Fri, Dec 02, 2022 12:50PM • 49:48
brain, boundary, feel, people, moment, grief, happening, thinking, image, misunderstanding, talking, true, heart, space, pause, feelings, witnessing, hot chocolate, totally, love
Jules, Megan Gipson
Megan Gipson 00:02
Hi, and thanks so much for joining me on this episode of The Family brain. Today I have Julianne Taylor shore, who is a therapist here in Austin and I follow her work. fanatically online. She has lots of good information out there. She's the founder of ipnb. Austin, a therapy practice, which is beautiful. The space is beautiful. It's, it's lovely, which is now yeah, pretty. And she's the co host of the podcast, why does my partner, she's married and has a child and a dog and is doing all the things we're doing trying to figure out this messy life. Thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you for having me, Megan. It's great. It's great to be here.
Megan Gipson 00:47
So I was just curious, I always like to hear a little bit about how people get started in their work. I mean, you could be an accountant, you could be, you know,
some other things. I was, yeah, my undergrad was in theater. And I was a director and a stage manager in the theater in New York for years. And my family's in the auto business like mechanics. And so I learned to turn wrenches. And for some of my life, I was an auto mechanic, and manage auto shops. Crazy, totally different background. And then I found the therapy world actually, through going to therapy during a really hard situation in my life, and felt like, honestly, I felt like therapy is dumb. And I don't really like it or want to do it. But I can't think of another option. And I feel really stuck and lost. And so I'll try it, but it probably won't help, right. And then after a couple of years of fighting with my therapist about whether or not feelings mattered. I found myself on the other side of that in a much better space. And so I ended up going to grad school actually, because of that experience. And then I found my way I teach about neuroscience to clinicians. I found my way into that work because I went to grad school, and was super confused about the fact that there were no classes on the brain. And I thought that's super weird. Because I wouldn't ask one of my guys to work on a brake system, if he didn't understand how a brake system worked. That'd be that'd be odd. And so I ended up luckily finding some correspondence courses stuff I could take that I didn't have to like re enroll in a different grad program. So that led me to the work of Dan Siegel. I started studying interpersonal neurobiology, which felt like a real fit to find our way I looked into a Robert Sapolsky, whose work who I think is one of the best teachers in the complexity of neuroscience, he doesn't dumb it down at all. And Eagleman I started studying with some of those folks and, and got to know a lot about the brain and then realized, Oh, these are written in this really technical way. I wonder if I could help translate between what does that mean? And what does that mean about how we do things differently? That helps us work more with how our brains work, because a lot of the interventions I was seeing actually asked you to work against the energy and information flow pattern in your brain. And so I started teaching clinicians and working ipnb Austin, our psychotherapy practice, it's ipnb stands for interpersonal neurobiology. And so I started training clinicians and and talking to my clients about how their brains worked. So I tried to spread brain love. Yes,
Megan Gipson 03:55
I? Well, it's it's comforting that you say that a lot of the training doesn't focus on how does the brain work? I think I got some, you know, one on one. But it was not deep information. And I feel like I'm playing a little bit of catch up now. And we all are, yeah, not a lot of things. I mean, and information is growing. I think sometimes my being receptive to new information changes to like, oh, wow, I really need this for the person I'm working with. And I better figure it out now. But it's kind of ironic that my podcast is called the Family brain. And I am in for me, I've always thought about it more as how it's, it's the same insofar as it's like, how are we all interconnected. But my neurobiology background is slowly growing. It's not as strong as my podcast name would suggest.
