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Join Jim Manske for practice exercises that will help you navigate away from reactivity toward a more compassionate way of being in the world, and learn to express vulnerable honesty(scary honesty} .

"Falling out of love" is a misleading concept that can lead to feelings of helplessness in relationships. The initial intense phase of love gradually gives way to the need for intentional effort and communication. Unrealistic relationship expectations can erode connection, causing the perception of falling out of love. To address this, we can ask key questions and seek clarity to attend to...

An anchor is something you turn your attention toward in order to interrupt reactivity and access a non-reactive, expansive perspective. Though it doesn't make the reactivity go away, it allow you the internal space to choose to not behave from reactivity. In this practice exercise learn more about anchors, plus how to create and use them.

When deciding if someone crossed your boundaries and how to respond, you may get conflicting opinions on it. These opinions can be coarse attempts to manage life with rules about what should(n’t) happen. Instead, so that you can find where you want to invest your energy, ask yourself questions that reveal what for you is truly in integrity, nourishing, connects to your heart, and deepens self...

Judgment is an attempt to protect from hopelessness or insecurity, at high cost. Instead, check in with fear, grief, or hurt. Then wonder what needs are at stake for everyone. This makes space for grief instead of anger, for negotiation rather than control, and for "calling in" rather than excluding. Wonder: “For whom would this be life-serving or not?”, “What strategies would care for all...

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Practice Exercise

6-9 minutes

Goals and purposes can arise from intentions, but are different. Intentions arise from what's authentic, alive and aligned for you. Intentions can give you a sense of expansion, ease, and flow -- and are an essential part of any change process. Clear intentions can support decisions, management of resources, plus it can direct your attention effectively and with integrity. Read on for practices...

Empathy is a form of attunement. Empathy is giving your compassionate curiosity by guessing another’s feelings and needs. Consider how you live or relate to each of these 12 essential aspects of empathy. Some of them mention how we can offer empathy without abandoning ourselves, how empathy isn't always the best response, and how "Empathy can be offered when you disagree with another’s opinion,...

We can use anger as an important signal to let us know that we perceive a threat to a universal need or value, directing our attention to something so that we can take effective action, and avoid harmful thought patterns. For example, instead of dwelling on a "should," focus on addressing unmet needs through boundaries and effective communication.

If you want a better connection it's crucial to be mindful about how your communication affects your partner. This means noticing and keeping eye contact, observing body language, and checking for their reactions. You can also share in small increments, check in before sharing vulnerable thoughts, and express what you notice. Give yourself empathy when you notice that you want to be right more...

When feeling unworthy, powerless, or afraid, we can hear others' comments as criticism, rejection, demands, limits, or attacks. Practice self-compassion, release attachments, and ask “How can I stretch the boundaries of who I believe myself to be, in service of love?”. Try replacing love with a word that inspires you (e.g. freedom, thriving, etc). Note answers that arise later. Or explore the...

When your dedication to something is fueled by a profound intention to benefit all life, you may call it your spiritual practice. This means cultivating compassion, wisdom, and skills to notice what truly serves life. Its a discovery and experiment in what does and doesn't serve life, and what you can do now - its not about what you believe or not. Continuously inquire: "What most deeply serves...

If someone asks you to love them as is, try wondering what contributes to their need for acceptance. Loving someone and empathizing with them, doesn't mean you can't make requests for change. Recall that your requests are about your needs, not about them. Understand that requests may not be met due to lack of resources or skills, even if the desire is there. Clarify how important the request is...

You may want to shift power dynamics in intimate and family relationships -- especially if there's longstanding, unprocessed hurts. Reflect on where, when and with whom you tend to enter reactive “power over” patterns. Explore the feelings and needs that are up for you in those contexts. Imagine other ways that could meet your needs in, or before, those moments. In this way, in similar...

Blame is a misguided habit that's used to avoid pain and suffering, offering only a momentary distraction and oversimplifies complex histories. It also disconnects us from choice and agency, blocks us from discovering more about ourselves and others, and can keep us from having compassionate, self responsible conversations. Instead, we can practice speaking in terms of impact and notice our...

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Practice Exercise

5 - 7 minutes

Anger is neither good nor bad. When you don't foresee it or you haven't cultivated a relationship to anger, you may behave from it and hurt yourself and others. There are three reasons anger may rise: primitive anger, resistance, and lack of resources. For practicing with these last two types of anger, we'll look at four practices: cultivate awareness, pause and expand, self-care and planning,...

Learn how unconscious impulses can lead to depleting patterns. Here, we look at two forms of reactive attempts we may use to avoid future pain, and how to make conscious decisions instead. Read on for questions that can help us see if we're making decisions from a grounded place, such as taking time to reflect on values, receive support from others, and getting curious about others' views.

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Practice Exercise

3 - 5 minutes

Making a decision or boundary that invites someone to be honest about their feelings can be difficult. Remember that lack of authenticity may be due to lack of awareness, inner conflict, or fear of conflict, rather than dishonesty. Offer empathy and reassurance and invite more conversation. Approach with compassion and curiosity to naturally invite more honesty.

Is it tough to see a loved one go through hardship? May you have tension building up inside and draw a rigid boundary, or feel the urgency to swoop in and try to “rescue” them with advice, consoling, cheering up, analyzing, or explaining? Instead, relax your body. Invite your emotions to flow with acceptance. Notice inner peace and expansion. See this person as someone on a journey to awakening...

If you want to support someone in distress offer a menu of ways you can contribute. Often a person in distress can’t articulate what they need but can recognize it when they hear it. Move fluidly among these 11 options to offer what’s truly helpful, rather than offering something out habit or based on what you think they should have. Remember that you can ask, “Is this helpful?” to support...

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Practice Exercise

2-3 minutes

Often, honoring someone’s choice supports more connection. Thus, checking in with someone’s choice to listen or not (offering autonomy) sets the stage for being heard more fully. On the other hand, when someone has the perception that you are talking to them without considering their choice, resentful listening might result. Here are ways to mindfully check in about choiceful listening before...