The relationship between mothers and stepmothers is traditionally considered to be helplessly antagonistic, but it doesn’t have to be. How can the Ten Zen Seconds method help reduce those nasty feelings that mother and stepmothers often feel toward one another?
Each can come to an interaction between them calmer and more grounded by using the incantations as centering charms. Let’s say that you have a phone conversation coming up with your “adversary.” The first thing to do is to incant “I am completely stopping,” so that you get the chance to quiet your roiling thoughts and your roiling hormones and calmly prepare yourself to listen and to say what you need to say.
Next you might try incanting “I feel supported,” to put it in your head and your heart that you are not completely alone in your dealings with “this other woman” and that you have internal and external resources available to you. Then you might try incanting “I embrace this moment” to remind yourself that your intention is to be present, that you are not frightened of the interaction, and that, for the sake of the child involved and for the sake of your own sense of self, you intend to be present in this conversation. Any—and all—of the incantations can be used to “put yourself in the right place” to interact with another human being.
Some of the hairier issues that often arise in the mother-stepmother territory are anger, territoriality and guilt. How can the TZS method help with those?
Let’s take these one at a time. A great way of working with anger is by incanting “I am open to joy”; it is very hard to be angry and joyful at the same time! If you would actually like to not be angry—if, that is, you aren’t attached to your anger and holding on to it for dear life—then announcing your intention to be happy can go a long ways to dissipate anger.
With territoriality, there are often specific actions that you need to take so that there are clear agreements between all concerned, agreements about visits, rules, and so on, and here incanting “I am taking action” can prove a useful and powerful way to ready yourself to get these agreements made, as can incantation 10, “I am equal to this challenge.”
In dealing with guilt, the most important incantation is incantation 7, “I am free of the past,” as a great deal of our guilt is about something in the past, as opposed to something ongoing. There are things that you may want to do in the present that serve as correctives to things done in the past, but that is different from feeling guilty about the past and feeling burdened by that guilt. Incanting “I am free of the past” can go a long way to moving you from past-looking to present-being.
So how does one do this, especially on the fly? Do you have to be some kind of Zen master? I mentioned earlier that I keep my little crumpled piece of paper with me, but mostly, I can remember these….
The first step is always to go through the twelve incantations, slowly and mindfully, and find the one or two that feel most useful and resonant. It is very difficult, verging on impossible, to incorporate all twelve in a regular way into your life, but it isn’t hard at all to incorporate one, two, or even three.
How can people learn more about Ten Zen Seconds?
The book is the best resource. You can get it at Amazon.
Or you can ask for it at your local bookstore. The Ten Zen Seconds website is also an excellent resource: there is a bulletin board where folks can chat, audio interviews that I’ve done discussing the Ten Zen Second techniques, and more.
My web master Ron Wheatley has also designed a slide show at the Ten Zen Seconds site that you can use to learn and experience the incantations. The slides that name the twelve incantations are beautiful images provided by the painter Ruth Yasharpour and each slide stays in place for ten seconds. So you can attune your breathing to the slide and really practice the method. The slide show is available here.
I would also recommend that folks check out my main site, especially if they’re interested in creativity coaching or the artist’s life.
What else are you up to? You’re mind-boggingly prolific.
Plenty! I have a new book out called Creativity for Life, which is roughly my fifteenth book in the creativity field and which people seem to like a lot. I also have a third new book out, in addition to Ten Zen Seconds and Creativity for Life, called Everyday You, which is a beautiful coffee table book about maintaining daily mindfulness.
I am happily busy! But my main focus for the year is on getting the word out about Ten Zen Seconds, because I really believe that it’s something special.
Thanks so much for dropping by, Eric! I hope our readers will actually give these techniques a try. As always, your work is really inspiring.
Thank you, and thank you for having me here today!
© 2007 Jennifer Newcomb Marine
Ray and Bernadette said…
Enjoyed your interview, Jennifer. We applaud you and Eric in identifying how “a great deal of our guilt is about something in the past, as opposed to something ongoing.” If we are looking back there we are missing wonderful opportunities for creating meaningful relationships right here – and meaningful relationships come in all shapes, sizes, and circumstances. Some of the best ones are never ‘planned.’ Great site. Keep up the good work!
-Ray and Bernadette
Publishers, “Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad,”
Aline Gaubert said…
Question: Is there a strong link between considering other people and considering ourselves? As a therapist, I specialize in women-in- transition and families-in- conflict I am so impressed with the sheer volume of work Jennifer Marine has done on herself. The wit and intelligence demonstrated over and over restores my faith in what I see as our culture’s most glaring deficit: the ability to just get along. Clearly she is not afraid to look inside and tell us what she has dared to see in a way that is beguiling. Must be her enormous talent for writing!
I wish the Marines well and hope others will follow their shining example of placing their attention where it should be: making the world a better place for children.
Licensed Professional Counselor and Coach
September 12, 2007 12:42 PM