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I love that you're using it like that. Because when it comes to what a brain really is, it's this. The brain, the mind, relationships, they all have this interaction. We could Think of them as one in the same. And we could also say, yeah, and the brain is the tool like it's the space where the neuro chemistry happens. But the mind is like this bridge between me and other people. And then in that relational space, I transform others through my influence, I let their influence in through me to transform. So when you're talking about the family brain, I think of it is yeah, there's the brain of each individual. And there's the larger emergent brain of the family itself, that's always shifting and interacting with each other. So I'm with you on both ways of
Megan Gipson 05:39
so I've just because you just described it way better than I ever have. But that's exactly what was in my brain. So you, you made the mind a bridge for describing it? Yeah. So one of the things I love, I want to learn more about sort of like neurology, neuroscience 101 that you can share with people. And one of the things that you and I had talked about is just sort of thinking about this is coming out right around the holiday season, things start to feel a little bit extra. And I think a lot of us sort of are already running on steam some time. And then you add a lot of extra things that are considered optional. I was just talking to a friend about this this morning. It's like it's optional, but like people expect it, and I kind of like doing it, but like, but then I'm run out and I feel overwhelmed, and you're interacting with different people. So it's kind of thinking maybe we could frame like some of this conversation about, you know, just this month of December, and sort of your your things that can bring about,
I love that Yeah, and you know, when you're, when you're talking about it from a neuroscience perspective, you can think about the brain in, you can kind of think about it in three different levels of processing. So you have your lowest part of your brain more your brainstem area that's at the very, very bottom of your brain. And that's in charge of like, physical safety, making sure your heart keeps beating sleep cycles, like think of it as like body, yay, everything's cool. And regulating that and making sure you send blood and resources, energy resources, to your muscles to where they need to go to get to your next thing. And then there's that middle part, I like to think of it as the subcortical, a lot of times people will have heard limbic. And the reason I've switched my language is that it's much more complex than just limbic. But think of it as like, the spot where my emotional knowings live. So like, it's, it's optional, and I want to do it, but also, it's kind of expected. All that landscape lives in that middle brain, okay, think of it as like excitatory, neuro chemical Central, okay, it's gonna send lots of neuro chemicals that kind of get you going, and help you process what this world means through a language we like to call feelings. And then you have your top part of your brain. And that top part of your brain is getting all the feed from the bottom two, and is trying to make sense of Okay, so what should I do now? So what's cool about it is that the top part of your brain has the possibility of soothing, that middle and bottom part. And I'm thinking as you were talking about the extra and the stress of the holidays, I was thinking about how much we need to add soothing. And so I was thinking, oh, there's some cool tricks for adding soothing, because sometimes you can turn on that top part of your brain in a way that sets your lower brain on fire. Judgment, judgment towards others will do it judgment towards yourself will do it, or getting all that stress your let your lower brain on fire. But if you can pause and separate and just watch what's happening in your mind, even neutrally, you'll start sending GABA, which is an inhibitory neurochemical, it just goes to your lower brain goes should calm down, hold on, right. So even at adding a pause between what you feel and what you do, will add a little bit of that calming neurochemical flow, okay. And if you can add a little bit of compassion, either either compassion for someone else, or compassion towards yourself, you add extra soothing neuro chemicals from that top part of your brain. So I'm thinking about, let's say, My kid is in a space where she's really wound up. We had a late night, we went to the light show Circuit of the Americas, and now she's screaming for hot chocolate and it's 9pm I'm going to walk through this moment with her and say no to the hot chocolate tonight, I'm gonna go ahead and say about set a boundary because I am feel like our family system may be needs some more rest. And we can do hot chocolate another time during the holidays, but we're not going to do it this moment. What do I have to do to approach her? Just how do I support my mind? So that I can approach that moment knowing she's probably gonna have some feels about this situation? Yeah. And I can hold her well. So if I add that pause, like, Oh, this one's gonna be hard mama. Notice, it was a pause plus a little compassion towards me. Yeah. And then I say to myself, and of course, of course, she's gonna have hard feelings about not getting what she wants. We, how many times do I have hard feels about not getting what I want. That little mini grief is a normal part of the life process as we separate from a longing and let it go. That little mini grief moment agitation moment is a normal part of that. And so I say, Oh, of course, she's going to be upset. So in that pause, I say, Oh, of course, this is hard. And of course, her feelings are totally normal. And then I can navigate the heart moment with a little bit more soothing on board. Yeah, that makes Oh, sweetie, of course, you want the hot chocolate. I'm so sorry, honey, tonight. It's too late for hot chocolate. And then she has her feels. And then I hold her.
Megan Gipson 11:40
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's those moments that come at us all the time, right. And it's this down to let it happen. I mean, I feel like, I can do that sometimes. And then sometimes it's just like, things are happening so fast. And things are coming out of my mouth that I'm like, What am I even saying, you know, what am I you know, totally, that must be like the very bottom of the brain that's like the, we're just scrapping together some words, we're not really planning, and it's just out the mouth.
