Interview with Stephen Gilligan – Part 2

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Life Tools

We finish our interview with Stephen Gilligan, Ph.D, a leader in the field of generative psychology, and learn his thoughts on how we can live a life that is less stressful and thus more emotionally fulfilling. Due to the length of the interview, we split our talk into two parts. This is Part 2. If you haven’t listened to Part 1, we highly recommend you start with it by going here.

In this part of the interview, we discuss a variety of topics with Stephen including:

  • Our logical mind has a different “rhythm” than our somatic mind.
  • Good, healthy, enjoyable, and creative functioning is a movement between the two hemispheres of the brain, which act as filters. We need to make sure the relationship between the two hemispheres work for us…and mindfulness can help with this.
  • When we are mindful we are aware of ourselves and our surroundings and experience ourselves “in the moment”. The more we can notice while remaining relaxed, the greater our capacity to live in a generative manner.
  • “”Neuromuscular locking”- This is what occurs when we tense our muscles in response to an experience that we are expecting to not be pleasurable. When we lock up, we greatly inhibit our ability to be solution oriented and creative. Indeed the living of one’s life depends a great deal on creativity and being able to adapt as a situation unfolds. When we lock up our physiology we wind up creating a fear state, and we tend to be reactive rather than proactive.
  • The fear most people have is, that if they open themselves up to a negative experience, they will get sucked into it. People tend to think they have two choices: get rid of the experience or get overwhelmed by it. There is a third way: connect with something more basic than the negative experience and then you have the freedom and security to get curious about it. And from there, you can learn how to engage with your experience and make small incremental changes.  You can actively begin to shift the the experience and how it unfolds in your life.
  • You have three general minds when developing a creative solution: the mind of your body, your verbal/cognitive mind, and a larger sense called your “field mind”.
  • How you engage in your experience makes a significant difference. We are often given “terrible gifts”, but they are gifts nonetheless, IF we work to make them such.
  • With Milton Erickson, he found that whatever life gives you, you can use it in creative ways.
  • Aikido is astonishingly similar to Milton Erickson’s work. You first get out of the way so that you don’t get “wacked” by the attack/negative experience, but then eventually learn how to “join” with it and move it “through” your body.
  • The central principle of all persistent suffering is that one part of a system gets functionally isolated from its larger system.
  • When you go into a “negative problem”, you forget about any positive intention, you shut down in your body, and you are no longer connected to positive resources.

For more information about Stephen Gilligan, you can go to http://www.stephengilligan.com/ .

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