Archive - October 2017

What Is Genuine Reciprocity?
What Strength Is Most Blocked In You?
Flow As Medicine?

What Is Genuine Reciprocity?

“Reciprocal” is possible only when we realize what has been given to us, and we can bring that realization into a greater and greater exercise of appreciation into our lives.  When we do that, being increasingly generous is the natural outcome.

Giving out of our means isn’t just about giving from the surplus in our lives, whether that is money, goods, time, or self.

Giving from our means is an expression of giving from what sustains us to what has sustained us and enabled us to live fuller lives.

Giving back is essential to getting. Those who simply “take” never really get the message.

You have surely heard it said that there are takers and givers, or that the world could be divided into those who take and those who give.  We have all known takers, and they are usually aware only of their own needs and they usually live with a certain kind of narrowness.  They just seem not to get it. At any rate, they seem not to get the whole picture.

Takers just seem to be myopic.  There seems to be something missing from their apprehension of the world.  Perhaps it is not that they don’t want to give, or think that they really have so much, as it is that it just doesn’t seem to occur to them, not just to give from more than their surplus, but to give from their means.

And here is the rub of this notion of reciprocity. Many think they are reciprocal just by being their narrow selves, and others are too reciprocal for the wrong reason.  For sure, there are those who are takers, but it cannot be denied that there are givers who give for the wrong reasons or who give too much in the wrong places.

These givers do so to please others, or out of obligation or to be liked, perhaps even to be thought generous. These givers are certainly better than the takers for they are, but they are just not living the fullness and freedom of genuine reciprocity. They seem to miss the joy.

So we are noticing here two groups. There are those to whom it does not occur to be reciprocal.   Then there are those who give but are not reciprocal because their giving does not represent a capacity to give from the “heart” or the desire to do so.  There is not real reciprocity.

They cannot recognize what they have received and give freely and generously in response from that freedom, but rather from a sense of inner obligation rooted in other motives. Both represent blocks to giving and both reflect blocks to wholeness and the flow of reciprocity.

Growing positivity will be at odds with both of these tendencies because they do not fit into any group of a person’s strengths, because strengths are values laden.

How we are attached or how we “attach” is at the heart of this.  We are wired for reciprocity very early on, as we are wired for attachment to the world around us.

You might say that we are conditioned to be truly reciprocal from the earliest implicit memories (before our recall of memories was actually formed) and from explicit memories that we can recall.  All of this has “conditioned in” what we attach to and how we do it.  It is these patterns of attachment that will affect our reciprocity and, for sure, our means and our surplus.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

What Strength Is Most Blocked In You?

Our weaknesses are the opposite of our strengths, grown in the opposite direction of their inherent goodness.

Character defects and our “flaws” can be so strong, because their effects in us are something like the persistent stretching of a thick, thick rubber band, pulled more and more tightly and stretched more thinly inside us.

It’s an enormous amount of energy that gets trapped in that stretch and pull, until there is a snap. Something inside us seems to just give way,

Sometimes that snap is very destructive, but other times we can navigate that energy back
in the direction of its true nature – a strength that has been perverted into a flaw of our character and our basic nature.

It can bring us back to the truth of our strengths.

Author Pir V. I. Khan writes:  “The same pain that can blemish our personality can act as a creative force, burnishing it into an object of delight.”

When I worked in the Federal prison system full of “bad guys,” and they would come to talk with me, I was most impressed with the number of them who had committed crimes influenced by alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol seemed to be worse in its effect than drugs, but there was an astounding association with crime. It is gasoline for the fire of self-hate.

Minus the substance abuse problems, I wondered if many of these men would even have been there.

However, the real point to be made is that as I talked with them, I could always find their inherent goodness. There were few psychotics. There were plenty, though, who were deeply angry, essentially at themselves.

The next time you see behavior that is very negative and offensive, ask yourself what strength of character is its opposite.

Then look at yourself and ask what you dislike most, what you beat up on yourself most about, and the negative that you most notice in other people.

Then ask yourself what strength you have in yourself that is most thwarted, blocked, or submerged, wanting to express itself as the opposite of your self-recrimination.

Using your strengths, coming from your strengths, thinking from your strengths, you simply ask these strengths of yours to tell you what is the good that IS you, what good can come from any situation.

© Dr. William K. Larkin


Flow As Medicine?


Anything in life can be a flow experience.