That's right. That's that reactivity versus response. So it's when we add the pause, and which is so hard to do, because our world, not just is, is really fast, but I think it has an expectation of speed. So I think we can even feel awkward when we're taking a pause. If I pause in a moment and give myself a pep talk, you know, and give myself a little kindness like who, Jules, you got this? Oh, you can do hard things, or Yep, this is tough. But all the mamas are doing it with you. And we're all in this together. And I'm bumbling through this, like the rest of you do not think because I'm saying this. I do this great all the time. I do not. Yeah, totally. Um, but if I can take that pause, one of the things I'm gonna have to walk through is feeling weird. Because it's not something I would normally do, because it's not what my family system did earlier on. Because it's not what all those excitatory neuro chemicals in my brain want me to do. They want me to feel and do with no pause in between. So if you feel weird, it probably means you're making a stride forward and doing a good practice.
Megan Gipson 13:24
I love that I love the idea of pausing and slowing down and it does not come easily to me. But I feel like I'm it's sort of the self compassion plus, like, even those little tiny moments where you're like, acted that better than last time, and really like kind of having a little party for yourself about it. You know, like, that's right, you made a little little step forward.
I am loving that you said that. So when you have a little celebration moment, it's really important that you actually let that stretch out. So funny thing, your amygdala, which is a part in your subcortical system, it feels all sorts of things. It's processing pretty much every emotion that you've got. But one of its really important things is that it processes fear, very, very fast in about a quarter of a second. And it processes something good, very, very slowly. And this was always needed, right? Because it's more important to escape from the danger than it is to like, remember where you left the berries. Yeah, both are important. But once way more important. I can find various again, if I survive to tomorrow. So let's, let's make sure we keep our fear on a hair trigger. Right. But that's just true about the brain. So when you're having that moment of celebration, it actually takes about 20 seconds hanging in that moment. Sometimes for people it's even 30 seconds. So think like oh 20 to 30 seconds. I'm gonna have to take in order for my brain to even get that something good happened. Yeah. In the lower level.
I love that you're saying that celebration and that gratitude for self. And I'm wondering, when you think about this, as you're listening to this, how can you support yourself in staying in that moment long enough for your subcortical brain to get it?
Okay. I like that. Yeah.
Megan Gipson 15:21
I mean, I'm going to try it myself. So I challenge anyone listening, try it, try it, even if it's a small little victory that feels feel like that's where we're extra hard on herself, right? And the compassion comes into is like, Well, that was nothing like, well, it was big for you, you know, sometimes the thing that feels like nothing are actually really a big deal. And it's those little incremental changes that that lead to bigger change, but that it takes time, and it takes those little building blocks. So I will, I'm gonna work on that myself. One of the things that I think about in what you're talking about, about, you know, even this coming home, and like, we're not having hot chocolate tonight, like, it wasn't gonna work for your bigger family system. It was also you setting a boundary kind of for like, I'm not, we're not doing that right now. Yeah. I know, you talk a lot about how boundaries can help us feel more connected to people. And I think sometimes there's there can be a misunderstanding. I have never heard about the term boundaries until I was in my 20s. Somebody introduced me to it. And I was like, What do you mean by this? Like, I had no, you know, even not just the word. But even just the idea of that, like, you could say, No, thank you to thanks. Right. This is a brand new idea. I mean, really? I mean, yeah, you know,
I do so I
Megan Gipson 16:45
think that there can be sort of a misunderstanding sometimes, like, oh, that person is being tough, or that person is like pushing people away. What do you say? Like, what do you hope that people start to understand better about boundaries? And how they actually can serve us and connect us and help us in our relationships?
