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Taming Your Gremlin with Rick Carson | Heal The Divide Podinar

July 1, 2020

“Like a sculptor sees something within a stone, starts to chip away at it to reveal something beautiful, your gremlin is the stone that ends up on the floor. Gremlin taming is not about the gremlin, it’s about revealing that thing inside that is the natural you, the essence of the natural you.” – Rick Carson

What is a gremlin, and how do you find yours and tame it? In this episode, Alison engages with guest Rick Carson, an esteemed author, personal and executive coach, psychotherapist and consultant, to learn how his method can help us as individuals and as coaches.

Carson has conducted workshops with organizations in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. He is the author of four HarperCollins books. His seminal work, Taming Your Gremlin, has been translated into 12 languages and has been a top seller for HarperCollins Publishers for 35 years. He’s a past faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and founder of the Gremlin Taming Institute of Dallas, Texas.

Introduction to Gremlins

We all have a gremlin, that vicious, bullying voice inside our minds that’s intent on making us miserable. It has a fear-inducing power over us that keeps us from being at peace and living to our potential. If it isn’t acknowledged and tamed, it will keep its control, holding us back from making the changes necessary to achieve our goals.

Carson also clarifies what a gremlin is not. “Your gremlin is not your negative thoughts; your gremlin is not your traumatic past experiences; your gremlin is not even the horror movies in your head. Your gremlin is that thing, that part of you, actually, that really uses those things to eat your lunch, to squelch the vibrant soul within.” 

Carson says he gets asked a lot where it comes from and answers, “I don’t know, and neither does anybody else, but I have never met anybody who doesn’t have that duality. It’s a huge gift, from my experience, to be able to tame that thing on the spot. You just have a lot more pleasurable moments.”

The way we discover it and what activates it — simply noticing — is a key part of the method to tame it, Carson says. (more…)

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Awakenings: In Stress, We Often Choose Action Over Reflection

June 23, 2020

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are discovering a lot about how people react and adapt to change during these challenging times by listening closely to the narratives emerging. We are finding much wisdom and many insightful perspectives. We also see and acknowledge that most everyone is feeling some form of stress, whether it’s financial, emotional, physical or otherwise. 

And when we’re stressed, we humans tend to revert to patterned ways of being to endure it. We revert back to these patterned ways of thinking, acting and feeling that sometimes don’t serve us very well. We understand this as we’ve been studying people’s internal experience under stress for more than 15 years.

One part of what we’ve researched are the dimensions of experience people tend to rely on most under such pressure. We look at three dimensions of our internal experience, best expressed as head, heart and gut or thinking, feeling and wanting. (more…)

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Awakenings: Still Ambitious, but with Boundaries

June 16, 2020

“Find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live.” 

― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms


We all know what it is to be Type A personality: A high-achieving, sometimes high-intensity doer. Someone who works hard and plays hard. As we listen to the narratives of this COVID-19 time, we’re hearing about how many of you are adapting to a new daily rhythm and getting a glimpse of how our lives could be different how we can make things better.

Take one coach, for example, who was struggling with the assignments necessary to complete a narrative coaching certification. When we set up a time to talk, she was seeking advice on how to handle the workload of the portfolio assignments. Yet, when we finally met a few short weeks later, she had easily conquered the assignments with no additional support. When I asked what had changed, she answered, “Well, normally I’m going out every night and going to the symphony, or I’m going to dinner with friends… I don’t have a lot of bandwidth to do things like the portfolio assignments on a certification program. But now that I can’t do all those [social] things, I find I have plenty of time.” (more…)

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Awakenings: Same Scenery, Different Perspective

June 10, 2020

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” 

― George Eliot

A coach and friend of Learning in Action recently shared this thought, “Every day’s a new adventure. It’s just that the scenery doesn’t change very much.” Isn’t that a wonderful perspective as we explore the narratives of people during these COVID times? 

It invites an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions of what life should be like right now, very much like the beginner’s mind the Zen masters refer to. We wake up every day to the same house, family, work from home schedule, whatever. And we can wake up to all of that and see it new, see it for the first time, see it as an adventure. (more…)

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Awakenings: Facing Ourselves – Maybe for the First Time

June 5, 2020

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” —Thales 


Before the pandemic and quarantine, most of us could give a full account of our busy days with barely a moment to sit down and take a breath before bedtime. We go to work, meet with friends, have dinners out, rush back and forth to kids’ activities, make travel plans, hit the gym — go, go, go!

Until recently, we might have barely even allotted 20 minutes to sit with our own thoughts, even in an entire week. In listening to the narratives of recent times, this statement from a friend felt tender: “I’m spending time with someone I’ve never spent time with before, me.”

It feels so true for many of us. We say “yes” to invitations so we don’t let other people down.  We entertain ourselves with activities that are more distraction than enjoyment. Is it possible that “busy” is a way of distancing ourselves from certain aspects of our lives or of our inner experience  Are we numbing or ignoring parts of our lives, parts of ourselves, parts of our past that we don’t want to face or be with? (more…)

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Posted in: Awakenings|Heal The Divide