great deal of growth and learning opportunities on the part of her treatment team. While it hasn't been easy, this "difficult" person has been a great teacher. Can you think of a better gift?

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The Difference between Showing and Telling
June 9, 2015 5:25 PM by Dan Eisner

My student who started this week witnessed quite an amazing transformation with one of our clients. Just to give you a little background on the client - she's been married for 43 years and never once said no to her husband until last week. She came into our program looking meek and helpless, and left feeling and looking empowered.

I explained to my student that it wasn't what we did that had such a powerful impact on our client as much as what we didn't do. We didn't tell her what to do. We respected, in a very deep and meaningful way, that she already KNEW what she needed to be doing (e.g. saying no), and then we gently but directly guided to her own wisdom and showed her what was possible..

In the course of our conversation, I read my student the following from the Tao Te Ching: "When the master completes his work, the people say, amazing we did it ourselves!"

My client didn't initially realize that she had in fact changed herself, and she tried to give the credit to the treatment team. She initially couldn't see that it was her subtle shifts in thinking and behavior that was making the most difference, and that it was her commitment to increased awareness that was giving her the power to make healthier choices. But she definitely understood by the time she left our program.

My friend and mentor Karl once said to me, "I take what I do seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously as the guy who is doing it."

When we as Healthcare Professionals take our roles too seriously, and come across as the expert with all the answers, we literally rob our clients of their empowerment and personal responsibility. It's really easy to forget this, especially when being praised for the great work that we do. If I hadn't constantly been reinforcing the message "You did it" with my client, she wouldn't have left feeling so empowered.

When I asked my student if she noticed a difference in my teaching style and approach to running groups, she said, "Yes, it's really casual, like you're talking with people, not to them." She's right, and I do this quite consciously to break down the barriers that prevent us from connecting and serving on a deeper level. The truth is that, beyond our roles, we are 100% connected and equally powerful.

The more can show our clients this truth by recognizing it in our own experience, the better we can help them to maximize their own potential.

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The Biggest Mistake to Avoid
May 28, 2015 12:26 PM by Dan Eisner
Before we begin, let me share a little bit of my personal history.

If I had to name my personality prior to starting this journey of personal growth, I would have called myself "Emotional Wreck Dan." Even though I was quite functional, the truth is that I was a wreck on the inside, plagued with anxiety and fear on an almost constant basis. I looked OK to the outside world but, internally, I was suffering.

Once I started working on myself, I created a new and improved personality that I call "Aware Control Dan," which I am beginning to realize is incredibly common in our culture.

The reason is because we make ourselves bad or wrong for feeling normal human emotions. On some level, we believe, "I shouldn't be_________(angry, frustrated, anxious, etc.)."

So, when we become aware that these emotions arise, what do we do? We try to control them in some way, which we all know doesn't work very well. When I'm working with people in person, I'll often demonstrate this tendency by pretending a small paper ball is an emotion arising, and then quickly stuffing in my pocket to pretend it doesn't exist. I've never had a person not indicate their familiarity with this destructive pattern of behavior.

In the context of sharing this lesson, I often tell the story of trying to give my cat Freddie his medicine. I was still very much stuck in my Aware Control

personality at the time, and was NOT aware of the frustration I was feeling, but Freddie was, which is exactly why he wouldn't take his medicine.

After leaving the house, and essentially getting outside my emotional cloud, I honored and the frustration I was feeling instead of trying to control it, and decided to I'd again later when I was calm.

So, I quietly slipped him the Pill Pocket (cat treat to hide medicine). He ate it right up, and meowed asking for another one. I then picked up the Pill Pocket bag and read the following quote...

"Feeding your cat medicine can be frustrating."

Everyone always laughs when I share this story because it's so common to make ourselves bad or wrong for feeling normal human emotions, and then to make the biggest mistake of trying to control them in some way.

 Learning to let go and be the space for our emotions as they arise, as opposed to trying to control them, is one of the most powerful skills we can practice. As always, we must model this behavior to elicit the best performance from our clients.

This lesson and story came up in group today, which lead to one of those amazing sessions that no words could adequately describe. I'd like to invite you to experience the value of this lesson for yourself by investigating where the Aware Control personality may be active in your life, and doing your best to let go instead.