Yeah, yeah. I think I think ultimately, boundaries are about kindness, and clarity. And I think of boundaries in several different ways. So when I use the word boundaries, I'm not actually only talking about one I think the one you most likely hear about is something I would call like an executed boundary. It's a boundary that has action in it. So that's basically a boundary where you say, here's what's okay with me, here's what's not okay with me. If they're not, okay, thing happens, here's what I'm gonna do. Right? So in the case with the hot chocolate, what's okay with me is that we had a great time, and we're up later than your normal bedtime. Isn't that fun? What's not okay with me is that we prolong that and add sugar to the situation. So we're not, we're not going to do that this evening. So that's not okay with me. So what my action is, is I'm not going to get the hot chocolate. Right. So that's, that's what I'm saying when I say boundaries. So notice this, it has nothing to do with me trying to get someone else to do anything. It has to do with me, guarding my heart against building resentment with you are building disappointing moments with you, because I'm betraying myself by pretending it's okay when it's not okay. Or flexing when I didn't want to flex. And then my behavior, the choices that I'm making in my actions, don't align with what feels right to me, in my body and my heart. And then a lot of times we'll get into like, blaming our spouses, or blaming our kids, or blaming ourselves and getting into this judgment cycle, which we talked about earlier will light your lower brain on fire. So one, just being clear about what is and is not okay with you, and having your actions align with that can bring a lot of internal peace, and you don't build as much resentment and you don't build as much blame. So I think in that way it's connecting. But then I think it's maybe helpful to think about another kind of boundary. And that's the psychological boundary. So the psychological boundary, I think, is one of our biggest connectors. So that's a space between us, where I know, you experiencing you is just you becoming you through time, all the thoughts and feelings you're having is just you working through life. And not everything you think and feel is probably true. And that everything you think and feel is probably about me, at least from my perspective in the world. And not everything I think and feel is true for you and not everything I think of you, it's about you. So, when we hold the psychological boundary between us us, what we're doing is we're having tons of kind witnessing, it's super respectful to the other person, because I'm probably not going to try to change what they're thinking and feeling. I don't need to, that's them, becoming them through time, and what they say or what they think or what they feel, it doesn't have to hurt me so deeply, because I didn't take it so personally. So I think of it as a way to protect my mind from the minds of others, and also to protect other minds from mine. In doing that, I actually feel more protected. Which, by the way, a brain stays more integrated in response to safety. So the more protected I feel, the more likely my brain can respond instead of react can think creatively has nuance has a flexibility. And then the more often to, I can be with whatever's happening in my little one, or in my husband, or in Oregon, my friend, right? And I can, then I can say, oh, that's what's happening for you. I don't need to change it, I can just witness it. When that happens. The other person goes, Oh, my gosh, they're not trying to change me. They accept me in this moment for who I am. They may not think that consciously, right? But that's the experience of it, right? So if let's take that example, with the hot chocolate, I've got my psychological boundary in place. And my kid says, I hate you. Humaid Christmas suck. Let's say she says that, which in our house suck is not a bad word. I know, it might be any worse. And if that's true, then great. And we'd say something, but for my house, it's fine. And so, so so. So hearing him. I hate you. Is that wholly true? Probably not. I think she's expressing in a little kid way that she hates the decision I just made at school. I didn't make it in. That's not true. It's not about me. That's her. Processing her. Her separation from this want, right? You sack I'm actually a terrible parent. Well, that's not wholly true, either. Okay, that's that's her. If you're making Christmas bad. I don't actually agree that this would make Christmas bad, but a good this is really hard moment. So notice, I'm not actually in pain from anything. She just said. Yeah. So I don't because I've got that protection in place. I don't need to protect myself by shifting her. And I know, I'm now kind of witnessing what's happening in her. And I say, you're right. Not getting what you want. really sucks. She's like, Yeah, does. Yeah, totally. Sweetie. I get that. Let's talk about it while we go. Take a quick bath. Yeah.
Megan Gipson 23:15
I love so I'm just picturing. Well, I'm picturing myself listening to this thinking that sounds ideal. And I have such things at times. But if somebody's listening to this, and is like, how, because I think I can do that with some people. Right? Like, it's easier. It's those people closer to us that it's so much harder for salutely because we love I'm so dang much that we just torturous. So if somebody is listening is like, I would like that protection. Is that Is it on Amazon? Can it be your Thursday? Like, how did we do that?
