All posts by Jeremie Miller

Caring for the Caregivers Meditation – Using your breathing to deal with difficult conversations – Episode #2

In this meditation Indrani reminds you to breath, and explains why remembering to breath in the middle of a difficult conversation or crisis is the only sustainable way to handle these situations.

Caring for the Caregivers: Six Tools for Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships – Episode #1

Building and maintaining positive relationships in your life, while working long hours at work and then taking care of family at home, is a huge challenge. In this episode learn the six tools (plus one bonus tool) that Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie use everyday with the important people in their lives.

Episode Time Codes


01:00 Introduction
02:35 Indrani shares the definition of a boundary and how to use this definition with people in your life.
05:40 Amy shares how to use empathy when listening.
09:48 Jeremie shares how to use 10 minute breaks to change roles in your life and be more present.
16:25 Indrani discusses how to identify when you are being triggered.
21:40 Amy explains the difference between being self-FULL and being selfish
26:47 Bonus tool: “What story am I making up about this?”
28:00 Jeremie asks the question: “Is what I am about to say or do going to improve this relationship?”
31:10 Summary of all six tools and the bonus tool

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

VIDEO: It’s not about the Nail
BOOK: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Caring for the Caregivers: Introductions and why ILF’s mission to support Domestic Violence Caregivers is so important – Episode 0

As you listen to the “Caring for the Caregivers Podcast” you might be wondering: What is Indrani’s Light Foundation? Exactly who are Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie? Why are they creating this podcast? You can find the answer to all of these questions and more in Episode 0!

Episode Time Codes


00:59 Introduction
01:45 Who is Indrani? Why is this work important to Indrani?
03:55 Who is Amy? Why is this work important to Amy?
06:30 Who is Jeremie? Why is this work important to Jeremie?
08:40 Indrani’s Light Foundation Mission Statement and history
12:15 The Caregiver Project
15:55 The Caregiver Podcast
20:50 Final thoughts

Three Ways You Can Activate Your Philanthropy Now

UntitledPhilanthropy is a pretty “big” word, and many people associate the word philanthropy with being rich. Philanthropists are those rich men and women who give money to the people who actually take the actions to make the projects work. If you don’t have money, you can’t be a philanthropist.

CNBC recently posted an article that backs up this belief (you can read it here: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/08/charting-philanthropys-new-age-of-exploration.html).  The article talks about three methods philanthropists are utilizing: venture philanthropy, impact measurement and evaluation, and socially responsible investing. What do these mean?

  1. Venture Philanthropy uses venture capital funding tools to promote the start-up and growth of non-profits and social ventures. It provides non-profits with the much-needed funds for operations and to generate growth until the non-profit can become financially sustainable.
  1. Impact Measurement and Evaluation Philanthropy focuses on measuring the real results of charitable efforts, results that are difficult to measure without the proper funding. It allows non-profits to identify and measure real results instead of focusing only on the easiest measurements they can gather due to limited funding.
  1. Socially Responsible Investing Philanthropy involves philanthropists making investments with the intention of generating social and/or environmental returns for society while also making financial returns for the investor.

All three of these philanthropic methods are much needed and appreciated, but they all sound unattainable for most people, and bring the focus of philanthropy back to the requirement of having money.

But, philanthropy isn’t just for the rich, and it doesn’t have a “lots of money” requirement. In fact, if you look at the definition of philanthropy it never even mentions money. Philanthropy is:

The ‘love of humanity’ in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing ‘what it is to be human’ on both the benefactors’ (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries (by benefiting) parts.

Nowhere in this definition (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy) does the definition mention needing money.

You may not be able to provide venture philanthropy, impact measurement and evaluation help, or socially responsible investing as the philanthropists do in the CNBC article, but you can provide your own philanthropic support that works with each of these larger types of philanthropy:

  • Donation Philanthropy uses whatever funds you can afford to offer to the start-up, growth, and maintenance of non-profits and social ventures. What ever amount of money you can afford to share helps support the Venture Philanthropist’s funding one dollar at a time.
  • Volunteer Philanthropy focuses on helping create real results with your charitable efforts, results that occur because of the direct actions you take to help the cause. It allows non-profits to actually create the results that are then measured my the Impact Measurement and Evaluation Philanthropist.
  • Social Philanthropy uses your personal methods of communication (telephone, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, community groups, etc) to spread the vision of the non-profit and share the message that the non-profit needs support. Your investment of time works side-by-side with the Socially Responsible Investing Philanthropist generating social and environmental returns for society through your communications.

