Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Gremlin Myths

Last Sunday we identified some typical gremlins that stay busy in our minds. If you missed it, check it out here: November 5th Post. This week, we continue.

Some common gremlin myths include:

  • The real you is unlovable and unacceptable.
  • If you show sadness, you are weak.
  • Suffering is noble.
  • Fast is good and slow is bad.
  • Nice girls don’t enjoy sex or nice girls don’t show that they enjoy sex.
  • To show anger is to be childish and out of control.
  • To express joy is to be childish and unprofessional.
  • If you don’t acknowledge your emotions, they’ll go away.
  • More is better.
  • Men are better leaders than women.
  • Worry, anxiety, and guilt have value.
  • Tensing in anticipation of pain lessens it.
  • Western/Eastern philosophy is closer to the ‘true’ religion.
  • Someday, when you get your ducks in a row, you’ll be happy.

Last week we talked about the process of simply noticing the gremlins inside your mind. To simply notice is to be aware. To simply notice is to pay attention. Simply noticing is not thinking about noticing, it is about simply noticing, simply being aware, simply paying attention. Simply noticing is shining a spotlight on your current moment, on your current now.

Consciously focusing your awareness requires effort, not strain. Consciously being aware is being willing to experience your now without the filter of preconceived notions, ideas, and thoughts. Consciously focusing your awareness is about trusting your own senses in the present moment. It is about taking care with your life and with your awareness. Taming your gremlin does not mean staying out of your mind. It means entering your world of mind by conscious, aware choice. It also means knowing where you end and everything else begins.

While remembering to be aware, also remember to breathe. Full, clear breathing is important. When your breathing is relaxed and clear and you are taking in all of the air you want and exhaling fully, you will be more aware of yourself and of all around you. Your perceptions will be clearer and your vantage point for responding to change will be better.

So, along with being aware of your inner gremlin thoughts and shining spotlights on them to shrink them, also be aware of your breathing. Be aware that you are breathing fully and relaxed. Once you are aware of your thoughts and your breathing, you are what is called centered.

Being centered is your home base for the here and now. So remember to go ‘home’ often to keep yourself aware of the now, and to give yourself a fresh start. Center yourself every day, in the morning if possible. Doing this regularly will allow you to re-center yourself throughout the day as needed.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Posted in self-improvement

Taming Your Gremlin

It’s not your mother’s life. It’s not your father’s life. It’s not your spouse’s life. It’s not your employer’s life. It’s not your child’s life. It’s your life. It’s a gift from God to you.

But it’s not always easy to respond to this life gracefully, in part because of the vile, vicious, villain you have living inside your mind – the gremlin. Your gremlin is the narrator in your head who has influenced you since you were a child and been with you ever since. He tells you who you are and how you are and interprets your experiences. He wants you to accept his interpretations as your reality. But, it does not have to be your reality if you learn how to tame your inner gremlins.

People have different gremlins. Some include

  • The General who likes life according to rules, regulations, shoulds, and ought tos,
  • The Artist who shows you a beautiful painting of your perfect life and makes you feel badly if you don’t match up to it or who changes the painting just as you are about to get your life to match the painting,
  • The Hulk who keeps you from showing anger or even assertiveness by telling you to sit down and shut up,
  • The Big Shot who tells you that you are a nobody and a never will be
  • Coach Don Ledup who continually tells you to hustle, to go, go, go, to be number one always
  • Reverend Al Dryup who creates problems when you are in intimate relationship
  • Baba Rub Adub who tells you that anything materialistic and anything that keeps you from your higher conscientious is wrong
  • The Grim Reaper who keeps you worrying and looking backwards and forwards with ‘what ifs’, keeping you in an emotional funk and convinces you that suffering and martyrdom is natural and noble
  • Little Miss What the Hell who once you stray a little from your diet and have one sugary dessert tells you that you’ve failed and may as well have all the cookies in the box. When you do, she says, “Now you’ve done it. You’ll never change.”