I love this. I love this question. Yes. Okay, so one, let's normalize. This is going to be hardest to actually do with the people you love the most. So if it's easier to do with a friend, if it's easier to do with work, it's easier to think about it in this way. In other spaces than with your family. That's totally normal. And there's nothing wrong with you. Yeah, yeah, that's the first piece. The second piece is one is just the idea. of, hey, I don't have to take in what doesn't feel true to me. And what, what is doesn't feel like it's about me. And I can take in what is true and what is about me. So just pausing for a moment and thinking about that concept. Like, is that something you agree with? Is that something you disagree with? So all the listeners out there can one put your psychological boundary up between you and me and double check and see if it feels true to you what I'm even saying? And if it does, then okay, If we can just say this, I bet if I practice discernment, not taking in what's not true, not taking on what's not about me, I could get better at it. Just stating, okay, that's a practice I could maybe do. And then we hold the other side might have grief with it, I might have feelings of sadness or hurt as I witnessed people having hard feelings. But hard feelings are important. Client feelings are important, lovely feelings are important. The feelings are just them processing the meaning of life as they interact with it. So there's no need for me to change anything that somebody else is feeling. And then double check. Does that feel true to you, so I feel okay for you. And then you can say, Oh, I bet with practice, like you get better. And then one of the tricks to this is that the part of your brain that can do this discernment and kind of witnessing super fast is called your mentalization neural network and blah, blah, blah, neuroscience, neuroscience, don't worry about that part. Just know, it lives in the subcortical part of your brain. And it's super fast. So if you embed it down there, your practice is going to start making you feel like Neo from the Matrix, where all the sudden life feels more in slow motion around you what? Right, and that part of your brain listens to your heart, and diaphragm and belly area. That's where it's getting its information from. And it speaks in image. And I want us to think about image broadly. So you can think about image, and like, yeah, visual, or you could think about image as a gesture. Like, sometimes people see the image come up, it's like, oh, space between and they do a little push, or I've had someone like have a gesture where they held their hands in a bowl between themselves and another person. So when we say image, we could be like, a single word comes up for you, we're gonna float the word AND between you and other people, it could be a visual image, we're gonna put that between you and other people. Could be a gesture. We're gonna put that between you and other people. Megan, I have a question for you. Would you like to find your personal boundary image with me?
Megan Gipson 27:31
Sure. Yeah. Because I actually was thinking about that I was trying to come up with what would you Yeah, yeah. Let's do a love
this. So you can do the exercise and then they can do it with us. Awesome. Yeah. Okay. So tell me this discernment. You can tell the difference between what's true and what's about you and what's not true and not about you at least some of the time. Yes, yes. Yeah. Okay. And you think that it's true that just because someone said it or felt it or thought it, it doesn't mean it's absolutely big T truth every time? You know that? Yes, yes. Okay. Okay. So great. And now kind of witnessing how you're doing with the idea that you could bear witness to without changing another person's feeling.
I'm into it. You're into
Megan Gipson 28:19
believe. I believe it's possible. And I like the idea. Yeah,
great. Okay, perfect. So now we've done our double checks. Awesome. Okay. Now, instead of trying to figure it out, I wonder if you could ask your heart space and your belly space to hold these ideas. So you just asked them to, it doesn't matter how they answer, it doesn't matter what they do. Just say, Okay,
hold this idea I can discern, and I can witness kindly. And can you show me an image that knows these two things?
Megan Gipson 28:59
I got the image of I'm visualizing Well, I don't know if this is proper, but I'm visualizing manner. Okay, I'm checking in with my body and it's bringing up an image of a misunderstanding. And as I'm witnessing it, I see hearts surrounding the separation that there's like a loved heart emoji thing happening.
I love it. So they're like heart emojis kind of like bouncing around in the space between you and the other person. Yes. This is awesome. Okay, great. Now, can you picture a moment when there was a misunderstanding? And whoever that was in your life could be a spouse, child, whatever. Now picture them in front of you. And they have the face on that they had during the misunderstanding. Yep. Not just without the boundary in place. Just checkout fields inside. Uh huh. Good. Now float your heart emojis between you and the other person.
Yeah, and what happens inside I,
Megan Gipson 30:00
I do feel a shift I feel. Yeah. Like I Yeah, as an observer. Yeah.
Yeah, there you go. And that separateness? Can you love them
even more? Definitely, definitely.
And that is why I say boundaries being people into more connection. Perfect. You did it. Okay. So I want all our listeners to know, I have never seen the same image come up twice. So whatever you come up with is totally great. The other day, I was working with somebody, and they said, I don't know why, but it's like a dinosaur chicken. I don't know how else to describe it. Like, seriously, you cannot do this wrong. It's perfect. And then the dinosaur chicken was between her and other people. And it felt calm. And when wind blew and cooled her, it worked. Dinosaur chicken was perfect. Your heart emojis are perfect for you. Every listener here is going to find their own thing. Okay? The trick is not figuring it out. Not what would it be? What's a good boundary look like? More? Just let your heart and belly hold it? Oh, can you show me an image that knows these two things. And it'll show you your image. Now. Here's your trick. That was fun. Okay, totally. So now, to really hone this network, it's going to take about three weeks of practice. And so here's what you do. You put your heart emojis, your floating heart emojis up between you and the world as many times as you can remember. And I mean, between you in the steering wheel, you and your phone, you in the dishes, you in the closet, you and your kids, you and your spouse, you and your clients, you and the mic, yeah, between you and everything. So how long would it take you? Do you think to remember the floating heart emoji? To remember? Yeah, just to remember it to bring it up into your mind? Does it take one second? Two seconds? Again? Less than a second? Less than a second? Great. So this is a less than a second practice? How many times a day Could you do a less than a second practice? Can we do it? 20? Could we do it? 100? Could you aim for 500 This is not about you. changing anything about your life, it's just about you having that one second memory, bring it up, move on with your day, bring it up, move on with your day for about three weeks. All right, once you do it for about three weeks, it'll start to become automatic. And the separateness will start being there where you can love through that separateness without feeling like Oh, no things are wrong. I have to fix it the second.