Both big money and small (or no) money philanthropic efforts are needed for a non-profit to succeed in their mission and bring their vision to life. The best part is:

You get to choose what YOUR philanthropy looks like.

indranis-light-logo
Indrani’s Light Foundation would love your support as a philanthropist. You can activate your personal choice of philanthropy by:

  1. If you would like to be a Donation Philanthropist you can do so on this page: http://indranislight.org/support-us/donate-now/
  1. If you would like to be a Volunteer Philanthropist sign up and take the free Live a Brighter Life Program http://indranislight.org/engage/intro-course/
  1. If you would like to be a Social Philanthropist visit the ILF Facebook page and “Like” our page, share our blog posts, and help us spread the word. https://www.facebook.com/indranislight/

We thank you for whatever form of philanthropy you choose to add into your life, whether it is with Indrani’s Light Foundation or a non-profit of your choice. We all need your support.

 

Female Avatars – Helping teach about gender equality? – A follow up post

(You can read the first part of this post here: http://indranislight.org/female-avatars-helping-teach-about-gender-equality/)

Almost a year has passed since I wrote the original “Female Avatar” post, and I have been waiting, and waiting, to write a victorious follow up. A post where I could tell you that using a female character in that video game, and the conversations that followed, made a difference in how my son views gender.

The problem being, there were no earth shattering changes for me to report from that original conversation.

Sure, there were little signs of change. My son would get excited and cheer on the female contestants in America Ninja Warrior competitions, but he would also comment that “the girls never make it as far as the boys” (which is true, but still made me wonder if his view was changing).

We read, Wings of Fire, a series of books with some female main characters. However, these characters were also dragons, and my son LOVES everything dragon. So, I wasn’t sure if he was accepting the female characters completely, or if he was accepting them because of their dragon status.

My son has also become more accepting of the colour purple, which may seem unimportant, but for years purple has fallen into the category of “princess colour” and “boys don’t like princesses”. Unfortunately, pink, is still a colour that forms a grimace on his now 8-year-old face, and a disgusted comment of “pink is for girls.”

Now, to give the poor little guy a break, he is only 8 years old, so I am not expecting him to approach me and ask to have an in-depth discussion about gender norms and how he can work towards behaving in a manner that supports equality (to be honest, if that DID happen I would be a bit wigged out). But, I have been hoping that something “8-year-old big” would happen, showing that he was starting to see that boys and girls are equals.

That 8-year-old-big event happened last week.

We were in Kids Books, an amazing bookstore in Vancouver BC, shopping with Fionn’s cousins for some books for his birthday the following day. I was looking through some 7 to 10-year-old book series when I felt a poke. Looking down I saw Fionn, three books precariously clutched in his arms, looking up at me.

“Daddy, how about these books, they sound awesome”

“You’ve read the backs?” I asked, taking the books from his hands.

“Yes, they sound really cool.”

“For you to read, or for me to read to you?”

“I think I can read them, but I want you to read them to me.”

I looked down at the first book and the 8-year-old-big moment happened when I saw the cover:

sun catcher amazon

Let’s break this down from the view of a Dad, trying to teach his son about gender equality, and see that boys are not better than girls:

  • The picture on the front of the book is clearly a girl, and he still chose to pick up the book and read more.
  • The subtitle of the book has the word “witch” (a “girl” word) in it.

Most importantly, and amazing for me:

  • The subtitle has the word “princess” in it. A word that my son, and all of his friends usually have an allergic reaction to, with much frowning and spitting, followed by “princesses are dumb.”

All right, as earth shattering as this book selection already was for me, it might not be convincing for you. Totally understandable.

I smiled down at Fionn as I turned the book over to read the back, which read:
“Silk tells stories. It sings of secrets long forgotten. It sings of fire. Maia dreams of being a Story Teller, or a Weaver, like her father, Tareth. But when the Watcher names her Sun Catcher, she must face a destiny that Tareth has kept hidden from her. For Maia is more powerful than she knows, and she is about to discover that though the sun’s fire may be dangerous…so is she.”

The back of the book makes it clear that the protagonist is female, and, from the sounds of it, a female that will be kicking some serious butt. Looking at the backs of the other two books, each book is clearly about girls leading the way and being the focus of the story. Not just a side character in the book, but a female protagonist.

For me, after just a year ago when my son refused to even think about reading Tamora Pierce’s “Song of the Lioness Quartet” because the main character was a girl, this is a big sign that our conversation around gender equality has shifted.

Whether it was switching my video game avatar to a female character, or the follow up conversations we have had, or the changes I have made in my own behaviors that has brought about this shift I cannot say.

