Empathy. It’s a soft, fuzzy word you’re more likely to associate with social workers than the high stakes world of international hostage negotiation. But for Chris Voss, the former head of the FBI’s international kidnap and hostage negotiation team, ‘tactical empathy’ was his number one tool.
Ever since The Secret spilled the magic beans on manifesting (if you can imagine it, it will happen!) vision boards have been popping up on personal altars like Pulp Fiction posters in a share house.
Manifesting, for the uninitiated, is the art of imagining what you want to being into your life and then acting as if it’s already there. It’s an energetic thing; instead of focusing on the lack of a Russell Brand lookalike in your life, you act as if he’s already there. This cosmically shifts your energy to the point where the Universe plants Rusty 2.0 in your local coffee shop, and when this happens you write a gratitude list and tell all your friends.
It’s a wintry Tuesday night in Melbourne and you’d like to be home watching TV. Instead, you’re sitting in a circle with a dozen guys, trying not to get called on during your first session at a men’s behaviour change program.
There’s one other new guy who, like you, has been ‘directed to attend’ by the courts. But unlike you, he has an attitude problem, interrupting and cracking bad jokes. The facilitator is blunt. He can’t guarantee the man’s partner will take him back, he says, but if he keeps attending he might get to see his kids again.
(I first published this one in Australian Women’s Health. Loved you in Dead Calm, Our Nic)
On the outside, I am calm and ordered. I’m a massive fan of lists. I keep three jobs on track – uni tutor, writer, yoga instructor. I rapidly switch between tasks without missing any major deadlines. But on the inside … inside my brain there is a pack of wild brumbies, careening out of control.
While Sex and The City claimed to reveal the truth about women’s sex lives – that despite a few awkward encounters, we were all having amazing, free for all sex.
Yet secretly, so many women weren’t. Aren’t. And think there’s something wrong with them.
Most yoga teachers sigh a bit when they hear the word ‘yoga’ being used interchangeably with ‘asana’ (the psychical postures). I did too, then over the past year I slowly dropped the meditation (no time) and the breathing (gotta get in there, do my stretch and get out).
Do all new parents have that ‘better do this perfectly so they don’t complain about me to their shrink’ paranoia? Though I’m gradually learning to accept that I’ll mess this stuff up, here’s my interview with a few people with more wisdom than I on what all parents can do to raise emotionally stable and happy kids. (and if you have any other tips, let’s hear ’em!)
The well-meaning naysayer is here to help. They are here to ensure you don’t put off having a baby (‘If you leave it too late they’ll come out deformed or not at all!’), or a wedding (‘I know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be left on the shelf, do you?’), and don’t even think about upgrading or switching careers (‘be realistic, competition will be tough, there’s no security!’). “I’m just saying it because I care,” is their motto and heaping fear is their method.
As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:
WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?
Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?
THE Safe Schools program is a talking point among politicians, but what should parents do in the real world if their child is being bullied?