Megan Gipson 32:38
Okay, I'm well and what's so interesting to me about this is that I think it's kind of counterintuitive that by creating separateness we get closer, we feel close. But I think we can all think of times where we feel very separate, because we're trying to be so close. And it's just not working. I mean, especially kids and partners, it's like it's, it's, it pushes you further away. So I love this idea of like, by by creating this separateness, I will continue to love you better, and you will love me better and it will be more connected.
That's right, I tell you when I tried to change my husband, it drives him nuts. Oh, he's likely to either try to change me back, or then get away from me. Right? Because it's too much he doesn't feel respected. He doesn't feel like he's enough for me. He worries about the second I move in that space where I say your feelings and thoughts are not okay. Implied, because I'm trying to change them and fix you. Right? Oh, lordy.
Megan Gipson 33:42
And I think it goes back to like, this is when for me, it's like, that's the stuff that's coming out of my mind. Because because it's from that base layer of the brain. I'm not even being thoughtful about what I'm saying. I'm just saying things a lot. So if I can create the separateness, it probably also helps slow me down, not be connected to everybody else, focusing on connection with myself. So that's exactly connect,
then you can reconnect. And that actually follows the pattern of every complex system. So complex systems emerge. So emergence is a process in which something new becomes as all these little things interact. So waves anthills, beehives, systems between people would count as a complex system, and so would your brain. And there's a pattern that it follows to become more stable, and more emergent, and that is differentiation. First, Link. Second, separate First, connect second. Yeah. The more you do that, the more you feel protected, the more your brain stays integrated. The more you can be creatively responsive, the more respected they feel. The more loved they feel, the more they want to connect back So that's why I would say boundaries are actually a super big connector.
Megan Gipson 35:05
It's a big deal. I love this. Well, and you know, it's interesting, as you were talking, I was thinking about, so my kids are getting older, and they're starting to separate from me. And I think I'm like doing a lot of chasing them down, you know, like, like, like, whatever the opposite picture of the heart emoji would be, it'd be like Alaska or something like, you know, even though I know, it's totally developmentally what they're supposed to be doing. I think that this sort of boundary. It's interesting, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's interesting how it can change over different developmental time periods. And why you might need it for a different reason, you know, and it's just because I do I think people don't talk that much about the shift that happens as kids get older. And they're like, you know, the people that wanted everything now, or like, you know, what,
I don't need you get out of my room. Right.
Megan Gipson 35:59
Except your ride. I mean, there's some book, yeah, leave me alone. But can I get a ride to the mall or something like that? Yeah, no, I, I'm excited to try my my heart imagery. So I love that. I love that it's such a specific concrete thing that someone can do at home and try
is a tool you can use right away. Yeah, trust your system, you know, anyone listening trust that your system is going to give you the right beginning image that it might transform it over time, that's great, that's fine, no problem. That, that you're going to keep being able to develop this as a skill. It's a tool you can use to develop a skill, where I can love you through the space between us. Yeah.
Megan Gipson 36:49
And I like what you said about practicing. And like, just it's sort of that growth mindset idea. I think a lot of us, I know I do. If you know, you can think of yourself, I'm an adult, I should know these things by now. You know, and I'm here to teach the children what, you know, yes, but that we're all still kind of working on a lot of these things. And once you feel like you kind of get better at one thing, something new is coming down the path. And I think what you're saying about having self compassion, and just sort of trusting the process, and we're all on this journey, there's no endpoint, you know, you get like the metal and you're on the stand, like as the winner? Yes.
There's, there's no finish line where you get the medal at the end, right?
Megan Gipson 37:31
Yes. And I'm just thinking like, so, in thinking about working with or seeing extended family, I think a lot of things. I mean, we just came off of the Thanksgiving holiday break. And I feel like a lot of people end up having things that come up with extended family, like you might have your little unit, you know, and then and then more people are coming into your system. How do you how do you talk to people about sort of adjusting for those kinds of changes that can sometimes happen over holidays? Or over? Frames?
Yeah, yeah. Well, I, I, one, the things we're already talking about are really helpful. self compassion, compassion for them, how's your psychological boundary, bring up your image, put it between you and your extended family, so that you can have curiosity about what's going on on the other side of that boundary? Rather than agenda or judgment about what's happening on the other side of that boundary? I think that can help. And I also think it can be helpful to be centered in yourself around what your hopes are. What are your hopes? And are you doing things that would help move you towards more of those hopes being met, or move you away from where those hopes being met? So if I go into his extended family situation, and my hope is that we have a pleasant Christmas? Right? And I we have a pleasant visit, and that there's I would like a drama free thing. And my uncle starts talking about dinosaurs not being real, which is not something I agree with, right? I could get into an argument with him about whether or not dinosaurs are real.
Or I could let that float on by
and which behavior that I do is going to move me closer to what my hope is to what my intention is. So I think it can be helpful maybe to think about what are your hopes and intentions for the holiday? And how do you do what you can? Yeah, I'll get other people to do what they can. What can you do to do what you can to to influence The world around you so that more of those hopes would be possible.
Yeah, I'd love that. I think it's Priya Parker,
Megan Gipson 40:09
do you follow?
Megan Gipson 40:12
having sort of the gathering article. And just that that's what can often happen is that people gather. And there's all these different, you know, ideas of what, what the intention of the gathering is, and that sometimes, I mean, not that you can get extended family, like we're all going to be on the same page. But sometimes it's just the mental idea of like, maybe they have a different sort of idea about what this gathering is for than what I do. And sort of witnessing that even like, I think this was the airing, what is it the Seinfeld the airing of the grievances? Say, that was what they showed up for I showed up for something different. And I can kind of do that separation piece of let me bear witness to the airing of grievances while I do not participate
while I do not participate? Exactly. So and you can float that heart emoji in between you and who knows, maybe you get creative around making an offering to the circle that moves the conversation in a different way. Maybe you decide to stay silent. Maybe you decide to pull someone aside and say this is starting to feel uncomfortable. Is there any way we could shift this space? But it's not with? With the intention, it's really request, it's not with the intention of saying you're wrong, or you're bad for showing up with a different intention than me. It's more Oh, yeah, that's normal. It's normal for people to want different things at the same time.
Megan Gipson 41:38
Yeah. Yeah. And to maybe even anticipate that, like, I'm probably gonna show up and see something that I'm not anticipating.
Yeah. And that doesn't make them bad. And it doesn't make you bad. Right. Right. It doesn't make me bad for having a different intention than somebody else. Yeah. I mean, we don't beat them up or beat themselves up.
Megan Gipson 42:00
Right. And I think kind of reminding ourselves of that can help not set us up for disappointment, of like, Oh, I was, I mean, I wish we were on the same page. I mean, how many people are we really exactly on the same page with I can't think of many, you know, maybe on a specific topic, but like, on all topics, that there's somebody else that's, you know, mirror imaging, what your thoughts and expectations are? So maybe sort of even putting that out there? Like, you know, it's probably going to be different. So let's see what happens. And this is my idea.
Yeah, I love it. I love it. And how can I take care of myself? Well, when I'm on the roller coaster of a bunch of not knowing what's gonna happen? Yeah.
Megan Gipson 42:43
Well, and that's, that's one thing. I think, I know, you talk about, like, our histories and how they inform how we show up with other people. And I think that's been one of the, you know, just sort of realizing over time, that there are some expectations we have of control. That may be false, you know, that sort of unraveling some of that?
Yes, exactly. Well, we have to do this really hard thing as humans, right, you do have a ton of influence, and no control. And that paradox, both sides of that are true simultaneously. So a lot of times we've gotten messages that say you're bad if you can't control the outcome, or you're not doing it good enough, if it didn't turn out, like what how you wanted, and, and we might fall into the other side of it, maybe we learned, well, I can't change anything anyway. So don't even try. Right. And that can influence my, the way I show up. So I think just being curious and being kind as you you turn and and have that curiosity about Oh, I wonder how my history and the emotional knowings I carry from everything I've lived are going to influence how I show up in this moment? And how do I take care of myself? Well as that's true, because that's just how the brain works. Right? You can't you can't stop being influenced by your history is just how your brain is wired.