To be honest I don’t care what has made the difference, but I cannot explain how much pride I felt in this simple moment in the bookstore when my son chose Sheila Rance’s trilogy of books to be our next “Dad and Son” reading project.

I looked up from the backs of the books and smiled, “you bet buddy. Let’s get them all, they sound awesome.”

Fionn smiled, turned, and ran off down one of the aisles to look for more books.

 

 

LABL 017: Words from a Survivor – Making the choice to change

ILF_Wtagline_LogoWelcome to Episode #17 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani speaks with Patty Copolla about making the choice to have joy in her life. You will learn:

  • that when life is un-joyous you must create your own joy
  • why you get to make a choice what to do with the lows in your life
  • the need for connection when facing challenges
  • the importance of loving and accepting yourself
  • what she will teach her daughter so she doesn’t lose herself as she grows up

Podcast Recording

LABL 016: Words from a Survivor – Suffocation of the Soul

ILF_Wtagline_LogoWelcome to Episode #16 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani speaks with Angela Lauria about surviving her abusive marriage. You will learn:

  • The importance of feeling safe with the people you love
  • Why it is so hard to believe that there is a way to leave
  • The clear sign she received that is was time to leave
  • The joy Angela found in ending her marriage and falling in love with herself
  • How to look for those things that are perfect in you
  • How to support someone being abused without telling them to leave

You can find Angela on the internet at: www.angelalauria.com

Podcast Recording

Brighter Life Bit #21: Moving from shame to humiliation or embarrassment

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 25 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

In some situations you may not be able to replace your feelings of shame with guilt. In these moments, guilt may not be the appropriate emotion, but what about humiliation and embarrassment?

Humiliation is a feeling that stems from an experience that causes you to lose your prestige, standing, or self-respect. Humiliation says “I didn’t deserve this.”

Embarrassment is a feeling that stems from an experience that causes you to lose your composure, usually due to bad judgement or vulnerability. It is a more fleeting sense of discomfort. Embarrassment says “one day this will be funny.”

Shame says “I am bad
Guilt says “I have done something bad
Humiliation says “I didn’t deserve this
Embarrassment says “one day this will be funny

Using these four definitions:

  1. Think of a time when you have experienced shame.
  2. Ask yourself: Which definition (guilt, humiliation, embarrassment) do I choose to replace shame with?
  3. How are you different once you reframe the shame you felt?

You can choose to not feel shame. If, instead, you can live these definitions in life you can choose what you feel and choose a better description.

Share your experience with shifting from shame to guilt, humiliation, or embarrassment in the comments below:

Brighter Life Bit #20: Moving from shame to guilt

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 25 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

What if you are not actually experiencing shame?

Shame says “I am bad,” leading you to feeling powerless and invisible.

But what if what you are actually experiencing is guilt?

Guilt says “I have done something bad

This is a big difference. Shame makes you believe that you, as a person, are bad, while guilt shows the truth of the situation: you are a good person who has, at this certain point in time, done something bad.

Guilt can be a healthy emotion when used constructively to hold you accountable to the person you want to be. Guilt can guide you to see that you have done something bad, so you can make a commitment to not repeat the action.

Replacing shame with guilt, moving from “I am bad” to “I have done something bad” can guide you towards making positive change in your life.

In order to better understand guilt and how to replace shame with guilt you can:

  1. Write down some of your own reasons for feeling personal guilt.
  2. Write down times in your life when you have felt shame.
  3. Compare your “guilt list” to your “shame list.” Can you shift some of these shame experiences into guilt experiences?

What opens up for you as you make this shift from “I am bad” to “I have done something bad” Share your thoughts below:

Brighter Life Bit #19: Shame and expectations

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 11 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

In the last Brighter Life Bit you made a list of the different shame categories (the who, and what that cause you shame). The next question to ask is “why do these people and things cause me to feel shame?

The answer is: Expectations.

The expectations of who you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to be compared to who you want to be and how you want to be.

Look over the different people, events, and things that you wrote down as triggering your feelings of shame, and beside each write down the expectation you are supposed to meet for each of these triggers:

  • Body image – I need to look like the magazine model
  • Money – I need to make more than $X
  • Teachers- you need to get more than 70% to be successful
  • Family – you need to take care of us, not yourself

To understand your feelings of shame you need to name it, and recognize that you are experiencing shame. Speaking (or writing) these expectations into the world is a big step towards changing how shame affects your life.

You can bring your own shame triggers, and the underlying expectations into the world by sharing them with the ILF community in the comments below…