Monday, July 29, 2013


Sun Valley, 6,000 feet above sea level. My grandchildren and I are gazing at the stars above us. A glorious sight, this vast universe.

“Did you read about the Higgs Field in the Smithsonian, grandma?”, my grandson asked. “It’s hard to imagine that all this empty space is just an illusion. It’s permeated with radio and television waves, and with gravitational and magnetic fields, but now they think that the whole universe is filled with a Higgs Field.”

I took another awed look at the sky and timidly asked, “What is a Higgs Field?”

“Hard to describe. About 50 years ago Professor Higgs came up with a mathematical equation that suggested that an invisible something permeated the universe. No one believed him, but he pursued his idea and soon other scientists set out to find proof. Last year, thanks to the giant collider in Switzerland, physicists did find evidence that his theory was correct.”

“Do you mean that math can project theories long before we find actual evidence?”

“Apparently so—as Einstein did with his Theory of Relativity, or Karl Schwarzchild predicting black holes, or Paul Dirac anticipating anti-matter. Physicists come up with elegant equations, which are usually rejected, but eventually they catch on, until finally someone discovers evidence that proves they’re sound.”

“Amazing that mere, cold numbers can tell us the secrets of the universe!  So what exactly did they discover?”

“They discovered the Higgs boson, a particle that is totally different from all known particles. Each particle has a characteristic spin that never changes, but the Higgs boson has no spin at all. More important, the Higgs equation seems to indicate that the universe is filled with something that causes resistance to anything that passes through space that causes particles to have a measurable mass. These math equations, therefore, seem to be of great value, because they may hold true anywhere in the universe—but only if we look at it from a universal perspective, beyond the particularities of our Planet Earth.”

“Perspective.” The word caught my imagination. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could bring a broader perspective into our daily lives? It might save much pain and disappointment.

We tend to see life filtered through the narrow prism of our personal experience, and remain oblivious of the experiences of others. 

Envision a fish trying to imagine what it would be like to move through dry air—difficult, if not impossible! I never would have guessed how much effort it takes to run in water until the day I tried it—too much effort! I prefer jogging in the open air.

Looking at the world with a broader perspective might help us understand people’s actions and reactions that differ from ours. We tend to create our own little universe placing ourselves at its center, and often remain unaware of the perspectives of others.

Perhaps if we looked at the world as though we were seeing it for the very first time or maybe for the very last time, we might perceive a clearer image.
I gazed again at the stars above me and tried to imagine how it would feel if we saw them only three times during our lifetime— it would be a monumental event!
As Allen Klein says, “A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.”
Until next time,

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Introverts and Extroverts by Guest Author Alison Poulsen PhD

Many people are naturally introverted—they gain energy while spending time alone. Others are naturally extroverted—they become energized by spending time with others. However, both introverts and extroverts can often benefit from finding a healthy balance between spending time with others and time alone.

Introverts who spend too much time socializing and spending time with others may become depleted and drained. In the words of Henri J.M. Nouwen they come home “with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from them or that holy ground has been trodden upon.” They need to find ways to nourish their desire for solitude.
On the other hand, introverts who spend too much time alone tend to become increasingly uncomfortable and awkward around other people. Thus, to avoid becoming a recluse, it’s important to balance their preference for being alone with some ongoing association and interaction with others.
In contrast, extroverts who spend an excessive amount of time socializing often lose a sense of groundedness and depth. When they are forced to spend time alone they tend to feel listless and forlorn. An evening alone can become downright painful and scary because they have lost touch with their own self. It’s like being stuck with an unapproachable stranger.
Nourishing our natural preferences is important, but we should beware of becoming extravagantly imbalanced. It’s ideal if we can avoid both extremes of onesided socializing and avoiding others at all cost.
Over-entertaining others
Notwithstanding personality differences, people who feel drained from entertaining others are perhaps putting too much effort into their interactions. The notion of having to “entertain others” may be part of the problem.
Some people think that they have to make sure everyone in a given situation is enraptured, fascinated, or amused. They may take over the spot light in an effort to enthrall and enchant others. Ironically, such forced attempts to non-stop “entertain” others can actually cause others to feel exhausted and ignored! When entertainment is a one-way profusion of speech or energy, it often neglects spontaneous interaction, and may ignore the audience’s reactions, thoughts, and even their very presence.
Being aware and open
A truly enriching relationship between people does not involve one person entertaining the other. Rather, it is based on meaningful connection, which involves being present, paying attention, and responding with authenticity. This is not to say that entertaining story-telling should be avoided. However, relating with others including story telling is more rewarding and less exhausting if you focus on being present with others rather than on entertaining them. In new age terms, it helps to allow the back and forth flow of energy, thoughts, and words.
If you notice people aren’t responsive to your “entertaining” monologue, try asking them questions. Paying attention to the other person allows you to interact with spontaneous, relevant and responsive ideas and humor that makes interaction truly interesting and alive. Cultivating genuine, heart-felt and mindful connection with others can benefit us all, no matter how extroverted or introverted our tendency.
by Guest Author Alison Poulsen, PhD