Megan Gipson 44:07
And I think what we talked about before the slowing down, I just keep thinking I love all of this and when it doesn't happen is when I'm not. And when I'm doing too much when I'm taking on too much when I'm trying to make everything happen. Quicker. Yeah. So the slowing down piece, I think is a big deal. Yeah,
you know, what I have to work through with grief is I'm a bit of an enthusiast. I don't know if you can tell from how I talk, but I've big energy. I like a lot of excitement happening. I tend to say I tend to say yes to things I love and I love a lot of things. So the grief work I have to do with myself, especially at a time of year like this is grieving that I probably won't do all the things I'm enthusiastic about if I also want it to go well and not lose my bandwidth. Yeah. And so I'm figuring out how to pick and choose letting that mini grief of disappointment come up and move on through me so that I can let go of the things that are going to happen. The truth is, I want to stay up till midnight, and give my daughter hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate, too. I want to drink it with you. And then we can watch a Christmas movie together. But that would make tomorrow. Totally horrible. Yeah. So I have to move through my own mini grief. around not being able to say yes to everything, because my body has limits, because our family system has natural limits that are like, human like need for sleep and good food and
Ugh, I hate that, by the way, sometimes.
Megan Gipson 45:51
I agree. So I'm curious if there's anything, I feel like we've covered
a lot. We've covered so much territory,
Megan Gipson 45:59
and I'm super excited about my my new challenge with my separate boundaries work. So I love it. Is there anything that you were hoping you could share or talk about that I haven't asked you about?
I don't think so. I think I think just to, you know, especially when we talk about a lot of cool ideas at once, people can be a little bit scattered, because they are like, oh, I want to pause and I want to do the boundary thing. And I want to do I'm going to I'm going to make sure my behavior matches what's okay with me and what's not okay with me. And and and oh, yeah, I'm supposed to, we talked about slowing down to celebrate for 20 to 30 seconds. Yeah. So
Megan Gipson 46:44
that's like my brain when I'm looking at Instagram, basically, it's totally like, I follow all these therapists with all these great ideas. And then I'm like,
what to do that one and that one, that one. And so here's a piece of grief work for our audience. I'm, I'm like, I'm like the grief lady. Everybody who's who does a lot of my trainings knows I'm, I'm in love with grief, because I think it processes, tons of stuff that we need to, to make choices that make more sense for us. I wonder if we could all do grief work that we're going to maybe even write down the list. pause between what you feel and what you do. What isn't, is not okay with me. I could act in accordance with what is okay with me and not with what's not okay with me. I could create a psychological boundary and practice that image, I could celebrate myself for up to 30 seconds at a time. So it makes sure to make it into my lower brain. I could think about intentions in the gathering. Okay, there's a list of a lot of the skills we went over today.
Now you choose one and only one thing to focus on for the next three or four weeks of your life.
And you say the other ones, we're going to let that grief move through so that we can let go and not do all of them at once. Because if we do all of them at once, we're likely to let all of them go because none of them are really working because we're not practice makes progress. But practice with focus is really what's needed to make progress to make a shift. So maybe my only thing is being kind to myself. Great. I'm going to add in being tied to myself, I'm going to beat myself up and then I'm going to beat myself up for beating myself up and then I'm not going to beat myself up the third time. Having gotten yourself good work. That's my one thing. And then I'm going to save the rest of that list for later once I feel like this practice has actually taken hold. So that's what I would say is don't try to use everything from this conversation. Pick one thing from this conversation that would be super helpful for you right now and focus only on that and save the rest of your list for later.
Megan Gipson 48:58
That's good advice. Why would love to share how people can learn more about you? Where can people find more information about you?
Sure, you can find my website clear is kind.com. And I have offerings, like for workshops and therapist trainings and all sorts of things. And I have a podcast with a couple friends of mine, who are also marriage and family therapists and it's called Why does my partner so you can catch us there and we do workshops and you can look us up the couples workshops run through They're
awesome. Thanks so much.
Megan Gipson 49:39
I have learned so much. I love talking to you.
Oh great. Thanks for having me. It's been such a delight.