Just go back and remind yourself of the steps for creating flow and you know that anything can be a flow activity, if you can get to “oneness” with it- forget yourself and get to that point where you are one with the music of whatever you’re doing.

Within us, at your choice to use them right on the spot, are your strengths, that are always ready to help, with just a decision to do so.

It is what we call that place of “flow and zone,” and it can become a learned choice.

What is amazing is that “flow” is like a drug or a medication.

We are concerned about the effects of drugs and medications, particularly psychotropic or psychological drugs.

What we don’t realize is that social interaction, the way we think and feel. what we talk about, and the social context around us, affects the brain as much if not more than drugs, in the long-term.

Your thoughts and feelings affect the development of neuropathways in the brain.  Negative and anxious conversations about “bad” things and people affect the amygdala of the brain, which is a center of fear, negativity, worry, and anxiety.

The more you focus on the negative, the more extensive and tightly bound are the neuropathways that are connected to the negative memories that are held by the left hemisphere.

Don’t like to take medication?  Don’t want to use drugs?

Then make “flow” the medication you use.

As it shifts you from your left hemisphere dominance to the larger picture of the right hemisphere, that sense of being one with the music, that subtle shift turns on the “feel good” chemicals, and gives you distance and perspective, and it adds to the brain’s buffer of positivity.

The more you are in flow and the more you experience being “one with the music,” the more you build it into your life. You are building your reservoir of psychological capital and you are also building a “buffer zone” of positivity.

This buffer zone protects against what is negative and creates a resistance to disease, and a greater immunology to what seems negative in life.  It will take longer for things to affect you in a negative way.

Negatives will have a shorter life.  You will be less reactive and you’ll experience less stress.

We are always moving the “lean” of the brain toward a positive state of feeling.  Focus on what is positive; your brain “runs” better.

Make positive feelings the ambient sound track of your life is another way of talking about being “one with the music” of life.  “Just this,” learned as a skill in even the most boring of tasks, can turn just about anything into an opportunity to practice focus and to forget and escape the evaluative ego.

Welcome to “flow as medicine.”

© Dr. William K. Larkin




There are oftentimes negatives in your face.

What is their wisdom?

“Ships sail out, and ships sail west,

By the very same breezes that blow:

It’s the set of the sails,

And not the gales,

That determine where they go.”

The wind in your face, that is for sure a negative, can cause you to despair of going further, or the negative can be the gift that it can be: the decision to reassess and use your for a change in direction.

Then what blew in your face becomes the energy that fills your sails.

Negativity is a warning and an indicator that leads us in another direction. We are not intended to stay in negativity, but it is a normal part of life as an indicator.

We are all going to have negative times and slumps, when we are obviously not operating with all of our cylinders of energy and positivity firing. They are called our BRAC cycle.

Our BRAC cycle happens about every 12 hours, and at one end we are at our highest and best and at the other end we are at our lowest.

BRAC is an acronym for our daily biological clock of our highest high and our lowest low within a 24 hour period. But regardless, this is not an excuse to feel worse, think worse, and expect something worse at the lowest point of your day.

Why does it happen? It is a natural flow of energy.

Why is that we can have a down day, or a down “several days?” When you all get finished asking the wrong question, which is “why”, and come up with a thousand different answers, it doesn’t matter. It just happens.

The question is how do we use it? Use the time gently and be as encouraging to yourself as you would be with your best friend.

Treat yourself as nicely and as lovingly as a friend who was having a slump. Would you beat up on them and ask them a thousand questions until you got to the very “bottom” of their souls? Of course not.

Tell yourself about how good you are when all your cylinders are firing. Tell yourself what it feels like when you’re not in a slump, tell yourself that you know you will bounce back, not only back but that you are very resilient, and that you will be feeling even better and that you will be higher and higher in your UpSpiral.

Use your NeuroPositive skills and tools and manage this BRAC cycle more effectively.

Slumps just are, and if there is a reason for them, the reason will “show up” when you feel better and it will come to you. It will just come to you if you leave it alone. In one way or another it will come to you.

The more you nag at it and dissect it and talk about, the more you create it. The best answers to your problems come when you aren’t thinking about them, or the answers surprise you when they come through someone else or a movie or a book, or just a knowing.

Stop beating your slump and yourself to death, and practice the principles that we teach in our classes and our coaching.

You become the emotions you choose to live in. Lean, just gently, peacefully lean toward the positive, if you can only do it a little.

Every negative is a gift or solution in disguise.

© Dr. William K. Larkin









Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute