Now clean it up, so the pole is smooth and perfectly prepared. 15 each person's concept of me is their most contemporary, up-to-date record of everything they've been through and everything that's been done to them. It's their reaction to all the people who hurt, scared, loved, and cared for them, an immensely complicated history summarized by the simple catchall me. Since these agreements have been developing for years, they're stable, sturdy, and not at all easy to change. A sense of safety is essential to change one's nature, making giving up a defensive strategy in a difficult, often dangerous world a big ask. I'm not suggesting you put down all your weapons at once. But through assessment and understanding, I believe disarmament is possible, and as hard as this might be to swallow, doing so will allow you to feel safer in the long run. In New York, examples of this are innumerable. There's hardly a day that someone doesn't come into my office discussing some infraction perpetrated upon them by some other sidewalk walker, subway rider, driver, or bicyclist (we'll cover this more thoroughly in the Patrolling Clottery article. ) A lot of New Yorkers have the same pet peeves: people walking too slow, people eating smelly food on the subway, people cycling the wrong way in a bike lane. I also find that most of us have agreements to excuse our own bad reactions. Go back to the source material if you need to become recentered. Advocacy has a learning curve, and I would call it steep. On its face, it appears simple if you are in my demographic. White Saviorhood is low-hanging fruit for - well-meaning but ill-informed do-gooder types (the title of my next article; a memoir. ) We shall come to your poor/uneducated/primitive neighborhood/community/nation, and we shall bring our evangelicalism/Vacation Bible Schools/ignorance and we shall poorly paint your church/bypass your own leadership/unknowingly condescend and we shall take many pictures/never come back/feel bad about you but good about ourselves. I HAVE DONE THIS. Brandon and I chaperoned masses of teenagers to inflict no good whatsoever on communities that secretly didn't appreciate our unskilled construction. Turns out, people aren't dumb, helpless, or incapable.

American Christians do not actually know what is best for the rest of the world. By the 1990s, mining companies saw the region as their own personal El Dorado. Fueled by a combination of government apathy, kickbacks, and lobbying, the companies pushed deep into the jungle, bringing the inevitable new diseases with them. The Yanomami suffered again, along with the Amazon, which slowly gave way to the onslaught of industrial development. 2 But some of the tribes, particularly those on the Venezuelan side, remained beyond the reach of change and destruction. Most of them remained unknown, until a team of army personnel in 2008, while aboard a helicopter, saw a group of Yanomami people in an uncharted village. Scientists would soon find out the secrets that their gut bacteria held. But first, the Yanomami people, shielded from civilization and never exposed to modern medicine, had to be protected against potential disease. The bustling metropolis of Mumbai is about as far from an Amazonian rain forest as one can imagine. For Dantas, the jungle in densely populated Mumbai was constructed out of concrete, not trees, and the background noise was that of traffic-choked streets, not exotic birds. In his tenth-grade biology class, fascinated by a talk given by an expat American teacher, Dantas made a split-second decision. This marshmallow test, as it became called for obvious reasons, found that children who were able to exhibit self- control at this early age were likely to be better able to do so elsewhere in life and in adulthood as wel . In fact, the children were tracked as they aged, and it was found that those who were able to regulate themselves had fewer behavioral problems, higher grades in school, and higher rates of college acceptance than their more impulsive counterparts. Several hundred children were involved in the original studies, and much more recently other scientists were able to reassess over 60 of them as adults using a different version of the test (Casey et al. , 2011. ) They compared two groups: those who exhibited high degrees of self- control and those who showed the lowest levels. This follow- up study confirmed the same general findings concerning the value and consequences of self- regulation. This study is important for several reasons. First, longitudinal research spanning several decades is difficult and expensive to do, which means that it is fairly rare.