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The Power of Not Knowing
May 15, 2015 10:23 AM by Dan Eisner
Do you ever feel pressured to just know all the answers in any given moment?

I'm feeling a bit of that right now as I'm writing this blog. I feel like I should know exactly what I am supposed to write about, but the truth is I am quite lost at the moment.

However, I'm grateful for remembering one of the most impressive things Eckhart Tolle heard the Dali Llama say when asked a number of "serious" questions. He said, "I don't know," in the lighthearted way in which he typically communicates, which Eckhart said elicited a palpable sense of relief in the audience.

The reason is because we all unconsciously feel pressured to know everything. So, when the Dali Llama admitted "not knowing," he gave everyone else the permission to be OK with it as well, at least for a moment.

I believe the pressure to know is particularly prevalent in healthcare. We are seen as the experts who are supposed to have all the answers, which I know, from personal experience, creates a lot of stress. The people we serve typically have the highest of expectations and, if you're like me, you probably don't want to disappoint them.

When we don't have the courage and vulnerability to admit that we don't have all the answers, and overcompensate by trying harder, we forfeit our ability to access information that exists outside the "knowing box" in which we are living. But, if we can find the courage to operate from a place of not knowing, we literally gain access to an infinite field of intelligence known as the Quantum Field.

This is exactly what happens during those magical treatment sessions that didn't go as planned. Essentially, we are outside the box, immersed in the present moment and unknown void of possibility, where we can gain access to amazing innovative ways of providing care.

The good news is that we can experience these types of sessions more regularly by simply having the courage to keep our minds open as we enter into each and every treatment. I've gotten more comfortable loosely planning treatment sessions for this reason. Even though not knowing exactly what I'm going to do still scares me a bit, I do it anyway-because I'm learning that the risk of letting go of the reigns a bit and venturing into the unknown is worth the reward.

I'd like to invite you to try it out in your own practice. My guess is that you'll find that it can make your work easier, more spontaneous, enjoyable, and infinitely more powerful.

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A Lesson from Baltimore
April 29, 2015 10:10 AM by Dan Eisner

No words can describe the events in Baltimore Monday night, but at the very least, this will be yet another wakeup call causing us to take a closer look at the collective insanity of our culture.

People all over the world are tuned into Baltimore, watching the events unfold on live TV.

Why?

The fact is we are addicted to drama. We love to watch and judge the behavior of others because it's a convenient distraction from our own insanity. It's very easy to say, "People (i.e. Not Me!) are crazy," but to look within ourselves is another story.

I'll be the first to admit that horrible tragedies like this oddly gives me some reprieve from the "war" that goes on inside my head at times.  I know I am not alone in this respect.

I'd be willing to bet many people are experiencing some relief from their own "stuff," being kinder to others, and not engaging in as many self-destructive behaviors as they would on a day where there isn't such an  "easy" place to put their attention and energy.

Events like this remind me of one of my favorite Course In Miracles teachings, which is that we'll never run out of reasons for being upset, but none of them are the real reason. The real reason is that we are disconnected from the greater part of our identity.

Freddie Gray's death and funeral was a catalyst for these events, it clearly wasn't the cause. The collective sense of disconnection and insanity so many people feel already existed in our culture, and it was just waiting for another convenient excuse to express itself.

I once heard Tara Brach say, "All reactivity comes from a place of suffering." 

While I don't condone or believe we should tolerate the atrocities we've seen in Baltimore (or anywhere for that matter), I get it. The people committing these acts are in more pain than the average person, and are unfortunately directing it outward, causing a great deal of destruction and suffering to the people in their community.

However, from a deeper perspective, they are also providing a "service" in a strange way. They are helping others who aren't as disconnected, and do have the capacity to see the bigger picture, to WAKE UP and engage in a healthy dialogue.

In the words of Deepak Chopra, "It's helpful to remember that everyone is doing the best they can from their level of consciousness."

As healthcare professionals, I believe we have a responsibility to remember this truth, and to do our best to model the very behaviors we'd like to see in the world.

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