So how do you tame your gremlin? You don’t strain, you don’t get frustrated. You don’t create a 7 point plan. You don’t think you should do or ought to do. You begin by simply noticing them when they are around. You learn to recognize the natural you from the gremlin voices. When then start up, you simply notice them. By doing so, you shine a spotlight on the gremlin and watch it shrivel under the light.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific

Alani Oranges

Our final story includes a Hawai’ian and Japanese mistake:

A Japanese school teacher asked students what “orange” was in Japanese. One girl replied, “alani.” The Japanese school teacher said that was incorrect. The girl objected stating, “that is what her baban (Japanese grandmother) said it was, so it was so.” She stayed firm. Alas, alani is the Hawai’ian word for orange.

Cite: A Harvest of Hawai’i Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way by Myra Sachiko Ikeda


Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific

The Golden Cat

This week’s story includes a Hawai’ian and Japanese mistake:

Tama is a word for ball or gem. Somehow in Hawai’i, it became a common word for cat in the Japanese culture. So when a golden tabby entered the life of my husband as a young child, he carefully considered an appropriate name. Kin is the Japanese word for gold or golden, so he thought the name Kintama would be great to describe his Golden Cat. However, after telling his family the name he had so proudly chosen, his parents would not allow him to use it. It seems that he did not know that in Japanese kintama means testicles.

Cite: A Harvest of Hawai’i Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way by Myra Sachiko Ikeda


Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific

Menosabes and Ohana

This week’s stories include an English, Hawai’ian, and Portuguese mistakes:

Story 1:

For a period of time, my dad worked as a caretaker for a state park. One day, while trimming some flowers, a tourist asked as to the kind of flowers they were. Not knowing, he replied, “Me no sabe,” which is Pidgin for “I don’t know.” This phrase is English (me) no (English) sabe (Portuguese). The tourist then turned to her companion and exclaimed, “Look at those pretty menosabes!”

Story 2:

A friend relayed the story of a discussion her grandfather was having with the family. He said, “Ano ohana o ki o tsukete.” The family interpreted this as “Take care of that flower,” because ohana is Japanese for flower. The family looked and looked in the garden for some indication of some special flower to keep their grandfather’s wishes. However as most people who have watched any Hawai’ian based movies know, ohana is the Hawai’ian word for family. So the grandfather was using Japanese and Hawai’ian to say “take care of the family.”

Cite: A Harvest of Hawai’i Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way by Myra Sachiko Ikeda

Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific


This month we have some fun with stories. Living in Hawai’i, I am pleased to live and work with an amazing blend of cultures. Because these blends have happened over the decades by people of different cultures who came to Hawai’i for a better life (see some of my June 2016 posts for Hawai’i history), blends of languages have been created. They call these blends Pidgin. People assume that Pidgin is broken English. However, when you look closer, it is a blend of multiple languages including English put together for quick responses in common conversations.  To quote the book, “No sta’ broke, bugga, work fine,” which translates into “No, it is not broken, it works fine so it doesn’t need any fixing.”

This book concentrates specifically on the Japanese culture. Enjoy this story of common mistakes with Japanese and English words.

Two haole (Hawai’ian for Caucasian) salesmen go to the plantation manager’s house. He happens to be Japanese. His mother comes out and they say to her, “Can we see your son?” She looks at them and says, “Wakaran” which is Japanese for “I don’t know” because she doesn’t understand the English language and doesn’t know what they are saying. Fifteen minutes later they come back and ask her again. She looks at them and again says, “Wakaran” because she still doesn’t know what they are talking about. When they go back the third time, her son is home. He tells them, “Oh I just came home. This was good timing on your part.” And they reply, “No we’ve been here for a while.” Curious he asks, “What were you doing?” They replied, “Oh we were doing what your mother told us to do, we were walking around.” 

Cite: A Harvest of Hawai’I Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way by Myra Sachiko Ikeda


Posted in leadership, self-improvement

12 Questions

To summarize the month on Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, here is a reminder of the twelve questions you should keep close to your desk or workstation:

  1. What do I want?
  2. What assumption am I making?
  3. What am I responsible for?
  4. How can I think about this?
  5. What is the other person thinking? Feeling? Wanting?
  6. What am I missing or avoiding?
  7. What can I learn from this person? This situation? This mistake? This failure? This success?
  8. What questions should I ask myself? Others?
  9. How can I turn this situation into a win-win one?
  10. What possible?
  11. What are my choices?
  12. What action steps make the most sense?

Cite: Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life by Marilee Adams. Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2015