However, when an idea or concept is confirmed by such work, it becomes more The monkey again set to work, and in the blink of an eye, had created a beautiful ten-foot bamboo pole. Now set it firmly in the ground so it stands upright without moving. Again, this was done in a flash. From now on, unless I give you a specific task to perform around the farm or in the house, you are to climb up and down this bamboo pole without stopping in between times. The monkey followed these instructions to the letter for many weeks. He performed all his designated tasks about the place, and in between jobs, he climbed up and down the ten-foot bamboo pole without stopping. This kept the monkey fully occupied all the time. He couldn't create havoc, which eventually would kill his master. The farmer was very happy, because now he could spend most of his time in meditation and prayer, which was his heart's desire, without all his worldly responsibilities being ignored. After several weeks, the monkey was exhausted. An agreement may be as mild as When someone comes charging onto the subway before I exit I'll complain under my breath to the more serious If someone bumps me, I'll slap them. Agreements with ourselves often resemble if/then statements. We're often unaware of them, despite their potential to trigger severe righteousness and justify all kinds of outlandish Clottery. Some agreements are more interpersonal. When I met my client Naomi, she told me, My girlfriend Gigi likes to ask serious questions about our relationship at night, after turning out the light, when I'm eager to fall asleep. So, given what you've asked me to consider about my personal `agreements,' I can see that mine relate to a need to wind down before bed--not get worked up in a heavy conversation when I'm trying to fall asleep. The agreement is that if Gigi starts discussions about our relationship late at night, I'll politely let her know that, though I'm interested in what she has to say, I need to sleep, so now is not the time. That's the agreement I want to have, the one that works for both of us when I'm in a good headspace. But when I'm not, when I'm groggy and exhausted, my agreement becomes: If you mess with me, I will snap, complain, or be dismissive even though you have important concerns you need to air.

In this version of the agreement, I'm angry, she's upset, and no one is sleeping well that night. I'm not making this up. This is the intel from The Rest of the World. Closer in, I've learned the key difference between making myself the main character in the story of oppressed people as a woke advocate (nope) and actually sitting at their feet as a learner, their voices in the microphone, not mine. There is no such thing as I am a voice for the voiceless - people actually have voices! Whole voices! The question is, who has the microphone? As a straight white lady with a ton of unearned privilege, I am best qualified as an Aaron, not a Moses; I can hold up the arms of the actual prophets leading their people out of bondage, not take their place. (My early advocacy for racial equality was so cringey, I WANT IT STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD, INTERNET. ) Inspired by tales of the biochemical potential of marine organisms, he decided that he would one day obtain a PhD in biochemistry. In pursuing this goal, a series of serendipitous events launched him into an educational odyssey. His first stop was an international boarding school in Kodaikanal, a small town in South India. From there, he was off to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, his stepping-stone to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he finally got that PhD. And armed with the degree and all the knowledge he had accumulated over the decades, Dantas next went to Harvard Medical School. His zigzagging around the country carried through to his academic disciplines as well: he studied organic chemistry and protein engineering and biofuels. Biofuels were a hot topic in the early 2000s, and one epicenter of interest was at Professor George Church's lab at Harvard. Church was known for his highly unusual and creative approaches to science, and at that moment the people in his lab were busy looking at the ways in which bugs could be used as biofuel.

One day, during his postdoc at Harvard, Dantas and his fellow lab members set up a simple experiment that would unexpectedly transform Dantas's research interests. convincing and acceptable. In other words, self- control matters. Second, modern advances in neural imaging also make it possible to observe the areas of the brain concerned with governing behavior. For instance, such techniques make it possible to monitor glucose (a form of sugar the brain uses for its energy) activity in the brain. Scanning clearly indicates that engaging in higher levels of neural processing requires more glucose than lesser states do because such advanced activity requires more energy. This work shows that higher- level cognitive functions, such as those associated with self- regulation, involve a substantial increase in glucose consumption. Since energy is usually depleted when used, it has been concluded that we have limited capacities to engage in the neural processes associated with positive self- regulation. In other words, good self- control is a limited ability because maintaining it uses up resources faster than they are replenished. In a word, self-control involves real neurological as well as psychological work. One result of this situation is that even the best of us can run out of gas, so to speak, when it comes to positive self- regulation in stressful situations or when trying to maintain a steady focus over long periods of time without rest. He went to his master and said, I give up. I shall be very happy to perform all necessary tasks in service to you. In between times, I will sit quietly by your side and wait for you to give me something to do. I promise I will not create havoc that will eventually kill you. You are safe. This is a traditional story that has been used to teach humanity for ages. What can we learn from it? The tricky monkey stands for the Manas--the active thinking mind. The farmer is the Buddhi--the Intellect, Reason and Intelligence.